Mithi: Hey yourself! Where have you been? Do you know how many messages I left for you?!
Sameer: Yes. Sorry. I was a little tied up.
Mithi: For fifteen days? It took you fifteen days to answer me! This, when you know I am in the middle of a baby-related crisis here? Which is all because of you, by the way – you and your suggestion to ‘not quit working just because I have a baby!’
Sameer: Yes. I was…
Mithi: Tied up, I know. So, are you going to tell me what you were busy with?
Mithi: What is that you are typing for so long?
Two days later
Mithi: Oh my god, Sameer! I am so, sorry! I just found out! Why didn’t you say anything? I can’t believe it. An accident?! I feel so bad. Please accept my deepest condolences. I am really sorry …
Mithi: Hey! I am so sorry for your loss. How are you? How is Riya?
Sameer: Thanks. Riya is too young to understand anything. She is back in school this week. I am working from home so I can keep up with her schedule.
Mithi: How are you, Sameer? What can I do to help?
Sameer: I am okay. Thanks.
Mithi: You want to talk about it.
Mithi: Okay. But, just so you know, I am here. You can chat with me anytime. About anything. I know we are former colleagues and all, but we are also friends, Sameer. Good friends. You can talk to me anytime. I just wish you were here still, in India, I would’ve at least met you…
Sameer: She keeps asking for her.
Sameer: Riya… she keeps looking at all the pictures in the garage… and keeps asking for her mother.
Mithi: Pictures? Oh! Your exhibition! When is it? Oh my God! Isn’t your exhibition next week?
Sameer: Yes. We have stored all the pictures in the garage. All labelled and ready for the exhibition. Riya would spend time with us there. Now she goes in there looking for her mother.
Mithi: Oh Sameer!
Mithi: How are you?
Mithi: How is Riya?
Sameer: She is okay. My brother and his wife have her for the weekend.
Mithi: Oh, okay. So you are working on your pictures, then?
Mithi: Your exhibition pictures?
Sameer: Uh. No. I locked them in the store room.
Mithi: What? Why?
Few hours later
Mithi: Hey. Can I say something?
Sameer: Uh huh
Mithi: Sameer, I have never met your wife. But I have seen enough of her profile on social media to know that you both were a great team. I think it was the best thing you did, quitting the job to join her full time as a professional photographer.
Mithi: I have seen you two travel to all these amazing destinations and I have seen the pictures you guys took….I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love those pictures! So earthy, so real, such amazing pictures – out of this world, Sameer!
Mithi: And I was thrilled when you announced the exhibition last month. Because those pictures belong in a gallery, Sameer! Or in a coffee table book, as I told you then. I told you I could help with that, didn’t I? But you guys wanted to test the waters first. Hold the exhibition first. And now the exhibition is just a week away. Your wife would be so proud!
Mithi: Say something Sameer!
Mithi: No, wait. You locked up the pictures in the store room. Did you lock them away, Sameer? You are still planning on… Oh, my God, don’t tell me you are cancelling the exhibition! Sameer?
Sameer: I am cancelling the exhibition.
Mithi: No!! You can’t do that! You know how hard you and your wife worked for this exhibition, Sameer? And you are just going to let it all go?
Sameer: I am just not up to it, Mithi. Can we talk about something else?
Mithi: I mean yes, we can talk about whatever you want. But this isn’t fair Sameer.
Sameer: Life isn’t fair, Mithi.
Mithi: Please! Don’t give me dialogues!
Mithi: Don’t do this, Sameer. Don’t cancel the exhibition. Your wife…
Sameer: My wife isn’t here, Mithi. She is gone. Dead. She isn’t going to be with me anymore. The plan was to hold the exhibition together. As a team.
Mithi: And you were a great team!
Sameer: Were. See? We aren’t a team anymore.
Mithi: Oh, Sameer! You cannot let her down like this. This isn’t the Sameer I know.
Sameer: Thanks, Mithi. But I think the matter is decided.
Mithi: Have you spoken to the organisers yet?
Sameer: No. I will speak to them on Monday.
Mithi: Don’t. Please. Your wife…
Sameer: Don’t, Mithi. Please. You don’t know my wife.
Mithi: Yes. Sorry, I didn’t know her. But I know you, Sameer. And I know this was a dream that you both saw together.
Mithi: I know you are in mourning, Sameer. And I know that this is a void that no one can fill. Ever. But I also know that you are not someone who just gives up easily. You just don’t know how to give up. Sod it, Sameer! Pardon my French. But you taught me not to give up, remember? You need to take some of your own advice now.
Sameer: It isn’t the same without her, Mithi. I see those pictures and I miss her like hell! It is too painful. I cannot bear to look at those pictures without remembering where we were when we took each one of them, or what we were doing then. Every picture is a memory. Every single frame, a reminder of what I have lost.
Mithi: I can imagine, Sameer. But that is the point, see? You have these pictures. You have these memories. You got to spend that time together. You got to experience something special together. Something that some people never even get in their entire lifetime. You got a chance to live it, Sameer. These pictures are a reminder of the special times you enjoyed with your wife. And now you are thinking of shutting them away in a storeroom, never see the light of the day? That is so unfair, Sameer.
Sameer: Thanks Mithi. I appreciate what you are doing here. But, I think I deserve to mourn my wife the way I feel fit. As you said, I am still grieving.
Mithi: No matter how your heart is grieving… If you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.
Mithi: It’s from a song from Disney’s Cinderella.
Mithi: Sameer, you saw a dream with your wife. And she saw this exhibition as a step towards achieving that dream. She believed in these pictures, Sameer; in the potential of having this exhibition.
Sameer: Well, she isn’t around to see any of that happen, Mithi.
Mithi: No. But you are. And you need to do this for her. And for Riya. So she can remember her mother for the optimistic woman that she was, who saw the goodness, in fact, greatness, in everything. Who saw the extraordinariness in the ordinary, everyday things in life.
Mithi: Sameer? Hello?
Two days later
Sameer: I spoke to the organisers today.
Mithi: Oh, Sameer :(
Sameer: Stay tuned this Friday. I will send you pictures from the exhibition.
Mithi: Yay! Looking forward!!
Mithi: :) Anytime, buddy!
Sameer: And Mithi, next month I am coming to India. With Riya. Let’s catch up.
Mithi: Oh, great! :D :D