Woh Pehli Baar…
I lay on the bed reading Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Zahir’. My eyes were tired from reading for a while now. I finished the current page, lay the book on my chest and closed my eyes. I might have dozed off for couple of minutes. When my eyes opened, I turned my head towards the table clock to check the time. Before my head could turn completely towards the clock, it stopped halfway and my eyes tried looking hard through the windows. The curtains of my windows were drawn. I felt that I saw something. I wanted to be sure of what I thought I saw. I smiled when I was sure. I thought, “I must tell Anand”.
I tried getting out of the bed. It was difficult and painful. I was not supposed to get out of my bed. I was confined to complete bed rest after my surgery, a couple of days back. But now I must get out. Slowly I got up, walked to window. I stood there for sometime. I could sense an excitement inside me. I slowly crossed my room, opened my door and knocked the door opposite to mine. This was Anand’s studio. I knew he kept his curtains drawn, always. I was sure he wouldn’t have noticed yet. He had been waiting for it and had been talking to me since last couple of weeks.
“Hey Anand… it’s snowing man!”, I said when Anand opened his door. “Really!”, exclaimed Anand. I was right. He had no idea of it. “Open your curtains and see”, I suggested. He opened his curtains and looked outside. He stood there for couple of minutes and turned towards me. “Man it is really snowing! At last! I hope, I get to see a white Christmas at least this year”, said Anand. It was nice to see his childlike happiness. White Christmas has been eluding him in all these years in Belgium.
Anand suggested, “Let’s go to the top floor and see from there”. “Yups that would be nice but I don’t think I can make it”, I slowly said, feeling already tired by standing for sometime now. “You go ahead, I shall wait for you here”, I proposed. “I will help you. We will go slowly. If you start feeling uncomfortable, we will return”, said Anand. “Hmm… okay. Let’s try”, I replied. Yups, even I didn’t want to miss this. It would have been even better if I could go out but pity that I can’t :(.
With help from Anand, I slowly walked towards the lift. We waited for the lift to come down. Frank walked out of it. “Too early to snow and too much for the first day”, remarked Frank when he saw us. Frank is the caretaker of our building. He was right. It was snowing quite heavily and for quite sometime now.
We reached the sixth floor of our building. The view from there was so beautiful. I thanked Anand for bringing me up there. I was seeing snow in reality for the first time in my life. I was used to see Heverlee in green. Now seeing it getting painted in white was sort of unbelievable. Both of us stood there in silence, savoring the first snowfall of the season. I then pulled out my mobile phone and took some pictures from there. I stretched my hand out, hoping to catch some snow flakes. I wanted to feel them. Some snow flakes fell on my hand. Before I could bring my hand closer and look at them, they melted away. Anand smiled on seeing the disappointed look on my face.
“Let’s go now, Anand”, I suggested, “I am feeling tired and a little cold too”. “Ok”, said he.
Now almost a year later, it has snowed again. I was lucky this time to go out into the first snowfall. I recalled the above incident of last year’s first snowfall as I biked back home. It seemed so fresh in my memory. May be, it is difficult to forget one’s first snow fall, like it is difficult to forget one’s first love…