I met him for the first time on my 20th birthday, outside the church gate, near the wishing well, where I threw a coin for a true relationship; a true heart full of love . I turned up & opened my eyes to see his face. He had just stolen my heart .His eyes had the spark I was searching for. He just gave me a glance & passed. He was in a blue shirt & blue jeans. I was thrilled to see him in blue. Because, even I was in a blue jeans & top.
I wished if I can meet him again. Like a blessing, I met him next day unexpectedly .I was rushing to my college. I heard a knock at my door & ran towards the door tying my hairs in a bun. I opened the door & saw him standing in front of me asking , “can I get some sugar please???” in a red shirt . Again his shirt matched with that of mine.
I was in a dilemma. I just stood up straight gazing him & the guitar was being played in my mind. “Yah!!! sure…come inside”, I said him after controlling my guitars.
“whose there???”, mom came from the kitchen wiping her hands in the pallu of her saree & just looked at him.
Her face had a question mark . “Who are you”, mom asked him. I was going inside the kitchen. But, mom’s question made me to stop at the door of the kitchen.Thank god , my kitchen is attached to the hall. I just stayed there without turning my face towards them & just listened them silently.
“namaste aunty…am Ashwin & am new over here. I live in the next door. And I want some sugar. So, would you mind…..???”
“sure…wait….”, mom turned & saw me standing at the door of the kitchen.
“Alina….”, she called me. I turned towards her & said in a humble voice,”yes mom….”,
“go …get him some sugar”, she said. I just went inside , blushed & started filling the entire bowl he gave to me with sugar. Meanwhile, mom asked him to sit & asked him,”so what are you doing???”Her question grabbed my attention.
“Am an artist. I draw small paintings & am here for few days to participate in the painting exhibition “. .
“that’s great. Alina is also interested in paintigs . Even she is going to participate in the exhibition”.
I was listening to them from the kitchen. And I was so happy to hear that he is also interested in paintings. I went back to the hall & gave him the bowl of sugar with a beautiful smile on my face. I looked down. I was unable to make eye contact with him. I was hardly able to control my smile. He stud up & looked at me & said “thank you…” with the loveliest smile in the world. I just looked at him & the dimples on his cheeks just killed me. Again the guitars started,”mera mann ye bata de tu……”. But, I controlled. I was so happy to know that he is my new neighbour.
“ok aunty…….thanks for the sugar…glad to meet you”,he said with a smile on his face & then gave me glance & left.Mom went inside but I stood there to see him. He entered his house & shut the door. But, I was still there waiting for a sight of him.
“Alina….come….have the breakfast.”, mom shouted from the kitchen & I was back to real life.
Now, I was a person who would not like to go out especially at nights as I wanted to see him from my window. Every morning I get up & see him coming out of the house. He was always in a hurry. I always tried to go out at the same time to greet him. What I always did was, to observe him more & tried to know more & more about him, especially his schedule. Everyday he comes out from his house, & I was ready with my scooty. He always greeted me”good morning” with his killer smile on his face. He always went in an auto. Once , I offered him a lift. He denied first . But, when I requested him,”we are neighbours. And the city hall is near to my college .So, come……comeon……”, he said “ok…”
Gradually, our a friendship bloomed & our greetings turned into small talks.Then the practice continued. I gave him lift everyday & at times, he used to drive . He was hindu & I was christian, the fact that withdrew me was this f**king caste system. He was not so frank. I had to ask him questions for the answers I wanted to know.
The more I met him, the more I found my attraction blooming into love. I tried to withdraw myself. But, the fact that he is also an artist, the only similarity between us, made us closer. Everytime I met him, my mind ruled over my heart . Knowingly or unknowingly, I loved him . May be more than anything else in this world. I always felt that he’s my birthday gift from the wishing well.
He was the first one to extend the hand of friendship towards me. I never wanted to leave that hand.I always observed him in the same colour as that of mine, “rang jo lagyo re……..”.
I was very uncomfortable telling to myself, “it’s just a coincidence”. He also assisted me in my paintings. This increased the intensity of my feelings towards him. He always wanted to meet me & talk to me. But, one day, all on a sudden , his sweet tone was amplified within a couple of minutes for absolutely no reason. I never understood why. I always said him,”never call or message me from now. It’s all over. Our friendship is no more. Good bye for ever”. But, after 5-6 hrs, he came to my house saying,”I think you should use some dark shade over here, a bit light tone over there & bla bla bla….” pointing my painting. He always wanted me to be a girl of his choice. But, he always shut my mouth saying,”you are interfering in my personal life. There’s no need for you to know all these things.”
But, the things were more strange when I found him sharing his views & personal life with me without actually being asked. At times , I failed to understand him. He is the same person who talked to me very sweetly, all on a suddenly he started being rude with me & when I ask him something, he didn’t answer but he wants me to know him…..Uff…….I was fed up. The only thing he said to me was,”you say that……”, the statement which was never completed. And the strangest thing was ,at times he shared his personal life with me. But, as soon as I show some interest in his talks, he says,”why you want to know all these things???, & the worst was, “why you want me to know all these things??” after listening to my entire stuff. The most interesting part of our conversation was, whenever he called me or I called him , the first question was,”who are you??”, inspite of having the numbers & blushings.He was so moody. I was unable tohandle him at times.
Finally , I decided to ask him about the same & just finish the stuff. But, my attempt was a failure.The angry young man just ordered,”stop talking with me….”. The entire day I just listened to one song,”kya kare kya na kare….”. Atlast,I decided to give him some space .I thought he need some time to think about me & adjust with the situation.He lied a lot to me. He said he is the single child of his parents. But, after a span of around 15 days, when I asked him again, he said, “of course!! we are three bros…….”. Once, I tried to ask him about the reason of lying, but he held me the culprit & repeated his dialogues.I just stopped talking to him.
We were no more in contact. Still, he was the first one to congratulate me when my painting was nominated for an exhibition . I wondered , how he knew this. Because, no one actually informed him about the same. We neither had any mutual nor our families were in touch. I was more happy to know that he is interested in my life. But, the happiness didn’t last for more than 5 min. Again, the angry young-man was back & ordered me, “stay away from me.” when I asked, “how do you came to know this???”.And the worst was, I was unable to get away from him inspite of those harsh words which he gifted me.
Most of the time, he was the one to approach me.But, still he ordered me to stay away from him. I was totally drowned in a puzzle, which had no solution than an answer from his heart. I had no courage to awake the dinosaur, but I was unable to control my feelings. I went to his room, & found nothing else than two paintings which froze me. The first one was the same as that of my painting which was being nominated. The shocking part was, it was exactly the same as mine. But, mine was never seen by him. I was unable to believe what I saw over there. “How it’s possible ???”,I asked to myself a hundred times. But, the second one was more mysterious. It was me. He drew my face without even a photograph of mine.I understood his heart but was totally surprised.
Whole day I waited for him at my window. I saw him entering his room at 11 pm. I decided to talk to him & just followed him. I asked him about the first painting. “may be you have seen my painting & had done it to torture me”, he replied. “You should rather go for writing than painting. See how fast you can imagine things & make your own stories….”, I replied angrily.He just gave a ferocious look to me.I was a bit nervous. But, my next question about the second painting made him nervous & he started babbling. The fight ended with a hug from him & tears in our eyes.Our silence said a lot.
We knew our restrictions, our castes were different, our families, the difference in there beliefs & thoughts etc etc…. We decided to be just friends & kept our heart content a secret. I was unable to thing about someone else in my life. I engaged myself with my studies & paintings. He was also done with his exhibitions & went back to Delhi.I was happy to get job at Mumbai. But, I had to go to another city. Thank god, atleast am fortunate enough to work at my own place. Otherwise, in my loneliness, his memories would have killed me.GraduallY, things were becoming like before; except for his memories & tears.
After almost 6 months, on a rainy night, I heard a knock at my door. I was alone at my room. I opened the door & saw Ashwin. He was all wet. Again we were in same colour, black. “You….I mean…what are you doing here??? Come inside……”, I just babbled. I gave him a towel to wipe himself & prepared coffee for him. He had no shirt to wear but he managed with a track suit of mine. The rain continued. Again the rain talked for us & the atmosphere soothened our hearts. We just looked at each other in every 2 minutes & back to the open sky & the wet ground , back to each-other & again to the rain.Suddenly, the thunder made me to hug him. He didn’t touch me. But, as soon as I was going to leave him, he hugged me. Now, the rain was not just outside. It was raining inside too; from our eyes. He kissed me on my forehead & we just looked at the rain hugging each-other.
Today, even after long 12 years, nothing changed between us. Even our status of being single. But, now he is no more an angry young man. He is my besty, who’s there with me in my thick & thin.We still enjoy rains & coffees together under one roof.