People recover differently. Some change cities…some fall in love…some begin writing..!!
It was still dawn when I stepped out of the cab and walked towards the entry gate of the Delhi airport. The early morning February air was pleasantly cold.
I was travelling to Bengaluru to attend a college friend’s wedding. It had been four years since we graduated from the same college. This wedding was also going to be a reunion of our batchmates. But what I didn’t know was that the reunion would begin much ahead of time; right in the queue in front of the airline counter.
I was almost sure it was she. Same height! Same long hair! Same complexion! Curiosity had my eyes glued to her. And then about 60-odd seconds later, when she turned, she proved me right. My ex-girlfriend stood two places ahead of me in that queue. We had never met after the college farewell.
I should have trusted today’s sun sign’s prediction in the news paper; the day is surely going to be stormy. Who knew that one could meet his worst nightmare with open eyes? I had been a jerk all my college life, emotionless and heartless. Career was my soul priority for it could only lead to greenery in my pockets. I had fooled around with the prettiest girl(both at looks and heart) for two years and on then stomped her heart on our graduation day.
“Hey Amayra!” for the first time I had addressed her with her name in public. I still remember how she turned to me, all happy and sexy(10/10).
“Wow. You called out my name. The news better be something huge. What?” and she gave a peck on my cheek.
“I came to say bye. I won’t stay for the after party.” I sounded a little nervous.
“Ohkay! Do we have other plans?” she squinted at me. Ouch. The ‘we’ did prick my filthy heart.
“I’m leaving for Bombay in next four hours.” I told her adjusting my graduation cap.
“When are you coming back?” and I think I saw pearls shining in her eyes.
“Maybe never. Look Amayra I had a great time with you. But I was always clear to you about what I wanted. Commitment is not my cup of tea and I cannot risk my dreams, not for this. I hope you understand. All the best for your future and yes congratulations for topping the university once again.” I leaned forward to kiss her the last time when the pearls escaped her eyes.
“Are you planning to ditch me on my last days of freedom?” Nishank sounded a little pissed.
“Missed my flight.” I replied, still by the airline counter sitting on my Travel tourister bag.
Four hours ago I would have witnessed my judgment day if I had not ducked the queue. All my life I had never felt guilty for anything I had done, then how is this alien feeling bothering me now?
“I’m not getting married without my all time favorite and the best project partner. Get yourself here ASAP or don’t show me your face ever.” And he hung-up.
I can handle that. Not showing my face is what I am best at. I would explain myself to Nishank. I’ll make sure he understands. He would get his girl for sure but if I dared to face Amayra, I’ll have to be ready to spend my life alone.
Prevention is better than cure. ‘Happy marriage Nishank’ I wished with all my heart.
“One…two… and three…” and the speakers blared the love anthem of the season. Hotel Royal Regency was booked for three days, for a big-fat-Indian-wedding. Groups of girls where practicing in the stupendous hall.
“Amayra di! Can you please relax for a minute? Even the floor is complaining of fractures.” Nishank’s sister sank on the floor and killed the music system.
“Just one last move.” Amayra squinted at Bani.
The music once again came to life and Amayra swirled towards the door.
“Oh! Sorry. I didn’t see you…I was just prac…” and then her words smothered.
She escaped the fall, safe in the strong grips of the crimp.
“Hi.” And there she was back in my arms after four long years.
“I knew you would show up.” Nishank chocked me in his embrace.
“Like I had a choice?” I replied, trying to get air.
He had threatened me that he would quit every project we had planned for the near future if I bailed on him at his big day. While Nishank was being all puppy to me, there was a knock at the door.
“Nishank your mom’s calling you to try the shervani.” Amayra sounded disturbed by the scene, may be because it pictured my back. I perhaps could not see her face but the tension in her voice made it quite clear. Nishank quickly freed me giving his best smile and left the room.
I turned to face the door and found Amayra leaving. I shouted a ‘Hi’ but she ignored. I wanted to end this ‘You-don’t-exist’ thing right there, right then and all determined I took quick steps towards her and caught her by her waist, swirling her to me.
In fractions of second, her soft palms landed on my whiskered cheek. Her eyes blazed with anger and regret.
“Stay away.” She left with a curt reply, leaving me aw-struck.
I was helping myself with some samosas in the dinning hall when I heard shouting from the terrace. I went up to check and saw Nishank and Amayra arguing on something.
“How could you not tell me that he would too be here?” Amayra busted.
Oh well that something had to be ‘Me’. I leaned against the door to cherish the drama.
“I thought you both were cool now.” Nishank explained.
Amayra turned to the door with her head in her hands. “So this man is following me everywhere now.” She said throwing her hands away.
“I would really love to hear an apology for what you did to me earlier this morning.” I said after finishing the samosa.
“In your dreams Mr. I am the God.” She said with her back towards me. Nishank slipped the heated scene at the best opportunity.
“I had known that you would be here. I had seen you at the airport.” I said still standing at the door with arms crossed over my chest.
“And you decided to screw my life all over again?” Amayra said.
I walked ten little steps and stood facing her. “May I?” This time I took her permission before holding her hands.
“See… I know I did the most terrible thing to you and I am sorry. I really am. The only reason I came here was to make things right for us.” I tried to calm her down.
“I don’t know whether you believe me or not but I never wanted to hurt you, neither at the graduation day nor now.” And she gave an air of disgust to my explanation.
Taking her hands away she finally looked at me, “I had known you for four years and even if God told me that you came here just to make THINGS RIGHT, I wouldn’t believe it. You definitely had got yourself kicked out of money which brought you to unfortunately facing me.”
God damn! This girl reads mind.
“But get this straight in your head. I’m no more the miserable girl that you left at the farewell party. You are Nishank’s guest and I advise you to stick to that.” And she turned to leave.
“Can we be friends? If you are cool with that. I mean we are not supposed to be fighting on someone’s happy day.” I felt like digging the ground and burry myself at that moment.
“I stopped being friends or anything with assholes. Thanks to you. You surely gave me a lesson for a lifetime.” Amayra left the terrace with a dagger in my chest.
“I really thought you both were sorted otherwise I would have never pushed you so hard to be here.” Nishank was guilty.
“Yeah right.” I said pushing a glass of champagne in his hands.
“Its high time now. Stop pretending to be a jerk. I know somewhere deep down you’re a doll at heart.”Nishank got the whole glass down his throat in one go. “How is she now?”
“Oh man! She is all blown. I’m lucky she did not have a gun, but my cheek still hurts.” I said showing him my slapped face.
“You deserved that.” Nishank poured himself another glass of champagne.
Within few hours Nishank would be engaged. Royal Regency was decorated like a bride. Lightings and flowers ornated the hall. Soft music eased the ears.
“Can I have your attention please?” and Amayra stole the show with her heart-throbbing ethnic look.
I had to admit, she looked delicious. I would have never graduated if she had met me like this four years back. I could barely concentrate on what she said and the next moment Bani and Amayra kicked up their heels to a song I don’t remember. She was a delight to watch.
The show ended very soon. The ring ceremony took place and everyone congratulated the would-be husband and wife. The champagne has now been replaced by vodka martini in almost every hand in the hall. Bani asked me to bring the gifts from the storage room. Picking up the whole bottle of White Mischief I left the hall.
“Thank goodness Bani you came. I would have been inhumed under these heavy packets.” Amayra handed to me five of them without looking. “You really rocked it tonight.”
“I guess you were better.” Finally I broke her confounding. She was working with scissors which slipped from her hand, giving a small cut on her finger.
“Let me get it.” I threw the gifts on the table and still holding the vodka paced towards her.
“No I’m fine.” She took away her gaping finger from my hand. “Where is Bani?”
“She is with her sister-in-law and asked me to bring the gifts. I was not following you.” And I took away my steps. I reached the packets and was about to leave the room.
“The door is locked!” I shouted out loud, still turning the door-knob. Amayra forgot her wound and started banging the door but no one heard us. The music was playing at full volume.
“We have no chance of escaping this prison, not atleast for next two hours.” Amayra sat next to me with a thud.
“I had always loved you.” Amayra said gulping the last shot of vodka.
We had been locked up in the room for past three hours and the party was still on with the same spirit. The vodka had taken over Amayra completely and now she was in her confession mode. Leaning against my shoulder she was smiling like a baby.
“Wish I could go back to our farewell day and stop you from leaving for Bombay.” And her eyes glistened with the same pearls. That face has always been in the back of my mind.
“I’m glad that you came. Made time just to see me. But I’m scared.” She hugged me and placed her head on my chest. Unintentionally my hands went into her hair and I comforted her.
“Of what?” I asked her.
Resting her face on her chin she said “That you would leave. Again” and the pearls escaped her eyes.
“I know you’ve been good. Busier. But did I never occur to you, may be even for the tinniest moment?” She tried to show me the measure of her Tiny.
“It was all like a dream. And one fine day the dream bubble WHOOP burst.” She got up and plopped on the couch.
“But I’m stronger now. I’ve seen you leaving once and surely can do it again.” She sounded very proud of herself.
“You can leave whenever you want.” And with this she went off.
I was still sitting by the door ashamed of myself. My heart ached on seeing what I had done to the only girl who loved me with all her soul. I think I cried, for the first time.
“Amayra di?” I heard Bani on the other side of the door. The music was slow again.
“We are in here.” I quickly got up banging the door.
“Who locked you both inside? I she alright?” She asked smoothning Amayra’s hair.
“Yeah she is fine, just a little… drunk!” I replied.
“Why are you here?” Amayra threw a pillow on me.
I was sitting on the chair beside Amayra’s bed. All night I’d been waiting for her to get back to her senses. The little vodka I had drunk took over me and I nodded off.
I was appalled at the ambush. But when I saw her sitting on the bed, questioning me, my lips curved into a smile.
“Hey.” I said, still smiling.
“Are you drunk? Oh! My head hurts like hell. Did you hit me?” She said laying her head back on the bed-post.
“Noooo. But the vodka did.” I started laughing.
“What? I…I drank that shit?” She sounded surprised. “But we were locked in the room. Who brought me here?”
“Relax girl. I and Bani brought you here. She is probably sleeping and I decided to stay here on the chair. Just in case you wake up and see you did.” I stood near her with my hands shoved into my pockets.
“I’m sorry Amayra.” I sat beside her looking straight into her eyes. “ Why did you never tell me?”
“What are you talking about?” Amayra shifted away.
“I know you were broken after I left. But trust me it was not intentional. You don’t have to be scared anymore. I’m not going anywhere, not without you.” I assured her.
“I was drunk. Alcohol forces the dead to speak. I’ve moved on and you too should get over these thoughts because we have no future, not anymore. I’m seeing someone and he loves me madly.”
“And what about you? Do you love him too?” every part of my body seemed burning.
“Yes.” And she left me in the room, tearing my heart into pieces and setting it on fire, the same way I did four years ago.
“Grandpa?” Samar shook his grandfather. His grandfather got up baffled.
“Dinner’s ready. Let’s go.” And Samar took him by his arm when a diary fell from his lap.
“What have you got there? You read it almost every night.” Samar asked picking-up the diary.
His grandfather gave a small laugh, “Son have you been in love?”
“No… not recently.” Samar winked at his grandfather.
“Tell me when you are and then you’ll get to understand what’s inside this little friend.” Grandpa said closing Amayra in his drawer. ❤