Part 3 - 19th Sept 2014
The day came; 19th sept -her birthday. Months before when she termed me her “best friend”, I had actually decided to gift her letter, personally written, with all feelings pen down; sort of a personal touch.
Back then I dreamt of a magical future, when I thought of proposing her on the ‘special day’…a sort of a gift for myself. Well back then I used to watch movies a lot too. It is later I figured out that real world doesn’t work the same way.
Though she deserved to know that day and night she ruled someone’s imaginations but I had to feign being ‘just friends’
My thoughts oscillated as clock ticked twelve. I was having trouble figuring out whether I should call her or not. It felt weird pondering where the situation changed so much? From occasional late night calls where we poured our hearts out to the place when it started feeling inappropriate even to call for wishing her. Something in me told that she is secretly hoping for me to call, that it would make her sad not hearing it from me. But I discarded all such thoughts as the image of them together flashed before my eyes.
I consoled myself that she would be busy with Tushar, and won’t have time to talk anyways. And I went to restless sleep.
For the first time in months, my eyes were glued yet again on second floor. As the bell rang, marking the end of 2nd lecture, our group headed towards washroom- it became sort of ritual, to either stand outside or roam in between lectures and to make sure that we return atleast after five minutes have passed from start of lecture.
She came out with Avni from her class, maybe coincidentally and waved cheerfully at Tushar from the corridor. She looked adorable in her white top, with netted sleeves and blue jeans. She had tied her hair in ponytail, and had no hint of makeup. She seemed happy, but a little worn out. Fortunately Manas pointed it out and that’s when I got the news that she had been weak since last week. It felt disheartening to not be near her in difficult times, especially when she is all I cared about. The dilemma had to end; and that’s when I decided enough being snub, I was ready to take the blow but I had to be near her, at any cost. For her, no matter how insignificant but I played a part in her life and I couldn’t have been selfish leaving her for no ‘considerable’ reason.
She held some hypnotizing power everytime she would dress up for any big occasion, I couldn’t help but get drawn towards her and in blink of an eye I would take toughest of decisions. Maybe her look always reminded me that she was the single most beautiful thing that could have ever happen to me. I decided to call her after reaching home, act normal and be her best friend again. Even if not with the same intensity, and in the same way but I was sure going to be in her life.
I was confused with her infuriation at me, when she pointed out that she was expecting me to be the first one to wish her. Honestly, I was kind of hoping for her to be upset, it assured that I meant something to her, but what was I supposed to make out having listed as the most important call; her courtesy or her liking? Her rage intensified; when I humbly declined her invitation to bash she was throwing at Crown Palace in the evening. Attending a family function was the safest excuse, family always comes first.
She tried to lure me up by pointing out the number of her girlfriends that would be there in her party, but she had no idea that I was done with the desperate single jokes, that there was only girl which occupied my entire mind. But eventually I agreed to meet her in night in the garden when she swore she would never talk to me ever again if I do not meet her that day.
I was craving to meet her, and preferred privacy over watching her intimate with him especially on that particular day for which I earlier fantasized as being the one when I would finally get her to be mine.
I couldn’t have gone empty handed even though my plans for proposal were scavenged out. So I made my way towards ‘Archies’ gift shop at C21 mall. It look little cajoling and a promise to treat him at KFC when Prateek finally agreed to accompany me. I could have used a word of advice, as it was my first time shopping a gift-let alone for a girl. With no experience in hand, soft toy was the safest bet. I was aware of her affinity towards them, as I remembered seeing lots of it on her bed, the one time I visited her house.
All the fancy ones were quite expensive, so I picked up a simple average sized teddy bear, fat and fluffy; wearing a black bow. Prateek grimaced as he looked at the price tag.
“Dude, she isn’t even your girlfriend, can’t you gift her simple greeting card?” he asked annoyingly. It was a painful remark, and I wanted to hit him hard but nothing around would have really hurt him. However grotesque it sounds, but spending money and not even having the girl in the end seemed like an unfair deal to me too. But she was special to me; she deserved atleast something ‘respectable’. He cursed me all the way back as I ran out of money to treat him. I kept my mouth shut, as I knew none of my explanation would convince him that for the first time ever, it was a genuine mistake.
Later on in the evening, I got dressed up (to feign coming up from a function) and nervously entered the garden. I checked my watch to see if I was late, I wasn’t; when I saw her sitting by herself on a bench. The street light across the road was the only source that illuminated the whole place. Even in such dim light, she looked heavenly adorable in her pink frock. She looked even more scintillating as I walked towards her, her soft smooth arms and bare legs visible even more clearly. She didn’t notice my presence till I stood up close to her, probably lost somewhere in her thoughts. She stood up, folded her arms and faced me.
She bowed a little, “blessed to have your appointment sir” she said angrily.
“Please, don’t talk like that” I sort of estimated an emotional attack coming up, but I just wasn’t in the mood of any argument. I feared ruining up her special day.
“Then, what am I supposed to do now?” she asked.
“Firstly, accept my gift” I said as I handed over the teddy.
“It’s cute” she couldn’t hide her amusement as she ran her hand over its fur, “not like you”, she added. She acted furious again.
“What have I done now?”
“WHAT? Are you seriously asking me this? You haven’t talked to me in one and a half month” she was fuming.
“Because, I was busy in exams and you were too” I responded calmly.
“So what? I deserved some time being your “best friend…” She said animating air quote with her hands. “…or should I not even complaint to strangers?” she pulled out her sarcastic weapons.
“I got stuck, sorry” I apologized. It felt good that she missed me so much but it was a mutual thing.
“What happened to you?” her voice calmed down a bit.
“Nothing happened. You were already less active and then both us got stuck in exams.”
“That doesn’t justify deactivating your account. When did you get so serious about studies? How can you be so busy?” on some deeper level, I agreed with her. You can never ever be too busy for those you consider friend by heart.
“I wasn’t but papa took away the phone anyway. You know how the situations are at home” I answered logically.
“Yes I know, but still I expected calls from you”
“You didn’t call either” I played my trump card. I looked in her eyes again. The pretence of being oblivious wouldn’t have helped anymore; it was time to accept the truth. The situation got too awkward and it was call of the time that we distance ourselves. We never left each other; it was the fate that drifted us apart. She had to acknowledge the fact that no matter how hard we might have tried, my love for her had effectively ruined our friendship…and even if we could have gone back to way things were, the bond would just not have been the same.
“Leave it, anyways how do I look?” she asked, striking a pose, running her hand through her hair and slightly tilting her face sideways. I felt grateful that she changed the topic; accepting the truth was too bitter for us.
“Absolutely gorgeous” I winked at her.
“It’s a gift from Tushar, I absolutely love it; I changed up to show it to you” she smiled.
“Ohh, the dress is stunning; which reminds me…HAPPY BIRTHDAY.” I extended my right hand for shake, my mind immediately throwing me to the night we first met.
“THANKS YOU” she grinned sheepishly.
“You remember?” I asked surprisingly shocked, unable to wipe off the ecstasy from my face.
“Ofcourse, I do…you were so uncomfortable back then” she smirked.
“I still am, I am just no more awkward or shy around you”
“Ahann! Because I am the special one, right? She said naughtily. She caught me blushing and pinched my cheeks; I wanted to do the same but resisted my temptation as I wouldn’t have been able to get my hands off her, in such appealing attire.
But she was dropping her jokes along a very vulnerable territory. Even she understood the same, after a minute of awkward silence.
“So how are you?” I asked, out of genuine concern
“What do you mean?”
“I heard you were sick”
“I am, but physical illness is last of my concern, I am getting mentally sick”
“Nothing, can I just say one thing?”
“I missed you a lot…” she said, her voice shaking. “…I missed our chats, our calls, I just wish you were here, with me; all the time, there was so much to talk, to share; things would have been much easier with you around”
“I missed you too, our crazy talks, every night I yearned to share every detail of the day with you, just like we used to….” She gave a wry smile, picturing our memories together with me. “…you have no idea how hard this last one month was for me, atleast you had Tushar alongside, I was alone.”
“Maybe I wasn’t alone, but I was lonely too” she said, her voice heavy.
“What do you mean?” I inquired.
“Nothing is working out in our relationship; we are just in it for the sake of being in one”
“What is it now? Is he not giving you time again? He must have been busy with exams”. I assumed it to be another one of those silly complaints about him.
“No, absolutely not, infact over last month I have seen the most of him. He is even more caring and understanding now…”
“Then, what is the problem?” I asked, confused.
“There is no problem per se, he is a great guy, even though he technically never cheated on me, he made it up to me in every way possible but still…”
“No matter how many more dates we go to or expensive gifts he buy for me, we are devoid of emotions for each other. The bond, the spark is gone. There is still trust and mutual respect, I just don’t know why but the feelings are all gone”
I dwelled over her words. Somehow yet again, Prateek was correct. But I just couldn’t let go of my stupidity or dare enough to show her the mirror to her true feelings. She was puzzled in her head, I wasn’t sure if she liked me but she was clearly over him, I just never had the guts to point it out to her.
“Don’t you think it’s because of all the shackles you put around him? Not allowing her to talk to Shefali, that’s a sort of intrusion in privacy, isn’t it? Yet again, I turned my self destructive button on. Whenever it came to destroying me, I debated the best. But what was I even supposed to say? Was I as her best friend to advise her to break up with one of my good friend? Anyway being loyal to friend mattered more than fighting for love; and there was a year- long relation between two of my best friends at stake.
“No, it’s not; do you think of me as such a narrow minded person? As soon as we got back, I asked him to contact her; infact they are pretty close right now and frankly it doesn’t make me jealous anymore, I just simply don’t give a shit about it”
“So what next?”
“Frankly I don’t know; I gave him a second chance like you asked me to do so but I think it’s about time. He knows it too, infact maybe he would prefer it, but no one wants to be the bad guy, but someone has to speak, right?”
I had no answer. I could not coax her anymore, maybe I was being selfish but I wanted her back in my life. Anyways, it looked like she had already decided to end it all up. She just had no idea when and how to do it.
“Go home, get some sleep, you look tired, we will talk about it some other time.” I said, placing my hand on her shoulder.
“I must, I have to wake up early to get ready for the trip”
“Ohh shit, I forgot to tell you…”she hit her head and spoke, tongue-in-cheek. “…I have arranged this trip tomorrow, to choral to celebrate my birthday as well as end of exams.”
“It would have been a much better idea for today, don’t you think?”
“The idea clicked to me only when I saw the group together tonight”
“So all your friends are coming?”
“No, only Avni and Kavya are joining, and infact by now Tushar would have asked all your friends also, and you are coming too, no excuses.” I relentlessly agreed. She could see the disappointment on my face.
“Can I ask you something?” she asked her voice soft. She took my hand in hers
“Why are you avoiding me?” She looked deep in my eyes, her eyes begged for an explanation. I lost my power to lie but still had enough strength left to conceal true feelings.
“Please, don’t ask me questions you already know the answers for” I wanted to let her know that even I was aware of her intuitive nature.
Silence prevailed, as words could not escape her mouth. At least then she understood how hard it is to blurt out the feelings.
“Hearing them from you would matter a lot, to me”
“Why does it matter so much?”
“I wish I could tell you, but it does. Infact it is more important to me than anything”
WHAT?? REALLY!! Was she actually hinting at me that she has developed some feelings for me, that she has finally embraced my love for her? The feeling was surreal but my mind shunted down all the logics tagging them as fantasies. Maybe it was the addiction of being with her after such a long time. How could she love me, I was nothing compared to her, she was way out of my league; it was impossible.
“Let’s go home, it is getting late.” I suggested her, with nothing better to say.
I promised myself never to meet her again in the garden, too many moments happen there as we made our way out.
“Why does it have to be like this?” she asked as she sat on her Jupiter.
“I don’t know, even I wish there was an easier way”
“There is, you need only ask” she said and left as I stood there; startled.
20th Sept 2014
“I will sit behind him” Muskan proposed, pointing towards me as we stood at the same garden figuring out the sitting arrangement. The rest of the group nodded as we had already worked out all the combinations and that was the only one which worked. We all were bunking except Muskan; she told her parents that she would be hanging out with some friends. Her parents were lenient enough not to restrict her from doing so as they granted her “birthday wish” but not open minded enough to give access to scooter, and that’s when the problem arose.
Amongst the group of nine we had only four vehicles. I am sure not even Tushar would have planned it out while picking up Kavya and Avni from their school van. He must have been busy persuading the driver. It is after when we all gathered at the predetermined spot in the morning, we figured out that there was ‘one’ extra girl.
There was Sahaj and Prateek on his bike, who shamelessly agreed to join the bunk even after being uninvited to, previous night’s bash. Couldn’t they have put up a show of some self-respect at least once? That might have been excuse enough for me to avoid another gross romantic show. Maybe the thought of two extra girls was too lucrative for them.
Then there was Sarvesh and Manas on their scooter. Amongst both of us, only Tushar was friends with all the girls. Avni knew me a bit, courtesy of Muskan but I was still a stranger to Kavya. It was only appropriate that Muskan rides with me while Tushar go for tripling.
The idea of her sitting behind me should have been cheerful, ecstatic but I felt frightened. Not only because I feared display of my poor driving skills but also because I had nothing left to tell her. The endeavor night before yet again left us in an awkward situation. My thoughts were as tangled as her words; I was confused what to make of them?
She clearly wanted me to confess my feelings for her, but I just couldn’t figure what for? Was she in love with me, or was it just important for her to know, something that must be in her knowledge? Whatever the reason may be, I could simply not dare to tell her, the risk of losing everything was too big. Rejection would have been humiliating. Fate yet again put me in a bad situation, not that she was in a good one either, both emotionally and physically.
She was already tired and the sickness wasn’t helping her. But even in her worn out demeanor, she looked pretty in the same dress she wore night before. She could barely stand and was resting on Avni’s shoulder. I got the urge to lean on someone shoulder’s too, I was sleep deprived after tossing incessantly on bed the whole night. There was battle of emotions in my head between the curiosity of getting my dream finally fulfilled and the fear of getting quashed.
Several thoughts bounced in my head, but I kicked all of them out. They weren’t making it any easier to decide, so ultimately I decided to shunt them all down and to just go with the flow. I left it for the destiny to decide.
She gazed disdainfully at me when I put my earphones on. I thought I could use it to limit my conversation but it just ignited her anger. She took them off, and they hung around my neck as we started our drive to destination. As soon as the journey started, I felt warmth instead of nervousness; maybe because out of the misplaced responsibility to take care of her.
I felt her knees on my thigh as she got tired of sitting uncomfortably and adjusted her as we took the A.B. Road and headed towards Rau. I noticed she was drawing too much attention of the passer by, with her appealing personality. It was maybe that, or the fact of her being the only one dressed up, that too in a party wear amongst group of school uniform was too hilarious to ignore.
I noticed her hands changed their position from her lap to my shoulders, as we crossed the bridge and entered Mhow. The boys exchanged smiles as we drove past the familiar ’tepri’, our usual ‘chai-sutta’ stop.
I noticed the girls getting cheered up as we crossed several beautiful military mansions and headquarters. Apart from the fascinating architecture, the cleanliness is impeccable. I noticed the boys behaving like maniac, singing all the way, having fun; being their usual self completely oblivious of the adorable surrounding. We were just too acquainted with the place by that time as we have made journey before for ‘Patalpani’ and ‘Mehndikund’. I wondered why our usually shy group wasn’t getting cautious around girls, maybe because of the fact that we saw bunks as our territory yet right from the start something felt odd about the day.
Maybe it was because of the tension between me and her, we hadn’t spoken a single word till then yet we never felt the need to. Sometimes it is much better to let the silence speak.
I opened my music gallery, and played the songs as we hit the straight smooth fast moving road and shoved earphones in my ears when finally the silence got too awkward too handle. I was in no mood to ruin the most fun part about trips for me, and the songs would have only boosted the adrenaline rush. But just when I was expecting her to explode in agitation, she moved forward and rested her head on my back. I got excited. It felt good being so close. Her touch aroused the same warmth, same shiver in my heart as it did that day in garden.
Surely Tushar got skeptical as he brought his scooter close to us. “What happened?” he asked. Yeah! Be all boyfriend-y now, go ahead dude, I can take care of her.
“Nothing, just not feeling well.”
He suggested the idea to return back but she refused.
“Should we stop for sometime then?” he asked.
“No, it’s fine, carry on. I just need to close my eyes for sometime” she replied.
Even though, clearly visible that he wasn’t comfortable with her being so close, he couldn’t complain anything to her in such a state. Neither could I, as I wanted to untie her hair from the pony tail. I wanted to feel her hair on my face fully aware that it might be the one and only time, I would get to be that close to her. She quivered a bit, as the cold breeze brushed off our face, marking the arrival of winter.
Without even saying a single word, she took one piece out from my right ear, swirled it the other way, took it out from that side and placed it in her left ear. For the first time during the whole ride, I had my heart in my mouth. I was worried what if the wrong song comes up. I promised myself to clean the music gallery as I couldn’t contemplate which would be worse- ’volume one’ or the ‘U.P. wala thumka’. Definitely volume one, I would have much rather preferred to be considered stupid and be mocked at than to be thought of as pervert.
I wondered why I hadn’t already deleted ‘baarati’ songs; it had been quite some time since we danced at Prateek’s house anyway.
But something magical happened. I swear the shuffle was on, maybe it was just coincidence or destiny (the way I like to think about it) that the songs shuffled exactly in the same manner, in which our story prevailed till then. It felt as if lyrics spoke on my behalf and we felt them by heart.
It started with ‘mann mera’- a beautiful song by Gajendra Verma. I just hoped she too caught attention of the line which threw me in the past when she was my crush and I used to act all these fanatical things just to catch her attention, ”tujhko jo dekhe, ye mujhko leke bass tere piche piche bhage’ . Fortunately, she did as I heard her mild giggle. Then came the phase when we were so close, yet I could not even once dare to tell her how much she meant to me, my turbulent emotions completely justified by ’tu jaane na’. As dramatic as it may seem, lyrics spoke for me and I won’t tell the story the other way around just to make it more believable. Destiny was making it happen.
I felt blessed as the song shuffled to “tujhse dur jo hota hun” and the words expressed all the emotions I felt in the last one month being away from her. and finally as the song jumped to romantic, soulful and utterly heart touching “tum hi ho” we felt a twirl inside our heart as we let the melodious and soothing voice capture and engulf us in the enchanting world of love.
Internally, I thanked my lovesick cousin to fill my gallery up with all the romantic tracks, which I once referred to as junks. In those 15 minutes, I lost all my senses, I lost track of time, my consciousness, the greenery around, all my friends driving besides me, all I could remember was an unspoken plan we had, when she turned her heads towards left, and I drove to left corner of the road slowly, ensuring that we stay away from the Tushar’s eyes. I kept kicking myself mentally with all the reasonable logics knowing that I may be the only one making a big deal out of it, but I just couldn’t help but feel magical, delightful…it seemed as if we shared yet another moment. She assured it, when she wrapped her hands around my waist as we kept listening to songs.
“Confess” she whispered in my right ear. That was the first word we exchanged that day. But, I kept quiet. I was still hoping she would understand it all by herself. I was being stupid, but I felt there wasn’t any need to speak anymore as the lyrics told it all. She was the one, my love, my life, everything. My head was too occupied with all the eerie emotions that it took me some more time to realize that I still haven’t told her in real about my feelings. And at that time, it stuck to me that I was letting an opportunity pass by. I was a little too late by the time I finally decided to tell her because we already reached our destination.
Even out there, I felt disoriented with happenings around me. The girls were clearly overjoyed by the heavenly beauty around and kept themselves busy doing their favourite stuff; clicking selfies. I thought it was about time that someone reminds them that they can’t post them on any social network else we could get caught. I pondered why none of them were frightened by that thought; I guess when you’re into something, the rush is so overwhelming that you forget everything else. Just like I used to, but now all I could do was to regret over the lost opportunity. Surely, I would have gotten time alone with her anytime, I was just wondering if I would ever have that moment of valiance again within me when I will be ready to blurt out my feelings.
The boys kept themselves busy, skipping stones into the lake, when all of the sudden it turned into the game over who could make stone to jump thrice. Moments later, the girls joined it too. Surprisingly, Tushar kicked everyone’s ass and performed amazingly. He was winning there too. Likewise in real life, I kept failing.
“Take the flat ones and not the heavy ones” he told me. I wasn’t interested in his advice; I had my eyes on something else in his possession, something precious; invaluable.
Soon the girls got bored of watching their stones drown just as they threw it, and declared it lame. Except Tushar, everyone agreed as they couldn’t do it either. Soon they all jumped on high rocks. There was no one else apart from us. The season just wasn’t welcoming the tourists. Meanwhile all of this, Muskan was sitting alone, clearly lost in thoughts. Even though originally planned as her celebration, everyone else was enjoying apart from her, she seemed too tired and disinterested to get involved in anything.
I kept skipping stones in the lake pretending to like the game even after sucking at it. Prateek kept me company in practice. I couldn’t fathom whether he really was such a close friend that he understood my awkwardness completely or was he just getting uncomfortable around girls. Nevertheless, he seemed a little offbeat.
“Are you okay?” I asked him.
“Yes, why won’t I be?”
“It seems like something is bothering you”
“Actually there is something I need to tell you” he said throwing stone as hard as possible. The water splashed.
“What is it?”
“Maybe later” he said as he pointed out behind me. I turned around to see Muskan walking towards me; I started moving towards her to get away from Prateek’s hearing zone. I couldn’t let him be an unwanted participant in our already awkward conversation.
We just stood there blank, looking deep in each other’s eyes, with nothing to speak. Even when my mind battled, my heart knew it had won her. Her eyes were no more reflecting my love for her, they were showing away hers. They were opening away the way to her vulnerable heart. I secured a special and unique place down there, and she wanted for me to see it and also wanted me to show her that mine always belonged to her.
“Muskan, come join us, hurry your boy is waiting here” Avni called for her, breaking away our deep eye contact.
“I have to go” she said, her eyes dejected. She too wanted change to take place, but was probably giving up the will to fight. I still kept quiet.
“Look, if there’s anything you ever wanted to tell me, you can” I found something similar about those words.
“Just be here, please, don’t’ go.” I told her. I wasn’t letting her go, especially after knowing that she didn’t want to, it was her choice, our dream, it needed be fulfilled. We could no more care about being wrong, doing something detestable, about what the world would think. Even if it didn’t seem so appropriate, we were meant to be. We just couldn’t let the evil prospect of betraying our friend get in the way of happiness. Even when everyone was thinking otherwise, we didn’t care, because we both knew that her boy was right there in front of her.
“For how long?”
“Forever” there I said it, I still don’t know where I got the energy from, but her look which gave away all the feelings she had for me which she kept inside for all those time, was the push I needed to ultimately say it.
I took her hand in mine and moved closer, she was breathing heavily out of joy, ecstasy. None of us could wipe the smile off our face. We were delighted beyond limit. We hugged as our fingers intertwined filling up the spaces between them. Our feelings were elated and we were overjoyed by the moment. I was charmed by the magical feeling, I finally had my world in my arms, as mine; maybe forever.
Our eyes were closed as we let the moment engulf us. I opened it a bit to sound of rushing footsteps. Even before I could make out anything and contemplate the situation, Tushar jerked her off from me, and punched me twice, his fist striking as hard as a metal ball, first on my chin, the second one hitting directly on the nose. Everything blackened as I passed out for a second by the enormous hits. He pushed me down with great ferocity, and my hands bruised against the pebbles. It started to bleed. He was just about to kick me in the rear, when Muskan got in between and the others intervened. THANK GOD! A third hit and I would have lost my consciousness for sure.
“How dare you touch him?” she pushed him hard on his chest. Atleast she was fighting better than me.
“What’s all this, you bitch” he was mostly blabbering in anger, I wanted to point out that it was getting difficult to pick out what he was actually saying, as he panted heavily. But then I noticed the blood coming out of my forearm and decided against it. I expected him to be startled by the sight, but by his fury I could make out that even he had knowledge or maybe suspicions about something fishy going on between me and Muskan.
“The way it is meant to be”
“You filthy whore” his anger erupted.
I couldn’t take it anymore. Being beaten down on the ground in front of my girl was humiliating enough. But I simply couldn’t withstand any ill words spoken against her.
“Take your words back” I hurried towards him, and almost instantly others intervened and pulled us off. Embarrassingly I have to admit, I felt grateful. He had homicidal look on his face; I know the only thing probably running through his head was to kill me.
“You back off; I want to talk to her”
“There’s nothing to talk about” Muskan intervened. I felt disgusted. Why wasn’t anyone letting me take a stand?
“What about us?” his tone down, voice cracking up. I checked my own eyes. The hit when I blackened out corrugated the drops at the bottom of eyes, but even if it seemed so…. I wasn’t crying.
“There is no us Tushar, I am sorry, but you know it too”
“I can’t believe it; all of a sudden you’re not interested in me anymore”
“It is not abrupt, nothing is working out between us, and you know it too.” she was calm and composed.
“So what now, do you seriously like him?” I felt like slapping him for the way he grimaced while he said ‘him’, as if he was referring to a dog suffering from rabies.
“Yes, I do” I felt like hugging her once more. Do it, once he leave the place, I mentally instructed myself.
“Unbelievable” he mumbled. Looking that the situation was getting out of control, and it getting a little odd and frightening for girls, Manas suggested Sarvesh to take Tushar with him. Manas knew the girls a bit, and took the responsibility for dropping them. Soon after they left, Prateek and Sahaj bade their goodbyes too.
We stood silently, looking at the deep blue lake just letting the moment to pass by, providing ourselves with time to breathe again, to feel normal again. But it just wasn’t going to be normal, I was feeling special and she was too. Life wasn’t going to be the same from there, but we were excited about our future.
“Can I ask something?” I finally broke the silence.
“Why me?” I felt like drowning as soon as I asked it.
She wrapped her arms around my neck, and kissed my nose.
“Because we deserved a second chance” she smiled. I hugged her. Finally, I untied her ponytail and caressed her hair, I felt high doing what I always wished to do and then slipping my fingers down; I brushed them over the zipper and played carefully with the ribbon on the backside of her dress.
“I am not returning the dress” she smiled sheepishly.
“That’s alright, I am keeping little something for myself” I said, and kissed her cheek.
Finally, I was hers and she was mine. And even if it seemed wrong, it felt so right inside. I finally let go of the hug and she noticed my forearm. She took out my tie, and wrapped it around the bleeding part. She didn’t know I was just too happy to feel hurt, infact happy is a small word. I felt blissful, magical, heavenly.
We sat there on the meadow, I stretched my legs and she rested her head on my shoulders, cuddling next to me. She kept her eyes closed, we were silent. She was tired but I knew she wasn’t asleep. She was blushing scarlet. Her infectious smile filled my heart with happiness.
Even though it wasn’t particularly a romantic start, it was the best moment of my life. I don’t know about her, but I just wanted to be there, with her, forever.
I did not want to return. It was perfect there, all that ever mattered was right there, in my arms.
I had no past to deal with, no friends to answer. She had no ‘ex’ to deal with. There was just me and her, and our hearts beating for each other.
But soon came the time to leave.
As I was dropping her off at home, all I knew was -that she is mine and even if I have to deal with all my friends, no matter what I am not letting her go, ever! No one can take her back from me. NO ONE!!
People have penchant of doing stupid things after breakup and Tushar followed the ritual. Even though he did it unintentionally but no one was ever going to forget him for his sin. The huge blunder he made when that dim fool went to his home right after he left choral.
How could he be so insane? Couldn’t he just have stood there and punched me some more or continued cursing her? Hell, it was an end of a yearlong relation; couldn’t he just continue his discussion for two more hours?
He went straight to home, and locked himself in the room. His mother made futile attempts to call him out and to figure out why he came home early that day from school. When she got no response from him, she got worried and called in school to figure out what happened. As the school authority probed more, and one thing led to another our bunk escapade was figured out easily.
However, Tushar regained some sense at the time, when he was summoned to school and was cross-questioned. He disclosed only boys’ name (which even our class teacher figured out) and saved the girls. The calls followed its trail to rest of our houses, when our parents were proudly informed that their child was suspended for a week. My father earned special call from the principal herself, and a little extra time in that too as his son after getting suspended for the second time in the same year due to disciplinary actions stood on the verge of rustication.
Muskan called me in the evening to ask how I was.
Even though I tried to act normal, but even she knew that I was pissing my pants wet in the fear of what was about to come. I felt disappointed in anticipation of giving my parents another excuse to fight upon.
She proposed to surrender herself and come out with the entire truth in front of my parents but I refused. Not only because I wanted her away from the mess but also because a fake cricket match seemed way less inappropriate than going far away to a ‘dangerous spot’ totally uninformed.
I kept waiting for my father sitting in my room, pondering where I would have taken out Muskan had we not been caught? Maybe we would have preferred a light walk in the garden, I remembered the day when I almost kissed her. I wondered if I could do it then.
What if it turns out a mess? What if she does not agree? Even if she agrees, should I just lean on in the flow or wait for her permission? Is it to be spontaneous or pre-planned? Is it to be a just a normal lip lock, or should I use tongue and submit her into a passionate smoldering hot kiss? What if she doesn’t like it, and suddenly realizes that we should not be together and goes back to him?
What if suddenly alarm was to ring and I were to wake up from the dream?
My thoughts were as tangled as the situation itself. Though, I never felt the need to pinch myself, the bruises on my hand were hurting enough. But I shuddered at my own imaginations, and shredded all the thoughts. I just wanted all of it to be over, the family drama that I was about to witness, the humiliating scolding at school, maybe few more brawls with Tushar, few more discussion perhaps, whatever - I just wanted for suspension to end and things to be normal again.
I had been single for a long time, and a little desperate one at that too and now that I finally had a girl I wanted to feel euphoric, I wanted to jump around like crazy but I just couldn’t feel elated at all as confusion and fear shadowed all my emotions.
Finally the dreaded moment arrived as my father entered the house. He came into my room, and gazed angrily with folded arms, and stood there silent. I was kind of hoping him to dump all his anger on me otherwise ma would have to stand in the line of fire, who already stopped talking to me, tagging me as a disgrace to her whole family.
She was definitely getting more dramatic with all harsh lines she learnt from idiotic soap opera but on the inside she was the same.
Sometimes it is frightening to see how much someone cares about us, their affection and love gets us scared because even we know that we might never be able to stand up to their expectation and return to them what they truly deserve.
I never really loved myself but at that moment when she came into my room, with her first aid kit to dress up my wounds; I seriously felt guilty. I simply couldn’t witness putting her through another depressing panic attack, even though the verbal fights were kind of regular in our home, she never got used to it, it always took away a part of her. Atleast she was strong enough to confess her feelings.
The thought of never being able to grow up and experience what a normal family looks like was too gloomy for me to handle, so I kept myself distracted-with friends ofcourse. Studies, books- they can never be used as distraction; they are something you get yourself distracted from.
I stood up from my bed but couldn’t dare to look him in the eyes, so instead kept gazing downwards. I noticed he hadn’t taken his shoes off, something my cleanliness freak maa wouldn’t be happy about, but I knew she would not bring the matter up. He just kept on staring at me disdainfully as I stood there dejected. Suddenly, he stomped out and slammed the door shut. He proceeded to bedroom and started blaming my mother, dumping out his ire on her. Even though I didn’t have it in me to face his fury yet I followed him and entered the room.
“What the hell are you doing here? Go to your room” he busted out at me. I glanced at maa, she was already in tears.
“Please don’t do this to her” I begged.
“Just go. Atleast now start listening to you father, you have already embarrassed us enough” his voice disappointed.
“I won’t go, please she had nothing to do with it, punish me if you want, but please leave her”
He stood shocked at my display of defiance.
“Are you teaching him all these, putting words in his mouth against his own father” he turned towards maa.
“I am not saying anything against you papa” Bamm!! I received two crunchy slaps on my face. I realized I was wrong before.
With the scab on my nose, my cheeks now red from the thunderous slaps and my dressed wounded forearm, I finally understood the meaning of phrase love hurts.
“How dare you talk in between?” he said, fuming ferociously. Maa broke into tears; it was the first time ever that the fight led to any sort of physical violence. Watching her cry calmed my father down. He immediately regretted hurting her. I was beaten, but we both knew she felt the pain. He sat down on the bed, words couldn’t escape his mouth. I could see the struggle on his face, he wanted to apologize to her but his ego wasn’t letting him to. Somehow I fought back my own tears.
“I am sorry” I repented. “..I am the reason behind all this, and if anyone deserves to be punished it’s me. Please don’t fight. I know I should have never agreed for bunk, but exams were over and we wanted to enjoy. It was wrong, and I promise nothing like this would happen ever again. I will not give you any reason to feel ashamed of me. Please just let it go, I will agree to do anything you ask me to, but please I can’t watch both of you sad”
Maa came over, pulled me close to her and ran her hands over my face, still crying but probably amazed by how much her little boy had grown up. Papa left the room, went to kitchen and gulped a glass of water. He went straight to hall and immersed himself in the TV.
I felt a little relieved having avoided an ugly brawl but feared postponing it for not too long. Though, the look in my father’s eyes suggested otherwise. His expression was dead pan, but from what I knew of him, he loved her too much to ever hurt her again in that way. He wasn’t a bad guy, just too short- tempered and he failed miserably to control his wrath.
But those were only moments of weakness, nothing could wash away all the things he had done and the troubles he went through for me and for her.
I lay down on bed, feeling despicable. I was feeling burdened with the guilt and wanted to share all my feelings to feel free. I called up Muskan.
20th Sept…a day that should have ended with cheers and smiles but instead I got suspended for a week, got beaten up; twice and it ended with a call with tears on both the ends. She somehow felt responsible for the unfortunate turn of events, her guilt getting justified by the fact that she was the one who made up the whole plan. Total bullshit, but I had no logics left in me, and failed to cheer her up as I was myself feeling deprived of all happy emotions; except one-hope.
Maybe in the spur of moment, even she failed to realize that the trip changed two lives completely; forever. Some things are just out of control, but that was a day I didn’t want to blame destiny at all. I had to take responsibility of my mistakes, no matter how obliviously innocent they were. I slept with hope that everything would get alright. The day had restored my faith in destiny. It showed that what’s meant to be will always find a way to be. Maybe with not such a perfect start, but nevertheless the day marked the beginning of a new love story, one which changed lot of lives.
If you thought that events led up to an acrimonious parting between two friends for life, it was anything but that. The suspension week turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I feared facing him, two punches and I almost passed out, what if it turns out into another fight?
Fortunately, situation didn’t go so extreme. The week gave all of us (read-Tushar) time to get hold of our nerves, and to absorb the happenings around us. Avni- being Muskan’s bestfriend and also sister-like to Tushar took the responsibility of handling the situation.
She arranged their meeting, after cajoling and calming down his brother to extent that he was finally ready to listen to what others had to say. As I later heard the news, the three of them sorted out the matter, and eventually they separated on great terms, friends-for-life something. I didn’t really care.
Though it felt safe to avoid interactions with him, I couldn’t help but feel a little left out of their conversation. She was tackling the situation on her own-all the confrontations; she was taking the charge and turning circumstances favorable and normal for both of us. For my own sake, I preferred to be called the mature one.
One who really unexpectedly acted mature was Tushar. He eventually realized that it wasn’t worth suffocating each other with the shackles of a relationship which clearly wasn’t working out. They both had moved on long back, but our heart always takes a little more time to accept what our mind already knows. Change is always something difficult to adjust with.
I think the fact of losing his girl to a wimp must have been hard to digest. Anyways, it gave him a much desired opportunity to be ‘more-than-friends’ with Shefali, and I got to be with her. So overall it turned to be a win-win situation for all.
When suspension was over, Sarvesh held the forte for getting things under control at school. Even though they had already sorted their matter out, I was still expecting some ferocious behavior on his part. Hell, even I would tend to be vindictive if someone stole my girl.
Even though it took some time for the news to spread around, I guess being under the pretence that they mutually broke up instead of the truth helped him maintain his image. I was fine with everything as long as it didn’t involve any physical violence. I guess when the jokes and mocking from the rest of the group began even he started seeing the bright funny side of it.
As the week passed, and everything cooled down, I gradually started enjoying being committed for the first time in life, I had been single for seventeen years of my life, it took me some time to inhale and absorb the fact that I wasn’t single anymore. As I gradually started adjusting to my new relationship status, slowly I began feeling gratified, euphoric, delighted…the world seemed beautiful, the feeling was magical.
Though never intended as a status symbol, I couldn’t get rid of the triumphant feeling, jaunt in my feet, and hint of vanity palpable in my talks.
I was relieved after striking down one more point to be mocked at; I had scored a girl, and a stunningly gorgeous one at that.
Even more eagerly waiting than me, for the storm to pass off, were my all time two idiotic friends. I owed them a treat, and sure it was some celebration. And I have to agree, first time ever I felt superior to Prateek, defeating him inspite of his looks.
It was the smoothest run in my life, with my dreams finally getting true. It felt ecstatic, out of the world but a little frightening too, at the same time.
My limited; almost none interactions were getting in the way of intimate relationship with her (obviously all in my head). Ever since I started imagining us together, I had these thoughts that I would mess up our dates badly, I don’t really know if it is recognized or not but I have date-phobia.
She oozed charm, elegance and I was nowhere near sophistication, I hadn’t really seen much of the world nor was I informed about dating places; although that wasn’t the real trouble, as I had seen couples almost everyplace but I seriously doubted if I was a dating material. I lacked etiquettes required to be on a date. The dearth of confidence was justified as I had no idea how to behave around them. Couple of times I had been out with her in public place, I had to suppress my natural instinct of crankiness, oddness, nonconformity.
Though she found my eccentricity amusing, classiness was required for taking her out on dates. Add to that, my lack of knowledge about their habits-what places she would like to visit? Their general taste in clothes, or food, or movies…I was unaware about almost everything.
She had a supremely elite, fashionable boyfriend, who must have raised her expectations. I had no previous experience in such “mature” interactions before.
But fortunately she got skeptical after I turned down her offers to meet, and she took notice of my peculiar behavior. Sometimes the best way to deal with people is to tell them exactly the ripples in the heart and I did the same. She mocked, obviously humored by such a strange situation but finally understood the gravity to which it affected me.
She contemplated further and eventually tagged my preposterous habits as the best thing about me. She told that not only she enjoys my natural peculiarity and immaturity and finds it extremely humorous and soothing.
I wasn’t sure if that was a compliment or sarcasm but didn’t dwell further as I considered her words as bullshit, an attempt to make me feel better. But I was relaxed after making her beware of the possible dangers. After all she was the one, whose reputation was at stake.
With god’s grace, we were definitely meant to be. Just like me, she turned out to be a total foodie and her affinity for street food surprised me. Though never a shy one, it was still surprising to see her mischievous and unsophisticated side. Behind her classy outfit, lived an untamed naughty wild animal, and I felt delighted to be the unique one to be witnessing her odd side, I guess over time even she got bored of classy, air conditioned meals. And Indore is just heaven for food lovers.
Over dates I got comfortable and began enjoying the thrill and excitement which comes along. At 17 I understood that girls are also human and behave not too differently from the way boys do. Though not completely out of my shell, I finally figured out the answer to my lifelong curious question-what exactly do couples do on dates? They chill stupid, just like normal friends do.
But the most happening part was our long drives. We would find ourselves a reason to move distant places but even if we couldn’t, we would simply travel to outskirts of the city as far as possible around every corner till the point it become deserted (or till the point fuel tank allowed!) I was simply addicted to the way she sat behind me, her hands around my waist or on my lap at all times, her intentionally messy hair on my face, her soft whispers in my ear with her head resting on my shoulders, and each time she would bite the earlobe or kiss around lower neck or mostly cheeks, it would simply sent the shiver of tingles as wave inside my body.
Obviously, it welcomed much wanted attention. I guess shamefulness evaporates, when love breathes in air. I liked the spotlight I got with her. Her attire, her dressing, her beauty would attract a lot of eyes and I completely enjoyed being on the other side; though we avoided it around non-social elements and also around relatives’ vicinity.
Even though we maintained love as transcending emotion, having a girl was surely something to brag about. A lot of new things were happening to me and I welcomed the change with open arms.
Now there was a girl waiting for me, beneath the shade of a tree for a pre-scheduled meet, we were the ones inviting glaring eyes from grumpy uncles at traffic signals; I was on top of someone’s priority list, being someone’s receiver of first cheesy message and of the last call. Finally feeding a girl ‘pani-puri’ with own hands, lying to mother about my whereabouts, the rush to get her home on time-all felt mighty special.
It was even more fun in school. The lunch break, or the intervals in between lectures which became a headache for me, suddenly turned into awaited moments, when I would leer onto second floor and glance at her, shyly smiling back at me. Even more special were the moments of departure, the goodbye wave, the sheepish smiles were now meant for me. I used to make small talks dropping her to van, even though we used to be in contact for rest of the day anyways.
I always received these horrifying glares from driver ever since the incident when I was picking her up for a bunk to movie and he innocently asked, “Where is Tushar baba today?” I guess when I replied that “from now on it’s going to be me only”, his hatred for me started. He was probably still rooting for them.
Our endless talks, our crazy chats doubled up in volume.
Like every other couple, we saw ourselves as different. She maintained that the love and care we held for each other, no one could replicate that, I wanted to point out that most couples feel like that but I was charmed seeing how special she felt with me. I guess the only distinguishing factor would be our intolerance to cheesy endearments and name calling.
It made us feel superior over typical couples.
And yes! She also listened to ‘vol 1.’ And I was immediately instructed to delete it. Instead she filled my gallery with her songs.
11th Oct 2014
It was yet another bunk. We decided to watch a movie. I chose ‘3 A.M.’ in anticipation of some scared hugs, but was left disappointed. The VFX was laughable, yet the story was touching. I have a penchant of getting attached with stories too deeply. I had to breathe heavily to hide my tears each time I went out with my friends. I need to learn not to relate myself in those exact same situations.
“Is everything all right?” she asked, as we walked out of the theatre.
“Hmm” I was my usual silent.
“Something is definitely bothering you, what is it?”
“Nothing, it’s just that…I hate endings”
“What?” she chuckled but checked herself as I wasn’t getting amused. “Every story has an ending” she spoke softly. My heart twitched the exact moment.
“But why? Why does there have to be an ending? Can’t stories continue like forever?” I asked. She remained silent.
“I know it sounds silly, but I hate endings; that’s my thing.”
“What hurts you so much?” she asked.
“The mere thought-you know end signifies stopping. A stop to all the thrill, excitement, rush, fun, dreams, an end to all the happy memories-doesn’t matter it if is a happy or sad ending, I just hate it, I just want story to continue, that’s it.”
“Okay, I understand” she said, somewhere lost in her own thoughts.
We just quietly left the mall.
“Well, you don’t have to worry, it’s just the beginning for us” she smiled.
She had to say it, was it really necessary to romanticize every moment? Just let moments be what they are, because sometimes life actually hears those words and takes up the challenge to somehow possibly screw the good going. Almost 15 minutes later, I learnt how and why the whole “touchwood” phenomenon works.
“So you enjoyed the movie?” she asked, we were riding back home. I was still silent, so she started picking up random topics to cajole me into good mood.
“Hmm, it was nice” I was discreet in my answer.
“Ayushman looked sooo hot” she grinned.
“Hot? Seriously?”A shiver of jealousy ran within my veins.
“Are you jealous?” she giggled, sensing my tone,”As if you weren’t checking out the actress” she smirked.
“Only during the make out scene” I winked. I could look at her bright eyes in rear view mirror. I could sense the joy, the happiness in them.
“Do you boys focus on those scenes only?” she grimaced in fake-disgust. Actually we do!!
“No, we don’t…but what do you except from me? to shut my eyes when such scenes come?”
“No obviously not. Anyways girls enjoy it too” she said mischievously.
I just smiled. I was aware how wild she could get with her words…
“But I don’t understand, what is the need of such scene anyway in a horror movie?”
“Maybe because it signifies deep bond of love”
“Or maybe because movies with erotic scenes sell more”
She just shrugged her shoulder. She kept quiet, folding her arms around my waist, resting her head on my shoulders. She knew she had succeeded to pull me into good mood.
“Well, if it truly signifies love, why haven’t we done it yet?”
“Do you want to?” she whispered seductively, too close in my ear. The temptation got impossible to control from there.
“Yes, only because it signifies love” I chuckled.
“Well, we could do it right now, my mother has planned to go shopping today” she said in a naughty tone. Such mood was always welcomed.
I liked the way she was, the way we were; crazy, weird….
We stopped at Chanakyapuri square, just around the corner of her street. That’s where driver bhaiya was supposed to pick her from. She was busy tying her open hair in pony, while my eyes tried to peep inside the gym nearby.
“Oh! There’s Prateek” she suddenly exclaimed, “And there’s Sarvesh too!” she was excited. I turned towards her pointed fingers. Shit! She spotted them in the tea stall, just across from where we were standing. I hoped badly that they were there for tea only.
“And they are smoking?.... Oh yes! Look Dhruv, they are SMOKING” she said startled.
Idiots! Was it really necessary to come to ‘cigarette point’ directly from school? Well I don’t really know the name of the stall, but that’s what we used to call it. It was one of our frequently visited spots, but still they should have been more careful. Couldn’t they have hidden in the open area behind the stall? The vendor had actually made sitting arrangements there, placing big tires under the shade of trees.
“So what?” I responded calmly. I wasn’t least bit aware that it would be such a big issue to her.
“SO WHAT? SERIOUSLY? They’re smoking Dhruv! Wait a second, you smoke too right? She winced.
“Sometimes, occasionally” I tried to be casual but it just fueled her annoyance.
“Then you must drink too?” she scolded, infuriated.
“Sometimes” well that was actually true. We never had that much money to afford drinks.
“Oh my god! I can’t believe it” she fumed, “You’re a smoker, an alcoholic”.
“I am not a smoker and definitely not an alcoholic” I tried to defend myself, seeing situation getting out of control. Her anger was palpable by the disgust look on her face.” We just do it sometimes”
“I cannot even imagine that you do things like this, it’s horrendous, Dhruv”
“Look, I am sorry. If it hurts so much, I won’t do it again. I promise” I was mortified. I could not fight with her; I wanted to close the matter. I knew inside that if she wanted, I had it within me to really quit smoking for her. I wasn’t very fond of it anyways. I used to do it because it looked cool. Infact apart from shyness and weirdness which came naturally to me-bunks, getting suspended, escapades- almost everything I did was an attempt to complete the pretence of being truly jovial.
“It’s not about that. Why have you been doing it till now? God! I hate smokers”
“For God’s sake, I am not a smoker! I only do it sometimes” I was irritated.
“Oh! Piss off, like I could believe you now”
“Are you really fighting with me over such a stupid issue?” I was getting really annoyed.
“It’s not stupid Dhruv. I hate it!”
“Okay, I will quit it! Alright” I cringed. But her ire was just the same.
“But why have you been doing it?”
“Because that’s what we friends do while hanging out. It’s only for fun. I do it only with my friends, that too only sometimes!” I responded, trying to calm her down.
“Well, then you should leave such dirty friends” I felt angry; I wanted to warn her that she was crossing her limits now.
“What are you saying? Don’t drag them, it’s not their fault”
“It is, there shouldn’t be activities like that”
“Well, it happens in every group and, I would have stopped, if I ever had any idea that it would be a problem when I’d be a couple.”
“It is surely a problem, how could you not sense it?” she chided yet again.
“Because I never thought my girlfriend would be so narrow-minded” I was getting irritated.
“What the fuck, you’re the one doing such grotesque things, I should be accusing you of being dirty, and you’re coming at me.”
“Yes, because you’re making an issue out of nothing”
“Well, if you really think of it as nothing, or a stupid thing; it just shows how dim minded you are” she yelled.
“Okay, sorry. Let’s not stretch it anymore” I tried to calm her down but felt a ripple in the heart being the first one always to apologize or to shut down the matter, even when it wasn’t a mistake on my part; atleast not intentional. I felt weak.
“Let it be, I have nothing to do with you” She said in a descending low tone. “What do you mean?” my voice choking,
“I am not talking with you” she said, her words cold, sharp; piercing my heart.
“But why? I am sorry that I yelled at you. I will quit smoking” I felt the same weakness again, my mind laughing at my heart’s vulnerability.
“I have to go” she said, as the van arrived.
Something extreme happened everytime, just at the mere thought of her leaving me. My heart would just shut every other emotion, as it would start yearning for her, desperately. Even though the same very feeling made me accept my love for her, I always hated it; it would terrorize me, because every single time it would feel as if my whole life is coming to an end.
I took her hand in mine, despite the incessant beeping horn. I cared less for those glary eyes, or the possible embarrassment in front of others. She mattered, infact only she did; nothing else. She jerked it off and stomped out. She did not even turn once as she walked, and not even looked out the window to bid any goodbye. My heart plummeted, she actually left.
I waited till evening, resisted my desperation, reluctantly attended coaching too but finally gave up to the urge of calling her, and sorting it all out. She didn’t pick up. Not a single out of the 17 calls I placed her. It got even more depressing when she chose not to reply to any of almost two dozen messages I sent her. I felt pathetic as I scrolled through my own display of utter desperation.
From the point where I asked her to confront, and gave me a chance to explain, the constant ignorance led me to apologizing and literally begging her to come, at any cost.
All of a sudden, tears marked their presence as I daunted her never returning back. I felt feeble, disheartened, dejected. I couldn’t stand my own reflection in the mirror. I loathed myself, ofcourse she mattered, yes! She meant the world, but it gave her no right to control myself like that. Hell! It wasn’t a mistake big and reasonable enough for a ’breakup’.
Fuck!! Is it a breakup? Like seriously, for something this preposterous? It hasn’t been a whole fucking month even, and this!! Why?? I felt sickened as I dwelled over the emotion further, how could she have so much command over the way I feel, so much helplessness, so damn desperation, I felt crippled from love.
It got even terrifying, horror-struck as I replayed our happy memories, what if it is the end; I hate it, that’s my thing. Hmm, there was a scar on my forearm the day we first met. There, blankness, I thought nothing else, grabbed a knife and did the same and with those drop of blood went away even last shred of self-respect. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t stop my tears, and the worst part I did not even wanted to hurt myself; I just wanted to regain control over myself but felt possessed. If this is what they say the ‘dark side’ of love, it was soul chilling, utterly terrifying.
I was going crazy, crossing limits of desperation.
The next day went almost the same way; she did not even show up in the school, but finally I slept in noon as headache increased and eyes got tired from constant welling up. In the evening I received a call, it was hers, my heart jumped high and sank low simultaneously. We finally decided to meet in the evening.
She was already waiting in her grey top and black denim, when I reached there. I just went and smothered her in the hug, not saying a single word. I hugged her tight, not letting her go. I don’t know why but it felt as if that was the only moment when I would have her and I couldn’t have simply afforded to see her walk away yet again. When she finally released herself from hug, I kept on holding her hand, making her sit on the bench as I sat on my toes, resting my head on her lap.
“I am sorry” I repented, tears immediately flooding out.
“Oyee, shhh! Are you mad? Infact, I am sorry” her expression worried, looking me all broken.
I couldn’t stop sobbing.
She continued, “Hush, please! I made an issue out of nothing, please just let it go, I called you to apologize face to face, whatever I did was uncalled for, sorry”
“No, I am sorry if I did anything to hurt you and I promise I will do anything you want me to”
“Look just let it go. I trust you”
Silence prevailed. She got even more tensed looking at my pale face.
“What’s wrong? Tell me, say something please” she sounded upset.
I couldn’t dare to speak anything. I couldn’t even look her in the eye, so I rested my head sideways, she gently caressed my hair. She lifted my arms, gently kissing the back of my hand, and that’s when she finally noticed the cut.
“What the hell is this?” she screamed, her eyes filled with anger and tears.
“I don’t know” I spoke, barely a whisper.
“What do you mean you don’t know? What the fuck is this? Why would you hurt yourself?” she yelled.
“It’s okay, it was stupid, and it doesn’t hurt much” I chided.
“Well then you have fucking no idea how much it hurt me” she began crying furiously.
Yes, I had idea of how she felt, I just realized it later. I was there, the same feeling, just months ago.
“I am sorry, I shouldn’t have done that, sorry” I regretted.
“NO, but tell me, why the hell you did that in the first place?”
“I was worried that you will never return; I lost myself” I tried to explain.
“But how couldn’t I? Stupid, we are together, forever. Remember? Don’t you ever listen to what I say?” she scolded me. I smiled a bit.
“Yes, even then I was angry”
“NO, I was angry at myself”
“Cause, I hate this feeling, I felt weak and cried, the helplessness, the desperation, as if I had no control over myself, it felt so disheartened. I hated it”
“What feeling? I don’t understand- you hate loving me?”
“No, but this fear, it has engulfed me. You know I can’t imagine you out of my life; I can’t live without you, not even a single day, a sole moment. And I don’t know but this much attachment, it scares me.”
“Well, I feel the same way about you, and it’s good right? That we like each other so much?” she said, as her one hand kept brushing my face with her palm, the other; rubbing my shoulder.
“Yes, but it is still scary; you have no idea how I survived that one month being separated from you, and I can’t do it again. It frightens me, even to think what would happen to me if you ever leave.”
“Well, then you don’t have to fear anything, because I am never leaving you” she hugged me
“Do you promise?” I asked, running my fingers on her back.
“Yes, I do” she kissed my cheek.
“But you also have to promise me something” she added, “That you would never do anything stupid like this, EVER.”
I let go of the embrace. “I promise you” I said, as I swept tears off her face with my thumb.
Right there, even when in the moment, we both knew how irrational and illogical it sounded. She may have to move out of city to get admission in good engineering college, and even though I highly suspect it; even I may get a chance to pursue my commerce graduation from a decent college outside the city.
But it felt good to be assured that she too cared that much, that she would never leave me, physically maybe; but never emotionally. After all, we possessed each other’s heart, how could we leave?