A Blooming Spring books and stories free download online pdf in English

A Blooming Spring


'Feuille-morte­'!
The French term came to my mind as I kept gazing at the fall foliage. Amber, crimson and golden leaves of the trees on either side of the river were shining in the autumn sunlight. Its reflection in the cascading rivulet was quite appealing to the eyes.

Mesmerized, I kept looking at the painting. No doubt it was beautiful, but after all it was autumn. And it compelled me to wonder, why the once high-spirited and enthusiastic girl, was suddenly attracted to fall? Glancing around, I realised that all the paintings were showing different moods and moments of the autumn season. This was Rabia's solo art exhibition.

She was busy giving an interview to a reporter, completely oblivious of my presence and me observing her with unmitigated admiration. I decided not to leave without meeting her.

I am Rituraj Parekh. Rabia and I went to the same college. My love for her was always one-sided. Before I could become something, or dare to tell her, she got married to a stranger. I don't blame her. She was so not aware of my feelings for her.

Heartbroken, I went away abroad, to heal myself with time and distance. Today, I've come back after five years.
"Rituraj? Oh my God! Is this you?"
Pulling my attention from the painting, my eyes fell on her and stayed cemented there. She was truly a stunning sight to behold. Years later she still looked gorgeous, and I realised how much I had missed her.

We shook hands and talked for a few minutes.
"Rituraj, now are you going to stay here or are you planning to go back to London?"
"My aim is to set up a business here itself. Rabia, I must say you have become a fine artist. I'm thoroughly impressed. Congratulations!"
Red tinged her shimmery cheeks as she took in the compliments.
"Thank you so much."
Pointing behind me, I affixed further.
"I want to buy this painting. But first, can I ask you something?"
"Sure."
For emphasis, I glanced around once again,
"You used to be such a lively girl, but presently... this autumn...? Doesn't suit your personality."
Her pretty features contorted. The smile she was wearing seconds ago, simply vanished. It was replaced by a gloomy pout. Tears pooled in her eyes and she averted her gaze to hide them. Sniffing, she cleared her throat to feign courage, before dropping the bomb on me.
"If someone's entire life has become an autumn, what else can you expect from that person?"
I was dumbfounded.
"Rabia! I don't understand, what do you mean?"
Her voice sank an octave, whilst she wiped her tears before clarifying.
"I am a widow. Three years ago, Gaurav died in a car accident."

She walked away without waiting for my reaction. I bought the painting and went home, howbeit, for a week I remained restless and agitated. Countless mind boggling thoughts were circulating in my head. She was lonely and frustrated. Now it wasn't just about my love for her. Furthermore, what transpired in the past wasn't significant today. Important was to fill Rabia's life with love and happiness. Taking it upon me, I promised myself to make the rest of her life, a blooming spring, all over again.

Without letting her know of my intentions, I started meeting her. First, once in a while, and then regularly. We met at cafeterias, went for long walks, had dinners together, and sometimes even went shopping. We used to talk a lot, of anything and everything. Six months later, all walls of reluctance and hesitation came crumbling down. Rabia got along so well with me, that we became transparent to each other.

One evening, on her birthday, I went to her house. A flock of seagulls had taken flight in the pit of my stomach. My love and my purpose, both were going to be under scrutiny.

"Happy Birthday Rabia!"
Wishing her, I gave the gift and asked her to unwrap it. She burst out laughing, when she saw what it was. Dabbing the corner of her eyes, she remarked,
"Rituraj, seriously? Are you gonna gift me my own painting?"
"Darling, see carefully."
Although she was stunned to hear the endearment, without commenting any further, she peeped back into the picture. I had engraved something on it. It said,
"Falling autumn leaves give us hope of the blooming spring that follows!"

Wordlessly, she kept looking at me. I ambled close to her and taking both her hands in mine, said lovingly,
"This is not about today, sweetheart. I've been in love with you since our college days. But unfortunately, before I could achieve something substantial, or have the guts to open my heart in front of you, you were married off. Nonetheless, now life has given us this golden opportunity to unite and become one. You know, both our names also mean spring! Rabia, let's get married. Our whole life will be a jubilant colourful spring season."

I was scared for nothing. All my apprehensions proved to be wrong, and I didn't have to wait for long. The radiant smile on her face enhanced her beauty ten fold. Rabia cocooned in my embrace, and just like that, the years of craving, disappeared with her warm touch.

Shamim Merchant, Mumbai
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