In this big world, we all are living in different circumstances. Some of us have happiness, and some of us have sorrow. Sometimes we enjoy the company of our loved ones, and at other times our heart burns in the fire of separation from our beloveds. The wait for our beloveds has its own charms. Sometimes it tortures us, other times it consoles our heart with the knowledge that one day our beloved will return.
Those of us who face this wait know exactly how hard it is. One such person was Raja, a young, handsome man, whose classmate, Robina, had gone on summer vacation to France. They both learned English Literature in Larkana in an institute named TRLCL.
“In today’s lecture we will discuss Romanticism,” said Rizwan, the lecturer. “Robina, do you have any idea what romanticism is?” asked the teacher.
“Romanticism is a movement in which the authors wrote about nature and the beauty of their beloveds. They were sick of the smoke of the city. They liked to be alone in the beautiful valleys, and liked to sit on the banks of the river, and enjoy the beauty of the natural objects.”
“Very good,” commented the lecturer. Then the teacher continued the lecture. In the first days of class, Raja and Robina didn’t know much about each other. As the days went by, they started to exchange views about literature, writers and their works. They even began to go out for a cup of tea together almost every evening. They would sit in Sapna Hotel, take tea, and chat. Robina read novels of Hardy and Jane Austin to Raja. And Raja would read poetry of Keats, Shelly and Byron to Robina.
“You belong to the Romantic period. That’s what I feel,” she commented when Raja finished reading “La Belle Dam sans Merci”, by John Keats.
“And you seem to belong to the Classical period,” replied Raja.
“You are right. I believe in reality. I know that emotions break a man; make him feeble.”
“Maybe, but emotions are what make us do anything. Emotion is the reason you are here with me.”
“Is it emotion or fate?”
“Do you believe in fate?”
“No, I don’t. I believe in free will.”
“Wasn’t our class destined, which led us to meet?”
“I don’t know. I guess it was my choice to attend the class.”
Raja and Robina didn’t agree on many things. However, they had the tolerance to hear and value each other’s ideas and beliefs.
One evening, while they were taking tea at the hotel, Robina said, “I am going to France for a vacation with my family. I will be back in December.”
“What? No, you cannot! You are kidding, right?”
“I am not kidding. I am going to France.”
“See, I have become used to meeting you. And it is not easy for me to live without you.”
“I am your friend, not your wife that you wouldn’t be able to live without,” she replied with laughter.
The news of her sudden departure reached Raja’s door through a letter. She promised to return in December. It was all the same for Robina whether she was with Raja or not, but it was so hard for Raja to live without her. Sometimes, we attach our hearts to someone so tightly that when they are detached, they hardly beat.
After Robina left, the class no longer had any charm for Raja. The hotel, the tea didn’t amuse Raja anymore. It was the laughter of Robina, her voice, that had won his heart. He stopped going to the literature class and the hotel. He waited for her under the trees, at the bank of the river, and in the streets.
“Perhaps I will have to spend my rest of life in her memories now.” Raja slowly whispered to himself as he crushed a dried, yellow leaf, that had fallen from the tree he was sitting under, in his fist. “The dew shows that winter is near; and the date of her promise to return in December is approaching, but still, there is no sign of her. Autumn will soon end, but it seems my separation from my friend will be prolonged,” Raja continued.
Raja had written many letters to her, but she hadn’t answered any letter. “I will write her the last letter if she doesn’t arrive in December,” he whispered to himself.
December ended. Robina didn’t come.
You didn’t keep your promise. You didn’t come back. Maybe it was your free will. Well, my crazy heart should now understand that you will never come back. My eyes should stop watching for you. And my mind should stop thinking about you. I have come to know that you have started a new life in France. I was a very naïve man who quickly fell in love with you. I will try to forget you as you have forgotten me.
After the letter, for the rest of his life Raja couldn’t forget her. He never married, and spent his life reading, writing, and teaching literature at The REAL Learning Center Larkana. Deep in his heart, Raja kept waiting for her all of his life.
Many of us grow so close to someone so quickly that their separation leaves life-long impact on us.