Nothing can bring back the hour

The auto-rickshaw swerved, trying to avoid the many potholes on the road, while I clutched desperately on to my suitcases. This was going to be a long break. We were on the way to the railway station and I didn’t even know if it was the last time I was seeing this place. I didn’t know many people here. I had joined this new job less than a year ago and I was a non-entity for most colleagues. There was a storm brewing in my head, and the frowns on my forehead betrayed my emotional state. The future ahead was obscure. I had lost my ability to see light, between my father’s multiple hospitalizations. Hope of his survival was fast dwindling and the kidney transplant was the final resort.

Suddenly I saw a familiar face on a scooter, with his head wrapped in a large handkerchief.  I leaned out and waved goodbye to him, as the auto-rickshaw sped away.  A few minutes later I saw the scooterist trying to overtake the auto-rickshaw. Don’t worry, he gestured with his fingers pointing to his forehead, as he caught up with the auto. I smiled weakly as he slowed down again.  How did someone whom I never spoke to understand the tempest I was caught in? Was this a sign from the cosmos? A glimmer of faith reappeared within me. Maybe we would overcome this phase too.

They say that you know your friends in times of need. I found mine in times of grief.  People come into your life, bringing their own light, and light up yours. In an unfamiliar place, my bonds grew strong, my roots grew deep. Friendships nurtured by the water of faith, and the sunlight of wisdom, flowered. But like every good thing, this too had to come to an end.

Life moves on. People move on. Maybe our paths were meant to cross, and now our journeys have to continue on different tracks. As William Wordsworth said:

Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass
Of glory in the flower
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind.

Wondering what remains behind? I am left clutching on to a bunch of warm memories. Souvenirs of letters and emails exchanged- some warm, some nasty- which can be read and re-read. Indelible visuals of wordless expressions. Wisps of conversation, with so much left unsaid. And a hundred thoughts of what might have been.

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