Love Short Story – The RAINS!!
I clearly remember it rained that day. Heavily!!
Pa came to drop me for my new life – the college. I was scared, nervous and other such synonyms; for this was a start away from everyone I knew or was even remotely connected too. But a man I am, and hence put up a brave face, asked Pa to leave and headed to my hostel.
Engineering colleges are rather funny, hostels being the funniest.
“101, B wing. Aage se right jaake water cooler k baaju waala kamra”, the guard said.
I wondered if this “wing” thing was becoming symbolic of something. Status Quo may be or it sounded cool if you have few “wings” in your college.
My roommate and I shared one more thing other that the room – my name – Aakash. God knows why the warden dumped us in the same room – I know, for all the bloody confusion that would happen over the years. The day passed in trying to settle down. I brought with myself loads and loads of old newspapers – so not only I used it in my if-you-could-call-it-an-Almirah but also shared it in my wing – the start of new friendships happened over something old!!
“Get ready for the night”, Vikas, the weird looking neighbor chuckled. He looked as if he caught us by bloody surprise.
“Why? Ragging kya? But the warden told us, it is banned. I am running off to my aunt’s place tonight. I can take one of you if anybody is interested. Where is the hostel movement form available??….. “, Ashish, the nerd went ballistic over ragging overlooking the fact that it was super cool to be ragged, at least I thought so!
“Shut up be phattu”, I tittered, so wanting to be cool. Destiny had plans otherwise.
We all waited eagerly in our respective rooms after the snacks. I wore the new JOCKEY boxers, I thought they were nice and chatted with the other Aakash over things that were – Bul**hit!! The power went out suddenly and we knew it was time.
“Behenchodon, baahar aao”, screamed one of the seniors banging madly at our doors. I looked at Aakash and he looked at Aakash too, me. We opened the door and joined the mess that was outside. Everyone was bloody naked resembling some kind of orgy; I wondered the fun in checking out something that was common to all of us. But… nevertheless, we joined the bandwagon.
“Aaye Haaye, mere raja. Jockey-Shockey”, noticed a senior. Ass, I thought! Few of them came close.
“Its time for the DIVYA DARSHAN, as**ole. Go to the mess, look for the most fu*king awesome first year girl and get us a hair strand of hers, anyplace. Remember, we will cross check”. That was rude. Ass, I thought again!
I started running towards the first year mess, forgot I was only in my bloody boxers. I realized but a bit too late, semi naked I stood at the gate of the mess.
Growing up I vowed to myself I will NOW be naked to the only girl I would get married too. A tad too early, but I did.
All the eyes were on me, indistinct chattering, laughing, I ignored for I had to do a quick scan for the cutest girl around, take one of her hair strands, ANYPLACE, fu*k!
And there SHE was. Never in my life, never on the celluloid, never in the dreams too, had I seen anybody even remotely cute as her. Eyes so beautiful, lips of an angel and I could go on and on. Honestly, I did skip a heartbeat.
I quickly came back to normalcy. Eyes still on me, I walked up to her, her face turned a radish red even looking at me, “Hey, I need one of your hair strand please. Ragging…….” I fumbled. Courteous enough, or probably to save her the embarrassment, she acted as if struck by a lightning; she gave it to me in a flash of a second.
I ran back. The mess burst into laughter behind.
Next day, I was the hero. The first year went berserk about the JOCKEY boy.
“Hey”, somebody called. I looked around to see it was HER.
“Hey! I am so sorry for seniors. You know how these yesterday are sometimes”. What was I saying? Hell!!
“Hahahahaha”, her voice echoed in the corridor and all the eyes immediately turned towards us.
“You are so cute, Jockey Boy. I am Ishika Sinha, ECE. You?” said she. My heart pumped with joy and that probably showed on my face. That instant I was filled with instant hatred for he-who-created-acronyms! So bloody wanted her to go on and on and on, but all I could say was, “Aakash Malhotra, ECE”.
It had started!!
Days passed, months went by and the bond just went from strong to stronger. With her, everything seemed pleasant and lovely and nice, the short attendances, the boring college conclaves, the uninteresting- unexciting lectures, the ghatiya movies; everything!
I was her GOOD FRIEND, whom she called at midnight to tell how the day passed, whose shoulder she needed every time something bad happened, who she looked for the instant she entered the class, for who she fought if anybody dared sit next to her in the lecture hall, all this made me wonder was I the one??
I wanted to take the plunge but someone within; resisted.
“What if she says NO? You will lose a good friend”
“But what if YES is the answer? You are settled for life dude!!”
I never had the courage to answer these. I wanted to tell her a lot, pour my heart out but it became difficult with each passing day. Not sure if she felt the same way, I decided otherwise. We never talked about this. Probably, both of us were scared then. Probably both of us had plenty of other things in mind – the placements, the marks and other weird stuff. It had remained that way until something bad, err… good happened!!
16th March 2005, Wednesday – the date is so distinctly clear in my memory. Probably, you never forget the first of various firsts of your life and this was one of them. It had rained heavily causing the underground generator to go for a toss, no electricity in the classrooms meant that we had a holiday. Ishika called me for a lunch date, I was happy with the way this was going. I readily agreed.
We planned to go to a new joint which had opened recently near the college. As we were walking, I noticed a caravan of cars coming towards us; probably some Goddamn minister was on his election rally and brought with him the extravagant display and waste of public funds. We waited till the last car went by but that was the one which was supposed to play cupid. As it passed, it knocked me hard.
I woke up in the hospital the next day. I could feel the pain in my leg. It hurt bad, I was all bandaged up, looked like multiple fractures in my body, even my hair was hurting too!! With no familiar face around, I started panicking. Aakash came in with the doctor and the reports.
“Abhi kaisa lag raha hai beta?”
“Okay! But it’s paining badly”
“That will go in a week or two. Chalo you take rest. I will be around”, the doctor said and left.
Aakash told me how the accident happened. The driver lost control and skid off the track hitting me and ……. I was nervous. Was Ishika all right? Where was she? Did the car hit her too?
Aakash sensed the tension, “Pagle, She is fine and has just gone home. She did not sleep the night. We asked her to leave but stayed with you through the operation. She will be back any minute”
I had an operation?? Hell!! What will I tell Ma??? All this made me more worried than the pain.
We chatted about some-I-do-not-remember stuff. I was waiting eagerly for her. She did not sleep the night. If that last car was supposed to play the cupid, let it be!
Ishika entered in a dhinchak red suit. Her hair still wet, my heart skipped a beat yet again.
“Have you come to see a patient or going to some party? What’s with this red suit?” I teased.
She kept quiet. Aakash, the good friend he was, sensed the tension, left us alone.
The door Aakash shut behind left her in tears. She sat close to me, took my hand in hers and said, “I thought I lost you. There was so much blood around. You were not listening. You were not responding. When the doctor said, this has to be operated on immediately, I almost fainted. Baby, promise me, you won’t do this to me anymore, anytime. I just cannot see anything without you. I thought I almost lost you. I was scared baby……”
She cried for I believe would have been an hour. How was I supposed to ensure the accidents would never happen again?? Nevertheless, the transition from Aakash to “BABY” was so smooth; I fu*king ignored all of that, the nuisances. I was glad, pleased, surprised and I don’t know what but I was relieved.
“Were you waiting for this accident to happen to tell me what you had in your heart all this time? Had I known it, I could have scheduled one, way before”, I laughed!
Phataak!! One tight slap. Girls in love can actually hit you hard!! She hugged me tight. It pained but this one was way better. We were officially a couple now. No I-Love-You tantrums, no I-Propose-you today, nothing!! But it had started finally. Phew!!
It took me 4 and half weeks to recover completely. She came daily without a miss after the lectures, however hard the day was. We talked a lot about a lot. It was then I realized that the heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of.
With placements round the corner, I survived a scare, scored a shitty 63.5 in my 5th semester just to be eligible to sit in few of the companies coming in. Infosys was destiny.
With the days finally leading to the final day lessened at a super rapid pace. There was a lot still to be done, lot still to be said, lot still to be…. I had decided.
One fine brightly lit night, when the moon was full, after the usual post dinner walk, I took her to the terrace of the hostel from where we could see the whole of my first love – Dilli. I was cynical about us leaving for our respective workplaces in few days, took her hands, looked in her eyes, eyes so deep that would make me mad for days I didn’t see them, I said, “Baby, it’s been 3 year and a half, I have known you. My life was good but you completed it. It would sound so absurd today but I tend to lose my senses when you are close. But please let me say that – Marry me girl!! I just cannot imagine living this life with anyone else. If it weren’t you, this would end – my existence! “
A tear rolled down her cheek. This was to come soon but it came sooner than expected. She cuddled in my arms, buried her face in my chest and planted a peck. Three years; we never were so close but today was different.
Out of the blues, it started raining .We kissed!! I often heard people say the first kiss is special and special it was for me. She meant the world.
I woke up with a start – bad dream again! Tried hard, but never really remembered what the dream was. I checked my mobile to see her missed calls, 8. Girls seem to lose all senses when the other side stops responding. The JOCKEY BOY was the KUMBHKARAN AVATAR too!! Hurriedly, I called her.
“What happened Ishk?”
“Can we meet? Can you skip today’s lectures? Can we meet at your room, not some stuffy canteen or some shoddy malls, just you and me?” she said with a gasped breath.
I usually avoided meeting in the hostel, everyone had their stories then, I said, “Sure Ishk, come along. I will be waiting”.
She rushed as if standing just outside the hostel building; I had just finished my bath. She looked scared, confused, God knows what.
“Sonu, do coffee, room pe”, I shouted from the balcony.
I sat next to her. She looked weird, real weird. She did not hug me when she came, nor she played with my wet hair when I sat next to her, she loved doing that.
“Aakash! This is going to be tough – for you and for me. We would not see life together. Pa would never approve of us. We shouldn’t be attached any more. This shouldn’t have started even. I cannot betray my dad. He means the world. Move on, Aakash. This is so nice a world; you will find people better than me. I don’t deserve you. “. She kept on saying, crying, for some time. Indistinct chatter, everything, was for me.
And what about me Ishk, I wanted to ask. What about what you made me, what about what will I be when you leave? What if I deserved you? I had plenty to ask but I played Mr. Calm to the perfection. The fear of losing her made me weak. I thought she was finicky for the term was ending.
“Go home Ishk! One bad day and you just cannot end this. Think again and give me a call. I want to meet your dad. I will settle things up.”
“No, Aakash. It’s over. There will be no tomorrow. I will call you. Bye”
Was everything in my story scheduled to be so abrupt? Was all of this just for fun? Was this what? I didn’t have the answers.
I waited the whole “tomorrow” day, the whole night, the whole week but she didn’t call. Strong I was, but never had the courage to call her too. I was broke. Do bonds build over a decade dissolve so easily?
I soon got busy with my exams and so did she; this was my way to tell myself “All is well”!! I saw her daily at the exam centre but she avoided me. Each passing day made me angrier, made me madder, made me more vulnerable; made me what I was not!!
I woke up by the knock on the door. Housekeeping.
Today was the last official day of the college. Nobody wanted their bills unsettled. The day was unusually fresh, it had rained the night before unexpectedly and drenched the whole of town bad.
“Kal aana chacha”, I said and tried to sleep again. Sleep actually offered me solace, away from her thoughts, away from the sight of the alarm clock she gave me, away from the dried roses we shared, away from anything even remotely connected to her.
I was annoyed with the second knock and looked up to abuse the chacha, and there, she was at the door. I saw her after some 7 days. Blank eyes, bare hands, she was just not my Ishk.
Aankhein soyi nahi thi raat bhar, she walked right up to me and said, “Aakash, You are leaving tomorrow and I wouldn’t be coming to see you off, not because I hate people leaving, I know a ‘Sorry’ would not suffice but THIS would end tomorrow. All the pain I have given, all the love we had, all the agony, all the hatred, all the hurt, everything, everything would end”.
She left. She left me speechless. I didn’t know how to react. I wanted to cry, be angry, shout at her but did nothing. A day later, I packed my bags, looked at the photo frame I had of US, dumped it in the dustbin, then took out the picture from the frame, tore it, then dumped it in the dustbin and locked my room.
We ended just like that. No formal breakup, no keep-in-touch irony, nothing. We parted ways only to let her finish the race.
It’s been 4 years, 6 months and 27 days since I saw her last in my hostel room, half asleep, and 17 minutes (because I was busy editing this one) since I thought about her. Each passing minute, each passing second, I only thought about her. I had my parting gift and that was a whack on what all I had built during those years. All she has given me is one big silence. Silence, which is so still; endless!!
Friends told me she got married, is settled abroad and they are expecting their first baby, stay blessed girl, but it takes my heart out each passing day knowing that she is so far, yet so near. That she is no more the one she was, yet I feel her everywhere. Yet I feel so loved and yet I feel so hated…..
The moon was full, and the night bright,
You were close, I held you tight!
And then I woke up and you weren’t there,
So I am back again, broken, lost and insane!!
I took up to writing to be just me sometimes. Away from who thinks what? Who wants what? Who am I? What I want to be?
Deep down I know that she visits my blog regularly, read all of that, laugh on some, cry for some, share a life with me what if over these blogs, and hence I haven’t stopped writing. Not for her but for whatever good is left of me.
It still rains, heavy, deep down inside!!