Harry and Swapna were in a state of shock, grieving the sudden death of Raima and Shom. This was a major blow; especially so for Swapna who was more than a mother to her. They were lying on the bed in the master bedroom.
Harry kept the updates of Shom’s activities and his phone call the previous night to himself. He and Khush alone were aware of Shom’s heroic deed of passing off Saif’s body as his own. It was a big relief to see Raima’s murder finally avenged, thought Harry, who was fond of Raima. There was something unusually strong about their connection, which was not understood in the worldly sense as it was a connection from the beyond.
When Harry had recounted the love of Cindy and Dilip he had witnessed during his school days in Calcutta, what had struck him were the similarities it had with the intense love of Shom and Raima. He had been Raima’s friend and guru, just as Dilip had been his. He was deep in thought when Swapna raised her head and turned towards him.
“You know, I had Raima on my mind all the time while listening to the love affair of Cindy and Dilip,” she said.
“Why only Raima?”
“I was fond of her right from the time she and Natasha were in college together. She helped me a lot. She was very ambitious and appeared to be as capable as Dilip. She bought her own house in Worli and looked after her bedridden mother. We spent a lot of time together at her place or mine. When she got involved with Shom, a man more than twice her age, Natasha and I missed her. But we realised they were soulmates like Cindy and Dilip. However, post-Shom, she went through a lot of anxious moments. I could understand her feelings from my past experience with you.”
“I see what you’re getting at; any regrets to do with your past?”
“None, whatever. I eventually did it your way, though it took a long time for me to accept our breakup. I am so much wiser now, thanks to the love guru.”
“You almost dislodged me. Had I given in, it would have been a disaster.”
“Raima had detached from Shom only recently. What I went through was decades ago. Now, at last, they are together. Will they be reborn?”
That was a question in Harry’s mind. He smiled at Swapna’s clever deductions. His mind was working overtime, reasoning out the theory of reincarnation. Aruna and Shom were born about 50 years ago, the time when Cindy and Dilip departed. No wonder the basic nature of Cindy and Shom was similar and Raima was so much like Dilip. It was amazing that he had seen both generations in his lifetime.
Swapna was curious to know what was going on in Harry’s mind, but before she could ask, his mobile started to ring. It was Shom; his unofficial number flashed on the screen. He jumped up and went to a corner of the room to answer the call. Shom sounded possessed and in a hurry to narrate everything that happened when he was with Raima. It was not a dream; she was with him and in him, they were going to be one soon. Not only had she been Aruna and Dilip earlier, but he himself recalled being Cindy. Both of them remembered Harry as a 10-year old in Calcutta.
Swapna was alarmed. She had never seen a collected man like Harry so excited. She kept watching him prancing up and down, uttering, “Yes, by all means you must, nothing to worry about destiny, you’re a very good soul.” When he put down the phone, he looked as if he had seen a ghost. He dived into bed next to Swapna.
“What happened? Who were you talking to?”
“What?” screamed Swapna. She panicked, clenching her fist and pounding on Harry’s back as he lay in bed, his head between the pillows. He raised his head and asked her to calm down. He explained that the truth about Shom was a closely guarded secret known only to Khush and himself. When Harry completed the story, Swapna was crying. She wanted to know everything that Shom had told Harry on the phone. She also wanted to know what had happened to Cindy and Dilip.
“Can we meet them?” she asked.
“Both of them died more than fifty years ago, one after the other.”
“Fifty years ago? Would Shom be the reincarnation of Cindy?”
“Yes, you sensed that right.”
“What did he have to say?”
“Raima is with him; she never left him, she just left her body.”
“Does that mean she is in Shom’s body?”
“Not exactly, but their souls are attached.”
“Oh my God, the soul of Cindy-Shom attached to that of Dilip-Aruna-Raima!”
“Yes. In my lifetime I have seen it all, except Aruna, because Shom met me when I had you on my mind and he had Aruna. When he discovered that she was no more, he wanted to kill himself. That’s the time I took over and got him involved in R&D. This helped me keep you out of my mind.”
“I now remember you simply disappeared from my life.”
“Wasn’t it the best thing to have happened to us? Otherwise, your father-in-law would have disowned you.”
“Please don’t remind me of those days, it was terrible.”
“You have overcome those difficult times with your dignity and sanity intact. And you have a battery of suitors.”
“I only want you and my work. And Natasha, of course.”
“Hmmm, are we soulmates?”
“Yes! Soulmates who have passed the test of time and have learnt to survive.”
“This is what happens when the soul is liberated and detached from the body.”
“Yes, the soul is free of karma. What did Shom tell you?”
“He said he did not realise when it happened, as having a dying Raima on his lap was traumatic. Something in the last smile on her beautiful, angelic face possessed him and his whole outlook changed. Raima had to transmit that energy into his system, she had to stay in her body till Shom reached her.”
“I suppose that gave him the energy to go after Saif.”
“Like Lord Krishna killed Kansa after he departed from Radha.”
“That’s a great way to put it. What else did he tell you? You guys were talking for a long time”
“This was his last call.”
“Why? Why won’t he call you again when he has been calling?”
“He is going to die.”
“What? How can you talk like that?”
“He told me so.”
“How does he know? Is he going to kill himself?”
Harry continued. Shom had told him that he had seen Raima in a dream when he was in a state of semi-slumber. She was real, in physical form, attired in a dress Shom had bought for Aruna with his hard-earned money about 40 years ago. He had tried to get up and say something but couldn’t, as though he was fast asleep. Raima was in full flow. One moment she looked like Aruna and in another moment she was her young self. Then suddenly, she looked like a boy who called himself Dilip and asked Shom about Horesh/Harry, in a Bengali accent. Dilip told Shom to convey to Harry that he was Raima. That’s why he used to fight with Harry. That was the time the Cindy in Shom emerged. His joy knew no bounds as she and Dilip were together again.
During the phone conversation with Harry, Shom’s voice transformed into Cindy’s. She asked Harry whether he remembered her. Harry told her how he had told Swapna, Natasha and Anita about Dilip and her. At that point, Shom bid goodbye after telling Harry that he had fulfilled all his obligations. He had sent emails with information about Saif and his terrorist group to Harry, Khush and the Head of Police of Jaipur. The mails included details of his plans to capture Saif. He was going to destroy his own phone, leaving behind Saif’s phone on his body to recover and access for information, after his death.
Harry collapsed on the bed at the end of his narration, Swapna over him.
Next day one of the Jaipur newspapers reported a terrorist found dead and another said he was killed.
“Why have they not talked about the heroic deeds of Shom?” enquired Swapna.
Harry showed Swapna the mail Shom had sent him. “This has gone to all the relevant places. If not, I will send it. Don’t you worry,” said Harry reassuringly.
There was a gathering of friends and family that evening. Khush, Aneesha, Anuradha and Sanjib Mal came over. This was trying moment for all of them after the shocking news of Raima and Shom. Grandpa did not make it since Grandma was still in a state of shock and it was the custom to be home-bound at such time. The country acknowledged the sacrifice made by Shom and Raima, but many details were still kept under wraps by RAW.
When the soul has fulfilled all the worldly requirements and responsibilities, it is free of all karma. It is therefore, no longer attached to the body and is able to leave the body at will. Shom’s karma was bound with Raima’s. She made a soul sacrifice to empower Shom to carry on the unfinished work of avenging her death before their souls could merge. Shom’s soul was liberated now; it was detached from his body. It only waited to complete the worldly responsibilities and karma. In the same manner, Raima had to wait for Shom to be witness to her last smile.
Shom was so pleased with his thoughts that for the first time in his life, he loved himself. Then, as if in acknowledgement, Raima’s smiled the last smile. It was pictured vividly in his mind. Her presence was suddenly all-prevailing, her smiling expressive face; particularly her eyes spoke to him from the beyond. It was surreal, but he could feel her inside him. It was as if the wisdom he sensed from her last smile had transferred to him a connection from the Divine. He knew it now. Nothing could take her away from him anymore. She was with him all the time. He was suddenly filled with a kind of happiness he had never experienced before. His soul, though still stuck in his body, was free to love her infinitely and without any inhibitions. Just the way she deserved to be loved all along. He smiled again. He was at peace after all his years of struggle and pleasing everyone but himself.
He was alone, but not lonely. He was free, with nothing to lose. Although he had nothing, there was everything going for him. The last smile dissolved into his and his smile turned wider as he lay afloat in the air and his thoughts vanished. He now had everything he always wanted, which was nothingness. The liberated soul is aware of everything. It is a part of the Divine. It knows exactly when to leave the physical body.