Homecoming

In continuation of my story The Send Button

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Just three more weeks left for Mridul’s wedding date. Precisely speaking, 23 days.

I had booked tickets for Maa and Baba to be at Mridul’s wedding. I had decided to bunk on the pretext of having some urgent work. The truth is I couldn’t muster the courage to see Mridul becoming someone else’s man. It pained.  

This afternoon, when my manager called me in for an urgent meeting, I wasn’t expecting it to be anything more than another new project with a shorter deadline.

I so hate this word, ‘deadline’. Why is everything supposed to have a ‘deadline’? Why was it necessary for me to have informed Mridul about my feelings before the ‘deadline’? Ghosh, I hate it even more now. ” I thought to myself.

As soon as I entered the my manager’s cabin, I saw all the senior management staff seated there.

Oh God, I was sure this was going to be my pink slip day.

I was trembling as I went closer to the chair to sit. As soon as I sat down, my manager said,

This was coming for sometime now, but we didn’t know it would be so soon.”

After a brief pause he continued, Congratulations, Priya!

I couldn’t believe he said ‘Congratulations!‘. My blank face made them all burst out in laughter. Later on I understood that I’ve been required for a very critical project in our office in Phoenix, Arizona. What worried me was the fact that I’ll have to be posted there for at least 3 years and I had to join within the next 15 days.

The company arranged for Maa and Baba’s relocation with me and sponsored a fully furnished apartment for me.

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Girl by sea side

5 years is a long time, I had always thought. I had continuously climbed up the ladder of success because I immersed myself completely into work to get over my past. It did help me feel better, but the memories were still as fresh as they were. I lost Maa within an year of coming here to the States. Baba too left me alone about two years back. Sitting near the pier early in the morning facing sun’s first rays, I raised my hands and looked into my palms. They were empty, just like the pages of my life. The ripples in the sea water made me feel like turning the pages of the chapters of my life.

Sometimes the smallest of unintentional mistakes make us suffer till eternity. Every time I remembered Mridul (which is almost every single breath of mine), I cursed myself for not having spoken up well in time. If only one could go back in time and make corrections.

Maa and Baba‘s departure from my life left me all alone. I had earned enough to survive my lifetime and so I decided to quit and go back to our property in Baba‘s village.

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I had packed up all my stuff and cleared the dues. I reached the airport much before the reporting time. Such was the longing to get back home.

Finally I reached London airport. I had a connecting flight from London to Bangalore.

There were a few more hours to go before the boarding for my flight starts, so I sat down on one of the chairs in the waiting lounge reading the latest book by my favourite author, Preeti Shenoy, The One You Cannot Have. I was feeling hungry and so went to one of the counters to get a doughnut. By the time I finished the doughnut, it was time to board the flight.

I kept my handbag in the overhead luggage cabinet and settled down in my aisle seat still immersed in the book. My co-passengers too had taken their seats. That’s when a packet of one of the passengers who was crossing by fell onto my lap. I picked it up and as I looked up to handover the packet, I saw the man. I was shocked.

Mridul, it was.

It’s a small world. It’s indeed a small world.

(To be continued…)

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This post is written in association with Write Tribe for the Wednesday prompt.

The prompt for this week is ‘It’s a small world’ provided by Shilpa Garg.

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