“Aah! Love the smell of the first rains…It’s so simple yet feels so warm like the earth is hugging you…”Laila said entering the room. She tried hard to close the old umbrella but failed. She threw it behind the door. “How long have you been waiting?”
“You haven’t changed…” Said Kunal, “You still get joy in little things. I hate the smell…I ”
“Yeah.. I remember you feel as if someone put soil in your mouth…” Laila laughed.
“Times like these are so strange…They often take you on a trip to memory lane.” Kunal sipped the hot brewing coffee and looked out of the window. The droplets touching his face and wetting the papers on the table didn’t bother him.
Laila went closer to Kunal and stood beside him. “The wind feels so refreshing and wild at the same time. It messes with my hair but the moment it stops I start missing it.”
“You don’t miss him?” Kunal looked straight in Laila’s wide eyes which were looking at the dancing trees. The smile on Laila’s lips was about to fade. Her eyes were about to give up the thin tear forming but then she smiled even brighter. Her eyes glistened as she took a deep breath and looked at Kunal.
“I sometimes wish that time should stop in some beautiful moments. The moments where I feel truely alive. Moments were I forget about the world.” She went close to the window glass and wrote on the fogged glass with her finger…Vijay.
“But the times you wished did the time actually stop?” Kunal turned his back towards Laila to hide his tears. He cleared his throat. “We wished many things…But…”
“We cannot get everything! Life is a story of getting and not getting.” Laila still smiled. “Why do you hide your tears? It’s okay to cry Kunal.”
“It’s been like six years Laila…Six years since the three of us haven’t played as a band. Why is it so hard even after so many years?”
“You remember last time we played…You almost fought with Vijay for the lyrics!”
“Yeah…” Kunal finally looked at Laila and smiled, “and you slapped both of us. He stormed out of this room and went in the rain…”
“We dreamed of becoming the biggest band…” Laila absentmindedly interrupted, “If vijay was here in this reunion, the girls would have still gone crazy for him.”
“He was a show-off. That brat. He was so arrogant… Ill-behaved… mannerless. But still I miss him. Why did he take his bike that day Laila? Why didn’t we stop him? Why did I fight with him? I feel guilty Laila…It’s like a stone on my chest. It grows bigger and heavier each day.”
“The stone…I too was burdened with the stone. It got smaller and smaller once I forgave myself. It was nobody’s fault Kunal. What could have happened! We could have not faught that day. We could have not rehearsed that day. He is gone. But look! he is still with us…You asked whether the time stopped or not…It did for me Kunal. Can’t you hear us singing, fighting, laughing…Rainy days like this, our guitars, the hot tea from the canteen and this music room…”
“And the smell of the rain…”, Kunal closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “Time stopped indeed”.