Monday, September 13, 2010

A true promise

'Yatrigad kripya dhyan de. Gaadi number 3...' the rail announcement on the Kanpur Railway Station was drowned by the arrival of the Pushpak Express, coming all the way from Mumbai. The situation at the station was little chaotic due to the arrival of the train. People were rushing towards the compartment in search of their family and friends. Coolies were standing at the entrance of every compartment looking for passenger with luggage.

'Sahab, should I carry this?'
'No, thanks,' said he, looking at the dejected porter, smiling at his reaction.

He was back. Yes, he was finally back, at his home. It was what 16, no 17 years, since he was made to leave this place, his home. But now, he is back. Now, he has come back just to fulfill his promise, promise he had made 17 years ago.
'It's time,' said he, his eyes twinkling in delight.


'Mamma, why are we decorating our house with lights?' asked a little girl, wearing a baby pink frock, standing beside her mother.
'It's Diwali, dear, that's why. Now, move Mamma has to make rangoli too,' she said walking towards the door, carrying a plate full of different colours while her little daughter kept looking at her in awe.
She followed her mother to the door, with her eyes full of curiosity. 
'Mamma, what's rangoli?' she asked in her sweet voice, her brown eyes bright with excitement.
'Umm,' her mother looked at her little daughter and smiled, 'you know, how you draw flowers and houses in your drawing book?'
She nodded.
'In the same way, Mamma's going to draw some design on the floor, here,' she said indicating the entrance of the door.
'What are you going to draw, Mamma?'
'Tanya, don't disturb mamma. Now, go and play. I will call you when it will be finished.'
'But Mamma, there's no one to play with,' she frowned.
Her mother stopped making rangoli and looked at her daughter's sad face.
'Why don't you go and meet that new boy, who has shifted here few days back,' she suggested.
'But Mamma, I don't know him,' she replied innocently.
'Hmm.. Now that's a problem. Come I'll introduce you to him,' she said leaving the colours on the floor.
She got up, took Tanya's hand and walked out of the gate of her house towards the house opposite them.
'Mamma, what's his name?' she asked excitedly.
'I don't know yet. Let's ask him only.'
Tanya's mother crossed the lawn of their new neighbour's and range the bell. Tanya still holding her mother's hand was excited to meet a new friend.
'Hello, I am Mrs Srivastava. We are your neighbours. Actually, today is Diwali and we are having a party tonight. So, I have come to invite you,' she said smiling as the door opened by a young lady.
'Oh hello! I am Mrs Mathur. Please, please do come in,' she said inviting them into the house.
'Hello dear, What's your name,' she asked Tanya.
'Tanya Srivastava,' she said flashing her little dimples.
'Oh! You have a very pretty name, just like you.'
'Thank you.'
'How old are you, Tanya.'
'Oh wow! Would you like to meet someone? He's a year older than you and he has no friends, here.'
'Manav!' called Mrs. Mathur.
A little boy wearing a white kurta pyjama came into the room, shyly.
'Manav, this is Srivastava Aunty, our new neighbour.'
'Namaste,' he greeted shyly.
'Namaste dear.'
'You have very lovely son,' said Mrs. Srivastava.
'Thank you.'
'Manav, she's Tanya, your new friend. Say hi to her.'
'Tanya, will you be my Manav's friend?'
'Of course.'
'Good girl, Now why don't both of you go out and play.'
'Okay,' said Manav and came out to the lawn and sat ona bench, followed by Tanya, who was deeply thrilled to find someone to pay with.
'Hi, I am Manav,' said he, not looking at her.
'I know. Don't you have any games?' inquired Tanya.
'Of course, I have. So many,' he said indicating with his tiny hands, 'You wanna see? Come, I'll show you. But you have to promise not to share it with anyone else, promise?'


'Kahan jaan ahain, Sahab?'
'Yahan, yahan, yahan...'
'Sahab, rickshaw chahiye?'

He was surrounded with a crowd of people asking him to take their rickshaw. He looked around at everyone and chose one. He sat inside with his luggage and took a deep breadth.

'Where to Sahab?'
He looked at the surrounding, on his way to the house. Same old roads, same old houses, everything was same as before. The hot air of the summers blew his dark brown hair from his weatish complexioned face. It felt nice on his sweat drenched face. The way to the house, once more took him to the bitter-sweet past and once again he was reminded of the past, bringing an evil grin on his face.


'Mom, I am going to Manav's house. We have a project to do. I'll have something in his house,' shouted Tanya from the threshold of her house, ready to go out.
'Tanya, at least change your clothes,' said her mother coming out of the kitchen holding a spatula in her hand.
'No mom, I'll change it later, bye,' and she rushed out of the house to her best-friends house. 
Ever since they have met on that Diwali day, they had become the best of friends. Despite, Manav being an year elder to her, he always helped her in all her work just like a classmate.
'Manav, today again I received a project on Bio. So, be ready to help me,' she said with a grin on her face.
'Tanya, till when are you going to take my help? For God's sake, you are 15 years old now,' he said irritatingly wiping the smile of her face.
'SO? You are going to help me for ever, understood?'
'But Tanya, one day I'll be gone, you will be gone then what are you gonna do?' asked Manav his heart beating at the speed of 180 beats/min.
'Where the hell are you going? And where am I going? You cannot go anywhere. What will I do without you? You know... you know that I love you,' she blushed.
'I.. I love you too.'
'Manav, you have to promise me that you will be with me forever, promise?
'Manav looked intently at her, slowly he came close to her took her hand and said, 'I promise.'


'Where to sahab?'
'Take a left turn from there. Yes. Just stop here,' he said indicating the house.
'How much?'
'Here, take this and keep the change,' he said giving him a fifty rupees change.
"Mr. N K Srivastava", it was written on the plank hung beside the gate. He opened the gate with a creak and entered the lawn of the house. Finally, he was going to fulfill his promise. promise, he wasn't able to fulfill back then. He moved towards the door of the house to find it open. He entered inside to find a crowd assembled before something, wearing white. 
Terrified, he moved forward to find the garland laden photo of Tanya smiling with an incense stick burning before it. Everywhere people sitting and standing with tears in their eyes.
'Oh! Tanya, why did you leave us?' cried her mother sitting besides the photo, hitting her forehead in anguish and sadness.
'What had happened?' asked someone.
'She swallowed sleeping pills,' answered the women in hushed voice.
He dropped the bag with a thud with tears in his eyes. Tears of joy!


'Tanya, where were you? I tried calling you so many times but your number was busy,' said her mother hurriedly, feeling very weak due to worry.
'I was with Sangita. Why? What happened mom? Why are you crying?'
'Manav... He just.. he just had an accident, Tanya. He is in the hospital.'
'Wh...What?' she whispered with fear, in horror. She couldn't believe, what her mother had just said. She immediately ran out of the house, took a rickshaw and reached hospital, every minute dreading about him. She had tears in her eyes, when she reached the receptionist.
'Excuse me, could you tell me in which room, Manav Mathur has been admitted?' she asked, her words cracking.
'Just a minute,' the receptionist looked din her computer, 'he is in the ICU ward, Room No. 2, fifth floor.'
'Thank you,' she ran towards the stairs. in her desperation to reach him, she totally forgot to take the lift through which she could have reached him little earlier not that it wold have mattered.
'Manav?' said Tanya entering the room. 
She stopped in her tracks, the scene in the room flabbergasted her. Manav, her love was lying on the bed, dead. his mother was sitting beside him with a blank expression, no tears, no sadness, everything just blank.
'Ma...nav,' she whispered in horror taking a step closer nearer to the body. Her body shaking with fear.Her footsteps made Manav's mother to look at her.
'Manav was sorry that he couldn't keep his promise. He told me to tell you that,' said his mother blandly.
'Promise!' she whispered.
'Those were his... last words,' and she cried.
Both the women in the room cried.


'I knew, you wouldn't break your promise,' said she looking at him. people around them were deep in mourning but they both were oblivious to their surrounding.
'I am sorry, I am late,' he apologized.
'Don't be. You are not late. I felt you every minute with me while I was alive. I didn't want to take my life but I  wasn't strong enough, I guess,' she shrugged, ' and moreover, I wnated to keep my promise too,' she smiled and took his hand.
'We'll always be together, now, I promise and this time I won't break it,' he said looking at her, 'I love you, Tanya.'
'I know,' she smiled, 'I love you too, Manav.'
They both looked at each other, drowning in each other eyes before surrendering themselves to each other by hugging tightly and cherishing each and every moment like their last.


  1. @kumar Bibek Thank you.. Glad you like it!!

  2. I had tears in my eyes, by the time I finished reading your story.

    Touching and sweet.

  3. @Purba Thanks.. I never thought my story can have such effect too..It really means a lot to me..


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