“So what’s your bucket list,mate?”, Jacob asked Shivam.
Jacob had met Shivam only a week ago but they already felt as if they’d been buddies since ages. It was on a cold night that these two guys met in a pub downtown. Two stags. No women and a lot of money that funds liver damage. Shivam was a teetotaller, he drank only raspberry juice. Sometimes Cranberry. He believed strongly he had a drunk soul and he didn’t need alcohol to get high. Even a cola could have the same magical effect.
Today they were on a rooftop,talking endlessly about past and spilling their biography into the universe. These tales were certainly more interesting than granny’s princes and demons.
“My Bucket list! Never thought about it. What’s yours?”
“Oh nothing much. The first is to go on a solitary trip to Hawaii and make love with an American lady.”
Shivam rolled on the ground with laughter “Whaaa hahhaha! crazy that is. And…?”
“You better take me seriously or I’ll stop telling you.”
“Fine.” Shivam giggled and stopped, “continue sir.”
“I have an ancestral thing going on. Being the only heir I’ll have to go back to Munnar. it’s a hill station in Kerala.”
“hmmm? For what?”
“Plantation. Tea plantations. The weather, the fields, the scent, the curves and bends of the roads that take you uphill. I just wish to go back to where I came from. Where I grew up.”
Shivam shrugged away a thought that had always bothered him in the back of his mind. Where was his home? His father was a military man and they had moved around India shifting homes almost eighteen times in twenty years. It always hurt him he had no place to cling on. To call his home, that had memories of childhood and adulthood. He had places, had been to innumerable cities but no place he could call home with certainty. Still floating in his thoughts, he asked blankly, “so why that’s on the bucket list Jake? I mean, you are going back anyway as you say you are the only heir.”
“ah! That’s why it’s a wish. I have my own business here ,don’t you get it!? How will I ever leave all the comfort and leisure and money and go back? Chuck! You tell me yours Shiv. I told you two already.”
“Mine is to find a home”, Shivam puffed out a serious smoke.
“you mean to buy one? I can help you.”
“No. Not buy. To find one.”
And as swiftly as it came, it disappeared into meaningless laughter. As the stars watched these two souls, night fell asleep into the lap of sun and her rays set their faces ablaze.
A bird glided a few inches above Jake and the sound of others’ chirping woke them both up.
“Shivam, I should quit drinking. My girl friend doesn’t like it.”
“Yes you should. But because your liver wouldn’t like it. It’s the only thing that she would die for.”
Jacob laughed as they both climbed down the roof and they set off for home. Or should they call it so!
Shivam first called his mother that day, and then the sweet love of his life he had promised he would come back to. It had been years.Radha wept silently on hearing his voice, ” Shiv it’s been six years now. When are you coming back?”
“I love you. I need to go now for work,” he avoided and hung up. Something in the back of his mind kept telling him he was wrong but nevertheless the passion of growing kept fuelling his need to stay away and build an empire on gold.
As he walked out of his building a splash of water from above drenched him completely. He looked up to find a balcony of flowers being watered so he kept a potted plant from the entrance of his building in a way that the rains from the balcony would water this one too. ‘The universe watches and maybe it will count one good for my judgement day’, he thought. As crazy as he was, he believed in absolving his sins. ‘I should go back,shouldn’t I?’, he asked himself.
That evening after he returned from office he called up Jake, “hey Jake! What are your plans?”
“nothing. I ll stay home today”
And the bell rang. Shivam asked Jake to excuse him and opened the door already feeling empty. Shivam wanted company but in anyone’s presence his brain would only temporarily feel contented with the air of fake happiness his brain created. He only wished for Radha but he couldn’t face her. He had hurt her once badly. He couldn’t make her feel bad again so he moved out of her life.
“Shivam”, the voice from the other side of the open door broke into his reverie.
“Radha!”, he uttered so calmly that no one would ever decode what he really wanted to say- Radha! I miss you every moment you are away from me. Radha! I am sorry and I love you madly and deeply. Radha! I wish things could work out again for us. Beautifully – and he hugged her gently with his soul crying.
“What! Aren’t you gonna ask me to come inside, Bum.”
She hugged him back tightly and in that moment he knew where his home was. Where it is.
Note from the author:
I won’t say they lived happily ever after. There were tiffs, fights, leaving and coming back but the truth is they were both inseparable. And the love was endless.
Love is one silly thing. It never dies. You never fall out of it. And no matter how bad it’s been, there’s always a chance of it working out. So if you love someone truly, madly and deeply don’t let go because watering a potted plant could never bring you the same luck.
Home is where the heart is.