The rain was not heavy. It was just a drizzle. So we stuck on to the plan to go to the ‘4 U’ (for you) park. We heard that its beauty was at its best then. We walked to the park right after college. We were seven; four girls and three boys including Aditya.
He was not looking back at us while he walked. He was rather feeling good poking his boy buddies and flirting with the girls on the way. Anyone would die for a boy like him. So handsome, so cool. I could spend the whole day just looking at him.
Dhanu and Fida were in a serious discussion in which I was least interested. They were talking about the latest beauty products and how Anushka Roy, the beauty queen of our class, Aditya’s girlfriend as she claimed to be, got to know about those before they did. She was really beautiful. I would be called blind if I didn’t say so. My other friend, Riya was on the phone talking to her boyfriend, Sanjodh, who couldn’t make it up to the park that day, just like Anushka.
I would say that I was totally alone though surrounded by my friends. But that was what I really wished for. So that I could keep looking at him without anybody noticing it (since they were busy with their serious discussions). I was happy that my secret crush was not accompanied by his girlfriend. I would have been sad if it actually affected him. But it seemed that he was happier than me. Maybe he was happy for her who was attending a beauty contest at the moment.
He was the best boyfriend or friend one could ever get. But he never went with her, which is weird. The funny thing is that there were few moments she could spend with him. I was happy like all the other girls who were having a crush on him.
We spent more time together in the beach, the coffee shop, the cinema, the park, as now. I felt good that it was raining. The park was not crowded and as we heard, it did look the best. The white orchid flowers were smiling at me. The roses with tiny raindrops on them looked captivating. On the sky, there was the prettiest and mesmerizing rainbow I had ever seen. But still, he remained the most beautiful thing for me. His smile exposing his pearly teeth was my favourite part. I was living a dream.
I sat on a bench with Dhanu. I was so tired and exhausted after the day’s business. I tried to hide the dizziness in my eyes. But it came out stronger and stronger. The idea of spending time with Aditya was the only thing that kept me awake.
“Who wants an ice cream?” It was Aditya.
“You kidding us? They haven’t got the ‘hot’ ice creams yet? I suppose you meant coffee, right Adi?”, Dhanu was actually screaming; even deaf could hear her.
Aditya giggled, sweetly of course.
“What? You go have it yourself, pretty boy. First thing, it’s too cold here and I can already feel tomorrow’s sore throat down my mouth. I wanna sit here; feel the breeze and ju…..”
“Ooh just stop it Dhanu”, Rahul interrupted. “Don’t start with your poetic talk, Dhanu. Adi, go and have it yourself. Hey, and one more thing. The one inside the park is closed for the day. You might wanna go to the ice cream shop around the corner, hot boy.” Adi was smiling.
Oh, I really wished if he called out my name and asked me to go with him. Also because everyone else was busy. Dhanu had already started fighting with Rahul. Riya was now playing substitute for Dhanu in their fashion-discussion. Fahad was struggling to take the photograph of a moving bee. He said he liked risky shots. And a moving bee did he call risky!!! Hahaha…yes. He was funny.
“Sanju…You wanna come with me?”
Wow… That’s my name right? Sanju; Sanjana. “Yes”, I replied loudly. I did not want to take a chance of him not hearing my positive answer. I jumped to my feet and speeded to him.
“Let’s go”, he commanded. I obeyed it like a well-disciplined kid.
He wasn’t looking at me. I stopped looking at him too, because now he might notice.
“So, you really wanna have an ice-cream?”, he seemed confused. Was I that unpredictable? Did he know that I love him? No. I did not want an ice cream. I just wanted to talk to him. Just be with him.
“Not, really”, I was happy that I didn’t lie to him.
“Me, neither”, he said.
“But, why did you…you just said…you weren’t….you called me…”, I was struggling, as usual. That’s why I always tried to prevent casual talks with him. I ran out of words every time he asked me something. I was only good at looking at him, loving him secretly.
“Woh woh woh… Easy there girl… I just wanted to talk to you. Guess I haven’t been so good around you”, he went on. “So, how do you like the evening? Quite nice, huh? So romantic. Duet-song weather I’d call it.” He looked at me.
“Yeah, it’s good. I’m sorry that Anu couldn’t make it. I’m pretty sure that she is missing you too.” I acted sadness.
“You’re sorry? I’m actually happy that she didn’t come. Oh, such a plastic. I’m sorry. I don’t usually talk like that about anybody. But, she is just making fun of herself. I‘ve told her several times that I have no feelings for her. But she wouldn’t quit stalking me.” He didn’t take a pause. “So I keep her away. I keep her busy all the time so that she won’t come after me. I just wanna show her what she really wants. And that’s not me. We’re on different planets, Sanju…..”He looked at me again.
I just realised that we had been taking a circle around the park. But I didn’t want to remind him. I looked at him. He was prettier. I saw a blurred spot of chance for myself. Should I tell him how I feel for him? Is it the right time?
“….glad that you people knew the truth.” What truth? Oh, my God. What did I miss now? I was so busy talking to myself inside my head that I didn’t hear what he just said.
“What truth?” I spit the words hesitantly.
He looked at me with his eyes narrowed, his thick eyebrows raised. “What everybody else at college thinks is nonsense. That Anu is my girlfriend. I stopped correcting them only because I was so tired of it. And my friends know it. You know it, right?” He stopped. We were under a tree. I didn’t know its name. But I was pretty sure that it made the breeze smell like heaven. Everything about him made me love him. And now, everything around him, around us, made me love him even more. I forgot to reply him. He was looking at me seeking an answer.
“Well I…Actually didn’t…you see…” I lost it again.
“Oh no. You didn’t know that. Now I get it. That’s why you were never interested in me…….”
Never interested in you? I would die for you.
“…I should’ve known. That means you didn’t know anything. Did you? Nothing at all…?” He came closer to me. He looked badly disappointed.
“I’m sorry. It may sound rude. But I didn’t get a word you said.” I explained
He burst into laugh. Was he teasing me? What did he mean by ‘you didn’t know anything’.
“Sanju, Sanju, Sanju… Are you sure you received an ‘apparently appealing’ (he did the finger-thing which the girls always did) gift box on your birthday, which had an ‘AK’ in big letters. I thought you kept that a secret. But you believed it was just a gift from a friend, right? I get it. It’s okay…I just…”
“Wait a sec. That was from you..???…but…”
“Yes, of course. AK. Aditya Kumar. What did you think?”
“I thought it was from my cousin Abi. Abinav Kashyap. No wonder why he was telling me I’m mad when I asked him about the gift. But you…Why would you?”I looked into his eyes. I knew that I was blushing. But I wasn’t ashamed of it anymore.
“I was trying to give clues of it, you know what I mean? Well, I thought you might start thinking of it after receiving the gift. And I hoped you knew that I was no way in love with Anu. But apparently you knew nothing and oh God…hahaha… I wanna start all over again…”
My heart started beating faster than ever. So he sent me a gift. Clues? What clues?
“Tell me… I wanna know…” those words came out of my mouth unknowingly.
“Well, I wouldn’t have told you. But you look unusually beautiful today. You don’t know how hard it’s for me to bury my feelings this good. I struggle like hell not to look at you. It’s just that I haven’t felt it for any girl in my life the way I feel for you….”
His face turned red. I had never seen it so red before. Is this how boys blush? I don’t know. I couldn’t notice such things because I was too busy either setting eyes on him or ‘daydreaming’ all the nice things about us being together. There again. I was thinking all these stupid stuffs that I missed his words again.
“..I would’ve waited but this is our final year. And Dhanu told me that you’re going to U.K for M.B.A. I was afraid of losing you. That’s why I insisted going here. I thought this would be my last chance. So…” He kneeled down in one leg. Oh there was the long drama. “…I know it’s stupid. But I want it this way. So, Sanju…”
I felt someone nudging me. Disturbing us in our chat. But it was a nudging to the reality.
“….oh what light through the yonder windowpanes” It was Rahul.
“Window-breaks you idiot”, Fida cried out.
“…It is the East and Dhanu is the Sun. Hold for laughter. Haha hahaha….” Rahul was hilarious himself.
“Ha ha ha. Very funny. You’re a shame to Mr. Shakespeare…” Dhanu nudged me again… “Oy Sanju. You came all the way to take a nap in the park…? Get up now. We’re going to the echo point. Adi went around the corner for an ice-cream. He called you. But you were asleep…”
What? So all I saw was just a dream? I thought life could be so easy for a moment. Now he was gone. And oh no. So “he loves Anu…” that came out loud.
“Who, Adi…? No idiot. He is just playing along. I don’t think he can ‘love’ anybody (now she did the finger-thing). Ha ha ha…” Dhanu seemed sure of what she just said.
Adi came back. He did have an ice-cream. His hands had the melted cream in them. Dhanu was looking for something in her bag that she didn’t see him clearing off his hands using her handkerchief which laid flat on the bench.
So, the gift…!! It was from Abi… How stupid I was…!! My subconscious mind is more intelligent than me; more creative than me. It taught me how much I wanted him.
“Let’s go…” It was Adi, just like in the dream.
“Adi… Can I talk to you for a sec?” It was me. Yeah. Even I was shocked. I sounded so determinant. Maybe it was my last chance. Yes. I’m gonna ask him, no matter what happens.
“Yes, nerd.. Ha ha… Come on Sanju, Why this formality. I’m no stranger.” Adi stepped towards me. We walked behind everybody else. He threw a ‘what was it?’-look on me. My determinant mind started trembling now. But I Had to. Or else…
“Listen, Adi. Don’t get me wrong. I wanted to tell you this long ago but I couldn’t. I know I’m not your kind of girl. But…but…. I’m in love with you. I fall for you every time I see you. I love you Adi. I love you.”
There I said it. My heart was lighter now than ever. Oh those words were laid so heavy in my heart all these years. I looked at him. Denial or acceptance. I could see nothing in his eyes. Maybe I was being optimistic and pessimistic at the same time.
“Oh come on Adi. Tell me whatever it is. I can take a NO.” I can’t take a NO. I was just playing the ‘cool-girl’ drama.
He smiled at me. He didn’t speak a word. He walked me to the echo point. There too, he played silence with me. But not with them. He had fun with them. They called out names of each other and enjoyed the echoes of their funny voices. I was so ashamed of myself. What I did was so stupid. It was not the right time. There was no right time. He never loved me. Not more than just a friend. I thought I had a chance. But NO.
We went to the hostel in an auto-rickshaw. Our room was, as always, messy. But my mind was worse then. I haven’t felt so flushed in my entire life. Not even when I believed that he was in love with Anu. Because then I could talk to him as a friend. But now, it was all gone. He might hate me. I couldn’t see or talk to him anymore. I wouldn’t be his friend anymore. All these thoughts took over me.
I was afraid of death. But, no more. My world was empty without him. Would I think so if he said NO? Or yes? Or something? His silence was going to kill me now. I got lost in thoughts.
I belonged to the ground floor of the hostel-building. So, the idea of jumping off to die would be a bad one. Dhanu was in Riya’s and Fida’s room. We had no ceiling fan in our room. So I couldn’t possibly think of a hanging at the moment either. Table-fan was of no use. I had watched no movies in which a depressed actor suicide using a table-fan. I might use it. Throw it up. It would hit me right on my head and there I would lie dead. Oh NO. What if I didn’t die. Already my head hurt me all the time. Bad idea. Then I saw the brand-new steel blades on the table. I had heard that most of the teenagers used vein-cutting method of suicide. Yes. That is definitely my way.
I was more determinant than ever before. I was sure that Dhanu was not coming anytime soon. So I didn’t lock the door. I took the blade. It was definitely the most frightening hour of my life. It was true. It took a lot of courage for them to suicide. Aditya. I loved you. More than anything in the world. But you….. That thought stroke me right on my head that I didn’t give it a second thought. I cut my vein on the left hand. Near the wrist. I saw blood slowly first, then fast, flowing. I did it. I’m not a coward. But I
I started feeling enervate in just minutes. I slowly lied down in my bed. I started losing my mind. I heard footsteps. But I was dying. Was that Aditya? The door banged open. It was Dhanu. “Sanju… you don’t wanna hear how stupid Fida is…” She saw me and dropped her bag. “Sanju….” She cried loudly. “What did you just…Fida get me some clothe. I need to tie this up.” Fida tore open all the vanity bags she saw. “How could you. Whatever happened for you to…? Oh… Get something Fida. Get that handkerchief lying over Sanju’s bag…”
It was actually Dhanu’s handkerchief. The one Aditya used to wipe out the ice-cream. I could smell it even in half-sleep. “It’s not clean…It’s mine…but…What’s the writing?”
LOVE YOU TOO.
And that’s the last thing I heard. The last thing I faintly saw. Before closing my eyes.
“You talk like you died there. You’re scaring our kids Sanju.”
Adi took a while to look into the mirror and do the ‘wow…you look amazing’ gesture before he jumped off to the bed and started playing with the kids. “Your mom was so silly. More than she is now.”
I took the biggest pillow I could get and threw upon him. It was the call for a fight, to end another day, as we had been doing for the past eight years. He came closer to me and whispered. “Other than being less silly, stupid, weirdo…”, “Oh, you aren’t gonna stop it now, are you?”, I grabbed another pillow before he held tight my hands and said, “But you look prettier now….”, he came closer to kiss me when we heard the “Oh… that’s gross. I’m leaving the planet. Haha hahaha”, it was our kid Avinash with his coolness-theory. Samira and Sadika, our twins, had already left for bed… He hugged me tight as soon as Avi left for his room.. He kissed me passionately, like everyday, just that its sweetness grew better everytime..Thus ended another day of our life….. Just for the better, more wonderful days to come… Full of love……..love………love and love……… Yes. sometimes life can be easy…..