Dearest Friends,



She trapped me; caught me on the back foot. I feel my mobility freeze with sickening speed.



I find myself cornered. From the corner of my darting eye, I gather, there is ample space to escape. Yet I stand here… right in front of her.



Her gaze…it just doesn’t pierce, it haunts! It gives me the chills within seconds of holding the photograph. The goose bumps stir something within.



Questions simmer in those glassy and deep eyes.



“What have you done with your life so far?” she scrutinizes me.



Wait, do I catch a hint of a smirk there? Or, maybe, she has disguised it under her strict demeanor.



Do her innocent eyes also carry the heavy weight of regrets? Regrets…worse than the cost of passed time. She seems to be sending out a secret plea, “Watch yourself…I’m telling you!”



Warmth floods my face. My ears give away my embarrassment. My life rushes like a blur in my head; I spot incidences when I didn’t chase my passions. Guilt fills my eyes. Her eyes reflect something.



Though her empathetic smile doesn’t quite reach her eyes, her encouragement reaches me. I know she understands and she urges me to move on… with my head held high!



The empathy fades away instantly. She drills in me, “Don’t be too easy on yourself.”



I nod frantically in agreement.



She breathes fire, “Fight your battles…always!” Our eyes lock for eternity; the surroundings disappear. A shiver passes up my spine.



She commands me, “Look at me. Now, go and do something better with your life”. The unmoving picture declares it as an emergency…I am moved.



And… a promise is sealed!






Juhi Kothari



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