I walk out of the library looking at the weird ID card picture, the company logo, and the phone number. I should have worn blue that day, I look good in blue. As I walk out of the library I see a beautiful Natarajan idol placed along with the temple. It’s black in color, the same as the cover of the book I have in my hand.
I look at the membership receipt of the library. I am a member for 10 days. I can visit here from 8am to 10pm. I don’t have time to go to the library, I think walking out the gate, and waving at the auto.
“Collective INC. A-1” I say to the driver. He picks me up, and I read the book, it has little prose, verses, stanzas, poetry, and an amazing compilation of beautiful words. I wonder if I can go there daily and spend some time reading stuff. I can make an exception for these 10 days.
I reach the office and I wonder how to thank that lady for returning my ID card. I am as usual busy and I reach home exhausted. I take out my lunch box from the bag and I see the book. The black cover with the beautiful feather. I keep my box aside and I am thinking about the wonderful day. I read the book and for rest of the night, I am reading the pages, beautifully penned stanzas. I keep reading and I am lost inside, the world full of love, warmth, sentiments, this heartfelt innocence.
I am reminded of Sunaina, her sweet voice, her beautiful eyes, and her nosepin. Her recommending me the book. I am halfway through and I sleep with it that night. I wake up with the book over me, I keep it aside. I look at my phone and its 7:30am. If I get ready, I can spend the mornings there. I get ready, I wear my blue shirt and I consume time getting ready. I reach the library, and as soon as I enter I search for Sunaina. I see the reading room, the library, but no one is there.
The library is quite big and spacious, with books arranged meticulously. I look at the different sections and I move towards the Non-fiction, I see all the famous authors. The books I always wanted to read, but couldn’t find time to.
“Done with the book already?” I hear her sweet voice. She is looking so pretty today. I look at her kohl eyes, through her golden rimmed round glasses, her tied up hair.
“Almost,” I say looking at her nosepin
“Did you like it?” She asks me, being inquisitive.
“Yes, I can really feel the author.” I look at the book trying to recall the author name S K Gujral.
I see her eyes lit up. I spend an hour in the library, she told me about the books she would recommend me to read. I walk out of the library, happy. I read a few more pages in the auto ride to the office. My day ends well. I am out of the office and it’s 7pm. I make one more visit to the library before going home, thinking about the words of the poetry I read.
I reach the library, I walk inside, the AC is full and I see people studying, I tiptoe my way to the other end of the library. Trying to find the known face, I look for Sunaina. I can’t find her anywhere. I sit there, reading the book, I read, and I have fallen in love with the way the words are written, they have their own world, making me feel connected, to all the emotions I see but can’t express. I keep reading and I read the deep words. Someone tied and lost in the imaginary memory, unable to perceive anything.
At the end of the book and I look at the last page, I read about S K Gujral. There is nothing much mentioned in the book. I leave the book and I try finding other books by the author, I can’t find any. I look at my watch and I look for Sunaina again. My eyes moving over to every person present and I find the lady sitting over to the corner table of the library.
I walk up to her. She recognizes me, I greet her quietly and she acknowledges. I say thanks for returning my ID card. I talk to her and she is a teacher. I keep the professionalism on, she might not think I am a stalker and move away.
I return home and I finish the book. I google about the author and there is no online presence. The author is a ghost. I wonder who wrote this book and is lost in oblivion. Why did Sunaina give me this book? I am feeling attached and I wonder if there was something more. If she was also associated with it, just like I am.
I sleep and I think of meeting her tomorrow and return the book.
For the next few days I visit the library in the morning and in the evening I can’t find her. I wake up every day in hope of meeting her but she is nowhere. I don’t see the lady too, I wonder if they are the 10-day member just like me or are they privileged to be there. I read the books Sunaina recommended to me.
I miss her, I look for her and I get a bit sad when I don’t find her. My membership is about to expire tomorrow and I want to ask the librarian about Sunaina. He looks at me, as I return the last book I have read upon her recommendation. I wonder if it’s okay to ask about her, but I don’t.
I remember her face, lying in my bed, thinking about her. How did I meet her, what a funny story? Hadn’t I took the lady for the ride, I would have not met her. Had there been no meeting, had my phone been on, I would have taken the ID card from someone else.
I wish I can meet her again, and tell her about the books I have read, I want to talk about the poetry book with her. I sleep hopeful, I might find her tomorrow.
I walk inside, trying to keep my heart, looking for her, praying, please meet me, please find me, please be here. I go over everywhere, You are nowhere, I find the book again and I reread a few of my favorites. I am reading and I hear your sweet voice and my heart skips a beat.
“Still hooked up?” She speaks to me, looking at me.
“Yeah, Where have you been?” I ask her happily, trying to hide how much I have missed her presence and she grabs a chair and sits opposite me.
“Just making a living.” and she laughs, I laugh with her.
“You know this author is awesome but a ghost. I can’t find anything about the book or whoever wrote it. I really like this poem, it looks so profound and all of the prose wants to portray something so deep like I feel so attached, do you also feel the same and so you asked me to read it.” I look at her trying to ask like I would lose her in the thin air, I want to make most of the time we have here, I may find you or not, I wonder if this is it. Am I seeing you here for the last time?
I look at you, your eyes, your deep eyes through your glasses. I wonder if I can look at them, all bare. Your eyes are smiling.
“The ghost is me, I am the author of the book” You say looking at me.
I look at you in disbelief. S K Gujral… Sunaina K Gujral. Really!? That can’t be happening! How is this possible. I make a don’t joke with me face. She is joking with me. I am convinced and all I manage to speak closing the book at your little joke is “No way.” You laugh and your dimple shows.
I am confused what is it, are you or are you not?
You grab your library card and I see your name Sunaina K Gujral. So all this time I was reading your heart, your love, your compassion, your soul, and I basically fell in love with you? I am speechless for a moment.
You continue the conversation and you tell me everything about the time when you wrote that poem, your feelings, how intensely you felt about it. I sit there feeling mixed sentiments, a stupid fan sitting and talking to an author. I just wanted to befriend you and instead ..! you seem way beyond my reach
You look at my card and the books I have read in the last 10 days. All your favorites. I just sit there holding my hands, speaking nothing, nodding at everything you say.
“Let’s go for the coffee,” She says looking at me,
I look at her and say,“Coffee with a fan!” and she chuckles. I smile and we walk out the library.
“I hope you remember your fan’s name” I speak looking at the sunfilled morning blue sky with the feathery white clouds.
“Mr. Anugrah, yes I do” My eyes sparkle up. I wave at the auto and If only I knew, I am going to marry this woman a few years down the line, if I knew that day going worse, that it’s all fate, me riding along with the lady, being late to the meeting, losing my id card, I am going to meet the love of my life, had I not stopped the auto, had I not asked the lady, had I not done everything that I did, had I not missed my interoffice cab ride, where would I be? Had I met her?
I still wonder to this day! She is busy writing something and I am looking at her, I couldn’t have been luckier. Always trust the timing of everything that happens, they happen for a reason. I walk up to her and I hug her from the back, looking at her next unpublished book