I was broken to the core. Living in a strange country with a familiar stranger whom I had made my family and who had eventually left me empty and shattered. It was a relationship I had invested my flesh and spirit in. Madly and lavishly. And when it would come to an end, it would bring me such much sadness and hopelessness which would cause my life to seem dreary and deserted. I was at a point in life where going back or moving forward didn’t make much of a sense as none of them was happening. Time had stopped for me. Growth had been plucked and the days and nights were all the same. Empty. Hollow. I had ran away.
My dear friend, a well wisher and at that point probably the only one who had bothered to get me out of my wretchedness was taking out his vehicle from his building. I stood at the gate staring blankly ahead. The area around was a quiet ensemble with few sounds coming in from an occasional bird overhead or a passing motorbike. There I saw a familiar face right across the lane. Karan. A friend from my school. An old friend with whom I used to share a deep bond of affection. An old forgotten friend. An old forgotten time. For a moment I couldn’t believe the sight but there he was, smiling that sweet smile. He had came out to see some of his friends off. They were exchanging pleasantries and goodbyes. How outlandish Karan looked. Lesser hair on his head. More hair in his beard. He had donned on a cool yet geeky look which told me that he had tried hard to fit in the foreign culture and had somehow found his fit. Yet when I saw him, I couldn’t quite make up my mind that he had given himself to this land. That he didn’t miss his roots. What he was. Where he came from. There was something about the way he moved or smiled that told me he missed home. He had settled abroad but a tiny corner of his heart still longed to go home. Or maybe my own thoughts were being reflected on him.
Karan turned around and went inside. He started to close the door when suddenly I waved at him. I wasn’t sure he’d seen so I outstretched my hands for him to see me. And then he saw me. He didn’t move an inch. He just stared and stared. As if trying to assign a meaning to that moment. As if trying to read my soul from my ruffled exterior. As if it was in that moment that God had heard him and was giving him what he had deeply desired. The expressions on his face softened and before long he was teary eyed. Something heavy inside had came up till his throat and the tears in the eyes were but an expression of his soul. And there it was. A look of family, a look of home on his face. I saw him and felt the same in my heart. In a place where everyone we knew was an outsider, meeting someone we had spent our childhood with was like getting a gift of life. I guess we both were alone and more than alone, we both were homesick at heart. And then I, with all my brokenness, stood there, tears flowing from my eyes. My friend came out and saw us and understood what had happened. He signaled me to wipe my tears but I was too lost. I walked over to the other side of the road and there was a taxi standing next to Karan. I didn’t even hug him. I was crying so bad. I placed my head at the gate of the taxi and cried profusely. Karan had tears in his eyes too.
In that moment, there stood the two of us. Crying at our emptiness. Or celebrating the joy of fulfillment of having found each other in that strange land. God only knows the reason why we met. But it was such an emotional dream. I woke up sobbing.