It were days of summer. The Sun was bright and its light was spreading all over the street. Being a jobless in those summer days, I had nothing substantial to do. I was living in city all alone, surviving on money sent by my father from far away home. My room was near a Nullah in outskirt of city . It was a dark room, deprived of sunlight even in scorching sun. I hated my room immensely. Part of the reason was its bad smell. It was impossible to pass day in claustrophobic situation. In these circumstances, my only respite was a park facing over my balcony. I would pass my days sitting in park, looking children playing clamorously. It was not boring as it seems in one look now. I had some books to accompany myself. I would sit on one of two benches of park and engross myself in reading, occasionally overlooking towards children. I was not alone in that park who would pass his day in park. I would often see a lady sitting next to my bench. She was not very fair but something in her deep eyes would force me to look towards her. She was short in stature yet her charm was something that could make any heart loss her beat. She had a blue gown over her body and two clips in her hair making her a sort of teenage girl. Her appearance seemed as she belonged to an affluent family. She would come to the park daily and would look towards playing children until they had gone to their home. I was certain that she must be related to these children. Her lost gesture and slow movement would make me restless and bemused as the same time. But I never dared to ask about her misery. Her mystique eyes always threw a static glance at those children.
Everyday I would come to that park and sat there for long. One day I made a mistake. It was not deliberate as my bench, where I would often sit, was occupied by some other old age men. I had no other option but to sit in another bench. It was same on which that mystique girl would sit. I had a strange feeling while I placed my books on bench. I thought she must be annoyed when she would see me sitting on her bench. But as time passed I again lost in my books, unaware of world around me. As bright afternoon approached, I sensed someone was standing near my bench. I looked up with an escaping gesture. She was there wearing a white Salwaar-kurta embroidered with twinkling star-shaped glasses. She had covered her face with a red Duppatta. She was looking at me. Her sharp glance was piercing through my body. I hesitated for sometime. A sudden smile came on my face as I started arranging my books randomly scattered on bench. I was also expecting a smile from her as a return to my smile. But her face was static as ever, no expression shown on her face. She was not more than an arm’s length away from me. I could easily feel her breathing. She was panting heavily as though she was in hurry to sit on that bench. “It is always hard to talk an unresponsive person” I thought. I controlled myself and placed all my book at one side on bench. Now bench had enough space to her sit down. She was still standing and looking at me. It was enough to frighten me ” What does she really want?” I thought. I was looking for an excuse to engage with me. Meanwhile my fear came down as she stepped up and occupied a corner of bench. Now I could see her hand, soft and unwrinkled. I could see her face clearly. Her eyebrows were cleverly set. Her lips seemed to me like a petal of red rose. Her gray-reddish hair were interrupting her view occasionally. She was looking at children. A sweet smell was coming from her. My eyes were into my book but mind was wandering. I was thinking about her unusual behavior of looking at these child nervously. I wanted to ask her but could not collect enough courage to utter a word. I could not believe how quickly two hours passed. She was leaving the park behind those children. She didn’t say a word in that two hours. I could see her leaving park with heavy steps. My heart was beating on its extreme. I felt a deep desire to call her back but my cowardice came between our way. I kept looking at her until her shadow faded away from my sight. Now I could see no one was there in park. But strangely solitude didn’t sweep me . Her glowing face and those two hours passed with her, were with me. I got up and started strolling to my room. That day changed me totally. I could feel a kind of empowerment in me. Now I would go park very early and wait for her. I could feel a certain belonging to her. It was quite futile to concentrate for me in book till she was in park, sitting next to my bench. Her dresses could change daily but her mystique look never changed. Now could know one or two things about her. I asked to those children if she was their relative. Even they didn’t know much about her. She was from Alaknanda society and had lost her father in an accident. She was still out of memories she shared with her father in that park. Her father would come with her daily in this park when she was a little child. This was the reason she would coming daily to that park only to look at children like a spectator. She could see herself in those playing children. She had an illusion that her father was still alive and she was among those child playing and singing . She was going to leave this town in a month as her mother did not want to live in town anymore. She wanted to utilize her remained time in that town. Her only desire was to pass her time with her father, might be in delusion.
Finally the day came, I could not see her in park. It was a doomsday for me. She had left for another town with her mother. On that particular day, She had not arrived in park until evening. The Bench, next to me, was empty. I was feeling a void, an unfulfilled desire, an emptiness. She was not there but still I could feel her presence on a corner of the bench. I could still see her bright face, her soft and unwrinkled hands, her Salwaar- kurta embroidered with twinkling glasses but she was not there.