Mom and Dad didn’t understand. Moving to a new city was the last thing I wanted to do with my holidays back then. But not everything works out like you plan them or want them to. Hence, Puri. Noisy streets and noisier people were all I used to think the place was about. I still do. I have just begun to crave the noise more than I did half a decade ago. But among all the din and commotion, there was a girl. A sweet, sweet girl who was louder than the roaring waves and busy streets, than the evening prayers and temple bells. For the one month that I had to stick around with my parents at my grandparents’, I didn’t bother staying indoors and crippling myself more than I had to. Even if it didn’t exactly give you the Aegean Sea vibes, a beach is still beach. So, I’d spend all my afternoon lounging on the beach, reading practically anything that I could lay my hands on. In the evening, I would wave watch with her. We never acknowledged each other, never greeted each other. All we did was sit back together in a blissful silence and watch the angry waves rise and fall as the light breeze ruffled our hair. She didn’t talk. she never did. Until one day, when she grabbed my notebook, scribbled something in it and handed it back to me, urging me to read. It was her name.
Zoya was mute. As days passed, we began spending all our mornings, noons and evenings together. Basking in the sun, sprinting along the shore, sweating on the sand and reading to her as the sky turned purple. My time there was an unending loop of this and just this. I didn’t know who she was, where she hailed from or where she was headed to. Never bothered to ask. Zo was the person who would live, run, smile and soar and never look back again. All was good. Until my last evening at the beach. I waited and waited and waited. Zo never came. I left the next morning and never looked back again.
Five years since then, I have graduated from one of the premier law schools in the country. And as I lay sprawled and stranded on the same deserted beach, seeking what or whom I do not know, I can’t help but wonder If I had imagined her.