Copyright © 2013 Vipin Thapliyal
All rights reserved.
This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters, organizations and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved by the author. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the author.
The views expressed in this book are entirely those of the author. The printer/publisher, and distributors of this book are not in any way responsible for the views expressed by the author in this book.
First Published: November 2013
Dedicated to the holy memory of my beloved grandfather
Late Shri. Ramprasad Thapliyal
A Day Before Holi
My cousin Arnav, who was visiting us on a vacation, and I, were strolling at the dusk. The sky was overcast and a gentle breeze was caressing our faces. There was a fair and countless people thronging all over the area because of the festive season. While having banter and chanter with Arnav, a young couple suddenly flashed past me and caught my attention. The girl had clutched her boyfriend so tightly that not even air could pass through them. I stared at them in a fit of jealousy and ‘I-want-the-same-fun’ way until they disappeared from my sight.
“See, that’s called savoring the moments of life, and we suck at it!” I jibed at my cousin.
“What’s a big deal in this? It’s just a waste of time and money. They have enough time for fun stuff, but we don’t,” My cousin tried to protest his ‘Being Single’ tag. I too didn’t pass up the chance to pour down my frustration on him, saying,
“That sounds like sour grapes because you don’t have a girlfriend. Come on! We have plenty of time brother, you talk as if you are monitoring Ambani’s group. Can’t you hunt a good girl’s number for me?” I retorted.
“Are you serious? Earlier you didn’t want a girlfriend, but now you want one. What made you change your mind?,” he enquired in a surprising mood and gave me a suspicious look.
I responded helplessly, “I have come to realize that ‘being single’ means you are NOT gutsy, grown-up, good-looking, or not any having those other desirable traits. You know that all of my friends are in relationships; I am the only freaking SINGLE in my group,”
Arnav gave a serious ear to my ‘Sad Story’ and rendered a supportive hand, “Okay, let me check my contacts,” he said while taking out his cell phone. I waited for the moment when he would finally get a number for me. Before he could ask me to jot down a number, I pulled out my cell phone and waited impatiently to enter a number.
So harried I was!
“Will Delhi’s girl do?” he asked looking sideways, concentrating on his screen and scrolling down the contacts. I peeped at his contact directory.
“No, it’s too far, plus, expensive with a recharge.”
I typed “9” on my screen, guessing the first digit of a contact number. I didn’t know why I became so impatient all of a sudden. Maybe because of the lovebirds, who burnt me with jealousy just five minutes back.
“Save a number fast,” he instructed.
I hurriedly and happily entered the number on my screen and then confirmed the number to prevent any mistake. It was the first time when I found myself so SOLEMN.
“And her name is ...?” I asked with an intense inquisitiveness and paused, looking in the contact’s name box. Before he could come back with the first answer, I bombarded him with the next question: “And is there any additional information about her?”
“I myself don’t know where this number came to me. Now, it’s up to your talent that how do you go about it,” he said while deleting the number from his directory and as if he was challenging my caliber on this count.
I thought a bit then entered “FG” for the contact’s name - an abbreviation for “FUTURE GIRLFRIEND.”
Strolling between the rows of dense cluster of houses in the colony, I observed a naughty boy at one of the roofs, seeing us. His gesticulation hinting that he was waiting for somebody to appear and become a victim of his proposed attack. In addition, I could also guess from his demeanor that he was hiding something behind his back. I couldn’t guess what. As we inched closer to his house, and were about to cross his arena, suddenly, he attacked us by throwing a colored-water-filled balloon. Thank God! He was not a good shooter! Lest, he would have spoiled my brand new white T-shirt.
Arnav shouted at him. But, it was of no use getting annoyed in such festival - as everybody has got right to make anyone smeared with colors.
As the famous slogan of this festival says - “Bura na mano Holi hai.(Don’t mind it is Holi…)”
The same evening, an innovative way to impress my FG, flashed into my mind.
Lying in the bed, I composed my opening text message to her, that read …
“Hey! Get two bricks of ice cream, and - yes, also a Silk chocolate for me, plzzzz.”
I guess, it’s better to break the ice with phrases like these. Since, simply saying “hi” or “hello” sounds pretty common and hardly evokes a reply.
I waited restlessly for a reply. I could hardly take my eyes off the phone. I stared at my phone as if it was pregnant and going to give birth to a ‘New Cell phone’. The message tone sounded harmonious for the very first time as a text popped onto my screen, after exactly two seconds. I opened it without seeing the sender’s name. On checking it, I found, it was a bloody company’s message, and their timing was extremely annoying and disappointing. My inbox was crammed with such messages. I erased all in a huff.
I waited for a few more minutes with my inquisitiveness soaring at its peak. I turned on the television to help distract my mind. News of Holi precautions and the mythology about Holi were being aired on all the news channels. I tuned in a music channel. The current track was my favorite and had always exhilarated me in the past, but, now I couldn’t feel the same craze for the song because my mind was diverted elsewhere.
My cell phone buzzed for the second time!! I turned the music volume down to zero, since, I wanted to pay my fullest attention to the incoming message. This time, it was from FG!!! The message asking, “Who’s this?”
My heart beat like jungle drums. I felt unprecedented sensations quivering my entire body and making me dazed and amazed, as if the time had stood still for me!!! I counseled to myself, “You may be falling in love. But, be careful as roses are RED but they also have THORNS.”
I felt that my initial comic approach didn’t seem to work. A simple “hi” or “hello” text would have also evoked the same reply. However, I was bent upon making the best impression on her this time. Though, I was a novice in this arena of love. I forged ahead and exclaimed,
“Don’t be silly! It’s me, Vinayak.”
I had presumed two replies in my mind after sending the above text:
First - “Vinayak??? I don’t know anybody by this name, so please, don’t text me again…”
Second- “I can’t recall anything about you.”
The next reply didn’t make me wait and it came as a bolt from the blue.
“Oh! Vinayak! r u at my place?” I threw a bouncer and she hit a Sixer. She boggled my mind with her reply. Two things happened: first, she had known a person with the similar name; and second, she was out of her home. A hard-hitting game had begun!!!
Moreover, I carried the conversation further with the same confusion, “Yup, I am,” I replied casually, trying to refrain from getting involved deeply into conversation. The next message was even more boggling.
“Has Mamaji agreed to snd u on Holi?”
“Whom is she talking about? What answer to give now?”
I was totally bewildered thinking what could be a plausible reply.
I was caught in my own trap and didn’t have a clue as to how to ‘untangle the mess’. At that moment I had even started thinking about terminating the conversation with her, by texting, “I am sorry! Perhaps, it is a text wreckage. Probably, I was sending texts to an unidentified person,”
But, before I could go ahead with my thinking, I got another text by FG.
“M still in d market. ll be there in abt 1/2 hr. Anything else u want?”
I erased my composed message and had wished to reply: “Yes dear, I want to be your boyfriend.” But, how could I be so gutsy? I reckoned that she was mistaking me for someone else.
I rather replied: “Nope, that’s enough.” What exactly I was feeling after all this chaos was that it was already more than enough.
A complete hotchpotch!
I was feeling sleepy. After sending the text, I put my cell phone aside, not expecting to receive any more messages as I knew that after she reaches her home, the truth would be revealed to her.
My cell phone rang after some time while I was under the first spell of sleep. I struggled to read the caller’s name with almost closed eyes; it was FG. My heart beat went faster as I said my first “Hello.”
During conversation, the “misunderstanding” was cleared. I handled the situation adroitly. To our utter surprise, we discovered that we had both attended a wedding nearly two years ago at Haridwar.
She was my cousin’s friend, but she (Nidhi), couldn’t remember my face and I couldn’t remember hers. I couldn’t even figure out who she was amongst all the girls I had ogled at during the wedding. I asked for her email id so that I could see her photograph.
I turned on my laptop and noticed 00:46 am at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. I logged into my Facebook account and, rather than checking notifications and messages, I searched for Nidhi.
As I typed NIDHI, in the ‘search box’, the facebook threw up several results with that name.
I had many choices to make, but, I wanted to go for one I was searching for. It seemed a tedious task to pick one NIDHI, out of so many.
I typed Nidhi+Haridwar, thence, facebook got what I was searching for. I found one profile; I matched all the details she had told me about her. Luckily, I found her profile; unluckily, she hadn’t uploaded her photograph yet.
Without wasting any moment, I sent her a friend request. I read everything on her profile and thought if we could be a good match. I was amazed to see many of my facebook friends online. I didn’t want them to wonder why I was online too. So, I shut down the laptop and went to sleep.
My noisy ringtone beeped early in the morning, after fumbling around with my utterly drowsy eyes, I spotted it under the pillow. It was Nidhi, I received the call so sleepily.
Her first statement was: “You know, I couldn’t have a wink of sleep last night.”
My lethargy was preventing me from pursuing a conversation. Frankly speaking, sleep was rather a preferable option than talking to Nidhi.
“Why?” I yawned; I took a turn to the right and then cloaked myself with the blanket from head to toe.
Nobody likes to get disturbed at this perfect time of sleeping. And I was no exception either.
“I am still not sure who you are. Please, share some more particulars about yourself. What had you actually worn on that wedding day?” I could sense her chaotic state of mind.
It was a mild cold morning of early March. My eyes were still closed. I couldn’t realize that how and when my slumber overpowered my conversation. I dropped.
When I got up around 8 am, her thoughts still buzzing my mind…at first, I hastened to check the call details. The last call summary showed 24 minutes, 13 seconds duration, and the call was received at 03:11 am. We talked for 24 minutes!!! What? We talked for so long?
I tried to recall the conversation rather unsuccessfully.
I was feeling as if on this very auspicious day, I was infused by the colors of love, filling my heart like a rainbow at the onset of Holi.
Holi is the only festival which we celebrate with old, dingy clothes no more in use. I found an old Kurta and pajamas, that fit the bill. Looking like a politician in that attire, I was noticed by several people.
We had a team of around twelve people. We were fully covered with colors, dogs were barking on our uncanny, colored and scary faces. We visited every single house of the colony, especially where girls lived.
Gujiya, chips, snacks, grapes, oranges and many other eatable stuffs tempted us. Children welcomed us with bucketfuls of colored water which made all of us completely wet. Undergarments too got drenched, which made me rather uncomfortable while walking.
At noon, after celebrating Holi with gaiety and pomp, I took a thorough bath to bring my body’s original color back. I checked my cell phone right after that, and I saw 2 missed calls from ‘Nidhi’. I regretted for not receiving the call, although, I didn’t call back as I wanted to take a siesta.
I felt deadly tired when I came alive from my sleep in the evening. It felt as if I had done some most tedious work in the world. I saw my mother serve me tea and gujiya.
“Get up fast, your father is calling you.” My mother nudged me with her words, putting the cup and plate on the table and left.
My father, who is a teacher of Mathematics in a Government Inter College. He is kind of aggressive and short-tempered by nature. He wants everything to be in a perfect shape. He is golden-hearted, and stressed about my career more than I have ever been. He is the only person I am always afraid to express my wishes.
I finished the tea as it is served in India like some health drink. Ruminating over what Holi is all about, I went to my father’s room and sat near him on his bed.
“Now, Holi is over. I hope, as per your promise, you must have taken a decision regarding your career,” he asked while taking the final sip of tea. Fortunately, I was equipped with some answers.
“Yes, I have to settle in Delhi. We will have an interview on 15th of March.” I said it on a positive note as if I had already grabbed the job.
“Okay! So… where will you reside there?” he enquired showing a deep concern.
“I have three friends out there, I will live with them,” I answered.
“Don’t you ever fall in a bad company,” he warned in an acerbic tone. He paused before completing his sentence and then added as an afterthought- “Be with your friends only if they belong to good families and not otherwise …anyway, how much money do you need?” he asked while checking his wallet. I hadn’t calculated the expenditure.
“God knows,” I felt a bit nervous as I uttered that.
My father had already calculated the sum roughly, so, he counted the money and handed it over to me. I stuffed the bundle of notes into my pocket without even counting them.
“Count these twice…and as far as money is concerned, don’t trust anyone,” he took his Kurta from the hanger and then delivered his final filmy dialogue - “Not even your father.” Wearing his kurta he left.
‘Why did dad not join the film industry?’ I wondered aloud.
There was a usual power cut in the evening, I was sitting in the DARK room while dreaming about my BRIGHT career. All my family members were outdoor, whereas, I was engrossed in my thoughts. I was trying to find answers to many questions that crossed my mind, such as… How to find a job? How to make my career? How to live without family?
My mind was about to explode, as if. Showing some mercy upon my mind called up Nidhi to lessen the stress.
“Hi! How was your Holi?” was my first question.
“Aaaahh, it was okay, I don’t celebrate this festival.” She replied in a subdued tone. She sounded as if she didn’t enjoy it.
“Why don’t you celebrate this festival of colors?” I wanted to make sure the reason thereto. Although, I already knew that girls hardly like to celebrate this festival.
She responded with the well-known concern of girls: “Because, I am very cautious about my skin.”
“How boring! Holi comes just once a year, so we ought to celebrate it,” I tried to impose my thoughts, though I am least dogmatic as a person.
“There are also other days, like Mother’s day, Teacher’s day, Martyr’s day… but, we hardly celebrate these,” she contended with authority. I couldn’t argue... as she had silenced me.
I came to realise a very strange fact about girls ie. they love colors but hate the colors of Holi. Ironical? Isn’t it?
I changed the controversial topic, “By the way, my friend request is still in the awaiting your ‘acceptance’. Why did you not accept my request as yet?”
She replied gently, “I will accept your request when I log in into my account.”
“Hey! Please, do upload your picture as well. I am very much keeeen to see you…,” I expressed my warm wish.
“No, I don’t believe in photos, they are fake and photo-shopped.” She disappointed me with her girlish excuse.
“But I do… Nidhi, or else, I shall keep on thinking about you,” I argued. I later wondered why had I uttered, “I will keep on thinking about you”,…though it was a true statement. Yes it was.
Her prompt reply was: “That’s what I want…dear,” She laughed. I couldn’t comprehend the crux of her saying.
“Why does she also want me to think about her?”
I noticed myself inadvertently singing latest love songs…
Drifting Away From Home
I had a slumber of B.sc and B.tech degrees. I had pre-planned to settle in Delhi because of search of a job. Three of my college friends had been waiting for me in Delhi for a month.
Living in Delhi was quite tricky, since I had never lived in any city other than Dehradun, my hometown. I even had not lived with anybody else except with my own family. Besides, I am very simple, an introvert, and a bit timid person.
I was little nervous too, as it was the first time I had to live without my family.
Next morning, I got up a bit earlier. My mother helped me in getting packed my one black color air bag and a brown color side bag. I made sure not to forget the essential stuffs. Somewhere, it looked as difficult as if I was going on some permanent mission and not likely to come back.
My mother was in tears to see me go away from her sight which made me feel homesick right away. A sudden urge to get off from the hired auto crossed my mind, but somehow, I suppressed my emotions for the sake of my ‘bright’ career. I had never gone out of my home like this before and I could realize why it was so difficult to be away from home when you were going to miss your whole family. When you happen to feel how insecure and uncertain your future will be with the Delhi-friends whom I knew from the college days, all of a sudden they started to appear not very sincere. An intense desire so as not to live with them suddenly arose in me. But, right then, I knew that there were no other options also available. I felt like a fish out of water. I had to be away from my hearth and home to a much unknown place which seemed to be like fighting a battle when you cannot even see your enemy.
I set off to my journey.
While travelling, I worried about my original documents more than my life. My father advised me to keep a hawk’s eye on my bags. Hence, I maintained a close watch as if I was carrying diamonds in my bags.
On my way to Delhi, I was called over and again by my family members as if I was going to a fight at the ‘Kargil Border’.
Passengers gave me a ‘Why-the-hell-are-you-getting-so-many-calls’ look. They were looking at me as if I were a naive.
To kill my time, I kept myself busy in chatting with Nidhi.
An elderly person, sitting next to me, was trying to peep in my chat window but, I made it complicated by the tilting phone.
I sent my first message: “Hey! m on my way to Delhi.”
Nidhi replied, “wht??? y did u mk a hasty plan to stl dwn in Delhi?”
I struggled to compose a reply as the bus was moving on curves and checking my texting skills:
“It ws nt all of a sudden, pre-plnd yar. We ll hv interviews there, so, btr to mve in to Delhi.”
She came up with a next genuine question: “Won’t u feel homesick witht ur family?”
I replied: “To be candid, I cn manage everything bt can’t manage living far frm my family, but it’s part of life. Sm day one hs to tk up painful choices.”
Her next message read: “True, lyf is ol abt struggle.”
I couldn’t get the word “lyf”, so, I typed my next message: “Lyf means???”
I tried to use my own intelligence to understand the full form of “lyf”. Just when I was waiting for the reply, I got another message.
Her next message was: “u knw it lks u r drifting away frm me,” She texted. Her last sentence cleared one thing that I had made some breathing space in her life. Just then she disclosed the full form of “lyf” when a text popped onto my screen. It disclosed: “lyf means life.” I started suspecting on my intellect. Anyway, I answered her previous question:
“No, it’s not lyk dat, I ll kp u posted. Aftr ol, we’ve bcm gd frnz. Hvnt we?” I tried to ascertain.
I couldn’t receive texts quickly. The network was playing hide and seek with us. I saw outside the window, many trees appeared running in opposite direction of the bus.
Finally, after waiting for around seven minutes, the text travelled to my inbox: “Yes, we’ve. Hw is ur gf anyway?” she asked, perhaps she wanted to make sure if I was single or committed.
Asking about a girlfriend to me was just like - when you don’t have money and people ask for it.
“I don’t hv any gf” I answered the question which I wanted to be asked ever since we had initiated conversation. I wanted her to ask this question so that she could think of becoming my girlfriend. Although, I was not sure if she was single or committed. It’s not an easy task to analyze now a days. I wanted to get an instant reply of the last message which I had sent her. I was agog to get to know her reply.
“I can’t blv it, u must hv one. u hv brown eyes, spiky hair, chocolaty face, fair complexion, gd height and you are well built too. What else a girl wants idiot? ” Her text mystified and overwhelmed me at the same time. My mind worked faster than usual to understand the source of information.
Was it an indication of a more serious relationship?
“Hey! Hv u accepted my request?” I questioned instantly. Her reply made me wait for 10 minutes, and I found myself unlocking the keypad lock at every 30 seconds interval.
“Yes, I hv. Actually r8 nw m onln. U r nw visible on d screen. u r wearing a blue T-shirt and goggles in ur DP, hmmm…looking cool dude! …besides this, ur fav. mve - 3 idiots, fav. sngr- Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, fav. dish- mamma ke hath ka…” she continued reading my profile details.
“I also want to admire you, plz,” I pleaded again.
“How?” she asked.
“Haste makes waste. Hv sm patience dear. nw, It’s tym to log out, gv me a buzz when u reach Delhi. C ya!”
All over again, she made me curious about her; she evaded my request every time.
My helpless mind asked myself: “How does she look like?”, then, it answered with the spur of moment: “How would I know?”
“I wish I could spot her phone gallery, I would see all her clicks,” I thought.
“There may be two reasons for not showing her photograph: 1. She looks ugly 2. She looks ravishing,” I muttered to myself.iiiiaid to myse
Hit and miss thoughts kept crossing my mind.
“Are you going to Delhi?” an elderly person, in his late forties, asked me.
“Yes, I am,” I replied to an irrational question.
“It’s your first time to Delhi. Isn’t it?” he began probing.
“Yeah…you can say.” I didn’t show any interest. Before he could put up the next question, the bus stopped for refreshment outside a restaurant. I rushed out of the bus.
I went inside the resort and occupied my space, placed my bag on the next chair, and ordered for lunch.
The same person appeared, coming towards me, and finally sitting opposite me.
“So, you have already placed your order. What shall I order…?” he asked, looking at the menu.
People usually go through the whole menu course as if they would order something unusual, but, contradictorily, mostly people order the usual dish they have had many times before. He was one of them.
I replied to his question after drinking few sips of water: “Yeah.”
“We should avoid junk foods. They are harmful.” He announced while placing the menu down.
I wanted to say: “Don’t you tell me, I know very well.”
Instead, I replied, “Yes, it is so,”
I keenly waited for the food to appear.
“So, are you going there to join a job?, ” he asked.
He had vowed not to stop that day!
“Yes. I have an interview there.” I admitted. I looked hither and thither to make him realize that I was not interested in answering his question.
“What have you done in your education?” he further irritated me with his irrelevant questions.
“B.Tech,” I responded unwittingly. Simultaneously, I was praying to God to make food be delivered early.
“Good. You can have several options in Delhi. There are ample jobs in this metropolis,” he announced.
Finally, the food arriveds... I wanted to give him a ‘free advice’- “talking while having meal is deleterious.”
Perhaps he could read this. So, he didn’t bother me further. I wanted to get rid of “MR. QUESTION BANK”, sitting across me. Therefore, I finished my lunch as fast as I could.
I reached at the counter to foot my bill.
“How much?” I asked while taking out my wallet.
“Your bill has been paid, Sir.” He answered with an innocent smile on his face.
“What? Who paid?” I asked confusedly.
“The person, who was sitting by your side,” I saw him, still gobbling his lunch with immense interest.
“But, he hasn’t done with his meal. How come he paid my bill? And why?”
“He had paid in advance,” he announced.
I proceeded for the bus trying to comprehend the motive behind ‘Mr. Question Bank’ for paying my bill. I even did not thank him for shelling out his money. But, I altered his name from “Mr. Question Bank” to “Mr. Kind”.
Mr. Kind boarded the bus and occupied his ‘reticent’ window seat.
“Why did you pay my bill?” I raised a question rather than thanking him.
“So what? it’s not a big deal,” he grinned showing his teeth-as white as pearls, and pretended as if he were a millionaire. I wondered if he always paid like this.
“Thank you for that.” I finally gratified him.
“You’re welcome!” He again gave me his ‘million dollar’s smile’.
I was unable to figure out his behavior.
I plugged in my headphones into my ears, rested my head fully on the seat and got myself engrossed in the music.
The bus drove in Kashmiri Gate terminal, I stood up to unload my bags.
“Do you have a change for 1000 rupees?” Mr. Kind asked, displaying the note in his hand.
I would have said “NO” if he would not have paid my bill.
“Yes, I have.” I took out my wallet and handed two crisp notes of Rs.500 each to him.
I disembarked from the bus and asked the people around, the way to the Metro Station.
New Delhi, the capital of India, welcomed me with Metro trains, CNG buses; wide roads, fly-overs and unprecedented huge crowd.
Most of the people didn’t give the impression of being affable. They hardly seemed concerned or bothered about anybody. I waited for long in the wait-for-your-turn line to get a ticket to board a Metro train. I learned the way to use the coin when I observed some adept commuters. I saw route maps on the wall, which looked like many riddles to solve to me. I couldn’t understand - where to go, and which metro line to board in. A person helped me getting me board in the right metro.
Metro train looked quite cozy and luxurious. For the time being, I had literally forgotten that I was in India. “The door will open on the left, please, mind the gap.” was the line which kept on buzzing and irritating me throughout the way in two languages, first in “English” then in “Hindi.”.I felt pity for Delhi citizens for putting up with this torture everyday. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the ride and alighted at my destination.
After enquiring a lot, I reached the destination where my friend Brij had asked me to wait. I suddenly spotted him waving his hand.
“Hey! Here I am, where have you been?” I gave him the boys’ famous half-hug, pounding on his back.
“Just got late,” he admitted.
“And where are the other friends?” I enquired.
“You know they all have gone bonkers,” He said while lifting one of my bags.
“Why? What happened to them?” I asked inquisitively.
“You know they have consumed Ganja (The most commonly used illicit drug, considered a soft drug. It consists of dried leaves of the hemp plant, smoked or chewed for ecstasy)” he said, as simply as they had just overeaten.
I hung on, got tense.
“Am I going to live with these drug-addicts?” I exclaimed being worried about my spotless record.
He clutched my hands and dragged me forward.
“Don’t behave childishly. Initially, I reacted the same way as you are reacting now. But, after some days, I became accustomed and indifferent to these practices.”
I recalled my father’s words: ‘It is far better to be alone than to be in a bad company.’ But, I preferred to be in the bad company at that point of time.
I knew them ever since I was in college, but not closely enough. I called up home on reaching safe and sound. My father again rang the bell to have my meals on time and to be on my guard in Delhi.
I got dumb stuck when I checked my wallet. Guess what? Mr. Kind was actually “Mr. Fraud.” He had exchanged a bogus 1000 rupee note with me! My father was right saying ‘I should have been careful.’ I got annoyed by my own folly. I slapped myself imaginatively.
Brij took me to the fourth floor of a rented building which was all made for the tenants. He knocked at the door. I could smell some drug. The door opened. It was David. He wide-stretched his arms to hug me and cheered as he saw me, “Hey buddy! Welcome to our nest.”
The room was indeed nest-like.
Smoke all around, scattered luggage, two dingy mattresses, which were lying on the floor, attached washroom, which was stinking badly like ISBT’s . Keeping my luggage down, I sat down at one corner of the mattress.
I turned a new leaf in my life-chapter.
“You have become very skinny. Howcome? Don’t you have your meals?” I chuckled to Aman.
David and Brij burst into laughter.
“It’s a matter of time, you are now looking pink, but, be with us for a few days and you will be left with bag of bones.” Brij retorted while slapping on Aman’s back.
It was a bolt from the blue for me.
After dinner, I called up Nidhi, she rejected my call each time I attempted. “She must have fallen fast asleep,” I thought. I went inside the room and occupied my space between Brij and David.
Initially, I couldn’t make myself at ease in the midst of both of them. But, I had to cope up with all this. Pondering about my career, I waited for Nidhi’s response but suffering from sleeplessness, I didn’t realize when sleep engulfed me.
For three days, I was falling asleep early because Nidhi would wake me up at 4 am. It was too early for me, I couldn’t even think about that. I used to get up at 8 am, whereas Nidhi was an early bird. Again, I was changing my habits for Nidhi. Was it the beginning of a love affair? Maybe!
It was the crack of dawn, my new alarm ie. Nidhi awoke me by calling me up. I woke up and saw Aman acting as if to be into some serious work on the laptop…maybe a game or porn. I got out of the room.
I received the call groggily.
She welcomed my day with saying: “I am angry. I don’t want to talk to you.”
I wondered at her saying: “But why? What mistake did I commit?”
She grumbled: "Didn’t you think it necessary to give me a call when you reached Delhi?”
I was stunned by her raised voice, I went to the roof, “I did, but you didn’t receive.”
I was on the roof, a very cold air was touching my cheeks, many tenants were sleeping on the roof as if on the platform waiting for their trains, and my right-to-be-heard woke up some of them. A person pulled out his face out of blanket and gave me a disgusting ‘let-me-sleep’ look.
“That was too late itself and I was feeling sad, that’s why I didn’t take your call,” she unfolded in a grouchy mood.
“I am sorry dear! Actually, I had a hectic schedule preparing for my interview.” A perfect defence stroke came to my mind. It was not a lie either.
“Ok! When is it?” she calmed down.
“It’s tomorrow, 5th March,” I answered.
“Duffer, then it’s today,” she corrected me.
“Oh yes… it is,”
She urged me to sing a song for her as a punishment. I tried to cajole her not to insist on singing but she threatened me not to be in conversation again.
“Marta kya na karta (When in deep crisis, one resorts to all means - fair or unfair)”
Eventually, I had to chant. I chose my song, which I could sing easily. And the song was ‘Ek din aap yun humko mil jayenge…’
I was singing in the best chord I could. Simultaneously, I made sure if nobody was seeing me or hearing me.
Suddenly, a person turned up, he was wearing a pasty half sleeves undershirt, and carrying a hassock in one hand, may be for the yoga practice. It was wholly a tongue-tied situation for me. He looked at me as if I had done some heinous crime. Embarrassingly, I reduced the singing pitch from higher to lower and then finally stopped.
“Are you practicing for Indian idol?” he asked confoundedly in his husky voice, the call was not disconnected yet. And I could hear Nidhi muttering something. Maybe, admiring my song or criticizing it.
I had no answer rather than saying “Yes, I am, I have an audition in few days.” I used his given idea.
“What kind of an audition are you talking about?” I heard Nidhi’s voice on the phone; however, I concentrated on the devil and demon standing up there.
“You give the impression of your determination, keep it up. You will certainly get a break through,” he touted, he seemed impressed without having any reason, the cell phone rang again, I hurriedly left the place and told about being exposed which made her laugh hysterically.
In order to impress someone, we can go up to any extent, especially, in the beginning of any relationship. We leave no stone unturned to make a special place for ourselves in the heart of our partner. I acted up the same.
For me, it was the first time ever when I sang for someone. I chose the perfect song as it fell into place in the approved manner.
I started falling for her - not gradually but rapidly.
It was our maiden interview; hence, we were more nervous and less excited. We dressed up smartly for the interview. The interview was supposed to be held at Connaught Place, New Delhi. We made sure to carry resume, mandatory documents and photographs. I didn’t forget to implore God.
Students generally call upon to God at the time of exams, at the time of results or when they go for any interview, so do parents for their children’s success. However, ultimately, hard labor and luck work.
We accessed the interview location; saw our numerous competitors there, they were looking serious unlike us. We submitted our resume at the reception and waited for our turns. I had practiced few anticipated questions hundred times to impress the interviewers, like - describe yourself, why do you want to join this company? Why did you choose this field? Why should we hire you? Salary expectations, bla bla bla.
A thousand questions rose in my mind regarding the interview, I was taking my own interview. To divert my mind I tried to stare at the girl sitting right in front of me; however, the interview-phobia didn’t let me give her the due attention.
“Our life will patch up if we get this job,” Brij muffled.
“Hmmm…spot on, anyway, what will you do then?” I asked.
“We will have a grand party. Full of beers, liquors and ganja,” He riveted with joy.
“Oh, sounds like fun! Don’t expect it from me now; I will throw a party once I get the first pay.”
Candidates kept on going for their career’s fight against the interviewers; interviewed people were surrounded by many candidates. We had already waited for more than two hours. In the meantime, the receptionist called David’s name. We waved thumb, receiving our good luck he stepped inside the room. Then, we waited eagerly for him to come out so that we could take some idea about the interview. In about 10 minutes, he came out.
The receptionist called my first name; therefore, I had to rush inside without getting the information.
As I pushed the door inside, three interviewers stared at me as if I would have eloped with their daughters, they permitted me to sit. I parked myself in an armchair. I passed around 17 most difficult minutes of my life inside the room, the room appeared hell-like for me. My interview got over, which was fairly good according to me.
I came out of the room.
“Hey! What made you to take so much time?” David asked anxiously.
“I was playing ludo inside,” I chuckled; some candidates grinned at my joke.
“Don’t crack jokes, tell me seriously, did they ask difficult questions?” Brij requested pryingly.
“Neither difficult nor easy. But, those assholes just boggled my mind.” I whispered. “Maar ke rakh di yaar,” I added.
David jumped into our conversation, “Yes, they did the same with me,” he vituperated.
That day I realized that Interview is the most unpredictable exam to pass, you are asked such questions which are either not prepared or not expected.
After our dreadful experience, we directly headed to our room. On the way, I thought about the better response which I could have given at the time of interview.
We pass pondering most of the time in correcting the past situation. Whereas, time is a crack which once made can’t be repaired later.
We did not have anything since previous night, we were starving to death. Aman was at home and we had asked him to cook meal. It was around 3 o’clock when we reached our room. We first scurried to the kitchen. We found nothing to eat. Aman, did not cook anything which made us heated and disappointed.
“Why the hell didn’t you cook anything?” David busted angrily.
“Oh! Sorry. Actually, nobody woke me up so I didn’t realize the time,” he protested himself.
“You sluggish! Always ditch us,” Brij vexed.
“Don’t get bent out of shape, let’s go to a nearby Dhaba and grab a bite,” He suggested as if nothing happened.
I threw my tie and the document file on the mattress.
“Who the hell will dare go out now?” David grumbled.
Nobody wanted to go out. So, we satiated our appetite only with some stale pieces of bread! Other friends took a siesta whereas I wanted to share my day’s happenings with Nidhi. I was surprised to see Nidhi in my “What’s App” messengers’ list.
I typed my first message to Nidhi: “Hi! Nice seeing you here. What’s up?”
Nidhi replied instantly: “I jst downloaded it. And I Just finished doing the dishes. Hv u had your lunch?”
I lied feebly and typed: “I just have had it, my roommate cooks vryyyyy delicious food.”
“Oh really? That’s coooool, otherwise u wud hv remained famished every day, as my darling dsnt knw hw to cook.”
Food and hungry words were fuelling my appetite; I didn’t want to talk about food.
I distracted my mind from food and replied back: “Lemme tell u m a vry gd cook, my mother trained me in ckng.”
She continued teasing me: “Oh, then yr wife ll b really happy bcs u ll always cook for her.”
I replied with a normal text: “Oh hellooo…m nt gng to b a hen-pecked hsbnd, cook n me??? no way… I cn lend my hand in some other chores.”
She sneered: “In washing clothes? ””
This time, I hit her back with my first BOLD reply: “Nope, in taking off her clothes, lolzzzz.” I sent this text without prior thinking.
She continued the topic: “She cn do it on her own.”
I replied back: “But, I cn do btr than her ”
I read my last sent message and made sure if the limit was not crossed. I went to the kitchen and drank a glass of water not to quench thirst but my starvation.
I read her next message: “how can u say so? hv u been through exp.? Lol,”
Perhaps, she wanted to verify my virginity.
I thought for an answer, of course, I was not experienced in this arena.
I wrote: “Not yet, but, I ll hv it,” and sent it.
She came up with her prompt reply: “When???”
I didn’t have any specific date so I just wrote back: “Donno. God knows”
We always used to talk candidly, hours used to pass like minutes. I used to enjoy every single exchanged word with her. We then talked about our past relationship. We discovered that it was a clean slate for both of us. She also told that she had no faith in boys, but found me a steadfast person.
‘Though life was treating me well. However, that’s not sufficient to survive on this earth… so what about the job?,’ I was thinking to myself.
Next day, we went to Connaught Place to check our names in the final selection list.
A large number of other candidates, who were glued to the ‘Notice Board’ like bees around a honeycomb. Taking the whole weight of my body on my toes, I combated to find my name.
David shouted from the other end, ‘Heck, My name is not in this list.’…I was still looking up for my name. Even before I could show empathy to him, he further remarked in a discourteous tone, “When my name is not there, how can you expect yours in this list?”
I didn’t believe him, I was aware of his habit of making fun even on serious occasions as well. He stood behind me, putting his hands on my shoulder. Now I could see the whole list clearly. David, resting his left hand on my shoulder he moved his right index finger on the final list. He was right. My name was also missing from the list, just like my luck. We all had failed in our first interview. The mournful news of not clearing the interview made us deeply distressed.
Three days later, we appeared in a couple of interviews and kept our fingers crossed.
Our daily routine was weird. Aman used to not sleep at night. He would play games, watch porn, access the internet whole night and would snooze in the morning around eight-the time I would get up. Brij and David, used to get up after 11am. And my nuttiness was- I would first get up at 4am and after finishing my early morning gossip, I would complete the remaining sleep.
We had filled our kitchen with all the necessary food items. But, we used to cook once in the blue moon. I started becoming homesick. Everyday my father used to talk to me regarding my career while mother would talk about food all the time.
We only get to know the value of home once we drift away from our family. The food which we generally shun at home makes us realize its value when we are denied food by the circumstances.
The Result of the Interview
The first interview made us doomed to failure as we weren’t selected. However, the second interview result brought a sigh of smile on David and my faces. Brij felt distraught when he didn’t get selected.
“Don’t lose hope dear, keep on trying. We will make a place for you once we get inside,” I consoled Brij.
“Exactly, we both are your jack. You will be working with us once we get to know the ins and outs of the company,” David encouraged.
Aman was the only person who was not trying for any job, he was a bone idle. He had said at his home that he was doing apprenticeship but he wasn’t actually. He was just wasting his father’s money in consuming drugs…what a big dork he was!
Seeing drug had become very accustomed to me, even I tried it a couple of times just for the sake of experience.
Attempting something wrong may not go wrong, provided you attempt for the sake of know-how only, going beyond the line of demarcation may cause dire consequences.
Our uphill struggle was continued in the second round too. Fortunately, luck seemed favoring us when we in the long run got job. I felt myself on cloud nine. Exultantly, I made a first well-deserved call to my father.
“I have got a job, papa,” I said joyfully.
“Ohhh…great! Such a good news you gave me today, congratulations!” He seemed extremely delighted.
This is a real paramount moment of one’s life- when you become the reason for your parents smile, it was the best feeling I could have ever had.
“When are you joining the staff?” my father enquired further.
“Perhaps in two weeks,” I said self-assuredly.
“Did they tell about the salary package they will be offering?,” asked my father.
“Not yet. I guess that will be told to us once we start training for fifteen days,”
First time ever, my tone sounded confident to me while having words with my father.
“Okay, take care of yourself,” He said and hung up. He is not used to talk over fruitless things.
After airing this news to my father - I unswervingly called Nidhi, I was so fanatical to share this news bulletin to her.
“You know, today I am so elated. Can you guess the reason?.” I spoke in a celebratory tone.
She hit the fish’s eye without giving it a second thought, “Umm… you must have got the job.”
My excitement level was still overflowing: “I must say you are a good guesser.Yes, I have got the job. I’ve to join in about two weeks.”
She was escorting my success by saying “Loads of congratulations. Baby! So what will you do there till then? Come back to Haridwar…oh! I mean Dehradun.”
Her wrong statement sounded like a right plan. Maybe she had said that intentionally, maybe not. Moreover, heading off to Haridwar hit upon me like holidaying in Hungary.
“It sounds like a great plan, but… I need to sleep on it,” I demanded while thinking if it was practical.
“We can meet if you come here,” she propelled my desire by showing green signal to me, and made me believe that what she suggested was workable.
“Really? Then let me plan it out. I haven’t seen you. Please, send me your photographs on whatsapp. Otherwise how will I recognize you?” I repeated my refutation request.
She laughed on and on...
I just stood up hearing the laughter. I just waited for her to stop and then utter something–though a bit nervously.
“That is the real test, I want you to pass this assessment as well,”
‘Why the hell are there so many exams in life? Can’t we have a trouble-free living?’ I thought about the harsh realities of life.
I wanted to go back to my home for several reasons eg. I had been in Delhi for the last 20 days. I was missing my Mamma’s special dishes which nobody could make; and yes…. I wanted to face my family after getting a breakthrough for the very first time in my life.
Riding bike at a high speed with friends and roaring at the time of late night on the roads were missing in my life too. I confess, the most compelling reason was to meet Nidhi.
It was getting dusky as the sun was bidding a good-bye. The evening breeze was comforting us. Birds were flying in the sky. We were standing on the roof staring at some neighborhood girls. The breezy air was making us go evil when a text popped onto my cell phone. You guessed it right… it was of course from Nidhi.
“My net-pack validity is gng to get over today, n tmrw, market ll b closed at Haridwar. So, say smtng which ll cling to my memory for life long.”
I cut off myself from my friends’ erotic talk. I walked away from them, and bit my lower lip, trying to think out of the box. Alas! After using my natural processor mind, I composed a disaster message.
“You are really a nice girl, I like talking to you.”
Before hitting the send option, I rethought a lot, but, it didn’t seem appealing or which could make an ever-lasting impression on her mind.
I backspaced it all. I used my creative mind and composed a proposing message:
“I knw, alone u cn smile but together we ll laugh. I knw alone u cn celebrate but together we ll chillll. I knw alone u can b happy but together we ll enjoy to the fullest. First tym, in my whole lyf, someone gave me such importance. All that I shared with u, I nvr shared it with anybody else. Nidhi, I am falling for u…I love you…Yes it’s right …I have fallen in love with u, can we b together everlastingly?”
I edited, hesitated, waited, calculated and then finally closed my eyes and SENT the composed text.
After attempting this gutsy act, my heart almost tripled its speed. I was afraid of my own cell phone as it could bring any heartbreaking news at any point of time.
I was a bundle of nerves.
‘What if she turns it down?’ This disturbing thought started mortifying me like a slow poison.
I rejoined my friends to deflect my mind, who were cracking vulgar jokes and giggling with hoots of laughter. But none of these were able to lessen my stress and shift my attention.
Almost 15 minutes passed. I didn’t receive any reply. I felt as if I was down in the dumps. In order to carry this relationship at the next level, I lost what I had.
A stitch in time saves nine!
Hence, I composed an apologetic message after some time: “Plzzzzz forgive and forget if u didn’t like my offer. We can be just friends, if you so wish. Plzzzzz…say smthng, don’t b quiet… kill me with ur words but nt with ur silence,”
I was trying to find a secluded place; I went downstairs and rushed inside the room. The room was jet black dark. It was perfect though according to my existing state of mind at the time.
I sat at the corner of the mattress, leaning against the wall and feeling a big pang of loneliness. I read the last sent message hundred times, cursed myself thousand times.
It’s never God, we are the only tension creators in our life.
We re-read our sent messages over and over again, when we don’t get an instant reply, we try to make sure if everything was fine. After all, in this 21st century love means getting a prompt reply. The more quick reply you get the more interested the person is in conversation with us.
In the meantime, David took an unexpected entry. He fumbled for the switch in the dark and turned on the light.
“What the hell were you doing in this dark room? Why didn’t you turn on the light?” He made my problem even bigger. I refrained from telling the truth.
“Just like that… there was a power cut,” I made a foolish excuse.
He figured out my current mood, knelt down in front of me while putting a hand on my shoulder.
“Is everything okay at home?” He asked like a mature guardian.
I looked at him, passed a fake ‘everything-is-okay’ smile and spoke: “Yes dear, I just needed some space, so I came here. Nothing is serious.”
“Okay then, let’s have a match,” He announced while unpacking a chessboard.
I was good at playing chess and nobody had defeated me until then. I agreed to play for two reasons: to act as if everything was okay and to sidetrack my mind from the last misdeed done by me.
While playing chess, I concentrated more at my cell phone screen than the chess board. As a result: I lost two matches within twenty minutes.
I didn’t hear anything from Nidhi which compelled me to give her a call. Unfortunately, all I could hear was: “The number you are trying to reach is currently switched off.”
I got desperate since the letting down voice was heard time and again.
It was 11pm. Four hours of separation had passed in waiting for Nidhi’s comeback. I had called her for at least forty times by then. I couldn’t eat well, breathe well. All I wanted was a single text or call from Nidhi - No matter even if her answer would be a big NO.
Late night, an unknown call disrupted my sleep. Yet, I welcomed that.
“Hi! This is Nidhi. This is my dad’s number,” She stifled. Nevertheless, her sound woke me up.
“Where have you been? Do you know I was extremely tense?” I complained furiously. My voice woke up Brij. He hit me, muttered in a sleepy tone: “Fall asleep Romeo’s uncle, she is not going anywhere.”
I brushed aside his spiteful comment, and re-shifted my attention to Nidhi.
“All because of you, you know my cell phone fell off the terrace when I was reading your last breathtaking message. It has broken down now. I knew you would be worried. So, somehow I managed to call you,” she narrated the whole tragedy that had happened with her. She didn’t seem to be brooding by the way she was talking to me.
All she said was noted down, but this was not what I wanted to take a note of. I didn’t know whether she liked my offer or not. I didn’t want her to beat about the bush. All I wanted was, her to come to the point.
“Anyway, what is your response to the last message?” I asked anxiously. I cleared my throat, I was gazing at the twinkling stars in the sky, I wished if one star fell and made my wish come true.
“To be truthful with you Vinayak, I love talking to you, I love spending time with you, I love being a friend to you. But it’s not everything to be in a relationship… so, it’s too early to come up with any reply,” This was something which didn’t let me breathe. I was shaken. It made me realize not to expect more. Accepting the fact, I proceeded and asked: “Why? Have I done something wrong? I asked with a shivering voice.
“Yes, you have. This can’t be accepted,” She said in a rather serious mental state.
I wracked my brain at the lightening speed – I couldn’t find anything wrong.
“Will you please tell me what that is?” I pleaded helplessly.
“Yes. Why haven’t you changed your relationship status to committed yet?” she asked dramatically.
I blinked and repeated her statement again.
My dim face turned bright. I got up and threw the blanket away. I didn’t bother about my friends or other tenants who were sleeping then.
“You are such a dramatist. Seriously, you made me breathless. But, now, this is the most memorable day for me, thanks baby, I will just change my status, but, say once if you love me,” I exclaimed blissfully.
Call-ending tone didn’t let me hear those THREE MAGICAL WORDS. “Maybe somebody was around,” I guessed.
Love is an ocean. So it’s common to have storms, but we should know how to deal with them. As you can’t fathom the depth of ocean, you also can not understand the depth of love of the person you love and you swim unsuccessfully to touch the floor of the ocean of love.
The whole metro city seemed fast asleep. Only air and stars were accompanying me in my joy. I stretched my hands horizontally, took my sight to the sky. I closed my eyes and thanked God for sending Nidhi into my life. An instant text popped onto my cell phone. I jumped into the inbox to read it.
“ur msg was indeed a msg which ll b glued to my memory till my last breath…I love you Vinu. Plz don’t hurt me ever, I don’t wanna b apart. I liked u frm the vry first day. U always mk me smile and mk me feel so spcl. U care fr me nd undrstnd my flngs n emotions completely.Thanks for giving me space in ur lyf. I ll b with u through every thick n thin n lI expect u nt to leave me in the lurch too. Lv u innaaaaaa sara”
This was undoubtedly the best message I had ever received in my inbox. I was feeling up in the air. Without taking time, I replied back: “Nvr my angel, u r d lv of my lyf, u r d smile of my face. Bcs of u, my world is nw whole, bcs of u, lv lives in my soul. I prms u not to hurt ever. Nidhi, I lv u with an honesty nd sincerity, we ll b together forever.lv u innaaaaaa sara,”
I brought my laptop from the room and turned it on. I changed my relationship status from single to commit at 01:10 am sharp! Surprisingly, I got 3 instant likes and one comment on that. I stared at my last update line over and over again, it read: “Vinayak Sharma is in a relationship.”
Arnav, buzzed my phone right then and congratulated me. I felt out of the word sharing my relationship’s every single details to him. He demanded a party.
The sleep had simply vanished from my eyes. Life seemed complete with Nidhi. Eventually, I too fell in love. It was an incredible feeling, a ‘different’ experience. I was thinking about her every now and then, beaming from ear to ear. I read the last received text countless times. That day, I came to know the definition of love…
Love is all about feelings and emotions. The more you talk to your loved one, the more attached you find yourself. The more you meet your dearly loved one harder you find to live alone. The more you think about a darling the less you think for yourself.
For me, love meant getting up bright and early just to talk to Nidhi. For me, love was just to wait for her message and call. For me, love was to read her messages every now and then. For me, love was to sing songs for her. For me, love was to smile at her happiness and to get gloomy at her woes and what not…really!
I took my phone and edited Nidhi’s contact information. The contact which was earlier saved as “FG” was changed to “ML” (My love).
We keep on changing names as our relation progresses. It changes as per the status of the relationship.
I had expressed my love, so had Nidhi. However, I hadn’t seen her. But strangely enough, it did not occur to my mind, ‘what if she turns out to be ugly’? Why the hell I didn’t give it a thought? Why the hell, did I not compel her to show her photograph before expressing my special feelings for her?
Honestly speaking, I had no such questions in my mind. Do we call this blind love? Whatever people say, it was an awesome feeling.
I believe love is a soulic emotion without any consideration to physical attributes. Sounds philosophical? Maybe.
A New Plan
A new morning of my life started… the first morning of a relationship. I was committed, hence I found myself more accountable, more loyal and more steadfast for Nidhi. All of a sudden, the world seemed to be a perfect place for me, it seemed complete… replete with happiness, joy and love.
What breathing does to your body, love does to your soul. Love is the breathing of your soul. The more you love, the more soul you have.
Nidhi didn’t call me in the morning as her cell phone had broken down. Habitually, I got up in the morning. Nothing was there to do. I went to the kitchen and boiled potatoes to make Paranthas. I wanted to make my friends part of my heavenly happiness.
I immediately regretted being so much in love with my friends while struggling to make ‘edible’ Paranthas. Although, my friends enjoyed the treat.
Nidhi surprised me with her first question after being in a relationship: “You haven’t seen me yet, so what if I am not good looking - the one you are probably assuming. Would you love me even then?”
I was in love - and that too BLIND LOVE. So, I had no ifs or buts in my mind.
“Look Nidhi, I didn’t love you after seeing you. I love your demeanor, your traits, the way you listen to me, the way you talk, the way you care, the way you are. My love, I prefer ‘beauty of the heart’ over ‘skin beauty’. “One can put up with a person not good in looks, but one can’t adjust with the person whose behavior is hard to bear.” A poet had entered into my being.
Love has many colors. When love flowers, how much ecstasy it brings… lonely hearts have intense longing for each other.
I became completely lost in the thoughts of my love Nidhi.
“So sweet of you, Vinu! Will you really stick to your words?” she still looked concerned.
“Yes …yes… yes.” I emphasized.
“Thanks! Dear. I asked this because this had happened with one of my friends. She was not that much good looking and that ditcher simply left her. Can you believe? He doesn’t reciprocate to her calls now,” she sounded vexed.
“Hmm... don’t you dare to repeat this story to me, if you don’t find me handsome or your type,” I chuckled.
“Duffer, why at all I would not receive your call?” she was bemused.
“If you won’t like me then obviously you will also evade my calls like that guy, Oh God! How will I live without my honey, Nidhi.” I proceeded.
I waited to see that how she would describe me, again.
“I have seen your photographs; you will not look that bad with me. You don’t worry baby, I will manage,” She poked fun at me and giggled.
Over half an hour, we made a concrete plan to make our first date fall in place. We locked it on the 8th of April. To give our plan a final shape, I had to first appease my father.
I gathered the whole courage to call my father: “I have to come to Dehradun, because, I need to get some mandatory documents attested from my college,” This was my first lie in love.
“You are really sloppy. Why didn’t you take all those documents with you?” He scolded.
“Actually… that time, those documents were not needed. Now, the company is asking to present those documents before joining.” I managed to overcome the situation.
“Can’t we post those documents?” My father was trying to spoil my plan as if he knew about this and didn’t want me to meet Nidhi.
No matter how smart a child is, his father is ‘farther’ than the child. Lol!
“I also wanted the same but actually now I had to meet my Nidhi…” My tongue slipped, I bit my tongue and corrected, “…I have to meet the principal regarding this, so, it’s essential to come.” This was my second lie, I admit.
“Okay then, when are you moving?” was his final question.
Fortunately, I coaxed my father.
With the aid of all those lies, I was near about 45 kms far from mine alone Nidhi. Yes…I was home...
My family members welcomed me first time ever with wide-open arms. Being at home after a long time, I was feeling thrilled. My mother was thunderstruck when she looked at me - I looked like a skeleton (could be hired for hanging clothes on!) “Don’t you eat food in Delhi? You have become just half of what you were earlier. What happened to you? Why are you so careless about your health?” My mother was distraught.
I tossed my bag on sofa.
“You know Mamma, I used to have a hectic schedule there. I even used to not get time to drink water, food was still a higher proposition, you know,” I blurted while hugging my mother.
“Guess what! I only knew inwardly how hectic I was there. Sleeping, playing and gossiping all the time…Is this really what we call a hectic schedule?”
Heck, it was not hectic but hat-trick of wasting time, career, and future at one go.
“Health is wealth, beta. Health is first, then comes any work is,” She gripped me.
The whole day I passed with my family members. Brother asked me about my experience in Delhi. My bhabhi i.e. my sister-in-law asked me about Nidhi as I had told her before. Father questioned me about the rest of the formalities of the company.
My mother satiated me by feeding my favorite dishes. I had three meals after a long time - ever since I had moved to Delhi.
Walking to and fro on my roof, I made a call to Nidhi.
“Hi, few hours to go and then we will be together,” I giggled.
“Please don’t make me nervous. I am already getting jitters. Heavens know, what will happen tomorrow,” she whispered in a nervous tone.
“Baby, why are you getting nervous? I am not supposed to take your interview,” I annotated.
“Can’t you push your plan forward? Better if we meet after a few months,” her voice was still not as confident as it used to be.
“Oh hello!!! I have travelled 255 kms just to meet you. I have to meet and that’s final,” I announced authoritatively.
She took a longgggg pause.
I further mollified in the best convincing skills: “Sooner or later we will have to meet. We gotta face each for sure someday. So there is no point in waiting for that elusive another day.”
She inhaled air deep inside and then threw it out. The gasp was so damn deep that it did sound aloud on my phone. Later, she remarked: “Earlier it was okay for me. But, I am getting nervous as the time is drawing near.”
“Baby…you just have sound sleep, or else you might look horrible. I will wait for you at Rishikul at 11am on dot! Good night for now! Love you inaaaaaaa sara. Muaaahhh,” I said the final words and hung up the phone.
For the next few minutes I tried to discover the answer of few questions like: “Why was she feeling so nervous? What if she changes her mind? When will I meet her again then?”
The big questions arose in my mind: How was our “first date” going to turn out? And was it really going to take place…?
My First Blind Date
Just like herself, Nidhi had turned me into an early bird. A stranger girl had changed the habit, which even my whole family could not be changed ever since I was a school-going kid. How strange indeed! The girl has great manpower.
Early morning, my anxiousness ‘sprinkled water on my face’. After sending a ‘good morning’ message to my ‘heart’ Nidhi, I had a long shower. Excited delightfulness was at it’s peak. I felt as cheerful as birds.
Listening to the birds chirping, I was wondering, “When ordinary birds can sing and dance, why can’t we? Have you ever seen any extra-ordinary bird singing and dancing? Why, or why can’t we always be as cheery as these winged creatures?
(Maybe all the birds vastly enjoy the company of their girl-friends!)
In order to look dashing, I put on the best attire I had - the blue-color denim jeans and cream-color shirt, which I had especially bought for my first date. In addition, cream was one of HER favorite colors.
Standing in front of the mirror, taking a comb in my hand, I was staring at myself. I went closer to the mirror and winked out of sheer ecstasy and told the person in the mirror, “Boy, you are looking a debonair. I am feeling truly proud of you!”
Bhabhi was the only person who had known about my program. I couldn’t remain inside the home for long as I was so excited to step forward to my first journey in LOVE.
“Where are you going?” Father asked when he bumped into me at the gate.
“Haridwar, err…I mean to meet Haridhar,” my tongue slipped, I lied for the third time…after that I stopped counting as it had become a regular practice. (Nidhi, sab tere Ishq mein…)
“Haridhar? Who is he?” My father asked raising high his eyebrows.
“Ummm…My principal, I had told you, about college…” I stammered but somehow handled the situation.
Thank God! My father didn’t ask to accompany me in my first date. Else, my DATE could turn into DEATH.
“Okay, complete all your work of college,” He suggested and let me go.
I was on way to Haridwar - a pilgrimage city, one of the holiest places of Hinduism. Starting point of the journey was Dehradun, which is close to Ganga and Yamuna both. And most importantly, the city looked special to me because my ‘love’ resided there.
I crossed over a bridge and saw a beautiful sight of Har ki Pauri. A famous ferry, where thousands of pilgrims converge and the festivities occur during the Kumbh Mela.
While riding my Yamaha Fazer, I saw the rear view mirror numerous times to look at myself. My mind didn’t get tired asking me, “How would I recognize her? How will I start my conversation? What shall we talk about? How will make a good impression on her?
I was familiar with her voice only. Hence, it was going to be an assessment of my analytical skills. I asked around, the way to Rishikul.
Eventually, I reached my destination at 10:40 am by my watch. It was a sunny day, and the sky looked metallic blue. For this reason, the temperature was around 32 degree Celsius. I parked my bike under the shadow of a giant tree.
Leaning against my bike, I texted Nidhi: “I hv reached. w r u?”
She replied: “I am on my way, but very nervous, Vinu. Hw wud I face u?”
I chuckled: “Cm on dear! I m not a prblm which u hv to face. I am a simple prsn u r going to meet.”
She further texted: “Shut up! What shall we do?”
I thought and wrote: “Just like other days we shall share pleasant talk, hv a lot of gossips and blah, blah... now listen, I m near a PNB ATM. Be there asap.” I motivated her despite the fact that I was feeling as nervous as a computer mouse!
Passing a single minute seemed as passing an hour. I was staring at every single passerby - especially girls of Nidhi’s age.
A girl headed towards me from some distance. All owing to my own nervousness a stupid thought of running away came to my mind. Such a foolhardy idea it was!
The girl was looking stunning and in perfect shape wearing a blue jeans and a red T-shirt, and ‘no-means-no-attitude’ written large on her snooty face. I got alerted, rubbed my right hand on the back of my jeans and got almost ready to greet her. But, to my utter surprise and embarrassment, she passed by without even giving a hell look at me, without even making an eye contact. The ‘beauty’ added insult to injury or say my ‘injured heart’.
I got a cold feet on my first date.
I called up Nidhi’s number again to ascertain whether she was my love or someone else’s. The call got disconnected. I noticed another girl at approximately 20 meters heading towards me. Her each step towards me created more and more butterflies in my stomach. She was wearing black leggings, purple designer kurti, shoulder-length hair, and a striking figure! I gazed at her. She passed a gentle smile which made it evident that she was only Nidhi.
Finally my darling babe was in front of my eyes!
“Hi! How are you?” she greeted me while giving rest to her feet and standing opposite me. I was seeing her for the very first time.
“I am good and you?” I replied in a question under the spell of some nervousness, observing her fair color, scar-less round face, shining hair, light brown broad eyes carefully done up with eye liner, glossy lips, and matching ear rings. I was overwhelmed when I found everything beyond my wild expectations.
She looked beautiful, no rather ‘RAVISHING’. My love for her multiplied several times. I wanted to admire her beauty but that was not an adequate time for all this. So, I bit my tongue and stayed put to my plan.
“Bit nervous, where to go now??” she asked while facing another direction and placing the hair behind her right ear. She looked blushed which added a hundred plus marks to her impeccable beauty.
She cast a spell on me on the very first day. I wondered what more she could have done to me.
“This is not my town. I hardly know anything about this place. Please suggest the best place around.” I said.
She chewed over before coming up to any choice. I delved through the whole conversation we used to have on phone and wondered why she had not revealed her stunning looks before.
“Well, how about Mansa Devi? Have you ever been there?” First time she made an eye contact. I found her little brown eyes to be very seductive. Her intense gaze could kill anyone on the spot. I avoided looking into those oceanic eyes.
“Oh God! Please protect me! She might as well kill me!”
“No, I haven’t been there yet. It sounds good. How far is it from here?” I concured.
“I am not sure. But, it will take about half an hour from here,” she replied politely.
“That’s cool. I also don’t want this journey to come to an end quickly,” I thought. “Okay, let’s move then,” I got onto the bike.
I had already enjoyed the entire journey imaginatively before taking her for a ride. She sat at the extreme corner of the seat. As if she didn’t want to borrow my willing shoulders for her help. The space between us was enough to make a plump person sit. She was sitting as if she had taken a lift from some stranger.
A deathly silence fell between us. All I could hear was the sound of the honking horns and moving vehicles. I was contemplating as what to talk about.
Cat got our tongues!
I tried to retard the awkwardness between us and took initiative to break the ice, “You talk a lot over the phone. Why are you so reticent now? I am damn sure that your tongue did not fall down while you were boarding my bike. I assure you with all my honesty that I am the same person you used to talk to at a stretch for hours my dear babe”
“I know but I never sat like this with anybody so…..” she paused. I was trying to comprehend her predicament.
“Oh! Now I got it! I haven’t admired you. That’s why you are upset.” I adjusted the rear view mirror in order to have a perfect glance at her. She appeared on the mirror. Her tresses were straggling across her forehead and kissing her lips and cheeks which made me green with envy.
We made an eye contact in the mirror. She passed a dazzling smile and I felt her so close to me.
I took the opportunity to admire her. “You look so damn gorgeous that I can’t express your beauty in words. Like an angel, like a dream girl…” she didn’t let me complete my praise for her and interrupted by saying “Boy, look ahead and ride carefully,” she tapped on my right shoulder while dodging my admiration. But my efforts didn’t go in vain since I was able to bring a little smile to her gorgeous face.
“I am looking ahead but my complete heed is behind,” I said what actually was happening.
The heavy traffic on the road compelled me to use disc brake after every 15 meters, which would force Nidhi to take support of my shoulders to maintain her stability.
“Hey! Don’t think that I am applying disc brake with some intent. It’s because your city is jam-packed,” I said ironically. I waited her to answer this statement.
“It shows your adeptness in riding bike, and by the way, boys are used to it. They never let pass any opportunity.” This time her curve of smiling enlarged as she said this.
She escorted me to Mansa Devi temple. I parked my bike in the parking lot. We stepped up many ladders and within half an hour we had become pally. I held her hand when she struggled to ascend stairs. Her erotic touch made me senseless. The extensive heat produced between our hands caused them to sweat.
At last, we reached Mansa Devi temple. The term Mansa means wish and it is believed that the Goddess fulfils all the wishes of a sincere devotee. The time we saw the temple’s gate we placed our folded hands over our slightly bent forehead. We worshipped, made our offerings. Later on, we took three rounds of the idol. I closed my eye in front of the idol and prayed. The priest put vermilion paste on our foreheads and gave blessings like “to a married couple”. At last, we tied sacred threads to the branches of the tree located in the temple to get our wish fulfilled.
I can say: this was the real beginning of a relationship one could have ever had. We spotted Haridwar below us from a ‘bird’s eye view’.
We only drank juice as Nidhi observing a fast for our successful relationship that day. Later, we went to ‘Har Ki Pauri’(a sacrosanct place for having a holi dip in sacred Ganges). While descending the stairs, I bumped into many pilgrims having a ceremonial dip in the revered
“It’s a nice ambience here, perfect for chitchat,” I remarked while observing the surrounding sights.
“It’s true but the mentality of the people is orthodox kind and they can’t stand a couple sitting and talking like this,” she complained.
“I see. That’s why people were staring at us on the way. Anyway, I want to ask you a question, can I?”
“Sure, go ahead,” she smiled.
“As you always say that photos are fake and photo-shopped, but do I look same as in photographs or ….” I couldn’t complete the sentence.
Her prompt interruption was: “I will still say that photos are fakes.” I waited her to complete her sentence. I was aware of her habit of poking fun. She further corroborated: “You are not how I had figured you out,”
“In photos, you look smarter, but in reality…I am sorry…you are NOT.” She added, “Vinu, I also prefer heart’s beauty over skin beauty…you have a most endearing heart on the Earth,”
I didn’t react.
Disappointedly, I looked sideways. She held my chin and turned it to her side. She smiled gently.
Her eyes were lit up and the face brightened.
“Photos are fake. Because in photos, I couldn’t find liveliness on your face, love in your eyes… feel your presence… but now I can. You are far better than what I had figured out… just like my dream boy…my prince charming,” she said these words lovingly. I was mesmerized by her voice, and my inner self was pleased. First time ever I was praised so munificently by a girl. And I came to realize the real worth of it.
“Now, you tell about me, how do I look?” she turned the tables on me.
“I truly have no words to describe you,” I said in a solemn manner.
“Do I look such a weirdo?” she queried.
I lingered on for a moment before replying.
“Not at all, actually you are...” I thought for the best adjective, however, nothing hit my mind.
“You are a complete package.” I didn’t know what that meant. What a bad approbation that was!
“Means?” She seemed dazed. It was obvious though.
“I mean you are perfect in every aspect, just like one can imagine in life. If I had carved my life-partner, it would have been just you,” I commended.
“Thanks for these kind words, Vinu. I don’t deserve this much though,” she laughed.
She took a diary from her bag and put it on my knees. She opened it. Her picture appeared on the very first page along with her personal details. It was written with a pink sparkling pen.
“You never told you write diary!” I asked in a surprised tone.
“Yes, I love to write diary. Whatever I would have felt or experienced so far, I shared with this,” she said flipping its pages. I saw a peacock feather and some roses inside the diary.
“Won’t you share more relating to your diary?” I asked.
“No, earlier I didn’t have anybody to share what I would feel. Now, I can share each and everything with you.” She put forward the diary to me. “You also have to write down about yourself, I will get it back when you are done with this,” she added.
“But, I am not used to it. I have never written a diary,” I told her in an dismissing tone.
“Better you do not make an excuse. You will have to write. After some time, we will exchange our diaries and will read about each other’s lives.” She persisted.
I flipped the pages again; I saw a sketch of a ‘heart’, drawn with a red sparkling pen by Nidhi, inside the heart’s sketch was written “VINIDHI”. I felt so heavenly seeing our name together. It sounded like a new name by itself.
“Okay, if you insist, I shall write…,” I settled.
First time ever had I found a clock cheating on me. Hands of the watch were moving faster than ever. I had no control over time… it was already ten to five.
I looked deep into her eyes and said: “I wish the time stopped here itself.”
She took my hand onto her lap, still looking at me, and replied, “But I don’t think in this way. I would rather wish to pass every moment with you. Then it doesn’t matter how fast the time passes.”
I was completely immersed in love with her explanation; I gave a loving smile and said: “I am so lucky to have you with me. I never thought that I’d be so lucky. You understand what I feel, what I need and what I want. I can say that you are the only one who can comprehend me from top to bottom,”
People around us were busy in their toils, We were still sitting in the same position, she was still taking my hand in her lap, I was still looking into her sparkling eyes, I found her eyes little moist when she uttered: “I also feel myself lucky to have you in my life. Never shall we go apart jana, otherwise I shall die.”
Tears welled up in her eyes. Noticing her overflowing emotions, I tried to make it easy. I cupped her cheeks with my palms and prattled: “Don’t start flowing your own Ganga and Yamuna. I don’t know how to swim so who will save me if I drown in your tears?”
She shut her eyes to absorb tears and opened them with a smile on her face: “Shut up! You are really crazy.”
“Okay, we should leave now. It’s already 5pm,” I uttered hurriedly while collecting my helmet.
I clicked her numerous photographs, stored them in my phone gallery and we left the place.
While riding the bike, my cell phone buzzed. I answered the call quickly and after ending the call, I gave my cell phone to Nidhi.
Riding bike was fun because of NIdhi. We two had occupied the full space on the seat as now she was more comfortable than before. The space between us diminished. This time we actually looked like a couple. I dropped her near her house.
We didn’t want to leave each other, but were compelled to do so. Reluctantly, I left her with all the sweet memories of the day, and headed towards Dehradun.
After riding approximately 14 kms ahead, my heart missed a beat when I checked my pocket for the cell phone and it wasn’t there in my pocket!
I suddenly recalled that I had forgotten to take back the cell phone from Nidhi. Now, I had no choice but go back to the same place I had dropped her. But, obviously she had already left the place.
I reached and waited at the same place for more than 15 minutes. I searched around for a STD booth. However, it was easy to find two phones in one hand but difficult to find a single STD booth. Luckily, I found a person who allowed me to make a call. I called on my number, which was switched off. Then, I called on Nidhi’s number.
“I have forgotten to get my phone, how will I get my phone back?”
“I have reached home. Even Mamma has arrived, can’t come in any case. And unfortunately your brother has come to know about everything,” she whispered in a clandestine tone.
“Gosh! How? ” I was getting tense...
“By mistake, I received a call. Mamma is nearby, bye and go back home,” she hung up in haste.
Day’s all happiness vanished. My euphoria could not last for long as the best day of my life could turn into the worst day, if my family (especially my father) would come to know about it. Many random thoughts crossed my mind.
Why at all God doesn’t want to see us happy? How would I get my cell phone back now? What if anybody asks me for the cell phone at home?
With apprehensions, I reached home at around 07:30pm.At First, I had to confront my brother when I got inside my house. I was like a cat on hot bricks. I could see immense displeasure on his face. As expected, he bombarded me with questions: “Why are you so late? Where were you? And where is your phone?” He rebuked with an extreme annoyance and gave me an earful.
“Actually…I …I had…” I stammered… and just like my fate, my tongue was also not favoring me. Luckily, Bhabhi intervened and tried to calm down my brother. She helped me get over the situation by putting me at ease.
“I am not angry because you went, but since you lied to me. I have always treated you as a friend, so you should have told me the truth. Anyways, nobody knows about this except the both of us. Okay! Now sit back and relax. But, how will you get your cell phone back?” He displayed his concern.
“Don’t know, I haven’t thought about it yet,” I responded despondently.
I lowered my eyes, looking at the floor aimlessly. He grabbed my arms and asked, “Why are you dejected now? You had a date today, so you must jump out of your skin. Tell me, how was your date? And how is your girlfriend?”
I couldn’t utter a word, and I just hugged him for being so amicable. I combat to repress my tears.
Nidhi called me at night on Bhabhi’s number.
“Vinu, everything is fine, na? My heart was weighed down by a ton of guilt. Did your brother scold you?” she enquired nervously.
“No, everything was okay. What’s on your side?”
“All well. I am worried about your cell phone. How will you get your cell phone back? Shall I courier?” she again enquired showing concern.
“No, it’s not safe, I will have to come tomorrow, and will it be possible for you to manage some time?” I asked.
“I need to sleep on it… will text you in the morning. Okay! Good night, love you innnaaa sara,” she said and hung up the phone.
Getting back my cell phone meant meeting her again! What a golden luck!! Sometimes, we blame God for our bad luck. But nothing ever happens without His will. God is omniscient. So, one must accept his will.
A Mischievous Act
Another day of meeting Nidhi came; I was on my way to Haridwar in the bus. I was in high spirits, which literally made me forget that I was going there to get my phone back. Excitement was the same and nervousness had faded away.
I met Nidhi at the same place: Rishikul.
“Good to see you soon,” I smiled.
“Same here, but I won’t be able to be with you today,” she announced in a gloomy mood.
“Oh, come on! It is a matter of one day. After this, I don’t know when shall we meet again.”
“I am sorry! It’s got a fat chance,” she persuaded helplessly.
“Please, just for a couple of hours,” I requested.
“Vinu, don’t push your luck. OK? I can’t make it today, since I have to attend today’s lecture at any cost,” She said.
“Don’t give me a lecture, please. Call the shots quickly,” I persisted.
“Vinuuuuuuuu….”She said, making an annoyed face.
“Nidhiiiiiiiiiii…” I said making an innocent face.
“Okay! Let me see,”
She dialed some numbers, and talked.
My determination finally succeeded. She sorted down the things and got ready to add one more beautiful day in the chapter of love.
We roamed around many places, marched over in the whole market aimlessly. I bought ear-rings and a cute giant pink teddy for her. She appeared as happy as a lark after having received that teddy.
At last, we spotted a romantic place, the interior was quite well furnished, and the pink color texture added beauty to it. The place was particularly meant for the dating purpose. We lunched together.
She took out my cell phone from her bag.
“Take this otherwise you will forget it again,” she sneered lovingly.
“Not to worry, we will get one more chance to meet,” I replied in jest.
“I don’t want to make a hat-trick. By the way, we must thank this cell phone which made it possible to meet all over again,” she said while rubbing the cell phone with her handkerchief.
“Yes and today we are much at ease than yesterday.”
Waiter came up with the bill. I paid the bill and we left.
“Wait! Let’s go to Hari Ki Pauri. I liked to sit there last day,” I said enthusiastically, as we were coming out of the restaurant.
“Again? It doesn’t sound to be a good idea,” Nidhi objected.
“Only for half an hour, and it’s closeby,” I insisted.
“You are so stubborn! Okay baby, as you wish,” She agreed.
I held her hand and walked down the street. I didn’t bother about people. We reached there, and sat on the stairs.
“I had never thought that sometime I would date a girl,” I expressed.
“It’s like a bitter pill to swallow that you haven’t dated a girl yet. I mean how can it be possible?” she spoke in a disbelieving tone.
I scurried and walked up to the river Ganga, filled my palm with water and came back.
She saw surprisingly as I stood in front of her. A few droplets of water stayed between my fingers.
“I swear by Goddess Ganga, I never ever dated a girl except you.” She smiled on my act.
We really do unwise, unreasonable and unsound things in love. We get so profoundly intoxicated by the nectar of love that our intuition, infatuation and emotion make us forget our surroundings. Really, love does not see any reason.
My callous watch showed 4pm and it prompted me to get up and leave. We hired an auto from Har Ki Pauri. She was sitting on my left side. I placed my hand around her shoulder and pulled her towards me bringing her closer to myself. I got a whiff of her shampoo.
Sneakily, I brought my lips to her neck and landed a kiss. I sensed her as well as mine pulsating hearts. One of my eyes was at the auto-driver and the other was at the ongoing course of the action. The time the auto approached a railway crossing and behold, it bumped again which made me moan when the whole sensual moment reached its peak. I realized a deathly hush between us. All I could hear was the sound of the auto. My cheek and ear turned as red as tomato and palms became sweaty.
I cursed myself for doing all this, I felt an utter embarrassment. We didn’t utter a word for approximately twelve minutes. We both looked at different directions, and ignored each other like some strangers – for the whole route.
She got off the auto when her station Jwalapur arrived. My hands were shaking. I wished the ground would open up and swallow me.
I gave her a simple send off; and bade a casual good-bye since I couldn’t make an eye contact with her.
“Howcome I couldn’t have control on my stupid passions? What will she think about me after this mischievous act? How shall I ask her to meet me again?” On the whole way, I sank into my sin despondently.
I reached home. Fortunately, nobody saw me with suspicion.
At night, I started packing my bags for leaving for Delhi.
A text popped up onto my screen. Keeping my T-shirt (I was about to pack in the bag) on the floor, I read it hastily. It was from Nidhi.
“u sudnt hv done that. I donno wht u r upto.”
I stood rooted to the middle of room, the bag was just near my feet. After reading her text, my heart started skipping beats. I was lamenting my bungle. I also wondered why lust overpowers us and spoils some of our precious relations.
I sat on the bed, put my cell phone beside me, covered my face with hands for two minutes, regretting about my blunder. “How can I do this?” repeating this over and over again.
I took the cell phone and typed: “M so srry abt that. It jst hpnd. Blv me, I didn’t hv any wrong intention…m really vry sry.”
I waited terribly for the next text. I found myself guilty of having tarnished the revered image of love by polluting its divine spirit. I was pointlessly gazing my unpacked, unzipped bag, laid T-shirt and some pants on it…
Her next text was: “Nobody touched me d way u did. I m flng differently abt u nw. If I wud hv stopped u then, u cud hv felt insulted. So, I resisted doing or saying anything that could have spoiled things…”
I confessed: “I regret that. I hv done wrong, I admit it. nd I wnt to apologize to any extent. But plz. do forgive my sin. It was a moment of callousness when driven by animal passion one commits heinous nd beastly acts that are difficult to b forgiven. So, so, sorry again… ”
On the background, I overheard my father talk. He had come back. I just stood up from the bed and resumed stuffing clothes inside my tiny bag.
The next text made me wait for more than forty minutes.
She replied: “kkkk! Don’t panic. I hv put my mind out of it, you too jst forget it. wht r u doing r8 nw?”
I heaved a sigh of relief...and instantly replied: “M getting my bag packed.”
“Oh, r u leaving tMr.w?” perhaps my last text surprised her.
I replied: “Yuppp. Nidhi, the last two days were the most memorable of my life till date. Thnxxx for making my days so special. Those two days were the mst treasured and cherished ones, nd I nw undrstnd that m incomplete without u.”
Her message read: “I didn’t do anything, days bcm b’ful naturally when two pure, lonely souls meet. But, m hoping frm u nt to rpt such things again.”
I typed: “nvr dear, blv me,”
The good thing was that a serious misunderstanding didn’t take place.
When I entered the room, I found the room clouded with the balls of smoke. Aman was crumpling ganja leaves. David was taking puffs of ganja-filled cigarette. The room was stinking badly. I put my bag down and sat beside Aman. Instead of offering water, David welcomed me by offering ganja-packed cigarette. I took some puffs all owing to tiredness. Though, I was used to ‘not’ inhaling smoke deep inside required in this. Feeling heaviness in my eyelids, I made myself relax on the mattress.
I noticed a second hand TV in the room.
“Hey gentlemen! Wherefrom did you steal this television?” I probed impulsively.
“It’s ours, you also have to pay your share for this,” said David.
“What was the need for this?” I said deprecatingly.
“We shouldn’t have lack of amusement goodies,” Brij said while taking out chess.
“We had a television two months back, but we sold it when we ran out of money,” Aman revealed ‘victoriously’. Aman and Brij sat across for playing chess.
We always used to play something and when we would feel bored, sleep entertained us.
So very often, we used to play until late midnight. Seldom, would we fall asleep without having dinner. All our neighbors would abhor us as we would create hustle and bustle, taunt their daughters, gulp down prohibited products, and the major factor was - we were without a job.
Bang! …bang!… bang! I heard this eerie sound on our door. It was strong enough to break the door. I got up swiftly. David, who was sleeping next to me, pulled me back and cupped his palm over my mouth with a lightning speed.
“What happened?” I muffled.
“Do you have money to shell out to the landlord?” he whispered in my ear.
“No, I don’t,” I replied.
The door was being still banged firmly, but everybody turned a deaf ear to that.
“Then don’t open the door, it is nobody but the landlord. If you open the door he will ask for the rent. Just brush it aside, and go back to sleep,” he suggested. I took his point, and tried to sleep back while ignoring this cacophony.
Later on, unbroken sound of tapping water killed my sleep. But, none of us gathered courage to turn off the tap. I used to do this in the initial days but my roommates kind of silently preached me to be slothful like them and be proud of this fact.
“Aman, turn off the tap,” I ordered.
“It’s not my turn, it’s David’s. Ask him,” he uttered from inside the blanket.
I kicked David.
“David just go, and turn off the tap, the water is running,” I said.
He took the pillow and covered his ears.
“Too sleepy, why don’t you do it?” he said.
“Go to hell,” I yelled at both ‘hyper-active’ guys.
I also stuffed headphone in my ears and put off my heed. We had become so much bone idle that we could not even place a bucket under the tap.
I got up again at 11am. All other friends were still sleeping. My stomach was aching badly. I felt an uncontrollable urge to ease myself.
I scurried to the washroom, I picked up an empty bucket and raced towards the kitchen to collect some water, but, in kitchen’s bucket too, merely one-fourth water was left. I took the water and relieved myself. While the other friends were still sleeping, I went to have my breakfast.
The moment I stepped up the last stair after getting back from the breakfast, I was astonished to find all roommates outside. “Hey! What are you guys doing outside?” I asked while stepping on the last stair.
“This dim-witted Aman, went to answer nature’s call, but he didn’t check the water. Now, the whole room is stinking like hell,” David complained.
“But, last night I saw some water in the bucket. I don’t know who used that,” Aman retorted.
“I used that, because there was no way out,” I admitted matter-of-factly.
“You freaking idiot! You used that?” Aman rebuked me. Turning towards David, he lashed out, “And you nutty were accusing me for this.”
“Now, there is no use talking all that rubbish. Borrow some water from the neighbors,” I suggested sheepishly.
“Oh, do you think they will simply offer us water? They won’t even offer us their damn shit. They detest us all. We have got only one option, get some water from the nearby shop,” he said.
“So lucky shit, Aman! That will be washed up by bisleri,” I remarked.
That day we realized the value of water. Seemingly a trivial issue can teach big lessons. We realize the value of something once it is lost (just as our tongue repeatedly explores the area created by a broken teeth, where it never cared to reach earlier!)
An Irksome News
Eventually, the day arrived when I could see myself work in a company. Yes, I had to join the staff after going through the training schedule. Since morning, I was darn excited about the first day at my job. A new life was about to begin. The day seemed like a new birth to me.
I saw the rays of the sun descending in our close vicinity. The same I had been hoping for to dispel the darkness in my life. I was busy in the early morning talks with Nidhi. We were talking about our two memorable dates. She was telling me how dearly she wanted me to be with her endlessly.
“It seems I have known you for ages. You seem to be so much connected to my soul and entirely familiar to me and I never find it absurd to open up my heart before you,” She said.
“‘Patience is bitter, but it bears sweet fruit’ has proved true for me, as I waited intolerantly to be in a relationship. I am now over the moon since I found a soul-mate like you,” I concurred.
“So do I feel Vinu. What have you got to do today?” asked Nidhi.
“Don’t you know? It’s my joining day, I am quite anxious, let’s see what happens,” I told while taking a back and forth stroll on the roof holding my phone in one hand and inserted the other into the pocket.
“Hope for the best dear, my wishes and love are always with you. You will certainly reach your zenith,” she egged on.
“That’s what I want baby, you know what….” My eyes suddenly overlooked the landlord, coming down the road ¬¬¬¬- definitely to take the rent and I felt a chill run down my spine. I just hung up the call and scampered towards the stairs madly. I unbolted the door in the spur of the moment, scurried inside and warned everybody.
“Get up quickly, bastards! The landlord has come again,” I yelled. Everybody sprang into action and scrammed towards the roof, Aman was mumbling something.
“Come outside, what the hell are you looking for? He is about to reach,” I burst out in a raised voice; he was wearing only his underwear! He scooted upstairs in the same condition, exposing his carefully shaped (plump!) body. Nidhi called me up many times as I had hung up the call in between, but I rejected.
We hid ourselves.
The landlord would have yelled at us seeing our door locked. We didn’t leave any choice for him rather than repelling his ugly ass out of our room.
It was 9 am, and we were getting ready for the first day of our job. I got the worst call when David and I were in a mad rush to reach on time; it was from the office (we were supposed to join). A woman broke my heart like brittle glass by giving me the most disappointing news about the cancellation of the hiring process. On hearing this, I got a massive shock… my face turned pale and I didn’t move an inch.
I was as quiet as an eerie graveyard.
“Get ready fast, we are getting late,” said David tucking his plain white shirt into his tapered-fit-formal-grey-color trouser, which he had bought especially for the job purpose.
“Take off your clothes, because now, there is no use of getting ready,” I said hopelessly, removing my clothes.
“What the hell are you saying?” He asked in a worried tone.
“You know, the hiring process has been cancelled. Guess what? Now we will have to find another job,” I explained to him in a dejected mode.
“What? What the hell was this? Have they lost their bloody mind?” he erupted in anger, and it was normal for him though. “Why didn’t they tell this before?” he continued attacking them while I broke from within.
“What’s the use of brooding over this now? I am worried about my father. He has a lot of expectations from me, what answer to give him now?” I spoke in a broken tone and sank into mattress.
“It was like the last resort for us, yet we lost it,” Said David with an equally saddened tone.
We were dreaming about working in an office, associating with a company, being in the corporate sector environment. Not only this, I had even made a plan to use up my salary. My dream and hope were utterly devastated!
I swallowed this bitter pill alone, and decided to conceal this from my family, as they could also feel hurt. I thought, I would soon get another job and would reveal all this matter later.
My phone balance also deceived me in the distress. I had a strong urge to share my pain with Nidhi but, I was feeling helpless and hapless at the same time. Nidhi made me a call late night.
“Why didn’t you tell me about your first day in the office? How was it?” She asked curiously.
In response to her query, I narrated the whole story. She too felt shocked and motivated me so as not to lose hope.
“Hold your head high, Vinu. Do not despair. If not this job, you will certainly get a far better job. Believe in yourself.” She tried to raise my drowning spirits.
To keep motivated is difficult than motivating someone else. It is easier to confer instructions than to follow them. However, it surely bestows some relief upon you and imparts the energy to bounce back.
We passed another week in the daunting task of hunting jobs. However, acquiring a suitable job was not a cakewalk. Alas!
During these days, we came across to a new job offer, where we had to procure orders from the customers in a big hotel. We were left with no choice. Therefore, we were compelled to grab the job just to eke out a living.
It was evening time. David, Brij, and I had reached the posh Radisson hotel. It is very near IGI Airport. An aircraft flew over us… we showed our cards (which were given to us) to the gate keeper and then he allowed us to enter. As we entered inside, I observed a beautiful fountain in the courtyard… luxurious cars parked therein, and a mesmerizing ambience. We had some conversation with the people waiting for the same job. As per their attire, they seemed fit for the job but we didn’t.
A white scruffy dress (which was given to me to work in the hotel) was bagging on me. The three of us looked exactly like jokers in that garb.
An event coordinator kick-started our task with ordering us to carry 20 liters water bottle on our shoulders and to take them to the third floor. Future engineers were being tortured and traumatized. I felt like hell when a senior person made a below-the-belt remark on one of the mates.
“Is this why we do Engineering? Is this why we burn midnight oil? Is this why we sacrifice our four years’ leisure? Is this why our parents spend their small savings? Is this why we came to Delhi?”
All these questions broke me down inwardly. I had no tears in my eyes. Yet, I could hear my heart sobbing within. My soul was feeling wretched.
David and I were sent to the kitchen department whereas Brij was sent to a housekeeping department. They kept us engaged in rubbing glasses with cloth. A person admonished me for not doing the work properly. I felt miserably humiliated.
There was a wedding ceremony in the hotel and everybody wore designer clothes, branded watches, jewelery, branded shoes, and carried flashy cell phones in their hands. Whereas we three were working at the bottom of the ladder - just supplying water to the guests. I had a tray of water in my hands and one of the guests called me,“Hey! Waiter.” It really hurt me inside but I couldn’t act in response. We deserved this at the moment. Two persons had sunk into a couch across each other around the square fully glass made table.
“Yes please,” I responded courteously. He was wearing a rich creamy suit.
“Get me a glass of water…fast,” he placed an order.
I handed one of the glasses from the tray: “Here it is, sir.”
“You are such a low class. Don’t you know we drink only Evian natural spring water? Get me a glass of Evian,” he rebuked.
I wanted to throw water at his bloody face, but I needed money. To continue my talks with Nidhi, money was required. I wasn’t too much bothered about food but I couldn’t sleep all night if I hadn’t talked to her. Therefore, I needed to keep my head on.
“Okay sir!” I responded and left.
I walked up to the kitchen. When nobody was around, I spat angrily in one glass. Then I went to offer him water. This time, he gulped it down without any prior concern.
Some children were playing around - running behind each other playfully. Cautiously, I picked up an emptied tumbler on my tray and turned back.
Suddenly, a boy, bumped into me and as a result, three expensive tumblers fell on the floor and broke. Tinkling sound was generated. Everybody stared at me. The little boy got up and ran away. It added insult into injury.
I was collecting the splinters of the broken glass terribly when David came to help me out. I made myself an exhibit.
The manager seethed with anger seeing the broken pieces of the tumblers. My heart began sinking...
“You are a useless boy. Where lay your bloody mind?” He grumbled and abused me when I reached the kitchen.
Nobody had used such absurd words for me until then. It hurt badly but I couldn’t react...
“I am really sorry, Sir,” I apologized.
“What sorry? You have pissed me off. Now go and get lost,” he busted.
I met David who had the same worst experience as mine.
“I was put down, David. I can’t stand this anymore,” I said.
“Neither can I. I think we should quit, we do have some self respect, they are treating us like bonded laborers. Though Jobless, yet we are engineers after all,” he said.
“We are not engineers, David, we are just like an engine which is not being used and has attracted corrosion,” I responded dejectedly.
We took help from some of our so-called co-workers to go out of that hell.
Getting out of there was just like getting out of cage.
Brij also found a way to get out. He shared his worse experiences with us. We couldn’t stand that job for more than four hours. On the way, I felt thoroughly ashamed on recalling the time I had passed in the hotel.
An engineering graduate’ working as a waiter… the cruel irony of fate was mocking at me.
“Did I come here for this day?” I asked myself in utter disappointment.
My dreadful experience didn’t let me sleep. We had been gang-raped by a number of people who saw us in that white attire and who behaved with us harshly while counting us in a low category. Even though the experience was extremely saddening, but it set a fire inside me to become a successful person.
I also wanted to put on such chic clothes and wear such pricey watches. I also wanted to be a part of such luxurious weddings.
Did I really achieve what I had dreamt of?
Struggle for Existence
It was June. The weather of Delhi was extremely hot. Alas! We couldn’t afford a fan! We would try different ways to keep our body cool, but to no avail. We would fill a bucket in the morning and it would boil itself by noon.
“We will have to put together a fan or else, we may go to our maker (God),” said Brij while splattering his sweat onto the wall. The wall had got so many grey spots because of the sweat.
“But from where? We are all devoid of cash and nobody wants to call money from home. No way out, but to put up with this,” said David while waving a newspaper around himself for producing whiffs of air. Yet, the sweat had made a foamy layer on his face.
Nobody wanted to be a lumber on their parents.
Our favorite time used to be the night time, when we would go on the roof top, breathe in fresh cool air, and make some future plan. We would dream big, and most importantly, we would feel very relaxed.
“Today, I showed your profile picture to my best friend, Sneha, and she had gone nuts. She was saying to me ‘If you were not his girlfriend, he could have become mine,’” Nidhi said.
“Oh! Really? Then what did you say?” I probed further.
“I said that I could sacrifice for your sake,” she pretended to be normal.
“Waaahh beta!!! And do you think that I will let you sacrifice me? No, never,” I protested.
“But she is attractive, intelligent and ravishing…..” I interrupted her in between. “But she is not Nidhi whom I truly love and care for,” I put an end to this conversation.
“She is hot too and she will love and care for you more than I shall,” She continued teasing me.
“I don’t want to be cared and loved more than what you do. It’s more than enough for me,” I said complacently.
“Generally boys get attracted towards girls, but I am lucky you are not one of them. Be like this only my Vinu,” she said in a loving way.
“I won’t change dear but, I want one thing from you,” I said.
“Please, tell me what,” she enquired fervently.
“If in any case you have some issues, I shall expect you to give me at least one chance to set represent my views. Truth, trust, belief, reliance and selflessness are the true essence of love. However, a gap in communication in relation can create many irrational problems. And, I don’t want to lose you for any unwise reason,” I replied.
“In order to save our relationship, I can give as many chances as required. I am ready to pay whatever cost to be with you,” she clarified.
Did she really keep her words?
Nidhi called me around 10 in the morning. I was still sleeping.
That day, we had not had our morning chat.
“Hello darling! How are you?” Nidhi’s voice sounded blissful and excited.
“I am good. You seem elated today, any reason?” I asked.
“Yes, because of the awesome weather,” she exclaimed with the same enthusiasm.
“Oh, what’s the weather like in your place?” I asked putting away blanket from my eyes and trying to peep through the partly-closed door.
“I don’t know. But this time I can predict Delhi’s weather,” she mystified me.
I got up reluctantly and went outside to spot the current weather. It was a furious weather outside. A treacherous storm brewing… powder-puff tumulus clouds filled the sky. As a result, it seemed 5 am instead 10. The first monsoon rainfall had been expected. And it started drizzling!
“Okay, Guess the weather,” I asked extending my left hand forward to let the rain drops land on my palm.
“Oooh! It’s drizzling. Vinu, I love this weather. What a pleasant weather it is!” She cooed and explained exactly how the weather then was.
“Where are you right now? Are you watching news on the television?” I enquired surprisingly.
“Nope. I am in Delhi. Do you want to meet?” she unfolded and broke into a laugh. I really couldn’t believe it.
“Hey! Please, do not play pranks with me. Are you serious?” I asked surprisingly.
“Yup baby, I am in Delhi…I sprang a surprise on you, Didn’t I?” She bewildered me.
“But how come are you in Delhi? I mean, for what reason?” the mystery was not unfolded yet.
She further told me about her father’s urgent piece of work in Delhi, and her wish to visit Delhi because of ME. I asked about her place and insisted her time and again to meet me but she denied.
“I am sorry, Vinu. It can’t be turned into a plan. My father has to leave for Haridwar at night,” Nidhi disappointed me.
“So what? Still we have plenty of hours to meet,”
“I wish I could meet you, but still feeling good to be in the same city,” Nidhi confessed.
“You may feel better than this if you come down to meet me. Nidhi, my love, it’s been long since we last met… please baby make it possible for me, please, please, please…,” I persisted like some brash kid.
“I will wait for you at the central park after an hour. It’s a cake walk from your place. You are coming and that’s sure,” I reacted in a way that sounded as stubborn as a mule.
“I can’t. Please, understand this,” she convinced.
“I will wait even then. Rest, your wish,” I said in a huff and disconnected the call.
Later on, she kept on calling but I didn’t answer the call. I reacted against my persona and got ready to reach for ‘Central Park’ in spite of knowing that it was not possible for Nidhi to come. I was doing silly things, which I had never done in the past.
Carrying a negligible hope, I reached there, and waited for her inside the park. I saw many happy couples sitting together and sharing love with each other.
It was still drizzling, and my clothes were sticking to my body.
I looked at my watch. It showed 11:39. “I think she won’t turn up. I should leave now,” thinking this, I left the place. As I reached the main road, I got a text from an unknown number:
“It’s my cousin’s number. Meet me at the Central Park. She is also with me,”
Jubilantly, I replied back: “Where are you? At the main gate?”
She said: “No, where there are many stairs.” I quickly spotted the location and met her.
Her cousin, wearing glasses, looked 4 to 5 years younger in age to Nidhi. However, she behaved maturely when she left both of us alone. I thanked her for making this date happen.
Weather was in its best frame of mind. I stared at Nidhi for long. It took me some time to ‘deem’ that it was not a ‘dream’ but reality. We discovered an amorous place to sit.
There was a pool, filled with stagnant water. We occupied the space there, dipping our feet into the water… the water fountain being in front of us. Nidhi rested her head on my left shoulder and held my hand.
“You are really crazy,” was her first statement.
“I know,” I placed my hand around her shoulder. “I love you Nidhi,” I added.
“I love you too baby. It’s like I am dreaming. Such a romantic place it is!”
We talked less that day. We were lost in love so deeply that we had become oblivious to everything around us. Rain, in the form of love was pouring down on us. I could sense the water droplets tickling me. It was heavenly to sit there soaking up the atmosphere. We both dedicated songs to each other by singing, in a romantic weather. All I wanted was: to feel her so close to me, to sense her presence, to pour love on her.
Nidhi’s cellphone rang and made us realize that we were looking like drowned rats. An hour passed just like a fraction of second. It was time for her to leave. I felt so deep with Nidhi.
Definitely, it was a short meeting for us but it had immense emotions and feelings which we could never forget afterwards.
True lovers understand very well the importance of every single secret meeting. Making sudden plan has a different delight and a different sensation.
The Worst Day
Bad luck was already on our nose, our vehicle of career was already on an uphill journey, but God had decided to keep paddling our misfortune. The worst day came when the landlord caught us in the morning and we came under fire. Again, we had failed to pay rent even long after the due date. It was the first time when I faced the south-Indian-movies-type villain.
“You have been trying to refrain, don’t you want to pay the rent?” he rebuked furiously. He appeared as fierce as a lion.
“Yes we want. But there is some temporary financial crunch. We all are broke! So…” He didn’t let me TELL our miserable TALE.
“To hell with your tale or tail, it’s none of my business! This time, I have already given you twelve days. You bastards not only always pay late, but also you lock your door and vanish into thin air when it comes to paying the rent. I can’t stand this anymore. Now you have two choices to make: either to pay the rent or to leave the room…right now.” He erupted out abruptly. His ‘easy’ choices brought about thunderstorms in our lives.
After checking our empty pockets, we were bound to go for the second painful choice. He also took the television and the speakers with him to against our overdue rent.
“Leave the room by noon otherwise, I shall call the police...,” he threatened and left.
Really …luck can fuck anyone any time.
We started packing our baggage as the landlord left. Although, I had not attained joy from that very room. Yet, I had memories attached to it. I had shared plenty of indelible moments with my loving friends…and of course loving chats with my sweet heart Nidhi.
We even couldn’t search for a room. I had my relatives in Delhi but I didn’t want to be a burden on anybody. It was the worst saddening feeling when we collected our utilities. It was as if the very room had fallen in love with all of us and didn’t want us to go away.
It took no time to bring together our stuffs. We all were ghastly hushed. Nobody uttered anything… displeasure on our faces could be read even with eyes closed.
Finally, we paid our final obeisance towards the room for the last time. I could vividly recall the day I had entered the room for the first time. From smokey, it turned into teary. Our neighbors saw four of us while leaving the place at the staircase. They witnessed our gloomy faces. Naughtiness was nowhere to be found.
“Are you vacating the room?” a neighbor asked me while I was struggling to descend the stairs with my massive bag.
I only nodded my head in reply with a fake-plastered smile. Surprisingly, he didn’t seem pleased.
“Where to?” Brij asked.
“I shall straightway go home and tell my dad that the apprenticeship was over,” said Aman.
“I also don’t want to be here anymore, this city has already gifted me various disappointments, not anymore,” I said mournfully.
“What about you, David? What have you thought?” Brij asked.
I was raring to know his choice.
“I am still pondering. I think first we all should go to ISBT and there shall we decide our next course of action,” he announced.
The false hope we had planted initially was broken. Worrying about my career, I reached ISBT.
We all were from different cities. So, we enquired for our respective buses. Aman decided to leave Delhi, so he got on the bus and left for his place.
Countless buses covered us from all around. Travelers were scurrying to catch their buses.
“Now, we have to take our decision by ourselves. It’s time to get apart from one another. I have already erased your contact numbers and deactivated my Facebook account. Better if you do the same. We will just give our father’s number,” David unfolded his plan. But why he was saying all this surprised us.
“But what’s the use of it? I don’t think our friendship caused this,” I said.
“We will meet only if we become successful. The one who is the first to succeed among us will call everyone. It’s a test of our friendship. If we really want to meet again, we will have to become victorious at any cost.” David exhorted us earnestly.
“I agree to your point. I will force myself into my work to reach my target and arrange a reunion,” I promised.
“Saley, you are more callous than our fat ugly landlord since you didn’t even give two choices. Anyway, I also go with this. I also promise to throw myself into my life-mission,” Brij tapped on David’s shoulder.
“I love you guys. Thanks for everything. Whatever time we spent together will stay in my mind till my last breath,” I said.
“We shall flock again, I will miss you like hell, kamine,” David said to me.
“Won’t you miss me,?” Asked Brij.
“Am I your girlfriend?” Mocked David and then added, “I will, yaar,”
We wished each other well and gave send off hugs and went for our respective buses.
Drifting away from my best buddies made me feel as many arrows had pierced through my heart. I didn’t look back. The weight of the hurt was heavier than my luggage. I walked up to my bus platform.
What more was left now?
I got onto my bus, found an unoccupied seat and placed my bags over it. I recollected all the days which I had passed with my friends, be it pulling legs of each other, taunting each other, making fun, playing games or sharing juicy gossips. Suddenly, all those stupidity started looking methodical and memorable.
Earlier, I didn’t want to come to Delhi, and at that moment, I didn’t want to leave Delhi - just because of my friends. What ironical situation that was!
“The hardest part of missing friends is not their absence; it’s when you think about all those good times and ask yourself, ‘will those moments ever happen again?’”
My ringtone brought me out from my past months. It was Nidhi calling. I received the call. While talking, she observed my bad frame of mind.
“It seems you are down in the dumps today. Your voice is not as cheerful as it used to be. What happened to you, my love?” she asked.
I narrated the whole sequences of sorrow; she seemed affected as well.
“What choice have you made then?” she asked.
“I don’t know, but I won’t go home,” I said despondently.
“So, where will you live till then?” She asked in a tensed tone.
“Nidhi, seriously, I am between devil and deep sea, don’t know what should be done now?” I said edgily.
There was an exact pause of eight seconds before she spoke: “Okay listen, by stroke of your luck my parents are going away for a couple of days. I can make your stay at my home till then,” she landed hand for help.
“What? Are you serious?” I asked back.
Inwardly, I was happy. Before she could say, “I was just kidding.”, I enquired further: “And what about your neighbors?”
“My neighbors are broad minded, they never poke their nose into other’s business.” She assured.
Suddenly, the static motion of my body turned into dynamic motion, the bus started moving.
“It sounds good, tell me fast what to do? Shall I catch another bus to Haridwar?” I asked in boomed voice while pulling my bags.
“Yes, I mean, we can give it a shot,” she replied.
I got off the moving bus, which made the bus conductor annoyed, even he abused me but I didn’t bother at that point of time.
I caught another bus to Haridwar. I took my seat and saw outside blissfully. I was filled with some boundless energy. My expressions and mood had been changed dramatically. I forgot the ordeal that took place almost an hour ago. Is this the power of girl or power of love?
“Staying with her? For two days? OMG….and that too, when nobody is around…we both will be all-alone.” I could get a massive heart attack by just thinking this haunting thought.
Out of the blue, I found myself muttering a song which I had never liked before, “Hum tum ek kaMr.e me band ho…”
Did I really stay there for two days?
I put my step on my loved one’s city at 5 pm. Several auto drivers welcomed me as if Nidhi would have sent them to receive me. I turned down everybody.
I called Nidhi for the best means of transport to her place. She gave me an easy navigation.
On calling, she navigated the way me up to her house. I stepped into her house. Her staggering smile, untied hair and glowing face gave me a warm welcome. She was looking damn hot in pinkish night dress. Needless to say, I got afraid a bit before entering her house. Entering her house required the same courage as entering a haunted house. I could have been killed there by my wild cat ‘Nidhi’.
I attempted a gutsy act which was never been thought by me before. Staying with a girl who was all alone at home was really not my cup of tea. I was not that audacious to attempt this precarious act…Though, on the other hand, I had no choice either.
I settled myself nervously on the settee. Perhaps, she judged my nervousness which was clearly shown on my face.
“Don’t worry, when it was safe and sound only then I asked you to come. I have made sure about my parents’ plan one more time. They will arrive a couple of days later only,” she confirmed.
“What about your relatives?” I asked further. Yet, I didn’t find my life safe.
“They are busy in hustle and bustle of live and rarely come here,” she assured.
This confirmation brought a little sigh of relief.
“You are really supportive as well as daring,” I admired her which was well deserved.
“Oh! Stop flattering. Tell me, would you like to have something?” she asked while pinching my cheek.
Although, I was feeling a bit hungry, but I didn’t say anything, I didn’t want her to go away - not even up to the kitchen!
“No, I am fine,” I feigned.
Nidhi went to the kitchen to get something for me.
I observed the scenery and Nidhi’s photographs on the wall. She came up with patties and two glassfuls of cold drink. Nidhi snatched my glass when I was about to finish my cold drink, I wondered at her action.
“Let me finish this,” while she was drinking my lipped cold drink we made an adoring eye contact. She had put on no makeup, even then she looked stunning - a natural beauty.
I joined Nidhi after putting on my shorts and a navy blue T-shirt.
“What should I cook for the dinner?” Nidhi asked.
“Anything, whatever you like. But, why such a rush?” I took her hand into mine.
“Because I don’t want to squander my time, I want to give you the full attention after completing work.” Nidhi justified.
“Okay then, I will also show my talent in cooking,” I got up.
She made me sit, turned on the television, and handed me the remote.
“You sit, it’s a matter of half an hour. You will have enough chances to show your talent after marriage. You watch television till then,” she said and smiled.
I flipped many channels but couldn’t stumble on a jocular program on TV. I tuned in a sizzling song. It was “Aa jara kareeb se jo pal mile naseeb se…” from the movie Murder 2.
I went to the kitchen and saw Nidhi chopping tomatoes. I stood behind her, took knife from Nidhi’s hand and put it down. Then held her hands, filled the gaps between her fingers with mine and landed my chin onto her shoulder. Her shampoo’s aroma traveled through my nostrils… to my mind and made me go passionate.
“What’s this? Let me cook, please,” she released herself by walking two steps away from me.
Such an awkward moment it was! I slammed myself for attempting this mischievous act.
“Today you have to show your talent of making chapattis fast,” she broke the silence after resuming her task.
“Sure, that’s why I came inside,” I tried to overcome the embarrassment but all went in vain when she grinned.
“I know why you came. It’s not your fault, baby. We are alone, the song is sizzling, the atmosphere is sensational, hence, anybody can get seduced,” she taunted.
I stood next to her in the kitchen and started making balls from the dough.
“Stop the goofy things, you are my property. I can do anything, can’t I?” I demanded.
“Yes, you can… but not now,” she said coldly.
“What did ‘not-now-mean’? The post dinner or the post marriage?” I thought to myself.
It’s an extremely difficult task to understand what girls say and what they mean. It is always complex to read their mind.
For another hour, we ate dinner together, and exchanged pleasantries.
The clock was showing 08:30 pm, when I turned on the TV. She entered the room with a bottle of water in her hand. It was just like when a newly-wed bride enters the room with a glass of milk in her hand. She laid the bottle on the dressing table and stood in front of me combing her hair. I wondered what she was getting ready for?
Adoringly, I missed no chance for gazing at her. For few minutes, it looked as if I was a married and my wife was getting ready for love-making. She finished playing with her hair and sat on the bed next to me, she snatched the remote from my hand and turned off the TV.
“You can watch television at your home too,” she said playfully.
“What to do then?” I asked pretending bothered but actually being exhilarated.
“Let’s share some juicy gossips,” she said while turning completely to my side.
“What did this ‘juicy mean’ now? Why girls don’t say anything directly,” I wondered.
“Okay let’s play a game. We shall make an eye contact and we are not allowed to blink our eyes unless they get filled with tears. One, who will blink the eyes first will be a loser, and will do anything the winner will ask the loser to do,” A perfect game struck to my mind, she nodded to play this and seemed equally enthusiastic.
“Admit your defeat, because I will beat you easily,” said Nidhi teasingly.
“Let’s see who beats and who bites,” I said ironically. We both laughed.
We sat across each other folding our legs and started it. This was the time when I had a valid license to swim deep into her oceanic eyes. I had a privilege to stare at her for as long as I wanted. The game rolled into action. Two minutes flew by, however, neither of us blinked.
“I love you a lot, Nidhi. Your eyes are darn seductive,” I muttered within while making sure not to blink my eyes. She stared at me and I stared at her. A pin drop silence was there. The only sound we could hear was of the fan, which was hovering over us, and probably the only cheerleader present in the room.
My opponent was also strong. Five minutes passed by. Her loving light brown eyes seduced me wholly. My eyes were filled with a few droplets of tears. However, I could retain that for ages just to keep the opportunity to see Nidhi.
Suddenly, she cheated - it was not SHE but her EYES actually that cast a spell on me. A law of attraction came into force. Her magic pulled me towards her. Almost the 14 inch distance between us was reduced to 6 inch. I could sense her breath. Its sound lured me deeply. I didn’t realize when the gap came to naught. All of a sudden, our lips puckered. We indulged into an orgy of flesh. I put my both hands on her ears, we started exchanging saliva. I felt out of the world.
Not only our souls but also our bodies were glued to each other. With half opened eyes, I looked at her glowing face and lustrous lips. She lowered her stunning eyes, her cheeks burning with blush. Perhaps, she was in a state of dilemma whether to continue the erotic game of love or to put an end to it.
One thing led to another and I didn’t realize when and how everything happened. This game which made me feel like a complete man. We got intimate for the first time.
“Not even saints could avoid this temptation, passion and lust when hit by cupid’s arrow. I am just a very ordinary person. How could have I resisted an immense urge to make love?”
My Two Memorable Days
Next morning, I woke up earlier than Nidhi. I recollected the past night’s sensational moments. I looked at her affectionately when she was asleep. I kissed her gently, which woke her up.
“Good morning jana,” I greeted her with delight.
“Good morning, my love,” Nidhi replied turning to my side and covering herself with a blanket. Her face was glowing.
I placed my left hand on her cheek. Nidhi overlapped my hand by her hand and squished.
Nidhi poised and then said: “You played malicious last night.”
I defended myself and spoke slowly: “No, it just happened.”
She pinched my cheek tightly: “I won’t play that nasty game again.”
I put my finger on her lips and said: “Afraid?”
She bit my index finger. It hurt. And replied bravely with broadening her eyes: “No, I am not.”
I pulled her closer to me, and whispered: “Let’s play it then.”
She shoved me back: “Not anymore.”
It was an ecstasy of love and we were on the zenith of physical pleasure which one enjoys only after marriage. Yet, we were unmarried to each other in the real sense. The human bondage had become more secure and it was unlikely to be broken at any point of time in the future.
In two days, we made love to each other, came closer to each other, crossed every limit of love, shared every single secret, took an oath not to be apart and most importantly, we made a promise to get married. We matched our horoscope with the help of a software, and fortunately, it showed a green signal to our marriage.
Joy of two days’ togetherness came to a halt. While I was getting ready for Dehradun. Nidhi saw me piteously, and gave me an “I-don’t-want-to-let-you-go” tight hug.
“Please don’t go anywhere. Be with me. It looks like you are drifting far away from me. I want you to be here with me…forever,” Nidhi urged.
“No, not at all baby. In fact, we are coming closer to each other everyday. Now, I can’t even think my life without you. Come what may, I have to live with you and I have to breathe with you. I love you sooooo much,” I stressed particularly on ‘so’ and kissed her on the forehead.
“I always get afraid, when I get to know about the break-ups of my friends,” She said apprehensively.
“Today we have completed seven months of knowing each other. We never had any conflict yet. The same we shall maintain in the future,” I consoled and reassured her.
Unwillingly, I moved for Dehradun.
The thoughts of the past two sensational days didn’t make me realize as to when my journey to Dehradun came to an end.
Some red and black unfamiliar ladies slippers lay outside our guest room when I entered my home. I got inside the guest room and saw some relatives sitting with my mother. I greeted everybody. My mother was shocked to see me with the whole luggage.
“Why didn’t you inform us that you were coming? Is everything okay?” Bhabhi asked carrying a tray of tea in her hands.
“Yes...I mean not exactly. The city of Delhi is not for me,” I replied and relieved myself from the heavy luggage.
“But, what about your job? Have you left that?” she asked while seeming puzzled.
“There is a tragic story behind all this. I will tell this when everybody is available. I can’t explain to everyone separately,” I felt eerie.
During lunch time, everybody came home. We all were sitting around the dining table. My mother and bhabhi served the food on plates. My voice faltered as I shared my entire painful story of what happened with me in Delhi. My mother and Bhabhi were shocked while they stood behind my father. He didn’t utter a word till he finished his lunch. I was that much troubled that I couldn’t even gulp the water.
My father, the head of the family, smashed his calm: “What’s the use of telling all this now? You should have told this earlier. And why?...Why at all you felt shy to ask for money? Who has been arranging your bread and butter so far? It is me,” my father spoke in a raised voice, he was livid with anger.
“Because you have already done enough for me, I wanted to be a self dependent and accountable person but, I couldn’t,” I replied with a weak and shaken voice. Everybody was looking at me but I couldn’t gather courage to read their faces. My confidence level was completely shattered.
“You are a complete goof. You have your friend-like brother, sister-like Bhabhi to rally around you. If you were afraid to share with me, why didn’t you tell them? You always disappointed me. You never gave me any chance to feel proud of you. See your brother and learn something from him. He is well-settled and doing all the errands,” my father gave a dressing down to me. Except him, everybody remained tight-lipped.
I realized my state, so I didn’t react. My mother collected the dishes used from the dining table. My meal was still waiting for me. My meal looked blurred because of my teary eyes.
“Beta, start your lunch,” my mother said in a dejected tone while caressing my hair.
“Mamma, you go away. I will have it.”
My father said his final words as he left his chair: “Okay, now put your past behind you and start focusing on your future. Your age-mates have already left you far behind. You have stumbled enough. I don’t want you to fall flat on your face.”
Everybody consoled and motivated me. I knew my father’s words were though bitter yet true. His anger was justified. No father would ever want his son to fail in his life. I felt fortunate to have such a supportive and cooperative family with me.
Now, I realized how my father from his limited income as a teacher of a school could have managed to arrange such a huge amount to pay for my engineering degree…and I could not come up to his expectations.
I bought a classified paper and started looking for a job. I ticked out the best suited jobs for myself. I appeared for as many interviews as I could. However, the tragedy was dramatic - it was not that easy to walk straight into a right job. In some jobs, the job profile was not good. While in others, the salary was not good enough for my own survival. So on and so forth. It was a kind of a tight-rope walk for me.
In order to focus on my career that was in doldrums and not to turn my mind on any other fixation, I neither responded to Nidhi’s calls nor replied to her messages. But as I was so much hooked to her… living without talking to her seemed like a hard nut to crack. I couldn’t pursue it for long. I made her a call after three days.
“Why are you trying to dodge me? It seems you have changed now,” Nidhi blurted out with displeasure.
“It’s not like this, Nidhi. Now-a-days, I am in hot water. My focus lies in finding a job at the earliest.” I clarified.
“You are only concerned about yourself…but, what about me? You have called me after three days. It does matter a lot to me. Do you have any idea that what I went through? You even duck my calls each time I try to talk to you and don’t even reply to my texts. What’s wrong with you, Vinu? Tell me clearly if you don’t want to talk to me,” Nidhi articulated annoyingly. Her stern exterior was blatantly obvious though.
“I don’t want to talk to anybody. Please, manage for some days till everything settles down. I have an immense pressure for finding a job. My father was despondent when he came to know about the facts regarding my job…” Before I could give her any more clarification, she interrupted me by saying: “Okay, do what you want. I won’t ask you to call or even send messages. I will not bother you for anything. Bye!” she said angrily.
“Don’t freak out…” before I could even finish my sentence, I heard a ‘call disconnecting beep’... she had severed the call in a huff.
First time, she said a ‘bye’ ever since I had started conversion. She always used to say SYS (see you soon). She had even changed my habit of saying a bye.
The next day, I had to go for a written examination in connection with a job. I reached there much before the scheduled time.
I solved their very type of paper based entirely on marketing aspects.
While waiting for the result in the reception area, I composed a text for Nidhi: “My interview result is awaited, let’s c wht hpns. I need ur good wishes my ‘dove’. Wish me luck.”
I waited for her reply but didn’t get any rejoinder. I composed another message: “still sulking? Cm on baby…undrstnd d prob. we ll hv party once I get a job, I promise…I ll tk u wherever u ll ask me to go…missing u a lot... Lv u ..innaaaa sara.”
After 15 minutes, a person called me for a personal interview. Quickly, I pulled out my cell phone and checked for any message to find out whether I had been wished by my charming doll. However, no new message could be found.
Interviewer asked me a few easy questions which I explained in a much more detailed manner than required - to grab the opportunity.
Though I was selected, yet I was not told about the salary package and the job profile. My training had to start from the very same day. The interviewer guy introduced me to my senior, Parul. She was overweight… my two cheeks were probably smaller than her single dusky cheek. She was wearing a formal front pocket white shirt and a grey flat front trouser with black color heeled leather shoes. She looked very vigorous.
Parul ma’am ordered us to get into a waiting cab. The cab dropped me at the area near my colony along with four other candidates. I thought they were going to drop me home.
But we were ordered to alight at a point near my residence. Other candidates were carrying massive pithoo bags on their frail shoulders.
Parul ma’am made us stand swiftly in a circle and said in an encouraging tone: “Today we have to cover this whole area. Our product should reach every house of the colony. Guys, set your target to sell at least ten books by noon. Yes…it’s not difficult, you sure can do this… ”
While she was motivating others, I stood totally blank. I didn’t know what was going on, what sort of business were they into and what they were planning to sell. Whatever they were discussing was completely Greek and Latin to me.
Ma’am continued: “If you do so, you will be given incentive. Good luck for the day.”
They all proceeded towards different lanes with boundless energy whereas the leader girl took me to another street.
“What the hell is it going on? What business are these guys into? And what are they carrying in their bags?” I was going through a mystifying situation.
My plump ma’am, carrying a hefty bag was busy on a call. After finishing her call, she said: “Let’s get the ball rolling. Today, you have to observe how to communicate with a customer to sell our product.”
I asked while entering a narrow colony street: “What is our product anyway? And do I have to do this all?”
She dragged a book out from her crammed up bag and showed me. The book had somewhat around 400 colorful pages which included seven wonders of the world and some other general knowledge stuff.
“See, this is our product, and you have to visit door to door and sell this out,” she elaborated.
“Door to door?… My foot! Not even window to window,” I made up my mind.
“I thought, it would be a desk job,” I lamented.
“At least for three months you will have to learn the basics by working in the field,” she tried to rationalize.
She said, “working in the field” as if they would have a plan to provide me a “chartered plane” after three months.
The embarrassing moment started when she knocked at one gate. A lady came out carrying a ‘roller pin’ in her hand.
“Good morning ma’am, this is Parul from ‘Bookland World’. Ma’am, I have a very good product…..”
The lady silenced my so-called ma’am without even letting her complete her mugged up speech: “Sorry, we don’t want any product.”
My ma’am was still showing her white teeth and saying thank you. I guess, she was custom-built for all this.
We faced embarrassment for another half an hour in the similar manner. Whereas she was motivating her juniors to sell 10 books by noon there, she was herself struggling to sell even a single book!
I decided to flee.
Meanwhile, my message tone beeped. I opened it and read, ‘Wish u all gd luck 4 the interview result. I knw u ll clear it.’ Nidhi had sent this text. I didn’t reply as I was not in the proper state of mind then.
I wanted to convey to Parul, “Thank you,” for such a “thankless job”. “Actually, I made a blunder by clearing this interview.”After a while, my preset alarm rang; I pretended to receive a call and said into phone: “No no no, don’t let them go, I am coming, I am coming,” I acted very well.
“Ma’am I have to leave. A passport officer has come to my place for the purpose of enquiry. I will have to leave at any cost,” I said in a serious tone.
“Okay then, do come tomorrow by 9 o’clock,” she said.
“Don’t waste your time here, you ought to go home too.” I wanted to give this free advice to her. However, I was sure that she would turn a deaf ear to it.
Honestly speaking, getting free from that job made me feel like getting free from the police station.
I ran away from this job but what next?
Although, I knew the fact: failures are the pillars of success and fortune favors the fearless. Therefore, I had to continue climbing the mountain.
A problem never comes alone. The same happened with me.
I sent a message to Nidhi: “Nidhi, I got a job but that was not adequate for me. So, I left that. I don’t knw what is wrong with me. I hv been trying to find a suitable job but to no avail. U don’t think that I don’t miss u…I miss u each moment. I want to talk to u. lv u innaaa sara.”
In the evening time, when I got up after a siesta, I read Nidhi’s text: “I need to talk to u…cl me, urgently.”
I made a call to her.
“I have to ask you one question,” was her first sentence when I called her up. Even, a formal ‘hi’, ‘hello’ or ‘how-are-you’ were ignored.
“Yes sure. Go ahead,” I said while wondering about the probable question.
“Do you write poems also?” She asked derisively.
“Yes, I write whenever I get some free time. But what happened?” I replied sharply.
“It’s been more than seven months since we met, and I came to know this only today. Why didn’t you tell me this before?” she had turned on the heat in such a bad mood as if I had concealed some treasure from her.
“Because, you never asked this. Anyway, who told this?” I tried to overcome the situation.
“Sneha told me about this and you did not disclose to me that you both often chat on Facebook. You said that you were busy. Then how come you have time for her? It hurts seriously when one gets to know some personal things about their lover from someone else,” Nidhi said dejectedly.
Sometimes, you find yourself in a situation where everybody considers you to be guilty except yourself. I was passing through the same situation at the moment.
“We have been chatting formally for three or four days. What’s a big deal in this? You and I use the same Facebook account. You have my email-id and password too, so you can check whenever your mind is in a state of suspicion. Nidhi, you are planting futile doubts in your mind despite the fact that she is your friend and it was you who introduced her to me,” I tried to see her reason.
“See, it was okay upto chatting, but why did you send her your written poem?” she was, as if, creating mountain out of a molehill.
“Oh Gosh! What happened to you? Why are you feeling so insecure? She just urged me… since she wanted to read my poem that’s why I mailed the same to her. I don’t think I did anything wrong,” I protested.
“You didn’t… but I did it by asking you all this. I shouldn’t have asked you, so I am sorry,” Nidhi said and hung up the call in ill feeling.
That time the sorry conveyed, “Not my fault… it’s yours.”
I tried to call her up time and again but a lot of rejected calls made me realize that she didn’t want to converse.
When the words are left unspoken, the action creates a big difference in relationships. Instead of leaving the situation in between, our approach should be to resolve the issue before that becomes the reason to leave each other.
I sent her many texts sans any response from her side. I wanted to resolve the matter at the earliest.
At night, I received a text from Nidhi, saying: “M ok, jst forget wht hpnd, I am sleeping, gd nt.”
This message disappointed me for various reasons: firstly, it was a very blunt message and secondly, earlier she used to always write: “I will come in your dreams.” after every good night message. This led to a strong speculation that the situation was still shadowy.
One fact about being in a relationship: you always get at least two feel-good messages: one in the morning and the other at night...
I couldn’t let drowsiness close my eyes without talking to her. As a result, I called after 20 minutes, the voice I could hear was… “We are getting a busy tone, please, call later.”
I smelt a rat.
“Why to call later? I will call just now.” I dialed her number over and over again but I heard the same busy tone. Miserably, I slept without having a word.
Nothing kills you more than a “busy tone” of your partner’s number at night time.
Misinterpretations are the biggest demon in one’s relationships.
Was it the beginning?
I looked for many jobs. Sometimes, the job profile would not meet my requirements, and in case many, I would not fit into the organization’s expectations. The heart-wrenching efforts made me completely helpless and I lost myself to face the challenges of the world around me.
In the evening time, one neighborhood uncle came, when my father and I were at home. My father made him sit in the guest room and asked me to fetch a glass of water for him.
I entered the guest room carrying two glasses of water in a tray. After placing the glasses on the centre table, greeted him.
“What about your job, son?” He enquired after drinking water.
This was the most irritating question to answer. Not for me only, but also for every unemployed youth.
“Something went wrong, uncle,” I replied looking at the floor, I could read gloom and embarrassment on his face.
“You did engineering. Right?” He spoke in a sarcastic tone. He was the man to have dissuaded my father regarding me not joining that course at the time of admission.
“Yes, I did,” I replied collecting the glasses from the table swiftly. I wanted to show my ass to him.
“Why didn’t you get job?” He was poking his nose. I reckoned, he was less interested in finding wrong with me and more interested in proving himself right.
“There is some recession going on. Not just me, a lot many people are unemployed.” I uttered and made my way to the kitchen…Humiliated. Frustrated. Dejected.
For me, B.Tech. was no more “Bachelor of Technology” but “Blunder of Teachology”
That was not the very first time when my wounds were rubbed by salt. I got humiliated by my relatives, neighbors, friends, and others by asking me this annoying question. That time, I realized, as if my only mistake was to pursue engineering course. I would feel bad when someone would ever ring the bell about my course and indirectly make me realize that I was a worthless.
My father suggested me to start imparting tuition to students for the time being. He said, “Half a loaf is better than no bread,” I followed his idea, and erected a board in front of my house for soliciting tuition seeking students.
Nidhi sent only a good morning message during full day. Although, I sent to her many romantic and love-filled messages in order her to understand the issue in a right perspective.
I heaved a sigh of relief after receiving a call from Nidhi.
“How was your day?” She asked.
“Grim,” I answered.
“Why? What happened?” Nidhi enquired while showing a real concern about my present condition.
“You didn’t talk to me for the entire day,” I complained.
“You know the reason very well. I am not willing to talk. There are some issues. Anyway, leave it. I am going to bed now. Good night,” Nidhi replied.
“Wait dear, why are you in such a hurry?” I persisted.
“I am very tired today and want to sleep now. So, I am switching off my cell phone too. Good night!” she ended the conversation abruptly.
I was irate.
Her strange conduct extremely baffled me. I lay in bed, and got sickly worried about her mysterious behaviour. After a while, I dialed Nidhi’s number.
I heard “The person is speaking with someone so please…” which sounded as if she was talking to someone else. To me those words resonated like ‘your girlfriend is talking to her new boyfriend’. Even after half an hour her phone was busy.
Was it an indication that our relationship was so fragile that all of a sudden mistrust had taken place?
“She was saying that she was going to switch her cell phone off, but, it’s going busy. Who is she talking to? Is she betraying my trust?” My mind was in the vortex of an intense dilemma which made me feel totally lonely and detached. This was perhaps the worst time of my life when I was without a job and maybe without love.
I composed a message in antagonism: “Ur no. is going busy, gd. That’s y u hung up d cl in haste. I knw u r ditching me. U don’t want to talk to me anymore. I am rly hurt, It ws nt expected dear…bye.” I threw my cell phone aside and felt an irksome pain in my head and heart.
My tensed mood didn’t let me close my eyes. I felt cheated. Life was becoming cruel towards me. In the meanwhile, my cell phone rang. I checked it fast in the hope that it would be Nidhi. However, an unknown number was flashing on my screen. I received the call.
“Hi, how are you?” a girl’s voice asked. I was perplexed.
“I am fine. May I know who am I talking to?” I asked trying to figure out if I had ever heard that voice before.
“Just guess, who am I?” she bewildered me.
Suddenly, I heard a waiting tone on my phone, I looked at it, “ML” calling was flashing on my screen.
“Either you tell directly or I shall disconnect the call,” I threatened in rancor.
“Don’t panic, this is Sneha. Remember?” she revealed.
“Oh yes, I remember,”
Again, I heard a waiting tone, so, I ended the conversation in between.
The moment I would press the calling button, I received a text from Nidhi.
“I jst read ur last text when I turned on my phn, I wanted to talk to u..I realized that I sud not hv talked to u so rudely…but, I was wrong. N yes.. let me clear to u one thing..Firstly, I ws nt talking to anybody; even my no. ws nt going busy. Secondly, keep on talking to whosoever u want, I don’t care,” she said with bitterness.
When someone says “I don’t care” it means the person does care. However, to what extent was the statement right here too?
After reading that text, I couldn’t gather courage to call her. A lot of misunderstandings were taking place. The situation was becoming shoddier gradually.
“Where is our relationship leading to? Who is right and who is wrong? Where has our faith vanished? What are the possible consequences that we will have to face?” Deep inside, such complicated questions kept killing me continuously.
Next day, I woke up without her call, without her “good morning” text, without her “morning gossip”. Neither did she nor I endeavor to end the impasse.
When there is some inconsistency in a relationship we should not say “why should I talk first.” Rather we should take the first step to clear up misunderstanding. No matter how angry we are with our partner, but, the truth is, we always wait desperately for one text or call which could change our mood dramatically.
The best thing is to put your “Ego (ie. Evil Going On)” aside, saying sorry and persuading someone doesn’t cost an arm and leg but not doing so can cost you more than your life. A simple “sorry” can save the relation, but, a “silence” can break the relation. Just recall the good moments you passed together. Find the reason why you were together so far, find the good thing about your partner and sort out the differences. (Remember, love is the only miracle there is. Love learnt well, you learnt all… love missed you live your whole life, you missed utterly, you missed absolutely…)
To give her a call, I picked up my cell phone and I called for about five seconds and disconnected the call at once. The same ‘EGO’ problem desisted me from making an inevitable call. Losing my loved one just because of fragile ego!
The only good thing about the day was finding three students of 10th and 9th standard for tuition. I started teaching them. I made a determined effort so as to get some more students through their reference.
At 5 o’clock in the evening, Nidhi called me while I was teaching the students; I dodged the call and sent her a message for talking later.
After ending up with tuition, I called her.
“Whom were you talking to so late, the last night?” she grudged. It looked as if she was not left with any other topic. I had never found her behaving so skeptically.
“Who was that?” she dug out further.
I lingered on for some time before responding, rather telling Sneha’s name, I preferred to say: “It was some wrong number,” I lied so as to diffuse the ongoing strife. I prevaricated and tried to evade, “Don’t know who he was, you tell how is everything?”
“He or she? I know it was Sneha, wasn’t she?” she snapped.
I thought for the right answer. However, I had no choice other than admitting my lie.
“Yeah, it was she but she just….” I wanted to emphasise on my innocence but she didn’t let me finish and raised her voice, “It doesn’t matter to me what the hell you both talked about, you told me a lie and it matters. You have changed now, Vinu. You are no more like you earlier used to be. I had never thought that just because of a girl you would tell a lie to me…,” she yelled in anger and appeared extremely disappointed.
“Try to understand please. It’s nothing like that… don’t plant pointless doubts in your mind. This can shatter our relationship. It was the first time when she called me. We don’t talk often,” I bickered.
“Now please, don’t call me again, I will talk to you only after I feel better. Bye!” she hung up the call.
My mouth became wide open with shock. I swallowed back my sentence.
“Wow…she would talk to me once she would feel better…earlier on she used to talk to me when she was not feeling good….” I thought to myself and felt miserable inwardly.
A person who did not breathe without me had made me breathless with her cruelty.
I started doing unique marketing to get more students for tuition. Luckily, I started getting enquiries which I turned into admissions. I turned myself into drudgery to keep myself as much busy as possible, so as to divert my mind from ongoing tensions with Nidhi.
Four gloomy days passed. However, neither did she nor I myself tried to call each other.
It was night time. I lay in my bed. My headphone was plugged into my ears. A heart touching song, “Bin tere bin tere bin tere…koi kashish hai hawaon mein bin tere…” was hitting my head and heart, as if the lyricist had written the song while keeping my present circumstances in mind. I read her old messages where she had first accepted my love… where she had written “Vinidhi” in the whole text with 566 words… where she had first sent her cute kiss written as “Muaaahh” to me. I went through all our past photographs.
My heart and mind were opposing each other regarding whether or not to call her.
“Why should I call her? I didn’t do anything wrong, in fact she should call me and apologize for not believing me,” the mind argued.
“Call her, otherwise you might permanently lose her,” the heart countered.
“You always compromise. Let her do it this time,” the mind protested.
“Compromise doesn’t mean you are wrong and she is right. It only means that you value your relationship more than your ego and don’t want to let your love part ways,” the heart reasoned.
Finally, the heart won this debate.
I picked my cell phone with shivering hand and called. To my utmost surprise, the same sound of a “Busy Tone” pierced through my heart. It made me so jealous and angry that I couldn’t wait to ask her, ‘who she was talking to’. I had a strong urge to talk to her at any cost.
I composed a message: “I hv to talk to u. Hang up the cl at once and gv me a ring fast,”
I waited impatiently for a few minutes in a vain hope of getting a reply. Although, my wait didn’t bring any favor to me. I called her up again wishing not to hear that idiot busy tone. Alas! The same story repeated that time as well. I couldn’t persuade my temper, thus, I was gasping because of rage. Unfortunately, I had to compose another message in huff.
“Every tym I cl u, ur no is always busy. U ditcher, wud b talking to ur new boyfriend, thnx for hurting me deep inside. Now, I hv no relation with u, go to hell. Bye…forever.” My finger didn’t hesitate to press the send button in anger. ‘Your message has been sent’ popped on my screen.
‘Oh God…why I sent that text…no relation with her means no life’. I immediately started regretting my action. Unfortunately, words once sent can’t be retrieved.
I dashed the cell phone against the wall and burst into crying hysterically. I couldn’t control my emotions, I wanted to scream like hell. That very day was the worst day in our relationship. I found myself as the most unhappy person on earth at that point of time.
Misunderstandings are the root cause of failure in any relationship. We should have full faith in our partner. If we can have faith while starting our relationship, then why can’t we have it later on?
Everything was good in our relations. Then how come all this happened? What consequences were we going to face?
Relationship Hits the Rock
My ghastly day started with Nidhi’s early morning call. Crash!
“I just read your disappointing message. Well, how can you accuse me without having any evidence? I thought our relationship probably needed some time, so I wanted to give it that time, but you have not only hurt me but also created a wide gap in our bond that just can’t be filled now,” she spoke caustically.
“Shut up! I called you last night and found your number running busy. Obviously, you could not be talking to your family members at night,” I reacted.
“I had turned off my phone and if you don’t believe it, that’s your problem and not mine. Mind it,” she sulked.
“If you have erred, you must accept it… Sneha also told me something about you that I didn’t believe initially. But now, I am sure that there must be something cooking between you and some other guy,” I vented out without reining in my tongue.
“What rubbish! You believe that bloody bitch. She is a liar and two-faced girl. She enjoys playing one friend off against another. She can’t stand anyone rejoice in life. That’s why she must be up spreading all this bullshit. O.K. Now to hell with you and ‘your’ Sneha. Believe her and be with her. I don’t care,” she uttered utterly. I didn’t know whether or not to believe her.
“You don’t care? I know… you only wanted to sleep with me, that’s it. Here, I am trying to sort out the problem but you are showing your attitude. I also don’t want to be with you anymore…,” before I could finish, she slammed the phone.
Relationship breaks as the dawn broke.
It is very wisely said: ‘Don’t make permanent decisions based on your temporary feelings’.
I covered my face with both hands, I felt chocked. I was shattered, hurt, ditched and heart-broken! I broke down and took shelter under my pillow crying bitterly over the lost treasure. My heart ached hard with a throbbing pain. My head too was crowded with all the negative thoughts. I deeply regretted having at all fallen in love.
We forget the innumerable joys of love when we get hurt in it. Your patience, tolerance and self-confidence are tested during those crucial moments. It is only your own conscience that can be your guide under such moments.
Now onward, my definition of falling in love had been changed. For me, love was just meant to ruin your life, it was just to allow someone authority to snatch our smile. It was like crying for a person who does not value to your tears. I feel that love is a treasure that can be looted anytime!
Was this the DEMISE of our love story?
I had, by now, convinced my mind not to continue any relationship with her. The more did I love her, the more I had started hating her. I was trying to be a tough-hearted person. Nevertheless, it was not all that easy. I couldn’t hold the grudge for more than two weeks.
I really wanted to burn the bridges between us. I just wanted to say: “I still miss you, care for you and love you.”
I made many calls to her. However, a thousand rejected calls by Nidhi was a vital clue not to get her back again.
I knew her college timing. Hence, I decided to meet her outside college.
I went to SMJN College, Haridwar. Students were roaming all around. My eyes turned red searching Nidhi everywhere. My heart missed a beat when I spotted Nidhi come out of the college with friends – a boy and a girl. She was happily talking with them and seemed not affected at all.
Suddenly, her eyes caught me and turned a blind eye to my presence. She passed by without even caring. I followed her, I overheard her say: “Let’s walk fast.”
I strode with long steps, and caught up with her. I clutched Nidhi’s hand.
“Nidhi, I have to talk to you, listen to me, please,” I said, her two friends looked flabbergasted.
Seeing around, she struggled to release her hand.
She said: “Just leave me alone. I don’t want to talk to you,”
“Just give me a chance to convince you. I am sorry for what I said that day. I want to sort out all the issues. Nidhi, I am sure a heart-to-heart talk can resolve the matter. Won’t you forgive me?” I said in a helpless tone.
I was still clutching her wrist tightly. Her male friend couldn’t stand it. To add insult to injury, her friend hustled me away with force.
“Leave her,” he said in a firm voice.
Although, I was upset but, I had decided to resolve everything with a cool mind. After this insult, I couldn’t control myself, and as a result, I lost my temper. I knocked him on his nose. He pushed me back. From the hot words we came to blows. A brawl ensued.
Nidhi and her friend tried to intervene and diffuse the situation. But, two fragile girls couldn’t stop two robust boys. I was hitting on him like as if he were the reason for our break-up. First time, I realized that I could beat someone. In the meantime, some passersby gathered and took my villain away.
“How dare you touch me? Are you her boyfriend?” I lashed out. It was as though a typical Bollywood movie’s scene was being shot.
“Yes. I am her friend, who the hell are you?” he yelled.
“She is mine. So, don’t poke your nose into our business. You better understand and keep your bloody ass out of here,” I warned him.
I fell from the frying pan into the fire. Even a small ray of hope was not to be seen.
I again walked up towards Nidhi, and requested, “Can we please talk?”
Nidhi seemed embarrassed and distressed, “I don’t want to talk anymore. So, please… leave me alone and don’t create a scene over here.”
“What scene? I just want to clear something. That’s it,” I pleaded.
“For me. It’s already over. I don’t want to waste my time anymore. Find some job and do your work. Don’t loiter around all over the place. You are still jobless. But, I hope you are not devoid of any manners.” She jibed.
I almost turned deaf when her last statement echoed in my ears.
She behaved brashly. Maybe, she wanted to make me realize that I was jobless and hence worthless. Her last sentence sliced through at my heart very deeply. Perhaps, this boosted my morale to prove myself that I was really worthy of her.
I couldn’t further ask her to talk. Nidhi didn’t give me a chance to explain. She had forgotten her words to give me a chance if such situation ever took place.
Hiring an auto, Nidhi and her friends perhaps headed towards home. I just stared at the auto hopelessly. I had no choice other than returning home. But, I felt a bit content for one the reason that I bashed her friend rather than the other way round. Otherwise, I could have felt very terrible.
A New Aim
Late night, I was in my bed, thinking about the disaster, which took place outside her college in Haridwar. I somehow convinced my heart that I was no more committed, no more in a relationship and thus not happy any more…
A most difficult task after the break up was not to brood over the past, think about her, miss her and feel sad. It was as difficult as nailing jelly to a tree. You can run away from a person but not from the memories of that person.
Her last sentence: ‘You are still jobless. But, I hope you are not devoid of any manners’ hit my ears like a strong ball. I found erasing all those thoughts next to impossible.
A sudden urge arose in me to become a very successful person, to prove myself, to show everybody that I was not worthless. But, I didn’t want to become a job seeker. I wanted to become a job creator. I set the next one month’s goal of getting 50 students and to take a premises on lease.
I borrowed some money and rented a prime location in order to expand my business, put up big boards and banners for tuition. My hard work propelled the number of students to 53 in just one month. Whereas, the other tutor imparted tuition for one hour, I did it for two hours. I fixed fee so low to be affordable fee by each and everyone.
One day, after the class, I asked all the students: “What do you want to become in your life?”
Most of them, more than 80 per cent replied, “I want to become a government employee.”
I wondered, how highly interested they seemed in acquiring government service. Though, the reason is obvious. I put up my next question: “Why? Private sector job is also good, then why government job only?”
The common answer which I got was: “Because of salary and security.”
The reason gave a birth to an idea. However, I didn’t want to do a government job but, this was the point from where I originated an idea to give coaching to such students who had a dream to work in the government sector.
I did a lot of research work for the next four months while I was trying to carve a niche for myself through tuitions. I put my soul, my mind, my energy into my work. I made a concrete plan to open an institute for the competitive exams like SSC, CDS, NDA, and for Bank recruitment. I named the institute ‘Victory’.
Initially, I started imparting coaching all by myself. But in order to create a bench-mark in education, I hired four members of a professional faculty, one marketing executive and an office boy. Of course, it was a bold decision of mine. Hence, I was also apprehensive. Not only did I spend all my savings, but also took loan to be deployed on the project. My career was at stake.
Obviously, it has never been an easy task to establish a business. My determination made it feasible to create a first-rate buzz in the market. Gradually, I started generating a good business.
It was late in nigh night. I was engrossed in planning out an aggressive and unique marketing strategy in my office, when my loving Mamma called me up.
“Where are you? It’s too late again. The dinner is waiting for you,” she implored.
“Mamma you all please have it now. You know, I shall be late for the dinner today,” I pleaded.
“You are so reckless about your health. In the morning too you leave early. Beta, do give yourself some time. Whatever you have achieved within a short span of time is commendable,” she counseled.
No…I didn’t want to give myself time. I wanted to burn the midnight oil so as not to allow myself to think about Nidhi.
“O.K…. Mamma, I’m coming. I shall also get your favorite ice cream,” I tried to cheer her up.
Ending the call, I locked the office and left for home.
The most thorny time for me used to be the night time. I would confront my past memories and those used to hit me badly, make me cry, make me realize having been hurt and ditched.
Number of admissions picked up fast in my institute and so did increase the revenue. I reinvested a major part of my profits into expansion. I also tied-up with some institutions, schools, and colleges.
Every Saturday, I would call for a staff meeting, set weekly goals and cheer them up by organizing a treat for them all.
Though a great success was there for me, yet I couldn’t relish it in the absence of my very special Nidhi. “How happy Nidhi would feel if she saw this?” I used to ruminate.
True indeed…there is no joy in getting success when there is no one to celebrate it with you.
Almost five months had elapsed after a high-voltage drama had taken place in Haridwar. Neither she nor I had called up the other. During this tenure, I did miss her a lot. I missed her calls, she used to make at 4 am every morning. I missed her ‘miss you’ messages every now and then, listening to her sweet voice, her urging me to sing a song, her innocent questions. I also missed her whenever I would listen to her favorite song or watch her favorite movie, or whenever I met her namesake. I missed her each and moment.
14th February was clung to my memory. No, not because it was Valentine’s day, but because it was Nidhi’s birthday. Her birthday was arriving and I had promised with her during good old days, that I would be the very first person to wish her on the day.
It was 13th February. Phone was in my hand since morning. My eyes were glued to the watch. As the clock struck 12:00 sharp (midnight), I buzzed on the Nidhi’s number.
Tring… tring... tring…the creepy ringing tone was making me feel as if the butterflies were fluttering in my stomach. This weird sound was all I could hear. I attempted to call her numerous times, but failed miserably. Alas! She didn’t receive my calls. I went for the last choice I had, and that was to send a b’day message which I had already composed almost a week back.
“Nidhi, I wish u a vry vry happy b’day, may god grant u all the happiness of this world. Nidhi, I still miss u and lv u innnaaa sara. Plz get back into my life. I prms, I ll not create any prb.. ll always blv u… ll not share my poems with anybody except u… ll nt doubt u… ll cl u timely… ll never deny to sing for you, ll get up earlier than u… ll de-activate my FB acnt… ll do whatever u ll ask me to do, but plzzz, cm back into my lyf…there is no joy in living with8 u.”
True love never dies. Love is God and God is love. Who sincerely has faith in God will never fail in love. A pure heart with love never fails, the time only tests you. Hence, it is said: time is a great healer.
After sending the text, I felt the same nervousness that I had felt when I had sent to her my very first message. It was not use waiting for her reply.
Next morning was the Valentine’s Day. All the couples were expressing and their love by gifting cards and roses and cherishing their togetherness. In the Western world, the whole of February is generally considered as lovers’ month. One can feel love in the air during the entire month. Being single on that day made me feel very sad. I called up Nidhi again but to no avail. I thought of calling her from another number which she didn’t have.
I called her from my office number and she picked up my call.
“Wish you a happy b’day.” I uttered my sentence while not allowing any time even to say customary hello.
She perhaps recognized my voice. Therefore, she hung up without even uttering a word.
I was hurt. But, at the same time, I felt good after sensing her on the call after a long time. I composed a message to send her.
“Wish u a happy B’day again. I have lived up to my promise. It’s Valentine’s day and being all alone, I am deeply missing you. Anyway, wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day. Enjoy your day and good bye.”
I took a chance by writing “good bye” at the end. Maybe she would feel bad and reply me. I knew there was a fat chance of getting a reply. Even then, I couldn’t resist myself keep staring at the cell phone. I could feel great even if I would get just a ‘thank you and same to u’ reply.
I had her home address written on her diary which she had given me. I gifted her a cake with ‘VINIDHI’ written at the top.
I made it a habit of writing my daily diary. I shared my feelings ‘with the diary’:
“It’s my Nidhi’s birthday today. I had many plans to make this day the most memorable for both of us. But I couldn’t. I desired earnestly to be with her totally to make it a day of everlasting love. I wanted to adorn her day with my own efforts, wanted to go on a long drive, wanted to take her on a long drive to Mussorrie which was her cherished wish. The birthday cake would be all over her face making us laugh, and laugh heartily. But, everything failed! Nidhi didn’t reciprocate my calls. Nidhi, you are my love and will always remain so. Today, I threw a party in my institute and celebrated your birthday. I wish, you were there to cut the cake!”
Dejected in love, I, however, did not lose hope for a reunion. A gut feeling within prompted me to ponder that all is not yet lost in our love life.
One Year Hence
A lot of things changed for the better throughout the year.
I also launched a professional course in the growing area of ‘Retail Management’ and it became an instant ‘success’ which is also a synonym of victory. A victory over all the stressful days which I experienced in the past.
I shifted my institute to a better commercial zone close to Rajpur Road. Faculty and staff were increased. I became status conscious and bought a brand new car. People started counting me as a successful business person and according due respect to me.
I started living up to my family’s expectations.
My life-style changed considerably.
I turned 26, which is considered to be an appropriate age to get married in a family like ours. My mother was continuously stressing upon me to select a girl for marriage for a long time. Although, I was rejecting every single girl as I was not ready to get ‘booked’. The reason was obvious… I only wanted to marry Nidhi and I could not betray her love at any cost.
Everything changed in my life except Nidhi, who was still so far. I couldn’t forget her. She was the only problem I was not able to overcome. Second attempt of wishing her on her birthday also went fruitless. She had changed her number. All I could do was to send her a birthday cake and I did that too.
23rd of April was my birthday. However, I didn’t celebrate it. I just received numerous calls and messages from my well wishers, and I replied to all of them. I had expected at least a call from Nidhi, but, she didn’t make any call, which extremely disappointed me on that day.
I had already deleted her number from my cell phone but couldn’t delete her memory.
I deleted all her messages but couldn’t delete the impact she had pasted on my heart.
I deleted her photographs from my gallery but couldn’t delete her image from my thoughts.
I was lunching with my family when my mother started a distasteful talk.
“Pandit ji has matched one more horoscope with Vinu’s. The girl is beautiful and also well educated,” my mother said while serving us a varieties of the home-cooked food.
“Mamma, please leave all this. I have already wasted too much of time on all these things and not anymore,” I pleaded helplessly.
“Beta, this is also important. You can’t ignore it for long. If we start the bride-hunt now then only you can get married by the next year. It takes a lot of time to perform rituals etc.,” Mom commented.
“Okay, then do one thing, you see and select a girl and I will get married to whosoever you would say,” I announced. My father didn’t say anything. He generally used to keep quiet while munching his meal.
“But, it’s obligatory for you to talk to the proposed girl and decide if your thoughts match.” she persisted.
“Mamma, it doesn’t matter whether or not the thoughts match. Your fate should favor you in any relationship. And moreover, I know your choice… it won’t be bad,” I finished my meal and dabbed my mouth with napkin.
“Okay, then I will go there with your father,” she said as she collected my plate from the table.
Was this the red signal for my marriage? And what about Nidhi? Red signal? Was it the red signal about my relationship with Nidhi? At this juncture, I was not ready to accept failure in my love because I knew true love does triumph.
A Red Letter Day
I had an important meeting scheduled with Mr. Kesav in Delhi. Mr. Kesav is the director of Eklavya Group. The meeting was about supplying manpower to their firm. I left for Delhi along with Mr. Rajeev Nayar (The newly hired principal. He is 62 years old with thin, gray hair).
As always, I asked the driver to take the Haridwar Highway route in the hope to see Nidhi somewhere. You may call it an absurd obsession as everyone has a right to their opinion, but Nidhi means the world to me.
Mr. Rajeev urged the car be stopped in front of a temple.
“Sir, this journey is going to be momentous for us. We should pray to God and receive blessings,” he suggested while getting out of the car.
“Sir, you are right,” I agreed while exiting the car.
We paid obeisance and offerings to Lord Shiva. The temple priest put vermilion paste on my forehead.
Mr. Rajeev started chanting some mantras inside the temple. I was proceeding towards my car when I heard a girl calling my name. I turned back and spotted two girls.
“Perhaps you don’t recognize me, but, I do,” was her opening maneuver. A girl, who was in a Denim-blue jeans and a black half sleeves top. I could rate her seven out of ten for her look.
“I’m sorry but I am unable to recollect,” I tried to wrack out my brain.
“I am Sneha Nidhi’s friend. Remember?.” she reminded. Her big round black earrings were dangling.
“How can I forget you freak? You were the actual reason for the breakup.” I fumed inside like boiling water.
“Hey, how are you?” I greeted unenthusiastically.
I saw Mr. Rajeev folding his hands in front of lord Shiva’s idol and chanting mantras; he was a spiritual person.
“I am not fine dear because you always dodge me,” she grumbled. I found her friend peculiar, who was making her smile curve larger with every bit of second passed - that too reasonless.
“It’s not like that, actually, Sneha…umm… I have an important meeting in Delhi, so, I will have to take a leave.” I said while dropping down my face.
“How can I stop you? Anyway, can I grab a chance to click a photograph with you?” She appeared enthusiastic as if I were a celebrity.
“Okay, you can.” I gave a tired smile.
She tumbled out the camera from her red colored cross shoulders bag, and handed it to her friend. Excitedly, she walked fast, stood beside me and held my hand with a smile on her face; I gave “How-dare-you-touch-me” look to her. I always kept her at arm’s length.
Intentionally, I made an ugly pose. She clicked two photographs. I got inside the car, luckily, Mr. Rajeev finished his worship on time but still he was muttering something.
I observed Sneha engrossed in the photographs.
On the way, I discussed all the points related to the meeting with Mr. Rajeev.
We reached Delhi.
In the evening time, I called Mr. Kesav to fix the meeting venue.
“Hello, sir! We have reached Delhi, I will be glad to know about the venue of the meeting,” I said graciously.
“Hello, Mr. Vinayak! I am staying at my friend’s hotel. So, what if we put together the meeting here only?” he said in an elated voice.
“No problem whatsoever, sir. You just tell me the name of the hotel,” I said.
“Yeah, sure. It’s Radisson, the five star hotel. It’s at…” I had known the address before he told.
This was the same hotel I had worked once in my worst struggling days at a lowest designation. How could I forget the way I was insulted? How could I forget the most awful time which I had passed there? Time changed fortuitously.
“Yes, I know where it is. What will be the apt time for you?” I asked.
“Ummmm, 7…..yeah 7 o’clock will be fine,” he said.
“Done, sir. See you there at 7 sharp!” I hung up the call.
After reaching the posh Radisson hotel, I could vividly recall the pathetic four hours which I had passed in that hotel. The driver parked car in the parking lot. I felt blessed to be there for the meeting with Mr. Kesav.
We received a warm welcome by Mr. Kesav. He was in his late sixties, wearing a three piece grey colored suit; he had a white French cut, bald look and was wearing a square spectacles.
“Oh, you are so young! Are you the person I talked to?” he asked while shaking hand.
“Yes, I am the same person, sir,” I grinned and said.
We parked ourselves on the black leather couch; I observed spectacular layout of the room, the perfect venue for the meeting. A waiter served us a white colored drink, which I did not taste before.
“I admire you for your accomplishments which you got throughout your career. However, before we enter into a deal, we will provide some projects to perform and to asses of course. I again appreciate you, yet for this kind of a project we are looking for a person who is business and financial acumen,” Mr. Kesav said.
“Sir, I am highly inspired by a person. Let me take the opportunity to share his story with you. He failed his 10th standard two times and 12th one time. He didn’t complete his graduation. But, one thing he was good at, was business. So, against his parents wish, he started his career at 24 as a businessman. Despite several obstacles and hurdles in business, he created history and the person is …none other than sitting right in front of me…Mr. Kesav,” I venerated.
My discovered story about him turned half of his mind to our side.
Mr. Kesav passed an impressed and convinced smile. He took off his spectacles and put down the glass made table.
“Ahhmm, It seems you have dug out the history about me!” he spoke with a broad smile.
“I have found out a bit. To be honest with you, I came here just to see my ideal, I have already got the whole lot,” I confessed.
Both of them finished their drinks. But, I was thirsty for the project - it could quench my whole thirst.
For the next one hour, I showed my presentation, we discussed our project thoroughly. We had wine and dine together.
“As far as your talent is concerned, you are fantastic. But as regards the project, I am not certain whether you will fit in the plan or not,” he told after finishing the dinner.
“I have already got a lot. If I get this project, it will be a windfall for me.” I smiled and summed up the meeting.
The approval of the project was crucial for another reason. That’s once I get this, I wanted to treat my old friends.
We took Dehradun road and after driving for 7 kms, my message tone beeped. I checked.
“Congratulations, you are in. Good luck ahead,” Mr. Keshav sent this message.
“Thanks a million, sir!” I replied instantly with a gleam of triumph in my eyes.
It was around 8 at night. I asked the driver to take the car towards the airport.
I got out of the car.
“Sir, you go to Dehradun, I will be there by tomorrow evening,” I told.
Where did I want to go???
I pulled out my cell phone and made a call.
“Hello, this is Vinayak… Brij’s friend. Actually, I don’t have his contact number. So, could you please send his number to me?” I said and immediately selected the dial pad on my screen.
“Yeah sure, son. Jot it down,” An elderly person said.
I jotted down Brij’s contact number hurriedly.
“By the way, may I know uncle where is he these days and what is he into?” I inquired.
“He is working in IT sector. He is in Delhi these days for his business training,” he replied.
Oh! that’s great! Thanks uncle, bye!”
I swiftly dialled Brij’s number.
“Hey buddy! How are you?” I asked cheerfully.
“I am fine. Pardon me, do I know you?” he asked in a perplexed tone.
“Idiot! Do you remember the girl we used to tease everyday in the evening?” I rang the bell.
“Where?” he said in a puzzled voice.
“In Delhi, kamine,” I exclaimed.
“Oh my God! Vinayak, my friend. How are you?” he said with a booming voice.
“Firstly, I am not fine without you guys. Secondly, I have achieved my short term goals and want to meet you as per our deal. I will enlighten you with everything. Listen, you have David’s dad number, just buzz on that number and take David’s number fast, once you reach him take me on conference,” I said.
“Okay, I shall get back to you soon.” He said and hung up the call.
I was elated after talking to my Brij. I waited for the call impatiently and in the meantime my screen showed, ‘Mamma calling…’
“Mamma, I am on cloud nine today. My meeting was victorious. I talked to my one old friend. How are you?” I talked loudly without caring about the people around.
“I must say, that girl is quite lucky for you,” I got a diverse answer and my excitement level lowered down to zero.
“Mamma, whom are you talking about?” I asked surprisingly.
“The one we have chosen for you. She is very pretty, compatible and perfect for you, beta,” Mamma sounded very happy and enthusiastic.
“Err, again you have started this. Has she liked my photograph?” I prayed the answer to be a big no.
“Oh, actually we had forgotten to carry your photograph with us. Her mother is very funny, she said, “If the parents are good looking then obviously the child will also be handsome”. Her father was not present today. We can meet him some other day. Even though the girl is perfect, we will finalize once you too meet her, okay?” Mamma urged.
“Mamma, why are you in a mad rush about my marriage? I am not prepared to take all these responsibilities,” I said.
“We have only finalized the girl. By the time you actually get married, you will have turned 27 which is a proper age. Otherwise, do you want to get married at 37?”
I heard a waiting tone on my phone, I checked, it was Brij. I wanted to put an end to that conversation.
“Mamma, I have finalized. Get it done. Bye!” I disconnected the call and attended the other, we three started saying hello simultaneously.
“Vinayak, where have you been dear?” asked David. His voice was so loud that I had to bring down the calling volume to the minimum.
“We can discuss that later. First you tell me… where are you?”
“You know we both are in Delhi today, I am here for a camp and David is here to purchase new machines for his Gym and Spa. I wish you too were here. By the way, can’t you be here by tomorrow?” Brij sprang a surprise on me.
“You know, luckily, I am in Delhi itself. Let’s hang out today.” I said breathlessly. Now they were shocked.
Meeting old friends after a long time is a real treat. The days we spend with our friends, leave a deep impression on us. We may forget to call them, talk about them, even forget what they did for us. However, we can’t forget the memorable times that we spent together.
Where did we arrange our reunion plan? And how was it?
Partying with My Buddies
Indeed, friends are the most important ingredients in the recipe of life.
It was around 10 when we met at the place we used to live earlier in our struggling days. David, who was in a black narrow jeans and a light blue polo T-shirt whereas Brij appeared in a denim jeans and a check shirt. We hugged each other… expressed affection and felt good to see each other doing financially well.
“Hey you are looking like our principal Haridhar quite a professional, chum.” David made a compliment.
“And you are looking like Hulk. You have put on so much weight,” I commented targeting his growing tummy.
“What do you say about me?” Asked Brij.
We observed him from head to toe.
“Ummmm…you haven’t changed much.” Said David teasingly.
“No, he is a changed man. Now he looks more grown up,” I poked fun.
“Don’t make a mockery guys!” He pleaded.
“Do you know about Aman? What would he be doing?” I enquired.
“No, I don’t know. He is also not using Facebook. He might probably have joined his father’s business.” Replied Brij. He then added as an after though, “Guys, now the good thing is that we can add each other on Facebook and WhatsApp. I was really missing our Facebook brawl… the way you spoiled my good posts too.”
“Truly, it was a real fun.” I confessed in a deep agreement.
“Why did you call us here, Vinayak? We could have gone somewhere else like in any bar, pub or disco.” David asked me while taking out a cigarette.
With the changing time, one should not forget his past. Success ought not to go to one’s head and transport him on to an ego-trip. So, I always salute and accord exceptional value to those moments of trials and agony we friends went through in order never to forget our humble beginnings. Introspection always makes one a better person.
“Because guys, I want to take you to our old room. We shall relive our some past moments, have liquor at the roof top and have a blast!” I revealed my plan.
“The plan sounds like fun but impractical. How will the landlord allow us to enter in that building?” Brij raised a doubt. David lit the cigarette.
“Really, you haven’t changed a bit, Brij. You are still a party popper. It won’t take an arm and leg to try this. Come on dude. Let’s give it a shot,” I tried to boost him up.
“Yeah, don’t be a chicken,” David said while drawing in a puff.
“How many packets do you finish in a day now?” I asked David when he handed me a cigarette.
“Two or more a day,” he replied.
“Then, you are hardly going to cross even 40,” said Brij.
“Who wants to live after 40?” David said on a sad note.
I had already arranged a bottle of whisky (Imperial blue whisky that we used to be able to afford in our those days).
We subtly went upstairs towards the roof. Some old neighbors looked at us like as if the devils. We saw out old room which was locked from outside. The whirlpool of the whole memories of the place ran through my mind. The landlord could have caught us red-handed at any time. But, we were all set to enjoy that thrill too.
We put down the stuff we had, and observed some noticeable changes in the colony. The whole colony appeared to be living merrily in our absence.
“Hey! Look at that girl, she must be missing us. Remember, how once I had thrown a rose at her?” David said pointing at the neighbor girl strolling on her roof… we broke into a hearty laughter.
“Yeah, she is still searching her lover in you, David. Just go there and tell her that her Romeo is back.” Brij mocked. We burst into a roaring laughter. But I don’t know how come I reminisced my past days with Nidhi when I saw my much preferred location of calling.
We made a circle and covered the alcoholic stuff in between. Soda, spicy fruits chaat, special peanut chaat, cheese roll, Bingo and grilled chicken made it more special.
I opened the bottle, filled our glasses. We raised our glasses.
“Cheers!” We exclaimed in unison:
I gulped down my first peg in a single breath. David and Brij finished it up to a half and stuffed the fruit chaat pieces into their mouth.
“It looks, you have become damn alcoholic,” professed Brij.
“It’s not like that. I consume it once in a blue moon,” I clarified.
David lit a cigarette.
“This was the same place where life had sucked us, but even then, I love this place.” said David.
“Remember, how had the landlord evicted us,” I dredged.
“He was a big asshole! But, he was left with no choice either. We never paid him on time,” added David.
After consuming 3 heavy (Or Patiyala peg in other popular name) pegs, each of us started talking nonsense.
“I always missed you buddies. There was a different fun in those days. I wish to return to the past and to relive those days all over again,” said David while putting his both hands around our shoulders as the cricketers do before starting a match.
“Living without a fan in the month of June…My God! I can’t even imagine all that now,” I said.
“I didn’t play any game after that. And let me unfold this today that I used to win matches by cheating. It was fun, guys,” unveiled Brij.
It is very rightly said that the past looks pleasanter in retrospect.
“And do you know anything about Aman and his present drug addiction?” I asked while pouring liquor into the glass.
“Certainly, he loves that more than anything else.” Said Brij.
For the next two hours we drank like a fish, shared our success stories to each other.
I even unfolded the tale behind my break up.
Usually, people become over emotional especially after consuming alcohol… miss their love, if any, very much. They want to talk to them, and sometimes, they curse having been cheated.
I tried to call Nidhi after getting drunk. However, the number was switched off.
Brij had his camp’s bag, where he had put in a blanket, three of us slept covering ourselves with that single blanket. That was indeed a sound sleep after ages.
In the morning, I found myself locked between David’s feet. I picked up my cell phone and checked the time. It was 9:36 am. I had to leave for Dehradun.
We had our breakfast in our favourite Dhaba of old good days. After completing our reunion, we went for our respective places, making promises to keep in touch.
Our reunion was a breath of fresh air to me.
It was the month of February. I got a vicious shock when my brother enlightened me about my possible marriage ceremony after three months in May.
“What? How is it possible? Isn’t it too early? Will there be no engagement ceremony?” I asked instinctively.
“Yes, but not a big one. It will be held next month.” He told.
“When have they fixed it?” I asked surprisingly.
“I think, it’s not fixed yet, but, they are planning. Moreover, mom told me that you had showed green signal for the marriage.” He said.
I said while being overjoyed. I regretted.
Nervousness clutched me tightly and didn’t even let my eyelids blink. I was not prepared to exchange rings. I was not prepared to be someone’s so-called fiancé. Moreover, what about Nidhi whom I truly love? I had a glimmer of hope still left in me.
I got stunned! After recovering from the jolt I asked the next question, “Have you seen the girl I am supposed to marry?”
“No, I haven’t. I think you should plan to meet her.” He suggested.
I nodded in the response and left.
I stopped the car outside a mobile recharge shop. I saw a customer talk to the shopkeeper,and he seemed tense.
“What might be the problem then?” the customer asked.
“It would be a network problem only. There is no problem in the handset. You should do one thing … switch off your cell phone for two minutes,” the shopkeeper suggested.
The customer switched off his phone.
“O.K., tell me your number,” the shopkeeper asked.
He dialled the number and turned on the loudspeaker.
“The number you are trying to reach is currently busy,” All heard this sound.
“Now see… my girlfriend thought yesterday that I had been talking to a girl for the night long.” The customer grudged mournfully.
The same situation made me realize that I should not have planted seeds of doubts about Nidhi for a foolhardy reason. My predicament was just like a stupid who loses his treasure all because he does not recognize it. I asked for one more post-paid connection and left accusing, abusing and slapping myself for having broken up an invaluable relationship.
At night, I took the number of the girl (whom I was supposed to get engaged) from my Mamma. I thought for the best ice-breaking phrase before calling. Nervously, I pressed the calling button.
“Aaaachhhii…..chhhiii….aaaachhiii….” this was the sneezing sound which I heard continuously for three times when I called. I ended the call without saying anything.
Oops!…a bad omen!
“Sorry, I am suffering from ‘worse’ cold, you can text me,” read her message. I smiled at her expression and started wondering what to say if she asks who I was. Your spouse or your fiancé or your boyfriend; I composed an odd message: “My mother gave me this number. Hi!”
Perhaps, she recognized me instantly. Her reply was: “Oh! Yes… yes… yes! How are you?”
“I am fine, you don’t seem well, what happened?” I asked about her health even after hearing three unpleasant sneezing sounds.
She replied: “Not well, actually I have cold. How is your mother?”
Mamma was right. She really seemed compatible, I talked to her for approximately ten minutes, and shared my aspiration to meet her.
“Okay, I can meet you at 2 pm tomorrow. Will it be feasible for you?” she said.
“O.K., done. See you tomorrow.” I chirped, and hung up.
For the next 10 minutes, I made her picture in my mind, obviously, I was a bit excited to meet her.
“How does she look like? What shall we talk about? Where shall we go? How shall I find her in the first meeting whether she is perfect for me or not? How would I judge her personality?” A number of questions arose in my mind.
At the same time, I wondered, how come can one choose a life partner in the very first meeting? It’s blatantly obvious that in the first meeting, everybody will behave nicely, then how will we find out the good match? In my opinion, there should be at least three meetings between the boy and the girl and a few hours of talk. Deciding in haste or under pressure can cause failure in the relationship in future. After all, it’s one of the most crucial decisions of our life.
What will happen in my case…?
I finished my meeting as early as I could and reached Rishikul before the scheduled time. I parked my car along the road and played songs.
I recollected my first day when I had met Nidhi.
Heck! I hadn’t asked the girl’s name in a hurry. What didn’t this thought come to my mind?
Later, a girl, in a very alluring outfit appeared to be coming towards me at a distance of approximately 25 meters. If it were her, I could say that the first glimpse of my would-be fiancée was great. As the girl inched closer, she started resembling Nidhi. I looked at her attentively. I rubbed my eyes and saw again. Yes… yes…yes… my eyes recognized her. She was none other than Nidhi!!! Seeing me inside the car, she too was baffled. She passed by the car and looked back confoundedly. I adjusted the rear view mirror to see her clearly.
A glimpse of Nidhi… after a long time benumbed me. My mind and limbs became stiffened. Moving out of my stationary car became difficult. I called on that number and Nidhi seemed to have received the call.
Finally, I succeeded in getting out of the car. I talked over the phone. Maybe, I couldn’t recognize her voice as her nose was congested because of cold, and in addition, I didn’t expect this.
“Nidhi, were it you?” I asked.
We faced each other.
She came back and stood across me. I took a glance at her from top to bottom. She looked beautiful and charming as ever. Uncontrollable emotions ran through my body. I couldn’t understand how to react. I became tongue-tied. I hugged her and encircled my arms around her waist.
“Nidhi, I have been missing you a lot. I love you so much. Why did you leave me…why did you leave me?” I gushed into her ear.
I couldn’t rest my head on her left shoulder for more than four seconds. She jostled me away with her hands. My jaw dropped down.
“How dare you touch me? I have not forgotten the pain you inflicted upon me. Guess what, If I knew it were you … I would have declined your proposal right away.” she said furiously.
“Nidhi, Just forget about what had happened earlier. I was also hurt without any fault on my part, but I have moved on. I have forgotten the soreness I suffered after getting apart, I have forgotten my tears which made my pillow wet every single night, I have forgotten that you broke up the relation just because of Sneha despite the fact that I never had any relation with her. I have forgotten everything which made me feel like hell,” I spoke in a convincing way as I got closer to her.
“You can forget everything, but I can’t. You are a boy and I am a girl. You may be strong but I am very fragile. Now, I am not in the state of giving this relationship another chance. I am going and it would be better if you please tell your folks that you didn’t like me. I shall also convey the same message to my parents,” she pleaded with her folded hands.
“Nidhi, my Goddess, please, try to understand. God has given us another chance to resolve everything, to begin a new life, to forge a new relationship and this is all we had dreamt of,” I choked. I was trying to persuade her in the best possible way.
“It is of no use of talking all this since it is already all-over. Better, if you get over all this at the earliest. Bye.” She said, and started walking.
Her each step was increasing the distance between us… I wanted to bridge the gap.
I walked behind her fast, held her hand and pulled back slightly. I immediately left her hand when I recalled the result of holding her hand before.
“Please, think one more time. Don’t make a rash decision,” I noticed her eyes floating over tears.
“I could have accorded this relationship another chance… but after seeing your photographs in Sneha’s cell phone I can’t give you the authority to snatch my smile again. I can’t trust you at all,” she said with the tears rolling down her cheeks.
“Nidhi, please try to understand what actually happened. That day, I was going to Delhi and she met me accidently,” I justified.
“I know everything and I don’t need your explanation,” she said annoyingly.
She started drifting away from me. Again! I felt choked, shocked and frozen.
“Don’t go please. I love you so much and can’t really live without you.” I wanted to beg her loudly but I couldn’t. I became speechless and felt helpless. I was dismayed at the strange destiny. She left me all alone.
I stood motionless for a long time in a state of anguish. Many passersby passed by me, but nobody could understand my pain. Nobody could see my hidden tears. Nobody could observe an agonizing pain in my heart.
Later, I drove to Har ki Pauri and sat there all alone. I reminisced savor my time with Nidhi.
“What shall I tell my mother? What if she asks how is the girl? What if Nidhi turns down my proposal? What if my mother comes to know about our past relationship?” Many questions came to my mind but I had answers of none.
I started praying fervently to Mother Ganges to give my sole love back to me. I can’t live without her. Without Nidhi, I might not be able to live for long…my life may lose any significance and become an utter failure…
On way to Dehradun, I kept on thinking about our destiny. How come my family found only Nidhi despite ample of girls being there in Dehradun itself. If it was decided by the destiny, then why there was no happy ending to it?
Mamma’s questions would be difficult to answer. Hence, I preferred to make my way to the office. I attempted a foolish act to run away from the last incident which bothered me a lot. I was so frustrated that I had to make my way to a bar late at night. I dodged the calls from Mamma as I drank like a fish. My effort of calling Nidhi went fruitless. She disconnected my calls each time I tried. After getting irritated, she switched off the phone. Thereafter, I called David and took Brij on conference.
“I have a problem to share with you, guys,” I said with a drunken voice.
“I have understood your problem. It must be related to a girl. Am I right?” David answered promptly.
I wondered if the ‘problem’ was a ‘girl’. Though, he was right.
“My Romeo, haven’t you recovered yet?” asked Brij.
I narrated the game of cruel destiny with me to them.
“See, I would suggest you to divert your mind. Whenever you feel bad, just start doing something to amuse yourself through any activity that is dear to you,” David suggested.
“I would suggest you to find a new girl and forge a new relationship. Idiot, learn something from David who changes girls like clothes,” Brij suggested. I finished my glass and asked, “What if she ditches me too?”
“Well, you tell me one thing, would you stop making love to your wife if she gets pregnant?” We all burst into laughter at David’s jovial repartee.
I somehow reached home under the grip of alcohol, hid myself in my room, lay down in the bed without changing my clothes. A couple of minutes later, Mamma entered my room and switched on the light.
“What happened? Why did you not change your clothes?” Her voice woke me up.
“I will do that Mamma, I am feeling tired,” I said feeling very drowsy.
“You also didn’t tell me whether u liked the girl or not,” she sat next to me. I tried to maintain a safe distance so as to escape from being smelled.
“I liked her but I am not sure whether or not she liked me,” I said, avoiding to make an eye contact.
“Why won’t she like you? You are well-educated, handsome and also you have a deep pocket…what else does a girl want?” Although, Mamma was right but I refrained from telling reality.
“Can’t say Mamma. Could we please talk on this tomorrow? I am sleepy,” I urged.
“What about your dinner?” She said while stroking my hair with her hand.
“I have had it,” I said yawningly.
Eventually, Mamma left the room warning: “This is my first and last warning. If you ever again come home in this state, then be prepared for the consequences.” I felt so insulted.
By the time I would fall asleep, my phone rang again. However, my head was aching badly even then I received the call.
“Hey bro, what’s up?” Arnav, my cousin, asked.
“Fine,” I said unwillingly with closed eyes.
“I know you are not fine and you are upset because of Nidhi. Aren’t you?” He queried.
“Just leave that.” I said.
“It’s all because of me. Had I not given her contact number to you then neither you would you have fallen in love nor gotten hurt,” he said.
“It was just my bad luck,” I said sleepily.
“You seem sleepy. Have a sound sleep and don’t worry… everything is going to be fine.” He said like some fortune teller.
‘What was there in my destiny’, I was worrying?
Proposal Turned Down
In breakfast, a hot parantha was thumped on my plate as my mother was in a bad mood since last night.
“Oh come on Mamma, we shall find another girl,” I said.
“It’s not a matter of finding another girl. How can they turn down the proposal like this. Where else will they find such a good family?” mother spoke annoyingly.
“What is the use of getting bent out of shape. It’s their choice,” I uttered in a convincing tone.
I wanted to open my heart before her and acknowledge everything. But, my courage was subdued by my cowardliness.
“By the way, what did you talk about?” she asked suspiciously.
“We only exchanged pleasantries and nothing else,” I said.
“When I talked to her she looked very nice, behaved nicely, what happened then all of a sudden?” she tried to dig out the reason. I got afraid when I saw Mamma behaving like a CID officer.
“Mamma, as I told you the reason. She must have disliked me.” I tried to put an end to this conversation.
“Can’t understand what the girls want now a days. They are studying a few words and pretending as if they are geniuses.” She said while collecting plates from the dining table. She proceeded towards the kitchen silently. I left for office.
I was in my office reading Daily horoscope in a newspaper. A knocking sound was heard.
“Come in,” I spoke loudly enough so that the person could hear me.
Mr. Rajeev greeted me and got inside. He was carrying a newspaper and he sat across me.
“Sir, our competitor in front of our office has also launched retail in their institute,” he unveiled.
“What? Who told you this?” I asked placing my elbow on the table.
He showed me an advertisement in the newspaper. I went through that fast.
“Bloody copy cat… why can’t they have their own ideas?” I raised my voice in disgust.
“They can’t copy our monopoly, we have good placement record, we have tied up with a good number of companies. It will take a long time for them to make a foothold in this industry. They aren’t any threat to us, sir,” he said confidently.
“It makes you feel good when you see self-assurance in your employee’s eyes.”
“No matter how strong we are, we should never underestimate our opponent. Isn’t it?” I set forth my views.
He nodded in a positive response.
Mr. Rajeev was senior enough in terms of business and even in relationship as well. He has two daughters and a son.
“For how long have you been married?” I asked him. He wondered at my question. We used to generally talk shop all the time. This was probably the first instance when I was trying to peep into his personal life.
“I have been married for around….umm… good 26 years,” he said. I noticed contentment on his face.
“I beg your pardon…but, did you ever have any conflict with your wife?” I asked.
“Yes, many times,” he said instantly as he comforted himself on the chair completely.
“Once as a result of the conflict, we didn’t talk for a couple of weeks. However, we resolved the issue later,” he added.
“Oh really! So who took the first step towards reconciliation?” I poked further.
“Of course, the man has to take the first step.” He grinned.
Mr. Rajeev bore a striking resemblance to someone but I could never summon it up.
“You resemble someone but don’t know who. It always looks like I have seen you somewhere,” I said.
“There are atleast seven people in this world of the same of say similar look. You must have seen one of them.” He said sheepishly.
I wanted to share my problem with him. Though I couldn’t do so because of the professionalism and generation gap. If not with Mr. Rajeev then whom should I share my story with?
The Secret of the Diary
I reached home after getting exhausted due to tiresome schedule. Bhabhi offered a glass of water to me. I drank it and switched on the television.
“Change your clothes first then watch TV,” Mamma shouted from the kitchen.
“Later, I am highly tired,” I said flipping over the channels.
“I am saying all this for your well being only,” Mamma said rudely.
I didn’t counter this. I noticed my mother a bit harsh that moment. I was watching an exclusive Bollywood movie trailer when Bhabhi turned off the television.
“Why did you turn off the television?” I asked abruptly.
“Come out, I have to talk to you,” she looked serious. I snatched the remote from her hand and turned on the television yet again.
“Can we talk here, please?” I pleaded.
This time she unplugged the wire.
“It’s very confidential so come outside,” She insisted.
We went to the terrace while anticipating the matter. I was horrified, what could be the issue?
“What’s the matter?” I asked curiously.
“You know today Mamma was dusting in your room and she found your diary,” she said.
“What to worry about that? There isn’t anything personal in the diary,” I retorted.
“Your diary means your girlfriend Nidhi’s diary, which she had given to you. She has even come to know that Nidhi was the same girl they had looked for you,” Bhabhi unfolded.
I cursed myself hundred times for not keeping that dairy at a safe place.
“Did she say anything about the diary?” I asked spontaneously.
“She seemed very upset. Perhaps, she will talk to you regarding this.” She finished.
I was still recovering from that shock. At the same moment, I heard my name. It was Mamma calling me.
I took steps diffidently towards Mamma’s room. I knew why Mamma had called me and what will she talk about. Hence, I started thinking for a fabricated story.
Mamma was squatted on the bed. I sat across her on the chair farthest from the bed.
“How was your day? Why are you so tired?” she asked.
I knew she wanted to ask something else but she didn’t want to ask bluntly.
We hardly start such conversation directly to reach up to the key point we add unrelated conversation as a starter.
“The day was fairly good. I had a seminar in my Institute so I was feeling a bit tired,” I reasoned.
“I also saw your advertisement in the last classified. I felt really good seeing your institute’s name,” she said.
“Yes, we had issued that advertisement,” I replied.
I was still waiting for the undesirable conversation which was supposed to take place at any point of time.
Mamma took out my diary from under the pillow.
“Is it yours?” Mamma asked me as she showed to me the diary.
I looked at the diary. How could an answer be no?
“No, it’s not mine. I mean it’s mine but belongs to someone else. Where did you find this?” I counter questioned.
“I found it in your room and now I got to know why they turned down our proposal. Now I am not asking about how you started it. I am only asking why didn’t she accept it?” Mamma asked.
I had clear blank expressions on my face. “Mamma, perhaps she doesn’t want to continue this. We had a number of conflicts earlier. So, she doesn’t find me a good partner,” I replied casually.
“Son, only a few people get a chance like this and you simply don’t let it go. You always accuse me that I am kind of an orthodox person. But, I don't see eye to eye on this. I never ever can stop anybody to be with the right person. I am only afraid of fake relations,” she said.
First time ever I saw Mamma behaving like a friend. I got over the fear that I initially had.
“Mamma, I tried to convince her but all went in vain. She thinks that I have a relation with her close friend,” I said without giving my words a prior concern.
“Then, it’s your fault, you couldn’t win her trust. Fie on you! I liked her very much when I had met her. In fact, I wanted to see her as your wife, still I want that. Will you make my wish come true?” she asked.
It took me sharp five seconds before comprehending my mother’s wish and then responding.
“I will,” I said. At the same time, I thought about the possibilities. “Is it possible anyway?” I added.
“I have nothing to do with that. Do whatever but I want to see her as your wife at any cost,” she urged.
Her last sentence echoed in my ears for a long time. Though, I felt supported… I pondered upon many ideas.
It was late at night after dinner when I discussed the matter with my mother. Now, I had one more person with whom I could talk about Nidhi.
“Mamma, I have been thinking over the matter for the last two hours. However, nothing seemed to be working,” I said.
“Where lies the difficulty?” she asked.
“She lives in Haridwar and I live in Dehradun, how will it be workable?” I answered.
“You should have thought about it when you started your relationship. The distance was same at that point of time as it is now? Did you ask me then?” she responded sarcastically.
“I know Mamma. But now the circumstances have changed. I have another work as well,” I said.
“People do have two choices: either to grab or to let the opportunity fritter away,” she said philosophically.
By the time I would grasp the gist of her sentence, I heard my father calling for Mamma. My Mamma stood up to leave.
“I know you are not happy within. She can fill your life with all the happiness. She can erase all your woes. Good night!” she said and left.
It was perfectly true that I was not happy within. I was simply like a living dead. My life was incomplete without her. I passed my days but did not live them. I would pretend not to get affected by her absence. I would try my best to divert my mind whereas her memories would distract my mind every now and then. I would encourage myself to move on whereas my heart would compel me to keep up with her memories.
I had a chance to fulfill my aspirations and wishes. We had planned our post married life during our relationship. We had even chosen our room color, curtain color, utilities in the room and many more things… the only aim was to make them come true.
Being in relationship we usually dream beyond words. We know it will be thorny but we also know that it won’t be impossible. What happened in our case anyway?
A Last-Ditch Attempt
So far, the life has given me countless surprises. I saw many vicissitudes, not only in my career but also in my love life. Yet, I welcomed them all. Life was going on smoothly untill I met Nidhi again.
I consoled myself to live without her even after her rejection. Then, all of a sudden, Mamma found the diary. I couldn’t imagine whether my Mamma finding was a good or a bad omen.
Perhaps, destiny had something different for me. Either the destiny didn’t want me to live without my love or it wanted to give me more pain. I was all set for the either.
I tied myself to give one more attempt to find my love. The good thing was that I had full support of my family except my father who was not aware of it. He would kill us all if he found anything fishy.
At night, we were having our dinner together. Mamma was serving me, my favourite dish “Kofte” an Indian dish, made of lotus stem.
“It’s enough Mamma. I am full,” I signed so as not to have any more.
“You have it. In Haridwar, nobody is going to insist you. I know, you are very sluggish at cooking.” Even after my denial, she filled my bowl. That’s a mother!
My father didn’t have a clue about my plan. So he asked: “Haridwar? Why are you going there?”
I hadn’t thought for the reason that could sound convincing. Hence, I started fumbling in search of a good reply.
Nothing stroke to my mind instantly.
Thank God, Mamma jumped in between and saved me.
She lied: “Don’t you know? He has been selected for a special business-training programme. So, he will have to be there.”
My father didn’t seem convinced, “For how many days?”
(Again, days were not fixed. It depended on how quickly I would be able to cajole Nidhi.)
This time, Mamma didn’t have any answer. She made a gesture for telling me the time. But, I was in the same state of quandary. Out of the blue, against my brother’s nature, he stood by me.
“I think, it depends on the performance of a candidate. My two friends also did the same training. One of them completed in one month and another took a bit of more time.”
“Yes, exactly,” I exclaimed.
“Where will you live there?” He probed further.
“I will rent a room,” I said.
“But, why aren’t they providing accommodation facility for the trainees?” The next question was even tricky, logical though. Mamma and brother ran out of lies. They didn’t know how they could save me. My father finished his supper, but Mamma offered one more chapatti to him.
“Have one more chapatti. You ate less in lunch too.”
My father made her eyes big and spoke in raised voice: “Can’t you see? I am done with this.” He shouted irascibly and asked me to answer: “Yes, you tell me.”
“Yes, they were providing me facility but I preferred to live alone. As you know, I could not manage to live in Delhi with my friends. I faced many problems with them,” I tried to reason out.
After telling this, I left my chair and stood in front of the washbasin to wash my hands. Luckily, he didn’t chase me to raise any further questions.
As I had to live in Haridwar for some time, so I needed a responsible person who could look after my institute steadily. I entrusted all my responsibilities to Mr. Rajeev as he is a reliable and deserving person. I asked him to keep me updated.
I was heading on an uncertain and unplanned mission. I packed my luggage and left.
On way to Haridwar, I thought of many ideas, but only a few of them could entertain me. I had a plan to search a room in her colony only.
I reached BHEL and I met my one acquaintance, Kalyan, a broker by profession, who promised me to find a room as he knew the city like the back of his hand.
He took me to the same colony where Nidhi lived. While driving my car in the street, I wished for a glimpse of her. I was just 100 meters away from Nidhi’s home.
“How far is it now?” I asked.
“Stop outside that shop,” I saw the shop and stopped my car. The shop was big and fully crammed up with all kinds of necessary home related items. One could easily find everything.
We both got out of the car. Kalyan greeted the shopkeeper, who would be in his late sixties. He was wearing a V- neck white sweater.
“Uncle, he is my friend Vinayak looking for a room.” He said. I folded my hands and greeted him with a nice smile on my face in order to create a good first impression.
We don’t get a second chance to make first impression.
The shopkeeper looked at me and asked: “What are you into?”
Kalyan answered on my behalf, “Uncle, he has his own institute in Dehradun. He is an engineer by qualification. You don’t worry at all regarding him.”
I didn’t say anything; I just passed a "he-is-right" smile along with nodding my head.
The shopkeeper asked another question: “So, for how long will you stay here?”
This was the most difficult question to answer. It all depended on Nidhi.
“I will be here for about a month,” I replied. There was no point in telling a lie.
“But, we are looking for a tenant who could be here at least for year long,” He said.
“Uncle, after that I will arrange other tenants for you free of charge. No commission.” said Kalyan.
“O.K,. see the room.” the shopkeeper said.
He took us to have a look at the room. However, I was hardly bothered about the room. Any dingy or cramped room would work out for me. Though, this room was good though.
“Uncle, How much will you charge?” I asked.
“Rs. 2000.” He said. I took out my wallet and handed the money to him.
I straightway ran to the roof and made sure that Nidhi’s house was visible from there. But, I couldn’t recognize her roof as many houses had been built in that colony.
“Thank you so much dear,” I expressed my gratitude towards Kalyan.
“It’s my pleasure dear. Anything else you want me to do for you?” He offered.
“Umm… yes. The most important work.”
“Tell me.” He said.
“Wait, I will just bring my bag,” I said. I scurried downstairs and brought my bag from the car.
I took out a diary from the bag, which was fully packed with an orange- color gift wrapping paper. I handed over the diary to Kalyan and said: “You have to hand over this diary to Nidhi,”
“But, I haven’t seen her. How will I recognize her?” He said.
“You have to pretend that you are the courier company’s guy. If you don’t find her at home, don’t give it to anybody else. Simply ask that you need her signature.”
“I am scared!” He said while taking the diary and probably thinking, ‘why Vinayak wanted to give her the diary…? What was written in that…?’
Well, this was the same diary which Nidhi had given me. She had urged me to complete it when we were in relationship. However, I didn’t write anything then. But, after getting apart, I wrote every day. I shared everything in the diary. I also penned out several poems for her.
I had mentioned in it that how I felt after being separated. How much I missed her? How Sneha became the reason for our break up? How much had I struggled to establish my business?... and many other moments of my life.
I took a chance for winning back her heart so that she could forgive me and she could give me a chance to correct my past mistakes.
I crossed my fingers.
All eyes were set on Kalyan’s performance. If he would do the way I wanted, then it could keep the hope of meeting her alive.
Moments later, Kalyan entered the room when I was busy in arranging my stuff. I was elated, not seeing the diary in his hand.
“Have you given the diary to her?” I asked excitedly.
He smiled and said: “Yes.” triumphantly, I hugged him tightly. I behaved in a manner as if she had agreed to marry me.
“What did she say?” I asked grabbing his arm.
“First, a lady came outside, I got afraid. Then, I asked her to send Nidhi.”
I was enjoying every single scene.
“And then?” I asked.
“Then she came, and signed this paper,” he showed me the paper which I had got from a courier company in Dehradun. I recognized Nidhi’s sign.
Next, I was looking forward to hear from Nidhi with bated breath.
My tiny single room couldn't entertain me. In barely four hours, I started becoming homesick. In Delhi, four other friends were there to reduce my homesickness/ But here I was a lonely bird. My only friends, at the moment, were the walls of the room.
It was evening time around 6 pm. And as per my second plan, I went to my landlord’s shop. I knew that Nidhi’s family purchased groceries from the only shop available in the colony.
“Hi! Uncle, what’s up?” I greeted.
“Hey!… you there. Any problem?” He asked showing concern for his new tenant.
“No, it’s just that I am new to this place. I don’t know anybody here. So, I thought to have a word with you.” I rationalised.
“Yes sure… come on…come inside,” He said while weighing sugar on the balance. Three more customers were already waiting for their turn. I went inside.
“Uncle, can I lend you my hand?”
“No, it’s okay. You just sit.” He said.
“It will help me divert my mind too, please.” I insisted.
“OK, as you wish,” while he was dealing with a long slip of a customer, I tackled two more customers.
“What do you want?” I asked a lady customer who was carrying a jar-cane in her hand. She handed it to me.
“Two litres refined oil,” she ordered. I had to deal with the first difficult task. If it would be any simple items like toothpaste, tealeaves, biscuits, Maggi or other easily spotted things, it would be rather easy.
Anyway, I didn’t want to assign this work to uncle. So, I took the jar-cane and searched for an oil canister, but, my eyes couldn’t do justice at the moment. Eventually, I had to ask uncle.
“Uncle, where have you kept refined oil?”
“It’s there only. Just bend down. And fill it with two big scoops.”
“Why the hell I couldn’t see it by myself.” I yelled at my eyes.
I filled two litres of refined oil. Oh God! It was not a good experience. I spilt some oil on the floor.
Sneakily, I cleaned the oil with my own handkerchief when I didn’t find any cloth over there. My hands got smeared with oil. I cleaned the jar-cane from outside. I made sure that uncle could not see my course of action.
That is why he had warned me earlier.
Secondly, I dealt with rather an easy work when the next customer asked me to give two kg Potato. Although the work was easy, yet I kept adding and withdrawing potatoes to weigh correctly.
For another hour, I helped uncle in dealing with many customers. Gradually, my speed started increasing. In every customer, I could imagine a Nidhi’s family member.
In the evening, I went for a drive to the city. I visited a famous lord Shiva temple and made my offerings.
My lonely night in Nidhi’s colony passed terribly. It was a new place for me to live. Whole night I couldn’t sleep well. I even saw nightmares, which frightened me. I waited for the dawn to break.
In the morning, I had to go to SMJN College to deliver a lecture on entrepreneurship which Mr. Rajeev had arranged.
This was the third plan in my bag of tricks to mollify Nidhi. By delivering a lecture in her college, she might get impressed, which would perhaps change her mind set.
I turned on my laptop and rechecked all the slides which I had made in power point. I practised one more time. I wore a grey business suit, and left the place.
On the way, first I prayed to God and then had breakfast. Nervousness started attacking on me as I was heading towards the college.
“This is all for Nidhi. But what if she does not happen to attend?” I thought to myself.
I took my car into the college gate and parked it on the parking lot just as I was guided by the guards. I got out of the car and saw my huge banner hanging in the campus area. Some college students noticed me. I took out my laptop bag and diary. I asked one student for the way to the principal’s office.
I observed the principal reading newspaper. He looked in his mid fifties, wearing a grey safari suit and cap. His black mustache added more marks to his gentleman look.
“May I come in, sir?” I asked.
“Yes, please.” He said while peeping through the gap between his specs and head. Perhaps, he could not make out.
“Sir, this is Vinayak from Victory institute…” he recognized me before I could give him full introduction.
He stood up and extended his hand for the handshake. “It’s nice seeing you here. Thanks for coming. Please, have a seat.” He said. He looked very modest at first meeting.
“Mr. Rajeev told me about you. He is highly impressed by you.” He said while buzzing the call bell. A peon came inside.
“No, he is a great personality by himself. It’s just that the great people always talk greatly,”
“Two cups of tea and some snacks,” He ordered and the peon left.
“Sir, at what time have you fixed my presentation?” I asked. He looked at his golden color watch.
“11 am. Still one hour to go,” He grinned.
For the next one hour, I waited for the clock to hit 11. I had a candid chitchat with the principal.
I observed a gigantic hall fully equipped with lights and sitting arrangements with more than a thousand students sitting in the hall waiting for me to get the ball rolling. Everybody stared at me when I proceeded towards the stage with the principal. I took a glance at the numerous students who were looking enthusiastic and vigorous.
I wondered if Nidhi too was present there.
One of the staff members introduced me to the students. He spoke very highly of me which made me more nervous than before. The projector was ready with the slides. Finally, I took charge and commenced my presentation.
“Honourable principal, respected teachers, staff members and dear students… this is Vinayak standing in front of you and I am elated to be sharing my personal experience about business with all of you. I bet, if you understand the crux of my presentation, no power can stop you from becoming a successful businessperson. My presentation will last about half an hour…”
I started my presentation by narrating an inspirational story to them which made them curious to listen to me for the next half an hour. My questions in between kept all the students on my toes.
My whole heed shifted to my presentation. As a result, I had literally forgotten that the presentation was being delivered because of Nidhi.
After about 35 minutes, I finished my presentation while wishing the students all the very best for their future. “I hope you all will soon achieve and relish your success. Thank you so very much for paying your kind attention. You all are very patient listeners.” I uttered my last words and summed up the presentation.
The thunder of clapping was the lucid evidence that I had delivered a mind-blowing presentation. The principal looked impressed. However, I only wanted to impress one person. Some students talked to me personally about my journey after the presentation and took my visiting card.
My presentation was successful, but I didn’t get success in my own mission. I even didn’t know whether Nidhi had attended the session or not. But, I had hoped that the students would definitely include it in their topic of chitchat. Nidhi would surely notice my big banner in the campus.
After the session, I went to my room. It was noontime. I was resting my head on pillow, thinking about the further step.
My phone buzzed, which distracted my mind, I received the call. It was Mamma.
“Mamma, I am missing you all,” I said.
“So are we. I am agog to hear some good news, is there any?” She asked curiously, but I disappointed her.
“Not yet Mamma. Today, I delivered a presentation in her college and it was spellbinding,” I reported enthusiastically.
“It’s not the time to impress her, it’s the time to woo her,”
“I know Mamma. But, things are not happening the way I want. It will take time,” I said helplessly.
“Okay, let us see how much time it takes. Your father has come for lunch. Have you had your meal on time. Take care… Bye.” She ended the call.
An Accidental Meeting
A week passed by, but nothing happened. I tried to contact Sneha, the actual reason behind all this. But I couldn’t reach her. Many times I passed by Nidhi’s house in the hope to have a glimpse of her but to no avail.
It was the evening of 11th February, a ‘Promise Day’ as per the Valentine’s day calendar.
The sky was overcast. I joined Uncle in his shop. While I was hunting for the kidney beans’ sack, I was taken aback by a very well familiar voice.
“Uncle, have you got Dove shampoo?” I heard this. I discontinued my work and took my eager eyes to the front counter. I was awestruck to see Nidhi, standing outside the counter.
She was in her pink color nightwear. She had let her hair run through her shoulders. She looked charming as usual. Hesitantly, I stood up, carrying poly bag in my hand. I walked towards the counter. She was equally wonder struck seeing me there. I could sense her state of ambiguity.
While Uncle was busy in dealing with some other customers, I grabbed the Dove shampoo’s bottle and put it on the counter. Fortunately, my eyes could spot the shampoo swiftly.
I broke the ice with my shaken voice: “How are you?”
Unwillingly, she muttered “Good.” Her gesture and posture showed that she didn’t want to continue this conversation.
“Uncle, How much for this?” She appeared unreasonably tense.
“Hang on for a while,” Uncle said. I was standing right in front of her but she didn’t look at me at least for a moment.
“I am in scuttle, please, make it fast,” she requested again. I checked the price on the lable. It showed Rs. 68.
“68 rupees.” I said.
She handed me a crisp 100 rupee note. I returned the rest of the amount to her saying, “Wish you a happy promise day.”
“Same to you.” She wished me back in complete unwillingness and left.
I stared at her until she disappeared from my sight. Her reaction to my endeavor showed that I was trying to bridge the gap between sky and earth. She didn’t seem resolving the strife between us. Even, it didn’t seem that if she had taken the diary notes seriously.
Next day, at 9 o’clock, I got myself ready to make a last effort to woo her. I waited on the roof expecting her to come outside of the house for college.
I paid such a close attention that I even didn’t allow my eyes to blink for a fraction of second.
Eventually, my meditation worked. She got out of her house. I skipped down the stairs. Without taking my car, I walked barefoot and started following her like some crazy lover. It was a bit awkward for two reasons: firstly, people could misinterpret it and secondly, it was not good for my status.
I was merely 4-5 steps behind her. I called Nidhi.
“Nidhi, listen to me,” I geared up my speed and had to walk very fast to catch up with her. She looked sideways and gave a blank ‘Don’t-chase-me’ expression.
“Please, don’t follow me,” she started walking faster and drew ahead again. I fell behind by barely a step from her.
“I will welcome your decision. But, please listen to me once. Give me a chance.”
“I have some family problems. Why don’t you understand that?” She said in a very dejected disposition.
“Please share with me. I would be more than happy to help. That’s what I am here for,” I persisted.
I was trying to match my step with her. My feet were aching badly because of small pebbles on the road.
“If you really want to help me, please… leave me alone… for God’s sake.”
“I just want to clear that there is absolutely nothing between Sneha and me. I love you a lot and don’t want to lose you for any imprudent reasons.” We reached at the BHEL chowk. Several auto rickshaws were passing by. She tried to engage an already occupied rickshaw.
“That’s why you captured the photograph and shared our secret with her,” she taunted looking sideways.
Finally, she found an unoccupied rickshaw and got on that. Such a bad timing of the rickshaw! The rickshaw puller started pulling the rickshaw. Holding the rickshaw with my hand, I started walking with it.
“Err…I never shared anything with her. Please, get down the rickshaw and let me clarify.”
The rickshaw puller looked at me and gave a “get-lost” look.
“No need of it. Now, don’t create a drama. Otherwise, you can lose the respect which is still left for you.”
I was the biggest foolish, who made an exhibition of himself and got nothing.
Again, loneliness crept into me and a helplessness gripped me.
I was barefoot in the wild-goose chase. It looked like I was MAD for her but I was not MADE for her. No one was there to get me out of that trauma. I was as alone as Crusoe. My poem, which I had written for Nidhi, fell impeccably true in that case, which was…
“kyun door chale jate ho tum
Mujhko akela chhod jate ho tum
Sanse tumhari me hi hun
Batein tumhari me hi hun
Yadein tumhari me hi hun
To fir kaise… khud se juda ho jate ho tum
Mujhko akela chhod jate ho tum.
Jaise chand bin raat suhani nahi hoti
Waise hi tujh bin koi baat kahani nahi hoti
Khuda ki banayi hui ek cheej tu hi to mujhe bhaati hai
Teri baato se hi to jaan me jaan ati hai
To fir kyun…meri baton me shaamil nahi hoti ho tum
Mujhko akela chhod jate ho tum.
Khush kismat samajhta hun me khud ko
Jo tujhse milne par bhool jata hun dukh ko
Milti hai khushi beshumaar tujhse
Aur milta hai pyar beshumaar tujhse
To fir kyun…meri khusiyo pe vaar kar jate ho tum
Mujhko akela chhod jate ho tum.”
A nagging pain had made a way to my feet after walking on a stony road. But, the pain of my broken heart was more severe than of my feet.
I didn’t want to give any further try to it. I had done my level best in approaching her. I didn’t have staying power to put up with this anymore.
I collected my stuff and dropped the mission in between.
My landlord even got shocked at my sudden plan to go home. But, giving reason to him was reasonless. I had faced many failures before, but, this seemed unbearable.
I reached my home and shared every single happening to my mother.
“I still feel that it hasn’t finished yet. You don’t lose hope. If she is yours, nobody can steal her from you, not even misunderstanding or disbelief. At least now, you would not accuse yourself for having not given it a try. You have done what you possibly could.” My mother consoled me.
“What about your wish? I couldn’t fulfill that.” I said dejectedly.
“It was not for me, rather it was for you. I knew that she was the reason behind your changed behavior. Your naughtiness had vanished somewhere. I just wanted to bring that back.” She unfolded.
I didn’t go to office; I passed my whole day with my family
I sensed damp hair on my cheek, which had spread towards my neck. They made a tickling sensation. I grabbed the pillow. I got a whiff of a familiar aroma. By the time I could sense it more, I got an erotic touch of wet lips kissing on my ear, filling the gap between my fingers, biting my ear, licking my neck. I wanted to open my eyes but I didn’t, then, I heard someone whispering in my ear.
“Love you baby,” it was no one’s but Nidhi’s voice.
Again, I received a breathtaking kiss. The whole act was impeccably seductive.
“Get up baby,” She whispered.
I turned to clutch her in my arms. All of a sudden, I fell off my bed and found myself on floor.
I regained full consciousness. The whole sensational scene disappeared, I looked around but found no one. I put my hand on the bed and touched the place where I had seen Nidhi in the dream. I rested my head on the bed for long. This was the first time I saw Nidhi in my dream ever since we had broken up.
The power of her presence in the dream made me emotional. It was exactly how she used to narrate.
The clock on the wall showed 04:40 am. I got up and lay in bed again.
I got a call on my cell phone from an unknown number around 7 o’clock. I disconnected at once and kept the cell phone aside.
Just two minutes later, I was again called by the same number. This time I received the call unwillingly.
“Hello! Vinayak, this is Shikha,” a girl spoke.
“Hi…” I tried to figure her out.
“Haven’t you recognized? Shikha,… your cousin,” she reminded.
I threw the blanket away and got up.
“Yes yes yes…how are you?” I answered enthusiastically.
“I am fine. Are you in Dehradun or Delhi?” she asked.
“I am in Dehradun nowadays,” I said. I wondered about the reason behind asking this.
“OK, how is everybody at home?” she asked.
“All are hale and hearty,” I replied.
“Oh, that’s great! Listen, could you do me a favor, please?” She asked.
“Yes, please tell me. I am always at your disposal.” I announced
“Actually, I have to appear in an examination today in D.A.V College. So, will it be feasible for you to drop me there?” She asked hesitantly.
By the time I could reply, she justified the reason. “Actually, your Jiju (Brother in law) isn’t here,” she added.
“No problem whatsoever, sister. At what time do you have the examination?” I enquired.
“It’s at 10 am. However, we will have to leave around 9 as I have to check my roll number and seating hall,” she said.
Further, we shared some other gossip.
I got ready by 9 o’clock and went to pick her up.
“So, what else is happening?” I asked while dodging the traffic.
“Nothing much,” she replied coldly.
“In your city?” I added.
“As usual, nothing special, everyone is busy in their toil and moil.” I got an identical reply.
I wanted her to tell something about Nidhi as she was her friend. She, however, didn’t know anything about our relationship.
“Don’t you meet your old college friends? I mean who used to study with you.” I asked while waiting for the traffic light to turn green.
“Ummm…I seldom meet them when I go to Haridwar. After marriage everything changes. But, to come to your surprise, I know whom you want to talk about, my brother,” she teased.
I was perplexed.
“Whom?” I asked.
“About Nidhi, Don’t you want to?” She probed.
“How did you come to know anyway?” I asked intriguingly.
“Actually, I know a little about your relationship,” she unveiled.
My whole heed shifted to her talk. I even didn’t realize when the red signal light turned into green, and people yelled at me and blew horns. “Can’t you hold on bastards?” I chided.
I swiftly took my car to the desired street.
I wonder why people can’t even wait for a second after the green light. They become so impatient as if they have to put out the fire.
“Nidhi had told me something when you began your relationship like how you met. How come you broke up relationship all of a sudden?” she was amazed.
“Even I wonder too. Anyway, did you meet her recently?” I asked.
“No, but my mother told me that she was getting engaged in the upcoming month.” My heart missed a beat when I heard this. There seemed to be no logic in living more. My all success was overshadowed by this failure.
“What? Is it true?” I asked confoundedly.
“Why will Mamma tell a lie? Mamma and aunty are good friends. I know it’s irksome news for you but you will have to move on,” she consoled.
Suggestions to move on are easier said than done… especially, when you pass through a break up in a relationship. You find many people across motivating you. You find many people inspiring you… however, you hardly find people who really feel your pain inside.
She didn’t have a clue as to how desperate I was to get her back in my life. This news broke me completely. My hands were shivering while driving. My mouth was wide open.
We reached college. She got out of the car.
“Good luck and call me when your exam finishes,”
“Okay and thanks for dropping me,” She expressed her gratitude while closing the door.
“My pleasure,” I left her smilingly.
I went to office, made my to-do list, and the first key task I did was to pick Shikha from the college. The main motive behind that was to share the whole things with her. I wanted to unfold my story, so that she could find out some way into something which seemed thorny at that point of time.
I waited frantically outside the college. Several students were coming out of the gate. They seemed discussing the question paper. Meanwhile, Shikha came and waved her hand at me.
“How was your exam?” I asked this question knowing the fact that there are a few people who like talking about their exams.
“How would it be without studying? It was run of the mill. You know, it’s very challenging to study after marriage. I don’t get time to study because my household chores never finish,” she said.
“Hmmm…you have got a point,” I agreed.
“Let’s not talk about the exam. It was like a nightmare to me. I am famished, in the morning, I didn’t have anything. Can I have something to eat?” She asked.
“Of course you can. Let’s grab a bite,” I said.
“Where?” she asked.
“I will take you there... very famous in Dehradun.”
We went to Kumar Foods. I parked my car in the parking lot and went upstairs. We settled down on chairs. The ambience of the restaurant was very convivial. I could easily unfold my story there without meddling by anyone. The waiter arrived with the menu card. I took a look at that and placed our order.
“Di(sister), I want to share everything with you, whatever happened in our love story,” I said filling the glass of water.
“Yes sure, tell me,” she said after drinking water.
I narrated half of the story till the time the waiter came up with the order. I was rather concerned about my story than to have food, whereas, Shikha was more concerned about food. Perhaps, she was starving to death.
I narrated my whole story to her, she seemed getting involved thoroughly.
“If I have understood you completely. It seems that Sneha was the actual reason behind your break up. Wasn’t she?” She asked.
“Yes, you are right. Nidhi thinks that I tried to ditch her, although, it was not true,” I affirmed.
“As far as I know Sneha. She was not like that. She used to flirt in college but with other boys. Does your brother know about this?” she asked.
“Yes, even my Mamma also knows this. Now the tragedy is that she wants me to marry her at any cost,” I said. “The only need is to convince Nidhi.” I added.
“Rest assured, I will make a determined effort to make it possible, I will speak to Sneha today itself. Let’s see what happens.” She said positively.
A glimmer of hope appeared in her last sentence – maybe a false hope, but it meant a lot to me.
She could have brought my happiness back in my life and could have made my dream come true and she could have given me a new-fangled existence. Now the question remained… Did it come to pass?
A Week Later
All I could do was to kill time. And that’s what I was doing. I didn’t ask Shikha whether she talked to Nidhi or not. Frankly speaking, I was terrified because of her possible rejection.
Shikha buzzed me up when I was about to depart for the office, I received the call without further delay.
“Yes, how are you?”
“I am fine. Got any plan today?”
“Ummm…I was just about to leave for office,” I responded, “Is there any work for me?” I added.
“Well…yes. I am bothering you so often. Actually, I have to go to Haridwar, but I have no one here who could drop me out there, and my in-laws don’t want me to go unaccompanied,” she sounded worried.
How could I declare no to set off to Haridwar?
“Okay, you needn’t lose sleep; I will drop you there. When to go anyway?” I asked, lacing up my shoes.
“I can get geared up in ten minutes,” she announced blissfully.
“Okay fine, get ready then, I am coming,” I said and hung up the call.
Few seconds later, she called me again.
“Actually, I had forgotten to convey a message to you, I tried to call Sneha but her number is going switched off. I called up other college friends but nobody knew where she was,” She spoke poignantly.
This heartrending news threw me into a river of grief. One after another, every single hope seemed dying out. As if, this whole Universe had a strong planning to depart us from each other.
“Don’t worry, I will find out some approach. Bank on me,” she consoled. I knew the hope was dismal.
Shikha and I were heading towards Haridwar. I was literally hushed when she broke my silence.
“What happened? Why are you so quiet? C’mon say something?” she pulled my hair.
“Nothing, just like that,” I said gloomily.
My face was clouded with dismay.
“Oh, I got it, you must be getting upset about Nidhi, or you must be recalling the day you had gone to Haridwar… isn’t it?” she stated.
She tried to deem the cause behind my quietness. I wanted to be happy but I was unable to plaster a fake smile on my face any longer. I got tired doing this for a long time.
“Not exactly. I am thinking about my mother. First time ever, she demanded for something and I couldn’t make her wish come true. Fie on my life!” I felt helpless.
“Mark my words. Where there is a will there is a way. She hasn’t gotten married yet, I will talk to her, I will persuade her. I will grovel for forgiveness. OK? Now, don’t make such an ugly face,” she held my chin and then made a curve of my smile forcefully… I smiled to pacify her. “And play some songs,” She added.
I turned on the music, the ongoing track was a sad song - Tune mere jana kabhi nahi jana… and the lyrics were literally killing me.
“Sad songs get on my nerves. Really, when a Romeo or a Juliet get hurt, they start listening to sad songs. Brother, can you please change the track for God’s sake?” she folded her hands. I grinned at her reaction.
The whole way I kept on changing tracks.
I wondered if when I try to delete some tracks. I find no bad song, and when I try to listen, I find no good song. Finally, I reached Haridwar and heaved a sigh of smile on my face.
My paternal aunt lives in the same colony where Nidhi did, but, bolt from the blue. I didn’t know about it. Even, when I had attended the marriage, that time too I was unfamiliar about the place.
My aunt kept herself busy cooking food whereas Shikha went to meet some of her friends. My cousin was out of station. Therefore, I was dying of boredom. I thought to leave for Dehradun. I went to kitchen where my aunt was cooking food. I noticed her chopping onions and shedding tears.
“I will have to leave now.” I said abruptly and I was bad at fencing talk.
“I am cooking lunch for you too. Now, I won’t let you go before evening. Today, you have come after a long time,” she opened the fridge and took out two tomatoes, “Since Shikha’s marriage I guess. Isn’t it?” she added.
“Yes. I will come some other day.” I said.
“Hmmm…just like so far. I have told you, I won’t let you walk off before evening,” she insisted.
I knelt before her stubbornness. I had no choice but to get bored there.
“Do you have the album of Shikha’s wedding?” I asked.
“Yes, you sit in the guest room… I am coming,” she said while pouring oil in a pot.
I went to the guest room. While sitting I checked the photographs on the wall. Family pictures were displayed on the blue-color wall… some of childhood days. “Black and white” photographs of the siblings along with parents.
Aunt came and gave me the album.
I saw the bride and the groom in various poses, the photographer captured the photos as if that would be the last legally valid day. I turned over pages swiftly. I wanted to see my snaps.
When we check group photos, we are interested in seeing our photographs only and don’t bother how other people looked. How egoistic are we!
But, I even forgot to see my photographs when I saw Nidhi in a purple saree. I took out my cell phone and selected the camera. I was about to click a photo when I heard someone stepping inside the gate. I barred my action and stuffed my cell phone inside my pocket. I again started seeing photographs. My heart got stamped when I saw Nidhi with Shikha together.
A heavy jolt of surprise!
In a first short glance, I spotted her red printed outfit which was looking charismatic on her. Shikha smiled at me whereas I felt very panicky.
“How is the album?” Shikha asked. Nidhi sat at the corner of the bed… we didn’t greet each other and we were avoiding each other like strangers.
“It’s very good, especially your poses.” I smiled and stole another glance of Nidhi’s face.
“Thanks. Vinayak come outside for a moment,”
I left the album in between and went outside the room.
“I have persuaded her completely. Now, you too tell her everything.” She whispered into my ear.
“I am keeping Mamma engaged in the kitchen. Till then, you both iron out all your issues,”
Before going to the kitchen. Shikha shoved me inside the room as if it was my first night after marriage. Nervousness and shyness engulfed me in the same manner.
As I entered inside, I noticed Nidhi engrossed in the album. I gathered courage to face her and I took slow steps towards her.
“Hi” I broke the ice though I was afraid of the rejection.
She made an eye contact but looked like a bit of stranger.
I sat on the bed.
“Hello, how are you?” she broke her silence. Her focus was still on the photographs. In one of the photos, I saw myself on the stage. She turned over the pages promptly. Perhaps, she didn’t like my pose.
“I am good. How is everything?” I further asked.
“Fine.” she said coldly.
“Are you still angry with me?” I asked, “Heck! Why did I ask so?” I slapped myself imaginatively.
This time she closed the album and paid full mind to what I had said.
“Shikha told me everything, I know the conflictions and misunderstandings which took place in the past should not have taken place. We both are partly responsible for this. Further, all we can do is to feel sorry for that and not more than that,” she said lowering her eyes.
I cleared my throat.
“I understand what you mean. I had no relation with Sneha..I even…” I said and then poised, “Crap..crap..crap…why did I drag Sneha in the conversation when she didn’t even ask about her?” I again cursed myself.
I prayed to God not to make her lose control. I was behaving like a child burnt by fire dreading fire.
“I cleared my doubts. But it was too late. My father has fixed my engagement. And I don’t want to hurt him. My parents have immense trust on me. I had promised them not to go against their wishes since they came to know about our relationship,” she unfolded. She behaved more calmly than I thought.
“Actually, I had cleared all these things personally from Sneha before she committed a suicide.” I got dumb struck on listening to her “Suicidal tale.” “What? Sneha committed suicide?” I asked surprisingly.
“Yes, she was badly hurt. A guy shot her MMS and uploaded on the internet.” She revealed.
It was a game of two equal halves.
Two things were not easy to digest. First: Nidhi was getting engaged, and second: Sneha committed suicide.
I didn’t enquire much, I let the sleeping dogs lie.
Somehow, I managed to withstand this shock as I didn’t want to dredge the issue. At last, I vindicated.
“What about you? Are you happy with this decision?” I asked.
“It doesn’t make any difference. I agree to whatever they have decided for me.” She said abruptly.
“It’s a matter of your life, Nidhi. How can you make such a rash decision? What if your marriage fails afterwards?” I asked boldly.
I stopped and then added: “Would you allow me to talk to your parents once?”
“It is of no use now. I had said many wrong things about you when I insisted them to turn down your proposal. How will they believe me now even if I start eulogizing you?”
Her face was covered with dense clouds. Marrying her went up in the smoke.
I held her hands and sat closer to her.
“Tell me honestly. Do you still want to marry me?” I asked looking at her face.
She pulled her hands back.
“It’s not in my control now. Why don’t you try to understand this?” She was sitting with her head down looking at the floor. I again held her hands. I stood up and made her stand.
We lost into each other’s eyes, I fell in love again.
“Do you want to marry me? YES or NO?” I repeated. She took exactly six seconds to respond and then answered: “Yes, but…” She spoke as her body convulsed with tears welling up in her eyes. I put my index finger on her lips.
“That’s what I wanted to make sure. I have my answer,” I wiped her tears with my forefinger and index finger.
I hugged her knowing well that the aunt could have come any moment.
“I did love you, still love you and will keep on loving you, Jana. Love you.” I expressed my love while my eyes were filled with the tears of joy.
“I love you too. I read your diary which you had sent to me. It made me cry round the clock. I also received your cake on my birthday. It was such a wonderful surprise for me. I was present the day when you had come to our college. I was so pleased to see you there. You know, my father had come to know about our relationship. He could not bear this and got a severe heart attack. Sneha could never be a reason for our break up. Our love was not so fragile. It was just I was hovering between family and love. I didn’t want to break my family’s trust…that’s why…” she muttered at low sound while hugging me.
I overheard aunt and Shikha come from some distance. Unwillingly, I left Nidhi. We repositioned ourselves and re-opened the album.
Aunt and Shikha entered the room. My aunt had a bowlful of cooked vegetable with a spoon in it.
“Nidhi hardly comes now. Don’t you like us?” Aunt said.
Shikha signalled me to come outside. I went out.
“Have you talked to her?” She asked curiously.
“Yes. Thank you so much for making this possible. We’ve clarified everything except one.” I said happily.
“What’s that?” She asked.
“Her father has fixed her engagement ceremony next month,” I said wretchedly.
“Her father is not at home right now. However, we can talk to her mother.” She suggested.
“Let’s do it then.” I said.
Next battle started! And, unfortunately there was no looking back. I had to register a win at any cost.
I took my car in the Narrow Street and stopped outside my Ex-landlord’s shop. I got out of the car and greeted him.
“Hey, nice seeing you here.” Uncle seemed extremely happy. I had made a very good bonding with him in a very short span of time.
“Same here. How is life treating you?” I asked.
“Umm… good enough. Where are you going today?” He asked while peeping inside the car.
“Visiting my relatives,” I grabbed some biscuits and chocolates.
“You never discussed that,” He said while receiving greetings from Nidhi and Sikha.
“Because, I didn’t know this.” I mocked.
I wanted to pay him but he refused to take the money. I left the place.
We went to Nidhi’s house.
I could vividly recall my first intense and true beginning of love. It was as if I was still in those unforgettable and sensational two days I had experienced and cherished.
I lost my sense of composure.
Again I was as nervous as a mouse. This time I had to face Nidhi’s mother.
Nidhi and Sikha entered first whereas I later.
After sitting in the couch, I looked at one photograph. Maybe they were Nidhi’s parents.
I was taken aback completely to see the person in the photograph.
“Who is he?” I asked surprisingly.
“My father,” Nidhi replied.
“What’s his name?” I probed further with inquisitiveness.
“Why?” she asked.
“Tell me fast. Is his name Rajeev?” I found myself impatient.
“Yes, but why are you asking this?” she asked while getting bewildered.
“Do you know where does your father work? I mean in which institute?” I asked.
“Yes, obviously I know. He works in Dehradun,” She replied.
“You know he is my institute’s principal, my institute’s name is Victory.” I unveiled.
“Ooh My Gosh! Such a deadly coincidence it is! I mean, my father works in your institute?”
Her broad eyes and dropped jaw depicted her mental shock pictorially.
“It’s not a coincidence, it’s a real destiny. Destiny has a better plan for us. You don’t worry now. The ball is in our court. I will talk to him directly. It’s my firm conviction, he won’t disagree with our relationship,” I said as my eyes lit up.
I had a formal conversation with Nidhi’s mother. I wanted to broach the subject first in front of my would-be father in law.
That very day, I felt contentment after a long time. Nidhi was no more apart from me. There was a hope for our marriage too, though a negligible one. I was overwhelmed by all the moments I came across to.
I made a call to my mother and narrated the whole sequence that how Shikha helped me mollify Nidhi and how her father happened to be my institute’s principal.
“Mamma, there is only one stone to turn,” I said gloomily.
“Haven’t you dealt with your problems yet?” Asked mamma.
“Only one problem. Actually, Nidhi had told derogatory things about me to her dad when she used to hate me. How will I be able to justify now? Plus, I have to cajole him to revoke the engagement ceremony which is scheduled for the next month,”
“Heck, it’s such a big hitch. When will you get back to Doon?”
“I will be there by somewhere around five.”
“OK, come and we will endeavor to hit upon some way.”
After my lunch, I drove to Dehradun. On my way, I was pondering over the way to kick-start the conversation with Mr. Rajeev.
I directly went to my office.
First time, nervousness engulfed me before entering my own institute.
I was mostly afraid of Mr. Rajeev.
I marched towards his cabin with cold feet. I reached outside his cabin and inhaled a deep breath.
As I pushed her cabin door and entered inside, I was taken aback to see my parents sitting with Mr. Rajeev.
They were exchanging hoots of laughter.
I became more nervous, it was the first time ever I had ever seen my father in my institute.
I wondered if they had discussed the matter or the forbidding task was undone.
I looked at my mother for some hint in the mint condition. My mother just passed a beam.
Confused! Nervous! Terrified!
Mr. Rajeev offered me his seat. I refused and asked him to be seated. We shook hands.
“No more handshake beta, touch his feet and take blessings for your further relationship.” My father remarked with his golden and unforgettable words ever.
Exactly…like you, I too was Shocked like hell. My father behaved poles apart to his persona.
My mother and Mr. Rajeev…oops...my mother and father-in-law broke into laughter at my father’s first-time-ever gag. I guess, those words were the best words I had ever received from my dad.
I touched his feet and he hugged me. His hug was so divine. I felt as if the God had hugged me and wished me in just like my own father.
I was completely taken aback and realized that true love never fails. Even if someone is failed in love so far, love also remains alive in the form of indelible memories.
I was at cloud nine. The entire calculation had changed.
Truly said: The only sure thing about luck is that one day, it will change for sure.
In the end, I made my Mamma’s dream come true. I thanked God. It is He who made it feasible for such a wonderful reunion which was beyond my mind's eye.
I tied the knot with Nidhi after three months. I edited the name “ML” to “LP” (Life Partner). We took an oath to believe in each other forever.
I learned many precious lessons throughout the journey of love. One of them is: “Don’t you ever mistrust the person you love. We should have full faith and belief in our partner. If misunderstandings take place, iron them out at once. Higher the misunderstandings, the bitter gets the relationship. Misunderstandings are not just bad but a kind of a deathbed of a relationship. However, in my case, I am now on the moon to have found my moon Nidhi. I have the love of my life. We are living happily. All is well that ends well.”
It took me more than a year just to pan out what I wanted. I sacrificed my sleep, time, comfort and leisure. My all sacrifices look tiny when I see the final outcome of this novel.
I want to convey my special thanks to my supportive, lovely family: my grandmother- Gyanmala, my father- Mr. H.R. Thapliyal, mother- Mrs. Shakuntala. My strength - my elder brothers, Pramod and Deepak, who substantially supported me and encouraged me on and off. Grand thanks to Sipika, Poonam, Sapna, Anuj, Pahal, Rishav, Anshuman…my best friends Pankaj and Sampan.
This list is incomplete without extending my gratitude towards Mr. Narendra Singh Negi, Mr. M.C Lakhera, Mr. Ravindra Lakhera, Vijayram, Deepak Makhloga, Sulekha Rana, Mr. Jagjeet Singh, Mr. Lalit Bhadoria, Komal, Neha, Mr. G. Kar, Ali Alam and Kavita Bhasin for their inspirational support.
I sincerely thank all my supportive relatives, treasured friends, lovely students, well-wishers and every single person, who have directly or indirectly been connected with this project…
My last words for all the youngsters
Don’t just fall in love, but rise in life. Don’t let your love to be a reason of your defeat. Rather, make it a reason of your victory. Love may cause attraction or distraction in your work. All depends on you! Forging a new relationship doesn't mean forgetting other relationships. Give equal time and respect to every single relationship. As it is said - blood is thicker than water.
See you all soon through my next book titled ‘I Care’.
It is basically the story of a grandson who flees from the home to search his grandparents who had left their home owing to the cruel behavior of his parents…
Love you all!
This book makes you think about a lot of things that goes on and around your life. Things which we ignore, things which we don’t pay heed to, things which are too complicated for us to understand or maybe we just don’t bother to think, all these has been triggered as a question in the minds of the readers through this wonderful book. Whether these are attached with a reason or not?