Written for Indispire #tears
“The perfect place to fall in love is amidst the Himalayas”. Naved chattered to himself while browsing through the trekking agencies. He was all set to go for the Himalayan Chadar trek. He decided to go with the only friend he was left with in life, Tuhin.
Divorced for almost 2 years now, Naved missed her. He had always missed her. He loved her but never had the guts to open up about their relationship and finally had to give in to his parents’ wishes to marry someone from his community. That was his biggest mistake and he realized when it was too late. She was gone. Forever.
He couldn’t forgive himself and decided the only way to relieve from the pain was to ask her for forgiveness. He had tried searching for her through all her friends but no one wanted to share her contact details with him. He searched for her on internet knowing that she was now a known writer. All he was able to know about her was she goes on Himalayan treks very often.
“So, what do you say? Will you marry me now? ” Ken asked, with an uncanny grin. This was their 20th trek together. And the 20thtime Ken had proposed marriage to Meirah
infront of the entire group. They first met during their first trek to Spiti. It had been 4 years. Since then, they had been trekking together.
Meirah was strong, self-content and independent girl. She had almost made peace with her past and learned to live in her present. Take each day as it came and learned to be happy once again. And above all, she had now learnt to love herself.
Ken happened to be the most unexpected and the happiest things in her life. At a time when she had least expected to be in any relationship. He would never miss any chance to say those magic words of love to express his undying love for her but Meirah never mentioned how she felt about Ken.
Today, once again, Meirah felt speechless and cold. Felt the sting shoot deep within. This feeling was parallel every time Ken propped that question. She would say nothing but subtly change the topic of conversation. She knew it was rude on her part for such conduct and still not willing to take that plunge.
However, Meirah responded in the most unanticipated style today. “Let me decide after 1 more successful Chadar”. An awestruck Ken was left with no words. He continued to look into her eyes expectant of more miracles. He wanted to hug her tight but she despised PDA. He had to settle with what she said. 1 more “successful” Chadar.
The final list was up at their office. The trek leaders had to tag along the first timers or relatively new trekkers. Both Ken and Meirah were among the trek leaders.
Two men waiting at the reception area of the hotel in Leh ran out of patience since there was no sign of anyone from the trek leaders who would come to talk to them as informed earlier. Naved got vexed and was about to lash out at the reception when a familiar voice called out. “Sorry I am late. May I help you?” He couldn’t believe his ears. It was her. He turned around and just could not take his eyes off her.
Her ethereal face. Those beautiful big eyes lined heavily with kohl. Her svelte body. She looked more beautiful. More lovely. The face he could never forget. The girl he loved the most. Those eyes that could read his mind once. After all these years of failure, he had finally found her.
Meirah remained stunned. Even in her wildest dreams, she never wanted to come face to face with her past and here he was, standing right in front of her. Her tears were on the brink and about to roll down when Naved broke the ice. “Hi Meirah. How are you?”
“Good”. She replied plainly. Naved introduced her to Tuhin and mentioned that they had registered for the Chadar trek. She asked the receptionist to show them their rooms since they would not be starting for the trek until next morning.
Ken could easily sense the tautness in her voice and her eyes. Her eyes never failed to express her feelings but she could deceive him with her smile. Today, she didn’t smile. Ken knew something was wrong but what? Meirah would never tell him. He had to find out. After all, this trek was the most important trek of his life. This trek was ought to be “successful”.
They had a small introduction round at dinner so that every participant was familiar with each other before they started off for Chadar. The name “Naved” struck the chord in Ken’s mind. He immediately understood the reason behind Meirah’s weird behavior towards him. He knew she wanted to be left alone and he never questioned her.
It was a 7 day trek. The itinerary was explained by their local guide.
Day 01- Drive to Tilad Do via Chilling
Day 02- Tilad Do to Gyalpo
Day 03- Gyalpo to Tibb Cave
Day 04- Tibb Cave to Naerak
Day 05- Naerak to Tibb
Day 06- Tibb to Gyalpo
Day 07- Gyalpo to Tilad Do and Drive back to Leh
Throughout the trek, Meirah was inaccessible to Ken. Naved seemed to stick around her. They had many rounds of arguments and talked too much. Ken was busy with other fellow trekkers trying to maintain distance from Meirah.
On Day 03, after reaching Tibb Cave, while everyone was busy preparing for the supper, Naved quietly sneaked out of the group and sat besides Meirah, who was sitting alone, lost in her own thoughts. “Now that you have forgiven me, can we get together once again? I want to marry you”. He said it all, in a single breath. Meirah was left dumbfound. She did not know what to say. All she knew was that she too loved him. Insanely. She wanted to cry on his shoulders, out loud. Let him know how much she had missed him and what she had become without him. Had it not been for Ken, she might have killed herself. However, she heard herself changing the topic. Very subtly. She could not sleep the entire night.
Meirah mostly distanced herself from both Ken and Naved throughout the return journey. She preferred to walk with other girls in the team. One great actor she was. She could belie her real self with her looks and appearance. She looked as if she enjoyed the journey but deep within, she felt tired. More mentally, than physically.
By the time they reached Leh, she had made the decision. And it was final.
Everyone gathered for the success party that evening. Ken’s eyes searched for only one person, Meirah. And there she was, at the entrance of the restaurant. Like freshness in the air. She examined the entire area. Naved waved at her. Seemingly happy and full of confidence. He expected to go back with Meirah and they would be together forever.
Meirah looked at Ken and smiled. Ken came ahead, greeted her and was about to escort her to the table when she stopped him. His heart skipped a beat and for the first time in 4 years, he was scared. Afraid of loosing her.
She held his hand . Out loud she asked Ken “So, what do you say? Will you marry me now? ” She continued “How can I not love you when you look into my eyes with so much faith? How can I not love you when you are the one who loves me for who I am? How can I think of marrying anyone else when you trusted me with all your heart? I have never missed you more in 4 years, than in these 7 days. Now, do you want ME to get on my knees? Or will you do your part?”
Ken could not control his emotions anymore. He hugged Meirah tight with tears rolling down their eyes. And the #tears never stopped…..
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