The child who had become a man and settled in a different land, returned with his child, to that lane where once stood his house.
“Amulya, do you see that narrow lane flanked by two office buildings? I lived in one, that was there before.” reminisced the father.
“Single-storeyed houses, with nice open spaces and the many stories you told about the people in them?” The son shared the excitement.
“It’s time to tell you the one story that has taught me a few strange things about life. I lived with my parents and elder sister on the ground floor and the top floor was occupied by a large joint family with many brothers, sisters, a few wives and of course, the parents.”
“Ultra-conservative family, I know all about them.” The son explained.
“Across the lane, there was a widower with his two children. The children of both the houses had grown-up together and I was fond of sisters of both houses, especially the one across, as she always treated me to her delicious cakes.” The memory brought smiles on the father’s face.
“Mmmmm, so the story is all about puppy-love, sprinkled with ample doses of her creamy delicacies!!”quipped the all-knowing teen.
“There was deep love; across the two balconies. My first floor neighbor and the beautiful, motherless girl were in love; strongly opposed by the family on top. I became the conduit between the two lovers, much against the wishes of my cautious sister.”
“Age of intolerance. Strict family code against such love among people with differing backgrounds.” Spoke the well-read son.
“Never realizing what lay around life’s cruel corners, one day my cakes stopped abruptly as the sweet soul across fell seriously ill and left us suddenly.”
The son wouldn’t keep quiet. “Must have unnerved the guy.”
“In the final days, I saw her struggling to reach the balcony so the two could communicate through unspoken words. I saw her every night with her outstretched hand towards him. I sensed their pain as our hearts beat as one. “
The son looked at the father. “You really were a part of them.”
The father continued, “And every night, when it all ended, I would lay awake, listening to the sobs of the broken lover, calling out to her. And she came.” Cried the father, lost in thoughts. “She came to comfort him in his loneliness, in the darkness of night. She would sit on the balcony across with her hand held out.”
“Oh! So it’s a ghost story!” Amulya spoke in a jest and then stopped, seeing the seriousness on his father’s face.
“Yes, son; I brought up this only now when you are old enough to understand that supernatural truth.” confessed the father.
“Only the two of you could see her in the balcony? Something to do with one heart united in grief?” Amulya asked.
“Her showing-up eased his pain, like life’s steadying hand. Her pointing hand had a message, which we both learned later. After my sister married him, she told us, there were four hearts beating as One. She had understood the pointing finger telling her to step-in and reveal life’s soothing side to the lonely lover.”
“A marriage blessed by the ghost; who became her in the end?” The son nodded his head.
“Son, life is a wonder with miracles waiting to happen and there is always a hand to reach out to.”
Nodding , Amulya fondly entwined his fingers with those of his father.