The Last Birthday Gift To The Stranger
Aakriti is only a stranger to Rahul. He first saw her at Nepal literature festival in Kathmandu, Nepal. It wasn’t a proper meet because he hadn’t noticed her then. When the festival organizer posted his favorite poem on their Facebook page, he watched the video and read all comments.
One comment was, “Watching it for the ninth time. I loved it so, so much.” The girl who commented was Aakriti. He had seen her during the festival but they with no any physical or verbal interaction.
Rahul is an occasional writer, and whenever he imagined any stories, even if most of them had gone unwritten, he named his better-half, an imaginary character “Aakriti.” Those stories were often incomplete, they faded, but Aakriti continued to be his Juliet in his mind. He had found no such girl in real-life. Sometime he would be so restless to meet his character that he would mistake a random girl as his probable soulmate. He found some resembling few characters of an imaginary Aakriti, but they wouldn’t fit perfectly. He would share his written blog with his friends, but very few of them understood those stories.
He got curious to know more about the girl who had commented on the video. Was it just a coincidence that she shares the same name as his story girl? He further checked Aakriti’s Facebook profile. Her bio description was, “I wan to be a writer and write stories about the village I travel to.” He further checked down her timeline. She posted a few poems, movies she loved, and mentioned top destinations she traveled to. In just a matter of hours, a stranger’s Facebook public posts conveyed to him enough about her life. She was no more a stranger but a close associate of his heart. He would find his missing soulmate in Aakriti’s Facebook feeds wondering what if she is the one?
He wanted to talk about a poem which both of them loved at a literature festival, but he was afraid to express anything. He didn’t.
A few days later, he wrote a poem and sent the first message to her.
Hey Aakriti, I just want to thank you because your presence made me write a poem after a long time. Hope you enjoy it.
Maybe She is just an imaginary,
This is what I always thought
Out of my creation, through poems
and through many stories I penned
There was ‘She,’ the only one
The one I used to write, the one I had sketched!
In those dim appearances, faded, unclear ,
From my imagination, till dreams
In the lowest visibility, I memorized her
I captured the one I wanted to meet
There was my Beloved, the only one
The one I used to hear, The one I had thought!
Maybe she is one to have never existed
I said to myself; I consoled myself.
Hoping she will come from somewhere
To read what all I had written till now ,
There will be ‘She’ in the coming future,
The one I used to imagine; The one I noted!
Then in the midst of the day, As I got a glimpse of her,
I exclaimed, “My God! She resembles Her”
In my most considerable confusion, I recalled Her
She talks like her; She is like the written Her.
None other than my prolonged desire, the only one
The one I used to wait, The one HE created
From my visualization to her appearance
Maybe similar, Maybe ‘not to be ever mentioned.’
Apart nickname, Apart from things she adores ,
More than the way she expresses herself
There is She somewhere, mine, divinely anointed,
The one who Loved me, The one I shall love back!
With my confusion, If I let her go away
What if she is not just a coincidence?
With the presence of signs and omens revealed,
What if she is the precise as a prayer answered
B’Coz There are many that she resembles me
The one who I am for, the one for me.
She saw his message after an hour, but she replied nothing for a week. He had almost lost hope when one day he read a message,
“Hey, is that poem for me?”
“Hey Aakriti. Those poems actually not for you, but yees! your presence inspired me to write them”
And those stories on your blog? Who is Aakriti?
She is a fictional character, just like a character of Ruby in the movie Ruby Sparks.
But Ruby existed, too. And in this movie, Calvin completes his book. Are you going to complete the one?
It surprised Rahul that she had watched Ruby Sparks. Not so well-known movie but coincidentally seen by both of them.
Yes, hopefully soon.
If the name of the girl in the book will be Aakriti, send me a copy too. I would love to read your book. [wink smiley]
Sure, I will send them. It may take me some years to finish the book at this pace. Till then can I wish you on your birthday every year?
Why not? My birthday is 25th December. You can add me as your friend on facebook.
Maybe I would love to remain in your life as a stranger. Some people remain special when we do not confine them in the mere facebook friend list.
25th December was an easy date to remember. The girl’s name, the common character she possessed, and her birthday all kept wandering in his mind.
On the Christmas Eve of 2012, the first Christmas since he knew her, Rahul dropped Aakriti a Facebook message.
“Hey Stranger, Happy Birthday to you and I wish you Merry Christmas too”
Thank you, Stranger. I am honored you remember my birthday.
One thing remained firmly in his mind. The birthday of Aakriti is 25th December. The next year when he wished her, she shared the good news with him.
Hey, Rahul. Thank you so much.
Thank you, Aakriti, for calling me by my name. The first instance, I guess.
Yes, because you are no more stranger now.
Wow. I am glad to hear that. How are you?
I am fine. I recently got engaged and will marry next year.”
Yes, I know.
How do you know? Is this stranger stalking on my Facebook profile?
Not actually. Not so often, But I saw them once a month back and noticed about your engagement.
Ahem! I saw your blogs too. I think you should write more and not be so lazy. [wink]
Yes, I will.
Years passed away. He changed the patterns of his writing. His niche topic changed. Most of the content changed except one, the girl’s name in stories, “Aakriti.”
He wished Aakriti for a few years on her birthday. As usual, she was excited to hear from him. But then he suddenly stopped wishing her. He remembered those dates, yet he didn’t wish her on her birthday for three years.
“I shall wish her a happy birthday once again,” Rahul decided. On the Christmas Eve of 2020, before dropping a message, he went through her Facebook profile. Her Facebook feed had her poems of happiness, travel pictures, and YouTube link of her favorite comedy shows. Aakriti is happy and content in her world.
“Why do I need to wish a birthday to this stranger?” Rahul changes his mind, “Does she really need my birthday wish to make her day complete? No! She has a beautiful family, and she needs no more birthday wishes from a stranger.” The other part of his heart confirmed his choice. “Yes, I am not sure even if she remembers anything about this stranger.”
They never met. They never dated. They were just a stranger.
But this stranger deserved the last gift. He had written no story for a long time. He then embraced a major change.
He titled the story; “And Julie continues to smile…” There was a new character in his story, and her name was Julie.
He completed the short fiction and posted it on his blog. With a smile on his face, he whispered, “the final gift to you, stranger; Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas.”
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