It had been a long flight. Ashish should have been feeling sleep deprived and jet lagged instead he felt full of energy. He deboarded the plane, collected his baggage and left from the airport with a smile on his face. Next, he hired a taxi, looking at the number of bags he had – it should have taken him home but again no, it was for “The Palace” Mall. He was headed to meet his love of life Shraddha after 6 long months. The excitement was but natural.
It was during their last meeting that they had decided to meet at “The Palace” Mall. Ashish had to be away for work. He had not known at that time how Shraddha would react but she had been completely supportive and had just said “We will be meeting at “The Palace Mall” the day you are back”. She had answered all of Ashish’s doubts in just one sentence. Ashish had given her a whole-hearted smile. Shraddha had understood him even when he had not said a word. Being with her, hearing her voice gave him a satisfaction he had not experienced before. At that moment he had felt secure and happy and no need to say a word to describe his situation. He had planted a kiss on her forehead and had said goodbye with eyes that were brimming with love and hope to meet again.
Shraddha was Ashish’s safe haven. He had called her daily from Venice. His office had sent him there to attend a workshop. He would get free in the evening and the first thing he did was call her. Shraddha had waited for his call daily. She would ask him how his day was and always gave him a reason to smile.
Surviving a long distance relationship for 6 months was not a mean deal and they both were very much aware of this. They both had put in efforts to keep their relationship fun and going and it was because of the efforts that Ashish was standing in “The palace” Mall waiting for Shraddha.
Ashish was standing there holding the railings of the first-floor balcony in the mall with both his hands. For the last 5 minutes, he was looking in the direction he knew Shraddha would come from.
He finally saw a tall and thin girl emerging from a white cab, she was paying the driver. She had medium length hair that she had left open. She was wearing a flowy white Kurta and white leggings and had oxidized metallic bangles in one hand. She had kept her wallet in other hand and then turned as if looking for someone she knew. She could see the tall Ashish standing on the first floor, He was wearing a red and green checked shirt with black pants, there was a loose watch dangling on his right hand and his hair had an appearance of overgrowth. He also had 1 cm of beard growth. He did look tired from travel but she could see a fly in his gait when he turned to come to her. Shraddha could see how happy he was after seeing her. Their eyes met. Shraddha could not control her lips from forming into a smile. She could only see Ashish turning towards the exit of the mall to meet her. She too was pacing to meet him.
They both met just outside the entrance of the mall and kept staring at each other for a couple of minutes. They did not know what to do. They were smiling but it seemed their eyes just could not get enough of each other. Six months seemed a long time now. They had braved the long time waiting for this meeting but now when they were facing each other finally, every effort that was keeping them from falling apart was giving way. They had to hold the moment somehow or any one of them could break.
It was Ashish who broke the silence and said: “Should we go inside?”
Shraddha suddenly came back to her senses and now, took into account the surroundings. Finally, looking away from his eyes she said: “Oh! yeah, why are we standing outside in so much heat”.
They went inside “The palace” mall, they had visited this place multiple times before Ashish had taken off and they had a pet place where they would stand for hours and keep talking. But Shraddha held his hand and said: “Let’s go and sit somewhere, you look tired from travel.”
Ashish had some other plans “Let’s just go to our usual place for 5 minutes and then we can find someplace to sit”.
They reached the corner that they both knew very well. The setting sun was providing perfect lighting for a photograph. Ashish took out his phone and said: “I have imagined this moment so many times in my head, I want to capture it and keep it with me forever”
He took out his phone and held it in front for a selfie and clicked it. Here it was – a pic with both of them smiling and their eyes describing their feelings. The picture was a masterpiece because what other time could Ashish have captured such a mix of emotions – the photograph captured a bit of disappointment of meeting after such a long time, but it also portrayed the happiness because the wait was over and most of all it was full of hopes for a bright future.