Hiraeth (Part 2)

Updated: Oct 2, 2018


Read the first part of the story by clicking here.

Our first date night was eventful right from the beginning. I had everything planned out - an impressive suit, lemony cologne, cheesy lines....But I had clearly forgotten one thing - to make prior reservations at the restaurant. To rub salt into the wound, it had started raining cats and dogs just seconds after we were turned out of the packed eatery. With no other option, we returned to Shikha's place.

"I think the power's gone again", said Shikha, as she fumbled with the door lock.

"With our luck, I'm sure your refrigerator would be empty too", I retorted irritatedly, rolling up my sleeves.

"Who cares Vinu? We don't need anything else. This is our night!"

She threw her purse upon the sofa and switched on the battery operated radio.

Rimajhim gire saawan, sulag sulag jaaye mann Bhige aaj is mausam mein, lagi kaisi ye agan

Classic Kishore Kumar to the rescue. I melted. My annoyance vanished. I could hear her crooning at the top of her not-so-melodious voice. I chuckled and shook my head in disbelief of her infectious enthusiasm.

"Go get the candle. I'll make something for us to eat. Be there in two minutes." She winked at me and entered the kitchen, leaving me all alone groping in the dark.

Not before long, she returned with two bowls and placed them on either side of the candle I had lit on the tiny tea table. She squatted on the floor alongside me and exclaimed - "Ta-da! Chef's special piping hot, sumptuous Maggi is here."

I felt a warm glow inside of me. Was it because of her radiant smile or the incandescent wax? Who cares, right?

I sat transfixed, watching her slurp the noodle.

"What?", she questioned. "Oho, what?" She looked up at me with her nose crinkled cutely.

"Its your eyes", I said. "Small, beautiful eyes which light up when you talk."

"Stupid", blushed my date, as she returned to her candle light dinner.

It was well past ten when the rain finally showed signs of subsiding.

"Would you like to dance on the roof?" It was less of a question and more of an assertion by her.

I protested meekly, citing how my Italian shoes would get spoilt in the rain. But of course, she would buy none of my excuses. She dragged me by the arm to the rooftop.

"Every night in my dreams...", she crooned with a silly grin upon her face.

"Be careful. Its slippery", I interrupted. She paid no heed and climbed onto the roof's ledge, arms outstretched.

"Won't you be my Jack?" she pleaded with a puppy face.

"Haha! Why not, my Rose. Such a funny name. But I like it - Rose Mehta", I teased her as I stepped onto the ledge.

We struggled to fit onto the narrow, wet ledge. We quarrelled over who gets to stand in front in the titanic pose. Does Jack hold Rose or was it the other way round?

And then it happened in the blink of an eye. She slipped. I swivelled and pushed her back inside and in the process fell down the roof with a thud. I felt my spine shatter and blood splutter out.

Briefly, I saw the full moon parting through the sky. Briefly, I inhaled the jasmines blooming in the flower bed. And then my eyes went shut.

Nine lonely, long years it has been since I died. I saw the mother sobbingly recount the fateful day to her daughter. "Knowing how it ends, I wish I had never gone through with the date", she wept inconsolably.

I smiled. "Knowing how it ends, I wish to relive it a thousand times over", came my inaudible reply.

With shoes in my cold hands, I waded across the puddles in the garden, humming a familiar tune.

Jab ghungru’on si, bajti hain boondein Armaan humaare palken na moondein

Only one desire haunted my heart. I look forward to seeing Rose again, some day. Especially when it rains.

'Hiraeth' is a Welsh word which has no equivalent in English. A poor translation might define it merely as 'homesickness'. It is the yearning and longing for an era, place or a person that you cannot return to as it no longer exists, or maybe never did.

The most beautiful meaning I found calls it as 'a longing to be where your spirit lives.'

Rimajhim gire saawan, sulag sulag jaaye mann

Bhige aaj is mausam mein, lagi kaisi ye agan

The splattering rainfall enkindles my mind,

In this wet weather, what has set me ablaze?

Jab ghungru’on si, bajti hain boondein

Armaan humaare palken na moondein

When the falling raindrops tinkle like anklets,

My desires fail to keep their eyes shut....

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