Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any incident or any person living or dead is purely coincidental.
She brings two cups of tea to the dining table where Mrs. Sharma is waiting for her. Both begin another round of chat which has been very common for them since last few months. It has been two months since Aakash passed away.
Mrs. Sharma: You’re going to take that offer, right?
Shruti: Yes aunty, I’m still thinking about it.
Mrs. Sharma: Shruti, you just can’t keep ignoring these offers. Look around; everyone is struggling to get a job in good IT company. And you have rejected 3 in last 3 months.
>> Both remain silent for some 15 seconds
Shruti: (with teary eyes) How do you do it aunty?
Mrs. Sharma: Shruti, please beta!
Shruti: I don’t think I can do it.
Mrs. Sharma: Look Shruti, I’m his mother. I have known him since his birth. I know him better than anyone else. Do you think it’s easy for me?
>> 10 seconds of silence
Mrs. Sharma: (With a smile) You have seen all his childhood pictures. He was not a kid who would pose for a picture; all he wanted to do was make everyone around laugh. He liked to make fun of himself by making funny faces when someone clicked a picture so that everyone around would have a good laugh. Sometimes I was irritated because I wasn’t able to find a single good picture to put on a frame. And it was not like this digital cameras; we had to count and plan every picture in the roll. But it didn’t matter to him. When I look back, I realize how matured he had been. He has always been my little kid, he always had his share of tantrums, but he was different; he was special.
>> 5 seconds of silence as both the ladies wipe out tears
Mrs. Sharma: If he’s around, he would like us to be happy. So, we have to do it beta. For him. It will not always be easy. You have to go to that office tomorrow. Okay?
Shruti: (Looking down) Hmm. I will.
>> She comes back to her room and takes out a treasured piece of paper from the closet. This was a letter from Aakash. The one she got after he passed away. Aakash had asked Mrs. Sharma to give this letter to her after he’s “not around anymore”. This is not the first time she’s reading this letter. In fact, it has been a part of her daily routine.
Before you read the next sentence, I want to see your beautiful smile. You know very well that it will be very difficult for you to get a bigger fan of your smile than me. Don’t you? 🙂
This is the first day of my stay in this hospital and I know it’s going to be a long one. I don’t know if I’ll ever come out of here but since you’re reading this letter, I guess I didn’t.
It’s a weird feeling to realize that I’m living the last few days of my life. Especially because I don’t believe in reincarnation. Yes I’m scared and sad but that’s more than compensated by your love. Yes there are a lot of things that I want to do and I can’t, but it’s a bliss to realize that there were moments when I was the reason behind your beautiful smile. I don’t want that to change. I want to be the reason for your smile, not your tears. Even when I’m not around. And I need your help in this. Please.
It’s so difficult to look back and realize that I came to know about my condition in the same week I proposed you. I know it’s selfish to think that God gave me a chance to actually live my life through you. It was selfish of me that I was late in telling you what the ending our story was going to be. Life had not actually been fair to me. And then, you happened. You might not realize how hard it was to let go of such a beautiful gift from life.
It’s a wonderful feeling to have such a beautiful, affectionate, determined and (sometimes) stubborn lady in my life. It’s hard to believe that you never gave up on me. In fact, you haven’t yet. I’m sure if I live any longer than the time these doctors have given me, it would be because of you.
Hope is a such a beautiful thing. It’s hope that drives so many people to fight the most challenging phases of life. The hope of a happy ending gives strength to smile in the worst of situations. I know our story has a happy ending too. It’s just that I don’t exactly know how to picture it yet, but I’m sure it involves a happy you. This isn’t just a hope, it’s my belief. Life has so many gifts for you. Like I have said before, I’m a small part of your long and beautiful life. I can’t be anything more.
I don’t know how much this letter was of help, but if you believe that I’ll still be somewhere around you, please remember that I have always wanted to be the reason of your beautiful smile, not your tears.
Keep smiling dear. For me, please.
P.S.: I can’t write more. I don’t want to. Because you’ll be here in another 10 minutes. I know it will be very difficult to ask Ma to keep this letter and give you when I’m not around anymore. But you know, “I love you Ma” always works. I just want to write something for you before they connect these medical stuff on my limbs. Love you.
Shruti: I love you too.
>> A drop of tear falls on the letter and she wipes it out very carefully