Ghosts Of The Past - II

Ghosts Of The Past - I

She looked over to the horizon, morning had long ago set its impression on the sky and the sun was warming the surrounding. She removed her shoes and decided to walk some distance feeling the soft grass under her barefoot. The grass was still wet with dew and she loved the wet feeling under her feet. As if stimulated by that wetness, her eyes became wet and tears slowly kissed her cheeks. She cried silently for the past she had thought she had left behind. But now, at this moment, everything but that seemed the truth.
She remembered her mother as she had seen her in the last days of her life. Caroline tried hard to remember the real person her mother was when she was healthy but it was in vain. She did remember few moments she had spent with her mother but her mother’s eyes almost always were melancholic.

Caroline wiped her tears and started walking towards the lake. She went closer to the lake and noticed the stillness. She wished to be still like the lake but today her emotions were turbulent. She stepped into the cold water and felt relieved of the stress for some time. She looked as far as she could towards the horizon and whispered, “I miss you mother.” Tears accumulated in her eyes again.
She thought of the day when her mother had died leaving her in custody of father Joseph. He had then written to Caroline’s father asking him to take her home. Her father had arranged for Caroline to be taken to Los Angeles but he himself had not come. Caroline remembered her first day in her father’s house. She could understand that as a busy man her father had not come to India to bring her to Los Angeles. She also accepted that he must have not found the time to receive her at the airport, but she did not understand why her father did not even come at the door to receive her. Caroline was showed to her room by the servant of the house and as Caroline entered her room and the door was closed behind her, all of a sudden Caroline got the feeling that she was in some sort of prison. Her father did not come to meet her in the room either. During meal times they both sat on the same table but as strangers. Since the day she entered the house she was terrified of her father. There were times when she had tried to get close to her father but he had always maintained distance from her as if he did not like her presence, but one day...

Suddenly Caroline’s mobile rang. She took out the mobile from her jeans pocket and saw the missed call. It was Aakash’s call. She was not aware how much time she had been standing there. She looked at her wristwatch, her first lecture must have been over by now and Aakash must have called to ask her as to when she would return home. She sent a message to Aakash that she would be on her way home soon as she did not intend to attend any more lectures for the day. She walked back to the bench, picked up her shoes and then walked towards the car. She moved out of the place feeling a little light at heart. Before returning home she bought some roses and drove to a graveyard. She kept the roses on a grave. The headstone mentioned the name of the inhabitant as Mary Thomas. She stood silently for some time and then walked out. On way back home she bought few more roses. As soon as she reached home she switched on her computer even before changing her clothes. As the programs were being loaded she removed her overcoat and put the flowers in the vase on her desk.

She logged on to net and as her yahoo messenger loaded she found Aakash online waiting for her. It was their regular routine since the day they had confessed their love for each other. They always begun and ended their days by chatting with each another. There was still time for Aakash to go to bed as Caroline had come home earlier but even if she was late he always waited for her. Without wasting much time she sent him a message

Caroline: I am home
Aakash: Hi. Missed you
Caroline: Missed you too.
Aakash: Well! I am sorry for the morning episode Carol :)
Caroline: Are you free to talk about had happened?
Aakash: Nothing had happened. Just that I was so eager to come home and tell you something and the bus was delayed, mobile’s battery was empty, and there was no electricity when I reached home. The frustration had built up and I took it out on you.
Caroline: It is ok. What was it that you wanted to tell me?
Aakash: I have got a promotion :D \:D/
Caroline: Congratulations! <:-p Time for party … when are you coming here? Miss you love >:D< Aakash: Miss you too but you know it is not possible to come there as yet. Caroline: I understand …

After that Aakash told her the details and they chatted till it was time for Aakash to go to bed. Caroline switched off her computer and changed her clothes. She lied down on her bed as she had the entire afternoon to herself. She thought how foolish it was of her to think that Aakash was upset about something when in reality he wanted to share the good news of his promotion. Caroline promised herself that she would try harder not to treat Aakash the way she did. Even if he had liked it initially it was obvious that the man in him would not accept being treated like this by a woman he loved. As a friend, Caroline’s actions were justified but as a lover, she knew she was wrong. She had, by now, realized that Aakash was one of those many who hated being dominated and questioned. This did not change anything for her; she loved him as he was including the drawbacks. Caroline shifted in bed and pulled over the pillow to her chest. She lay on bed for some more time hugging the pillow.

When she woke up after a short sleep she walked to the kitchen to arrange for her dinner before she left for her job as a waitress in nearby food joint. Caroline’s supper had consisted of a burger from the food joint and now she was feeling hungry. She decided to try her hand on the Indian dish Aakash had told her about while chatting. He had mentioned that it was his favorite dish. Caroline opened the refrigerator and took out the vegetables she had bought yesterday on way back home. She set everything on the platform and went to her room to get her diary.
After spending more than half an hour to cook the dinner, Caroline finally settled for the packed food in the refrigerator because she was not satisfied with her cooking skills. She knew there would not be much of problem as Aakash knew how to cook but as his wife it would then be her responsibility to serve him dishes she had prepared. Caroline smiled when she thought as to how Aakash would have reacted to her current cooking skills. She finished her dinner and threw the half cooked and half burnt vegetable, her futile attempt at cooking, in the trashcan.

After cleaning up the house she got ready to go to her job. Walking a few blocks she reached the food joint. She loved her job. It not only kept her busy for the remainder of the day but also helped her cope up with the expenses. Mary Thomas had left all her savings in Caroline’s name, left a house for her, in which Caroline currently lived. Enough had been already done and Caroline was earning the top ups required for day to day living. Caroline did not live lavishly and she liked the way she lived, simple. As soon as she entered the food joint Caroline put on her apron and got busy.

In India, as Aakash lay on bed trying to sleep he remembered the day when Caroline had come in his life. He was casually surfing the net when he had come across her blog and had liked it after reading. He had realized that every post she wrote though depicted the brighter side of life there was hidden painful truth behind it. He was tempted to post a comment on her blog and he had set up a blog for himself only because her blog accepted comments from registered users. Aakash smiled to himself when he thought of Caroline’s reaction on his comment. He knew that even she had felt the same strange thing he had felt in his heart and that was the main reason why she did not feel biased to communicate with him. Over a period of time they started exchanging mails and chatting on yahoo messenger.

Then came the day when Aakash had confessed his feelings for her during one of the chats. He had then called her up and expressed the same feelings over the phone too. Caroline had asked for some time to think before replying. Aakash had agreed to wait. After few days Caroline had confessed her feelings in her own style and that had marked the beginning of their wonderful relationship.
Caroline even visited India once and they met. Even though they had exchanged photographs by now, when he saw her for the first time he was spell-bound and he loved her even more. He had to accept that she was prettier than what she looked like in her photograph. Visualizing her in his thoughts Aakash drifted into sleep.
There were two reasons Caroline had come to India. After her mothers death when Caroline had come to Los Angeles she never got the chance to visit her mother’s grave because her father did not allow her. Also, Caroline was terrified of her father and could never gather the courage to ask for the permission to go to India to visit her mother. Caroline was never allowed to go to places even in the neighborhood and hence India was too far a place to visit alone and her father accompanying her was impossible. Caroline’s educational life was limited to her room with a tutor. Mary Thomas, her tutor, was the only woman Caroline came across. Caroline’s father and his servant were the other two people who were part of her life. Since the day she left her father’s life and started living with Mary, Caroline never missed her mother because Mary loved Caroline as her mother would have loved her. But, after Mary’s death, Caroline felt the need to come to India to visit her mother’s grave and seek some answers from Father Joseph or whoever could offer help. Caroline came to India and was received by Aakash at the Bombay airport. After spending some time with Aakash she had then taken a flight to Goa to visit her mother and talk to Father Joseph.

Father Joseph was an old man now but still he immediately recognized Caroline when she told him about Maria, her mother. He told her that he had seen her mother grow up as a child into a woman; he had seen her fall in love with a tourist and had also united them in the holy bond of marriage. However, when Caroline had asked him some questions he had not provided answers to them. Neither father Joseph nor anyone else was of any help to Caroline. She visited her mother’s grave and offered her prayers. She spent some time there looking at the grave as if her mother was going to answer her questions from within the grave. After a while she wiped her tears and walked out. She returned to Bombay and met Aakash again. They spent time together whenever Aakash found time out of his busy schedule. Caroline stayed in a hotel but she had spent one Sunday in Aakash’s house. The moment they were in the house Caroline had closed the door behind her and had taken the initiative to kiss Aakash. For a moment Aakash was taken aback but then he responded too. Their love, burning desire to hold each other kept them in embrace for a long time. Both of them knew that they wanted the kiss to be the key to the gate of a wonderful world they wished to enter but stronger was their willpower to end it with only a kiss. The time Caroline spent with Aakash was a wonderful phase of their relationship. The expression of love kept coming in the form of hugs and kisses but they never went beyond that. After few days Caroline had returned to Los Angeles and the moment she left Aakash knew that he would be missing her a lot.

The next time when they both met on yahoo messenger Aakash had put forth the proposal for marriage and as he had expected it was not immediately accepted by Caroline. He knew she was a woman who thought before taking any decision and he liked it that way. There was a very important issue from Caroline’s point of view. According to Aakash there was no need to think about it but Caroline had to seriously consider this point. Whenever the topic of marriage came up the matter used to reach at a question and the answer was not clear in Caroline’s mind. The question was – where would the couple settle after marriage. Caroline had her own reasons for not leaving Los Angeles as did Aakash have his own for not leaving India. Caroline was attached to that place only because the land had given shelter to the woman who was like her mother. Leaving Los Angeles would have meant going away from her. Caroline had to complete her education. But this was not of concern because Aakash was ready to wait till she completed her course. Aakash was reluctant to leave India because of his job. Caroline tried to convince him that he could get a good job in Los Angeles but that did not change anything.

Even today, this question was of the same seriousness as it had been. Caroline’s attachment to the place was educational but more than that it was emotional. Aakash’s attachment was professional.
They finally decided to give time to this aspect of their relationship.
They continued to chat and spend time together on the internet expressing their love with virtual hugs and kisses but this had to end some day. If they really considered a future together they had to reach at a decision. Both of them knew this perfectly well.

Ghosts Of The Past - III