Aruna entered a small cafe situated at the center of the New Delhi. It was half past two in the afternoon & she was there a bit early to meet someone. She took the corner seat and got indulged in her phone. While she was checking her phone, she saw a post by one of her college mate on Facebook who posted an old picture of all college mates. Vikas, her soulmate, was also there in the picture. It’s been nine long years since that last memorable day. Suddenly her mind was filled with all the memories, she couldn’t help but recollect all the events of her last day at college hostel.
On that day nine years ago, perplexed Aruna waited for Vikas’s call for several hours. Muddled thoughts occupied her mind, “His interview must have finished by now, may be didn’t get selected & he was in despair, or probably he was celebrating his success with friends.” She checked her cell phone almost every minute – message inbox, WhatsApp and call history. Her restlessness didn’t allow her to be functional anymore, she wasn’t able to eat, drink , sleep or focus on any other task.
Few more hours ticked by and Aruna grew further impatient. Finally when her anxiety scaled up to severe level, she picked up her phone and dialled Vikas’s number. After the 3rd ring, the call was cut. Obviously reasonable Aruna would have understood that he might be in the middle of his interview but this restless version of Aruna was furious. She was disturbed and she was desperately trying to keep her nerve.
After fifteen minutes, her phone started ringing, it was Vikas. She picked up the call and said “Hello!!”
“Aruna, I got selected!!”, said Vikas in an excited voice. Aruna coldly disconnected the call. Vikas thinking it to be a network issue, tried her number again.
“Hello”, said Aruna.
“Aruna, I got selected!!”, said Vikas repeated. Again, she immediately disconnected the call.
His heart skipped a beat or two, didn’t know where and what hit him. After some introspection and a little intuition, he nervously dialed Aruna’s number again.
“Hello”, said Aruna as she picked up the call again.
“I am really sorry Aruna to leave you clueless on the last day of college. I got so busy in the travel arrangements that by the time I reached the shop to recharge my phone, it was closed. It was really stupid of me to write a letter and hope that our college junior will hand it over to you. She must have forgotten to hand it over to you. Ohh I am such a big idiot”.
“I got the letter”, she interrupted.
“Ohhhh”, Vikas was confused.
“But she gave me the letter after few hours, by then I was feeling so uneasy that I might have collapsed again”.
“Really sorry Aruna, I was really nervous yesterday and couldn’t reach you by any means. Thank god you received the letter after all”.
“Its ok. I understand”, she said.
“It’s all my fault Aruna. You are so understanding, I don’t know what will I do without you.”
A smile came on Aruna’s face after hearing this and finally she said “Congratulations!! I always knew you will make it.”
“When are you coming back?.
“A couple of days more , I will be getting the offer letter tomorrow.”
“What happened Aruna?”
“I am going back to my hometown tomorrow”, she said.
“Can’t you stay a little longer?”, he asked.
“No ways. I have to leave the hostel room tomorrow”, she said.
“Okay!!”, he said.
Aruna was angry, she hoped a better response than just “Okay!!”.
“Ok!!”, she said.
“I will give you a call tomorrow, going out for dinner”, he said and ended the call. Aruna sensed some discomfort in his tone but she ignored it.
She woke up early next day, it was the last day of her hostel life. The hostel was just in front of the college campus and the view from the top floor was impeccable. With a cup of coffee in one hand and a mind filled with nostalgic memories, she was enjoying the view from the balcony of her room. Flashbacks of the years spent in that hostel were coming to her mind, the fun filled careless days, the combined studies, the late night gossips, the loud music, the dance & the horrible hostel food. It was all over now. Everyone has to move on to the next phase in life, begin a new life, be a different person.
She never thought that these 4 years will be over so soon, never thought that she will meet Vikas and fall in love with him. But this unpredictable life can surprise you, shock you and elate you when you weren’t expecting anything out of it. It was her fantasy world, Vikas being on her side in every moment of health and sickness. She felt blessed to be surrounded by his love and care.
By noon, Aruna was done with her packing and all set for her journey to her hometown Nanital. It’s a beautiful small hill station in the center of Uttarakhand. Although she was a morning person and normally took the first bus in the morning to Nanital but this day was different and she decided to take a bus in the evening. Most of the girls took the morning bus or train but Aruna stayed back hoping for a miracle.
Since there was still some time left, she decided to take another tour of her college. She missed Vikas in this moment. They created so many fond memories while studying there in that college campus. She took a long walk, alone, enjoying the view, enjoying the memories. The cafeteria where they spent hours talking, the classroom where they first met and library where they studied together before exams. It was all coming back to her. She couldn’t stop those tears coming from her eyes.
After a while, she checked her watch and it was almost 5 in the evening. She started walking back to her hostel when she saw a familiar figure from distance. She started taking long strides and that anxiousness came back to her eyes. A guy was standing just in front of the hostel with his back towards the pathway along which she was heading back. Familiar height & familiar clothes, she almost started running but after few paces she realized that it wasn’t Vikas. A smile came to her face, she thought she is going crazy. She picked up her phone to dial Vikas’s number when she saw an email from him sent about 3 hrs ago.
You must have reached Nanital by now, I am at the Mumbai airport flying back to Delhi. The company told me that you will get the offer letter by mail in 10 days, there is no need to stay further.
I need to tell you something important, something I kept it from you. Do you remember Kavitha, our college junior, in 3rd year IT ? Two weeks back Kavitha’s father came to my home at Indore. He proposed an alliance for her daughter Kavitha. My family liked the alliance and said yes without asking me. I couldn’t say a word…..even a single word. I have lot of respect for my father, I can’t disobey him. Please forgive me.
Instinct told me long back that I won’t be able to convince my family. I sensed that even you wanted to part ways after college for a different reason. May be it’s our fate.
Hope we never meet again so that those feelings remain locked in our minds untouched, unperturbed & pure.
Her dreams shattered in a moment. Of course yesterday she made up her mind to part ways, she was prepared to say goodbye and bear the heartache but today she was totally unprepared. She couldn’t stop the flow of tears. Destiny gave her just another day to dream, to rejoice, to imagine a future with Vikas. She stood there for another hour and she missed her bus that day.
It’s been nine years that she last heard Vikas’s voice. She didn’t try to reach him, neither did he. It was difficult at first, to accept, to move on & to bear the inevitable pain. There were some desperate days, some moderate days and some keep yourself absorbed in work days. In her heart Aruna knew that he wouldn’t change his mind, he was always a very strong-willed person. Clearheaded and confident in decision making, he was determined to accomplish his career aspirations. He never expressed his love for her in 4 years of college, he never let his emotions overpower him. Sometimes the traits every girl desires in her soulmate, the same traits keeps them apart forever.
At the cafe, Aruna was still lost in her flashback when she heard a familiar voice saying “Mom, common we are getting late!! We need to reach the venue by 4 pm. You are the laziest mom in the whole world.”, said her adopted daughter Vaibhavi. She smiled and said “And you are the sweetest daughter in the whole world!! Let’s go.” And they took a cab and went out of that place.