The start of my morning has been the same for the last five months. Its always something past 11 AM, my eyes look swollen, and I wish to sleep more. Insomnia has crept into my veins, and the sleep pattern has lost its way. This never-ending lockdown had disrupted the daily routine in such a way that it will take months to bring it back on track. But neither a pandemic nor a lockdown can affect an Indian mom. She does not know what insomnia is. Without a doubt, she thinks that excessive use of mobile has swollen my eyes. So, she comes to my bed, with a glass of water, and lovingly sprinkles it over my face with her gentle hands. I was kidding! It feels like a mini-waterfall is hitting my forehead. The desire to sleep more, the swelling in eyes, and the ongoing date with my favourite Hollywood actress; everything is washed out. I am welcomed in this new day with these words from my mom- “If a glass of water isn’t enough, a bucket is waiting outside your room.” Just this one threat, and off she goes. She knew that she had done her job, and I won’t dare to sleep again.
Without a single yawn, I sit up straight on my bed. I take my phone and the lock screen highlights: “17th August 2020. 11;17 AM.” This brings a smile on my face. And it is because of two reasons. First, it has been three days since the lockdown has been completely lifted in the country. The havoc caused by COVID-19 is under control, and all the services and businesses are slowly getting back in action. I smile because I realize that this Independence Week honestly bought one to us. The second reason is that as public transport services have resumed, my girlfriend is coming back to Pune after five months. That text from her already made my day beautiful, and I am filled with excitement and pure happiness. I jump off the bed and start dancing & singing in the whole house. Mom is surprised, and dad is angry. But all I know is that this is going to be my best day of 2020.
We both knew the time and place. Spending 29 months in a loyal relationship makes you understand all the unspoken things. These small things need not be “decided” anymore. I and a cute little gift were waiting for her. Then, she arrives. An orange Kurti and white leggings. Her hair dancing with the wind and her earrings moving like a pendulum. The flawless face, the perfect smile, and the diva-like figure; nothing changed. This pandemic changed lives, but my girl did not. In no time she is in front of me, and I am still lost in her beauty. She punches my stomach and brings me back to the present.
The time comes to a standstill. The people and their gossips, the irritating children, the fluttering birds, the moving trees, the traversing clouds, the crawling pets, the honking vehicles, the unnecessary disturbing lights, the street hawkers, the money makers, the handful dancers, the windy breeze, and the mutual tease. Every single thing stops. The pain of every single day of this quarantine appears as a flashback in the eyes. The desperate urge overcomes all the shyness and our bodies come closer. It happens, it finally does. THE EVERLASTING, MOST INTIMATE, MOST DESPERATE, MOST SOOTHING, AND FINEST HUG OF OUR LIVES.
It doesn’t stop here. Now, the most magnificent soul existing on this planet does her routine magic. She placed me in some different world. A world where nothing is more significant than my existence. The world where only love and peace is a known emotion. She pushes me to the nostalgic moments of our togetherness. Her fragrance drives me crazy and immerses me deep into her heart. Her neck touching my cheeks becomes a moment that I would live and die forever for. No fancy or romantic music plays in the background like stupid Bollywood logic. But the strings of her love and affection weave magic and enlighten my soul like never before. It feels as if the final destination has arrived, and now, I need to rest. I need to ‘rest’ on her shoulders for the ‘rest’ of my life and leave the ‘rest’ for her to do. It feels like a culmination of the life journey with her being the source that is driving me to Eternity. It isn’t lust or any seductive feeling, but it is the arousal from the desperation of the numerous hugs we missed due to this unfortunate crisis. But this very moment doesn’t make me realize this. Because right now, she is my cure, her arms are my vaccine, and her love is my salvation.
I whisper in her ear- “This aloofness has made this hug so pleasing. You are my escape from reality. I missed you. I missed you a lot.” In all this time, she is busy bundling my soul and placing me in some cosmic spot where galactic bodies remind me of her sparkle and shine. This hug is different. This post-quarantine hug is hitting differently.
Then, the loud ‘Maaa..haaa..bhaaaarat’ sound on television startles me. I look around, perplexed. The place is gone, she is gone. I am on my couch with one leg on another and my head supported by a pillow. My dad sits beside me on the bed with a remote in his hand. Lord Krishna is educating the brave Arjuna with his responsibilities on the battlefield and his true Kshatriya Dharma. I turn around to see the calendar, and it still shows May. The lockdown is still on, and the surrounding is still quiet. I was day-dreaming. It takes me a while to realize that all this never happened. August never came. That post-quarantine hug never happened. Everything changed. But one thing remained the same. Her graceful face in the picture of hers I was looking at, remained constant.
Aditya Dua is a budding legal individual. He is pursuing his bachelors in legal studies. He loves to pen down his thoughts in time of serenity. Aditya aspires to travel the world and learn more about culture across the globe.