Sands of Time

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Novembers’ nights are usually cold, but Ekaant was sweating when he woke up in the middle of the night. It was 3:30 AM, and he was lying in his bed with a myriad of thoughts lingering in his mind. It was the same dream once again, and his watch was showing the same time once again. It had now become what we call a routine. Every night, the same dream would force him to wake up at the same time. This had been going on for more than 2 weeks. He wanted to discuss it with someone, but feared there would hardly be anyone who would believe in his sanity. So, he kept it to himself.

Yet another night was about to pass, and yet again, he didn’t need an alarm to get up at 6 O’clock, unlike a few weeks back when even 10 alarms were not enough. He got out of his bed, grabbed the pack of cigarette and the lighter sharing the bed with him, and headed towards the balcony. Every morning, his day started like this - analysing and finding a reason behind this recurring dream.

It was dark; a street light at the other end of the street was enough for the watchman to find his way through the maze of potholes. Ekaant leaned forward to light a cigarette; one drag and he felt slightly better. It was colder outside. With all the sweat and nothing to cover his upper torso, Ekaant suddenly became aware of the falling temperature. He didn’t want to go inside to wear a shirt, as the slight cold breeze touching his bare chest was helping him divert his mind.

“Why is she bothering me now?” was what he was trying to find an answer for. Though he did not succeed in his quest, the night was able to reach its end. Soon it was morning. He could now see people leaving their homes for work and morning walks. It was 5 minutes to 6 when he finished off with his 5th cigarette.

At 8:30 AM, he was again the first one to reach office. While he waited for the peon to come and unlock the office entrance, he could not help but think about her, and all these days when he had been dreaming about her involuntarily. A short mental movie was being played in front of his eyes. The flow of his thoughts stuck when he recalled their Graduation dinner.

Muskaan was looking stunning in her black sari with silver sequence. And Ekaant wore a black suit with silver while shirt. They’d shopped together for this day, as they were supposed to be on stage to receive acknowledgment for being the Chief members of Students Union. They wondered if anyone had noticed that Ekaant couldn’t keep his hands off Muskaan that day, even on stage. Once all the ceremonies were over and the dinner was served, he sent an SMS to Muskaan, to meet him outside the garden. Everyone was busy with dinner, so their friends hardly noticed their absence. On that last day of college, Ekaant gifted her a limited edition Sand Clock, in the form of a pendant.

Muskaan had a thing for Sand Clocks, and this was the prettiest ever. As her joy grew beyond the boundaries of her control, she held him softly and planted a kiss on his lips. That was their first kiss, just around the corner of a garden containing 2500 people. That was just the beginning of an actual relationship between two passionate adults. They loved each other immensely, until one day she suddenly disappeared from his life.

Ekaant was left with only questions, and not even any clues of answers. He spent a year to find out about her, but it was of no use. He finally just adjusted with the situation and tried to move on with life. And now, after years, his dreams had started betraying him again, by pushing him towards her memories. Those memories which were long lost... intentionally.

Ekaant could not concentrate on his work as Muskaan was constantly on his mind, more so, her dreams. He kept thinking about them and about her, and finally decided to do something.

That day, after coming back home from office, Ekaant searched for his telephone diary, to check if he still had her number. Even though he remembered having tried that number thousands of times already, only to realize that it wasn’t working. He thought of giving it one more try, after all these years. He searched through all his diaries, even charged his old cell phones to check their phonebooks, but her number was nowhere. He had deleted it from everywhere in order to escape that old phase of agony and heartache. He finally lost hope.

The same routine followed the next day too. But, as he had less work, he decided to go online and catch up with a few friends. No one was online. So he started surfing through old mails instead, when he suddenly realised that her telephone ebills used to come on his email id!!!

He quickly dialled her old number, stepping out of the office premises with a cigarette. As he lighted up the cigarette in his hand, his face lit up too. Someone actually answered the call with a “hello”! Ekaant was too shocked to say anything, after hearing an answer on that phone which he had been trying for ages. Before he could gather his jumbled emotions to speak, the phone was disconnected. He dialled again, and this time he was the first one to say “Hello, is it Muskaan?”

The other end of the line was handed over to someone else...

Ekaant: “Hello... Hello Muskaan??”

She: “Ekaant!!!!! I knew you would call... I knew you would make it on time!!!”

Ekaant: “How are you? And where did you suddenly disappear?”

She: “I am so sorry Ekaant, but I didn’t have the heart to break yours. Though I know what I did was no less than doing the same...”

Ekaant: “Breaking my heart???? What the hell??”

She: “Anyway, at this point, it is not important Ekaant…”

Ekaant: “Yeah right!!!! Then what is it that’s important if not this??”

She: “It’s important for you to know that I still love you the same way I did years back, and I am sorry for what I did, I was left with no option...”

Ekaant: “Are you kidding me??? Do you think I would believe you? I searched for you like a maniac, and now, after years, you want me to forgive you just like that? Do you even know what I have been through? Do you even have a heart??? And you say that you still love me... hah! Do you even know what love is???... Hellow...?? Are you listening to me??? Helloww....???”

Someone: “I am sorry kid, she is not there to listen to you anymore.”

Ekaant: “Who are you???”

Someone: “I am her doctor. We all were so happy today, as she opened her eyes after a year and a half, she was in coma all this while. Though her condition was deteriorating, we considered this to be a positive sign. It seems that she opened her eyes today, only to be able to talk to you...”

Ekaant was shocked and had no words to reply. The voice at the other end kept saying “hello”, but Ekaant was not in a condition to move. The doctor’s last words echoed in his mind, “It seems that she opened her eyes today, only to be able to talk to you...”

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