Story : The Weekend Evening

~Bikrant Koirala~Bikrant Koirala

It’s a cold winter evening, nothing so special. But if I corrected it as, it’s a cold weekend evening, then would it mean something to you. I better leave it for you to decide. If you ask about me, it would be just the same.

Well, the table is there, two filled chairs, one empty. The remaining tables all occupied. Of course, there are noises and a mild laughter hops here and there from time to time. Someone enters the scene, I better call her by name, Sapna. She grabs the empty chair, drags it towards her, cautiously places her brown woolen coat on it and joins the other two, Rajeev and Bivek. If you are wondering the three are going to have a good winter weekend with ample of booze and some loud talks then I must warn you, they belong to a different sect. It’s not about health nor it implies to the weight of their wallets. There is a thinking behind it, though simple but somehow a bit tedious for many of us to follow. They believe in a complete presence, in full consciousness, their thoughts and behavior unaltered while they are having a good time. So, instead of wine and whiskey glasses, some tea and coffee cups occupy their table.

Sapna pulls a book out of her bag, “I think you will like it.” She says and hands it to Bivek.

“Eat, Prey, Love.” Rajeev pronounces each word distinctly with a clear pause in between them. “Sounds interesting, I think he’s gonna like the last part most.”

“Rajeev, don’t be so mean.” Sapna looks at him and says.

Bivek, silent till the moment, goes through some pages of the book briskly. He takes a sip from his cup and says, “Yet another book, let’s see.”

The three talks for sometimes when a waiter arrives to take their additional orders. Sapna unknowingly opens up a topic, a topic rather simple in appearance but profound in nature. They wouldn’t have thought a topic out of blues would get that much space and would be the sole entity to occupy them for rest of the evening.

“Are these people really happy?” Sapna asks.

“If smiles, laughs and talks are signs of happiness, then of course they are.” Bivek replies.

“I doubt.” Rajeev interrupts.

“What?” Sapna says.

“I doubt that they are happy. And in the first place, to know whether they are happy or not we all should know which happiness we are talking about.”

“Isn’t there only one kind of happiness?” Bivek asks.

“Sapna, tell me, what do you think happiness really means?” Rajeev puts his question.

“It’s a feeling when we are not sad.”

“I agree with her.” Bivek says.

“So for you happiness is something that fills up the void which sadness has left behind. And what if I say the converse, that sadness is a feeling when you are not happy. Do you agree with this?”

“Yes, most of the times.” Sapna answers, while Bivek expresses his approval with a mild nod.

“So it means, along with happiness sadness is bound to occur and as I recall someone had said before, sadness grows in the shadow of happiness.” Rajeev opines.

For a moment Bivek and Sapna remain silent when finally looking at the plates on their table Bivek inquires, “So you mean we should be like these tomatoes and carrots, completely feelingless.”

“No, I am not telling you to be vegetables…” Rajeev tries to explain but Sapna interrupts in middle, “So, what you really want to say.”

“Ok, let’s try this, you were happy to get the scooter you were in great need of, weren’t you?” Rajeev asks.

“Yes, of course.”Sapna answers.

“And what happened a week later?”

“Obviously I was sad and a bit angry too, and who wouldn’t be seeing the brand new scooter flat on ground with mirrors and tail light broken and not to mention about the scratches.”

“Angry? You were mad. Rajeev, she nearly punched that taxi driver.” Bivek adds in middle.

“What I mean is the same scooter made you happy, and later it turned you sad.” Rajeev says stirring his soup with a spoon.

“So you think we shouldn’t own anything to remain happy.”Bivek asks.

“No, it’s about attachment.” Rajeev says and further continues, “The moment we get something we should be ready to give it up anytime as if it never belonged to us.”

“So, you mean real happiness lies within renunciation not among gain. Though it may sound wise but Rajeev don’t you thing it becomes absurd when it comes to reality.” Sapna says and squeezes some ketchup on top of her noodles.

“Yes, exactly. That is why the path to happiness isn’t that easy to walk on.”

The three continue with their food and talks when something make them stop and stare towards a table in the corner. A man begins to shout abruptly, tries to stand, of course uses some swear words too and others pull him down, say something to calm him. The scene rolls for sometimes when finally they succeed in their attempt and the things return to their normalcy.

“Looks like someone is very sad.” Bivek says.

“It seems the thing meant to make him happy, instead turned him sad.” Rajeev adds.

“Of course.” Says Sapna, and with it a faint giggle mingles among the three.

Bivek plays with pepper shaker on the table, sees Rajeev and Sapna engaged with forks and spoons. He then places the shaker back to its place and with a soft tone says, “I saw her today.”

“Let’s not talk about it.” Sapna says.

“No, let him.” Rajeev insists.

For a good deal of time Bivek says nothing until Rajeev speaks, “Aren’t you going to talk?”

“Till now, I am not able to figure out what really happened and why?”Bivek finally says.

“Past is past, you should move on. And it was her choice not yours.” Sapna expresses

“But all those years, didn’t she like me at all.”Bivek blurts with a glum looking face.

“Isn’t that obvious, if she had she wouldn’t have left you like this.” In no time Sapna replies.

“I wouldn’t take it that way.” Rajeev says as he inches a glass full of water towards him.

“No, the matter is clear” Sapna says and looking at Rajeev adds, “You cannot have a different opinion in this.”

“Go on Rajeev, I would like to hear it.” Bivek persists.

“Nothing is permanent, and nothing remains with us forever and to tame an idea that something or someone should be with us forever is an utter act of stupidity, complete foolishness I would say.”

“Ok, Bivek might have been stupid but don’t you blame her for the obvious fault on her part.” Sapna says and fixes her glance down to her wrist watch.

“It’s not about faults, or who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s about if she likes Bivek or not. Irony it seems but in my view, she left him because she likes him.” Rajeev says with a confident looking face.

“And how’s that, could you explain?” Sapna asks casually (but of course with a slight trace of contempt).

“If I seek something in a person and doesn’t find it, necessarily, it doesn’t mean I don’t like that person. Rather I start looking for other options, that’s what the nature is all about. But if I continue living with the very person, it only means inviting more troubles and restricting happiness to thoughts only. So for the sake of both, I leave the very person, and that’s what she did.” Rajeev tells as the remaining two listen to him in silence.

The weekend evening as I mentioned earlier slowly begins to take the color of night. The tables and chairs are once again left vacant and at rest. The street lamps with their pale glow stand promisingly. Sapna moves her scooter out of the parking lot while Rajeev and Bivek wait under one of the street lamps.

Rajeev looks at the scooter and says, “Looks ok to me with new mirrors and lights.”

“Yes, but the scratches, they are still intact.” Sapna says as she puts her helmet on.

“Yeah, some memories, they are good sometimes, aren’t they?” Rajeev says and looks at Bivek who stands by his side clutching the book in his hand.

(Source : Sajha Dot Com)

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