Waiting……

Waiting-for-you-under-dark-sky

Where on earth can you find true happiness? A place called nowhere exists inside your heart where all your happy moments reside. You don’t have to search or discover it. Just hold your breath, follow your heartbeat and feel it.

She willed herself not to check her phone to see if he had replied. It’s been about three days now yet she couldn’t stop herself.. She hated that she was constantly checking his ‘last seen at’ status and yes, he had logged in just five minutes ago. This sinking feeling to find absolutely no communication from him was becoming unbearable, almost torturous.

And then, just as she sat down on the chair, her phone vibrated. With her heart thudding in her ear, she unlocked her phone and stared at the screen. Finally! It was his message.

But when she opened it and read it, she nearly stopped breathing. She didn’t know if he was joking or not. What was that?

Raj: Khushi, I’m coming Kolkata day after tomorrow. Hope you’ll make time to meet me.

She was still in the shock. It was beyond her imagination that he would give such a reply to her message. She somehow balanced her mental and emotional state and typed her reply.

Khushi: I’ll try my level best to make it up to you. But you see my internals are on and I won’t be able to go to Kolkata.

Her heart was beating really fast and for a moment she thought- what if he cancels the plan but then she made her heart strong and sent the message. Raj was online but he didn’t reply for ten minutes. Her heart started sinking and she regretted her reply. She took a sip of water when her phone vibrated again. She quickly unlocked it and read his message.

Raj: It won’t be a problem Khushi. I’ll be coming to your college. It’s in Kolaghat right. I guess I will manage somehow to find my way and the rest I rely on the Google map.

She locked her phone and threw it on the bed. This wasn’t going well for her. Just when she decided not to think about him anymore (not to mention she still checked his last seen and all continuously) he was coming to throw her a visit. She finally has to go through the moment she was avoiding all this time. That night she couldn’t sleep well. All she could think was about their meeting.

She woke up late next day. It was 1’o clock in the afternoon. She had decided to wake up early in the morning and start with her courses but that was screwed. To make up the time she quickly took her bath. She had already messed up with her afternoon meal so, without wasting her time she started with her studies.

Cloud computing was the subject she had to sit for the internals next day but all she could think was about her meeting with Raj. He really did occupy her mind. Only way she could think to get out of this fuss was to share it with Riya. Well Riya was her best friend since day one in the college. They shared all their secrets with each other and they had solutions for each other’s problems too. Well not to mention only Riya knew about Raj.

Riya was sleeping on her cloud computing book when she entered her room.

“Riya! Wake up. I need to tell you something.” She said jerking Riya’s arms and waking her up.

“Are you nuts. It felt as if someone threw me into a huge well. What has happened to you?” Riya said with a look of disgust in her face.

“Raj happened to me. He’s coming tomorrow.” Khushi said in an anxious tone.

“What? But why is he coming here? I thought you did have that meeting while you were at home. Didn’t you?” there was suspicion in her voice. “You promised me and again avoided it.” Suspicion was now replaced with anger.

“Yes. I avoided it and you know the reason. Three days back I messaged him that I want him to know about the person I’ve been waiting for all this time. But he didn’t reply and now he’s coming here and there’s no more hiding.” Nervousness was obvious in her voice. “I don’t know what to do. I’m just so much confused.”

“Listen Khushi, You can’t just avoid this forever.” Riya took her hands and looked into her eyes. “You know what you have to do. Now go and get something about clouds in your head.” She knew there was no escape out of it so she nodded her head in agreement.

Two years back……

She was expecting a call from Raj. They had agreed for a meeting to celebrate her homecoming. She had to return to her college next day and they had planned an evening out together. She was pretty confused what to wear for the occasion though it was just a casual meeting over a coffee. She was really excited to meet him after one long year. How often she wished to see him just for once but Kolkata was still a little bit far from Ranchi.

She was actually a bit frustrated that Raj was least bothered to even give her a call. For a moment she thought that he has forgotten about their meeting. But then she convinced herself that he must have been busy doing his classes so he couldn’t manage to call. She took a quick shower and put on her denim jeans and favorite t-shirt. She checked herself thrice before leaving the house.

Sometimes what you feel for a person can’t be defined in words. She never wished Raj to be her boyfriend but at the same time he was more than her friend. She felt great when he cared for her and jealous when he did that for other girls. She was nervous when everyone said that he was going to propose the love of his life and sad when it turned out to be someone else. And now, even after 3yrs of that truth, she felt exactly the same way. Her heart still quickens and she forgets to breathe when she looks into his eyes. Even after knowing the truth that he’ll never understand her feelings and she’ll never be able to make him understand, she was there waiting for him inside the café.

She was repeatedly dialing his number but every time got the same voice of a lady saying “The number you’ve called is not responding.” It was getting into her nerves but still she sat there waiting for him to come. Waiter came thrice for the order and every time she said later, he gave her a disgusting look. She sat there for two hours and to avoid the disgust she ordered coffee after every twenty to thirty minutes. She almost finished her third coffee and tried to call him a thousand times. It felt really weird to sit there alone in the café and the thought that how stupid she might look to other customers lingered in her head. People came and left but she sat there waiting. Her patience wanted to give up but heart didn’t allow her. She wanted to see his face once and talk to him before returning back to college.

After 2 n a half hours of waiting, she finally realized that it was nothing more than fooling oneself. She should’ve never waited for him and it was about time to stop making herself pathetic. She paid the bill and left. She had just stepped out of the café when it started drizzling.

Like the rain drops falling from the sky all her feelings and emotions flowed out of her heart. She could take no more. She didn’t know what was happening. She realized what she should have, a long time ago. She understood that it was her waiting, not that he was to come. Suddenly she felt as if all her happiness had been taken away. Those raindrops felt like fire balls pouring down the sky, burning every inch of her skin. The person for whom she had waited and was waiting all those years had already been snatched from her and all she could do was to behave cruel enough to accept the truth. She wanted to cry but couldn’t. She wanted to tell Raj how it felt to wait for someone, that she loved him more than anyone could ever love him.

The cell phone started ringing in her hand and it was his call. She wanted to pick up the call and ask him the reason but deep inside her heart something stopped her. Her hands felt numb and lifeless, she could feel the pain but couldn’t express it. At that moment she decided to finally accept the truth. From that day on wards she hated rain.

When she reached home she took out her diary from the self and wrote how she felt that day and what she had decided for the future.

So basically what she had planned was to ask him for a date and tell him everything that was in her mind. But things were really complicated. Every time she tried to call him, something stopped her. Since then she invited Raj but every time she cancelled it hoping that it shouldn’t come that soon.

 

But since he was coming to meet her she couldn’t avoid. She knew that she has to meet him the next day so all she could do was to wait for him a last and final time. Neither did she study that night nor slept. All she could do was a final waiting.

Her cell phone buzzed waking her up. It was a message from Raj.

Raj: I’ve reached Howrah. Will be there soon….

Another message popped up.

Raj: All the best for your internals….

She checked the time which was 8:12 am. Tossing the cell phone aside she stepped out from her bed. Her exams were from 9:00 am to 10:00 am and at approximately 10:00 am – 10:30 am Raj would be there. This thought was haunting her like hell.

All through the exam only one thought lingered in her head and it was the words she had to tell him that day. It was so tormenting that she couldn’t answer any of the questions. Without wasting any more time she left the examination room.

Standing by the Jheel, situated inside the college campus she remembered how she had once been so much in love with Raj. By far Jheel side was the only place that made her feel closer to him because he once told her how much he loved river side.

Suddenly someone tapped her from behind. She turned back to find Raj standing there with the same smile on his face which always forced her smile back however sad she was.

“Hey! Khushi…it’s nice to see you after a long time.” He said flashing a brightest smile.

“Oh…Hello Raj…How did you find me?” she asked. “I’m the man you see. I just managed to find you.” He was still smiling. “So, tell me. Why were you avoiding this meeting?” he asked. “I mean you asked me for this date and cancelled it every time. But since we are here let’s get done with it.”

“Yes…I guess I have to.” She didn’t know how to say it.

“Let’s go to CCD. I saw one on my way to your college.” He asked.

“No…This place is ok. We can talk here.” She didn’t want to waste anymore time.

“Raj, do you remember 6 months back we’re going to meet at the Capitol Hill restaurant? I waited there for two n a half hour but you didn’t come. I realized that day how stupid I was to wait.

The friend for whom I waited all these years, no more exists. I lost him the day I fell in love with him. And the person I fell in love was lost the day he chose someone else over me.” Drops of tears fell from her eyes. “So I want to tell you that this is our last meeting. I wish to let go of you and move on. No doubt you are my first love and will always be but I just want to keep you as a happy moment of my life. So I bid you my farewell here.” She wiped her tears and forced a smile on her face.

Raj stood there as if all his words were lost in some infinity and all he could do was to stand there and listen to her. He shook her hand in a trance mode.

She took out a diary from her bag. “This is something I want to give you. I don’t think I can ever be able to get rid of this.” She handed it over to him. “I want you to take it away with you. It belongs with you and you should keep it. Just take it as a parting gift.”

“What’s in it?” he asked looking straight into her eyes.

“It’s my memories of you. I wrote it the day I first saw you till today when I’m finally leaving you. But now on wards I don’t want to write another word for you. This has to end here.” There was pain in her eyes but at the same time he saw the freedom in them. Freedom from the waiting she had been going through all those years. She left, leaving him behind with her dairy and all he could do was to watch her move on.

Raj opened the dairy to find all her poems in it which was dedicated to him. There was pain in his eyes. He took out a pen from his pocket and wrote his first letter to her in that diary which was yet unfinished.

He wrote:

“I know now Khushi, how it feels when you wait for someone but that someone never comes. I didn’t come that day because my brother had met with an accident. While you were waiting there for me, I was waiting outside the I.C.U for my brother’s life. I really wanted to come but my lucky star betrayed me. You never asked for an explanation and I never told you. I knew how important you are for me the day you went far from me but at the same time I was bound with a promise I gave to Sneha. But today I came here to tell you how much I love you, breaking all the promises but again my lucky star played its trick. Though you wish to move on I don’t think I will be able to do the same. I guess this is what I deserve. I won’t stop you because I know how much pain I have given you. Today your waiting stops here and mine begins.”

BLEMISHED LOVE

oak-hollow-life-masks

It was still dawn when I stepped out of the cab and walked towards the entry gate of the Delhi airport. The early morning February air was pleasantly cold.

I was travelling to Bengaluru to attend a college friend’s wedding. It had been four years since we graduated from the same college. This wedding was also going to be a reunion of our batch mates. But what I didn’t know was that the reunion would begin much ahead of time; right in the queue in front of the airline counter.

I was almost sure it was she. Same height! Same long hair! Same complexion! Curiosity had my eyes glued to her. And then about 60-odd seconds later, when she turned, she proved me right. My ex-girlfriend stood two places ahead of me in that queue. We had never met after the college farewell.

My memory drifted back to the days when we were together.For a moment, I stood there looking at her but she didn’t seem to notice me. She headed straight to the transit passenger lounge.

‘Excuse me, Sir.’ I was ready to call her from behind

when the girl in the counter called out for me.

I sat down beside her on the plastic-covered artificial leather settee in the passenger lounge. My face attracted her attention at once.

‘Hi, Rishabh,’ she said giving me a quick hug. I wanted to hold on for a while but she broke.

‘It’s good to see you.’ I said coming back to myself.

‘So, how is your life going?’ she asked.

‘It would have been better with you in it.’ I thought, but I said:

‘Life is good. What about yours?’

‘I’m great. You haven’t changed a bit.’ She replied taking a nice scan of me.

‘But you’re totally changed. I thought social work was not your thing.’ There was a touch of humor in my voice.

‘I thought the same until I did It.’ she said with a huge smile on her face. ‘How did you know?’

‘I read your interview in one of the magazines.’ I replied.

‘I’ve kept all those magazines with me.’ I thought but said nothing.

I always believed that our meetings and partings are governed by us but truth be told and I’m a firm believer of truth that it’s governed by our destiny. For a moment I was struggling to understand what made me so happy to see the girl who no longer existed in my world but then I felt she was always there and the very thought of her makes me happy.

‘So, you don’t miss me, do you?’ I thought but said nothing again.

I was lost in our conversation so much that I almost forgot to keep the track of time and our flight announcement interrupted us. We dragged our bags and walked across the floor to take our places in the queue for the plane.

‘Fasten your seat belts, please.’ The authoritative voice made that announcement again and again till the plane finally took off. Inside the plane we didn’t have much of luck; there was great deal of distance between our seats. For a moment I thought of exchanging seats with the fellow beside Riya but then to avoid embarrassment I subdued it.

We hired the same cab to the hotel. All through the journey she talked very little instead she looked outside the window. I didn’t know why I was feeling the same way as four years back. My heart sank even deeper and a knot formed inside my stomach every time she gave me a smile.

I grabbed my bag and looked at the hotel. It looked like a huge palace. It was the venue that Sarah and David had decided for the wedding and they couldn’t have made a better choice. I knew certainly our batch mates will be awestruck if they see us together. As we reached the reception area I saw Sam busy with the guests. Well it was quite obvious for him to be busy in his sister’s marriage. We headed straight to him.

‘Sam!’ I pushed my way through the crowd.

‘Hey Rishabh,’ His voice was instantly recognizable over all other voices and everyone was suddenly attracted to me. ‘There you are buddy.’ He gave me a warm hug and turned towards Riya.

‘Hi Riya,’ he said looking confused. ‘You two came together? Where’s Varun?’

‘Hello Sam,’ she replied looking from him to others trying to defend. ‘Actually he had an important meeting to attend.’ before she could complete her friends huddled her in.

Meeting old friends after years is like re-living the past. All my memories renewed.

‘Are you guys together again?’ Sam whispered in my ears pulling me aside.

‘What? Of course not,’ I clarified. ‘I’ve seen her after ages.’ In no time all our friends joined us. It felt really great to see them after such a long time.

As I reached outside her room, the first thing which caught my eyes was the mesmerizingly beautiful white wedding dress hanging on the stand. I imagined my Sarah in it looking so much like a fairy.

‘Hey Sarah,’ I said entering the room. ‘Looks like, someone’s getting married.’

‘Rishabh, is that you?’ she ran to me. ‘I thought you wouldn’t come.’

‘How can I miss your wedding? After all I wanted to see who is committing suicide by marrying you.’ I mocked her.

‘Stop making fun of me. I’m already ditched. Can’t find my bridesmaid already.’ She retorted.

‘Here’s your bridesmaid,’ Riya entered the room. ‘No one’s walking without a bridesmaid on her wedding day.’

I watched them as Sarah gave bridesmaid dress to her. Suddenly Sam burst into the room with a twitchy look on his face. He looked around at the three of us and then his eyes were stuck on Sarah.

‘Sarah, David…’ his words ended in his throat and there was panic in his eyes.

‘Sam, speak up. What happened to David?’ suddenly her face lost its color and her entire body started shivering. ‘Another blackout, is it?’

‘No, he’s fine. ’ he said controlling his words but before he could complete Sarah ran out of the room and we followed her.

When we entered the room David’s parents were already sitting beside his bed. The doctor was examining him. Sam told us about David. He was suffering from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. That eventually led to muscle twitching and inability to first move his right arm and then his both legs. He had an attack that morning and doctors said his condition was slowly worsening affecting his chest area and damaging his respiratory system. He was on artificial ventilation. His life was short.

Sarah sat next to him and took his hand in her shivering hands. Tears soaked her eyes as she tried hard to control them.

‘Are you trying to escape our wedding?’ tears chocked her voice.

‘I can’t marry you.’ David said in a very distorted and dull voice. Tears filled his eyes while he said those words.

Those words were enough for Sarah to break her. She didn’t say a word after that. She knew why he was saying that.

‘You know David, she herself designed her wedding dress.’ Riya said going near Daniel’s bed. ‘She decorated the wedding hall with white roses with which she’s allergic because you love them. And above all she went against her parents, she sacrificed everything for you and you’re giving up.’ I could see the pain and anger in her eyes.

‘She’s doing all this because she loves you so much, wants to be with you and you are giving up. You know David you’re lucky that you’re getting a chance to spend your life with your true love and believe me everyone is not that lucky.’

‘But I can’t give her the life she wishes. I’m losing control of my body and mind and soon it’ll be my life.’ he said looking away.

‘She wants to spend her life with you and she never wished a perfect life. What she really wanted was a life with you however small it is.’ She tried to convince him.

‘She loves you and nothing on this earth could change that, not even your sickness. Please don’t let this sickness affect your love.’

I watched her as she was explaining him to believe in his love and I guess that was the moment I got all my answers. It wasn’t easy for David to let go of his love but for her future he was ready to make that sacrifice.

And there was Sarah who knew about her uncertain future with David but still she was ready to sacrifice her comforts for him. That was true love and its magical strength which holds our past, present and future.

‘I’m really sorry.’ David said taking Sarah’s hand. ‘Let’s get married today, can’t wait to see you in your wedding dress.’

‘Are you serious?’ tears started flowing down her eyes.

‘But we saw each other today.’

‘Seeing your face can never bring bad luck to me. It’s the face I wish to watch on my last day and it’s the only thing which can bring good luck in my life.’ He said kissing her hands and they looked happy together.

‘They look great together, don’t they?’ Riya asked me coming to my side. I turned to face her and there were tears in her eyes.

‘Yes they do.’ I said with a smile.

I looked at her face and suddenly I had this feeling that what I really missed all those years was right in front of me. But I couldn’t do anything because what’s gone is gone.

‘Are you happy with him Riya?’ that suddenly slipped from my mouth. I really needed to know that.

‘Of course I am.’ She replied with a smile. ‘But why you are asking me that?’

‘Out of curiosity you could say.’ I tried to defend myself.

‘You’re right about love and its strength. It’s more than something we can feel, it’s eternal.’

‘It’s strange to hear something like that from you.’ She said with a smile on her face. ‘The Rishabh I knew never believed in love. I mean that was the reason we broke up.’

‘I think that was the biggest mistake of my life.’ I tried hard to resist but words came out of my mouth. ‘And I got my punishment too. All these years I achieved whatever I dreamt of but yet my heart endured this emptiness.’ She didn’t say a word and I could see the same pain in her eyes I had seen four years back on the day of our farewell. Before I could say anything else she stood up to leave.

‘Riya, can you forgive me?’ I said holding her hand while she was leaving. ‘I know it all now. It was you Riya. You were missing from my life. I got my true love and couldn’t identify her.’

‘Why are you telling me this?’ she said turning towards me.

‘Because I want to let you know that you’re my true love. Your eyes are still not at your side. They tell me everything, especially when you’re sad. Varun is not busy in some meeting, you’re bad at lies. He is such a fool not to realize how lucky he is to have you. You should be with someone who stays with you like a true friend at the times you truly need him. Someone whom you don’t have to defend every time and someone who can make you happy, blissfully happy. Someone who can respect you from all his heart and feel proud to have you. I shouldn’t have let you go back then. I was so scared to accept true love and take my chance. But I’m not scared anymore.’ I knew what I was saying. ‘You said that everyone is not that lucky to get a chance to spend their life with their true love and I believed you. I want you to give me a chance.

Can you do that for me?’

‘It’s too late.’ She looked into my eyes and said. ‘I’m engaged Rishabh and at least he’s with me. I can’t leave him, I’ve already given him a chance.’ I saw tears in her eyes.

I could see the ring in her finger and I had no reasons to not let go of her hand. I once again lost her but it was different this time. Four years back when I lost her it was she who suffered and this time it was me.

We watched as Sarah took her steps beside Sam and walked up the aisle followed by her bridesmaid. Riya looked stunningly beautiful in her yellow-colored dress. Owing to his condition, David was on a wheelchair and mechanical ventilation waiting on the platform. He did look handsome in his tux as he took Sarah’s hand.

Everyone clapped as they thirst the rings into each other’s fingers and said their vows.

My heartbeat quickened as someone rapped a spoon against the glass and the speeches began. Sam announced my name for the speech. I stood up from my chair and looked at Riya and she smiled back with thumbs up. I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to speak but words came out of my mouth which until that moment stayed inside my heart.

‘I’m not good at this but anyway I’m taking the risk…Only for Sarah. Forgive me if it gets boring.’ I smiled at her.

The hall roared in laughter.

‘I’m really happy for you Sarah that you found your soul mate in David one of the most wonderful persons.’

Everyone looked at the couple and clapped.

‘The way I figure it, love is the only true magic that exists in our world. All this while I thought love makes you weak and snatches all your peaceful moments. But no, I must say I was wrong. Love is the only strength that keeps us going. And I’m really glad that you found your strength. I’m so proud that although you’re my best friend but you’re not a coward like me to run away from accepting your true love. Well, At least you took your chance unlike me.’ I looked at her as tears filled her eyes.

‘I never believed in all this but someone proved me wrong. I was trying hard to understand what was missing in my life all these years. And today I understood it was the magic of true love.’ I smiled at Riya. ‘Please raise your glasses and toast my best friend and her wonderful husband David to wish them all the luck for their new life and happiness together.’ I smiled at both of them.

‘Here you go.’ Riya said offering me a seat beside her.

We watched as Sarah and Sam danced as husband and wife for the first time. I couldn’t control the smile that came as I saw them both together and happy.

‘May I have you for the dance?’ I asked giving my hand to her.

‘Sure’ she smiled and took my hand.

‘Since you are in my arms I feel happy and me. But once the night gets over and tomorrow comes you’ll have to leave. If that’s the case, I’d wish tonight to be the longest night of my life. I’d spend each second of it with you. And once that tomorrow comes please remember me as a happy memory and believe that I loved you with all my heart. I didn’t want you to leave my side, that every moment we had together was one of the best things that happened to me. But as you must know some love isn’t made to be forever.’

I thought to myself as we danced.