The cursor hovered over the ‘Log Out’ briefly and quickly moved over to the ‘Go Online’ link.
‘One last time’ I thought.
‘But it’s 12:15 a.m.’ said the mind.
‘Just one more try’ I told myself. ‘Tomorrow is Sunday.’
And there it was, the single illuminous green dot beside the name I sought.
And before I could ‘Go Offline’ the name came alive with ” Hello beautiful!”
But there was no turning back now, nimble fingers had already typed “Hey!” in response.
And before the head could harness the heart it was 12:40 a.m. and I waited with bated breath.
“I’m dialling….” said the last incoming line on the chat window.
The house was silent, apart from my heartbeat, the rustle of the leaves on the tree outside my window, a radio playing an old hindi song somewhere and a ticking clock. And just to prove how thick the silence was, the shriek of the telephone sheared it into pieces, making me jump.
I wrenched it off the cradle before it aroused the two souls living under the same roof.
“Hello Mrs. Ghosh!” said the voice from 18 years ago, bridging a couple of continents and more than a couple of seas between us.
“Hi, this is a pleasant surprise ! A veritable blast from the past!”
“And what a past it was! How is your present?”
Once again, I was sitting at the same desk, in the same class room, taking down the same Pythagoras Theorem with same Reynold’s 045 carbure tip, when the same voice spoke to me, “Mind if I sit next to you?” And that summer besides the desk we also shared our friends, laughters, heartbreaks, pains, dreams and all things 16.
For the next hour and half I sat there touching my yesterday, listening to the voice from yesterday and wondering about our yesterday.
Did she sound mellowed? Did she just say “romance resides only in novellas, not in real life”? Did her laughter sound strained? She, who was a rebel, with her unruly curls held back in a plait, her infectious, almost impish laughter brightening up an otherwise sombre Geography lesson, her nicknames for the XIIth grade teachers, everything came back to me in a deluge – also her rendition of “I’ll say a little prayer for you..”.
After all these years, I surprised myself. I remembered nearly everything about her, every little detail. And so did she. She remembered I was pathetic at singing but good at dramatics. She said I read a lot but mostly boring books. And she said I had a beautiful smile and remembered a boy who waited for me outside the school gates every Friday afternoon.
The moody midnight breeze brought in a whiff of the fragrentKamini, blooming in the dark of the night. She had long disconnected the call and had gone back to her present. I was sitting in my present, in a house lost in slumber, dreaming of tomorrow. But the rear window to my past remained open, connected with my yesterday.