Winters always carry the string of Love wrapped with fog and cold waves to keep lovers closed in arms of one another. However, for Daksh love is not around anymore, rather love for work. Like other days, he found himself late for his work. Rushing to the stairs at old railway station, he encountered a girl. He dropped his bag with a book of Nicolas Sparks slipped from her hand. He picked book to apologize.
“Oh I’m sorry.” He said when picked the book. However, he stubbed her. Kanika, his reason for present love lost from past.
“You are late like always.” She said when they stuck their eyes to each other.
“Nope, I have not changed.” To this, they moved to the platform, but on split steps. Kanika took a corner of only bench on the platform. However, Daksh kept checking his watch. There was not any sign of next passenger to Amritsar. Kartarpur has never been a railway station of regular trains. Therefore, people know a few numbers of trains that passes through this station.
“Saala, when would this passenger train come?” he murmured. “This country has no future.” It was silence around enough that even station master, coming out of his room, heard him.
“You should start coming on time, may be you will see a change.” The master said. He knew that Daksh always miss his first passenger to Amritsar.
“It’s so cold,” Kanika said at last. “Uncle, aaj chaiwala nahi aaya?” she asked further to the Master. Daksh looked around if there was any Chaiwala. He could not find any, and then finally lost to fog covering the station and nearby area.
“Arey, there he is” the master pointed to chaiwala. “Get two cups of tea here.” He ordered. It echoed in the fog of silence, where a very few people were waiting for the chariot of their respective destinations. Under the hazy light at station, Kanika kept her eyes more glued to The Notebook, she was reading. However, her intention was to ignore Daksh.
On same bench, but grabbing the corners they looked at one another though. On right, Daksh had nothing, but rubbing his hands to keep heat in the body. It was silence around which prevailed until chaiwala interrupted.
“Saheb Chai.” Chaiwala said while pulling out a cup from his steal cup holder, and moved to Kanika to handover her cup of tea. She did not have one-rupee change to pay, but Daksh paid for her as well. She pulled a packet of cookies, offered to most ignored person to pay her gratitude. Although faltering he refused twice, and so she did not proffer to him again.
“Nicolas Sparks” he said to her when picked a cookie. “He never left you uncovered under any circumstances.” She roused her eyebrows to his statement or because he finally pulled out one.
“I also read other authors.” She replied, while sipping her chai. “Like?” He asked further. The old fronds of trees were falling with cold wind. She draped herself again with shawl and stopped flipping of pages with cup of tea. On only platform on the station, ticking stopped to show them that they were moving back to talks.
“Paulo Coelho, Jennifer Cruise, Jhumpa Lahiri, Smita Shetty” she paused. “And recently Daksh”. He spilled a little on his name.
“Did you just say my name? I thought I don’t have you as my reader.” He said. Certainly, he got one reader he was waiting for months to be in his list. Nevertheless, the booklover had ignored the fact of being favorite reader for a writer.
“You were true if you had not used my name in your story ‘Ripples of Love’.” She continued further. “Who were they, Hero and Heroine in the story?” He looked at pages of book.
“What do you think who were they?” he asked her.
“I have no idea, that’s why I have asked you.”
“She portrays you.” He said while putting his empty cup down. “You see these pages with traces of the round, marked by chai.” He pointed to the book, and she rolled her eyes to the pages. Meanwhile, the station then started to have more commuters.
“They are the smudges of love in life.” He completed, but she stayed her eyes there for a while.
“Then why did you name their daughter on me in the story?” she was getting involved to the box of secrets of story. An old fellow asked her to pick her belongings. She picked her book, and slid towards him.
“I don’t know if you really liked the story or what, but why are you getting more into the behind the story?” Slowly the fog disappeared, with sun coming up to brighter. Station had an announcement for coming of train to Amritsar from New Delhi. “To be very true, Kanika is a beautiful name.”
“It was you who walked away that night?” she got some heads turned to her. However, She looked away to make it absurd for others to keep on waiting for the train. A minute later, train entering the station, horned. He picked his belongings as he did that night. She kept waiting for any reply, but she closed her book.
Before he could board the train as routine, he turned to her again. “But you never stopped me.” He paused. To this, she had a reply. However, she did not say anything again.
Winters are not about the falling fronds, on paths to make crunchy sound by footsteps. Winters are not either about the nights under the blanket to save oneself from cold winds. Winters are the touch of the sun on the dermis when breeze romances with the body. Winters bring in the love, under the tree even with falling out old leaves; however hope of new life ahead.