Sitting in the stark white hall with fluorescent lighting, Sureshan saw the scenes of his life flash by. School was a distant memory now. All Sureshan remembered was a petite, fair and demure girl who always sat on the first bench. She laughed with a twinkle in her eyes and his heart missed a beat.
Theirs was one of the best schools in Mumbai. The city’s rich and famous pulled all strings to get their kids into Scottish High. They both were privileged yet grounded. He found himself attracted to her simplicity and serene beauty.
A studious boy he didn’t indulge in the antics and pastimes of the rich spoilt brats. The great old school library was his haven. Now a tall, well built and handsome man, as a boy he was shy but always had a pleasing personality topped with intellect and compassion.
He wanted to become a pilot in the Indian Air force and was focused on his goal right from the beginning. School and then NCC was his passion in that order. He followed both with devotion and became what he wanted to.
Last year when he had seen Ruchita in that coffee shop near the school all the memories had come flooding back. They were all here for the 8th reunion of their batch and Sureshan was attending it for the first time. Ruchita was still the same petite and demure girl. She had looked more sophisticated and stylish yet a little offbeat and too thin. “Must be dieting “, he had thought, “all young women these days took their fitness seriously, sometimes too seriously”.
He had suddenly felt butterflies in his stomach. He had been looking for this girl since he was commissioned. He was in love with her since school. He had always known where she lived when and was glad when he found out that her residence was still the same yet he didn’t have the guts to approach her.
In the coffee shop that day they just exchanged a hello and then were swept away by their respective friends. Amit, his best buddy had noticed the furtive glances of both.
He knew Ruchita well . He offered to help but told Sureshan that it won’t be easy. Sureshan was now flummoxed . “Why?”he asked. Amit said, “ Ruchita herself will tell you.”
A meeting was arranged. Parents met and the wedding date was decided. It was a fairy tale wedding on a cruise.
Today was their last day of honeymoon. Ruchita was crying and Sureshan was wiping her tears. “I told you it won’t be easy”, she said. “Who wants easy? I only want you”, joked Sureshan. Lets go and get it over with.
The ambulance was waiting at the airport. Her chemotherapy was to start immediately. She only had a year or so to live. He was prepared to love her for eternity.
His eternity was limited to the corners of her mouth when she smiled and the twinkle in her eye when he said I love you.