The old man’s wristwatch apprised him to get up. It was the most anticipated time of his day, every day. Spurning the early cold winter morning, he got up from his iron cot and briskly wrapped himself in a thin woolen rug. He was eager to know what he was going to unveil, see and hear. He walked, the fastest he could with a walking stick in his left hand bolstering him. The corridor was empty, rest of the people were still snoring. He crossed the corridor slyly, trying not to make any sound to reach the common hallway. It was silent and empty, just as he wanted it to be. Reaching the telephone, placed near the window, he picked up the receiver and dialed the number. It rang thrice before it was picked up at the other end.
“Hello. Is it you?”
“Yes, It’s me” the old man replied.
She, on hearing his voice on the other end, was elated. “You will never miss calling me, won’t you?”
“Never” the old man said sanguinely.
She was glad to hear that. Clearing her throat, the woman asked, “So - what do see, today?”
Malhar’s phone rang beside his bed. Why is a good sleep so unaffordable for me? He thought and lazily picked up the call.
“Sir, Geko here. Sorry to disturb you but there’s a woman at the gate, says she wanted to meet you…”
“Ah yes, please let her in. I’ll be there in a moment”
Malhar jumped from the bed. He was going to meet her after a long time. Looking himself at the mirror, he could tell he was excited. He quickly sprinted to meet her. His first love was just behind the door. He opened it. He was speechless for a few seconds and then he recoiled himself.
“Welcome Alimah, good to see you, again, after such a long time.”
“Thank you. Same here, Malhar”
The excitement was mutual. The affection was mutual.
“Let’s have a cup of coffee?” Malhar asked.
“Absolutely” she smiled. Her eyes were scintillating.
The old man looked out of the window and narrated “The outsides look as beautiful as always, thick trees till the farthest you could look, open blue sky and I can hear the morning birds chirping musically and there are butterflies coloring the scene. Everything looks peaceful except this young girl, she is running. Oh! She looks so much like you. And she’s running behind a falling kite. Off she goes into the woods…”
“That sounds beautiful. Can you still see her?”
“Well, I can see the kite, stuck on a tree. And the girl is trying to grab it.”
“Ah! I hope she gets what she loves”
“I think she might, because, now I see a young, handsome guy trying to help her. The brave chap has climbed up the tree. The girl looks completely impressed”
“I am sure, she is” the woman smiled.
Alimah took a sip.
“It’s regular, actually. I suppose, it’s the company.” Malhar gulped, surprised by his own instant reply.
“Ahem! So, Malhar, when did you start this service? Who inspired you?”
“I always wanted to do something good for the society, apart from my routine work. So, I thought this would be a good cause to invest the money my father had left to me.” Malhar explained.
“I really appreciate what you are doing, Malhar. Why don’t you show me around?”
“Yes, I’ll do that and also, introduce you to all the members. But, before that, let me take to the main hall. I want you to see someone very special here and the reason why I wanted to meet you. Follow me”
“I am excited. Let’s go.”
Malhar walked her into hall and whispered, pointing near the window. “There he is, on the phone call, wait here.”
“And, what do you see?” The old man asked, curiously.
“The street looks peaceful as well. There are a lot lesser vehicles today. A lot lesser morning people rushing to their work…”
The old man chuckled. “Of course, who would go to work on a Sunday?”
The sudden realization made the woman tap her forehead. “Oh! Stupid me, How bad my memory has become at keeping track of days…”
“Curse your memory later and tell me something interesting”
“Okay. Let me see. Did I tell you about the new corner tea stall? I heard the ginger tea is really appetizing. The stall is always full of people. And, a lovely couple just walked down there, holding hands, sipping their morning tea, enjoying the ecstasy, said to be hidden in these small experiences. They look amazing together.”
“I wish, I could –“, the old man paused.
“You wish – what?”
“I must hang up the phone now. I guess people are waking up, here. I will call you tomorrow, same time.”
“I will be waiting. Take care”
The phone call was cut. The old man slyly walked back to his room.
“Who is that man? Who was he talking to?” Alimah asked.
“I called you here, at this odd time, because, this is what I wanted to show you”
“Years ago, this man and the woman on the other side were in love. But, back then, people were more orthodox. She was married before the old man could even ask for it. And, till today, he regrets what he has missed all these years. After a long treasure hunt, he found her number, only to find out that she now lives with her children and probably serves them. He was also alone all his life, so he joined our old age home.
He calls her every morning and they narrate to each other beautifully crafted stories, fiction of course, which they pretend as if is happing just outside their windows, trying to make each other happy.”
Alimah’s eyes were watery. “Such an Immortal love, just like I wish to have, I don’t know what to say”
“Say ‘yes’”. Malhar prompted.
“Yes to what?” Alimah rubbed her eyes.
“To my proposal. Will you be my Immortal Love?”
Malhar was on his knees.
“Yes!” Alimah jumped and passionately embraced him and whispered in his ears, “Let’s celebrate this at my favorite spot.”
“And, what is that?”
“It’s a small tea stall. They serve amazing ginger tea.” Alimah replied.
A Platinum day of Love contest
A Platinum day of Love contest