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Soul of a Star
Read the previous part of the story here.
Chapter 5 – Resonance
Was he dreaming or did Tara really confess her love for him? Shekhar woke up with a jolt. He was sweating profusely. Dragging himself to the washroom he sprinkled water on his face and slumped on the bean bag near his study-table. He rummaged through his diary, searching for the two lost pages.
He had reacted furiously when Tara knelt before him, in full public view, wanting to become his life partner. He was torn between his heart and his mind and finally the brain won! Dragged into the quicksand of the past, Shekhar misbehaved with Tara and left without even giving her a chance to explain.
Shekhar stared at the page from the diary that lay open in front of him:
Shards of glass
Broken pieces of mirror
A face stares back at me!
The water spilled over the glass
Our lips met
Consumed in the fire
All i was left with was
An eternal wait.
The sun shines bright
Your fragrance in my soul
Life was waiting to take off
Finally i am in air!
Life is a dream
The cycle of love is same
Your smile on my face
Makes me live again….
Tara will never know of his true feelings for her. He chose it that way. She reminded him of his mother and unhappy memories flooded his mind…
The mobile screen blinked. It was an SMS. From Tara.
“Please do not misunderstand me. I am sorry if I have hurt you in any way. Give me one chance to explain. Let’s meet at Costa Coffee again tomorrow… Please.”
Shekhar continued to stare at the mobile screen even as the skies cleared and birds started chirping.
And a new dawn greeted Mumbai.
“Do you love me?”
“I don’t know.”
“You are evading the question.”
“I have work pending at office. I must leave.”
“No, Shekhar… please wait…”
“Why are you avoiding me?”
“I am busy. Talk to you later.”
Tara pressed the bell again. No one answered. She pushed the door anxiously. Thankfully it was unlocked. She entered Shekhar’s house, albeit feeling a little unsure whether she should proceed. Tara was impressed by Shekhar’s art collection that adorned the walls – he was a true connoisseur.
As she entered his bedroom, she was taken aback after seeing her own portrait adorn his study table. The signature on the painting said Shekhar himself painted it. Tears welled up in her eyes as confusion reigned in her mind. Why did Shekhar evade her if he liked her? Then she saw it… his diary…
As she turned the pages, the floodgate of emotions was broken. Tears rolled down her cheek as she read about the love between a mother and her son. She was now a part of Shekhar’s past.
12 May, 1992
Ma and Baba had a fight again today. He cannot bear the fact that she earns more than him. Every time she has an important client meeting, Baba ridicules her. It does not help that Ma often comes home late….
17 August, 1992
I should not have come home early from cricket practice today. What I saw, will haunt me for the rest of my life… How can Baba do this? With his own Secretary? I have lost faith in relationships… trust is a utopian concept. Faith is non-existent…
21 December, 1992
Ma… do you really love me or was it all a show? Why did you leave me all alone in this world, just because Baba broke your trust? Ma…
Tara was inconsolable. She now understood Shekhar’s pain. She felt guilty, overweighed by the burden of truth that she held in her hands… Shekhar avoided her because he did not want a fragment of his past to catch up with him again. He did not want his worst nightmares to haunt him again. Shekhar was afraid of a commitment because his mother killed herself because of Baba…
As Tara wiped her tears, she felt a movement near her feet. Shekhar was kneeling beside the chair, weeping. Instinctively she hugged him. “Oh Shekhar, had I known… I will never let this happen again in your life… Let us move beyond the past and create our own future… Oh Shekhar, I love you…”
As if on cue, Shekhar planted a gentle kiss on her lips. Although she was taken aback, she reciprocated. The firewall of Shekhar’s system had been breached. Years of solitude had suppressed the lover inside him… his emotions needed expression.
Neither of them knoew how long they kissed or how they ended up on the bed… all they cared for was the company of each other…
As Tara picked up the newspaper from the doormat, she found an envelope lying next to it. As she scrambled with the envelope (making sure not to tear the note inside) a page from Shekhar’s diary emerged. It had the fragrance of Tory Burch Eau De Parfum, her favourite brand. Even as she read through the poem written on that page, she dialled Shekhar on the cordless…
A little bird chirruped
I thought it was you
The tides in the river roared
I looked at you
Clouds gathered over our heads
A drop fell on my hand
I looked at the sky
Words were flying around us
I could not catch
You stared at me
And I stared back
Silence stepped in
Conveyed the perfect words
And we just smiled!
Six months were past since their torrid love-making at Shekhar’s apartment. Not one day had gone by when they had not seen each other. The owner of Costa Coffee had by now resigned himself to the fact that Shekhar and Tara would sit on the corner table near the window, holding hands for hours and communicate with only their eyes.
And then something special happened. It was Tara’s 18th birthday. Shekhar invited Tara over to his place. Blindfolded, Tara walked into his candlelit home with the sound of soft jazz in the background. The joy in her face was palpable when she saw the arrangements Shekhar had made.
Slowly, she was ushered into the candlelit master bath. Shekhar gently undressed her and there were rose petals everywhere. As Tara soaked in a hot tub, sipping wine, Shekhar undressed himself. After the exhilarating shower, he wrapped Tara in a new silk robe and led her to a table set, specially placed in the bedroom for a meal of all Tara’s favourite foods.
The next morning, the happy couple left for a long drive through the Western Ghats. They walked hand in hand on the mountains as the setting sun bathed them in an ethereal glow…
That is when Shekhar knelt… Tara did not allow him a chance to speak… The scheme of events that were set into motion by her months ago met their logical end… She nodded as tears welled up in her eyes.
The sound of rain
The smell of the earth
The clouds playing the sky
Towards a new beginning
The door stands ajar
The sea beyond the threshold
I step into the water
And fly way
A second door
I look inside
And find love
And suddenly a storm brews
Lightning strikes the shade
I look around
I am all alone.
The road keeps moving
Ahead is my destiny
For love whispered in my ears
“You find salvation in me.”