Smile, there was this peculiar smile on his face when he punched his card at the biometric attendance machine on his way out from the office. It was past midnight when he was stepping out and if one would have gone by the look on his face – the freshness, the warmth of that smile there, none could have guessed that he has been working for straight 16 hours until now. There was not even a bit of tiredness reflecting on his face, his eyes were sparkling brighter than the usual and his whistling of one of his favourite songs was absolutely straight from the heart. The Security Guard wished him Good Night and he responded like always, but today with an infrequent happiness with which his face was beaming in that darkest hour of that unraveling night. It had just started raining when he was probably packing his laptop before leaving the office and by the time he stepped out it was already more than drizzling out there. He did not run to his car, he did not even care if he will get wet, he simply walked his cheerful walk to the car to settle in and connected his phone with the car’s Bluetooth. With ignition turned on, the lights of the car tore apart the darkness and the dead silence of the gloomy night, while the soothing love songs from the yesteryears playing inside the cabin of his car set it up all just perfectly for him to drive back home. It was not the day when he got promoted or earned a raise, neither it was some long due project getting completed nor it was pay-day, and his happiness was definitely beyond all of this. He was not just happy, he was elated.
Humming to the tunes of an all-time classic Chupana Bhi Nahin Aata, Jatana Bhi Nahin Aata ..., he pressed the accelerator pedal and started his drive to home. He touched the highway, and the song changed, he looked at the name of the song on the display and smiled as it was another of his favourite number. But why was he so ecstatic?! Nobody but him knew the reason – He was feeling loved. It was after a long time that this feeling had hit him, again, and while he knew that the freshness of this emotion will not stay for long, so, he wanted to cherish each single bit of it all the more.
As he drove forward his way to home, he travelled back in time and his last conversation with her made an effortless rewind of itself like a movie clip in front of his eyes. It was the evening of a hot day in the city she had fallen in love with over all these years, and thankfully it was not humid, when they found themselves a seat for two by the ocean, right from where they witnessed the panoramic sunset, for the first time together. The sight of the sea always brought each of them instant comfort, and each started the conversation simultaneously telling this only about them to the other, and though their sentences crossed each-other’s, their similarity shrugged–off the awkwardness of speaking out at the same time. They hit it off good and continued talking for hours and hours. It was the day when they were meeting after more than half a decade but it did not reflect a bit in their conversation. They spoke as if they were picking-up an incomplete conversation from yesterday. Dusk tuned into night and they were yet not done talking, at least he was not. Not as if he was into her, but the invisible warmth of the ambiance around him – the sea-front, the ease in her confession of her inhibitions buried deep inside herself, and the conversation, it was just the perfect setting for letting happen what was happening there. Minutes rushed faster than they otherwise would and it was time for them to bid goodbyes, and with faith in hope, they did.
Days later, his phone rang. It was her, and looking at the name flashing on the screen, there was this peculiar smile on his face. The call connected and they spoke in excitement, not the excitement of any event, but they were always excited speaking to each-other, probably that is their spark, still. And it was that one life-changing phone call over which she told him that she liked him. He blushed, smiled, but maintained his composure from being over-excited and responded with calm and composed his acceptance to the proposal.
Days passed, and they learnt that he was a man made of expressions, and she was a woman made of all things blush. He had words for each emotion, and she had enough ears for each of his words, but what was still unanswered was that do they only like each-other or by now it is love? Maybe, neither had an answer. Not that they were not sure about each-other, but love needs commitment, not to the other, but to self. Their loyalties were not a bit doubtful, but these unwritten questions from between the many veils of life need answers before the big plunge is taken. It is undeniable that we all love to be loved, but in the midst of receiving all the love, it is also to see that how often we love. It requires graduation of thought to be able to differentiate between the feeling of love and love, and those who can, do justice, not to anyone else but themselves.
As the last song in his playlist of a handful of lovely songs completed, which for a moment jerked the rhythm of his thoughts, with which the screening of their first so-called date that fate arranged for them, also came to an end from rolling in front of his eyes, he realised that he has driven way past ahead of his home. He smiled at himself, realising a gush of emotions stirring within him, he again started from the top of his playlist which he had named after her, and took a U-turn to reach his place, because by now he realised that his house is only his place, it was her which was his home.