It was a proud moment for Harry, a time for celebration. Something that he had never allowed himself before, not even on any of his 72 previous birthdays. Nothing – including his engineering achievements – came close to what he had experienced in the last few days.
Shom and Raima, the cause of the biggest grief in his life, were also the reason for the special feeling he experienced. Shaken up early, life had been aimless until he had met an angel who made it so meaningful that he loved her as her own. Everyone around him was in a state of mourning at her sudden departure, but not him. He wondered why. And with Shom also gone, his life should have been meaningless, but on the contrary, it was much more meaningful now. He had come to understand what life was all about. Dilip, his friend from his growing up years, and Raima, were the one and the same. They did not die in the first place. Where was the question of grieving for them? We don’t die. We just turn over a new leaf.
He was thrilled to know that he could explore the mysteries of life. He was adventurous enough to flirt with life and live on the edge, if needed. All his confidence – rather faith in himself – came from his lady love, because every warrior is empowered by his lady love, who is always within him, hand in glove.
Swapna was the love of his life, whom he had broken up with as a young man. The world had not been with them. They had decided to yield to it. To live without each other took the wind out their sails. They had never expected to meet again, but providence had favoured them. And Harry had met her through Raima. He remembered the day Shom had brought Raima to Radio Club, on the harbour front close to the Taj. No sooner they met, they had bonded like old buddies.
It was quite a scene to watch the two in action. Seeing the compassion in Harry’s eyes, Raima had felt completely at ease with him. She thought his comments were pure and benevolent.
They often met thereafter; initially with Shom, and later, just the two of them. Harry always found time for Raima, despite his busy schedule. Their interaction was full of positivity, which benefitted both.
Raima talked about Swapna, who was more than a mother to her. Harry’s face lit up at the very mention of Swapna’s name. He wanted to hug Raima for this revelation. And he wanted to know everything about Swapna. The fact that she was a successful businesswoman in her own right and a widow of a good-for-nothing alcoholic gave Harry the shudders. It reminded him of all the difficulties he had been through for fame and success.
When they eventually met, it was more than a dream come true for both. It was nothing short of a miracle. Now it was Raima’s turn to be astonished. The intensity of their love was beyond compare. All bygones were forgotten. They spent time catching up on the past. And when it was time to go, they set up another meeting for the following day, at Polly, the most exclusive restaurant at CCI.
This was a meeting of the souls. They were in a private club, but nevertheless a public place. There was a sense of relief, yet, they had to be aware of their personal responsibilities. Harry had his family, and so did Swapna. The past flashed through their minds. Years ago, they had gradually ridden themselves of attachment for each other. Both had married; Harry deliberately betrayed Swapna and got married leaving Swapna no option but to do the same.
They had managed to keep themselves detached. That was the reason they were not aware of each other’s whereabouts, till Raima brought them together. All they had was pure love for one other. Only Lord Krishna could have told them the means to detached attachment.
“What a coincidence!” said Swapna, breaking his train of thought. “We continue to have Raima between us.”
“Coincidence is beyond logical explanation, hence understood only by the illogical part of the mind called heart,” replied Harry.
“Coincidence is one of His ways to send us a message. We have to understand the underlying message.”
“True. The message seems very clear. Our separation is over. Because our love has withstood the negativity of attachment.”
They were so engrossed with each other that the waiter who was waiting on them had to draw their attention to the menu.
They quickly recovered and ordered without wasting time, as they were least interested in the food. For the first time, Harry looked at Swapna closely. He found her young, pretty and very desirable. This had skipped his attention at the previous meeting. Why that would happen, he wondered. Outwardly looks were all about attachment, he thought, and so, that had taken a backseat to the flow of energy between the two souls.
Suddenly there was a knock on the door and Harry snapped back to the present. Swapna and Arjun entered the master bedroom.
“Dad, Khush has been wanting to meet you for a long time,” announced Arjun.
“Anita and I have told everyone the entire story of how you knew Cindy and Dilip, who were Shom and Raima in their previous birth. And how you have lost Raima/Dilip twice in your lifetime,” said Swapna.
“Khush is so worried about you that he has already downed two pegs of single malts. He wants to meet you,” added Arjun.
“Call Khush immediately while I change into something respectable,” announced Harry.
To be continued…