That’s how the curtain fell on their peregrination; on an uncertain note. Just as uncanny as their beginning, their time together would be just another leaf in the book of time waiting to be turned and washed over by the tides of time.
Two months. Two months had passed since that god forsaken day; nevertheless, he despised that day with more gravity each passing day. “Daddy” his thoughts were interrupted. The intruder, she had her beautiful brown eyes, the same beautiful brown eyes, which had taught him that he was capable of taking on another million eyes looking at him with disdain as long as her eyes were filled that ineffable fondness for him that they always did. “Daddy”, she calls again. “Yeah sweetie”, this time he replies, “What is it?” “I want to go in an airplane”, she declares. These words seem to boil the bilious blood in his veins, yet he soothes his nerves like she had taught him to and says “But daddy hates airplanes and plus its way past your bedtime so let’s get you in bed, shall we.” His segue was as smooth as it could have been, she would have been proud to see him parry like that (very much unlike the first time his daughter came up to him with the same request, how he had fumbled and the second time how he had startled her with his outburst), had she been here. Had she been here!
A thousand questions isn’t it? Let me above all else tell you a little something about her shall I. That brown eyed woman we keep stumbling upon. Azra, born to an orthodox Muslim family, she was the opposite of provincial. She was never the one to go in the route everyone chose to go (and I think that explains her adoration for him), she always made her own through the thickets and bushes of the forest of life. Extremely outgoing and invigorating, it was just a matter of time before anyone would be friends with her; this didn’t mean they all knew her, in fact nobody knew her but that was before she had met him. She, however, had a special flair; she could love people who nobody else dared to, and understand them for what they are by unraveling the depths of their world, (or let’s just say someone like him). Since he deserves an equal footing in this story, I think it’s about time I introduced him. If she was dusk then he was dawn. Vikrant, despite his outgoing nature had few friends; this didn’t come as a surprise though, because everyone who knew him deeply mostly ended up being the ones who despised him the most. It was just the way things would go for him but that was before he had met her. They simply understood each other a lot. For any other ordinary person, this would just another person in the stroll of life, but for Azra and Vikrant it was not every day they found people who understood them and loved them for who they truly were. He never ceased to surprise her with his rare personality and she never ceased to amaze him with her ravishing soul.
Now theirs was just another one of you clichéd romance and to your dismay (maybe not) I have no interest whatsoever to pursue that route. So if you came in here expecting a cheesy love story, this is your cue to leave. So let’s just say they ended up together. They had to leave behind their family for each other but it wasn’t something they regretted even after they split. Yes, they split. He was ambitious and had a dream to revolutionize the education system in their country and she, an equally ambitious being wanted to work anywhere but in their country. They were so driven by their ambition that they simply forgot what they meant to each other. And thus began one of the most somber chapters of each other’s lives; for one it wouldn’t end and for the other it would too soon.
So Azra found a job and after a month’s training and drudgery she was sent abroad. For the first time in her life she had what she wanted, without anyone she loved by her side, nonetheless, she felt an ineffable void in her life. Little did she know that someday after the following two months, she’d look back at life with utmost pleasure and retrospection.
The aforementioned two months were up (and now some of you are probably thinking that she got back together with Vikrant) and a 10 $ pregnancy test opened the opportunity of a new world to Azra. An opportunity to start life anew, an escape from the oblivion than had engulfed her for so long.
A girl, it had to be a girl. It wouldn’t simply make sense otherwise. Zara had Azra’s brown eyes, but all Azra could ever notice was Zara’s Roman nose, exactly like those of her father’s. Ironically that was what Ezra liked about her the most. Maybe she had reconciled with her past or maybe there was some part of Ezra which could never let go of how Vikrant had become the irrefutable truth of her soul. Only once did she wish she had apprehended this notion a little earlier; just a little earlier.
It’s Zara’s 5th birthday unfortunately her mother is not home yet to drive her to her birthday party. Ezra’s day of reckoning, some would say, is here, but truth is she hadn’t been through the worst yet. It wasn’t about her anymore. She mused in apprehension. What could possibly be done?
For all she knew there was still one person she trusted. Vikrant. She took the next flight back home.
He hadn’t changed much from the last time she’d known him. Except for the beard; she was always against that beard. When he saw them he didn’t have a lot of questions, Zara was undeniably his, but in contrast, Ezra had left all the questions at the mercy of her faith in him.
Now, do you know what it means to a 5 year old to have both your parents by her side first time in her life (and the last)? It’s simply inexplicable and it’s a feeling that transcends words. 2 days and Zara finally understood what Tilly from her kindergarten was talking about. To bask in the warmth of your father’s arms, it wasn’t your ordinary hug, oh no, it was Hagen Daz for breakfast on a weekday hug. There’s nothing like it.
“Can we stay with daddy?” the inevitable bomb strikes at the end of 2 days at a lousy motel. It’s not that Vikrant hadn’t thought about asking Ezra earlier but he knew her too much to know that she’d refuse. Vikrant fumbles at the question, nonetheless; however, having dealt with so many of such inevitabilities, this time Ezra parried smartly saying, “Let’s do one thing. Why don’t you stay with daddy so that mummy can go finish her work?” Silence pronounced the agreement. “So you’re going to stay at that motel, huh?” Vikrant asked. “I actually have to meet a couple of associates in the city and I have a room booked by my company, so I’m good.”
Ezra hugged Zara longer than usual and she felt no hesitation in being in Vikrant’s arms for one more time either. “What’s wrong?” Vikrant asked. “Nothing”, she said with a conviction she never felt. He knew there was something else, but just what could it be?
“THIS IS THE FINAL CALL FOR DEPARTURE FOR MRS.EZRA, THIS IS THE FINAL CALL…..” she was too lost in thought to hear the boarding call. Apparently, the silence of her soul engulfed all the noises around her. When Vikrant showed his daughter a flight later that night little did he know that the only woman he’s ever loved was in it. Only woman is a lie. For Vikrant, his mother was his world and no woman could ever take her place and that’s what Ezra loved about him. How can a man who loves his mom so much ever turn out to be bad? And of course, now there is Zara; after Ezra the only woman whom he would cry for.
When morning found them, the news of Ezra leaving them also rushed in. after that it was an unspoken rule to never talk about the woman who’s hurt them both; her memory was just too poignant for their fragile hearts.
Two months later. “Hello, is this VIKRANT…?”
The phone suffered a drop but not as remotely as severe as the one Vikrant’s heart underwent. “Oh yes she definitely knew about her affliction, that’s the reason she came back” the answer came from the other end
For the first time in his life Vikrant felt defeated. Ezra had suffered from leukemia and died on her flight back 2 months back. Vikrant dreads airplanes.