I never understood what kept her going. Obstacles of such kind would have been enough for me to succumb to the comfort of a retreat. But she was not deterred. She had this intensity that was visible right from the moment one laid his eyes on her. Such was her passion for things that the world seemed to revolve around her and her alone. A distinct flavor those days had. With tired limbs and sleepy eyes we walked around. Through packed buses and choked local trains our days were a mixture of anticipation and exhaustion. I had been like that never in my life. Yet with her, it strangely felt like this was destined to be so. When we walked around hand in hand through the streets of Mumbai looking for urchins and those hapless destitutes it was not that sympathy for them led us onto it, seemed like it was a natural progression of things.
When you meet someone for the first time, you go into the conversation with a vigor and energy. You try your best to project the best possible image in front of the person, more so when you consider them worthier than thou. Strangely, when I met Mira for the first time on that April day, I had completely misplaced my well crafted sense of steering the conversation. Words that were before elicited in a jiffy found it hard to come by. Eyes that used to wander aimlessly were stuck in a terrific jam. I know not what had come of me. This was only the start.
We met regularly from that day on. Why, I had no answer to that. It just became a daily ritual for us to meet and share the things that we were too afraid to share even with us. It was surreal to have found the person who held the exact mirror image of your dreams and thoughts, who looked at the world in a way you had never imagined anyone would. She told me stories of the orphanage she grew up in. While one would imagine, given the context, for it to be tragic it was anything but. When I listened to her recounting anecdotes and childhood stories I would dream of turning the clock back in time and transporting myself there with her in all of her stories. She relived each one of her experiences with Father David and Sister Basil, the caretakers of the Holy High Centre for Orphans, her home for 17 years. I now knew of 2 of her best friends, Tamanna and Bhawani. She told me of the times she tried running away to pursue meditation in the Himalayas only to be caught at the station. She told me of her childhood fantasies of becoming a Doctor, travelling to Egypt and fighting with the mummy as she knew them then.
I had known it all along. The ride had been too good for its own sake. I had let myself be pushed by the hands of fate. The dream had lasted too long for it to sustain and I had grown suspicious of the same. Her rowing brown eyes had a magical bind that was impossible to conquer. Her lips were in a constant tussle to master her enchanting voice and her hands moved like waves do in a dancing sea. Spell bound was I and determinedly so.
When you look back at things that were you wonder about scenarios. Multiple paths that lead to the same destination. You could redress the grievances, you could heal the body but what of the tattered soul that knows no foul play? What happens to the innocent spirit when it is guided onto a perilous journey of self-destruction? I had been a victim of idealism. I had fallen into the trap like wasps in the net and there was no way out. It was like the wet mud, the harder I tried the more entrenched was I.
To be Continued…