Short Story : Waiting for You


Sketch by Rani Bhowani/Treasures of Innocence


Mita’s life had always been tedious and bland. Her days were occupied with household chores and her work. The youngest child of the family, she lived with her parents and two brothers. Like every girl, she too had dreamt for a beautiful life with her husband. But her dreams seemed to have been in vain. Busy in their respective lives and used to Mita’s presence, her family had forgotten to fulfill this wish. None had bothered to find a suitable life partner for her. The pain of her loneliness was incomprehensible.
She had none to share her feelings with. While she performed her duties without complaining or cribbing, she never shared her feelings with anyone for fear of being laughed at. She hardly had a friend now; someone to hang out with and share her deepest feelings with. Her world was centered on her family.

Life was a mundane existence that dragged on till she was fifty years old. Every night, before she slept, Mita would recall her school days and her friends. Such a beautiful group they had been, enjoying little things of life, going for movies or visiting new places. Her best friend Swati had been such a jovial person; someone Mita used to share her secrets.

“But why don’t you tell Akshat that you like him,” shouted Swati in exasperation.
“No way! He is the topper of our class and such a smart boy and I am the exact opposite, an ordinary student and an introvert. I don’t want to spoil our friendship by revealing my feelings to him. He deserves a much better girl. Never tell him about my feelings,” a dejected Mita had told Swati.

It was the last day of the school. Mita was sitting with Swati and Akshat, sharing a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Akshat was heading to USA for further studies. Swati had tried her level best to convince Mita into confessing her feelings to Akshat but Mita ignored her. Akshat’s parents came to pick him. A lifeless, numb Mita watched him leave; waving her last goodbye to the boy she loved.

She woke up as the alarm clock rang at 5.30am. Mita kept aside her beautiful memories and started her daily routine. It was Durga Puja, the only time in the year when she gets a chance to see the outside world and meet people. She recalled her school days when she would celebrate Durga Puja with Akshat and Swati. She had studied in a Bengali school that celebrated Durga Puja every year. How she used to enjoy the hot pakodas with her friends. A spate of emotions overwhelmed her and she felt helpless.

“Hey! That’s your school. It looks the same after so many decades.”
Her brother pointed towards Mita’s school, as the family walked towards a puja pandal
“Come on. Let’s go inside and see the idol. With butterflies in her stomach, Mita stepped back into her school premises with her family. Heading back to school reminded Mita of her ardent desire. Akshat. Till date, she was living in hope that she would meet Akshat someday. In fact, her feelings for Akshat had grown stronger with age. As she revisited her alma mater, Mita hoped to meet her old friends. That would be the happiest moment of her life.

The family walked towards the idol of Maa Durga, paying respect to the deity. As she closed her eyes and joined hands in prayer, Mita repeated her prayer of past years. You see, every year Mita prayed to God to bless her with a beautiful married life. But nothing happened and gradually, Mita had started losing hope. But she never stopped praying.

But this year, destiny seemed to have other plans. As she repeated her prayer, she felt a sudden ray of hope touch her heart and surround her in its positivity. She turned back but found nothing. People were enjoying, busy with their families and friends.
Her mother rushed them. “Let’s go! It’s too hot here and we are getting late.”
But Mita did not want to leave. She wanted to stay there for some more time. As she drifted out with the family, she saw the same pakoda Vendor. He was serving two ladies who were enjoying the pakodas with their children. Mita could not see their faces.
Just as she was about to leave the pandal, she overheard one of the ladies thank her friend.
“Thanks for bringing me to your school Swati. These are the best pakodas I have ever had.”
“ Mita turned around and walked towards the two ladies, her heart in her mouth, hoping against hope.
She has put on some weight, but that is Swati, realised Mita as she tapped on the former’s shoulder. .Laughing, Swati turned around. Her curious glance turned to an expression of delight as she recognised her schoolmate.
“Mita! I can’t believe this! You have changed so much. I am so happy to see you,” said Swati as they hugged.
I tried to contact you several times after I got admission in a Mumbai college but I could not reach you on the landline number. It is so sad that we lost touch with each other,” rambled a joyous Swati.
“I visit our school regularly, especially during Durga Puja in the hope that I might bump into you but nothing happened. I asked my husband to look for you but it even that did not work out. And today, by God’s grace we have finally met. This is the luckiest day of my life. The three of us are together again!”
“You, me and your husband. That’s really great, isn’t it” said Mita.
“No stupid. You, me and Akshat. How can you forget about your crush?”
“Akshat is here?”
Mita’s heart started pounding.
“Yes. Akshat shifted to Delhi with his fifteen-year-old son after his wife died in a car crash a few years ago. He has been relentlessly asking about you. He even tried to locate you on social networking sites but couldn’t find you and we gave up.”
“I am not on any social networking site. I thought you guys have forgotten me. I am sorry to hear about his wife. I want to meet him.”

The next day, Mita went back to school to meet her old friends. She noticed Swati and her husband with a middle-aged man and a thin teenager, watching the cultural program. Mita ran towards the man. It was the happiest day of her life. She stood speechless, gazing at Akshat. Akshat saw her but could not recognize her.
“Hey! How can you forget Mita,” Swati teased Akshat.
Akshat could not believe his eyes. He was stunned to see Mita. They wanted to say so many things but words fell short.
“It is high time you confess your feelings to Akshat. If not today, you will regret for your remaining life. God has given you second chance. Don’t waste it. Come on. Express your feelings,” whispered Swati.
Gathering courage, Mita started to speak when Akshat interrupted her.
“I want to say something to you Mita. You were my best friend during school days and I liked you a lot. But I was too shy to confess my love for you. I feared you would break our friendship if I were to disclose my feelings to you. So I kept quite. My parents got me married but somewhere deep inside my heart, you were always the one I loved. Today, I don’t fear confessing my feelings for you. They are stronger today.”

Tears of joy rolled down Mita’s cheek. She got what she wanted. Her much awaited love was finally with her.

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