He feels the cold breeze on his face as the playful sea kisses at his feet. He stands on the shore, his feet digging into the wet sand as he softly treads on them. The sky above looks tranquil and inviting with the clouds blowing seductively alongside the wind. The evening sun spills its crimson rays all over the horizon as he sniffs at the air.
He closes his eyes and spreads out his hands into the air. He feels a touch; he opens his eyes. Sneha is holding his hand. Her hands are quite cold and there are tears floating in her eyes. She looks pale and weak. Her flowing white gown caresses the hungry tide. She whispers, ‘I will always love you’ before dissolving into the air. He looks around frantically, searching everywhere for her cold touch, for her soft body, for her watery eyes, for her fragrant breath, for her white satin gown. But she is gone….Gone as suddenly and as completely as she was gone on that fateful day…
‘You took her away from me,’ he shouts at the callous sea. ‘Bring her back…Please…Please…Please.’ Tears well up in his eyes, and a streak runs down his cheeks and falls by his feet where the sea devours it…just like it had devoured Sneha.
Memories come flooding back in their horrific vividness. The face of a smiling girl swarms before his moist eyes. She has thick, long mane of hair and bright bulb-like eyes. A dimple creases her face when she smiles. He keeps turning back to take a look at her. It’s the first day of the college and it is love at first sight.
“Err…. Hi….I am…um…Aakash,” he fumbles.
“Hi. I am Sneha,” she smiles.
“Do you mind having a cup of coffee with me?”
It is the beginning of a beautiful story…
Waves crash furiously at the rocks as he searches for his lost love amongst the swirling waters. Birds fly in the distant horizon as the sun stoops lower and lower. He gazes at them with forlorn eyes as tears continue to erupt…..
“You, naughty boy, give me my diary back, Aakash,” she runs after him.
“No. I won’t,” he teases. “Let me take a look at it. Let’s see, what secrets this diary hides.”
“No Aakash. NO! NO! Please…It’s personal,” she begs.
He opens the diary and flips through its pages. ‘I love Aakash’ is written in its page amidst the huge sign of a heart.
“I love you too, Sneha,” he breathes. She comes closer. Their lips meet……
He throws his gaze towards the sea. ‘There in your bottomless depths, my love lies buried,’ he whispers to the sea. The sea mocks at him as it lashes out furiously. The sun goes behind the clouds and the sky becomes darker…just like his life…
“Will you marry me, Sneha,” he asks. It is the final day of the college.
“Yes I will,” a shy smile splits her lips as her face gets lost behind her dimples.
The sea roars as the moon comes out. He stands by the sea feeling the breeze slap at his face. A young girl of about 5 runs up towards him.
“Papa, let us go inside. Why are you standing here for so long?”
He bends down and kisses his daughter. “Sneha, you go and play. I will come in a short while. Let me talk to your mom a bit longer.”
“Where is mummy? Even I want to talk to her,” she looks around with her innocent eyes. “I can’t see her, Papa. Where is she?”
“She is there,” he says pointing towards the sea.
“Why doesn’t she come, Papa?”
“No dear, she cannot come. They don’t let her come.”
“Who are ‘they’, Papa” she asks.
“’They’ are the stars. She is now one of them,” he smiles and kisses her again….
“Look at the news, Aakash,” Raghav screams on the phone.
“Why, what happened, Raghav? Why are you worried?”
“Sea has erupted,” Raghav barks hysterically on the phone. “A tsunami has come in Chennai. Ring up Sneha and tell her to vacate the city immediately. Take a look at the news.”
He tunes into several news channels at once. They are all blaring the news of a tsunami that has hit Chennai in the early hours of the day. ‘Oh God’- he thinks. ‘Sneha has gone to Chennai with her friends. I hope she is safe.’ He calls her up but her phone is not reachable. He is frantic, but it’s too late. The ocean has swallowed up his beloved….
“Papa, do you miss mummy?” his daughter pulls him back from his sea of thoughts. He looks down at her. Tears stream down his face.
“Tell na papa, do you miss her,” Sneha asks.
“No dear,” he says. “I don’t miss her. She is always with me.”
“Papa, was she beautiful?”
“Yes dear, but not as beautiful as you.” He kisses her again. “And do you know, what she whispers to me?”
“What, Papa?” the girl asks.
“She says that she loves you very much.” His daughter kisses his hand and runs away.
He smells the air and closes his eyes. Sneha appears before him and whispers in his ears, ‘You are not alone. I am always with you.’ She moves closer….their lips get locked in a tight embrace…….