“Life has many shades, but the strongest are the ones that have negations in them. We, human beings, have made hate more dominant than love, anger mightier than silence and despair stronger than hope and chance.”
“You still swear, don’t you?” Pratham immediately found a comfort zone as soon as he heard Jen talk in her usual language. He forgot that they were meeting after a long time, and were married entities to get into an immediate casual talk like this.
“Come in, would you?” Jen yelled.
Pratham was surprised. Jen hadn’t changed a bit; whereas he had changed entirely.
He had almost killed the Pratham that he was. He travelled back in time and recalled all the wonderful moments he had spent with Jen. He felt emotions flowing incessantly, words forming sentences and mind pushing him to speak, after holding back a lot.
“So, you are married….and…. kids?”, Jen probed infuriatingly.
“Yeah, 2”, Pratham answered.
“That desperate, huh”, Jennifer sounded sardonic and loud, as she pulled the curtains of the terrace to let some light in. Pratham saw Jen’s anger translating into love and composure as the light filled the room.
Pratham did not know what to say. He asked Jen, “How about you?”
“Yes. Nathan’s on a tour, else you would have seen what an awesome deal I settled for”, Jennifer made Pratham feel mediocre, still trying to justify her anger.
“I am sure”, Pratham added, feeling a tad disregarded, as Jennifer spoke of her husband and confessed of having made a better choice.
“…and kids?”, he asked.
“Yes, a son. He stays at Doon. I made sure he develops clarity of thought and makes the best of his life. So hostel is the place for him”, she stated, throwing another sarcasm, as if she wanted to kill Pratham with words.
“I see”, Pratham chuckled. He then added, “I should have gone there too. At least I would have known what I want from life.”
“Now, at least do you know? I think you do, otherwise you wouldn’t have come to meet me”, Jen answered her own question, sounding cool, trying to gauge the situation and overcoming her annoyance.
“No Jen. I am still am not clear about most of the things. But there’s one thing I know”, Pratham sounded serious.
“And that one thing is..?”, Jen asked, as she settled on the couch still looking dominant.
“That I made a huge mistake by letting you go”, Pratham said.
“I did not go anywhere Pratham. You did. I am still where you left me.” Jen replied, realizing that she needed to tell Pratham how things have been. She realized that his life was in mess, and she had made most of hers.
Pratham did not quite understand what Jen said. He asked, “What do you mean Jen?”
“Back then, it was you who made me fall in love … in love with life. And now Nathan has done the same, Neil, my son makes me what I am today. I still continue to live with same enthusiasm, same zeal. Nothing has changed.” Jen replied, sounding strong and comforting.
Pratham realized that Jen wasn’t the one who was suffering; he was. He inadvertently took up the pain, which he thought he had given Jen.
But she knew how to endure, how to live and how to love. Pratham, missed on this one basic lesson of life – to make the best of what is available.
He had lost all chances in life, he felt hopeless at times, and he blamed life for all that was happening with him. He did not realize he had created a labyrinth for himself where he had got stuck with no way out.
“Pratham, I see you are stuck in a maze”, Jen spoke his mind. He gawked at her, wondering if she could read what he was thinking. She added, “Akanksha is the one who will help you out”
“But Jen, I need…”, Pratham started.
“All you need is optimism, Pratham. And Akanksha is that force in your life. Do you realize, had it not been for her, you wouldn’t have been able to meet me”, Jen stirred his soul.
“Jen, I have no clue what I am taking from here”, Pratham said.
“You are taking yourself back, this where you’d left it, right?” Jen again hit the right chord.
“Hmm..” , Pratham accepted.
“We can still be in touch, if you plan to give me your phone number this time, before leaving”, Jennifer offered. “Otherwise, we’ll have to wait for another 8 years, or more”, Jen mocked, trying to make the situation lighter.
Pratham, looked at her, wondering what an amazing women she was, and how she could, so effortlessly take intricate things in life. He thought, she sure had her share of pain too, but she was living – sturdily so, whereas he had almost given up on that.
After a long time, he smiled, his smile turning into laughter. He said, “Yeah, this is my card, Jen. Stay in touch.” Pratham said.
“Sure”, Jen replied, avoiding an eye contact.
“Jen”, Pratham slowly called out. “I am very sorry”, he apologized.
“For?”, Jen asked.
“For not giving an explanation before leaving you.”, he said gathering all efforts.
“Don’t be”, Jennifer finally sounded comforting, with no element of disdain.
“I wish I could…”, Pratham started.
“Pratham. Remember one thing. You get very few chances in your life, the ones that you always wanted. You have your one now. Make the most of it. Forget what you lost.” Jen said these parting words.
He left Jen’s place, got into a cab and called Akanksha.
“Akshu”, he began.
“Hi Pratham. Did you find her?”, she asked.
“I found myself”, he replied.