“The National Geographical Organization has now given information that time left is very less for people of Darjeeling to evacuate the place. This is the last chance for all those who haven’t. The avalanche is…”. *click*. Ptolev switched the room back to silence turning the radio set off. The clock in his room ticked eleven in the morning.
Ptolev, strangely, didn’t feel hungry though he skipped his breakfast. He just woke up twenty minutes ago and is still snugly ensconced in a warm rug, staring at the white out of the window. But his mind was not as calm and snug as his body was. The haunting thoughts of night were striking him coldly now. Mountains, trees, the lake and the snow outside were reluctant to provide him the comfort they did everyday.
As if the cold was not enough, it started to snow. Ptolev got down his bed and slid his feet into his shoes. He got into a fat woolen sweater and then did something he never before did. Never since he moved into the house did he close his bedroom window for he feared it might be like closing all doors to his inner peace and comfort. And now losing faith in the Himalayan peaks, he didn’t falter in doing it.
He then stepped out of the house, closed the door behind him and started to walk. In minutes, the cold outside numbed his body as he walked down the dreary street. After all its denizens dispossessed the place, it possessed a strange eeriness. Not something new for Ptolev is it? Step after step he took desultorily walking not worried a jot about the ensued avalanche.
Sofia started to rub the pearls away from her cheeks and got herself back to normal. Still crouched on the ground, penitently thought about what to be done. She got up, dusted the snow and dust off her clothes and put her satchel back on her shoulder. Gaining all mental mettle, she now started to walk with the augmented hope.
What a good thing inner conscience is. It now was promising her – The Quest is not Over. That this story of her and her lover is not destined to end but otherwise – Begin. Walked did she now with all might and not contrite. Occupied with these thought she didn’t even remember there was an avalanche waiting to show its wrath.
Ptolev now reached the crossroad where Sofia an hour ago was distracted by the bar into taking left when she had to take right. He stood there looking at the circle in between the crossroad that normally had company of people sitting on it. And then, spectacularly, he could see someone in a red sweater walking towards him from about two hundred meters away. He scarcely could see the face through the snowy fog. As she came nearer, his eyes froze first and then went big. His body jerked in shock. They are now just a few meters away and their eyes met.
Ptolev still was captured in the same shock. Seconds passed by while they stood there staring at each other with their bodies denying to move ahead towards one another. Tears rose in Sofia’s eyes and so did they in Ptolev’s. Sofia covered her face and cried there while Ptolev dumbstruck, stood watching.
And while this happened, the mountains started to dust themselves. The avalanche has started. Snow from top of the Himalayan peaks started to curl down gaining great speed as it did. Both their faces consumed by fear turned towards right to the mountains on which the snow was rumbling down with great noise. The air around them started to get thick covered by loose dry snow making it hard to see each other, fighting the dense snow that was pushing them aside and then all the snow from above came down with all its magnanimity and forte encapsulating the whole place not leaving a skosh.
We do not now what happened next. In fact, no one ever knew what happened next. Did Ptolev and Sofia live to make a happy ending or they got no closer than looking at each other amidst the splentic snow? Did they touch each other? Did they hug? Or did they perish? The story that followed is relayed only to the mountains that looked down and the time that passed by…
All we can say now is Arivederci.