She liked to make exception; hated to say the obvious; and nothing of normal sort ever happened to her, or to people whom she liked, disliked, hated or loved.
While editing the play-script manual that Halder had asked her to modify, Alisha often looked at the bottom of each page. It carried same name everywhere, but she could not take her eyes off that portion. She held each page with delicacy, without touching its bottom lines that carried in bold letters – “Harleen Arts Enterprise”.
She asked Halder, “What is the story behind your enterprise’s name? Whenever I look at any page, among everything else that is written, the bottom line that carries the name of your enterprise, appears the boldest – I don’t know why is that? It seems to be calling out, loudly, somebody’s name. I want to know the story behind its name, if you don’t mind telling?”
Halder answered, “The name is after my daughter, Harleen, who lives in Pittsburgh”, monotonously.
Alisha thought for a moment, “Wasn’t Halder unmarried? But he had never said that he was married. Then why hasn’t he ever mentioned his girlfriend or daughter earlier, to anyone in the organization, and to her?”.
“She lives with a distant relative, who is a retired colonel from Army. She was born out of a live-in relationship”, continued Halder.
She expected any answer but that. She was still for a moment and didn’t dare to ask any further questions.
Alisha left early from work; walked too fast on the road; and took the next available train back to home. The train was moving at its speed, but it appeared relatively faster to her, and so did her heart-beats. Her head was in a mess, a severe pain that was wiping out all her energy. She didn’t really know what was making her so restless, whether the knowledge of Halder’s live-in relationship, his daughter, or the break up from his ex-girlfriend and probably his only beloved.
Alisha gazed directly at the space, for no objects far or near seemed to attract her anymore. She heard no sounds from the window outside, “Do they mock me silently?”- she whispered. Lost in her thoughts, she left the house at 2:30 a.m, too late to find any outlet open, yet too early to find any outlet open.
She was bare feet; she didn’t realize perhaps. Unlike everything else, nature was a little generous on her: neither hot nor cold. She walked without stopping for an hour or so- to avoid the explosion of random thoughts that didn’t let her sleep that night. She wanted to feel nothing; She wanted to hear nothing. And she thought about those thoughts all the time; thought of trying to avoid those thoughts, and in those thoughts, thought of the thoughts that she desperately wanted to get rid of. She wasn’t really sure if she succeeded in avoiding those thoughts or only invited them to puzzle her even more.
Halder had a tall, slim figure; neck too thin and erect; eyes too bold and sharp; voice as strong as that of a soldier from Army; His walk appeared like of a lion walking fearlessly in the jungle of his emperorship; He laughed rarely, and when he did, each member of the group considered it a rare blessing to receive; His request was an order for everyone in the organization. They revered him like a diety and he loved them back equally, adrently. Alisha had joined this organization three and a half years ago. For the first one year, he didn’t even notice her; For Harleen Arts Group was too big a company, and knowing each new joinee was not possible for its founder and CEO.
When they met for the first time, they didn’t greet each other; It didn’t seem necessary. Their first meeting seemed to be continuing an unfinished meeting started long ago. She looked straight into his eyes, and he passed a soft smile. She never showed any interest in him, and he knew that if she was interested in anything, or anyone – it was only him.
Alisha- as an exception- used to give him orders, and Halder- as an exception- used to obey them silently. Nobody gave her that authority, but she presumed it; and Halder had never objected about it. They had a silent understanding- an understanding that two people have, who have been tied with an unbreakable bond, from eternity.