She was returning to her city after 15 years and was amazed at the changes in the landscape. Tall buildings had replaced tall trees, gardens had been replaced by malls. Everything was shiny & bright but the simplicity and innocence seemed to be replaced by a strange uneasiness.
Sudden halt of the car brought her back from her reverie. After inspection, the driver told her that the car had broken down and would require some time to fix it. The journey from the airport to her parents house was already tedious & the thought of spending more time on the road made her scowl. She looked out of the window to know where they had reached. She moved out of the car & called up her mother to inform about the delay. As she was walking around, her eyes noticed a familiar sign. It looked like the same tea stall they used to frequent back in the golden days when she was still working in this city. She looked around and realised it was the same place. It had transformed so much that she had failed to recognise it. In those days, there was only one factory and couple of commercial buildings around. There was more green cover than now. The green cover was lost, replaced by buildings. The area had more options for food. Earlier there was only this one tea stall which catered to all types of people. She was amazed to be here in the same place on the same date she had been 15 years back.
She went to the tea stall and asked for a cutting tea. The tea stall owner was staring at her. Her clothes and demeanor didn’t gel with the rest of the crowd. She noticed the tea stall owner, or Anna, as they used to call him and gave him a smile. She enquired about him in the same style she used to. Looking at his puzzled face, she introduced herself & told him that she used to work in this area some years back. Anna recollected soon & they started chatting like old friends. She enquired about her old work place and her colleagues specially Mohan. He pointed to the new office & shared stories of people who had left and were still working here. Mohan was now at a big post but still came over for a cuppa!
Talking about Mohan made her remind of the time spent together. The fun at work, sharing of food & outings on Sundays all came back to her. She remembered how she had fallen in love with him and how nervous he used to make her. She had never hoped to have a chance with him as he always seemed to be surrounded by pretty women. On her last day she wanted to share her feelings with him but somehow words never reached her lips. She wondered what his personal life might be now. He would have married one of the beauties and would be father of adorable kids. She forgot all about her husband and kids and was consumed by the desire to meet him.
She informed the driver to wait for her as she was going to meet old friends and moved towards Mohan’s office. She hoped he also would be excited to meet her after all these years. When Mohan’s secretary informed him about who wanted to meet her, he rushed out of his cabin. He looked ecstatic and that made her happier!
They went to the office cafetaria and started chatting. Both seemed to have lots of questions for each other. She told her about her marriage, her shifting abroad and her kids. He talked about work and promotions and plans for future. She hesitatingly asked him about his family life, whether he was married. He was speechless for a moment and replied in negative. She was surprised and wanted to know the reason. He took a deep breath and looked into her eyes and said “I was in love with you but never found courage to tell you about my feelings”
She was shocked to say the least and almost fainted. She could hear him call her name. His voice seemed to be coming from far. Suddenly she felt water being splashed on her face. She opened her eyes and blinked. Everything looked different. Gone was the cafetaria. She and Mohan were seated on a bench near the tea stall. She was again a carefree 27 year old. She realised she had been dreaming while Mohan had gone to fetch tea for both of them. Mohan asked her what had gone into her. She looked at him and decided this time she wouldn’t wait for 15 years to know what future she could have had. She told him that she loved him deeply and the thought of being away from him had made her emotional. She lowered her eyes afraid to know his reaction. He held her hand and lifted her chin and asked “what made you think I would let you go away from me?”
She smiled her brightest smile! She had done the right thing. She had made her future perfect!