They kept looking at each other as long as they could and finally lost sight. Soon after she broke into tears and let her emotions out which she had managed to control for long. Sameer and Avni had been best friends for past 3 years. All the years, months and days went past her eyes as Sameer left. She recalled the day they had met, the fights, late night ice creams, etc as she headed towards home.
“What?…Delhi? Are you mad? Are you telling me you are leaving Mumbai….you nuts?” She had screamed when Sameer broke this news to her. He had secured admission in one of the reputed media colleges in the country. Though Avni was feeling bad about the fact they would be living in different cities now but she was happy for his future.
New city, new college, new faces; everything was new and different. Sameer was excited. Back in Mumbai, Avni had joined a coaching class for her preparations for civil services examination. Days kept them busy but every night they found out at least an hour to talk to each other narrating how their day was.
Avni’s exams were approaching and she was working hard for the prelims. One fine evening, when Sameer called up, she did not answer his call. He kept trying for a couple of hours getting no response when finally Avni’s number flashed on his mobile.
“Sam…..I am so sorry, I could not pick your call.”
“Where were you Avy….are you okay? I was just worried.”
“Yeah I am fine. Actually I was at my friend’s place for studies. Just forgot my phone at home.”
“Which friend? I mean are you into some group study?”
“Not group study actually. It’s just 2 of us. Gautam stays nearby and is also preparing for Civil Services. So we thought we will study together. And it is his 2nd attempt, so he has some experience too.”
“Okay….”said Sameer coldly.
Gradually there chats became lesser in duration although they kept talking to each other. Sameer’s terms were also near but CSE was a tough nut to crack and Sameer knew this.
“Avy……can I ask you something?” he said during one of their regular calls.
“Of course Sam…tell me.”
“Umm…..actually…..” he took a pause. “How are your preparations going on? I mean exams are at hand….”
“I think I have prepared well Sam. Now let’s see.” She updated him about her progress. “Is this what you wanted to ask Sam? I think I update you on a daily basis.”
“Yeah I know. Actually I wanted to ask you something else but thought it can wait till your exams. We can talk about it later.”
“Okay. I will wait Sam…..“
Finally the exams arrived and Sameer wished her luck. He waited the whole day for her call. He knew how important it was for her to clear the prelims. Finally Avni called up and her voice said it all before she could. The exam had gone well for her. She had answered all the questions quite fairly. But results for competitive exams could never be predicted. So despite being satisfied with her performance, she kept her fingers crossed.
Sameer called up at night. It was a routine time for them to talk to each other. Avni’s phone was busy. Sameer tried 15 minutes later to find it still busy.
“Your phone was busy Avni…..”he said when she called up after around half an hour.
It was unusual for him to call her Avni.
“Yeah…was talking to Gautam. I had been to his place after exam but he was not at home then. So he called up. You know what…..his exams did not go that well. He was a little upset. I was just trying to cheer him up. And the call went so long.”
Sameer remained silent.
“Yeah…I am listening.”
“Are you okay…what is it Sam?”
“Nothing…..had your dinner?”
“Don’t change the topic Sam. You have been behaving a little rude these days. And you also wanted to speak about something. Now my exams are over. Tell me.”
“Avy I don’t know. I am just not feeling good.”
“Good about what?”
“Will you answer a question of mine?”
“Yes of course.”
“Avy…is there anything between you and Gautam?”
“Sam…..” she was shocked.
“I need to know Avni. Every time we speak, you mention him. You are so concerned about his career. He lives in your neighborhood. You guys study together. Are you seeing each other?” He said it all in one go. Avni remained silent. She did not expect such a question from Sameer. They had been best of friends but he had never asked such questions to her. What was wrong with him? She thought.
“Gautam and me are family friends Sam. It is just that now we connect for studies as well. The day I get involved with someone, you will be the first person to know. You need not ask me. You are my best friend yar.”
He remained silent.
“Sam…is there anything else running on you mind?”
“I don’t know. It feels I want to talk to you about something.”
“I don’t know yar…..” he sounded irritated.
She kept silent. He continued.
“I have not been feeling well for past few days. May be because we could not talk much. Actually I don’t know.”
“Hmmm. How are things in your college? How were your exams?”
“It was internal only. Not a great task. Went well.”
“Okay….anything new? Any hot item in your college? Bolo bolo tell tell” she teased him trying to cheer him up.
“What are you saying? Your city is full of hot chics and you could not find one for yourself…”she giggled.
“Avy….I am in no mood for such jokes….” He paused for a while “ ………….by the way a girl proposed me yesterday.”
“Oh….now I know the reason why you are not feeling well….so did you accept her proposal? It seems love is in air….ahem ahem”
“Shut up Avy…I rejected her proposal.”
“Arrey…. but why? Wasn’t she your types?”
“Avy…I don’t want to discuss this anymore. Just shared with you but it is not that important.”
They hung up after a while. But Avni could not cheer him up. Nor could she understand what he was trying to say. Sameer remained silent for few days. He always did so when they had any serious arguments. But this time, there was no reason, no fights and no arguments.
They spoke to each other daily but Avni did most of the talking.
Next week Avni left for Bangalore to attend her cousin’s wedding. She had informed Sameer that she would be back after a couple of weeks and would not be able to talk daily. They exchanged messages initially. But Avni then got involved in rituals and family celebrations and could not respond actively to his messages. After 5 days, she excused herself for a walk post dinner. She went into the garden and called Sameer up. He responded immediately as if eagerly waiting for her call.
“Too busy, right?” He said sarcastically.
“Yeah Sam….the whole family is here and I just could not find any time to call. I am so sorry.”
“It’s ok. I understand but at least you can reply to my messages…”
“I can’t carry my phone during the rituals yar…..I check and reply to all the messages whenever I get time. And I also thought this distance will give you some time…”
“Time for what Avy?”
“I don’t know Sam…you have been upset for a while. I thought you need some time or may be space. And this looked like a good opportunity.”
“You had given me enough time during your exams Avy…I don’t need anymore. When are you coming back?”
“Sam….actually I think my stay will get prolonged here.”
“What?? You said you will be back in 2 weeks.”
“Yeah…but I am here after long…so they are insisting I should stay for some time. As it is, my exams are over and I don’t have much to do in Mumbai.”
“So how long would that be?”
“May be I will extend it by a week.”
“So 2 more weeks to go. Right?”
“Yeah. Kind of.”
“Cool….enjoy.” He said but Avni could feel he was not happy. “By the way, when are we talking next? After a week or directly after 2 weeks when you are back? I mean you must be busy with you family obligations and all!”
“Sam….don’t be so sarcastic. I will try to call you. It’s really difficult for me to manage here.”
“Really…why are you then trying to call?“
“I said I will Sam. And this is an important family function. I can’t avoid it.”
“And me…..I have no importance in your life?”
“Sam please…you are over reacting. This is my family…..”
“And friends are nothing for you……right?”
“It’s not that Sam……what has happened to you? Why are you behaving like this? It is really irritating me now. Past few weeks, you are treating me as if I have committed some crime. Will you please tell me what’s going on in your mind?” She almost yelled.
Sameer kept silent. He did not utter a word. He knew Avni was right. He was being rude to her without any reason. He was not able to understand his own feelings.
“Sam….ok…I am sorry. I should not have screamed at you. But can we please discuss what’s wrong.
Sam……please talk to me.” She almost begged when found no answer.
“Avy..can we talk later?”
“Okay. Take care. And let me know when we can talk about this.”
And they hung up.
Avni could not sleep that night. Her thoughts were haunted with Sameer’s behavior. She was trying to recollect all the conversations they had in past few days but could not find any reason why he was frustrated. May be Sameer was trying to hide something, may be some family issue…she thought. She slipped out of her bedroom swiftly out in the garden. It was 2 am. She dialed his number.
As expected, he picked up immediately. He certainly was well awake.
“Avni…how come you called up so late?”
“Why are you still awake Sam?”
“Can I ask the same question?”
“Yes of course…I was thinking of you and could not sleep. Can we talk now?”
“How are things at home?”
“Fine. Nothing new.”
“They are doing well.”
“And your college?”
“Have you called me up at this hour just to take updates of my life.”
“I just wanted to……”
“Wanted to what?? Avy I am sorry for my behavior in past few days. I myself do not know the reason behind it. Everything is just fine in my life but things have changed. I have made friends in Delhi but I somehow feel very lonely….”
He paused for a moment and Avni kept silent allowing him to continue.
“Initially I was so excited for my new career and I am enjoying it too. But….Avni….I want to come back. I am missing our old days…..”
“And what will you do once you are back?”
“I will be with you at least…”
“Sam…..you want to come back to be with me? Are you ok?”
“No…I am not. I am missing you terribly. I am not able to concentrate on my studies. I have all the excitement of life around me but I am not able to enjoy them coz you keep running in my mind…..I never knew I will have to go through all this but….”
“But what Sam?”
“Avy…. I think……I think
“I think I LOVE YOU Avy…..”
“Sam….” She sighed.
“Avy it’s completely ok if you do not feel the same for me. I just wanted to tell you so that I feel better. I have been
trying to do this for a while now but every time I end up being frustrated. I just could not….”
“What stopped you Sam?”
“I thought you might become angry at me. I didn’t want to lose my best friend ya….”
“Idiot you are…..you will never lose me as a friend whatever the situation is. By the way..ummm….”she fumbled.
“By the way what Avy?”
“Actually….I think I was waiting for this”
“Avy??” He was shocked. He knew they were always good friends and had never given a thought about this.
“Sam…..I have been waiting for past 2 years. I was just too scared to tell you. I always thought you see me as a friend, so I should not spoil this relationship.”
“Yeah. I did see you as a friend only. And I would not have realized this hadn’t I gone far from you. I have been sharing every moment with you over calls but many a times I want you to be beside me. I miss the moments we spent together, the fights we had and the pranks I played on you. These small things are looking so big to me now Avy.”
They spoke their hearts out not even realizing when the dawn broke. It was a fresh morning. Love was in air. Avni quietly slipped into her room before anyone could see her.Now she did not want to prolong her stay in Bangalore. She wanted to go back to Mumbai, to start a new life.
Calls continued. But things had changed only for good. Life had taken a turn. Friendly chats had turned into romantic conversations. They spoke for whole nights. Although they had been best friends for years, discovering the romantic side of each other added a spark to the relationship. Days passed by and their love grew intense with time.
It was a lazy Sunday morning. Wrapped in a blanket, Avni was talking to Sameer and she mentioned she wanted to meet him and could not wait more. But she also wanted him to finish his semester exams so that they could relax together for some time. When they last saw each other, they were friends.
“I wish you were here right now …………” she said longingly, her eyes closed.
“You lazy creature, even if I was there, you would not get out of your blanket to meet me. Would you?”
“E hello Mr. you are underestimating me, ok?” she said opening her eyes and then narrowing them.
“Of Course….tum aake toh dekho yar.”
“Ok. Then get out of your bed, get ready n come out!”
“What do you mean?”
“Dumbo…..I will be waiting at Meeting Point. Be there in half an hour.”
“Are you kidding me? And it’s not 1st of April.” She said shocked and not ready to believe.
“Don’t waste my time ya”
Avni could not believe her ears. She jumped out of bed and hurriedly got ready. She rushed towards the door and came back. Checked herself in the mirror one last time, smiled, blew a kiss to her image and stepped out.
Meeting Point was a coffee shop near Avni’s house. She glanced through the glass walls but could not find him. Worried she called Sameer up.
“Sam…where are you?”
“Where are you Avy?” He questioned back.
“At the Meeting Point…..”
“Don’t tell me you are really there.” He was shocked.
“What do you mean?”
“Sweetheart, I was just kidding.” He burst out laughing.
“Are you serious Sam?” She choked.
“Hey Avy…..how could I come today man, when we discussed yesterday that we would meet after my exams…” he laughed again but softly.
She remained silent.
“Avy……what happened? Say something.”
“Nothing. It’s ok.”
“Avy……am sorry baby. Mai to Mazak kar raha tha”
“It’s ok Sam….can we talk later please?” Tears welled up in her eyes. Avy was used to his pranks but somehow this time she wanted to believe him.
“Yes honey…but before we hang up, let me tell you that you are looking beautiful in your blue Patiala and white kurta.”
“Sam…you are here, right? “ She hastily turned around but could not see him.
“And I never knew my Avy is so beautiful. I had never seen the girl in you Avy. You look awesome with the matching bindi and bangles. And I can just die for your long flowing hair.”
“Sam….where are you….” She was getting restless.
“Turn around and take 10 steps forward…..”
She did as he said and stopped…“I am not moving any further Sam.”
“Don’t move baby. Just turn around. Please.”
Avni turned around to see Sameer standing right in front of her with a bouquet of roses. She stood still not knowing how to react. They stared at each other for a while after which Sameer stepped forward and kneeled down in front of her handing over the bouquet. She remained silent staring at him. It seemed like a dream to her. He then stood up, came closer and looked deep into her eyes. She looked down to avoid his gaze. He kept looking at her. He had never seen Avni in feminine attire. His tomboy friend had lost weight and looked gorgeous. Strong Avy had transformed into a delicate Avni. She looked amazing. She looked like a girl.
It was their first meeting after entering into a relationship. A solid friendship had blossomed into a bond of love. Although they were excited to see each other, a bit of consciousness crept in for a while. However after some time they became comfortable in each other’s company.
Sameer had planned to surprise her and spend some time together. He was supposed to leave the same day. Avni was happy to see him but little sad about the trip being so short. A day wasn’t enough for them. But Sameer promised her to come back soon. They spent the whole day together roaming around the city, dining, shopping and having fun. Finally after watching a romantic movie together Avni dropped him airport. She was there for the second time but things were different. She did not feel the need to control her tears which rolled down her eyes. Her eyes instantly turned red.
“Avy…..please don’t cry baby……..” said Sameer cupping her face with his palms. “I won’t be able to go if I see you like this. Please…..” She dug her face into his chest and sobbed like a child. He hugged her tight till she was a bit relaxed and then released her from his embrace and looked at her. Her face was completely red and eyes wet and swollen. Strands of hair drenched in tears were all over her face. Sameer removed them one by one and held her face.
“Sweets, I promise I will be back soon!”
Exams were at hand. Days were hectic and nights sleepless. Sameer was too busy with preparations and could not talk to Avni frequently. However they kept in touch through messages. Finally the exams were over but it was no relief. Then followed the interviews for internship. After the end of 1st year, all students were required to take up a 2 month summer job. Agencies and companies poured in. And as expected, Sameer got through one of India’s top media agencies. He called up instantly and broke the news to Avni. She was exhilarated to know and wanted to celebrate his success. But the agency had asked him to join immediately. They could not meet.
The 2 months were very busy for Sameer. He had got the opportunity to work on a radio campaign. He was to assist the campaign manager with research, findings and execution of the campaign. This left Sameer with no time for himself. His mornings started early and he worked till late night. He could catch up with Avni on weekends only.
Results were out for Civil Services prelims. Avni bought all the leading newspapers expected to publish the results. She took out her admit card to matcher her roll number. She glanced through the result page, top to bottom, bottom to top, left to right and right to left. Then she started checking all the numbers one by one and her finger stopped at one of them. AGE…….012. “Yes!!” She screamed and jumped across the house. She could not believe her eyes and checked it many times. She had got through the 1st round. Excitedly she called up Sameer but he disconnected her call.
“Lil busy sweets. Call you later” arrived a message from Sameer.
“No problem. Will be waiting” she replied.
She waited for the whole day but did not receive any call from Sameer. Once she picked up her cell to redial his number but then decided not to disturb him. His campaign was to be launched in 2 days. He was busy preparing for it. He had spent few nights in the office itself and did not have proper meals. Avni was aware of his launch dates although they had not spoken for a while.
“Hi Sam….”said Avni receiving a call from Sameer after 2 days.
“Hey Avy. Sorry dear. Was too busy to call or message. You know what, we launched the campaign successfully with an over whelming response. I am so happy. I wish you were here and we could celebrate.” He was excited.
“Congrats ya…that’s great! I am happy for you.” She replied.
Sameer then narrated how his whole week went and how he received appreciation from his seniors. He was passionate and dedicated towards his work. He wanted to utilize the 8-week opportunity to the optimum. Suddenly he paused. “Hey, I am sorry baby. You wanted to say something. Tell me.” He said realizing that he did not give her any chance to speak in past 15 minutes.
“No problem Sam. Nothing much. It’s just that my results were out. So wanted to share the news with you.” She said in a cold voice. The excitement had faded away in 2 days.
“So…I guess all is positive. Right? Can I congratulate you?”
“Yeah.” She smiled.
“Wow Avy…that’s a really really great news man! I am so happy.” Sameer was excited to know this. Getting through CSE in first attempt was a big thing. However it was only the preliminary round, the main entrance test was yet to be dealt with.
“Hey Avy. What happened? You don’t seem to be happy. All okay?” He inquired sensing her low voice.
“Yeah of course I am happy Sam. But it was just prelims. Main is yet to come.”
“Yup I know. But you will clear that too. You are a champ babes.” He said trying to cheer her up. “Is there anything else Avy which I should know.”
“No Sam. Nothing at all.”
“Okay. I believe you. By the way maine thoda zyada bol dia kya? Actually I was so excited about….”
“I know Sam and I am really happy for you.” She cut him mid way.
“Hmmm. Anyways what’s new on your end? It has been long we have spoken properly.”
“I know. I have joined classes for mains.”
“Hmmm. So again my darling would be busy left with no time for me.” He complained childishly.
They spoke for a while but Sameer could sense some friction between them. He knew he had not been able to give enough time to her and felt guilty. But his work continuously kept him occupied during the whole tenure. By the time he found some time, Avni got busy with her preparations.
Finally her main exams were over and she was relieved. But things did not change much after that. They did not speak much. In some time Sameer realized that it was only he who made calls. He never received any call from Avni. She avoided talking to him. Even when he called, she only answered what he asked.
“Avy…is all okay?” One fine day he asked.
“Yeah. Why..what happened?”
“Only you know what happened ya…I can just see that you are avoiding me.”
“Nothing like that baba.”
“Then what is it Avy? Something is wrong with you.”
“No. I am fine.”
Sameer tried to probe but to no avail. Avni denied being low or upset or even angry. But she sounded very cold and sad. The girl who always wished to see him did not even ask him to come down to meet her even when both of them were relatively free from their studies. Finally Sameer asked her if they could meet.
“Would you like to come to Delhi jaan?”
“What for?” She sounded rude.
“Just wanted to see you yar. Or else I will come to meet you. May be next week.” He said without waiting for her answer.
“No Sam. It’s ok. Finish your studies first. We can meet later.”
“Baby my exams are after 3 months. And I am not working upon any project currently. So I think I would be able to manage.”
“But I am little busy next week. I will let you know when I am free.”
She tried to avoid meeting him. Sameer could not understand the reason. He knew he had been away for a while but he was also trying to make up for it. Avni was being unreasonable.
Door bell rang. Avni dragged herself out of bed and opened the door. Shocked she stood there.
“Hey….surpriiiiii…..se” he said as he gave her a tight hug.
Avni stood silent.
She freed herself from his embrace and looked at him.
“Hi Sameer. Pleasant surprise.” She smiled. But it missed the warmth she always had. Sameer looked at her. She had turned fairer and slimmer.
“So…someone has turned fair and lovely…ahem ahem…is this love?” He said as he winked.
Avni smiled and looked at him.
“Avy…I think you are not happy to see me here.”
“Nothing like that Sam. Of course I am happy. It’s a pleasant surprise.” She tried to smile again.
“It seems to be a shock rather.” He taunted. She remained silent and moved little backward letting him in.
Sameer settled in the drawing room which had pictures framed on the walls. Family, friends, parties and centrally located was their pic from college days. Sameer smiled looking at the tom boy Avni. He still could not believe how she had transformed into a girl, a woman.
“Sam….” called Avni in a low voice offering him a glass of water.
“Thanks.” he said taking the glass and settled on the sofa.
He signaled Avni to sit beside him. She kept the tray on the center table and sat beside him on the sofa, at a distance. He kept the glass on the table and moved closer to her. Taking her hand and covering it with both of his, he looked at her. She seemed uncomfortable.
“Sweets I know you are hiding something from me. I could not convince you to talk about it over a phone call. So I am here.”
“Sam…I am not hiding anything. There is nothing….” Sameer cut her mid-way by placing his index finger on her lips.
“You know what. You are bad at lying. Why the hell are you trying baby. I know our relationship is not even a year old but we have been friend for 4 years now. Don’t we understand each other so well?” She kept looking at him silently. “I know I have been busy and could not give you enough time. You have the right to be angry at me. But I want to compensate for it. At least give me a chance to do so. My Avy could not stay angry with me for so long. Where have I lost her?” His eyes were turning red and tone serious. “Avy…please say something. Is there more than what I can see?” he almost pleaded.
“Sam…” she lowered her gaze. “Actually I wanted to tell you something. I..I…” she started fumbling….”actually there is a guy in my coaching class. We are good friends.”
“What about him Avni?”
“Nothing Sam. It’s just that all these months, when you were away from me…Sam….I was going through immense pressure and I needed you badly but you could not find any time for me.”
“So…” he frowned. He could sense what was coming his way.
“Sam…I don’t think we can be happy together. And Saurabh is a nice guy and he is always there whenever I need him.”
“So you have developed feelings for him. Right?” She kept quiet.
Sameer was speechless. He could not believe her words. He kept staring at her. Tears welled up in his eyes. He held her arms tight and looked deep into her eyes.
“Avy….you are kidding me right? You lying na bachcha…you can’t do this to me. Tell me Avy…all this is just a lie…just a drama. You are trying to punish me na…” he was shaking while these words were coming out of his mouth. “Avy please tell me…you are lying. You are only mine. Tell me Avy. Tell me.” He screamed.
Avni started shivering and tears rolled down her eyes. She slowly released herself from his grip. “I am sorry Sam but all this is true. I am really sorry.”
Lying on a bench in a park, he just wished it was a nightmare. But unfortunately it wasn’t. Everything was true and happening in real. He kept staring at the tree under which he was lying. Wind was blowing making the leaves rustle. He was blank. He wanted to cry but could not. He wanted to ask her why she did this to him but could not. He was just blank. A part of his heart still consoled him and said “she is only mine”
It was evening. He was roaming around her house not knowing what to do. One moment he felt like going into her house again and telling her how much he loved her. But the other moment his mind told him she did not love him anymore. He stood in front of her gate and could not decide which direction to move when he heard the door being opened. He swiftly moved aside and stood behind the side wall.
Avni stepped out wearing the same pink and blue dress when they had met for the first time after getting into a relationship. She looked pretty. She was carrying a brown-colored hand bag on her left shoulder and her cell phone in her right hand. She moved forward to take a rickshaw.
“She is going to meet Saurabh.” He thought. He felt like stopping her but rather stopped himself. He felt jealous.
It was 12 midnight. The door bell rang. Avni got up wondering who could be so late. She was still thinking when the bell rang for the second time. She quickly moved towards the door and peeped through the safety hole. It was Sameer. “Sameer!” She murmured. “This late!”
She opened the door. He stood there like a wall. No expressions. Only a blank look. No anger. No complaint.
“Hi Sam….come in. You were supposed to leave tonight if I remember correctly.”
He kept silent.
“Sam?” she said a bit loud.
“Yeah. Actually I cancelled my flight.” He said coming in. Avni shut the door behind. “I thought I will spend some time with you.”
“Uh..Sam…I think I have already told you about…..”
“I know Avni and I am sorry for the way I reacted. Forget about our affair but we have been and will remain friends for ever. So can I spend some time with my friend?” He said with a sad smile. Avni nodded.
She made some coffee for him and sat on the sofa in front of him. She seemed better and relaxed. And so did Sameer. They chit chatted for some time.
“So when can I meet the lucky guy?”
“Who? Oh…Saurabh? Sure. Whenever you are in Mumbai next time.”
“Why next time Avy? Why not tomorrow? I mean as it is I have to book a new ticket for myself. So check his availability and accordingly we can plan. What say?”
“Sam….” she hesitated.
“Don’t worry. I am not going to beat him up.” He laughed. “Trust me I want to see the person whom my best friend has chosen as her life partner.” He said with a smile.
“I know baba. Actually Saurabh is out of town. That’s why I said next time. I am really sorry.” She said with an apologetic smile.
“Hmmm…ok. No issues. Chalo uski ek photo to dikha do yar. Now please don’t make any more bahanas. Okay?”
“Sam…I don’t have any photo of his.” she said consciously.
“And you think I am gonna believe that.”
“You have to Sam.”
“Okay. Now tell me he is not there on any of the social networking sites. Tell me Avy.”
Her heart started pounding. She could not say anything.
“Okay. Give me his number. Let me speak to him.”
“Sam it’s too late to call him now.”
“No problem. I will call him tomorrow morning. Give me his number.”
He looked at her and she remained silent staring at him.
Sameer stood up and started walking across the room. “Wow! This is awesome. My best friend has fallen in love with a person who does not have a contact number, does not socialize and has no photograph of his. Great!” He moved towards Avni sitting on the sofa and squatted in front of her, on the floor.
His eyes bored into her. “Where did you go today evening Avy?” He asked in a serious tone.
“No…nowhere Sam. I was very much at home.”
“Avy…I asked where did you go?”
She kept mum.
“Will you tell me or should I tell you?” His eyes turned red and temper high.
“Wh…what do you mean Sam? I mean how do you….?” A chill ran down her spine.
“Okay….so you are not gonna tell me. Okay. Avni…I followed you today evening. I thought you must be going to meet Saurabh but…you know what it turned out to be.”
Her heart was racing. But she did not utter a word.
“Avni…he took her hands “I always thought you shared every bit of life with me. I still can’t believe what I got to know today. How could you do this to me? You are suffering from this bloody disease and you did not even feel the need to tell me…I always thought I am an important part of your life……….” his eyes filled with tears.
“You are not an important part of my life Sam…you are an important part of me. I am incomplete without you.” Tears rolled down her eyes.
“Then why did you do this to me sweets? Why?”
“I am sorry Sam….I know how much you love me and thought you would be devastated by this news. I thought I will part ways so that you can find a new love for yourself. I didn’t want to leave you all alone in this world.” She burst into tears.
“You cant leave me alone Avy. You are not going anywhere…I won’t let you go….” he hugged her tight and they cried their hearts out.
Leukemia or blood cancer is now a curable disease but only when detected early. Unfortunately Avni had no symptoms in her early stage of cancer which led her to an advance stage in absence of treatment. She hardly had 6 months to live. And she knew this. And now Sameer knew this.
It was a strange night. Two lovers were meeting after a long time. But love had taken a different form. All they could do was console each other. Sameer wanted to take a second opinion. Although Avni was being treated by one of the best doctors in the country, she agreed to visit another doctor for Sameer’s satisfaction.
Results remained the same. Avni’s treatment continued under the guidance of her first doctor.
She insisted that Sameer go back to Delhi and continue his studies. But Sameer did not want to leave her alone. He accompanied her to her next chemo session. It was bad but Sameer had promised himself not to be emotionally weak, at least in front of her. He found out some time for himself when he let his emotions out. He could not imagine how he had mistaken Avni’s paleness for her fairness; how he thought she was turning slimmer when she was turning weaker day by day. He could not forgive himself how he could not understand when his love was in so much pain.
He stayed there for a week when he told her that he was leaving the next day. Avni nodded as she wanted him to join his classes. Sameer looked at her. Her hair was thinning and she had dark circles around her eyes. He planted a gentle kiss on her forehead.
“Sweetie….you have 15 days in hand.”
“For what Sam?”
“I will come back after 15 days and take you along.”
“Take me along? What do you mean Sam? I can’t come with you…”
“Can’t come means what. You are an Indian girl and you are supposed to leave your house and live with your husband once you are married.”
She gave him a perplexed look.
“Ma’am we are getting married after 2 weeks.” He continued.
“What…..are you crazy…we can’t get married.”
“Why…are you still in love with this Saurabh?” He teased.
“Mad you are….but I can’t marry you Sam. This does not make any sense. You know I don’t even have 6 months…”
“I don’t want you to be tagged as a widower Sam. I want you to live a normal life with your life partner.”
“And that is what I am doing honey….living my life with my partner; with you.”
Avni tried to give numerous reasons but failed. Sameer had made up his mind. He wanted to give her all the pleasures of life and also take good care of her by being with her. And after 2 weeks, they got married to be with each other so that only death could do them part.