it was a nice evening. it had stopped raining and the sun was fighting its way out of the clouds. SHE had an off day at work so SHE decided to go to her usual place to be alone and think. SHE often came here,it was a quiet premises of a temple. SHE came here when she felt down,confused,happy or sometimes just for the sake of being with herself.SHE hardly went inside to bow her head to the almighty,that was never the goal. SHE chose the temple because it was just the place left where people respected privacy,where you could spend hours doing nothing and nobody would be bothered,SHE could hardly hear her own voice in the craziness of her life.
so SHE came and sat on her usual bench, saying a silent thank you to the pandits for keeping the place clean. it had just been a while and she was lost in her thoughts when HE came and sat beside her. SHE was a little angry then there were many other benches where he could go and sit. SHE looked at him and cursed her luck,”why do you have attract male attention thats just turned 60? you have a talent. couldnt it be a nice handsome guy who could choose to give you company.but no,you get a thurky buddha!” between all her cursing SHE heard HE saying something,she didnt hear him so she asked him to repeat , HE asked again ‘you come here often dont you?’, SHE said ‘yes i do,but i have never seen you.’ HE smiles and says ‘or may be,you were just too lost to notice.ofcourse,lost in your thoughts i mean.’ , ‘hmmm! i guess.’ both of them went silent for a while. SHE was hoping he would get up and say bye,but he was not going to, she realized when HE started his monologue.
‘you know i never see young people alone now-a-days. actually i just hardly see people in the city alone,sitting by themselves lost in their world. its in our culture i think we as indians are just so terrified of being alone.we are just brought up to be with a crowd,surrounded with our families or friends and now ofcourse we have an addition of technology. you know facebook,blackberry, twitter and so on. its just refreshing to see a young lady like you sitting here alone for a change. you know its just so wrong to think that being alone is being lonely. they are just two very different things.dont you think?’
SHE mostly was nodding and smiling through HE’S monologue,it was only really the last line that got her attention alone but not lonely. SHE also realized that he wasnt really thurky after all may be jobless but not thurky. SHE let her guard off a little bit and relaxed. SHE replied , ‘ you are right. i am not at all lonely,nor depressed or anything. i like being alone sometimes just to channelize my thoughts a little bit. to say the least at a deeper level everyone is alone. i mean anybody with a dream is alone. its very difficult to make people understand what you are going through. ofcourse everyone around you tries to support you but there are certain spaces where nobody but only you can reach. the toughest battles are always within you and you have to fight them alone.’ SHE stopped, went silent for a while. HE looked almost shocked and surprised,’you are a little too wise for your age dont you think?’ SHE smiled, ‘wisdom has got nothing to do with age.’ SHE and HE laughed aloud.
‘im invading your privacy a little bit but why have you come here today, is it boyfriend trouble?’ He asked. ‘fortunately no, i have just had a pretty tough week at work.things went pretty bad, was pretty frustrating. i just came in to talk it out with myself and make sense of all that happened.why are you here?’ ,HE replied ,’i am here to escape my wife’s singing. i love her but that doesnt change the fact that shes a bad singer. she has assigned a teacher who comes home, the teacher is as bad herself.’ SHE laughed HE joined in. SHE observed, though he was joking about his wife to a total stranger there wasnt any contempt,his eyes said something else. HE just really loved his wife.
‘you see that lady sitting there with a book, she’s my friend. you know her story is pretty fascinating. her husband died 10 years ago, her son and his wife kept her with them for a while but then left her at an old age home. she couldnt take in the shock and was all ready to kill herself when one of the volunteers at the home took her to a school for mentally challenged it was part of their workshops. when she saw them something within her was alive again. today she has her own school for the mentally challenged.she says she was just so inspired when she spent time with them.their will to live was just infectious. they inspired her to live,and today here she is running her own school.i think the best way to fight your struggles is to look upto people with bigger and much tougher struggles.you just always feel lighter and your struggles seem not so unconquerable.’
SHE nodded.’i hope im not boring you with my monologues i just thought it might give you a different perspective,you know.’ ‘dont apologize im sure its helping i am already feeling better.’ ,she said. ‘good then my job here is done.’, he said getting up. HE just when saying bye asked SHE, ‘looking at you im sure you should be single. SHE surprised asked him why would he think so. HE replied,’ you seem too focused you know, loosen up a little bit. theres no other thing as love, you almost can hear your own heart beat. go find some love girl.’ SHE smiled ,’ thanks for your advice,will think about it.’ HE waved at her. SHE waved back.
SHE realized she hadnt even asked HE his name in all this while. she smiled, she got up and looked at the bench. ‘alone but not lonely !’ she said out aloud,and again got ready to get back to the craziness of her life,only this time feeling a lot lighter and a smile on her face.
‘thank you HE’, said SHE!!!