Piyush was once more flying…from one town to the other. Once more, because it had only been few months that he had come to this town and was now looking forward to settling in a new one.
He remembered his childhood as he looked outside the rounded airplane window on his right. The huge airplane wing was disrupting the panoramic view of town from the above. He looked at box shaped houses midst the green areas from above. He wondered what people must be doing in each one of those. He wondered how many were sleeping, talking, sharing a joke or making love. He thought of troubles some of the people must be living with, in those houses which now went from box size to tiny dots. He recalled himself sitting outside his house back in his school days and gazing at the sky.
“Mamma, you know which one is my favourite bird?” he would ask her, keeping his eyes focused at blue skies.
“Kite! Ask me why.” He would demand.
“Oh why is it so, sweetheart?”
“Because mother, it flies up…goes high and higher, as in highest and I love the fact that it flies so up in the sky.”
His mother would smile and ask him, “So, you don’t like other birds like Parrots or Sparrow?”
“Umm…Not really, I think the kite gets to see so much. Much more than any other bird in the sky.”
“Oh but son, do you know that kites don’t have a cozy home like parrots do?”
“Uhh?” six year old Piyush could do nothing more than scratching his head in reply.
Airplane was moving steadily now. Seat-belt sign had gone off. Piyush offered a smile back to the air-hostess as she handed him a glass full of water.
Drinking it carefully, he looked at the vast sky outside. It looked like a long bed sheet with huge pillows of cotton resting on it.
He badly wished that he could point those out to Sana, while sitting next to Sakshi. It had been a year that he had seen them. Sana was five and half year old now. He had missed her last birthday due to his work schedule. Thinking of them brought back memories of the last day he had met them. He could see Sakshi walking off the front door, holding little Sana’s hand who looked just once at Piyush before walking with her mother…without saying anything. He had hoped that she did…he had hoped she would at least resist a bit…say that she wants to stay with him. But maybe his absence during her school gatherings had much more impact on her naive heart than he had thought.
He missed her now. He missed Sakshi too. Maybe one of them more than the other. He couldn’t decide which one. He did not want to.
How he wished now, that he had not taken up that big assignment. But then again, it was big after all. Travelling across twenty towns doing what he loves to do the most and getting handsomely paid for it. He was going to live his dream. So what if happened later than he had planned, it did nonetheless. But then…Sakshi and him…his inner voices kept debating with contrasting thoughts throughout that journey.
Seat belt sign glowed once again. Routine announcement was made and the plane started its landing process. After doing few squats in the sky, plane finally touched the ground and Piyush could feel the speed at which he was moving closer to his destination.
Getting out he joined the flock of passengers waiting at the conveyor belt, desperately waiting to claim their baggage. In his head he could view the scene as parents waiting outside the school, for their kids – looking all alike in similar uniforms. He smiled at the thought.
He even heard few passengers speaking his mother tongue and felt genuinely happy. He felt that there really needs to be a special word in the dictionary for this – for the special kind of happy and content feeling that tickles your heart, every time something reminds you of your home.
“Take these extra twenty and put some Daffodils along with Lilies” Piyush told the flower vendor.
Holding the bunch delicately in his hand, he adjusted his jacket and made his hair before ringing the door-bell.
He saw the eye-hole turning dark with someone peeping from inside and it was followed by a pause. He had expected that.
Shahid opened the door and things couldn’t have been more awkward with Piyush standing there with flowers in his hand.
“Hi Piyush, wasn’t expecting to see you here!”
“Well you shouldn’t be. This is not your house.”
“Says someone who doesn’t have one” Shahid replied with a smirk on his face.
“C’mon guys, cut it out!” Sakshi came from behind and let Piyush inside.
“What the hell is he doing here?” Piyush followed Sakshi to the kitchen without taking his shoes off.
“Why do you even care?” Do you stay here? Oh let me guess, you are here to collect something you forgot the last time. Or maybe you made a girlfriend in this town.”
Piyush smiled at all the sarcasm she gave him and put the flower bunch in front of his face for her to hold it. She did not.
“He has just come to collect my signed divorce papers. He will be off then” she told Piyush while slowly accepting her favorite flowers from his hand. He leaned ahead and hugged her as her back touched the wall of the kitchen.
“Get off, you” Sakshi said blushing. “Go and meet Sana. She is upstairs.”
“Yes” he said kissing her once more before asking her,
“Did he meet Sana?”
“Yes he did. But don’t worry. She still loves this flying Dutchman more than her so called real father.” Sakshi spoke loud enough for Shahid to hear who was leaving the house, having collected the papers.
“What about your job Piyush? What are you going to do and how long are you going to be here this time” she said moving the wavy hair off his forehead.
“I do not know. I do not know where I am going to work, not as of now. But I can tell you that I’m here…now and I’m not going anywhere.”
“C’mon honey, let’s both go to her room. Come with me” Piyush said to her and took her along like a kid pulling his mother out of shopping mall.
They went to Sana’s room and knocked the door.
“Daddy!” Sana looked at him from head to toe as he sat down to come to her height and hugged her.
She showed him the drawing saying, “See…see I drew a bird – a parrot. Mamma made me erase the cage I had put him in. She says it needs to fly sometimes. Do you like Parrot, daddy?”
Piyush had tears in his eyes as he held Sakshi’s hand tight and told their daughter, “Yes, sweetheart. It’s my favorite bird.”