“Do we have a future together? Don’t you think that the distance between us would make things really difficult?”
She looked at me with nervousness and bloodshot eyes. Eyes that seemed to say a thousand words; eyes which had dark circles around them from days of staying awake talking at nights; eyes in which I had seen the kid in her jumping and smiling over the last two years.
“We will be together Anahita. It’s just a matter of a couple of years before we can tell our parents. Rather than worrying about destiny, we would write it ourselves.”
Seeing the confidence I had in us, she snuggled into me as she had always done over the time we had started seeing each other. It was an indication that she felt secured and protected and I loved that. Sitting together in her ‘Mary’ (her affectionate name for Maruti 800), both of us were lost in the memories of the past.
Two years back
“Tej??? It’s you? It’s feels like eons since we have spoken to each other. How are you? Where are you?” She seemed so bubbly and full of life.
Was this the same Anahita who was in my class in the 11th grade? From what I remembered, she was a plump girl with thick rimmed glasses and pony tails to boot making her look like a nerd. She rarely spoke to anyone let alone me.
Neither of us had spoken much to each other at school and over the years our conversations on Orkut though few and far in between had been really formal.
“Hi. How are you? How far is the TRP School of Management from your place?”
“It’s just ten minutes away. Why? Are you coming here?”
“That’s great. I submitted my application form a couple of days back. But I haven’t got any response from their side. I will send you my details. Could you please check whether it has reached them?”
“Yeah sure. I hope it works out for you.” I could see that she genuinely wanted me to come.
“I hope so too.”
Over the next couple of months both of us were in regular touch. She seemed really excited at my imminent arrival in Chennai after I conveyed the news of my confirmation.
We finally met each other 6 years after our last meeting. She had got Ragini, one of her good friends along. It felt weird. All of us were probably shy to begin with. After a nice little rendezvous at Café Coffee Day, Anahita took me around Chennai in her car to take in the sights and sounds of the city.
“You are the best tourist guide ever.”
“Why am I the best?”
“Because I don’t need to pay anything for your services.”
“Ha Ha Ha! Very funny.” And she smiled ever so sweetly. She had become quite tall and also gained quite a few kilos which made her cheeks look really full. Cheeks that one would love to pull. With her long silky tresses, glowing smile and a babyish charm, she looked beautiful in the salwar she had worn. The way she spoke had an aura about her which I almost immediately fell in love with.
“I hope you had a nice day.”
“Yeah I did. I wish you weren’t going to the US. What will I do here alone? C’mon! How can someone go to the US for four god damn months?”
“I am sorry Tej. I haven’t met my brother and sister for a few years. But I am sure that you would find some good friends at TRP. Don’t worry. I will be back by October.”
Situated at a height of about 2000m above sea level and surrounded by hills all around, TRP was like a hill station to escape from the hot and humid climes of Chennai. With infrastructure ranging from a horse riding arena to AC rooms in the hostel, it seemed as though we were in a resort.
Over the next couple of months as the studies gained momentum, as the monsoons started lashing Chennai, as I had started making friends, Anahita and I started developing a strong bond.
The schedule was simple. Come back from college and sit on Gtalk to chat with her. This became my routine each and every day she wasn’t present in the city.
I felt a sense of happiness to share every inch of my life with her from talking about my previous relationships to my equation with friends. And to my happiness she responded likewise too. Many a time she even called me all the way from there. Though I was careful not to voice my happiness by jumping around, I felt delighted at the importance being given to me.
When she finally came back, we started meeting regularly. Whether it was going to restaurants, going to movies or just going for long drives, we were always together. Obviously it did look odd with a girl at the wheel and a guy by her side. But who cares when you have a sweet companion with you and life feels bliss.
Till then life had been dull and dreary without much excitement making each day pass by at a snail’s pace. But the thought of getting ready to meet her everyday kept me in the right spirits. All of a sudden life seemed so beautiful.
“You seem to have changed a lot. Your one – liners are really spontaneous.” It’s always so amazing to hear your praise.
“They are lot many other things which are spontaneous about me. This is just a trailer. Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost.”
“Oh really? And what are those other things.”
“If I tell you everything, what would be left for you to find out?” And I looked at her with a wry smile.
“Tej! You are the stud dude! Your friend Rashid rightly calls you the chick magnet. Look at the number of girls who are head over heels in love with you.”
“It always feels good to be spoilt for choice, isn’t it?” I guess flirting came naturally to me as I never attempted it consciously.
“Do you flirt the same way with everyone else? I think that’s why everyone calls you Mr Casanova.” I could see that she was happy and I loved it.
“So tell me. Who is Molishka? She keeps calling you all the time. I am sure you guys have something going. Don’t you?” She was searching for a yes from me. But -
“Oh not really. She loves me like crazy. But I consider her as a good friend. Nothing more nothing less.” Anahita seemed surprised by my straight response.
“Hahaha! You seem to have copied your answer from some Bollywood star. All of them say the same thing “We are just friends”.” And she laughed again.
“No really. We have nothing going.”
“Hmmm. Poor her, she doesn’t know how busy Mr Tej is, handling so many girls at one time.”
“What to do. Any girl around me should bear with all this you know. So start bearing now itself madame.”
Two people who didn’t speak to each other ever in the 11th grade and never bothered to know much about each other’s whereabouts in over five years speaking like crazy maniacs, that’s what life is all about, SURPRISES!
From chatting online to meeting each other almost every day to talking on phone, our friendship became stronger with time. The icing on the cake was the time her aunts came over to Chennai for a few days though I was initially disappointed.
“My aunts are coming over for a few days. They would stay at our place.”
“What the hell? Then I won’t be able to meet or talk to you?” I wanted her to know how disappointed I was and it clearly showed in my voice.
“Don’t worry Tej. I will surely find out a way.”
A way she did find. On all the days that they were there we spoke till 6am. The fact that both of us never slept early clearly helped. In hindsight I think those were the days which brought us the closest. With her comments on how I always resembled her father, dad, brother, uncle whoever and my spontaneous one-liners, we always kept each other amused.
I always felt like meeting her. I always felt like being around just to see her smile. I always felt like pulling her cheeks. I always felt like talking to her when she was going to sleep. I always felt like beginning my day after hearing her voice. She was ruling my thoughts. Was I in love with her? How could I fall in love with a girl after knowing her for just a couple of months? Had I gone crazy? All these questions were swirling in my head when -
“Tej! You keep telling me that you love me. For now it sounds nice as a friend. But then I know you. One day you may become serious. Are you sure you should continue like this?”
“Continue like this as in?”
“I meant continue saying that you love me. What if you really fall in love with me?”
“No I won’t. Relax. I say this because I care for you as a friend.”
“Do you really love me?”
“I don’t Anahita. Relax.”
Did she really think I love her? Did I? What was I doing? Was this the right thing to do? Would she accept me? Was I ready for a relationship? God! It was total confusion.
She had told me so much about her college gang comprising Ragini, Mohit, Haroon and her that I started getting jealous of how much they knew her and how less I did. Add to this the fact that I thought Mohit liked her or so she indicated. Did he like her? Didn’t he? Why was I getting jealous? Interestingly, the day I convinced her that Mohit was the right guy for her –
“I like you Tej. I don’t know whether it’s right or wrong. But I like your company. I like the way we bond with each other.” She said this so discreetly that my mouth was left wide open.
“What? What did you say?”
“I know you heard it. Why are you asking me again?”
The journey from convincing her about Mohit to the start of our love story was just about a few minutes. It seemed as though I had to say what I said to make her confess what I wanted to hear.
Life felt even more beautiful and peaceful. Every day I dreamt of class getting over so I could just spend all my time with her. It seemed as though I was living in a fairytale world without any problems and issues.
“What is going on between Molishka and you??” She screamed at the top of her voice.
“Relax Anahita. What happened?”
“Look at the messages on your phone Tej. Are you cheating on me?”
“I am not cheating on you my baby. What’s the problem?” And saying this I tried to embrace her.
It had just been a couple of months since we had started seeing each other when he hit our first and the biggest obstacle of our lives.
“Don’t fool me Tej. Why do I feel like you are not telling me the entire truth?”
And then almost immediately I took my phone and left the room. I called up Molishka and told her everything.
The next day I finally called up Anahita and told her whatever I had hidden. I guess your past finally catches up with you sometime or the other.
“I two – timed you along with Molishka. I didn’t want to do that. It’s not something I had planned. I don’t know why I did this. I wish I can correct all the wrongs which I have done. Anahita, are you there?” I hadn’t been more scared in my life than I was at that moment.
“Please say something.”
“There’s nothing left for me to say Tej. It’s all over. And she kept the phone.”
Over the next couple of weeks I didn’t know what to do. I always spoke about being faithful to one’s partners and I myself hadn’t adhered to what I said. That’s why the saying goes, “Think before you say something to others”.
Like Anahita, I hadn’t kept in touch with Molishka after school. With a height of about 5’2”, she looked really puny. Though we met only a couple of times over a period of one and a half years, we spoke for long hours on the phone. And that is where I mistook love instead of friendship
But what’s the point of this realisation when you don’t have the person you love the most next to you. In my selfishness, I had spoilt the lives of two people. How would I convince Anahita that I love her? Will she ever take me back? Will she ever love me the same way? Was there any point of thinking all this now? I had spoilt everything what was there in our relationship. What would Molishka think of me? She had regarded me as the love of her life and wanted to marry me. Was I so bad to treat her this way? Sometimes I wished I hadn’t fallen into love at all. I guess I would have been so much better off without it. But if you see, grass is always greener on the other side.
I somehow managed to salvage our relationship as Anahita was ready to give me a chance. But it was literally hanging by a thread. Over the next few months that thread was on the verge of breaking almost every couple of days.
Since I was at home for my summer internship, every time I didn’t talk to Anahita or my phone was busy, she got suspicious. And we fought like cats and dogs. When she realised that I wasn’t talking to her because of Molishka we fought, when she realised that Molishka was sending me cards we fought, when she checked my email to see my chats and mails with Molishka we fought; both of us never really understood where our relationship was going.
“What do you want from me Anahita? You gave me a second chance. And now when I want to make everything right you still suspect me. What do I perceive of all this?”
“What do you think I am Tej? You have done everything you wanted to. How can I forget all that so easily?”
“I am not telling you to forget it at all. But four months back when you decided to give me another chance, since then I have been completely faithful to you. Why don’t you realise that?”
“Why can’t you stop talking to her? Why do you call her baby and pooh and all those things? Why Tej? Why is it so difficult to stop talking to her?”
“Anahita! She regarded me as the most important part of her life. I can’t stop talking to her this way, right? Can I? I still care for her as a friend.”
“Yeah right. Friends don’t call each other baby and all.”
“Relax Anahita. I am trying to work things out.”
“For the past four months you are working things Tej. When will you finish working?” The sarcasm in her voice was evident.
“I also hate it when you lie to me. You are so scared of telling me things? What do you think I will do? Shout only na? I love you god damn.”
“Why did you lie about Mohini who came and proposed to you? You didn’t tell me that you speak and meet her regularly?”
“I met her just once Anahita.”
“Still. You lied Tej. I hate people who lie.
It seemed as though we loved to hate each other.
But as they say time heals all the wounds. And in our case that happened too though rather too slowly. We still had regular fights though over stupid issues like both of us not taking care of our health and me always being stuck on my laptop. But obviously, a person fights with someone whom he loves.
As things moved towards becoming normal with Anahita, I bonded really well with Ragini too. With the voice of an airhostess, the attitude and charm of a 23 year old and the body of a model she was outrageously beautiful. But as is always the case with any person, she had one problem. She somehow didn’t seem to like anyone who Anahita gave much more importance compared to her. And this case it was sadly me.
Anahita and I also visited Ooty, Kodaikanal, Pondicherry and many other places together. It felt really good to be away from all the problems and difficulties in life. Relaxation, Peace of mind and important moments where both of us got a chance to bring back the old days was what we needed to rekindle our long lost love.
Move over our birthdays; move over my placements, move over her clearing her fashion technology exams, my time to leave the city was coming closer. It seemed as though two years had flown by with the whiff of one’s hand.
Back to the present
“You know what Anahita. I don’t even realise that I did an MBA here. If I think of it today, I don’t have many friends who I can count upon. That doesn’t mean that I never made any friends at all. But it was just about professional networking and nothing more.”
“I think you should have spent more time with your friends too my jaanu. It’s not good.”
“You know darling. It’s completely relative. If I had spoken and spent much more time with them, you wouldn’t have liked, would you?”
“Obviously not. You are only mine.” I loved it whenever she showed that I was hers by right.
“Everything feels good when you see it with relative comparisons, doesn’t it?”
“You are my man of words. Though half of the time I never seem to understand what you are trying to pfaff.” She looked at me cunningly.
“Did you ever imagine that after more than 5 years we would talk and fall in love and also decide to marry?”
“Wouldn’t I be god if I imagined all that? That’s why I always say “Everything happens for a reason.”
And with this we hugged each other tightly not knowing when we would get to meet next.
DISCLAIMER: This story bears no resemblance to anyone living or dead. Any resemblance is purely coincidental.