The day was normal as usual. The sky was clear blue with shining rays of sun bestowing upon us. Arggghhh I hated sun. All manufacturers of cream promote the same old message- you will get SP protected skin. I found none of them stand to the promises. I tried to protect my skin by taking shelter from the long branches of tree. I waited patiently for my cab to arrive. It was already getting late. I looked at my watch. It was 12 o clock. The polluted air had drained my face by now. Taking refreshing bath was of no use. Dust and sweat had claimed it’s place on my body. It wasn’t summer heat. But my body was allergic to any kind of heat.“Ah! What a relief?” I thought as I saw my cab coming towards my point.
The door was too stiff. I fidgeted with the knob of the door. My thumb ached as I tried to open the door. At last someone from the cab helped me to open the door. I glanced at the good Samaritan. He was charming young man. Before I could think of my polite manners to thank him, I rushed inside with embarrassment. The whole journey to my office was quite boring. The same old buildings and houses passed by. I always wondered whether the same distance from home to office was shorter or whether the distance from office to home was longer.
I reached the office fifteen minutes late than my reporting time. All the blame to that stupid driver. However my anger was short lived. I was greeted by my funny lot of friends. We had joined at the same time as interns. Now that one month was over, we became best of buddies. Our office cum learning center was huge building. We were small part of this big place. Ok ! Temporarily for two and half months. So we loved walking around the floor like bunch of hooligans. It wasn’t that the office was filled with oldies. But we were the only ones who were fresh from .. not yet out of college. We knew many people around except the other side of room ( a bit of serious lot). Anyway we did learn a lot apart from having fun.
It was a quite busy day from our usual day. As I took my tired eyes out from the system, I saw somebody familiar standing across the opposite corner (the serious lot) of the wide room. Holly molly!! He was the same guy who had helped me to get in the cab. I saw him talking to his friends. He glanced at my side time to time. Why was I feeling flushed with embarrassment? I had no idea. Later I focused all my attention to work.
Next day I waited for my cab at same place. As usual my cab was late. But he wasn’t there. I hopped into the cab awaiting the boring journey ahead. The day started with our normal fooling around and then being piled with work. It had become routine for me to raise my eyes away from the screen and relax for sometime, looking at people sitting opposite me. Ah! Again! He was staring at our side. It wasn’t like he was glancing at our side the whole time.
Maybe it was my stupid nature of imagining things. Anyway I got back to my work. Argghh! My imaginations and me!
It had become my habit of peeping every moment to see whether he was looking at us or not. Eventually I would capture him glancing at my side. Ahh!! Who was he looking at? Was it me or my friends? Huh! Who cares? I had to concentrate on work. I noticed that I was taking long time to complete a given task.
I sat beside my trainer a.k.a so called brother-Amit who was supervising my work. He was clarifying some of my doubts when someone patted his back. “ Wassup bro!”, the stranger called. I turned towards the stranger, looking terrified. It was that guy! Jeez! I didn’t know that he would be my trainer’s best pal.
“Busy as usual! What brings you to my kingdom?”, trainer joked.
“ Having a party at my place during weekend. So feel free to join.”, he said casually.
“ Yup bro! Your place anytime.”Amit agreed.
“ And why do you keep torturing these poor little children with work?” he joked , pointing towards me. I was speechless. Amit playfully punched him on his stomach.
“ So who is he?” I asked innocently.
“ He… He’s my friend-Praveen.”, Amit said.
“ Oh! Why does he keep staring at this side?” I blurted out. I blushed with embarrassment. My consciousness scolding me and making me more guilty for what I just said. I knew Amit was going to embarrass me more.
As said, he did the same. “You girls! You make small things bigger. He must have glanced at you or anyone else by chance and you make a deal out of it.”, he laughed out loud. My cheeks became red with regret for opening my big mouth.
After that incident, I hooked myself into the screen. I didn’t even take my eyes off from the screen for a second. But that didn’t work for long time. I was back to my staring at the other side. How long can anyone look at the monitor without blinking their eyes? Maybe a robot could do that!
I had become a butt of all jokes for Amit. His jokes would always start with him and me sitting on a tree. Amit and his lame jokes. But seriously I didn’t get offended by jokes. I started liking it. Don’t know why?? On the other hand, my BFF Shwetha was getting hurt on my behalf. She would always support and fight back for me.
“ Don’t you ever get annoyed? I mean Amit keeps pulling your leg with that guy and you keep quiet. Worse! You smile, giving him more footage.”, Shwetha said once when we were alone in the pantry. I sipped my tea and smiled sheepishly. “ There, you go! If you take things so lightly, people would take advantage of you.”, she advised.
“Hey doll! Think reverse! What if I got angry for every small thing he joked about? He would do it more, hmmm. Now come on cheer up.”I said coolly. We hugged and made up.
It was Saturday- day when our country and our company shared their birthday. Everybody were dressed up in their ethic best. Ladies flaunted colourful saris while men were in their traditional attires for the first time.
The day was filled with cultural events-dances, skits and music concerts. Who would forget our in between affair with the camera? We had taken a hell lot of pictures of us posing differently.
By the end of the day we were dead tired. It was time for me to leave when someone handed me folded piece of paper. ‘ Reply back soon!’ was written on it’s face. “ I like you. What do you think of us being friends? By the way, you look pretty.“ I read the message in my mind. The word ‘friend’ hung on my mind for some time. Then I thought, “ Why not?”. I took out my lipstick and replied back ‘Yes’ to his message.
I waited for her reply eagerly. I had asked the guy to deliver the message to ‘Shilpa’. I hope that she hasn’t reacted negatively to my message.
Shilpa!! The name that got me hooked when I first saw her. It was love at first sight. I found her quite shy and simple. Her mysterious green eyes had attracted me to her more. She was always engrossed in work. She never bothered to look at me at least once unlike her weird friend who would constantly gaze over me.
I tried to get closer to her. But her friend would never leave her side. At last an idea struck my mind. Why not message her? So here I am awaiting her response badly. My messenger was back so soon. He handed me the paper. I quickly opened the folded paper and read the red lipstick written ‘ Yes’.
‘Yes!’ She said ‘ Yes’. Oh my god! I couldn’t believe that she had said yes. I read the message again and again. I was in cloud nine. It took me a whole Sunday to settle things in my heart.
Next week came so soon. But I did want it to come soon. All of sudden, coming to office was so much fun. Maybe it was one of the perks of falling head over heels for someone. Ah! Love or whatever it’s sub types was… I was definitely under it’s spell.
I saw her as usual deeply analyzing something in the screen. Ah! That freaking computer screen had become the competitor, both fighting for her attention. However the monitor won the fight. She never laid her eyes out from the screen.
I wrote her the message in my usual way, “ Hi, hope your day begins with bright sunshine. Did you know your smile is exceptionally beautiful? Don’t hide it!”.
I found one of my friend walking towards the same directions to her side. I quickly handed her message , asking her to give it to Shilpa. She stared at me with a question mark. I assured her that it was something important and that I would tell her when time comes. She agreed to my promise and did her job. She came back with Shilpa’s message.
I opened it like a curious child with a new toy. It read, “ Thank you for this beautiful message. Hope your day is going good? I am bit occupied with work. So… I have forgotten to smile. But I will surely smile now.” I looked at her in the corner of my eyes. There she was smiling at me. My heart skipped a beat for a minute.
Our messages became frequent. My day wouldn’t end without sending her at least one message. The good part was that she would respond to all my crazy messages even if she was hell bound with work. “ Hey, are you campaigning for ‘go green’ ? By the way, you look good in any colour.”, her message said.
I laughed and was amused with her observation. “ Maybe it’s ‘go green’ today! Look at you! Ms black widow! Is your favorite colour black?” I replied back.
“Lol! Hmmm.. what do you think? Well ! I love colours. I am very colourful person, you see.”, she exchanged another message.
“ Oh really! I never thought so. You look so mysterious and quiet.” I messaged back.
“Huh! You don’t know anything about me and you made an opinion about me so soon. You will get to know my real self over few days. P.S : Don’t judge a book by its cover. J” she messaged me.
So she was a huge fan of ‘ PS I love You’ – An interesting fact about her. Whenever she would send philosophical messages, she would use the Postscript and a smiley. This habit of her amazed me. It showed me her innocence and maturity at the same time.
I was about to send a message through one of my friends- Vicky. “ Hey dude! Is there something going on between you guys ? I mean this is the tenth time I am sending messages to her. If there is, I need a commission. This service is not free any more. ”, he joked.
“ Ummm… no… Nothing! Gosh! You act like a girl sometimes. Ok! You don’t want to send the message. Leave it! Don’t talk sh*t!” I lied and accused him for imagining such things about us which were actually true. Perspiration was rolling from my head due to nervousness. Oh god! It is so hard to lie to your best friend. They are like detective dogs who could smell something wrong that is miles away from you.
Now that Vicky suspected about my messages. I had to keep it a secret. But how?? I couldn’t meet her in person for two reasons. One being that she was followed by her black sheep-friend wherever she went. The other reason was that this conventional and childish method of sending her chits was getting me trouble. Ah! Idea never stops striking my mind. When all doors close, you find a ray of light coming from unexpected place or undiscovered door. The office messenger (a tool that connected us to strangers within the office) came to my rescue. I typed her name on the messenger. Yes! Her name was first one to appear in list of ‘Shilpa’. “ Hi, Sorry for sending you message like this. My friends have become sneaky about us.” I sent her message.
In an instant , her reply came, “ What? Who is this?”
I was confused and replied, “ I am sorry. Is this Shilpa from Amit’s team.” I messaged again.
“ No!”, she said.
“Sh*t! What did I do?”I thought as I brushed my hair backward. I felt so dumb about my actions. As I checked the number of Shilpas, I saw a huge list. I never expected that her name would be so popular. There were 360 approx. Shilpa at our office. Wow! 360! How was I going to find mine in the lot of 360? Not impossible task though a tough job!
It was too risky to ask Amit about her. I had no other option but put my hand in the lion’s mouth. I quickly messaged Amit, “ Hey, can you ping me Shilpa’s name.” I was nervous already. I hoped he didn’t find the truth.
“Bro, you already pinged her name to me. Her name is Shilpa only. What else do you want to know about her?”, he joked. My heart was in my mouth. I prayed god that he didn’t catch me. I relaxed a bit , thinking this as a joke.
“Stop playing with me. I wanted her name because Nisha had some work for her and wanted to contact her.” I lied. He instantly gave me her name. I was turning into something that I hated. I always hated lying. Now I had no choice but use this devil’s habit to get things done. I officially became a liar.
Something was definitely not okay. The day went as per routine. But I missed something. His messages! He would be first one to message me. However today I didn’t receive his message. Maybe he was busy? Maybe he was … bored of me? Ah No! I wish that wasn’t true. But who knows. Guys were known for their unpredictability. Should I send him a message? I mean if I messaged him first, wouldn’t I look desperate? God! I had to focus work more.
“ Hi…”, someone pinged. I assumed it to be one of my friends inviting me for tea. “ Sorry I am busy right now. You can carry on” I messaged back without seeing who had messaged me. “Huh! What?” , I got the reply. I immediately saw the sender of the message. It was him. I was relived. All my negative thoughts about him had vanished.
“ Sorry! I thought it was my friend. So how come you are sending messages through messenger?” I asked.
“ Hmmm.. My snoopy friends were suspecting me. So I thought it’s better to talk to you like this.”, he replied.
“ Ok! If this is creating problem, then why don’t we meet in person?” I asked. My big mouth! It always gets me into trouble. I had this question in my head for quite some time. But I didn’t know I would blurt it out like this. I hoped that I wasn’t sounding stupid.
“ Ha ha…Why not? We will meet soon.”, he said. Next few days our messages continued to be regular. I didn’t ask him about our ‘ meeting in person’. Blame his charm! I forgot about it.
My internship period was getting over. There was only one week left for me to back my ordinary life at college. I would miss everything- the work, people and….him. The only thing I wanted was to meet him before leaving.
“…. Friday would be my last day here. I will miss you a lot.” I had messaged him. He hadn’t messaged me back. It was strange. He would usually message me back. I felt low the whole day. Work didn’t distract me from my grief. I felt like lost puppy in the dark woods.
Two days had passed. There was no sign of him and his messages. I asked one of his friends about his whereabouts.
Where was he? I felt like Bella from Twilight , stranded for many months by Edward. However in my case , two days were looking like months. I felt miserable and crazy. I needed him more right now.
Next day I received a letter from his friend. I didn’t read it until I was home at my room-secluded abode where I hid my thoughts. I opened the letter and every single word of the letter spoke to me.
Tomorrow you will be leaving for good and I won’t be there to say goodbye to you. Why? Because I don’t have the courage to see you leave. The last time you messaged me that Friday would be the last day and you will miss me so much. It broke my heart. I locked myself for two days, trying to accept the fact that you would be going. But that doesn’t end there, right.
Sh*t! I am speaking to you as if you going for a war. It’s not that we will not contact each other. We will surely meet… you can decide how many times we can meet. It can be daily, weekly or monthly or any number of times. I don’t mind taking my time off from my work to meet you.
Yes… It’s not going to be same like the time we used to be together through messages. I will miss you grouping your computer. Jokes apart! I will miss looking at your mysterious eyes. Ah that mysterious shy girl will always remain in my heart.
There is a serious confession I need to make- I have saved all those messages carefully with me and I read them to remind me about you.
I want to share my deepest feeling to you. Those feelings can be explained through words. If you don’t mind, can we meet up during this weekend? I will be waiting for you at ‘ The rose park café ‘ at 4 in the evening.
P.S: I wasted 6 pages to write my feelings clearly.
I read his letter again and again. Most amazing part of the letter was the post script he used to imitate me. He knew how to make me smile. This is what I liked about him. Jokes apart, I knew he was missing me. The words were clear. He wanted to meet me. The miserable Bella in me was replaced by my excited self.
Friday arrived and went without any trace. There was all that ‘miss you’ hugs and sweet goodbye with promises to meet again. I left with many friends and good memories.
The weekend was filled with grey clouds and thunderstorm. Not so good weather for a perfect date. Anyway, I had made my plans to meet him. I had dressed my best. It was my first day or I don’t know what it was supposed to be called as. However I was excited to meet him.
I reached there at 4:05. As usual I was late by five minutes. You know, I never had that punctual trait in me. I saw him waiting so eagerly for me. He wasn’t alone. He had a friend with him. Shoot! I thought he would be alone. I should have bought Shwetha. But I didn’t tell anyone about us.
I took a deep breath and headed towards him. I greeted him with a big smile. I expected a hug or at least a handshake or a smile if that wasn’t enough. But he looked at me shocked. His expressions perplexed me. Was I looking horrible in the dress? Was he a punctual freak? What was it? Why was he looking shocked when he should be happy seeing me?
I was shocked… rather I could describe it as confused shocked. I had called Shilpa and why was her creepy little friend here? ‘Maybe she must have bought her friend too.’, I assumed. I searched for her with my eyes looking out for her at every corner of the place. She wasn’t there. “ Shilpa?” I asked. “Shilpa…I am Shilpa…”she stammered with frightened eyes. “ I am sorry. This can’t be true. I was sending messages to you…” I said losing grip on the words. My heart was breaking, not believing at the sight.
“ Ummm..I have to tell you something. Shwetha was sending messages in my name. She wanted to tell you her real name. But she couldn’t because she thought you would leave her. So she sent me today to just test your love … to see whether you were in love with name or her. I got the answer. I will send the message to her.” she said, defending her friend.
I was relieved but still not convinced. Why wouldn’t I believe her if she had disclosed her real name to me? She shouldn’t have lied to me about her name. However I did want to meet her. “ I think I will leave. Goodbye, nice meeting you.”, Shilpa said as she left.
I remained silent for sometime. However it wasn’t too long when my friend disrupted my thoughts. “Hey dude, are you sure you were sending messages to Shilpa?” he asked doubting me.
“Yes, I thought I was sending those messages to Shilpa. But I was wrong. It was Shwetha the whole time Why?” I said.
“No dude. You weren’t. Because when I used to deliver messages for you, I used to deliver it to her.”, he said. What? I was speechless. I didn’t know how to react. Was I in love with messages or the girl? I was confused. What was love all about? Were my feelings for her real or fake? I never thought that I would be duped by my heart.
I was devastated. I felt like fool for following my heart. It was never me. For whole two months I thought he liked me, while he was in love with Shwetha. It was not me at whom he was gazing at. He was looking at my friend.
I put all the letters into a carton and dialed Shwetha’s friend. But I couldn’t say anything and disconnected the call. My face was with salty tears. I had promised him that she would meet. But I had no courage to tell my friend the truth. Would she accept his love? I knew she was not that type of girl. She always followed her head unlike me.
Love …. I thought it was pure feeling. But actually it was complete mirage. It made me believe in lies and misunderstandings of heart. After this experience, I don’t know whether I could really trust my heart.