Raising his hands off the steering to a few inches high and then bringing them down again, Sam nodded his head with a smile of wordless acknowledgement.
This is precisely what made their friendship special – silent understandings. In fact, it was for this very reason that they could so easily bounce back to the same level of friendship where time and distance had cut them out from each other’s lives years before. No grudges. No complaints. They simply eased themselves into each other’s lives once again and caught up where they had left. Unalloyed friendship!
Taking a sharp but smooth swerve round the corner, Sam brought the car to a halt.
“Remember this place?”, he pointed towards the window on the passenger’s side looking outside, bringing Disha back to the present from her world of jostling thoughts.
“You bet, I do”, said Disha glancing to her left. With gleaming eyes, she opened her side of the door and stepped out.
Turning off the ignition of the engine that was still running, Sam got out too and followed Disha’s trail. She had already started walking towards the familiar spot that she hadn’t visited in years.
“Staying away from one’s homeland is a blessing in disguise. When you return, you value many things more than you did before”, remarked Disha.
“ . . . many things and many people too”, whispered Sam as they both smiled and sauntered down the track.
The light boughs of the thick clusters of casuarina trees swayed gently in the autumn breeze signalling the soon approaching winter. They had left the sweltering heat of the cities behind and were in the outskirts, enveloped by a more favourable weather.
She caught up where she had left a few minutes back.
“When you meet Aakash, I want you to observe every bit about him that I might have ignored. I mean, I have decided to get married to him, but I don’t want to close my eyes to things that might prove to be disastrous later. So, you give me a man’s perspective”, she said thoughtfully.
“Okay buddy, shall we sit by the groves for a while and have you speak out the rest of what is still throttling you from inside? Let me have the honours of uncaging a flummoxed mynah, at least that’s what I see right now”, voiced out Sam with a wink and a grin.
They eased themselves on a sandy turf that had once been familiar to their teeny-tiny feet until they had grown to leave firm impressions and then faded away slowly over time. But remember, the conversation was not about ‘them’. It was about ‘her’.
They sat in absolute silence for some time. There weren’t many people around that day. So, their silent musings spoke aloud to each other.
Disha broke the silence.
“To remain single was a conscious decision I had taken long back. Not that there weren’t any suitors, but just that I didn’t want to consider any. Love – I never was eager to jump into an ocean of romantic love for the sake of it. You know what, many of my college mates thought this to be weird. Had we been in touch during those times, I would have eaten into your time every day with many funny stories. But then here’s my point – I changed my decision! Not because I met Aakash, but because I wanted to give love a chance. And now that I have, I am unsure whether this decision would make me rejoice or regret later in life”, sighed Disha after unburdening her heart.
“Have you shared your thoughts with Aakash?”, asked Sam.
“Nope. We haven’t spoken much about our thoughts. We just keep talking about our future together or sharing brief episodes about our past or discussing present events“, replied Disha.
“Then you should. Since you are in a free choice relationship, you need to voice your thoughts. One of the factors that shatters marriages is that the partners know quite a bit ‘about’ each other . . . but don’t know each other well. I hope you are getting my point. Aakash needs to know who Disha is as a person, what she feels about certain things, what ideologies and principles she holds dear, what she can compromise with and what she wouldn’t at any cost – and so do you need to know about him. Whether you both can put up with each other despite being yourselves, is a decision you can take only after that. It is easy to be drawn into the fluttering feeling of love within one’s heart without getting into the deeper dynamics of life and living together”, said Sam.
“You are so right! I will start having such little conversations with Aakash before I get you to meet him”, said Disha with a sparkle in her eyes as she sprang back to her feet and effortlessly tucked her jet-black hair behind her ears.
This brought an end to their little conversation, the few words which carried deep connotations.
Sam drove Disha to her apartment and bade her good bye before zooming away to a world of his own.
“Hey Disha, there’s something that I want to talk to you about”, came Aakash’s husky voice over the phone that night.