Malhar Calling

It was a spring afternoon. Sahana was returning home from her coaching center. She has been preparing for government sector jobs for the last five years. She was waiting at the bus stand for her bus. She saw boys and girls standing with flowers, hugging each other, and wishing their valentines.

Sahana smiled. “I have no time for love-shove and all. I have other plans in life,” she told herself in mind.

There was no sign of rain, but all of sudden, there came a dark cloud that covered the sky. In one minute, the rain started and raindrops made her glasses hazy. Meanwhile, she could see the bus was coming.

Blurred by the raindrops, Sahana boarded the bus. It was not full, so she could grab a seat beside the window. Sahana kept her bag on her lap, and holding it tight, she turned outside. She has always loved to see nature after the rain shower. She breathed long; she wanted to inhale the smell of soil, and the smell of rain.

“How wonderfully rain washes away all our pain! Can’t you wash away my pain, too, dear rain?”

Sahana fell into tears, her wet eyes gazing at the sky. Secretly, she was wishing for a miracle.

The bus stopped at the next stoppage. Sahana could see someone boarding the bus, but she did not want to see him, and, she did not want him to see her, either.

She turned her face to the window again, but who could disobey the story that was destined to be written?

Rishabh, her classmate from school, could find a seat only beside her. He came near, and sat beside Sahana, which she absolutely disliked.

“Hey! Sahana! After so long! How are you?” Rishabh exclaimed seeing her. Sahana, reluctantly turned her face to him, and replied, “Hi Rishabh! I am fine, how are you?”

“Ahh, I am fine, too. Thank you!”

“So”, Rishabh made himself comfortable on the seat, and kept his left hand just beside Sahana’s right hand, kept on the handle of the front seat. Something sparked like a magic in Sahana when she could feel Rishabh’s touch.

Image Courtesy: Aaron Burden / Unsplash

“Sahana, how are you?” Rishabh asked again. This time, his voice was firm and cold.

Sahana slowly turned her face to him, and replied, “I am good, Rishabh. You tell me, how are you doing in your life?”

Although she knew how was he doing. Rishabh was well-established in his career, making his name among the best neurosurgeons in the country, which he had always wanted to be.

From school days, everyone knew that Rishabh, the topper of the class, wanted to become a renowned doctor of the country, just like his grandfather. And Sahana, on the other hand, wanted to become a poet. The difference is that Rishabh followed his dream and achieved it at a very young age.

And Sahana followed what the elders of her family advised her to do. She never wanted to do a full-time job that would make her sit from nine in the morning till five in the evening. She wanted to do something of her own. All of her close friends knew that. Rishabh, too.

But now, Sahana was facing failures in her every attempt at the exams, thus, she couldn’t grab a job yet. All her friends are well-settled, some of them have started their new lives abroad, and some of them are married.

And Sahana, at twenty-seven, was fighting with her destiny, fighting with the society that always points a finger at her for being indifferent to her aging parents and not getting married on time.

“Hey! Are you lost in your thoughts, just like in our school days?” Sahana returned to reality with Rishabh’s voice.

“No, I am…just…Ahh, yes. You know I love to spend hours after hours in my own world of thoughts, and words, and write, and recite.”

-“Yes, I remember, and I know how fond you are of poetries. See, I have bought some poetry books for you. I am here to gift you these books only.”

-“For these books only, are you sure?” Sahana smiled. “Rishabh, please don’t lie to me.” She continued. “I know why you are here, you can’t hide anything from me, even you couldn’t ever since our school days. Stop lying to me, you are a very bad actor. Vivaan has told me that you were asking him about me.”

– “Ohh, can’t your brother hide anything from you? I told him not to tell you that I was asking about you.” Rishabh continued, “And what you just said? I am lying? Okay, it’s true, I am lying to you. But what are you doing, Sahana? You have disconnected from everyone in our circle. And see, now you are lying to yourself.

– “I am not lying Rishabh. You don’t know anything about me.”

– “Okay, so you are not lying. Then tell me where are you going now?”

– “I am going city center to buy some books, Rishabh.” Sahana pretended.

– “No, you are not. I know, you are going to meet the doctor. You are suffering from depression. I know that you are going through therapy. And you are going to discuss it with the doctor. Am I right, Sahana?”

– “Oh, Vivaan has told you everything then! Please tell me, what else do I have to do now? Every night I am spending sleepless, hiding my face in the pillow, sobbing my pain so nobody else can see me or hear me crying. I am too tired of facing failures, I am too tired of trying, trying, and trying. I want fresh air, Rishabh. I want to live, I want that dreamer Sahana back to this dead soul.”

– “I know, Sahana. That’s why I wanted to talk to you, but you didn’t pick up my call or reply to my messages. What have I done, Sahana? You know that I am worried about you. You know that I want my old Sahana back. You know that I…”

Sahana knew what he was trying to say. For the last twelve years, Sahana has been trying to escape from Rishabh because she knows how much he loves her. But she never wanted to reciprocate to his love. She doesn’t know the reason.

They did not speak more on the bus. Meanwhile, Sahana’s stoppage came and she tried to go. As she stood up, Rishabh stopped her, and holding her hand, he requested,

– “Sahana, please promise me, you will tell me everything your doctor will tell you. You can break your promise to me, but please, don’t break your promise to life. Your promise to that seventh-standard girl, that little Sahana who wanted to write, to recite, to live life at the fullest.”

Sahana wanted to go, but Rishabh called her again.

“Sahana, please remember, there are people who love you. There are people for whom you are precious, you are special. There are people who are waiting for you.”

Sahana said nothing, but her eyes spoke it all.

One year later.

It was 8:57 PM. Sahana was eagerly waiting for her special episode to go live. As soon as the clock ticked nine, the episode was live, and she gleamed in joy. Her podcast episode went to every audience.

Rishabh was just back at his hostel. After a hectic day at the hospital, at that moment, all she wanted to hear was Sahana’s voice. He played the podcast and could hear Sahana’s voice hosting her show.

“Hello everyone! Welcome to Malhar Calling! Today is Valentine’s Day, and I am sure you had a great time with your love.

But you know what, today I am very excited to present you this episode because I want to dedicate this episode to a special person of my life. To the person who has brought me back to life, helped me rediscover my dreams, know my abilities in a new way, and fall in love with myself!

Friends, we all have a phase in life when we face hardships. But there are some people who are dragged to the worst of all, and sometimes, they even try to make some drastic decisions. I have been there. There was a time when I was wishing for a miracle, and then, one day, it happened.

You know what, it is easy to fall in love with another person, but it is tough to fall in love with yourself. But when someone teaches you how to love yourself even when you don’t what to, there happens a miracle.

When someone makes you feel worthy, that you matter to him or her, and that you are the one who can achieve anything in this world, it feels special.

When someone holds your hand amidst the darkness and shows you the light that you have been searching for, it feels like you are reborn. When someone stands behind you always, but never claims the special credit, it feels like you have won the world.

Friends, today I am a podcaster, I receive so much love from you all, but the path to this day was not smooth. I was suffering from depression, I lost all my hope for life, and I thought I had no dreams alive for me. But I was wrong.

There was someone who made me realize that the dreamer Sahana was still alive in me, and brought me back to those days when I was carefree about the future and wrote fiercely.

He gifted me wings. He gifted me the season of metamorphosis.

Today, I want to say, Thank you, Rishabh. Thank you for being there with me, thank you for understanding me, thank you for believing in me. Always.

Thank you for everything you did for me. Thank you, for being my world.

Thank you, for gifting me the shower of rain, the miracle that I was waiting for, and thank you for being the greatest magic of my life.

All that I could gift you in return, is sending you my malhar, my rain, my shower of love.”

Rishabh smiled, and looked outside.

It started raining.

Image Courtesy: Ryan Franco/Unsplash

Author’s Note:

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, business, events, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. This content is copyrighted by Swarnali Nath and not allowed to use for any purpose without prior permission of the writer.

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