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By Monisha Makhija

The white suited her, always had.

She seemed calm and at peace, finally, after having led a ravaging yet fulfilling life. She had not been mine in the literal sense, but my heart had belonged to her, unknowingly ever since I first saw her.

50 years ago!

I had loved her for those many years. Right from when we met in college and she declared me her best friend, till now, as she lay there in eternal bliss, and afterwards as well, till I would meet her on the other side.

The irony of the situation was not lost on me. Somehow, I had always been there for all the important turns in her life, it was a given thing. Yet, this time she did not call out to me, did not even tell me how far gone she was. Maybe this is what she had meant when she said that she did not want to cause me any more trouble......Who knows now.

As I walked past her still form, her daughter came up to me.

“Raj uncle?” She left this for you, the young girl said, as she handed me Maya's diary.

I had often wondered what she wrote in that diary. And now, she had beaten me to it yet again. I had asked her time and again to show me what she wrote in there. “All in good time,” she would say with a mysterious smile on her lips.

Being a struggling writer/ film maker, all my life, books and writings were my weakness. And Maya knew this. She would often slip me short stories and poems that she wrote, so that I could edit them. I think she knew they needed no editing, they were flawless, just like her.

The first time I met Maya, she had a similar diary in her hands. Sitting in a corner of the college canteen, she was oblivious to the crowd around her. It was my first day and I was being ragged.

“Okay, so go and get that diary out of Maya’s hand”, said a senior.

As I turned around and saw her, I swear I could hear violins playing around me, and her face seemed to be glowing with a heart shaped cloud around it. I was smitten.

“Excuse me, Miss Maya?” “Could you please give me your diary, so that I can then be stopped from being ragged by my seniors?” I stuttered.

She looked up, and the gaze from the green eyes pierced me forever.

We became the best of friends when she haughtily announced that I was her friend and that nobody should trouble me.

That was my Maya, fearless, courageous, and The Boss.

College was fun with Maya, but was short-lived, as she was my senior and already on the last year of post-graduation. We parted ways, with me unable to express my love for her, and she already in love with another.

Fate brought us face to face when I started my company and was approached by a Design house for their ad campaign. The sales and marketing head, met with the ad film maker and all hell broke loose!!! Those were the best days of my life after college. Meeting her again, made me realize that I still loved Maya. It did not matter to me that I was married, or that she was going through a rough patch. We were together was all that mattered to me......

And that diary was still there. Always with her, the same leather-bound thick journal.

Over the years, we drifted apart, yet found out way back together. We would get into an argument, and she would sulk for days. I would say I am sorry and she wouldn’t reply. And then surprise me with a sudden spur of the moment dinner invite or a play to watch. I got to meet her family, and she met my wife.

The diary was still there.

And then she disappeared.

For years. I could not find her anywhere. The phones rang and rang but nobody answered. The house was locked. Her husband had left the country for good. It was as if, she did not exist.

I was frantic, was lovelorn, hurt, broken. But couldn’t say a word, since I never did tell anyone how much I loved her. My career took a fall. I tried my hand at writing. Beginners luck struck, but that was about it. One book after another failed to make a mark, and I was left a pauper.

10 years passed like this, and I was losing the battle with life. I had almost given up, when an article in a newspaper woke me up. The picture on the article was the Diary. Maya's diary!!!!!

Calling the newspaper office, directed me to her house.

Here, today.

To see her one last time!

Lifeless and still.........

Maya died a day before her article was published. She had wanted the Diary there since she knew I would recognize it. She had suffered. A lot in the past years when she disappeared. A marriage without any love in it anymore, broke her. She couldn’t take it, and became a recluse and elusive when her husband left her. Her kids were provided for very well, and stayed with her.

As I walked out to finally read her diary, I couldn’t stop the tears from falling. The Diary told me of the love she had for me!

She never did say anything, since she was not sure what I felt. And then she said nothing so that I did not have trouble in my marriage.

She knew about my financial problems too.

And so, she left me with her diary......a compilation of a life time of poems, all with me as her muse!

I fulfilled her last wish and got her poems published. But the monetary gain, were nothing as compared to what I lost.

That was my Maya. My eternal love.

By Monisha Makhija

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