It was raining outside. Windows were shut, umbrellas brought out, pedestrians running to take cover. But, it brought smiles with it. Smiles of relief – it was raining after a blistering and dry spell of a month. I was thinking to go off for a snooze in my couch with a Dan Brown in hand.

My phone rings.

I look at the decrepit, yet still handsome grandfather clock. It is 3 in the afternoon. I am loath to leave my couch. But it is the middle of the day, and not everyone is having a beautiful, languid hour. Maybe, it’s an important call? Goddammit! Did I submit the report? My mind races, heart pounds, and then I remember. Ah! Thank heavens I am done with the report. How worried corporate life makes you even on off days!

The phone still rings.

Wobbling, I get to the table. An unknown number from my home country flashes the screen. I am befuddled. Who is this? Just as I was going to pick up, the phone stops ringing. I wait to see if the machine wakes up again with the same annoying noise. But no. It simply lies there on the table, cold and tranquil – making me cogitate whether it even rang.

Exasperated, I return to the comfort of my couch.

I turn the pages of ‘Origin’, to find the bookmark sitting comfortably, where Langdon and Ambra were arriving in Barcelona. Barcelona, you are next on my list. Maybe, next summer?

There Ambra and Langdon get ready to board the helicopter, and here my phone vibrates.

This time I suspect that the divine power is at work – to make me take my lazy ass off the couch just when I start to get comfortable. But if you live every moment contemplating ways to scheme out a moment here and there to be indolent, then most definitely you gather the power to fight such affairs – I check my smartwatch. A message from the same unknown number blinks: “Hi, this is Annie…”.

I jolt out of the couch.

The message read: “Hi, this is Annie. We need to talk. Let me know when you are free.” Three short lines. Enough to make my world go spirals in dizziness.

It is exactly 84 days since she last texted me. Her last text read that I should stop contacting her, and that I should respect her decision to not be even friends, and that it would be better for me, and that I should try to move on. And I did, and I did, and it wasn’t, and I did try.

Numbers were deleted, pictures removed, messages sent to trash. But memories? Memories remain. That sense of solidarity, that empathy, no matter how fugacious it seems now, that’s something. That’s more than something. Memories. Memories vehemently cling to such warmth. Conventional wisdom said it won’t work out. But the hubristic me thought conventional wisdom, not for the first or the last time, knows shit.

Because I believed, and she believed. But now, that seems to be from a far-off never-never land.

So, is this the beginning of another epic story? A story, which was racked by the strokes of apprehension from its inception. But maybe, just maybe, it is rising from the ashes to claim it’s place in history?

I woke up. It was raining outside.

Dusseldorf in rain. Captured by Arko Mazumder.


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