Thursday, December 18, 2008


Tuhina was meticulously preparing herself for the evening. The apartment sparkled, and the dinner table was laid for two. Nothing could go wrong tonight. She couldn’t bear the thought of mistakes. She looked at the wall clock as it chimed 8:00 pm, and thought to herself, “It’s been more than 45 minutes. Where’s the damn guy?” She was waiting for the delivery guy, and was running out of time. She wanted to serve the dinner she had so lovingly prepared exactly at 8:30 pm.

She settled herself on the sofa, and re-read the letter she had been writing. It brought back those memories. Like sharp stabs of pain… and yet, she reminisced.

Tuhina was only a school going teenager when she was orphaned. Her parents had been quite well insured – the insurance companies informed her that she need not think of earning her luxuries, let alone survival, for a few years. The large sum of money didn’t quite mean anything to her. But to Raju Uncle, her father’s younger brother, it meant a great deal.

Raju Uncle tried every thing in his powers to lay his hands on the insurance money, but Tuhina’s Dad had chosen his lawyers very carefully. Raju Uncle realized soon enough that he would not be able to rob Tuhina of her property, and he wasted no further time in turning his back on her. Her mother had no living relatives.

How Tuhina battled on with life was a mystery even to her. She contemplated joining her parents almost every day, but then told herself to hold on. She completed schooling, and then graduation, with little support from the world. She had very few true friends, and no boyfriend, but she tried her best to stay oblivious to it. Her life seemed aimless, and yet, she lived. Starved of affection, incessantly ignoring the blaze of loneliness in her heart, Tuhina grew up.

Not every one appreciated Tuhina’s beauty. She was a startlingly pretty woman, but not in a conventional manner. It was in fact her dark eyes, which spoke volumes, and the curiously tilted smile on the corner of her lips, that made her so pretty. Whether these were the results of her hard life, or whether these were inheritances from her mother, no one could say! What one could say however is that, these were the precise things that Abhra noticed when he first saw her – and fell in love.

Abhra came into her life at a time when Tuhina had almost resigned herself to the fate of remaining alone for the rest of her life. All her friends had found their partners, and she’d not yet managed to have one affair! It was as if God had intended her to remain friendless and alone all her life. But then, she met Abhra.

Tuhina & Abhra’s backgrounds could not have been more different. Where Tuhina had led an almost deserted, neglected life, Abhra had been the life and soul of his family. It was this stark difference perhaps that brought the two of them together. Abhra loved and understood Tuhina like no one had ever done. She felt cherished and loved. Abhra even missed her if she was away for too long. For the first time in her life, Tuhina found happiness. She felt as if she truly belonged. She felt Abhra had made her dreams come true.

It wasn’t difficult for Abhra to convince his parents about his choice of bride – Tuhina wasn’t poor, unqualified or ugly. Abhra and Tuhina’s wedding was fixed for December 17, 2008.

Tuhina’s happiness knew no bounds – she was about to marry the man she loved and get a family of her own – in short, everything that she’d ever wanted!

It was a phone call in the early hours of October 5, 2008 that changed every thing. Abhra met with an accident, and didn’t survive to see the next sunrise. Tuhina’s dreams came crashing down around her.

It took Tuhina a long time to really comprehend what that phone call had meant. But today, she was wiser. Today, sitting alone at a table for two, she knew that it had meant she would never belong anywhere. It had meant there was no one left in the world to love or cherish her. It had meant she was all alone, once again, in this big, bad world. From now on, there would be no comforting arms around her, no gentle lips would kiss away her tears, no soothing voice would calm her fears down…

The tinkling sound of the bell brought Tuhina back to reality. She opened the door and the delivery guy handed her a bottle of sparkling red liquid – a bottle of wine. She paid the guy, and turned back to the sofa. She poured out two glasses of wine, and emptied the contents of a packet in one of them. She toasted an invisible companion, and then drank deeply. The effect was instantaneous – she felt drowsy, and all her thoughts began to drift away. But no, Tuhina had one last thing to do. Slowly, she picked up her pen, and put down today’s date on the letter:

17th December 2008.

Tuhina smiled. Now she could sleep peacefully. Now she knew, tomorrow she would wake up in the arms of Abhra, her sweetheart, and they would enjoy the sunrise with her Dad and Mom.