[This short story love is selected for Love’2012 Story Writing Competition]
It was one of those days of my life –which seemed dull and uninteresting. Even when I knew the reason behind such dull moments, I was helpless in not rectifying them. But a thought actively lingered in my heart. It was about my Avantika’s marriage, which was about to take place in two weeks. My thoughts were completely about her. On that day, I came back from office and started watching the cricket match happening between India and Australia. Even my favorite cricketer’s delightful square-cuts didn’t please me as much as they should, as my past memories were strong enough to pull me back from the present…
‘Why didn’t she smile? She usually does’, I spoke to myself. I completed my office work and boarded the bus. To my delightful surprise, Avantika too was in the same bus. As someone said, ‘finding a seat next to your girl is as important as finding a job as per your interest’, I went closer to her seat, and checked if anyone was coming. I sat, on hearing her positive approval. I wanted to strike up a conversation with her. But, she seemed totally lost. Mercury balls of tears plopping out from her innocent eyes. It would be preposterous to wipe her tears at the first meet, though we occasionally smiled at each other when our eyes had met. I broached the conversation, and said, ‘What happen’. She tried to reclaim her enthusiastic appeal. Though she spoke, she didn’t disclose the reason behind her cry. I was glad that I spoke to her. We exchanged our phone numbers as an acknowledgement of our conversation.
Since after then, like any boy-girl relationships, our relationship found its interest in chatting, phone calls and occasional meets. Thanks to the technological advancements that made our relationship closer and that bonded us. One fine evening, she called me. ‘Hello Karthik, Are you busy?’ I said, ‘Even GRE exam is over. I am damn free’.
‘Do you know why I cried that day? Are you are not interested in knowing that’, Avan childishly asked
‘I thought you don’t want to disclose’.
She smiled, and said ‘One of my friends whom I had trusted proposed me. He misused my friendship. Somehow, it irritated me’
I didn’t know why she said that to me. But, I kept cogitating on what she said.
It’d been four months since I started speaking to her. I didn’t know how she felt, but that could be my best moment. On the day of onam celebration at our office, we were allowed to wear cultural attire. She wore tradional white sari, adding beauty to her appeal. It was the day to show off our photography and grooming skills. After posing enough for all “say-cheeses”, all of our friends planned to watch a movie. They reserved ten tickets which meant either myself or Avan could go and not both. And it was not possible to go and book a ticket, as it was a first day of Tamil actor Vijay’s film. I pleaded her to go along with them, as more than I, she would be more interested in watching the actor. I didn’t want her to miss it, because of me. In spite of my pleadings, she refused to go. It is needless to say that we enjoyed each other’s companionship.
We started to understand each other than ever before. I was cricket fanatic and I tried to avoid phone conversations during matches. I would be watching the match as if I were foot-tightened. Avan obviously knew about my habit and avoided calling or messaging me, as she herself was an ardent follower of the game. But, on that day, contrary to the usual, she called me. I picked her call at the third occurrence. I realized she called him for a purpose. But the sadness seemed to prevail in her voice and mood. She said, ‘Karthik, I got transfer to Chennai.’ I knew she had applied before we both met. I never expected the Human Resource (HR) managers would be kind enough to give the transfer in short duration of time. I encouraged her to go to Chennai and wished her nice stay at her hometown. I didn’t know why I said that. There was no genuine reason behind her transfer, other than she liked Chennai more than Bangalore. Considering how much closer we were, and the understanding we had, I could forcibly ask her to re-consider her decision, but as someone said, ‘It is better to leave a duck in its comfortable pool of water, than to hold it under circumference of the observer’. But, for the first time, the interesting game started to appear uninteresting. I switched off the TV and slept.
I bade a hard good bye to her. I tried my best to conceal my sad emotions creeping in my heart. She left me with hard-hitting memories which complemented my solitude. I carried those memories wherever I went and took special care to make my well-wishers believe that I hadn’t pass through any trauma. Hard days are hard to pass. We were able to speak occasionally, but interactions were much reduced. After three months, one fine day, she called me and asked, ‘Are you coming to Chennai to attend Koushik’s marriage?’ The anxiety and softness in her voice would melt any guy, though I had already decided to attend the marriage and meet her!
On the day of Koushik’s marriage, it was the day of get-together for most of our friends. My eyes were searching for their lost pairs. Within a few minutes of inquisitive searching, I found her standing near the bride’s mother. Even her eyes were doing the same job as mine, while latently listening to the bride’s mother. I started moving towards her. She recognized me, when I was a few feet away. I greeted bride’s mother more actively than I greeted Avan, as to avoid the scene of suspect in the eyes of beholder. The bride’s mother left the place to take care of marriage chores. And, we got a reprieve to speak after three months. We started to speak enthusiastically and discussed on each other’s regards and on corporate gossips. Sooner, the friends gathered around us and we cut-short our discussion, as it was also necessary for us to acknowledge the friends. We spent a remaining time by chit-chatting with everyone. The topic of discussion veered towards the marriage and halted at the “most common question” among bachelors – who is next? Everyone got his/her chances to speak. Most of them answered, ‘not sure/’d take time/waiting for’. And now, it was Avan’s turn. Avan said,’ my marriage could be in five months!’ On hearing the reply, everyone started clapping as If India had won a world cup. But, I was broken and despondent. With Avan, I always had an apprehension of extending the relationship beyond a certain point, as she once said she would hate people misusing friendship. But, now I was more worried about losing her permanently. After that emotional shock, I was not able to participate in their discussion. After some time, we decided to leave, after accomplishing the primary purpose of why we were all gathered – we wished the couple and gave them the marriage gifts.
Over the next few months, I planned to pursue M.S. I took steps in achieving the target. I tried to focus myself as much as I could, but with an intermittent “what-ifs” and “why-not” questions sprouting in my mind and the heart. Those questions were obviously about my relationship with Avantika.
For months, I was travelling between the questions of the mind and the answers of the heart. That day was one such day. ‘Should I explain her state of mind I was undergoing’, ‘should I tell her the relationship between us is more than that of friendship’, ‘would that be ethical to speak to her, when her marriage was two weeks away’. I was not sure if those questions were really valid. As someone said, ‘When you are in doubt, Just listen to your heart’, after a deep contemplation, I dialed her number. She picked my call at the third occurrence. We started off with the routine regards for each other. She then remained silent for a few minutes and then to my surprise, she initiated, ‘….Don’t you miss me these days…. and there was not a single day when I never thought about you. How good it would be had we extended our relationship…’ Her statements were intriguing and surprising.
I replied, ‘Hey, I thought you won’t like it’.
‘Stop that! Did I say that, I never considered you just like any other friend. I knew the relationship was special and meant something more! Didn’t you realize it?’
‘Then, why didn’t you call me’
‘I knew you had plans of pursuing M.S.; I wanted you to be focused. I don’t want you to lose an opportunity, because of me!’
We understood that we had taken special care in not hurting each other, by killing our own intentions. Then, we started to open up ourselves and spoke on issues that we never touched upon. All the impending problems appeared to be solvable and could be managed. The conversation was heavenly and we arrived to final settlement.
‘So, what about your marriage’
‘As someone said, when you are truly in Love, all the problems would appear trivial!’ ‘I can manage them’, she boastfully said, and teased, ‘Hey why did you call me?’
‘As someone said, it is a crime to hurt your loved ones!’
We unleashed a new energy in ourselves!