Welcome back friends. Here I am with the part 2 of Sounds of Love. You can catch with part 1 here. Hope you had a wonderful Saturday evening and wishing you a splendid Sunday ahead. Let us roll on the music …
Few kilometers away at the Najod railway station, the signals were turned green to flag in, the train coming from Mumbai. The platform was crowded in patches under the limited and holed up shelter. The floor veiled with wet mud in that commotion. The loudspeakers came alive and shrieked to announce the arrival of the ‘Mahoba express’. Shobhna glanced at the watch again as the train crawled in screeching and halted at platform number one. First class AC coaches were far ahead beyond the refuge of the shed. Sampat kaka offered to go alone. ‘Tai you stay here. I will go and get Dheeraj baba. There is no point getting wet.’ She sighed in approval. Sampat left tearing away and becoming one in the crowd. She couldn’t even tell him about Dheeraj’s identification mark.
‘Sampat kaka,’ a confident but unfamiliar voice stopped Sampat and he turned around trying to read through the faces intending at him. A pleasant grin took over the aged and crumpled face of Sampat kaka as one of them came under his umbrella. ‘Dheeraj baba, had you not called, I wouldn’t have recognized you. Look at you, all grown up and what about this mark on your face?’ The smile almost vapourised from the glowing face of Dheeraj. ‘This has a story. You want to hear everything here only under this rain? Are you not planning to take me home?’ Dheeraj brushed off laughingly. Shobhna was looking anxiously ahead trying to catch from the traces of Sampat.
‘Shobhna kaki, how are you?’ Dheeraj said reaching to her feet but Shobhna pulled him midway and hugged him. Her eyes swell with surfaced water but before they could cross and roll over, Shobhna cleared them with the edge of her sari. ‘I am fine beta. How was your journey?’ Trying to read through the face of Dheeraj, she smiled. Dheeraj doesn’t like the mention about the scar and the incident which brought it. ‘It was good kaki. Let us go home first. I am all hungry,’ Dheeraj wanted to escape any further conversation. ‘Oh yes! How stupid of me. Sampat, get the car from the parking. We will wait near the exit.’
Ria’s attention drifted towards the halting sound of the car. The shower had also thinned down to a slight drizzle now. The bolt slid and doors opened. Sampat kaka placed the suitcase in the room done for Dheeraj.
‘Where is Ria, kaki?’
‘Where can she be but in the whole world! Behind. In the verandah. You know the place Dheeraj. Go and meet her. I will get the tea and snacks there only. Sampat, place some more chairs and table behind.’ Shobhna retired to the kitchen.
‘Ria,’ Dheeraj called hesitatingly. They were never friends. A mere acquaintance, she was the daughter of one of his neighbour. Ria stopped rocking the chair resting her bare feet to the cold floor. Her heart skipped a beat hearing Dheer. She did not expect him to meet her so soon. Her blank but most beautiful blue eyes in the world moved in the direction of Dheer. ‘Dheer, how are you?’ She spoke and her tuneful voice fell on his ears like a never heard euphony. With tinkling of the wind chime in the background, the slight chilly but gentle wind was blowing the strands of her black hairs which remained untwined falling deliriously on her endearing face. Her reluctant smile caught Dheer instantly. The moment stilled, as if, time forgot to move ahead. ‘I don’t know whether to curse God that he deprived such a beauty to see how the world around reflected on her or count my blessings that there is someone who would remain unbiased on my shortcomings.’ Dheer couldn’t stop the thought crossing his lit up heart and mind. The soul was no longer his. In that very moment his blemished face and conscious self became carefree of the burned mark which Dheer carried from his failed marriage. ‘Dheer, are you there?’ Ria’s voice pulled him out from his meandering thoughts. ‘O yes. I am very much here.’ Dheer shyly replied looking away as he realised that he stared at her a little too long but then immediately turned his gaze back to Ria’s face because he could actually do that.
‘So how have you been doing? Aai told you are a big doctor now.’
‘Big, I don’t know but I love what I do.’ His eyes still fixated, Dheer pulled a chair near Ria.
‘And what do you do doctor sahab?’ The glow on Ria’s smiling face shone on Dheer’s.
‘I am an eye surgeon and I specialize in treating the by birth blind cases. The pleasure of looking at their eyes with abundant dreams is unparalleled.’ The silence fell upon like a thunder receding Ria’s smile. A strong rapid pulsation gripped her all over, reflecting the sudden tumult inside. Small droplets of a lost hope showed up on her forehead, her hand felt wet inside against the old hands of the chair and throat went arid of any further conversation. The cacophony of dubious emotions inside her could not know a vent.
‘What do you think Dheeraj? Is the treatment possible?’ Shobhna appeared with a tray full of homemade snacks and tea.
‘I can’t say anything right now kaki. I will have to examine her in the clinic before commenting upon that,’ Dheeraj felt sheepish within as he thought of saying ‘No’ and dismissing the possibilities beyond. Ria sat struck and muted with the sudden developments. As if her life picked up pace unannounced. Observing the fury of reactions on her reddened face, Dheer comforted her. ‘Relax Ria. I know it is happening too fast and you have been kept back from the whole contrived developments but Shobhna kaki feared of your disapproval. I will examine you tomorrow in a nearby clinic here and then we decide what to do next”. Dheer spoke in a tailored fashion, professional and confident. Ria suddenly felt deceived and strings of her life detached from the roots without any inkling. As if, she had a new and unknown anchor. She was still speechless unable to react with the emergent tsunami of emotions. ‘But aai you could’ve told me? How many times you want us to go through the same disappointment? Nothing is going to change. Dheer we don’t need any more false hopes,’ Ria’s voice rose with her heart venting out. ‘I am not giving any hopes yet Ria. Relax. Let me examine you tomorrow and then curse me as much as you want.’
The next day tension was building up in one of the rooms of Bhasker eye hospital.
Hope you are enjoying reading the story of Ria. Please visit here tomorrow for the next part.