Friday, May 25, 2012

The Gift of a Holiday

The sudden sound of the doorbell jolted me out of my reverie. It was the mailman with all the usual stuff – the electricity bill, a couple of mails wrongly delivered to my house owing to the confusing house numbers, and letters from relatives back home in India containing pictures and details of prospective Punjabi suitors. Sigh. They’ll never really give up trying to make me marry a man of their choice, I thought. More so, now that they thought I had learnt my lesson. Tossing away all the envelopes into the waste bin, I settled into my favorite old reclining chair facing the woods beyond the glass walls of the living room. I had taken to sitting here most of time that I was awake, looking out at the wilderness with a calm state of mind, unthinking, completely blank.

It had nearly been a month since my walk down the aisle to the altar. Nearly a month since that one moment when Paul decided to walk out of the churchyard, calling off the wedding on the verge of having said ‘I do’. I never quite understood what happened, refusing to believe for quite some time that he wasn’t coming back. When finally I did, this invisible but heavy pall of silence enveloped me and my entire world. I lived alone, spending my days in denial, trying not to think or dwell upon it. And yet, we all know how much that really works. I had nightmares where I was getting married to him and things went wrong at the last moment. The wedding cake would go bad, or my dress would suddenly vanish, or it would rain. I never seemed to be able to make it to the end vows. Calls from friends and relatives berating me over my choice of an American man or sympathizing with me over the tragedy just worsened everything. And so I shut myself in.

The phone suddenly rang, disturbing my chain of thoughts. It was Kyra. My best friend from college days, who had went on to become a successful designer leaving her law degree behind, only to give it all up again to turn globetrotter. Wish we all could be so daring. She had been present at the wedding…was my maid of honor. And as it suddenly came back to me, I hadn’t really seen any of her after that day. She hadn’t been there sympathizing with me, consoling me after my misfortune, telling me to put myself back together, go out and enjoy myself, to find someone new. Where had she been? I wanted to ask her but couldn't. And ever so typically of her, the sunshine of my life that she always had been, she didn’t ask me how I had been holding up. She just straightaway moved on to explaining where she had been all the past month – it turns out, she had been putting together the best getaway ever, just for the two of us. I was dumbfounded and to be honest, hesitant. I refused to go. But she wouldn’t listen to a word I said. She said I just had to come. She asked me to pack my bags and be ready to be picked up in an hour. And she hung up before I could protest.

A good two hours later, the front door to the house flew open, and in flew the one sight that forced me to cry out with joy for the first time in weeks. She looked radiant – beautiful, surprisingly tanned, svelte and even sunnier than the last time I had seen her. Kyra was full of life, always brimming with energy and always there to spread joy in everybody’s lives. For a split second I wanted to be her, to run away from the life I had been reduced to. As if reading my mind, she told me to quickly fetch my bags. On my admitting to not having packed any, not being in a mood to leave home at all, she took a full look at me and rolled her eyes. And then fished out an itinerary of items from her pocket. She really had every single bit planned! Right from the beach hut we’ll be renting, to the colors we’ll be wearing, to the sunscreen we’ll be using, everything was there on a sheet of paper! Her hatchback was waiting outside, loaded with all the supplies. Knowing me only too well, she had packed in everything for me too. So within the next fifteen minutes, we were out the door, driving down to the airport from where we were to board the plane to our destination – Martha’s Vineyard. My favorite track from our college days was playing (coincidence or conspiracy??) - *Oohh…Mysterious girl, I wanna get close to you…* I felt my heart take a leap, like it hadn’t for as long as I could remember.

Squatting on the beach on the north shore of the island, watching the sun rise over the water, reality dawned upon me. Kyra had known from the start that I needed this more than any of those condolences and encouraging sermons coming my way. With her sunshine ways, she had tossed my self confinement into the warm humid air of the beaches, reminding me of what a fun loving person I used to be. So I walked up to our rented house, disturbing Kyra in the middle of her morning yoga session, demanding her to bring out everything she had stashed away and to come have fun with me on the sands. Shocked but clearly happy, she took out her goodies – skimpy swim suits in the craziest of colors, over sized hot pink sunglasses and her latest obsession – the Lakme Sun Expert product that she had used all summer to keep away the awful sun while she traveled. One look at all that, and all my residual reluctance just went poof into the air. With such amazing planning and such an amazing friend, who really needs a man in her life anyway!

And so our itinerary for the day looks somewhat like this – a late morning jog around the length of the beach, to be spent reminiscing old times, college days and all the pranks our duo was notorious for, followed by a session of beach volleyball with a group of holidayers staying in the neighboring house (she has promised to introduce me to a very cute guy she happened to notice among them!!) Following that, a proper seafood lunch awaits us at one of the open air restaurants lining the beach. Up ahead on the list is an evening of cocktails and getting drunker than ever, finally ending the night with a grand bonfire that this place is well known for. Kyra insists that I’ll have to play the guitar and sing tonight, something I haven’t done in a long while now. But I don’t want to refuse. Somewhere deep inside I know I wanna do it. Whoa...Kyra's already done wonders to my confidence and willpower in ways I couldn't have imagined! And I really want to thank her for such a lovely holiday, one that helped me rediscover myself all over again. So here’s to the beautiful holiday, the awesome friend Kyra, and to a new beginning. Cheers!

(This post is my entry for the Lakme Diva Blogger contest.)


Rose said...

This one is awesome! I mean awesome! I loved it. Very well penned down. Lovely fiction. This one will surely win! :D
All the best! :)

Geeta Singh said...

yeah awesm friend kyra , I am kyra :D:P

all d best dear:)

Mahima said...

@Rose - Awww..thank you so much dear! *fingers crossed* :D

@Geeta - Haha. Thank you! :)

Rahul Bhatia said...

The first part of the post was like reading a true story till Kyra arrived! Lovely writing Mahima and best wishes for the contest:)

Mahima said...

Thank you so much :)