The Wishing Tree Installation at Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, 2017

She had already been around the ground twice, but her eyes stayed glued to her phone, waiting for it to light up with his incoming call. Anxious as ever, the music and art surrounding her did nothing to calm her soul as it should have. Her eyes constantly searched the crowd for that one face.  She wouldn’t admit it, but attending the Art Festival was not the only reason she had traveled nine-hundred-and-seventy-six kilometers for.

Despite his hour-late arrival, she couldn’t help but jump about with sheer happiness. His presence made the Art Festival a better place. She walked with a bounce in her step, her cool and trembling hand wrapped around his warm arm. Her heart fluttered in her chest like a bird newly put in cage.

This time, she stopped before every installation- he admired the artwork while she admired him. They shared jokes and laughed- it was the purest form of bliss.

They stopped the longest at the installation of LED bulbs on a tree-like structure. The Wishing Tree, that’s what it was called. When they stopped under it, it wasn’t as crowded as it had been for the past few hours. Hands entwined, they looked up at the numerous notes people had hung on the tree.

And that’s human nature, isn’t it?
We’ll pour out our desires on a piece of paper, tie it somewhere, and hope for it to come true. 

Following the footsteps of countless others before her, she made a wish too.
Looked over, and made her Birthday wish-

Six months later​, they’re in different cities, barely talking or texting.
Their all-night video calls have faded to not a single mention on call-logs;
Their contact names have changed to just their names;
Their conversations, deleted.
He showers another with his love,
and she’s still hoping her phone will light up.

LED bulbs on plaster structures seldom make wishes come true. 


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