It was my first Valentine’s Day after marriage. Bubbling with excitement and anticipation, I spent hours thinking what would he do? How will he make this day memorable? Will he buy me a diamond, or take me to a fancy restaurant for dinner. Every time he would talk cautiously on his phone, I knew he was making some plans. Yes, it would be a surprise. I love surprises!
I had to restrain my excessive curiosity. After all, I wanted to be surprised. I had to play along to keep it a secret. But you know, he can be careless. He’d drop a few hints here and there eventually.
Valentine’s Day was coming closer and my excitement was building. I tried my best to figure out his plan but in the jungles of Arunachal Pradesh, sitting in a remote military outpost with just four hours of electricity every day, forever disrupted phone lines, I had few options to exercise my CID tactics.
On the eve of Valentine’s Day, he told me a red alert was in place and the connecting bridge broke down due to incessant rains. He was to leave immediately to restore Sikku bridge that falls on the other side of the city.
Hmm… I know dear, this is a setup for the big surprise. There is no rain here. I smiled, faked concern, played along and bid him goodbye.
Oh God! Such extensive plans, I couldn’t believe my good luck. This is going to be my most memorable Valentine’s Day ever. The night seemed longer than usual. I was dreaming with eyes wide open.
Wow, today is Valentine’s Day and the morning seemed more refreshing than usual. I got up early, cleaned and decorated my house. Who knows, if he had invited guests to this surprise party or not. I decided on the dress I would wear in the evening, and settled on black stilettos. I should be prepared.
It was already noon and there was no message or call from him. He should have at least called and wished me.
Well, one must patiently wait, for good things to follow, I consoled myself.
Flowers, at least, he could have sent a bouquet. I was quite confused.
If I was him, I would have sent a gift every hour – flowers, chocolates, cards, and stuffed teddys followed by the grand evening of 3D’s, Dinner, Date, Diamonds. Yes, that’s how a Valentine Day should be celebrated.
It was evening and still no news, no gifts, no nothing. I was getting really impatient. This was just not fair. Enough of waiting.
I didn’t have many options. I stuck to my flickering hope. I switched on my radio tuned into All India Radio and some Chinese channel with static sounds. Even All India Radio was in a romantic mood that day.
Love songs playing in the background, the setting sun, green hills around, and I was having coffee sitting on my cane jhoola. How I wish he was here.
It was 9 pm, still nothing. I started to get worried. Rain began to pour heavily,the lights went off, lightning was blazing the sky and I was tucked in to bed – scared and still waiting for him.
Somewhere around 11pm there was a heavy thud of boots and some voices; “Signal pe message kar do, saare ladko ko jagao, aadhe ghante mei fall in karengey aur phir truck load kar ke nikalna hai."
Soumen was here finally, drenched in the rain, mud on his boots and a wild flower in his hand.
He sat at the corner of the bed and said, I know you are upset, I am sorry I could not plan anything or buy a gift. I plucked this wild flower on my way. All I know is that throughout the day, while I was standing waist deep in water, shouting commands to men, saving people’s lives in shock floods, at the back of mind, I was thinking about you. I just wanted to come back to you and have a cup of coffee together.
Sorry, I couldn't celebrate Valentine's Day but today I realized love. And I know for sure that if I only thought about you standing at the face of death, I do love you truly.
A tear ran down my cheek and I also knew that I had found my true love.
Valentine’s Day even without my 3D’s was perfect.
|Gitanjali Banerjee is passionate about blogging for it is the best way to reach out to the world, touch lives and make a difference!|