A Bitter Farewell

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“Ajay, what are you rummaging through the drawers? I cleaned your room a few minutes back.” I yell while putting things back in their place.

As I tidy up, I stumble upon a photo album. Closing the room door behind me, I sit on the sofa, flipping the pages. The album has images of our school building, dozens of friends, and teachers.    

My eyes turn moist, swiftly transporting me back to my school days. 

I’m not on social networks and barely socialize after losing my husband. 

The next morning, after dropping my son at school, I opt for the shortest route, only to find it congested. The on-duty traffic cop is making every effort to clear the congestion.

At last, the vehicles start moving. Suddenly, a passing car splashes filthy water and stains my floral dress. 

“Can’t you drive carefully?” I yell, wiping the dirt off of my dress.

“I didn’t notice the pothole.” the lady apologizes, rolling down her car window.

“My dress is ruined,” I sigh and look up.

“Are you Seema from St. Sebastian School?” I ask, surprised.

“Yes, sorry, didn’t recognize you,” Seema replies.

“I’m Ria, Seema,” I say eagerly.

“Ria! Good to see you. 

Since I was on my bike and was rushing to the office, we exchange numbers before moving ahead. Later during the day, I call Seema, and we meet on a weekend.

“Do you remember Dhruv?” Seema asks.

“Yes. Where is he now? Are you in touch?” I blush.

“He is in India for a few days. I will add you to our WhatsApp group.” Seema replies.

“That’s great,” I respond.

After spending quality time, we head home.

Excitedly, I phone Dhruv after I reach home. 

“Hi Dhruv. Where have you been all these years?” I ask.

He says he lives in Sydney. We speak for almost an hour. 

Our group plans a surprise party for him. However, the plan gets cancelled, due to unavoidable circumstances. Dhruv insists on meeting virtually, but none of us agree.

“Nothing doing. You better meet us before you leave for Sydney, or we will come to your house.” I declare.

We exchange messages on the group and fix the date.

The thought of meeting Dhruv after thirty years brings a broad smile to my face. Seema is going to pick me up at 10.30 a.m.

As I am getting ready, messages flood in. Shock courses through my veins, mingling with grief and disbelief as I read them. The phone slips from my hand, and I feel dizzy.

I manage to call Seema. Sobbing, she confirms Dhruv suffered a cardiac arrest and passed away in the wee hours of the morning. 

“I spoke to him last night,” I say, unable to contain my tears.

As promised, I visit his house, sadly not for a reunion but for his funeral. He lies motionless while I sob.

He comes to his land just to be buried. As I stand by his graveside, I offer a silent prayer, tears still flowing.  


A Strange Coincidence


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