“I can’t” he said. Walking down the aisle I never really thought I will be left at the altar in such a disgracing way. As I see his retreating figure, I had no ounce of strength left, suddenly the gown I was wearing and my body weight seemed too much for my legs to carry, I collapsed. Not only with the burden of the rejection but also with the humiliation that the society tagged on me. Not a single tear escaped my eyes; I was too numb for that. My mind kept on repeating his words.
Time flied seasons changed but I never really crossed paths with my ex lover. Nor do I know the reason why I was left at the altar. Encouraging words from family and few cuss words sent in the way of the devil by the over enthusiastic friends of mine nothing changed. Though I still continued my life living the way I did. But you always trip over the loose ends you see. The question always pondered “WHY?” That was until someone came along, not a lover nor a friend just a guiding light maybe.
As the air hostess announced to fasten the seat belts I was thankful that I am leaving this place behind for sometime at least. I wrote a small note for my parents to know that I will be fine and I am gone just for a breather. The peace of my mind was shattered the moment flight took off. Some weird male sitting beside me was furiously chanting something. I thought he will stop after sometime but it never happened. I gave up as I turned and questioned what his problem is. To which he simply said “I am afraid of air flights” and I couldn’t control the laughter that was building up in me. Cruel me I know but it was for the first time I was meeting a man who did not mind admitting his fears out it open even when it was a woman who he was admitting it to. I am not more of the initiating a conversation type so I let him be. The rest of the flight was as uneventful as flights could be not that I expected any different. Ayaan that innocent male beside me introduced himself to be. He was busy staring into a photo frame still chanting something but it was no more than a whisper (on my special request!) And I was listening to music. After 14 hours of torturous flight from New York to Bombay I had a connecting flight to Manali.
Yeah that was my destination for the getaway. Indian by birth and American by choice my life had been pretty complicated when I was young which also included frequent travels to this country since my dad is an Indian. Out of all the places I visited this one kind off stuck to me. The chilly breeze could freeze you to your very bones but it was still infectious. The other things like temples and food were just a plus one. This close to nature you get a chance to look within you with this thought that maybe your answer lies there beneath. You also discover things about yourself, like the last time I visited this place when I was 12 I found out that I was never really afraid of heights, I did dread those rides that showed the magnificent view from above and avoided it but it was not out of the fear of heights it was because I did not trust the technology, so when I trekked this mountain in manali with my dad at age of twelve I realized I loved heights, I loved the chills it gave you and the view that left you breathless not with the exhaustion but with the beauty of it.
I wandered on the streets of manali. Visiting the tourist attractions and tasting the various cuisines that were indeed a treat to my taste buds. And on my last night there I ventured to the very same place I had been to all those years ago. I prepared myself for the night with a torch, a climbing stick and some alcohol if I ever need it that is. The night was frigid but it just added to the adventure. There were times when I slipped on the ice or when the branches pricked my arm. My palms were white and numb in spite of the woolen gloves I was wearing. But I did not regret my decision yet, nope. I continued like the little girl in me was waiting to find the answers she longed. As I saw the mountain top clad in ice shining in the moonlight I smiled a genuine one after a very long time. On reaching there I embraced myself and let the wind play with my hair as I absorbed the serene view around me. “Riana” I heard someone call my name, which was quite frightening to say the least. But I turned around, and the person standing there was not someone I really expected to see there. Hell! I did not expect anyone to be here at this hour, did not really think there are maniacs like me. There he was the innocent guy Ayaan standing in front of me in all his glory. A little startled I asked him what he was doing here. He simply shrugged. Somehow we started talking about our pasts and what brought us here today, complete strangers talking about the most important event in their life was irony in itself. Turns out he was afraid of the airplane because he lost his wife in an airplane crash and he was here to celebrate their first anniversary because it was her dream. If I would have known about the reason for his fear then I wouldn’t have laughed at him. For which I am feeling guilty right now. When I apologized to him for the same, he said,” it’s all in the past Riana, besides sometimes it is better not to know the reasons and let the questions remain unanswered because that might help you to get over it faster and better. We humans always have this lawyer within us asking why, when, what, who, what if? And we spend our lives answering all those, missing the moment in the process. Have a good life Riana!”
As I descend I realize I did get the answer I was searching for- ambiguity. Because sometimes all you need to do is let things go to actually move on.