“What’s in lunch today, Bhaiya?” Kabir curiously asked to the caterer.
“Whatever you want, sir!” Caterer replied with a smile.
Kabir was having a conversation with the caterer and suddenly he saw a girl.
A bubbly girl with brown eyes. Her hair was soft gold which flowed over her shoulders. She had a tapered waist and her complexion had an impeccable, ochrous hue. Her pencil-thin eyebrows eased down gently to her black, beetle’s-leg eyelashes. Those sugar candy-sweet lips carrying the most beautiful smile, her elegant personality, all mesmerized Kabir in just a moment.
“Sir, what will you have in sweet? Gulab jamun or Kheer?” Caterer again asked.
“Gosh!!” Kabir sighed seeing that girl.
“Sorry, sir. Didn’t get you.” Caterer confusingly said.
“Nothing bhaiya. Today there is no need for desert now.” Kabir informed the caterer with a big smile on his face.
Caterer was staring at kabir for a moment and got busy serving others standing in the queue. Kabir’s colleagues were waiting for him on the table and he was busy searching for that girl. She disappeared in a flash. He looked for her in the cafeteria but no luck was found. He went back to his colleagues and joined them for lunch.
That whole day kabir was lost and wondered about that girl and murmured with himself seating in the balcony. “Why on god’s earth this happens with me only. You should have given some more time to see her god. Finally after many years was so happy to see someone and that happiness even doesn’t last long. Huh! Godd..!.” That’s natural human tendency to crack god for the things which don’t go in our favor. Those brown eyes didn’t allow him to sleep at that night.
To his surprise, next day he saw that girl again in the canteen. His happiness was touching the sky and he followed the girl to see where she works and used to seat. He was having hawk-eye on that girl while he was having lunch but again those hawk-eyes were of no use as the mystery girl disappeared again. He was fuming on himself and started cracking himself that how can be he so careless. Where did she go? When did she leave that table? He was surrounded by many questions for which he was completely clueless. He was very disappointed with himself at that moment and this time thankfully, he didn’t curse god.
Next day kabir finally got his permanent seat allotted in the next side of the wing as he joined the office recently. He got himself settled and started working on the requirements of the newly assigned project. Luck took a U turn for him and the girl was there again. She used to seat in the same side of the wing where kabir got his seat allotted. The joy on his face was clearly visible at that moment but somehow he controlled his emotions and acted busy in his work. He started looking at that girl frequently as he used to get any chance.
Now here comes the main problem. HOW TO INTIATE THE TALK? Well, talking to her was a matter of dream for him. He wanted to know her name. He tried each and every possible way to get her name so the rest information can be obtained from social media.
Days were passing in no time. Kabir was newcomer in the company so he barely knew many people in the company and his shy nature was making it worst to get the girl’s name. Desperation surrounded him so badly that he was getting more frustrated day by day. Every day he used to wake up in the morning and promised himself that he will talk to her directly today. The promises were proved fake as he was failing every time. The words refused to come out when he was seeing the girl of his life.
On one day, Kabir was walking around the campus and suddenly he heard a loud call from behind. A girl shouted, “Maithi, come this way!” He looked back and saw that it was the same girl. He ran to his desk like there is no tomorrow and opened his mailbox. He searched for the name ‘Methi’ in his mailbox. No suggestions were found. He tried searching for other similar attempts but again no luck was found. Then on final attempt he tried searching for ‘Maithili’ and the results came. He was elated seeing the name of that stranger.
“Ahh, Finallyyy! The stranger has got a name. So Maithili it is.” Kabir sighed in relief.
He searched for Maithili on all social media platforms and gathered the information about her. He came to know that the girl is not only software engineer but she sings and writes as well. The deadliest combination of all time. Beauty with brain. He felt so happy to know that stuff about her that it was nearly impossible for him to control his desperation to have a word with Maithili.
Kabir used to stare Maithili more than 30 times a day. Her smile, talks with other colleagues, playing with hair all her little things he used to notice from his desk and that was leaving a small smile on his face. While staring her, sometimes he got caught by Maithili but there was no reaction from her side. She used to stare him sometimes and then again she used to get back to her work and activities. This process was carried out for at least 2 weeks and now it was high time for Kabir to initiate the talk. Somewhere he was having a gut feeling that she was not going to stay in the company for a while. The reason being unknown but it was a pure gut feeling.
One night, Kabir composed himself and prepared himself for having a conversation with Maithili on the next day. This preparation night routine was also carried out for 10 days but every time he failed to have a word with Maithili. He decided to give a smile on one day and will check the response of Maithili. If she responds back then he will go further with talks.
Kabir was keen to give a smile to Maithili. He was eagerly finding a perfect occasion for that. Maithili stood up from her desk and went to fill her water bottle. Kabir followed her and decided to give a smile anyhow this time. The luck was not favoring Kabira at all. He got a call and she rushed away.
Maithili stood up from her desk and went to fill her water bottle. Kabir followed her and decided to give a smile anyhow this time. Kabir saw her coming back. He was literally shivering. As she came closer to him, he didn’t react at all. He was all blank. He cursed himself and came back to his desk.
Maithili stood up from her desk and went for coffee. Kabir followed her and again as usual decided to give a smile anyhow this time. Kabir saw her coming back. He shivered, went blank and failed.
Kabir went back to home. He was more angry than disappointed with himself. He got himself motivated by his roommates to have a word at least whatever the result comes. He was pumped up again and came to a conclusion that he will initiate the talk directly. Smile therapy was not working for him as he was going blank every time. Whether she gets angry or accept the talk but he will try. He didn’t want any regret this time as he already went through similar kind of situation in the past. He forgot the past and focused on the present. All he didn’t want was a regret of not approaching a girl. He was not sure whether he was in love or not. The main focus was to have a word with Maithili anyhow as he was about to travel abroad for business meet in coming days. He was not going to see her for few days. Few days were decades for Kabir as the time progressed.
Kabir typed a message in the messenger. The message was drafted in 1 minute but to send that message took two hours for him.
“Hey!” Kabir pinged to Maithili.
“Listen I’m really very sorry. Please don’t get me wrong” He added and closed his eyes as he was nervous. He closed his eyes and prayed for the positive response. Heart was beating faster than the bullet train once the messages were sent.
“Who is it?” Maithili asked confusingly.
“Kabir here. I sit 3-4 rows away from u. Orange shirt guy.” Kabir replied.
“I think you have mistaken me with someone else.” Maithili answered.
“No..No.. I wanted to ping you only. I saw your writings, you are an amazing writer.” He praised.
For a moment Maithili thought that this is all fake, maybe he is just buttering to impress me. But the reality was Kabir meant that and he deeply respected her art.
“What’s that ‘really sorry’ for then” She asked to understand further.
“Nothing, it’s just typical being me.” He replied nervously.
Kabir was fuming on himself why he mentioned sorry before knowing the situation properly. She barely knew him and she was not angry on him because she didn’t notice Kabir staring her that much.
“I think I don’t know you.” Maithili informed.
“Yup, you don’t know me but I hope now you recognize me at least.” Kabir replied back biting his nails.
Maithili got busy in her work and she didn’t revert back. She was wondering who this guy was and how he came to know about me. She searched on the internet to see who this guy was. Kabir was so confused that he was not able to understand what just happened.
The first thing was that he spoke with her finally which was nearly unbelievable for him and the second thing was what to interpret from those responses of Maithili. Kabir was lost and wondered whole day that what picture she made of him from this short conversation. Roomies asked about the incident but he was so lost that he refused to utter a word. He wanted to give up on Maithili but heart was just not ready to accept the defeat. Mind and heart started quarrelling but in the end heart won and Kabir decided not to give up on Maithili until he finds out what she thinks about him. Whatever the decision will be, he will respect that decision. He also wanted to convince her that he is not like all other guys. He respected Maithili and her choices. He was pleased seeing her the way she was. He just wanted to be a friend with her. If not friend than at least trustworthy stranger. The swag level was getting higher day by day for Kabir because of Maithili.
Kabir went to office early and started doing his work. Maithili came on her regular time and as usual she was looking gorgeous .Whether its modern attire or Indian outfits, she never missed to stun Kabir. That “Gosh!!” word was in loop whenever Kabir saw Maithili. He decided to wait for her message. She didn’t message him till afternoon. Afternoon converted in evening. The staring game continued as usual. That whole day he wasted in staring her only. Kabir was going to travel abroad on the very next day. There was so much to tell but again the story remained untold.
Kabir came back from the business trip and went back to the office. He was so happy that he was going to see Maithili after ‘so many days’ and finally that moment came for which he was waiting so eagerly. Maithili came. She settled so as Kabir’s heart which was keen to see her for a long time. The stare game started from Kabir’s end. He was just feeling on top of the world in spite of knowing the fact that she is not her friend till now. The talk is yet to be done. The day passed once again without any interaction with Maithili.
Kabir came back to his desk after attending the meeting. He saw Maithili. She came to office early then her regular time. Kabir decided to have a final word with Maithili today to know what she thinks about him. Whether they can be good friends or not. Will she trust him? Will she give a chance to express himself? Kabir had not much to do on that day. He used to read blogs in his spare time specially Maithili’s blogs. Checking Maithili’s blog twice in a day became habit for him. Kabir opened Maithili’s blog and she added a new blog last night.
Kabir started reading the blog and got an unbearable shock. It was Maithili’s last day at the office. Kabir went blank. He didn’t understand how to react. He felt like someone has stopped him from breathing for a while. He felt the suffocation in the environment and rushed away downstairs. He felt broken. The thought of not having Maithili around from next day was making him sad. Somehow he managed to get back to his desk and saw Maithili. He was speechless. He didn’t know what to tell her. How to convey the things which he wanted to tell since past one month. He wondered what to tell her. He was trying to figure out the things and the situation got worst for him. It was Maithili’s sign off mail. The mail was touching which was very obvious as it came from the awesome writer. Well, Kabir read that mail again and again. He felt unrest as the time was passing. He decided to give a pen as farewell memento to Maithili which he brought for himself from abroad.
“She is a better writer. She deserves this. God, how can you be so cruel? You just can’t bear my happiness. One reason was there and you snatched that too from me.” Kabir murmured.
He was going through mixed emotions so as Maithili. She gave her valuable services for 2 years to the organization and it was hard time to bid goodbye to that place. It wasn’t going to be an easy task to move on for both of them. Maithili was all set to leave and everyone was bidding farewell to her. Kabir felt himself so helpless that he broke his finger in the anger. He had hawk eye on Maithili as he wanted to convey his best wishes for the future along with the memento. Maithili left the wing, Kabir followed her hurriedly. Maithili was standing at the exit gate and meanwhile Kabir also reached there. Maithili’s ID card was taken back so she didn’t had access to go through the exit gate. Kabir swiped his ID and made way for Maithili to get out of the exit door. She took the staircase instead of the lift.
Kabir followed her and shouted, “Hey, Maithili, Listen!”
Maithili got a call from her dad and walked away hurriedly from the staircase. Kabir was standing confused at the stairs. He was not able to figure out whether Maithili ignored him or she didn’t listen at all. His heart was broken and felt clueless. What to do? How to do? He felt like life has ended for him at that moment. He was confused whether he should follow her till the ground floor and wait for her or let her go. The girl was there, chance was there to ask, Situation was perfect. He should have asked her. If she would have said NO then there was nothing to regret. At least he would have got the answer. Peace of mind would have been there.
To his surprise, he let her go and after 5 minutes he realized he has added one more regret for life time. He composed himself and ran like there was no tomorrow. He took the staircase. Heart was beating like never before. He was surrounded by many weird thoughts but kept his nerves. He reached to ground floor and looked around for Maithili but the damage was already done. She was gone. Kabir went to the campus garden. Sat for a while and somehow managed to control his tears. He was emotionless. His voice failed, heart was broken and soul was shattered. Maithili’s smile, her innocent brown eyes were not allowing him to come back in the present. All of a sudden the memories of Maithili came in a flash in front of him.
He gathered himself after 15-20 minutes and went back to his desk. As soon as he sat at his desk, the eyes were just not ready to accept the fact that the girl sitting in the cubical was gone forever. He was staring at her desk but this time there was no one was playing with her hair, no one was there to stare. The reason of his happiness was gone.
Maithili’s absence was killing him. Kabir packed his bag and left the office. He went to the backyard of the campus where he used to sit to spend some time with himself. He cried like a baby. There was no one to stop and it was necessary for him to express the pain that he was feeling. Maithili’s memories took the complete control of his mind. He unlocked his cell phone and opened Maithili’s pics. Most probably that was one of the worst moment of his life. His heart was never going to be the same again but he pretended that everything was OK. He went back to his home and talked to everyone but there was something missing- his SOUL. His soul also left him with Maithili. People say time is the best medicine but what if the time is not able to take back your soul. It’s useless if there is no reunion of your body and soul. Sometimes your life will get better when you realize it’s better to be alone than to choose people who don’t really care about you but Kabir was not able to accept this.
Well, Kabir had to live with that regret. Days were passing and the smile completely disappeared from his face. He was acting like a robot. Wake up, go to office, work, come back to home, check for Maithili’s updates and sleep. This became the daily routine for him. He used to check Maithili’s blogs so that he might get some hint about where is she and how is she doing? Did she get a new job? So many questions were unanswered. Luck was not favoring him at all. Days converted into months and months into years. 3 years passed.
After 3 years:
Kabir became more matured and calm character. The daily routine was quite changed for him. He got himself associated with one NGO from past 2 years. He started spending his time with the orphan kids of one NGO. Bringing broad smile on lovely kids became the motto for Kabir. Apart from spending time with the kids, Kabir used to write. Initially he started writing for couple of magazines but later on he used to write for his own. Poems were the main attraction for him.
Maithili changed her work domain. She left the IT industry and joined the art club. She was an amazing character. She always preferred to listen to her heart. She was not happy with the IT stuff so she decided to leave the field gracefully. She started writing for a well-known publication and got herself settled in New Delhi. Days were not far for her to be a celebrity writer. Maithili was aware of the fact that Kabir is regularly checking her updates. Her perception for Kabir was changing. She also started checking updates of Kabir. As the days were passing, her heart was also falling for him. She was getting familiar with Kabir thanks to social media.
One day she checked Kabir’s profile had no updates for a long time. She was worried. Suddenly she started caring for Kabir. She didn’t know the reason of caring. She wanted to message kabir but somewhere it was ego that was destroying the courage of initiating the talk with Kabir. Why should I message him first? He should have pinged me at least if he cares for me in actual. It’s been 3 years now. She wondered.
Maithili wrote one novel named ‘Walking into paradise’ which got famous in no time. She became the young writer sensation. Fame was kissing her feet. She had to roam different cities to attend promotional events of her book. Kabir was asked to move to Jaipur for couple of months due to project requirements. Maithili went to Jaipur to attend one event organized related to her book.
It was Saturday evening. Kabir was feeling home sick and bored. He went to Crossword to buy some books. He was surprised to see huge crowd out there at the store. The store was covered with the posters and big hoarding of Maithili’s book. The name of the author mentioned in the hoardings was ‘MAITHILI’. Kabir was just shocked to see this. He was wondering is it the same Maithili that he knows. Fortunately Maithili was about to attend the event organized at the crossword only.
The destiny definitely had some plans. Before he understood anything, he saw Maithili coming towards to store. The time just stopped. He was lost in fond memories of Maithili. He was overjoyed to see her back. He was going through so many emotions that made him speechless. Maithili entered in the store and the event started in few minutes. The lost smile was back on Kabir’s face. He was observing Maithili very closely. She was not changed at all. She was looking stunning as always. Nothing was changed. “Gosh!” word was there again. Kabir had no idea of time while he was watching Maithili. 2 hours passed and he was still looking at her. The event was about to end. Maithili started giving her book’s signed copies to her fans and followers. Kabir took steps hurriedly towards Maithili.
“Can I get one signed copy, too?” Kabir asked Maithili.
Maithili turned back to see who was it and was shocked to see Kabir. She was very happy to see Kabir standing in front of him. She smiled and again started pretending as if everything was normal.
“Oh my god, Mr. Stranger.” Maithili pretended with a surprise.
“Oh yes. Miss escape.” Kabir replied with a smile.
“I didn’t escape. I was just in rush at that day.” Maithili answered.
“Oh, Really?” Kabir asked.
“Don’t doubt.” Maithili replied with mysterious smile.
“I didn’t want to doubt but these 3 years that I’ve gone through, you don’t have any idea. I was leaving with a regret of not approaching you. You should have replied at least YES or NO. No contact at all. That’s just not done.” Kabir explained. He took a break and started complaining again.
Maithili was seeing Kabir complaining and the mysterious smile on her face was making her more beautiful.
Kabir complained for 2-3 minutes continuously and Maithili was not paying attention to his complaints at all. Maithili had so much to explain and wanted to give answers to Kabir’s complaints but she preferred to remain silent and was having a bright smile on her face. That smile was describing the joy of meeting Kabir after so long.
Suddenly she hugged Kabir and whispered in his ears “I’m sorry, stranger! I know you missed me but I missed you, too. Forgive me.”
Kabir’s all complaints were vanished in a moment and his soul felt alive. The new beginning awaited for the freebies.
“It’s so hard to forget someone who gave you so much to remember. Appreciate the people who never give up on you.”