Image by Pezibear from Pixabay 

Love is the only thing that can fight against anything in the world and also the thing which the world fights for. It can even make the sunrise in the west and set in the east. Some people get it even before they know what it is and some thrive a lot to get it. But life promises everyone to make them feel they are being loved, at least for once. And still, I hope that my life doesn’t forget to keep its promise.

I have not been loved by anyone in my whole life. I don’t know where I was born. I don’t know who my parents are, or where they are? Are they alive? I grew up on the streets. It is better to say I was born on these streets. I used to do all the odd work in my childhood until a young man made me join the school. He was Mr.Farhan; he was a writer and was also running a publishing house. I felt that now my life has found a shore but that shore was also hit by a tsunami. He left home saying that he will come back by evening, but in the evening I had to carry his body back home. After his death, his friends in the publishing house took care of me. Even in school, I had classmates not friends and at home, we were strangers just living between four walls. The only reason his friends took care of me was, that no one other than me would sweep and clean the whole publishing house for free. The only friends I had were books, Thousands of books. I started reading all those books and the more someone reads books, the more they tend towards writing. I started to write and before I completed my education I had written many books which were not published until then. I had decided to publish them but most of the workers left work in the publishing house and it was closed sooner. And I was again on the streets, but this time I was educated and knew how to live.

I applied for many jobs across the country and I got a job as a station master in a railway station in Kochi which used to pay me decently; my only intention then was to earn enough money to get my books published. Every day I used to work without a soul on the railways. Sometimes while working I used to feel like getting on some train and going to just any random place. It was like I was working in a job, having another job in mind. Whenever I get a break I used to write, but before I used to take breaks while writing. Life used to feel soulless until I met someone.

One night, I was working the night shift waiting for the morning. I was in my office, a train passed at great speed in front of me, and in the gap between the bogies, I saw a girl sitting on a bench under the dim orange light of the incandescent bulb on the platform opposite me. She was wearing a red frock with an unopened umbrella in her hand, and who would wear a frock in India that too in the 80s. I felt that she is from abroad. The dim orange light, the sound of a train passing, and her hair flowing in the wind, that moment was something epic.

The first thing that came to my mind after all this was to write this moment so that I can use it in my stories. I took a pen and paper to my table and started to write but at the same time, I felt like talking to her. I decided to first finish writing. After writing, I lifted my head and couldn’t see her as there was a train between us. I ran to the other platform thinking I shouldn’t miss her. I reached the other platform and saw there was no one on the bench and she was getting into the train. The train was about to leave. To talk to her, I had no option but to get on the train, I knew that this was an express train going to Delhi. But still, that couldn’t stop me from getting on the train. I got into the train and removed my black coat otherwise everyone would have thought I am the ticket collector of the train. I didn’t know how to approach her; I was thinking of various ideas to start a conversation with her, as the train was moving, the wind made the paper in my hand flew and it stuck on her face. She took the paper from her face and started to read it. Seeing this I felt butterflies flying in my stomach.

She read all that and came near me, returned the paper, and said, “Yes, I am not from India and your writing is good.” After hearing this I couldn’t stop me following her. I went and sat beside her. Did I ask her, about herself? She didn’t talk for some time and then said, “My name is Sarah, and I am from Houston.” And asked what my name is. I said Vishal. And then she asked me what do I do? I said her everything, what I work as and what I want to become. And then she said, “I am also a writer and my father owns a Publishing house in Houston and I can introduce your writings to him, if he likes them, your dream can be fulfilled.” I hadn’t expected that, I felt like everything I wanted in my life was happening faster, it felt strange but I was happy for everything that was happening. And then she said, “I had come to India to write about the cultures here in my book, but in Kochi, someone stole my belongings. Now I have nothing except this umbrella. Will you help me to reach Houston?” I said her that I will help her. And then we had a conversation about many things, I narrated to her all my stories and she liked all of them. By the time train reached Delhi, we were almost as close as friends. From there we went to Delhi airport. I paid for her flight ticket to Houston. She had said to me, “after reaching Houston, I will tell about you to my father and I am damn sure that he will like your stories, I will write you a letter about everything and it may reach you on the Thursday of next week.” And then she thanked me for everything and left for Houston.

After a long time, I felt that something good was happening in my life. I traveled back to Kochi. I was unknowingly missing her; I knew where all this was heading but still couldn’t stop myself from developing feelings for her. After going to Kochi, I quit my job. I was waiting for her letter, not only because she would publish my book, but also because I just wanted to hear something back from her.

The Thursday came; I hadn’t slept the last night. I couldn’t wait for the postman to come to my home. Therefore I went to the post office in the early morning in the cold and was waiting for the letter to arrive. A postman came carrying all the letters. I asked the postman for my letter, he searched and gave me the letter. There was a park beside. I went to the park, sat on a bench there and opened the letter and while I opened the letter I could hear my heartbeat. I started reading the letter, it was written that “Hello Dear, Hope you are fine. Everything we had discussed will happen; I have talked and sorted out everything here. I will send you the money in a few days. You can continue your work and think about developing it. In a few days, you will be in the place, where you always wanted to be. Till then stay happy and I will be waiting to hear back from you, Love you.” After reading this, I felt like I was in the air. Everything I ever wanted was happening. It was the happiest moment of my life.

I went home back and replied by writing a letter to her. Someone knocked on the door, it was the postman. He said, “Sorry sir, I gave you the wrong letter due to some confusion and this is your letter, please return that letter, sir.” I was blank; I took some time to process what he had said. I returned him the letter. I opened the other letter, it was written, “Hello, hope you are fine. I had thought of not writing this letter, but I am writing this only to tell you the truth. Whatever I said to you on the train was a lie. My name is not Sarah; my father doesn’t own a publishing house. Before reaching the railway station, I asked a woman on a street the address of the station, she said the address and suddenly she called a group of people who came running towards me, I got feared, they came near me and were strangely seeing me, I didn’t know what to do, I left my belongings there and ran from there. I somehow reached the station. I didn’t know whom to ask for help in an unknown country. When you asked me about myself, I didn’t feel like sharing anything about myself with a stranger, therefore I lied to you. But after having all those conversations with you I felt that I shouldn’t have lied to you. You are a good person. I am sorry for using your desperation to publish your book for my selfish purposes. I really with all my heart with that, may you get your book published and reach where you always wanted to be.” After reading this tears rolled from my eyes and with a smile I threw the letter in the dustbin.

I felt foolish for staking my life believing an unknown person. I had left my job, and with the money I had, I could live for not more than a month. I thought of applying again for a job, but I didn’t want to go through that mess again. Then a thought stroke my mind. In the letter which I read earlier, that woman had promised the person to whom she wrote a letter, that she would send money. I thought of taking that money by writing a reply letter to her as if I were her lover. I went to the post office, gave some money to the postman and got that letter. I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do, but having got deceived by Sarah, I wasn’t in a state to consider what was right and wrong. I got to know that her name was Pallavi. I wrote a letter to Pallavi, “Hello dear, was waiting for your letter. I knew you would get all the things right and send money as fast as you can because there is too much leftover here and hope to see you soon, Love you Pallavi.” I sent her the letter and was waiting for the next Thursday, I was doubtful whether she would send money or not.

Even on the next Thursday, I went to the post office early in the morning and received a money order after checking twice that it was from Pallavi. She had sent the money, which was more than sufficient to publish all my books. I wrote a letter saying I have received the money and thanked her. I reopened Farhan sir’s publishing house and published my books through that and In a short time, I earned fame. We kept writing letters to each other. Going to the post office every Thursday had become a habit. I had almost forgotten that I am not the person to who she is writing letters, but whenever I remembered that I felt guilty. I used to keep waiting for her letter. One year passed still I couldn’t find any name for my relationship with her. By then I had earned a good amount of money. I wanted to pay all her money back and wanted to express my feelings toward her. One day I decided to ask her to meet. I got a letter, in which she too had asked me to meet her in a place near her mother’s house in a village near Kochi. I wrote that I will come to meet her.

That day morning I left the publishing office to reach the place before her in my car. I was too much feared to meet Pallavi, I didn’t know how she would take all this. I felt too heavy. And on the way, I saw a middle-aged woman waiting alone at a bus stop. I felt like helping her. I stopped the car and went to her and asked her if in any way I could help her. I got to know that she was also going to the same village. I decided to give life to her. I didn’t know why but I started feeling like she is Pallavi’s mother. Seeing my face she asked if everything is okay, I said her everything from Sarah to Pallavi, but I didn’t mention the name of Pallavi. I asked her, “How will the girl whom I am going to meet now will react if I say to her I am not the person to whom she was writing letters?” she smiled and replied, “don’t worry, what should happen will happen.”

We reached the village; I left the woman in front of the house where she said to stop. And then I started searching for the place which Pallavi had mentioned. I took some time to search that place but after finding the place, I was surprised that it was a graveyard. Even though it was a graveyard, it felt it was a good place because it had so many trees almost like a garden. I went there and I was waiting for Pallavi. I waited till evening and I was about to leave and someone kept their hand on my shoulders from the backside. It was Pallavi’s mother, before I said anything, she said, “I am the Pallavi for whom you are waiting and don’t speak anything till I complete. I and a writer named Farhan used to love each other. I was in the US due to a work agreement. We used to write letters every week. I was waiting to complete my work agreement to come to India and marry Farhan. I even convinced my family about that. One day Farhan wrote me a letter asking me for money for his Publishing house. I also wrote a letter back that I would send him money, but never got a reply for that. After some days I got to know that he had died in an accident. After that, I started getting unconscious frequently and was admitted to the hospital and I was diagnosed with cancer. Even though I knew that Farhan has died, I couldn’t stop writing letters to him. I wrote him letters every week in a hope that I would get a reply. After many years, I got a reply which was because of you. The day I got a letter back, I was so much happy, even though I knew it was from somebody else, it felt like Farhan was replying; it took me back to those happy days and I didn’t want to miss that feeling, therefore I even sent you the money. I know it will be tough for you to digest this. I have lived the happiest moments of my life in this last year because of you. Thank you and the doctors have said that I will not live for many days. Please don’t stop writing me letters like Farhan till I stop writing letters back to you, which would happen only after my death.”

After hearing this, I had no words except the silence and tears in my eyes. I told her that the money she sent was used to reopen Farhan sir’s publishing house. Hearing that she happily left for the U.S. I kept writing her letters and for some weeks I didn’t get any reply from her.

Seeing her I felt, that my wait for love is nothing in front of her. I will cherish this for my whole life. And last week I got a letter from a girl named Priya that she became my fan reading my books and she wants to meet me. And I hope that this time life keeps its promise. 

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