She was walking away. That act of rudeness touched a nerve that would have better been left alone. The rage was like nothing he ever felt before. He stood there shocked for a moment. Then he started moving. He was shaking all over. He closed in on her with three long strides. He grasped her arm and she turned. The irritation in her eyes was replaced with fear when she saw the look on his face. He slapped her hard right on her cheek. She staggered back with the force of the blow. Her friend screamed. Someone gasped nearby. He stood rooted to the spot long enough to catch the look of pain in her eyes. Then he turned around and walked. Away from the present. Away from a sweet past. Away from the future he dreamt of. But at that particular moment, the only emotion he felt was rage – an inhumane desire to hurt.
8 MONTHS BACK
The guitar sat in the corner of his room. Varun had placed it at that precise spot to make sure his eyes fell on it every time he walked in. But his brain was already conditioned to ignore it. It had become a part of the wall. The thick layer of dust didn’t do any good either. He was taking off his sneakers when the phone beeped. He was genuinely surprised to see a text from Samudra. They were friends on facebook, but that never means a thing, does it? It was a simple “hi”. But a message from a hot girl! That too a junior he has never spoken with before? Enough to excite him! He hastily replied to the text.
“Sir, you go for guitar classes, right?” [Ragging rule: Juniors are supposed to call a senior “Sir/Ma’am”]
“Yeah, I do. Why do you ask?”
“I am planning to learn how to play a guitar. Can you please give me the institute’s contact number, sir?”
That instant he knew, he was actually going to learn some music!
Once the ice was broken, the conversation flowed easily. They talked about nothing and everything. In between he asked her the inevitable question.
“Are you single?”
“No, sir. I am committed to Ajay, a guy in final year.”
“But he seems to be very busy. Never has time for me… :(”
“He must have some genuine reason. No one would find excuses to stay away from a gorgeous girl like you… ;)”
“Aww… :)” Aaaand SCORE!!!
He was not disappointed when he knew she was taken. He had hope. She seemed lonely. He could give her company. She will surely see with time that he was a better option than Ajay. He could manipulate the situation to his advantage. And the girl seemed easy to manipulate. He had not realized that manipulation is an art. A good manipulator makes you believe you are the manipulator. A good manipulator can make you want to do things that she wants, and make you feel good about it. He did not know that he was dealing with a master of the art.
She was gifted. She was too good at playing the victim. Making her victim feel like he is in control, that was her gift. And she knew really well how to use it to her advantage. He was too into her to read the signs. Love is blind, they say. It is, indeed.
One of the best feelings in the world is when you get your crush’s number; from her; without you having to ask her! Gautam had the luck to experience that. She called him one evening.
“Hello. Who is this?”
“It’s Samudra, sir.”
“Aah! Tell me!” He regretted saying it with too much enthusiasm.
“Sir, I was trying to find the guitar classes. I think I have lost my way.”
“Where are you now?”
“Near a church, sir.”
“An ancient looking church?”
“Can you see a path beside the church wall? Go that way, take the first right. You will see a board in front of the building.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“You should have called me earlier. I had planned to go today.”
“I guess see you soon in the class, then.”
Looking forward to it, he thought, while hanging up the phone. A two-minute shower, hasty dressing up and some craziness on the bike later; he was at the guitar class. He checked himself out in the bike’s mirror before walking in.
When he walked in, he noticed to his delight that Samudra was the only other student. She was holding the guitar tightly, her face screwed up with concentration, trying to get the notes right. He wished Mr. George a good day. She turned on hearing his voice, and gave him a smile. It was the first time he was seeing her this close. She was slender. Her face was oval in shape. She had jet black hair which reached a small distance below her neckline. The arched eyebrows complemented her large brown eyes. She had a pert nose and pouting lips. Those lips were curved in a smile. He smiled back and sat near her. It was the first of many more guitar classes to come.
The transition from chatting over facebook to chatting on whatsapp is an important step. An even more important step is starting to talk over phone regularly. They began talking over phone on a daily basis within a fortnight of their first chat. And the topic of conversation – mostly Ajay. She was always complaining about him. That kept his hopes high. He was putting up the act of a caring, sympathizing friend. One night she called him at 11.
“Hey! What’s up?”
“Hello”, she said. Her voice was cracking.
“Are you crying?!!”
He heard her sobbing at the other end.
It took him some time to console her and get her to talk. Apparently, she had been to the mall with a friend. She was just chilling when she saw Ajay coming out of the multiplex with another girl. Ajay, a man so busy he couldn’t even meet his girlfriend (staying in the same town) for two months straight, had found time to take another girl to a movie! She confronted him. And things got a bit ugly. It seems he scolded her for being over possessive and asked her to stop bothering him. It didn’t help that there were too many watching.
That night, they talked till 3 am. He felt they had a good chemistry. She was a charmer. He felt they had a deeper connection. Maybe this is love. Maybe this will last forever.
Initially, the guitar classes were the only times they met. He always tried to make the best out of the small amount of time he had. Sir used to teach them something new, and would ask them to practice. And he would leave them at it. But both of them were more interested in chatting. They would hold on to their guitars and talk about random stuff. During one such class, she told him happily,
“Ajay is coming to pick me! He is taking me back to hostel!”
“Great!”, he failed miserably at sounding happy.
“Come on yaar. He is my boyfriend.” He had got her to stop calling him “sir”.
“Yeah. But he doesn’t treat you right. Why are you still staying with him?”
“We are not having this conversation. Let it be.”
Sir returned by then, and they dropped the conversation. After class that day, she tried calling Ajay. He did not pick up. She was getting anxious. The hostel had a curfew. She was supposed to be back by 8:30. After four calls, which he did not pick up, she got a message. “Sorry, I can’t come. Got some work.”
She couldn’t hide her disappointment. And he couldn’t hide his excitement.
“I’ll drop you. Come on.”
And thus she sat behind him on his bike for the first time. It was not like he hadn’t taken any other girl out on bike. But having her behind him, he felt so special. Everything felt different. He was careful not to apply any sudden brakes. He rode slowly. When he dropped her near the hostel gates, she squeezed his hand before leaving. He kept watching her. At the gate, she turned back and gave him a smile. That smile was not her usual one. He could feel that she was silently thanking him.
That night, he asked her to go out with him. When she hesitated, he added,
She smiled. “As friends, huh?”
“If that’s what you want”, he replied.
“Okay. As friends.”
He slept all smiles that night.
In the guitar class, they had started learning chords. And she was really bad at it. After three classes with no progress, she told him,
“We should practice together. Teach me what you know.”
He was no rock star. But he was definitely better than her. Obviously, he agreed to help. He was not a fool to miss out on such a golden opportunity to spend more time with her. They decided to meet at a park near to the college.
The first day, it was really awkward. They had just taken out their guitars when a bunch of kids came running. They wanted him to play a song. He somehow managed with the one and only song he knew. That was the end of it. The guitars went back into their respective bags. They decided it was not safe to take out the guitars anymore, at least for that day. They decided to talk instead. And talk they did, for three and a half hours straight.
Before leaving, both of them agreed that the park was not a suitable place to practice. He suggested meeting at “tops” instead. And she agreed. “Tops” is a spot inside the college campus with a few trees, the remnants of a poorly maintained garden, and a few benches to sit. But since the college is situated in Madurai, a guy and girl sitting together was considered a very big deal. They decided to meet after 7, when the darkness would hopefully give them some cover.
They began spending an hour together daily, at the tops. They found a spot for them. A bench beside a Gulmohur tree. The intended purpose was practicing guitar. But they rarely did that. One such day, while sitting together at their spot, he asked her,
“Hey. Where is your guitar?!”
“I forgot to bring it!”
“Great! We are still meeting to practice guitar, right?”
She started laughing. And he joined her. After composing himself, he said, “Let’s stop bringing the guitars from tomorrow. Okay?”
“Sure.” And she gave him that smile he loved.
One evening, while playing cricket with friends inside the hostel, he got a call from her.
“I am at the Annanagar CCD (Café Coffee Day). Can you come? Please?”
“OK yaar. Give me 10 minutes.”
He left the game half-way, much to the dismay of his friends. They were already short on players with only four players in a team. He left anyways. When choosing between disappointing friends and your crush, it is better to choose friends. The reason is not that you love your buddies any less. Your buddies will do the same in such an emergency. So there won’t be any blame-game involved. And, buddies can wait. A girl won’t keep waiting for you. There will always be other guys trying to snatch her. Just like he was trying to snatch her from Ajay.
He reached the place in 20 minutes. He saw her sitting at a corner table. She already had a cup of coffee in front of her. She was sitting hunched up in the couch. He placed his order and sat opposite her.
“Hey, what’s up?” He asked her, smiling. Then only did he realize, that she was crying. The smile was wiped off his face.
“What happened?” He asked her with genuine concern.
She kept on crying, silent tears flowing down her cheeks. He got up and sat next to her. She looked up at him. Her eyes had a tortured look. Strangely, he found that expression extremely cute, in a way. He placed his arm over her shoulders and held her close. She rested her head on his chest. They sat together like that for what seemed like eternity. He was broken out of his trance when the waiter said,
“Sir, your coffee.”
He tried to lift her head off his chest. But she sat closer to him and hugged him sideways. He didn’t know what to do. He smiled awkwardly at the waiter. The waiter left the coffee on the table and left them with an understanding smile. He hugged her back and slowly caressed her head. By the time she let him out of her grasp, the coffee was cold.
“What was that about?” He asked her.
“Ajay broke up with me.” She said, and tears began welling up in those beautiful eyes again.
“Shhh. He doesn’t deserve any more tears. Actually, there is no need to talk about him. Let’s talk about something else.”
“Do you think they will heat this for us? Or should we order fresh coffee?”
“Whatever.” She was still moody.
“You know what? I wish he broke up with you every day. That way, I’ll get to hug you daily!”
She gave him an odd look. A smile escaped her lips. She hit him playfully on his arm, and said,
“You creep!” And she started laughing.
She was back to her normal self within minutes. He felt something he hadn’t felt in a long time. A flutter in his stomach every time her shoulder grazed his. Feeling his heart beat faster and stronger while looking deep into those large eyes. Watching those lips move without registering anything she was saying. He wanted to tell her how he felt. But he knew he had to wait. The day of her break-up was not a really good time to tell her that he had fallen in love with her. After all, even he had realized he was in love only that day.
He was waiting at their spot beside the Gulmohur tree like Samudra asked him to. He was anxious. She had gone out with Ajay. Ajay had asked to meet her because of something remarkably stupid that she did. She had visited his house. She went there with an equally stupid friend of hers, and introduced herself to his mother as his friend. Ajay was dumbstruck. She warned him before leaving, that she would reveal all the truth if she had to come a second time.
In short, she made a really big mess! But Ajay asked her out the next day. He wanted to talk with her, it seems.
“See? He is taking me out!” She had told him gleefully. He gave her a reproachful look.
“You can’t scare him and make him love you. It won’t last”, he said.
“I know. But… what do I do?”
“You know what the problem is? Once you get into a relationship, you forget how to live as a single girl. Now you are scared of being single. You feel like you need a relationship to keep breathing. It is not Ajay that you want. You just want some guy to keep your status “committed”. Don’t be that girl. You are better than that.”
“I don’t want just a guy. I want…”, she trailed off.
“You want?” He asked, hoping to hear “You”. But she said,
“Nothing. I am going to meet him. You wait for me at our spot. I should be back by 8.”
And that is why he was waiting there from 7:30. He couldn’t stand the anticipation. So he came early, hoping that she will be back sooner than she thought.
“Hey. What are you doing here?” A girl’s voice asked him. He turned to see it was Kamala. She was a common friend to both of them. He smiled and said, “Take a guess!”
“Waiting for Samudra?” she asked, with a sly grin.
She sat with him and they started talking. Few minutes later, he saw a bike approach. It was Ajay and Samudra. Ajay left as soon as she got off the bike. She walked slowly towards them. She noticed Kamala only when she got close. She smiled at Kamala and came sat between the two of us, despite the fact that there was plenty of space on the bench. Kamala couldn’t hide her amusement. That small display of her possessiveness gave him a kind of thrill.
He kept talking with Kamala. Samudra didn’t care to join the conversation. She held his hand instead, and squeezed. He looked at her. He couldn’t read the expression on her face. He wanted to ask her how it went, but Kamala’s presence stopped him. After a while, Kamala left.
As soon as she was out of earshot, he asked her,
“How did it go?”
“He was all charming today. But it was not his usual self. I could understand he was faking it.”
“So, I ended it. Can we walk?”
They walked together, holding hands. Neither of them spoke a word. After a few steps, she left his hand and hugged his arm instead. He had thought the best feeling in the world was to simply sit with your crush and talk. He realized he was wrong. A walk was far better. He prayed to God that the girl besides him will keep correcting him, and show him better things in the future.
The best day they spent together happened because her friend wanted to go on a date. The friend wanted to keep it a secret. So, she asked Samudra to leave with her. At a park nearby, the friend was picked by her date. It was a Sunday. Samudra called Varun. She asked,
“Would you like to spend a whole day with me?”
“Definitely! I would love to!”
“Am at the Eco Park. Come pick me. We will go for a ride.”
“What? You mean now?”
“Do you have any other plans?”
“I had planned to ask you out for a movie. Well, a ride sounds like a better idea.”
He cut the call and realized that Amit was glaring at him.
“I thought you were accompanying me for the psychiatry CME.”
“Sorry man. She asked me to take her for a ride! A whole day with her! Come on, man.”
“Dude, I know you are going to leave with her. But remember, the closer you get to her, the more painful it will be if you part.”
“What are you saying?”
“I saw you go through a break-up, remember? If this doesn’t work out either, I am scared you will lose it.”
“We are only friends, man.” He said, trying not to remember those bitter days.
“Ha ha! Did you forget that I am the one you share your secrets with? Friends my foot!”
“Go on. Have fun. But take care, man. Take care.”
Amit went to the CME, and Varun to Samudra.
She was waiting outside the park. When he stopped the bike, she climbed on.
“Where do you want to go?”
“I don’t care where we go. Just go.” She said, smiling.
He adjusted the bike’s mirror to make sure that he had a clear view of her face. She did not fail to notice that. All she could do was blush and shake her head. And they started. As soon as they were out of the town, she tentatively placed her hand on his shoulder. He looked at her in the mirror and said,
“I expected a hug.”
She said, “Then you expected too much.”
But her actions were in contrast with her words. She hugged him tightly and placed her chin on his shoulder. “Happy?” she whispered in his ear.
“Take a guess.” He said, grinning like an idiot.
He decided to go on Natham road. He had been on that road once before and remembered that it was mostly green. He did not remember much because the last time, he had gone on bus. Maybe he slept a bit too. He was in for a surprise. It was a perfect road to take a girl for a ride. When the town was about five km behind them, he could see a straight stretch. Trees on either side of the road were forming a canopy above the road. Like they were holding hands and trying not to let their immobility separate them. As a result, they felt like riding through a beautiful green tunnel. The sun did not have to try hard to reach the ground. The treetops were not dense enough to block the sun altogether. Rays of light entered through the cracks in the green ceiling. Everything required to make the romance level high.
Samudra hugged him tighter when he increased the speed.
“Go a bit slow na?”, she chided. He immediately slowed down. He was feeling as one with her. He looked at her face in the mirror to see her looking back at him with an intense expression and a light smile on her lips. She averted her eyes with a blush. He felt butterflies in his stomach. He tried to focus on all of his senses at the same time. The wind rushing on his face. Her hands gripping tightly on his abs. Her torso pressed tightly on his back. Her cheeks grazing his ever so slightly. Her thighs gripping his sides with a mild force. The sound of her shallow breaths partially masked by the howling wind. He felt her warmth seep into him. He took his left hand off the handle and placed it on her hand. Her fingers intertwined with his. Without any words, they kept riding like that for some more time.
After about an hour, he stopped the bike. She still stayed in the same position, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the bike was not running. He waited for a few moments before breaking her out of the trance.
“Samudra…”, he whispered.
He replied, “Mmm.”
“Let’s get off the bike.”
She got down, a bit reluctantly. He felt as if he lost something, when she separated from him. He got down too and went near her. They had stopped beside a farming area. It was not the harvest season, so the view was a vast plain parched piece of land. But there were trees where they stood, providing shade. A monkey landed a few feet from them. She shrieked and hugged him sideways, clutching tightly on his shirt. The sound scared the poor animal. The monkey made a hissing sound and scurried away.
He thanked the creature in mind and asked her, “That scared of monkeys, eh?”
“Yes.”, she replied and realised the position they were in. She slowly released her clutch, and started moving away. He quickly grabbed her waist and pulled her back on to him.
“There might be more of them around!”, he said with a naughty grin.
“But monkeys are not that dangerous.”, she said slowly, but eased into his hug and hugged him back.
At that moment he knew why such a close hug was so special. She being shorter, perfectly fit into him. She slowly lifted her head to look him in the eyes. He looked back and smiled. He knew he could kiss her right then. But in the back of his mind, he knew they were not officially a couple yet. He should propose her now and if she says yes, he should go for the kiss. If she said no, he would have spoilt this magical moment. Like a fool, he decided not to take the risk and spoil the hug. So he kept silent, and simply hugged her more tightly.
They returned to the hostel by 8 pm. She had released him from her hug when they were back in town. He dropped her at tops. And walked her to the gate. While saying bye, both of them made an awkward jerking movement. They wanted to hug again, but neither of them were much into PDA. So they simply waved at each other and left.
Once he was used to her charm, he began to notice things about her that he hadn’t earlier. One evening, while sitting at their spot, she was talking about Ajay.
“I want to talk to Ajay, now!”
“Leave him alone yaar. Why now?”
“I want to”, and she dialed his number. As he expected, Ajay did not pick. She kept staring at the phone. Then she called him again. And again. And again. She called him at least twenty times without a break. While the phone was ringing, she kept saying, “Pick up baby. Pick up! Come on baby!”
If she had said it in an angry tone, he wouldn’t have given a bother. But her tone was sweet and almost romantic; like she was talking to her love. It scared him to see her in that state. He tried to grab the phone out of her hand. But she gave a loud shriek. People turned to see what was going on. He did not disturb her after that. She kept calling Ajay. And he kept staring at her. She finally gave up. And looked at him. The expression on her face was that of a kid denied of a toy. She was bat-shit crazy, but the cuteness simply overwhelmed him.
“Will you never get over him?” he asked.
“I don’t know. I feel lonely. If I had someone else, maybe I will forget him.” She said and looked at him.
He wanted to tell her at that moment how much she meant for him. How he cherished every second he spent with her. How he would like to spend the rest of his life with her. How he had to struggle all the time to stop himself from just holding her face and kissing those lips. But instead, he said,
“Hmm. I’ll walk you to the hostel. Come on.”
A look of disappointment crossed her face. They walked to the gates silently. He halted a small distance from the gate. She said, “Bye” and walked towards the gate. He watched her disappear. Once she was out of sight, he turned and punched the tree nearby in frustration.
That little stunt by her, with the mobile phone, won her another chance to meet Ajay.
“He wants to talk with me.” She said.
“Okay. Don’t come back more depressed.”
“I won’t. We are meeting at 6. Can we go for a movie before that?”
“Come on. Don’t be moody. Take me for a movie.”
They went for some movie. Inside the theatre, he never looked at the screen. He couldn’t take his eyes off her face. She noticed him staring after a few minutes.
“What?” she asked.
“Can I hold your hands?”
“You still have to ask?!”
The rest of the movie they sat with their arms intertwined. In between, they looked at each other at the same moment. He realized that her lips were only a few centimeters from his. He could feel her breath on his face. He wanted to close that gap and make her his. They stayed that way for more than a minute. Then he turned towards the screen. He did not dare to look at her face again till the movie was over.
After the movie, she took a rikshaw, to go meet Ajay. And he went back to their spot, to wait. While sitting there, waiting for her, he made a decision. He was going to tell her when she returned. He was going to propose her. He started rehearsing how to say it properly. After so many trials in his mind, he finally made up his mind. He would say, “You already know this. I have wasted enough time by not having the guts to tell you. I love you dear.” And he would grab her waist, pull her close and kiss her.
She arrived after an hour. Oddly, she looked happy. He had expected her to be sad after meeting Ajay.
“You know what happened?!” she asked brimming with happiness. When he did not reply, she said,”He has promised to marry me! He does not want to be in a relationship with me now. But he said we will get back together after he finishes his internship! Am so happy!”
“Are you stupid?” he could not contain the anger he felt.
“Huh?” she looked confused.
“Can’t you see he is playing you?! He wants you to stop bothering him. That’s why this fake promise! Are you really that stupid?”
“Don’t speak another word about him! I thought you will be happy for me.”
“If you were with a good guy, I might have been happy. But he is going to dump you!”
“You don’t know that! Don’t jump to conclusions. He is a good guy.” She was getting angry too.
“Samudra, I love you.” It was nothing like he imagined, but he had to let her know.
She didn’t say anything. She turned and walked away. He stood there, not knowing what to do.
Varun had changed completely. After that night, she had cut him off entirely. She blocked him on facebook. She blocked him on whatsapp. And when he tried calling her, she never picked the phone. It had a big toll on him. He became helpless. His friends tried everything they knew. Taking him out for movies. Spending all their time with him. But it seemed like he had forgotten how to smile. He kept sitting at the corner of his room, headsets on, listening to songs. Enrique Iglesias was his favourite artist now and Insomniac his new favourite album.
Amit had a conversation with him one day. It was about a month since the incident. His hair was rough. He did not care to trim his beard anymore. He wasn’t paying any attention to his dressing either.
“Look at yourself in the mirror man. Why are you doing this?” asked Amit.
He did not respond. Amit shook his head and said, “I shouldn’t be saying this. But I told you.”
“Man, you know why I am this broken now?” Varun asked Amit.
“NO. Enlighten me!”
“The people who enjoy the maximum when life gives them something good; they are the ones who are affected the worst when they get hit by life.”
“How can I get you out of this, man?”Amit asked him sadly.
“I want to meet her. I want her to hear me out before I can end it.”
“I’ll see what I can do.” Amit promised him.
When Amit failed at arranging a meeting, Varun took matters to his own hands. He decided to use her technique on her. He called her again and again. He let it ring fully, and then called her again. He kept doing it. She picked up the twelfth call.
“What do you want?!” From her voice, he could tell she was irritated.
“I am a mess. You are, in a way, responsible. I want to talk with you before I can get over you.”
“I owe you nothing.”
“I hate to use this line. But you give me no other choice. Talk to me or I am talking to your friends.”
“What are you going to tell them?” She was scared now. It was difficult for her to make friends. The few friends she had were dear to her. She was always scared of losing them. She always used to tell him how her friends were ultra-conservative.
“I know they will leave you if I tell them how we used to hold hands. And we used to do more than holding hands.” He had always found her best friends to be of a queer nature. She always had to keep it a secret when she came out with him. He had never imagined it would work out as an advantage.
She yielded, “I will come.”
“Its 7:30 now. Meet me at our spot at 8.”
Jishnu took him to the spot on his bike and waited at a distance. Varun slowly walked towards their spot. All the happy memories that place held. He sat there waiting. He doubted whether she will actually come. She did. Two of her friends were with her. At a small distance from him, the three of them stopped. Samudra was saying something to her friends. The friends stayed there and she walked towards him alone. Apparently, she had asked them to stay put. When she reached near him, she did not sit. So he stood up too.
“Why are you ignoring me?”
She did not reply.
“Please tell me.”
“Because Ajay asked me not to.”
“I will tell you the truth. I believe it was because of you Ajay stopped talking to me.”
“What the hell! He was not talking to you two months before we talked for the first time!”
“Maybe then you were the reason he did not come back!” she shouted at him.
“How do you work that out? He never wanted you. He left you ages ago! Even now, after that fake promise, did he ever contact you?”
“He did.” She said in a small voice. He always knew when she was lying.
“Don’t lie to me, Samudra. I know you.”
“What if he doesn’t? He has promised to get back with me after his internship.”
“He will leave Madurai after internship is over. He will join a PG course somewhere far. And then you can’t find him. You are acting like an idiot.”
“Stop talking about him like that!”
“Samudra, I can keep you happy. Please leave him and come with…”
She did not even let him complete. She was leaving. She was walking away, leaving him mid-speech. That act of rudeness touched a nerve that would have better been left alone. The rage was like nothing he ever felt before. He stood there shocked for a moment. Then he started moving. He was shaking all over. He closed in on her with three long strides. He grasped her arm and she turned. The irritation in her eyes was replaced with fear when she saw the look on his face. He slapped her hard right on her cheek. She staggered back with the force of the blow. Her friend screamed. Someone gasped nearby. He stood rooted to the spot long enough to catch the look of pain in her eyes. Then he turned around and walked. Away from the present. Away from a sweet past. Away from the future he dreamt of. But at that particular moment, the only emotion he felt was rage – an inhumane desire to hurt.
Jishnu’s eyes were wide open. Varun got on the bike behind him and said,
“Take me back.”
SIX MONTHS LATER
He was still not over her. He did try to talk with her after that night, but he never got a chance. He didn’t press either. He knew he had done something really bad, something he can’t undo. A slap has a magical effect. The slap he gave her worked like an eraser. It erased all the happy memories they ever had together from her mind. Now, whenever she heard his name, she remembered only the slap. And he couldn’t blame her anymore. He had given her a very genuine reason to avoid him.
He had gotten better over time. He did not look a mess anymore. And he laughed easily. But every night before going to sleep, he would take his phone and look at her pictures. He still missed her. Samudra achieved something remarkable. She took Shreya out of his mind. The only difference Samudra made by coming into his life was replace Shreya. He still had a girl to think about daily and stay sad. Nothing changed.