The café was bright and brimming with unseen energy. The tables were mostly full, except one or two. At one corner sat Trisha. She just finished her tea. She paid for it and then closing the book she was reading, she prepared to leave.
Someone yanked open the café door. A young man entered, must be in his twenties. He looked around, chose a table right beside Trisha’s, pulled the chair and sat. He looked distraught. Frantically, he punched at his mobile, put it at his ear and waited.
“Hello? Pooja? Please don’t disconnect. I still don’t understand why you are breaking up with me! We can work things out. I swear I will never let you down…..No, wait… listen to me….Pooja? Are you there? Pooja?....”
He sighed and disconnected the call. His face screamed the language of hopelessness. There was a story in him wanting to be told.
Trisha walked up to him.
"Hi, waiting for someone?"
“Can I join you, if you don’t mind?”
“Yeah, ok. Sorry, but I am not in a very good mood.”
“Hi, I am Trisha. Sorry, but I overheard your conversation. Felt like asking.” Trisha sat down.
“I am Ronit. That’s fine. I was loud anyway. Thanks for asking though. I just broke up with my girlfriend.”
“You or she?”
“Well, she broke up. And I am broken”… he shook his head, smiled wryly.
“What are her reasons?”
“She is being pressurized for marriage by her family. She says she cannot marry me because I am yet not financially sound”.
“Is she entirely wrong about the assessment of your financial situation?”
“Not really. But I am trying to get where I have to. All I wanted is time! It could have been worked out right?”
Trisha smiled. “Let me tell you a story. Care to listen?”
Ronit sighed. “Yeah, sure. Go ahead.”
Four years ago. Bangalore.
“Bhaiyya, that Ganpati idol on the dashboard looks so beautiful!”
The driver grinned, without turning though, his eyes fixed on the road. I was on my way to the Airport in a cab, I was flying back home from Bangalore.
“Madam, were you here for work?”
I thought for a moment.
I said. “Well, no. I was here to meet someone. Actually… my fiancé. He lives here.”
This time, the driver turned around for a second – “Oh, Congratulations Madam! When’s the wedding?”
“Thank You, Bhaiyya. Three months away!!!”
“Ok Madam. All the best”.
The driver reached for the glove compartment and brought out a small golden idol of Ganesha.
“Here Madam. Take this. Gift from me.”
I was amazed at the thoughtful gesture. “Oh thank you so much Bhaiyya!!! It’s beautiful!!!”
It shone in the afternoon sun and was so tiny it could be held in the palm. I put the idol carefully inside my sling bag.
The phone rang.
I smiled. It was him. I answered.
“Hi, did you reach the airport?” the voice came floating by.
“Trisha, I need to tell you something.”
The voice sounded grim.
“Yes, tell me?”
“Trisha, I wanted to tell you this earlier, but somehow couldn’t bring it up.”
There was a pause.
“I can’t marry you, Trisha.”
For a moment, my heart stopped. “Sorry?”
“No, I am sorry. You’re too good for me Trisha. I guess I don’t deserve you.”
“What are you saying… I don’t….”
“Trisha, I am just building up my career. I don’t even know where I’ll be landing a few years from now. What if you’re not happy with me? You are such an amazing girl, independent and free. I don’t even have a great place to stay. I know our parents have decided our match, but I just feel I am yet not ready.”
Tears filled my eyes. The coolness of the AC inside the car didn’t seem to work anymore.
Finally I spoke. “We can make efforts to make situations good for each other, right? I mean that’s what life partners are all about? I know we haven’t interacted a lot. But we can! That’s why I came down here to meet you, right? Let’s keep ourselves a priority for each other, then everything else should work out I am sure!”
“No Trisha, I have to be honest with you. I don’t think I am ready for marriage. I don’t want to take the plunge just because my parents want me to. I hope you will understand.”
“Everyone in my family and your family is aware that we’re getting married. Can we just make this work?”
“I don’t want to make you wait for me, Trisha.”
There was silence.
“I am sorry, Trisha.”
“You should have thought about all this before. You didn’t. Don’t say sorry to me. Say sorry to yourself. You’ve not let me down. You’ve let yourself down.”
I disconnected the phone.
Suddenly the world came crashing down on me. I looked at the window pane on my left in a bid to hide my tears from the driver. My dreams were shattered. What was I going to tell my parents? Relatives? Friends? People won’t stop talking, right? How could he do this?
I reached out for my bag for a tissue to wipe my tears. I felt the Ganesha idol I had just kept inside. I fished it out and held it in my hand. A drop of tear fell on it.
“Madam,” I was startled when the driver spoke. “The airport has arrived.” He stopped the car. “Can I say something Madam?”
Did he realise I was crying? I wondered.
“Yes?” I sniffed.
“Madam, that Ganesha idol I just gave you, that will take you to your destination, no matter whatever obstacles you face on the way. See, like, I am a car driver, I know my destination, I know my way, so I’ll follow that. On the way, I might face traffic, blockages, bumps!!! But I’ll cross them anyway. Our life is like that. Sometimes, I might also have to take a different route, might take longer, but destination will stay constant and I will reach it anyway. You are starting a new life. That Ganesha idol I just gave you, will protect you and show you what you have to do in life, Madam. Best of Luck. Shall I stop the meter?”
“Huh??!!!” I stared at him. Collecting myself and my thoughts, I said - “Yes…. And Thank You so much for your wishes.”
“You must have been devastated.” Ronit said.
Trisha shrugged. “Happens. Yeah it was tough initially, but I bounced back. The driver’s words were the real savior. The incident changed my life for the better.”
“Time heals everything, right?”
Trisha raised a brow.
“Time? Are you kidding? In that case, every broken heart and every misled mind would have got mended and bounced back within the same time frame, right? Like, how the doctor prescribes antibiotics? Give yourself a week, and you’ll be cured? No way!!! Time is never a factor at all. You are. I was. I had to decide whether I wanted to hold on to it, or let it go.”
Ronit looked on at her. “But it hurts.”
“Why should it? When I think about the incident now, I only have a lot of gratitude for him! When someone says he doesn’t deserve me, and that I deserve more, I think he has done the right thing to let me go! Your girlfriend, sorry ex-girlfriend, you should be thankful to her. She has chosen to set you free to focus on your career.”
“But she could have stayed with me. Why did she have to leave?”
“Because she wanted to. Simple. I think you should wish her well in her life, if you really love her.”
“I still don’t understand.”
“Because you are choosing not to see, Ronit. This is your chance, I suggest you trust yourself.”
The café suddenly broke out in a loud cheer. Trisha and Ronit turned towards the door. A huge crowd had gathered around an idol of Ganesha that was being taken to a neighbouring pandal.
“It’s Ganesh Chaturthi tomorrow,” said Trisha. “Ganesha, the one who diminishes all obstacles.”
Trisha turned to him and continued.
“Ronit, sometimes the hurdles are within us, but we tend to look outside most of the time. The obstacles may seem on the outside, but to win, it is you who must be willing to take the leap. Where there’s a will, the ways do open up. We have to find the Ganesha within.”
Trisha looked at her watch.
“I’ll have to leave.”
“But you didn’t have anything.”
“Oh I did have some tea, I was here a good half hour before you came in. I was moving out anyway, but stopped to talk to you.”
Ronit smiled. “Thanks for your time.”
“No problem”, Trisha said, as she rose.
She walked a step and turned back.
“Ganesha is also about fresh new beginnings. The Universe constantly sends us signals about things we need to know at any given point of time. You just have to learn the language. I hope you’ll remember this. All the best.”
Ronit rose from his chair. “Sure. I will. Thank You for sharing your story, Trisha. Pleasure meeting you.”
‘Same here, and stories are meant to be created to be shared”. Trisha winked and smiled, turned and walked out of the café.
Someone on the street called out…”Ganapati Bappa!!!”
The entire café broke out in a loud cheer…”Moriya!!!!”
(All stories and pictures of Trisha's Anecdotes are the author's copyright.)