“Soul going into another body?” Madhu was in shock for a moment.
“The people to whom I have earlier narrated this story generally quit here because they think that I am crazy.” I said.
Madhu laughed. “I completely trust you. Please continue, I am eager to know what happened. One small question though.”
She paused “How long does your soul stay in Madhav’s body?”
“The witch told me that when the purpose is fulfilled the nature would separate my soul from his body.”
I resumed narrating” Life wasn’t easy when I was living Madhav’s life. Every day after the soul transformation it seemed like a training session for me in understanding this person, this new character. It took me a while to adjust with his body. He didn’t have a muscular body like me. It felt a bit awkward when my batch mates ragged me because Madhav was a junior to them. Living his life felt like doing Miss Divya’s class assignments for an entire day. Despite all this trauma, I could see one ray of happiness, Leela. Seeing her made me realise how important it was for me to be there. During lunch the whole gang sat at our common place, the canopies. I remained silent observing everyone. I felt that being a part in that conversation might raise suspicion about Madhav. So, I just sat there smiling and acknowledging everyone else. I heard Leela’s voice “The concept of love is a joke these days. There is a trust when two people love each other, which is not present these days. So, I don’t have time in my life for such false love.” Momentarily the conversation paused and Aditya asked me “Are you okay?”
I replied “Yeah I’m perfectly fine.”
I could see more eyes turning towards me. Then Aditya asked “Dude! How can you be so silent in the conversation? You are always the highlight of any conversation we have, even if you are clueless about it! Why this sudden change?”
I managed a weak laugh, “I am listening to everyone.”
Everybody around was looking at me as if I was going through some trauma. That day I realised that being silent can also cause so many confusions. The one important thing which I realised was that Leela never loved Madhav.
As exams were approaching our break hours turned into study hours. During this time Leela used to help Madhav. Madhav was dumb at academics, I was no great but relatively far better than him. Leela was trying to explain me the concept of internet. As it was very trivial I said “I studied about this concept in the previous year. It’s quite easy.”
Leela banged my head with the textbook and said “Madhav please try to be serious at least during the exams. This is our first year at college and this was never taught back in school. Read this topic by tomorrow.” She left the place. It was then I remembered that Madhav is in first year. I was struggling my way to be outspoken like Madhav but it wasn’t easy, many friends around me misunderstood my attitude and stopped talking to me. I was feeling dejected. Next morning Leela came to me with a fresh mood and asked “Did you complete the chapter?” I forgot to revise the chapter on the previous day.
I replied “No, I didn’t.”
Leela replied “What’s wrong with you? You are not talking to us like you used to do, you are not cracking jokes. You are not studying with me. You are ignoring all of us.”
Before I could say something she walked away from there disheartened. I went to the class but none of my friends were ready to sit with me. I felt sad and frustrated thinking about my life. Miss Divya walked in the class and I started feeling even more irritated as she wasn’t leaving me even after I have shifted my soul. I was lost in my thoughts when I heard Miss Divya shouting at Aditya “How can you be so irresponsible in your life? You don’t attend classes and in turn you are arguing with me on this concept.” All of a sudden I stood up and faced her “Not attending your classes doesn’t make us irresponsible maam. We spend quality time in reading by ourselves which is far better than attending your classes.” I could hear myself getting louder “He is perfectly correct in his explanation of the internet, he simply adapted a different way of explaining it than the conventional method.” There was a moment of silence in the class till I heard a round of applause. Unable to understand what I have done, I walked out of the class. I was sitting in the canteen and Leela came to me smiling and said “Our Madhav is back.” That day I saw a completely different Abhiram and I felt so light at that moment. I always wanted to go on a ride with Leela on my bike. When I asked she gently rejected by saying “If I sit on someone’s bike then that person is a special person in my life. Till date it was only my dad.” I felt dejected for a second. The one thing which I understood that day was she was the reason for my happiness.
Days passed I performed brilliantly in Madhav’s exams. Leela had not been coming to college since a couple of days. She wasn’t picking up my phone, I went to the beach side to see if she was there. She was sitting on the bench with a gloomy face. After looking at her it seemed like she did not sleep last night. I asked her “Did you by any chance see Leela around?”
She replied “I am Leela.”
“But the Leela which I am looking for has got a charm on her face.”
Her smile stopped mid-way “Not all days are the same Madhav. Sometimes we don’t find happiness in anything how much ever we try. I am in such situation.”
I thought for a minute. I then held her hand and asked “Do you trust me?” She said yes. I told her “I’ll take you to one place just come with me”. I took her to the orphanage where she spends her weekends with those kids. The kids stood up and wished her “Happy birthday Leela Di.” Tears rolled down her eyes and she was speechless. One of the kid who is dumb came close to her and made a gesture with his hand indicating her to smile. Leela also does this when someone is sad around her. She smiled and hugged him. She spent some time with them and finally came to me. Before she could speak something I said “Finally I found out that Leela I was searching for.”
She said “I do not celebrate my birthday because my dad passed away on the same day. Since the last two days I couldn’t get rid of his thought. I never thought this place would remind me of what happiness means. How did you get this thought?”
I replied “We are always quite unsure about where our real happiness lies Leela. You are really lazy but when it comes to weekends you make it a point to wake up early and come to this place. Your real happiness lies in spending times with these kids.”
She smiled “True indeed. But I never told about my weekend visit to anyone, how you came to know?”
I replied “Even though I appear to be quiet, I know these subtle things about you Leela.”
She laughed “From when did you become quiet?”
I managed to switch the topic before she had a new doubt.
At the end of that day I wished Leela and then said “You go back to hostel by bus. I’ll take my bike from the garage and then come back.”
She agreed. She accompanied me till the garage, I took my bike and then was guiding her to the nearby bus stop. Before I completed she sat behind me and said “Drop me.” I couldn’t believe if this was real until she told “I am so foolish that I was searching for that special person when he was around me all the time.” Smile splashed on my face. My bullet got a new rhythm that day. I dropped her at the hostel. She got down and I was about to leave when she turned back and said “Till this birthday I used to remember my dad but from now I’ll remember you. Because you gave me a reason to smile.” I felt content that day.
The next day Leela asked me to come near the clock tower. I went there. Leela started talking “You became an important part in my life. I used to figure out reasons not to love a person. But, you left me with thousand reasons to love you.”
She hugged me tight and said “I love you. From the beginning I loved you it is just that I realised it today.”
There was no limit for my happiness. It felt like I was living my dream.
“I was waiting for this from a long time Leela. Can you say that once again?”
She shouted “I love you Madhav.” At once I felt something wrong. The wind washed away the dust on the broken glass in which my eyes could see Madhav’s face and at the same time I could sense myself. My senses stopped working as I saw his face. A quick realisation set in that she was loving Madhav not Abhiram. I couldn’t stay there anymore. I wanted to meet the witch immediately so I told Leela that I had to leave. I hid my tears from her. As I was leaving she called after me. “Madhav! One last thing before you leave. Promise me that you would always be there for me in all the difficult times and in all the happy moments.”
I promised “I would always be there for you Leela.”
Suddenly I could feel a strong push. I felt lighter than usual and I could see both Leela and Madhav hugging each other. I was no longer living Madhav’s life. I could feel my tears but they weren’t rolling down. The nature separated my soul from his body.
The purpose is fulfilled…
(To be continued…)