This short story became SPIXer (Most popular story) on 27 Sep 2014 and won INR 500
“Hi Raj, How was your vacation dude?” Ridhima inquired.
“Fabulous and how was yours?” Raj responded back.
Raj and Ridhima were classmates, bench mates in high school, but strangely not friends. They always shared a very formal relation; Ridhima never liked Raj, and she often finds him insensible and weird. In fact, she proved a number of times to change her seat, but the class-teacher often refuses her, and asks her to sit next to Raj.
However, this was before vacations started, during and after that everything changed. Now the things were different; Ridhima has changed; she started to realize that, she actually admired Raj, he was the part of her life, and her day was incomplete without him being around. She was sort of missing him, his nonsense talks. At present, her feelings were under transformation; she was undergoing a change; she was getting attracted to the one she hated. She was frequently irritated by Raj, but now she was yearning to be with him.
Distance makes the heart grow fonder, is what actually Ridhima was experiencing. She was new to all this; it was the first time she was in love , or she liked someone genuinely. She always wanted to be with someone, because even she wanted to kiss and romances like all other friends around her; and talk about it and her relationship.
Ridhima turned into the daydreamer; she dreams about her confession of love to Raj, his acceptance, the way she is proceeding to kiss him, romance between them and all the beneficial things that she constantly learned from the people close to her. Everything around her was beautiful; she was happy about this notion called “love.” She sometimes smiles at her, looks up into the mirror and feels beautiful; she commenced to dress up in a way so that Raj becomes fond of her. She was living every second of her being in love.
She eagerly waited for vacations to end; she was turned on to meet Raj. She was missing their arguments and more than that, Raj. She was going crazy and wanted to be with him.
* * *
School reopened. Days passed; Ridhima’s excitement kept building up. She set about enjoying her school more than any other spot on dry land. Even if she is unwell, she never misses a day at school. She was so much in love with him, that just to have a conversation and keep him close, so that they can speak about something that interests Raj; she twisted on her involvement in cricket. She never loses a couple, so that they can discuss what went right or bad during it.
Raj scores better in studies than Ridhima, but both were mediocre. After the month, Ridhima felt restless and wanted to tell Raj. The question was, how? She was timid and scared to open up about all this to anyone, though she has observed about her feelings to one of her close friends, Namitha, who was too close to Raj. However, choosing her won’t be right since if something sounds wrong, Namitha’s friendship with Raj will also become involved. Then she took her other friend, Harsh, to approach Raj and tell him, how much she loves him. Before harsh opens up about Ridhima, she wanted to first inquire what Raj feels.
As Harsh approached Raj, the group of his friends also stood by his side, so it became little challenging for him to talk about Ridhima, since he desired to insulate him from the gang and then hash out the affair.
“Raj, can I speak to you for a moment, please?” Harsh requested.
“Yes! Sure” Raj responded.
“Well, can you walk little aside”
“Raj, Hmmm…. What you feel about Ridhima?”
“Are you sure about your question, Harsh?”
“Yes, tell me?”
“Considerably, I don’t know, and in what sense are you talking?”
“See, Ridhima likes you, in fact; she loves you a lot”
“Wait, I mean this is mentally ill”
“Why Raj? She loves you”
“I don’t, maybe, if someone were in her place, I would have at least given a thought, but for her, I can’t feel anything”
“Raj, I guess you should consider before you speak, anyway, bye” Harsh cited angrily and moved.
Harsh and Ridhima was friends ever since they have joined that school, for Harsh Ridhima was above everyone around. He loved her, like a sister. It was difficult for him to take the crap that Raj said; he was upset. Moreover, he was worried how he will explain all this to Ridhima, she was so much in love with him that this incident will break her into bits. But whatsoever, this demands to be talked about. After gathering all the courage, he finally went to Ridhima.
“Hey Ridhima, I told raj about you” Harsh said slowly.
“And so what did he say, hope he likes me…” Ridhima replied excitedly.
“Sorry, he doesn’t. Instead, he said he can’t even think about this…”
“Because he feels, you are not good enough for him”
“Yes, he said something like this, and definitely he is not the one for you”
“No, harsh, I love him. Please try to understand that. I can’t imagine my life without him”
“Ridhima, please think practically. He doesn’t even think about you”
“Then what? I keep thinking about him. I need him. I love him”
“Ridhima; you are behaving insanely.”
“I don’t care” and she rushed towards the washroom.
Harsh was confused, how to handle this, so he thought its better to leave Ridhima alone. And then that she could sort herself out. Ridhima, was heartbroken, she never imagined all this, for her Raj was the guy, and she thought Raj would reciprocate the feelings as well.
* * *
Everything was happy and beautiful, and now totally pain and agony were around. All the love Ridhima thought was around, suddenly vanished. She supposed it was better earlier, why did she ask Harsh to tell Raj about her beliefs? Today she suffers to face this ugly truth, that Raj has no spirits of passion. For the following few days, she avoided going to school, since she wasn’t sure how Raj is going to respond in one case, they confront each other, and she is supposed to sit beside him. Though it was hard, but she somehow convinced her mother about it. However, doing so was just not a solution to her problem.
Ridhima, was a strong girl, who keeps things uncomplicated and straight ahead. She decided to go, after two days of leave. She believed she will blab about this with Raj clearly and ask him what exactly he feels; Raj might have not liked Harsh approaching him about such a personal thing.
As she went into the schoolroom, there were a number of transitions she noticed. First, her seat was shifted from Raj to someone else. Second, Raj was the new class representative, so immediately he receives loads of responsibilities, which implies he might simply avoid the crap that Ridhima wants to talk about.
Not everything happens in life in a planned way, and for Ridhima, nothing was falling in place. As she settled herself at a new bench, she thought its good that her place shifted, since now she can avoid talking with Raj, and further she decided to quit this topic.
“Hey, Ridhima, how are you” enquired Namitha.
“I am good; I mean a kind of fine” Ridhima said with a sigh.
“Raj told me that you confessed something to him through Harsh”
“Yes! I did”
“Why didn’t you come near him?”
“Because I was frightened”
“Frightened of what? His reply?”
“Yes, but what difference it made, he doesn’t feel the same” and she smashed down, began sobbing.
Ridhima tried to be normal, but she was broken from within. The major trouble was; she wanted to verbalize about it with Raj, and he was unavailable. Ultimately, she called Raj during their break time.
“Raj, I am sorry if I offend you” Ridhima apologized.
“Ridhima how can you think all this” Raj yelled. “You are sick, what made you think this way”
“I said, I love you”
“So, what to do? I really don’t”
“Raj, please don’t do this to me”
“Go away, girl” and Raj walked off. Bad turned for the worst, whatever she thinks is good was turning out to be a failure. She started to feel shame for herself, as she has fallen in love with the person, who might never understand her passion. She wishes, if she could forget everything that is happening around, or maybe can just melt down from all this crap.
* * *
“Ridhima; stop crying “Harsh consoles.
“Now let me cry; I deserve to cry, because I love the person who is so self-centered” Ridhima sobbed.
“Listen Ridhima crying is not a solution”
“Then tell me, what the solution is?”
“OK, first tell me, what happened?”
“Raj, blames me for something I didn’t do. And the class teacher punishes me for no reason”
“It’s OK, you calm down”
“No Harsh; this is not just the first time; he has been doing this for a long while”
“Ridhima, I told you so many times, he was not the one for you”
“Shut up! Harsh” and she cried louder.
Raj had powers, which he utilized to let Ridhima down. The big question was why? Probably he thought; she is trying to intrigue him. And that was so not true, she was just in love with him; she never thought, her love will cost her so much annoyance. She often recalls that all this should end, but how? Raj was in no mood to listen, she attempted a number of times to excuse him, but every time she came near, she faced dejection. Difficulties kept piling on. As the year came to an end, she bore to clear choices between subjects, and if their choices differ; Raj and Ridhima will be divided into two different classrooms. She tried to convince her mother, but eventually they got separated.
Already nothing was right in her life; and this added on. She was gone forth with no acquaintances, totally solo. Life was getting messed up, but she had no choice; she had to live with it.
* * *
For Ridhima, it was a new start. New acquaintances, new themes, new responsibilities and a great deal of work that kept her engaged. All that Raj had; the attitude of the class representative, is what she delivers. She is so happy and determined. Her self confidence went to build up; she was again given birth from the ashes of love. Though everything kept her busy; but it definitely can’t hold her away from the man she loved. Early in the morning; taking an excuse, she gets to see Raj in the previous classroom, by doing this, she was happy.
She never talked to Raj, once they were switched to different classrooms, though everyday she admires him from a distance. She understood, there was nothing left to talk about. Since Raj will never understand how and what she feels; and every time she tries, it gives more pain to her. Not everyone in the world is sane; people respond and act differently. Probably, Raj didn’t realize what he was serving. Perhaps, he was tempted by his acquaintances.
Everything in life takes place for a reason; Ridhima slowly got to earn it. It was better that they split off; else Raj would have proceeded to hurt her, by letting her down. At least, today she is detached from the agony of blames and punishments that she stood for about four months. She admitted the fact; Raj can never love her the way she behaves.
As the time passes, months changes to years, and years to four; her craziness changed to a mature outlook. She assumed her life the way it is; and was looking ahead towards her career making. That is what exactly maturity is; keeping odds aside and acting towards the better things. Raj hurt Ridhima in every possible manner; he laughed upon her, abused her, made faces at her; although she never expressed a word against him. She always said and believed, she loves Raj more than anything else in her life; it was sad for Raj he lost on her.
“Hi, Raj” Ridhima greeted him on the final day of school during their farewell party.
“Hello!” Raj responded.
“ Can we have a picture together”
“Raj, I always wanted to tell you; that you are extremely special. Though years have changed me a lot; but the love for you is the same”
“Ridhima, I am sorry”
“Don’t be Raj, because I never wanted an apology, all I wanted was your presence and support”
“I am guilty, Ridhima”
“ It’s ok Raj, its life”
“You are a decent person”
“Really? It took four years to realize this? Raj my first love, made me a better person”
“First love; such a big part of who I am….”
Ridhima finally got a prospect to convey everything she felt, though it took four years. But that is what love is all about… patience….