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If Only I Could Turn Back Time

The coffee shop was not so crowded on the eve of Dussehra. Only a few people, who probably were not much into the festive frenzy, were seen relaxing over coffee and sandwiches. I would hang-out here with my mates when I was in college. The fumes emanating from that hot coffee had that same aroma which brought back reminiscences of the myriad times I came here with friends, and sometimes, a special friend who had a special place in my heart. It had some very heartbreaking memories of the past, but right now I just wanted to feel the blues of a nostalgic expedition that had always had a happy ending. 

Three years is not so long a time span, but it seemed as if things the way I knew them were gone. Only spirits of the forgotten were left to roam around, not realizing that Time has moved on while they were still stuck in the past. I sat there with my caffeinated drink, trying to feel the pleasure of being back in a city which wasn’t exactly my home but home to the education of my life. I could hear the BOOMs and BLASTs of the Raavan burning outside. The commotion was deafening with slogans of “JAI SHRI RAM” and “SIYA PATI RAM CHANDRA KI JAI” being raised. I had a sudden recollection of my roomies running to the DUSSHERA MAIDAN on this day, just to get a glimpse of the city girls.

I was here to meet her; knowing that this was the only time her father won’t have a problem with her staying out late at night. The Raavan was burnt at dusk and it took some time to find one’s way out from the confluence. The uproar from outside became more intense when the coffee shop door swung open to let in a family - a couple with a kid wearing a Hanuman mask and carrying a mace in his right hand. I could easily guess they were coming from RAMLILA MAIDAN and following them, came a cluster of people who occupied the entire coffee shop within seconds. Even through the swell of the crowd, my eyes centred on that couple and their kid.

Yes, that was her. So much had changed since the last time I set my eyes on her, three years back. She saw me and shied away. From the look in her eyes, I could see her, in a distant memory, lost in the cacophony which we used to create as a team, those copious times I had looked into her eyes to assure her that I was always there for her. I looked into her eyes yet again and smiled to relieve her of that guilt stemming from betrayal. No, that was not betrayal. We both played into the hands of Time and Fate. 

My coffee was cold now. I waited till all was quiet; everyone had gone by then, putting my hands in my rucksack, I pulled out a photo of both of us, clicked at the college festival, holding the trophy won at the debate competition. I gathered all my memories once again and moved towards the door and there she was, standing across the road, waiting. I took small steps, taking as much time as I could, to delay what came next.

We didn’t speak a word, yet a lot was said. I gave her the photo. She took it and looked at it. I could see her eyes welling with tears, which gave expression to my emotions as well. I just couldn’t...I had my limitations, and she was married. Then, betraying my bravado, I hugged her and kissed on her forehead. It had to end there for we were on different roads; she got the life that she wanted now, so I released my passion unto the heavens.

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Vasundhara Goyal
I eat when I am bored and I live by the quotes that explain exactly what I am going through. I fancy reading Archie comics for the love of my favourite character Jughead Jones and I tend to get attracted to guys with a persona like him. I am a loner and at times I search for lonely spots where I can just sit and daydream.


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