The misty lake

She walked along the tiny paths lined with colourful daisies . Each path led to a small cottage . Looked something like out of a fairy tale. The clouds were slowly rolling off the mountain and covering all over the sky a cool breeze was sweeping up from the glistening lake .Once again the jetty caught her peaceful n inviting , Maya thought . She stopped ,took a deep breath and sighed. If only life could be this peaceful and calm. In the distance a roar of laughter broke her silence

Maya walked back to her small cottage She needed to be alone tonight she thought . It’s been a tiring day already . Just as she sat down and took her shoes off there was a knock on the door ,miss Maya ? Miss Maya are u there ?

Maya jumped to her feet and opened the door . Hi riya is everything ok ?

Oh yes miss Maya replied riya and grinned .

I couldn’t catch u at the meeting so came here sorry to bother you but had to tell u abt tonight

We are having a dinner n dance evening at the hall . Please do come it will be really fun she giggled

Maya always tried to avoid these kind of functions before she could reply riya excitedly continued oh and it’s got a saree competition as well I am going to wear my best saree . Please do come miss and she rushed off without giving Maya a chance to reply . For a second maya stood there watching her go

That innocence that full of life attitude hope nothing tarnishes it for her she thought

She closed the door and leaned back closed her eyes and listened to her own breathing

It’s so quiet . Nothing like the city

Hearts heavy she thought . Hhmm wonder why ? What is it now ?

She opened her eyes and saw the tiny steam of light from the drapes peeping thro . She wondered what’s behind those drapes

It was late by the time she reached here last night . If it wasn’t for that man she would have reached sooner she thought . Hope I don’t see him again

With that thought she walked over to the windows and pulled the drapes back

Oh my she gasped the lake the jetty the mountains so majestic

Maya opened the doors and walked on the balcony . The breeze was still cool seeping thro her chiffon saree. She wrapped the sarees end around her shoulders . The warmth of the sun on her face and the cool breeze on her body sent shivers thro her spine . She paused for a moment took a deep breath and opened her eyes to absorb the beauty n tranquility that surrounded her .

Could she live here forever ? Life would be simple but peaceful

Ah I wish she whispered

She looked at the mountains so powerful n majestic she looked away as if they could look inside of her and try to know what she’s all about . She felt intimidated for a while turned around and wondered why is it everytime she embraces nature and worship places and tries to connect with her soul she feels conscious and scared and emotional

Without looking back she walked back in and closed the door.

Night fell, maya was dressed up for the dinner …she looked in the mirror and few old memories flashed in front of her ,those cherished moments and happy days she sighed and here she was staring at herself ..who is this person I am looking at she thought , wonder how do these people who are strangers perceive her,

She looked outside as the moon rose into the sky. moon light sprinkled a diamond path across the lake .the mountains displayed a picture perfect backdrop while the pine trees along the lake created a defined profile.

The stars in the sky looked like a reflection of the lake .so many stars maya thought .never seen so many stars in the city before. Nature was flaunting it’s beauty at it’s best tonight. As she closed the drapes she saw an image on the jetty.

She opened the door walked outside and looked closely , someone was sitting there at the end of the jetty on that lonely bench. Wonder who is that, Maia thought.

She glanced at her watch thinking it’s getting late for the dinner . She quickly closed the drapes and rushed out of the door.

The hall was filling up with people, everyone were dressed for the occasion. Women with beautiful colourful sarees while men at the formal best. She walked in and riya ran up to her looking very pretty in her purple saree. Oh miss maya she exclaimed , you look ethereal . Thank you riya this colour suits you and saree looks amazing on u maya replied.

Join us at our table please and she ushered maya to her table. fresh flowers from the hills adorned the hall while Candles and crystals dressed up the round dinner tables. People were just settling down at their tables while others just went around chatting to other people. Everyone looked relaxed and excited for the evening.

Hello everyone riya got everyone’s attention at her table. Miss maya will join us for dinner, and riya went around introducing everyone. A chair pulled up across Maia and she looked up and gasped, no not him !!

He looked at her and smirked and then turned around and said to another guy beside him ,how come there are two moon out tonight ? And looked back at Maya

And this is our funniest well so he thinks he is , hrehaan . Hrehaan this is miss maya , riya went.

I am sorry ? Hrehaan asked . Maya? Oh so you actually have a name he chuckled,

Maya looked down and away.

Just then the chairman took to the stage and starting making speeches .

Maya felt she was being watched. As she would turn around hrehaan would look up at the ceilings and return his gaze towards her again. She shook her head and started listening to the speeches.

Maya was acknowledged in the speech. As we also like to welcome our guest for two weeks, miss maya ….. To our retreat. I hope we all can make her feel welcomed and allow her to do her assigned job efficiently. Everyone clapped while hrehaan leaned back on his chair arms crossed smiling and shaking his head.

Maia looked at him thinking here I am trying to get away from all the things that bother me and I just met with one more to keep me on toes.

As the speaker announced that buffet dinner is ready , everyone got up to line up at the meals area. Let’s go before the line gets out of the hall, riya giggled. So miss maya is it ? Rehaan caught Maya’s gaze . How much are they paying u to close this place, and what are they going to achieve by sending u here if they want to close it they can go ahead and try to do so.

Maya decided not to answer him and got up to join riya. Oh so u are going to just walk away like the other night , he winked at her .

First of all I didn’t walk away that night I was getting late to come here and you wasted my time , secondly if u are a staff member here then U should have been at the meeting today, and since u decided not to show up , I am not going discuss that here , maya snapped and sat down and looked away.

Okayyy then…. Hrehaan said and got up , I better get some food and lots of sweets too much sourness is not good and he walked away.

Maya got uncomfortable and conscious , she darted out thro the doors and walked outside and took a deep breath.

She started walking towards her hut. Looked over and again the lake caught her eye. She couldn’t resist and turned around to walk down hill. It was a beautiful night and as she paced down she could feel a sense of calmness enveloping her .

She relaxed and walked slower enjoying every essence of the night. She wrapped her shawl around herself as she gazed at the mountains stars moon and then the lake.

She stopped at the edge of the jetty and held her breath for a while .its much much bigger and beautiful she thought. It’s like i belong here. Have been yearning all my life to be here.

Maya looked at the other end of the jetty that lonely bench , no one was there now, she stepped on and started walking slowly, looking down at the water now showing a reflection of the full moon. She could hear an owl in the distance . There was a light breeze which swept across the lake forming glittering silky ripples.

Maya felt the breeze in her hair she stopped took a deep breath pulled her shoulders up and wrapped her arms around herself and a smile broke on her face.

She was content and at peace,

Hope the time stops now and this becomes eternity she thought,

She slowly walked up to the bench and sat down . So peaceful and tranquil . She took a deep breath and relaxed her shoulders and leaned back on the bench.

I hope dad and priya are fine. I will call them ‪tomorrow‬ if I can go back to the town. There are no phones here. She thought

Maya opened her eyes and looked up at the moon . If I say no the dad won’t be happy and if I say yes then I won’t be happy

What is more important I have already disappointed him once she sighed and got up . She could feel the restlessness in her body and mind . She started walking back .

As she looked up she saw a dark male figure standing at the end of the jetty .

She froze . There was no one here before she thought . A painful chill shrivelled her spine . At this hour ? Who could it be ? And I have no other way to go !

She slowly took one step and coils feel her heart racing she took a deep breath and slowly paced forward .

She stopped again and this time she was getting goosebumps at the back of her neck . That man is coming towards her . She couldn’t move forward from there on . It was Nearly midnight . She looked around the lake no one else was there .

The man came half way and stopped . She still couldn’t see him but she could feel his eyes staring at her . She couldn’t move .

She took one step forward and so did that man

Again she stopped but the man didn’t he came up close to heras Maia closed her eye and frowned with a scared look on her face .

It’s ok it’s just me Maia , a familiar voice said softly

Maia opened her eyes there he was looking at her straight in her eyes as if he was trying to assure her .

Hridaan ! Maias voice shook

Yes it’s me , I am sorry if I scared u

Hhmm at this hr ? What are u doing here ?

I should be asking u this question hridaan said

I … I just hhmm came to have a look . Maia replied looking away

But alone like this ? You are not scared of the dark ? Oh well u certainly are hridaan smirked u should have seen ur face when u saw me he laughed

Maias gave him a stern look

Oh sorry hridaan said quickly

Riya was looking for u and she couldn’t find u at ur hut as well so I thought I better check here

My bad maya said. I should have told her I was leaving

So shall we ? Hridaan moved aside to let her go ahead .

Maya walked past him and could feel him looking at her

She started walking and didn’t hear him walk with her so she turned around to find him smiling and staring at her .

I thought we are heading back ? Maya asked

Sure hridaan said with a grin . He caught up with her and walked slowly . They both were quiet looking away walking together and could feel the tension between them. Hridaan studied her face .. So gentle calm and poised he thought

I am sorry he blurted out

They both stopped and looked at each other sorry for what Maya asked

Sorry for saying all that in the hall I forgot that u r just doing ur job

Hhmm it’s ok hridaan u don’t have to like me Maya said and started walking away

Hey hridaan called out wait

Maya didn’t stop she somehow didn’t want to be there anymore not because of the conversation but because of him

Hridaan tried to run up to her while she walked away . He stopped at the end of the jetty watching her rush back up

Next morning Maya got up quite early. She had a restless night. Stumbling across the room she managed to make a cup of tea. The air was fresh outside , the mountains still shadowed the lake as slowly the sun rose.

As she watched everything around her wake up she thought ,another new day one more day closer to going back home .

Later she was caught up with riya and rest of the group for breakfast. Isn’t it nice miss maya having breakfast out in the open early morning, one of the staff said pulling out a chair for her.

Yes of course maya replied. She looked around, everyone was gathering under the big tree overlooking the lake. Small tables and chairs were placed around the tree. Few people were helping the cooks bring out the breakfast.

Looking around she caught the gaze of riya. She smiled and said don’t worry miss Maia hrehaan doesn’t have breakfast. He won’t be here to bother u again,

No it’s ok , I understand maya replied.not everyone has to like me.

And I wasn’t looking for him she said quietly.

During the table conversation she found out there are two people who can take her back to the town and she can make calls and use internet.

She looked at the time and requested one of the ladies to call the driver before priya goes off to school.

She was getting impatient waiting outside the head office , then maya said hrehaan walking towards her. He yawned and rubbed his eyes as he approached her.

Yes but of course it has to be you to take my sleep away , hrehaan smiled.

Excuse me maya exclaimed .

Just wait here I will get the car he replied and walked past her.

Within a few mins he returned with his jeep and stopped in front of her. She looked at him and he was looking the other way.

Maya couldn’t get herself to climb in the jeep. She just stood there. Hrehaan waited and raced the accelerator , maya didn’t move.

Hrehaan glanced at her and looked straight ahead . Do I have to beg u or say something special for u to get in , he asked.

Maya looked annoyed and got in. She thought why him, of all people.

You must be thinking why me ? Hrehaan asked. Maya looked shocked and looked at him.

He laughed and said well the other driver car had some problems so they had to wake me up and please don’t think I really wanted to come along as I love my sleep too much.

Yes I know maya replied that’s why u don’t have ur breakfast.

Oh wow hrehaan shook his head in surprise and smirked.u already know me

Then road spiralled down was quite bumpy and dusty

They reached the small town and hrehaan parked the jeep in front of a shop. You can make calls here while I will get some things for the retreat he told maya.

As she walked out of the booth she saw hrehaan waiting just outside.

Did he hear anything she wondered.

Both were quiet driving back. Maia’s thoughts were wandering. Are you ok ? Is everything alright at ur home hrehaan asked.

Maia ? Hrehaan called out few secs later.

Yes I am sorry yes alls ok

Hrehaan turned on the radio to break the uncomfortable silence between them.

Upon reaching back to the office Maia thanked Rehaan as he drove off to park.

The day was busy for both of them. Inbetween individual meetings and computer work Maia was exhausted by end of the day. While Rehaan continued with his office work and helped with the music group.

Late afternoon she finished her work and walked back to her hut.on the way she stopped at the cafe and gave a inroom dinner order.

Rehaan saw her walk away from the cafe from the music room. He thought about the phone conversation and wondered what she called ‘seems like a deal to me ‘

He returned back to his guitar while Maia walked away.

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