By Sakshi Chindaliya & Vaishnavi Singh
She bid him her goodbyes, knowing that she will see him, again, soon. As he was leaving, she felt a weird feeling creep up on her spine. But then again, didn’t she feel it always. He had to go; after all he was duty bound. The emergency at the border was calling him.
It had been months since he had left. Her eyes were now aching to see a glimpse of his face. She was waiting for him to arrive from behind the clouds of the colors of holi, just like she had always seen in the Bollywood movies that they watched together. The anticipation in her heart was taking a toll over her. A series of their happy memories together floated through her mind. She couldn’t help but blush over those. She wouldn’t stop looking at the gate of their house. She had never been so restless in her life. Her ears were waiting to catch a sound of the army jeep arriving. And after hours of waiting, they did.
She stood at the entrance of the house, ready to paint his face red with the gulal. She giggled, imagining how he would react to her childish behavior. Her ears picked up the sound of every footstep taken. It didn’t take her time to realize that there were two simultaneously. Soon her smile sulked and her eyes lost their shine. What she thought to be her husband was just his last belongings being carried by his fellow army men. The chest was all that remained.
The time seemed to pause, having a good laugh at her misery. It all crumbled down. As lost as she was, everything seemed to fade out. Her hands shook, spilling the gulal on the ground, as she raised them to caress the last pieces of him that he had left behind. Quivering, she opened the chest to find the sweater she had once knit for him. The essence was still fresh, as if he was standing right there, in front of her, ready to hug her. She then saw his files, full of letters, addressed to her, which he’d never posted. Her heart bawled. His uniform, sat there, crisp and ironed, smiling at her in glory, marking his undying courage. A part of her died. Holi had lost its colors, so had her life.