Stories from Life

A million stories take shape around us within seconds. This page is dedicated to stories that come into my notice and prompt me to structure them into words so that the world can pause and take a notice of expressions that otherwise would have gone unnoticed.

Love Letter (Short Story)

“What’s this Pankaj? You are still sleeping? How can you forget; it’s my birthday today? Get up and write me a love letter.”

Pankaj opened his eyes, surveyed the surroundings; with the words he’d just heard still echoing in his ears. He straightened his back, picked up the specs from the side table, wiped its glasses with the bottom-edge of his white kurta, and put them on. Through the transparent layer of specs, he could see an old clock, hanging on the pink wall, signaling 11:00.

She’d chosen the color for walls. Pink had always been her favorite, he thought.
He turned his gaze towards the side table. There was a spiral calendar lying at its edge, reading July 11, today’s date.

One hour later, it would be July 12, her birthday, his Shona’s birthday. Suddenly his focus shifted back to the voice he had heard a couple of minutes ago when he was probably asleep. It could be a dream but the voice was familiar, very familiar that used to be the music of his ears, melody of his life, hymn of his happiness; it was the voice of his wife Shagun…his Shona.

A sudden flash of lightening illuminated the trees outside the window pane for a second, followed by a supersonic thundering of clouds. He tried to look through the window pane but all he could see was sheer darkness; instead the window pane reflected his own face, reminding him how lonely he was. He tried to recognize him in the reflection; grey hair, bald patches on the scalp and around temples, the wrinkles carved by age.

“You are an old man now, Pankaj” she spoke again!
“No, she didn’t. How could she?” But he’d heard her loud and clear, like he was hearing her for past 30 years.
“Yes, I am an old man now; an old man of 60 but I wasn’t once, precisely 30 years ago” he lost himself somewhere down the memory lane.

It was her birthday; July 12, 1983.

“Come on Shagun! It’s been 3 years since we are in this relationship and six months since I have proposed you for marriage. My parents are ready, your parents have given their nod but it’s you who is yet not convinced. Stop being mulish now” He was very frustrated.

“OK! then impress me with a love letter” she said, wearing a cute smile that made her look more beautiful and him more desperate to make her his for lifetime.

“You know, you are making a fool of me. I have already written 60 love letters in last six months but couldn’t please the princess. What do you want me to do now? Should I write in blood for you” his frustration was growing.

“No my dear future husband; just write it in words but in special words that would make me fall for you, though I have already fallen for you” she giggled.

“Ok my dear princess. This time I have given my best shot. Let me read this one for you. This one would definitely sweep you off of your feet”

“Let’s see”

He put his hand in the right pocket of his trouser, pulled out a folded paper, unfolded it and started reading it out.

The day when I first saw you,
I wanted you for the lifetime…

The day you first noticed me,
I wanted you for the lifetime…

The day you first took my name,
I wanted you for the lifetime…

The day you first hold my hand,
I wanted you for the lifetime…

The day you first cried for me,
I wanted you for the lifetime…

The day I went into this relationship,
I wanted you for the lifetime…

But today I beg you my sweetheart,
I want you for the lifetime…
Please marry me…please please marry me

“I hurt you very much naa” her eyes were moist.
“Sorry Pankaj! I love you so much and I can’t live without you. I just wanted to see how much I love me. Sorry na” She’d cupped his ears in her fingers.

He didn’t realize when a tear rolled down his cheeks and fell on the love letter, making the letter ‘love’ a bit blurred.

“Hey don’t you dare spoil my most precious possession; I will preserve it for my lifetime along with others that you will be writing for me on my every birthday until I am alive. No…you have to write me love letter even after I will not be with you, otherwise I’ll become a ghost and scare you in dreams” she was laughing at her own statement.

“Shut up Shagun! Don’t talk about leaving me. We’ll live together and die together.” Neither she nor he could hold tears after that. They embraced each other and cried till felt lighter.

Within three months, they got married. Finally his love letter was approved and so did his application to live with her for rest of his life.

“You lost in your thoughts again. I think you are in no mood of writing a love letter for me” she woke me again, this time from the memories of past but the voice was louder and clear as if coming from the adjacent kitchen from where she used to told me how was her day and asked me about mine.

She peeped from the door of kitchen, a foot outside the kitchen door, holding a skimmer in her hand. A carefree truss of hair was wandering around her temple, which she tucked behind her ear.

“You don’t care for me. See you started talking with these files again” she’d complain.
“I love you sweetheart” he blew a kiss towards her.
Lightening struck at the window pane again followed by a thundering sound illuminating the trees outside again.

“It’s going to rain heavily tonight.”

He gathered himself from the armchair and transferred his body weight to his weak legs that shook in protest to bear the burden of his body furthermore. On the left side of his chest, he felt a hint of pain, ignoring which he headed towards the almirah, located at the corner of the room, which had been a witness of their love and his loneliness. He turned the knob of almirah, opened its door, and picked up a brown wooden from its locker compartment. The wood box had ‘to my dearest love’ written on its head.

Suddenly, he felt the same pain he’d felt couple of minutes ago; stronger this time. But he was looking at the box; his eyes were bright and wet and lips curved in a smile.

With his eyes glued to the box, he turned and headed back towards his armchair. Resting his hips on the seat, back comforted against the back of chair; he opened the box, a heap of white papers folded across their axes were stored in the box.

“Promise me you’ll write me a love letter on my every birthday” Shagun’s words echoed in his ears again.

Putting the box on the side table, he opened the drawer taking out a letter pad with red roses and ‘love you’ imprinted all over its pages. From the same drawer he took a pink sparkle pen and started writing,

Dear Shona,

Happy Birthday

Keeping my promise, I am writing you a love letter on your 65th birthday today. Every moment of life spent with you is worth a life full of happiness. I wish if you could accompany me till my last breadth.

Shona, I know you can see me and hear me. Please take me with you. Life without you is worst than death. These six months without you are hell for me. I know you are teasing me again as you have teased me before giving the node for the marriage. You remember no, that love letter thing.

Let me tell you my dear. I can’t take it any longer. I can’t live without you. I think I’ve turned mad. I hear you speaking from the kitchen.

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