The ten-day gap!
Posted April 30, 2015on:
We were together at a youth leadership training camp at Mussoorie in the early sixties. She was sober and soft-spoken, giving the impression of being reserved, unlike some of the other participants. Our interaction was only at formal group discussion meetings.
After the conclusion of the three-day camp, some of the participants travelled in shared taxis up to Dehra Dun, the railhead for Mussoorie. I happened to be in the taxi which she was sharing and found on the way that we had a few things in common, the most important being our love for Sanskrit. While I was still a student, she had done her post-graduate and taken up a teaching job in a school in a (present) Jharkhand town.
We exchanged addresses promising to write to each other; the age of internet was still far, far away. We did exchange lengthy letters, written in Sanskrit, regularly for a year or so. As always happens in such cases, our correspondence gradually became shorter and infrequent. Then it completely stopped. We lost touch with each other.
After some time I got a job and shifted to Delhi. Several years later, I found one of her letters in an old book. I became nostalgic and decided to write to her, telling her all that had been happening to me during these years and asking her how she was, if she was married and what she had been doing after we had parted at Mussoorie. Somehow, I kept it postponing for over two months. Then one day I sat down and wrote to her at her old address with the hope that it would reach her wherever she was.
Sometime later, I received a post card. It said: “I am Jyoti’s husband. She died ten days ago after a brief illness. How happy she would have been had your letter arrived before”.