INSTRUCTIONS!


After he left the departure terminal at New Delhi for his year-long odyssey in Boston, she said goodbye to his parents. She hugged his mom, who was inconsolable. When she hugged, she felt a kind of warmth and affection toward her that can only be felt and not expressed. Mom hugged her tightly to make her feel secure. Mom was worried about her. She asked Mom not to worry and that he will be back soon. Mom smiled. She felt accepted and admired.

She didn’t or couldn’t cry at the airport. But her tears knew no bounds when she reached home. She felt incomplete and inadequate without him. It would be the first time in 8 years that they’d be away for more than a fortnight. She consoled herself. She reminded herself that it is indispensable. She read what he wrote for her. She felt what only he could invoke in her. She wiped her tears.

She quickly wrote an email to him with a subject line – INSTRUCTIONS. It read: ‘don’t you dare touch liquor, drugs, cigarettes, and girls! I have a very strong sixth sense and I will know if you do anything of the sort. Study well. Take care of your health. And come back soon. I am in love with you.’ He read it at the Munich airport, while waiting for his connecting flight. He was mildly amused.

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© 2020 by Rishabh Jhol