Ida and Uso considered each other soul mates. They were a very young couple, a couple in their teens. They were deeply, madly and badly, intensely and profoundly passionately in love. They were more than sure that they would be together till eternity. They believed that they were destined to be with each other not only in this life but in all their other lives to come. Most of the people want to attain nirvana and transcend the mortal bindings that keep them in the deplorable cycle of births and rebirths; Ida and Uso didn’t. Theirs was a fairy tale.
Well, their love story might be dreamistic but they lived in realistic world. Their high school had ended and they had to go to college. Ida had studied Arts and Uso Science. They weren’t very hopeful about studying in the same college but they were happy with the fact and knew it for sure that they would be in the same city. They had even planned everything out. They were young hearts oblivious to the countless labyrinthine hurts that tortuous tricks of fate could inflict.
They say love is blind, it’s not. Love is short sighted. Love limits its view to the propitious sceneries that promise perpetual illusory happiness. Watch it; the jellyfish looks beautiful. Touch it; your condition will be pitiful.
Life cannot be an amorous affair of happiness and destiny. Affliction butts in to reaffirm the heterogeneity of nature.
In the course of precarious ego hassles and acute tussles between Ida’s parents, her wishes were sacrificed. Ida’s parents decided that it’ll be good for her if she is sent off to another city to pursue her studies. Ida had loving parents, but they were strict too. Ida’s copious sobs, boisterous rants, deliberately obtuse behaviour made no difference to the decision made by her parents. The decision was put to action immediately. Whether by choice or by force she had to abide by her parents’ wishes. Ida loved her parents, and didn’t want their anguish to be multiplied manifolds due to her actions, yet she couldn’t tame her relentless wails.
Every dark cloud has a silver lining, even though frail and bleak; Ida's parents had decided that they'll move with her to the new city. Her father had applied for a transfer and it was granted.
It was a bolt from the blue for Uso. He fell silent when Ida informed him about the catastrophe. Uso didn’t utter a single word. Ida wept and wept, Uso didn’t say a thing; neither did he empathize nor sympathize.
Finally, the day arrived when they had to part. Ida, with teary eyes and a trembling voice said to Uso, “We are one, our souls are united. It’s not our ‘lives’ but our ‘life’ and we won’t let it crash and burn, before our eyes. We can find ways to be with each other whenever we have our vacations. We can always talk over the phone, as we do everyday for hours. We can even talk over the internet, for free; she chuckled softly in her sobs.” Ida tried to crack a silly joke and make Uso speak at least, if not make him smile; but in vain. Silence dawned upon the ambience, which was till then filled with Ida’s unflagging harangues. Ida knew something was terribly wrong with Uso, judging by his abnormal reticence. She knew him. She knew that he would open up eventually and tell her everything, but she wanted to know it fast; she wanted to know what was bothering Uso so much that he wasn’t even speaking to her. Still, she didn’t push the matter too hard. Ida said, “I am missing you already. I love you”. She didn’t bid adieu; she had never ever said a goodbye to Uso; she knew they would always be together. Uso, nodded his head and gestured that he felt the same. Ida left.
Ida reached her new house, which was yet to become her home. She called Uso to let him know that she had reached safely; the call was rejected. On her way, she had tried to call Uso a number of times, but he didn’t answer Ida’s calls. She left a couple of voice messages for Uso. She expected a text message at least in reply; she checked her cellphone every now and then first hoping and then hoping against hope that ‘one new sms’ would pop up on the screen of her cellphone; but nary a sms arrived.
The journey of a day and a half left Ida completely exhausted; she yawned, still waiting for a call or a sms. More than the exhaustion from the journey, she was fatigued mentally because of the unnerving turbulence and the obnoxious anxiety that had been eating her up all this while. She could listen to the excruciating shrieks of Uso’s silence. It felt as if her ears were bleeding; the screams were killing her. She had cried a lot, yet tears were born, burning her eyes. It felt as if a redundant few drops of lemon were being ruthlessly forced out of an already, totally squeezed helpless slice. Ida closed her eyes, and slumber took over her.
Uso and Ida had affluent parents. Paying their phone bills was never a big deal. They talked over the phone for hours at a stretch. From their never ending conversations to no conversation was an abrupt metamorphosis.
Ida’s cellphone beeped continuously for sometime; ‘six new sms’ flashed on the screen.
It was from an unknown number.
- “Ida, you know that my father used to work in a MNC. He used to get a handsome salary and so I’d never paid heed to how much money I waste. My relationship with my father was a give-me-money-and-I-will-be-happy sort of an affair.”
- “It was good; it was great in fact. I led a lavish lifestyle and neither my father nor I ever cared about changing it. Actually my father did care, but gave up when he realised that I ignored him point blank. I’d never felt even a speck of guilt for squandering my father’s hard earned money.”
- “The college I’ve taken admission in required a hefty sum to be paid as the admission fee. That has been paid. Now due to Global recession, the company my father used to work in has suffered huge losses and has been shut down. He is jobless”
- “At my father’s age and given the present scenario, it’s awfully tough to get a new job. He is already in a lot of debt and to support our various tantrums and wild wishes the bank accounts have also been somewhat depleted and are in a dismal state.”
- “I want to stand by my father now, but I don’t know what to do. I am clueless. I thought of sharing this with you that day when I called you up but I found you crying and listened to our other part of misfortune. I was aghast, I couldn’t say anything.”
- “I think I need to figure this whole thing out. I need some time by myself. I love you and I always will. – Uso”
Ida called up the number immediately and found it switched off. She tried to call Uso’s actual cellphone number and found it to be ‘not reachable’. She tried calling at his landline number and no one answered the call. She called up Uso’s friends and asked them about him, but they could hardly help. How can someone vanish just like that?
Ida wanted to run to Uso and hug him tightly and say; “Don’t worry, everything’s going to be alright. I love you.” Alas! They weren’t in the same city anymore.
It seemed like ages had gone since Ida listened to Uso’s voice.
Ida tried calling Uso for days, but she never did succeed, even for once.
Ida felt stranded. She didn’t speak to anyone for days. Her parents got worried and put her under proper medication. She didn’t quite recover from the shock but she made genuine efforts to get better, at least for her parents who loved her so much.
She had sent many a letter to Uso’s address but there wasn’t a reply, ever.
Ida became normal or appeared to be normal, gradually.
Ida made new friends there; of whom Sar and Kev were the closest. Sar lived in the house next to Ida’s while Kev was her classmate at college. She had shared her story with them and even showed them Uso’s pictures. They loved Ida and they were hopeful that Uso would miraculously appear someday; although he was answerable to Ida for innumerable actions of his and owed her apt explanations for his inane idiosyncrasies which accounted for Ida’s acute depression and ill health; and of course happiness.
Uso had started tutoring pupils so that he can earn some money on his own. Defying his earlier self; now he felt bad about asking money from his father, under those circumstances. Ida was on his mind all the time, but he never called her or sent her a letter.
Months had passed. Uso had saved quite an amount of money by then; sufficient for what he wanted to do. Uso checked the sender’s address on the envelope from one of Ida’s letters. He set out on his mission, his pursuit of happiness, err Ida. He wanted to surprise her. It was the day when Uso had expressed his love for Ida in words, for the first time a few years ago.
Uso reached the city where Ida lived. He booked a cab to Ida’s home, but asked the cab driver to stop by a flower shop before reaching the destination. Uso wanted to buy a rose for Ida, just like he used to, earlier. There was a marketplace near Ida’s house and the cab driver chose to stop there.
Before Uso could dismount from his seat, he recognized the girl at the shop, with a rose in her hand. It was Ida. But who was the person whom she was holding onto? Who was he, whom Ida had embraced so firmly, whose shirt was getting soiled by her tears?
Uso was dumbfounded. He knew it was all his negligence and vice that accounted for this fiasco. He had not cared about Ida, he was too busy with himself. He had pushed her away.
Uso instructed the cab driver to take him back to the railway station.
Sar who was in a nearby shop fetching some stationery for Ida, saw Uso in the cab. She had seen him in photographs and wasn’t sure if it was really him.
Sar went up to Ida and told her that she had seen someone resembling Uso sitting in a cab a few while ago. Ida ruled it out as an emphatically preposterous notion, as the person in question was Uso and it was so uncharacteristic of him. She knew him. She dismissed it as mere jest, but wished, hoped and prayed that it was true and she would be able to meet Uso.
Ida had not forgotten their special day. She had gone to the market to buy a rose for Uso and a few sheets of designed paper to write a letter to him. After buying the rose she could not help but burst into tears, as the very sight of the rose reminded her of Uso. She hugged Kev, who was giving her company, in her harrowing angst. She needed someone to lean on to. She was feeling very weak.
It was then that Uso had noticed Ida and misconstrued the whole scenario.
Uso returned home, shattered and crestfallen.
He didn’t want to be obdurate and continue making things tougher for Ida. He wanted her to be happy. He took a piece of paper and inscribed a few lines on it. He put in a few petals of rose in the envelope along with the piece of paper and sealed it. Wiping away the tears with his hands he affixed the stamps on the envelope with glue. He dropped his letter in the letter box. It was addressed to Ida.
Glue mixed with tears can have poor adhesive properties. The stamps didn’t stay glued to the envelope. Moreover, Uso didn’t notice that he hadn’t mentioned the pin code of the addressee and nor had he mentioned the sender’s address.
Ida started writing her letter to Uso.
She wrote a long letter at first and then tore it into pieces. A rush of a multitude of emotions overwhelmed her and made her think otherwise. She wanted to know- does Uso love her anymore, did he ever love her? Couldn’t Uso just spare a few thoughts for ‘them’, for her? She jotted down a few lines quickly on a rough piece of paper. She put in a few thorns from the stalk of the rose she had purchased. She sealed the envelope and got ready to go and post it. With another mood swing of hers and the unconscious inclusion of former forsaken inhibitions she decided that it was enough; why should she be the one to send countless letters without any reply like an oaf. She put the letter in her drawer.
Uso’s letter :
“Love seeketh not Itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hell’s despair.”
- William Blake (The Clod and the Pebble)
Ida’s letter :
“Love seeketh only self to please,
To bind another to Its delight,
Joys in another’s loss of ease,
And builds a Hell in Heaven’s despite.”
- William Blake (The Clod and the Pebble)
They would never know again-
They were soul mates.
p.s. - This story was written in a lamentable state of mind and that too in a hurry. Please, ignore the grammatical and typographical errors; the post has not been properly edited. The story is factually fictional and the abruptness is impurely intentional.