This is dedicated to my loving wife on her Birthday!
“Let’s celebrate Christmas on Diwali this year. How about that?” she said and stamped the newspaper on the dining table.
“Radhika, please don’t be melodramatic. Do not compare apple with potato.” I said and sipped steaming tea.
“It is the same thing Kabir. When you say we will celebrate our anniversary some other day, it is as good as putting potato in an apple pie. It doesn’t taste well. It doesn’t work that way.” She was in no mood to let me off the hook.
“This meeting is very important. I have been working for almost a year to get this appointment from prospectus client. Our life will change if I get this deal through. Trust me; we will have a huge celebration for our anniversary the following Sunday.” I tried to convince her yet again.
“See, that’s where the misconception is. I do not want a huge celebration. I just wish you to be with me on that day darling. Simple.” She softened her tone and sat beside me. “Let us have a little but a happy life where we are together, at least on special days. Am I asking for too much?”
“It is not about that, baby. This opportunity is important for me, for us, for our future.” I tried to rationalize her emotions. I was not much considerate about her point of view. I stood up to get ready for work and went for a bath.
“It is all about priorities.” I heard as I headed to bathroom.
After having the bath, as every day, I saw my ironed clothes, belt, handkerchief, pen, watch, wallet, cell phone, laptop bag, car keys and socks precisely arranged on the bed, in a sequence. Neatly polished shoes were placed besides the bed. She always did this; even when ceasefire was violated between us. She had her personal and professional schedule to adhere to. Still, she always did this. I often wondered how she manages this. I soon left for my office and she left for hers.
I reached office and started preparing for the big meeting the next week. I had a few presentations to work on showcasing why we are the best when compared to the rest. I handed over my cell phone to Nidhi, my secretary. I instructed her not to disturb me unless absolutely necessary. I wanted to feel as hassle-free as I could to work with utmost concentration for the day. I took out wallet and car keys from pocket and placed them on the table.
I pulled laptop out of the bag. Just as I flapped up, to my surprise, there was a paper inside.
It was a red shiny paper; slightly old and wrinkled. It was a letter, written in sparkling silver ink. Even though it seemed familiar, I was surprised to find it on my laptop’s keyboard. I picked it up. To add to my amazement, it was written in my own handwriting. It read…
I have a lot going on in my brain when I am starting to write this, but there is much more in my heart at the same time. The heart part is giving me the push to put into words what I am about to.
Being such good friends with you for so long has given me a serene comfort about life, a comfort that nothing can go wrong when you are around, a comfort that things turn easier when you are around, a comfort that I feel at my best with you around. You make me see the brighter side of things, people and life. You make everything so simple and painless. You are my pill of positivity.
You introduced the better Kabir to me, who was buried somewhere within me. You have made me believe in myself, in my capabilities and my strengths.
I do not see my day starting without you; in fact, I do not even want to see my day starting without you. I still don’t believe that I am actually saying this but here it goes…
It’s been a while since I’ve known you well; there is a lot that I’ve to tell,
I’m no more in my own space; I’m so lost in charm of your spell,
When I see you standing by me, my heart jumps with grin and glee,
My heart is no more on its feet, seeing you it does fly and flee,
I’m about to share what I just knew, it is so old yet it is so new,
Knee on ground and heart on palm, I announce that I Love You!
Let us hold hands for a while, walk together on life’s rough aisle,
No matter what we go through, I will take care of your Smile!
Radhika, will you, with all your warmth, love and care, Marry Me?
Let us grow old together, it will be fun.
Waiting with Love,
I was stunned at seeing this letter after so long. It was more than six years since I had written this letter to Radhika during our final year of college. It had taken weeks of guts-gathering and dozens of crushed paper balls thrown into dustbin to propose to her in this way. I had put this letter inside a book that I deliberately shared with her during final examination.
She had expressed her response on the other side of the same paper and putting it back in the same book two days later. I immediately turned the paper and read…
I do not want to grow old. I want to die young, at heart, with you.
Yes! I will marry you. I want to marry you. I have prayed to marry you.
I want to confess something today. I have loved you since long, very long. I have seen love in your eyes for myself too off late. It was just that, you were too stupid to recognize that yourself, let alone seeing it in my eyes for you. I have waited for this day since ages. I can’t wait to see you. I am so happy today.
I Love You! Yes, I Do.
Hugs & Kisses!
In a flash, this red piece of paper had taken me back to the days when our love was fresher, younger and importantly, expression was more frequent. Back then, we valued each other much more, we cared for each other much more.
Even today, Radhika was the same. I was probably so engrossed in my work and aspirations that I did not even realize that I had started taking her for granted. Radhika’s purpose of placing this letter in my bag was obvious. And it was working too.
I was somewhere feeling accountable for not keeping up to my promise that I had made to her. My eyes were glued to the words I had written six years back. I, in a way, was comparing myself-that-day to myself-today. There was a huge vacuum between the two.
A knock on my cabin dragged me out of the letter’s web.
“Come In.” I said quietly placing the paper under the laptop.
Nidhi hurried in with my cell phone in hand.
“Sir, it is urgent. It is about Radhika ma’m.” she handed over the phone to me. She seemed bothered.
“Hello.” I said.
“Hello?” a male voice said. His tone seemed concerned.
“Yes. Who is that?” I said.
“It doesn’t matter sir. I am calling from Lifeline Hospital. Ms. Radhika Sharma just had a major accident and is admitted here. Her scooter was hit by a car at the rear and she lost balance. I was passing by when it happened. I and a couple of passersby have brought her to hospital. I found her name on her driving license. I am calling you from her speed dial. How are you related to her?” he gave too much information in no time that shook me to the core.
“I, I am….” I had no words in my dictionary for such a situation. I had no clue about what to do except getting up from my chair. “I am her husband. How is she? Can I speak to her? Please?” my senses started denying working sensibly.
“She was bleeding perilously from head. Doctors have taken her to the operation theater and asked a friend or relative to come immediately for them to start operation. They are waiting for a few formalities.” He said.
“I am right on my way. Thanks.” I said and hung up.
I had an avalanche beneath me. I left from office in no time. All through my way to hospital I could only think of every negative happening that could ensue. Pessimism is most likely to emerge victorious when you are in quest of optimism the most. I was so badly missing my pill of positivity.
“Radhika Sharma?” I tapped reception desk at the hospital. “She is admitted some time back. She had an accident. I am her husband.”
“She is taken to the operation theater; straight and second left.” The receptionist was prompt to respond.
I ran. There was a guy standing outside the operation theater in white apron with a stethoscope around his neck; enough to attest him as a doctor.
“Excuse me. Radhika Sharma?” I inquired.
“You are?” He asked.
“I am Kabir; her husband. How is she?” my fret was apparent on my face and through my body language.
“Come with me. We have done per-requisite tests required for operation already. We need to start operating on her as early as possible; you will need to sign on consent form before that. Quickly, this way please.”
“Doctor, how is she?” I asked again as I followed him to the next door to sign the paper. It was a part of the mandatory formality before the operation.
“She is still unconscious. I cannot say anything at this time.” He said and he hurried to the operation theater as soon as I signed the form. I followed him until he entered surgery and I was stopped there.
My anxiety reached pinnacle as the door closed.
I kept shuttling across the corridor for almost an hour till the door opened again.
“Doctor, how is she?” I asked as soon as doctor appeared.
“Due to loss of excessive blood, it got a little complicated. But we have managed to get things in control. However, she is still not out of danger. She has got both internal and external injuries on head, fractures on her leg and both arms have got abrasion. Until she gets consciousness, we will need to keep her under constant observation in ICU. Excuse me.” He said as he started to leave.
“Sir, can I meet her? Please?” I almost begged.
“She is still unconscious, and shifted to ICU. I’m sorry but, you cannot go inside. Our nurses will need to take special care of her until she is out of danger. Till then I suggest you to please pray for her. I am a rational person but, yes, prayers work.” He said. He patted on my shoulder and left for his duties to follow.
With a lot of hard congregated strength, I went to her room in the ICU section. Slowly, I went closer to a small rectangular glass fixed at the center of the door.
I could faintly see Radhika. She was in sky blue clothes that hospital gave to all the patients. She had a broad bandage on her head. It had big patches of dressing and stitches on the left side. Her neck was supported by a neck bandage. A syringe was injected on her right arm which was connected to a suspended bottle by the side of her bed on a hanger. Her left hand was dressed and almost entirely covered in bandages. Her pulse was being monitored in an instrument connected to her fingers through some clips. A nurse was preparing an injection. I pointlessly stood there until another nurse asked me to budge aside for her to go in. I urged to let me in too; she denied. Disappointed, I sat on the bench outside the room.
I was shattered. I was not used to seeing her this way. I suddenly started missing her bright, full-of-life smile. I was cursing myself for leaving home the way I did. I should have left a smile on her face, I thought. Her last seen disappointed face was resurfacing to me. I was furious at myself. Things were beyond my control now and my strength was in ICU. Even though I was trying very hard to resist, I was getting a feeling of losing her.
More than twelve hours had passed but situation had not changed much. An unease night was reluctant to end. I kept checking her from the glass frame. Hoping to see her move her arm, finger or even eyelids I went to the door recurrently but returned thwarted every time. Out of almost no options that I had to get her back to normal, I chose to pray.
Four days had passed in agony. My nerve-racking wait for seeing her open her eyes was appearing to turn endless. I was running out of patience. At that moment, I would have done anything to get her back to her normal self. My heart was getting closer to collapsing in to an abyss with every passing jiffy.
For me, clock and calendar didn’t exist anymore. Sitting on the bench by her room, going to her door, feeling disappointed and coming back had become a ritual. Nurses would just go passing by me giving a pitying glance every time. Sitting helpless was adding to my vulnerability against pessimism. I had to feel positive, I knew. It was difficult without her; however I had no choice but to do it because it was for her life, for my lifeline.
I decided to express my long obscured feelings for her, yet again, after years. I got a paper and started giving words to my thoughts without any sieve. I could not spare my eyes from a few sheds of tears while I kept writing till my misery exhausted. I was writing more to myself than to anyone else.
The next morning, I was sitting on the same bench looking at the blank wall across the passage.
“Mr. Sharma.” A nurse came and put hand on my shoulder calmly.
I was tired and restless. I looked up.
Nurse smiled and just nodded.
“Really?” I popped up in a split second.
“Yes, she has got consciousness. Congratulations. Doctor is examining her; he will get back to you soon.” She said.
“Can I, can I see her? Please?” I asked immediately.
“Yes you can.” Although not as much as I was, but nurse seemed happy, for me.
I was re-energized. I rushed to Radhika’s room and entered quietly. Her eyes were still closed but she was trying to move her head. Doctor was checking her pulse. I stood aside. Just as doctor prepared for an injection, she slowly opened her eyes. I went closer to her and put my palm on her head. She looked at me. I could see pain in her eyes. She tried to smile. She had always loved me more than I loved her, I knew. She would go farther for me than I would go for her, I knew. But for the first time in years, I was happier seeing her more than she was, seeing me.
“She is out of danger now.” Doctor told me as he noted prescription for Radhika.
“Thank you. Thank you so much.” I said and almost hugged doctor. I was unable to control my emotions.
“We have just observed and done the essential. It is god’s grace that has got her back to consciousness. Your prayers have worked.” He smiled.
I smiled in return. Doctor put his arm around me and took me a little farther from Radhika.
“But yes, she still needs rest and care to recover fully. This is no less than a rebirth for her. Her internal injuries will take more time to heal than external ones. Not to overlook the trauma that she has because of the incident; it has left a scar on her mind. If things stay stable, she will be shifted out of ICU tomorrow to the regular ward. For faster recovery, try to keep her happy and light heartened. It will help.” Doctor was concerned but encouraging. It gave my positivity a huge push.
“Sure. I will take care of that.” I said. “Thanks again, doctor.”
“Good morning sweetheart.” I said and kissed her forehead and sat beside her bed on a stool to her left.
She opened her eyes gradually and smiled. She was still weak, both physically and mentally. But she had got better in a week’s time since her revival. She had avoided speaking over the last week. Fractures on her legs had not allowed her to roam around yet. But thanks to my incessant company; that she had been missing over the years, she was feeling better psychologically.
I unveiled a big bouquet of her favorite red roses to her that I had hidden below her bed. It followed with her favorite chocolate cake. I had made the cake say, ‘Happy Anniversary Sweetheart! Here I am, with love, by choice! :)’
“Wish you a very happy anniversary, honey!” I said.
She nodded as much as her neck bandage permitted. Her eyelids were doing most of the talking.
“I have a complaint.” I said. “You should have not gone this far to make me stay with you on our anniversary.” I winked.
She had a lot to say to this but she chose to stay silent and sneer with a raised eyebrow.
“Yes yes, I know.” I said. “I am sorry. I just didn’t know what to say.”
It was for the first time that it was all me speaking and she was just listening. Husbands are not used to this state usually. So, lack of familiarity to the situation was making me say silly things. She was enjoying it.
“You have no idea what I have gone through during those four days, Radhika. Please never do this again to me. Don’t make me go through this ever. I know you were upset with me, but never punish me like this again, please.” I said.
She slowly raised her left arm looking for mine. I held her hand and gently put a letter on her palm.
“What?” she asked in subtle tone.
“This is what I was going through when you had a long nap of four days.” I pointed to the letter that I had written when she was cataleptic.
She pushed the letter towards me. She wanted me to read it to her. She narrowed here eyes like a baby demanding a toffee. It was just the second time when I had written something to her since the proposal note. She was curious.
“Ok.” I said and unfolded the paper and read…
Radhika… My Radhika,
I am in no state of mind to put my state of mind in picture. Still, I am just trying to give words to my wretchedness.
I have always known that you have loved me more than I have loved you. You have always cared for me more than anything else in this world. I have been topping your priorities even when I didn’t care about your basic undemanding desires. I have been negligent towards your simple dreams. Ever since we have got together, it has been you who has given and I who has received.
I am sorry for everything I have done to hurt you. I am sorry for everything I have done to let you down; emotionally or otherwise. In my pursuit of professional ambitions, I never realized when I started taking you for granted. But you still remained the same and though I had changed, I remained the same for you. I am sorry, I really am! You personify Love Actually!
Today, when I don’t know when I am going to see you smile again, I don’t have strength left to regret. My helplessness is making me weaker and fragile. The mere thought of loosing you is making my world crash down like a wobbly palace of cards. I cannot imagine myself away from you Radhika; and I don’t want to. My world starts with you and ends at you. Without you, my mornings don’t have a sunrise and nights don’t have a moon. You complete me!
These days have made me realize a lot about what I feel for you deep down. You are the reason of all the righteousness I have been able to grow and maintain within myself. You are the reason of all the success I have been able to achieve. You make me stronger. You make me brighter. You make me better. You are literally my better-half, Radhika.
Your smile makes all my pain vanish in a trice. When you are around, pieces fall in place and without you, my life is void. Your tight hugs are my stress-crushers and your kisses make me fly. With you in my arms, nothing else matters!
We had promised to grow old together, remember? You have no right to get off midway.
Come on now, don’t tease me more. Talk to me, smile at me, hold me. I promise to mold myself the way you wish, and I promise to keep this promise till my last breath. But please, please open your eyes and talk to me.
I love you more than I’ve ever said. I am thankful to you more than I’ve ever said; for everything you have done for me, for us.
This one life is going to be insufficient to have enough time spent, to have enough moments shared with you. Why are you wasting time this way? Get on your feet and fight with me, as usual. I am waiting with a novel heart…
It never feels enough to me…
Your smile, your smell, never feels enough to me…
I believed before we met, I was, yes I was so strong,
The moment I feel you’re gone, I’ve known I was so wrong,
’Coz it never feels enough to me,
Though lots, our thoughts… Never feel enough to me…
I’ve grown up to believe that, life’s not going to be the same again,
I’ve a lot to make up for, the tears, the fears and the pain,
It never feels enough to me,
Touch of you, this much of you…Never feels enough to me…
The moments that I had with you, I measure as treasure,
With you around, everyday feels like leisure,
But it never feels enough to me,
I wish this life with you, but, one never feels enough to me…
Your smile, your smell, never feels enough to me…
I Love You!
Let us grow old together, again; it will be fun!
Waiting with Love, all over again,
With damp eyes, I looked at her. Drops of tears were pouring right till her pillow from her closed eyes. She was still holding my hand, tighter than before. She opened eyes, plucked letter from my fingers and gazed at my lexis. She noticed dried drops of my tears on the letter. She smiled and looked at me. This smile looked exactly same as the one that I had earned six years back after the exchanged letters. She was happy, I was happy. We were Happy, together!
I rested my head by her pillow. I felt her fingers move through my hair.
Heaven was there, right there !!!
Author’s Note: I had first published this Story on my wife’s birthday in 2013 on yourstoryclub for a contest. I still don’t know if because the story actually was worthy or because the love behind the dedication was so strong, it went on to win the 1st Prize at the Love Letter Contest.
This story is also a part of the book “Yours Lovingly – A Collection of Short Love Stories” and available on Amazon.
P.S. – That’s us in the picture. 🙂