So was my heart. I was standing in those people’s home who had left my family homeless. Standing on the ground that had made the ground slip beneath my feet. Even I wanted to shout just like the man in front of me. Hold on to his collar and torture him. Make him repent his every bloody mistake. Ask him to beg near my mother for forgiveness. But I didn’t. This imaginary behavior of mine would lead us nowhere. And anyways I hadn’t come for seeking any sort of revenge. It would be of no use. As it can never return what I had lost. Rather snatch away what little I was left with. So I maintained my calm. What I couldn’t understand was how did he recognize me. Had Smitha already informed about me ? What did they tell in return. What should I expect to face next. Different things were running in my mind when slowly other members of the family gathered in the courtyard. The celebrations got stopped abruptly. All the outsiders were asked to leave. It was only two of us on one side and Smitha’s family on the other that were left. Ritesh was still shivering. But not Smitha. She stood still. Completely. Her eyes fixated to the ground. As I closely observed her, I could mark the changes. Changes in her appearance. Her eyes looked tired. Face lusterless. Like a dried flower in the winter snow. I imagined what could have happened. I was the reason behind it. Her entire family had arrived now. Leaving every mundane task they were involved in. I saw her parents for the first time. Smitha was a completely combination of both. So it wasn’t difficult to recognize them among others. Chairs were set. The eldest ones sat down. Others remained as they were. Standing. No body brought a chair for us. Nor did they offer a glass of water. We were intruders not guests.
There was complete silence all over. Drops of water trickling down from a tap could be heard clearly. I had no idea for how long this would continue. But every passing second definitely felt like eternity. Smitha stood between both sides. One her family. Her world. Her people. People to whom she belonged. People who should mean every thing to her. And the other me. A loner. A stranger. Someone who has felt her presence even in her absence. Some one whom she should consider a nobody.
At that very moment I felt, I lost her again.
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