I think I saw you today. U haven’t changed a bit. The same hairstyle and the same blue American tourister bag. But no, I was wrong. It wasn’t you. You were like that breeze of Monsoon which brings a lot of lighting and thunders with it. It was Someone else. A student from the student exchange programme. He had a slight physical resemblance with you. N that slightest of resemblance was enough to evoke a whirlwind of memories. He wore a crisp black button down shirt with a pair of grey jeans, a stark contrast to your pull over and khaki pants. He was so opposite of you,yet so similar . He reminded me so much of you that its hard to decide, whether his entry was a blessing or curse!
I was in the cafeteria standing in a line. A sudden commotion outside caught my attention. Upon peeping a little , I saw my cousin punching someone in the guts. Without thinking anything I handed over my token to the friend beside me and hurried to the scene. The matter was out of the hand and they were summoned to the Dean’s chamber. After a lot of pleading and writing an undertaking they let him go without any severe punishment. I forgot my class and went straight to the cafeteria. As I stood in the line to take another token for breakfast, someone gently patted my shoulder. It turned out that in a rush I had thrust the token into his hand , and he watching me run in such an hurry had bought my breakfast. Silently I took my plate and muttered an inaudible thank you n turned away.
I know it was rude. But what could I do. I was so determined to hate him and he was making it difficult. I saw him again today. This time in an heated argument with the librarian. God! He had a temper. Upon asking the librarian , I got to know he wanted to issue an book but since he didn’t have any card he can’t burrow it. He said , he needed that book to complete the assignment. Thinking to return the favor I issued the book under my name and gave him .
It had been 10 days. I saw him daily in the library. Daily in something dark colour and reading some book. I knew he could keep that book for a month . So I was determined not to bump into him before the end of the month. I deliberately avoided him as much as possible.
It was a fine day. A light rain in the morning and slow soothing breezes had done wonders to my soul. Rather than taking the scooty I decided to hit the road with my foot. It had been so long since I had walked to the campus. As usual there were students practicing their usual sketing routine, perfecting their dance moves, and discussing god knows what. Suddenly my gaze halted on a sketch. It was an oil painting. Someone was finishing the oil paint of two hands. Where both of them were clinging the opposite ends of an old book .Though I couldn’t say were the hands approaching each other or they belonged to two departing souls. It had a medival charm to it. The hands in the focus and the background has black colour with a stroke of red to highlight the mystery.What intrigued me was the lower hand . It belonged to a girl. It wore silvery bangles. And a bracelet having a little butterfly. But there was a mole on the knuckles. Exactly where I have a similar black mole. The painter had his back towards me. But I didn’t need to see his face to know who he was. His stiff back , broad shoulder and the hairstyle reminded too much of you.
He was popular among girls. Not as much as u, but I think his deep black eyes, strong sets of jaws and deep set dimples and his aversion towards girls gave him the impression of mysterious guy. He was a good student. Very good I must say. I’m saying this today cause he beat me in the online quiz contest. N I was unbeatable since the day of my joining. To my surprise all my friends wished to congratulate him. And my bestie couldn’t stop describing how he took some time to talk to her. It seems the whole college was dead set on making him some kind of celebrity.
He was there in the entrance of the library. I thought of going to the cafeteria . But before I could change my mind the librarian called my name. He handed me the book and said thank you. I returned it to the librarian and turned towards the cafeteria. He caught up with me and started walking with me. I excused my self in the way and went to the girls room.
Now that he had returned my book , there was no point in meeting each other. But he was there, silently reading in the library or engaged in some heating argument or somewhere just sitting silently and looking down at the pond. Now that he had started mixing up, my friends seemed to mention him in every thing. Ishaan(that’s his name) is this, Ishaan is that, Ishaan said this, Ishaan liked that and blah blah blah..
Why!! Why is it like that??! I was supposed to hate him.why I’m listing to these talks? Why I’m marking his every datail. Why my heart skips a beat when I see him.??
From tomorrow onwards I would make sure not to cross his path.
It was the last day for submitting entries for the college magazine. We, the team of editors had to sit down n go through every entry. we read. I love reading . So I was shifted to another world. Some one called for the attention N had to descend back to the ground.
Let me show you what you are.
For once look into my eyes
I promise you would see
the deepest desires
and some night mares may be,
You are that whisk of wind
which made a flame out of flicker
Now let me blow you away
In a direction that I chose for u to fly.
A speck of pain in the pleasure,
You are the scintilla
My dark soul desires.
When in the mid night
My lust for Selene overwhelms,
What craves inside my chest
Is to behold a pearl like you
in me, and to let
the rain drops drench the fire.
That rain drop on your eye brows
When descends down to the lips
Making it’s way through the cheeks
The flames again
Take me into their embrace ,
How I wish to lick those drops
And wonder would they taste like
The rain or the rose
or just like yours?
Not a classic piece of art you are,
Too mysterious for that.
You are a blend of colours
Mixing with others,
Yet brusting out as a fire.
You are my modern art
For some easy to understand
But what lies beneath the mask
Is only for me to unearth.
When in those late night
I lay bare my heart to the canvas
Those reflections of
yours under the moon
Hit me hard ,
And push me to make you mine
In those deep dark
mixture of colours and
To paint your cheek
With a rose red glare.
On the canvas when
I let the colors flow
And frame that lovely shape of yours
How I wish to color you by myself
And mark my signature there!
And wonder would it make sense to
Link our hands or our desires
Or our names or our souls??
Let me make love to
You in my own ways.
Let me make you mine
And never fade away.
Trust me for once I’m a
Life time kind of guy
Drench the fire in me
with your serenity and
Give your desires a wing to fly
The problem was it was too beautiful to discard yet too bold to be published. There was an heated argument. I was dead set on publishing the poem. We argued and finally it was decided that we would vote. We were only two people in favor of this. But we decided to use our vitto and pressurized others to select that.
I opened my social networking account after a long time. Ignored all the 56 notifications. Ignored all those friend requests and went straight to stalker mode. Opened your profile. As usual you have uploaded loads of pics and many of them had beautiful faces in it. Some I knew and some I didn’t. I searched every girls account who had been tagged or had commented. But to no avail. I was still not sure if you are single or have been committed lately.
In a distrust state I logged out.
I was in the library, deeply engrossed in a romantic classic. I heard someone dragging the chair in front of me . Out of curiosity when I spared him a glance , I was looking into two deep brown set of eyes. His eyes were not exactly black like yours, they are brown at the outer side and gain deeper color towards the inner side. I found myself binded by those hypnotic eyes. He sat down and slided our college magazine towards me and pinned me under his gaze until I averted mine.
Silently I took the magazine and skipped through the pages to find that poem, and when I found it the under signed name was Ishan Roy . I looked at him and found myself burning under those intense stare. Then he asked “WHY” first silently , then again rephrasing and controlling his temper , “Why Meghna , Why?. In the past month you have been avoiding me like plague, and suddenly you were against the whole pannel for me. You didn’t even accept my friend request and here you are offering me favours over favours . You are a brilliant student.look at you! You are a piece of art. You have everything going for a girl. Smart, beautiful,intelligent, and what not.I have been unable to erase our little moments from my memory. And I have been inquiring every one about you,stalking you and what not. Hell I have been crazy enough to write poems. I have never been this desperate , n I must admit no one have ever avoided me the way you are doing now. Do u know how it feels.!?” With that he took a deep breath and continued” Thank you. Thank you for helping me. And if my presence troubles you that much , I promise I would never let you complain again. Perhaps I was stupid enough to wave dreams about us.”
With that he stood and walked away. I had a sudden urge to cry. It felt more like a stab of knife in the heart . I didn’t know when along with those stolen glances, silent eye contacts, those oil paints and this poem I was loosing bits and pieces of mine to him. Thats not it, I was also loosing some pieces of your memories too. N what had he said “Do I know how it feels?”
I wanted to scream , “Yes Ishaan, Yes I know how it feels to love someone, to do everything in your power for that person and to never have them reciprocated , or else to notice. I know Ishaan how it feels to see your dream shatter, I know how it feels to get hurt every night and yet to repeat all those things in the morning. I know more than you would ever know. And when I’m telling you believe me , I know . ”
But that was not my style . That had never been. I sat there like a statue and broke down silently. History repeated it self. The same library, the same date, the same me and heart break.
He forced me to take a difficult walk In the deserted memory lane …
Our 10th board results were out. I was on the cloud nine. 96.7%!! It was more than I have ever dreamt of. Every one was happy.
I ran to your house. You came out laughing and hugged me tight. Yeah we did it Meghna we did it. You told me you got 95%. We took admission in one of the most prestigious junior college of our state.
New Class and New school . I was afraid to death. But you were the confidence I never had on me. You told me in your casual manner there is nothing to fear when Rishav is there . I smiled , a small disheartened smile. You always had that power over me. You were the only one who could make me smile at any moment.
You were always crowded . You were an instant hit in the girls and a good mate in the boys. I was too busy in my studies to get noticed by anyone else. I felt like the distance between us had been increased. Actually thats not the way it was. We were exactly where we were before, but the space in between us had been crowded. But you always did find a way to reach me. Those little talks over our route to hostel, those small small gestures in each other’s special days, made me see you in some special light.
We both have qualified the entrance. I was more than happy. But when I went to you I saw you were already boozing with your mates. It hurt Rishav. More than I would ever care to admit . I didn’t know the reason though, It was a tie. I was torn between what to be worried first, that you were descending down to the path of self destruction or you put someone , before me, for the first time. Absent mindedly I found excuses to cover up your deeds.
You called me . You sounded angry. You said I had started avoiding you. That you have waited for my call till 2 in the morning. May be u had. May be I did matter to you. But I was still disappointed. I didn’t feel like telling you. I just smiled. But to my amazement you said , I didn’t seem happy. I don’t know how you cold read me so right. I asked how, then u said “Idiot Meghna look at your balcony”. There you were , standing in your white pull over and deep green khaki, with as usual ruffled hair and that mischievous gleam in your eyes. I was dazed. You came over and pulled me into a hug. Like a putty I melted against you. I asked about yesterday. You mentioned partying with your friends. But that didn’t involve any description of girls in half drugged state , or boys putting shame to every sane man with their rich vocabulary. I thought you were enjoying in your style and didn’t want me to go into the paranoid state.
It was the fresher’s day. We have been asked to wear Saree, n you have been order to wear kurta Punjabi. You were looking like a model in your deep green and golden kurta.
Seniors asked you to propose someone. You came to me and went on one knees, took my hand, kissed my knuckles exactly at the black mole and asked me to come to the dance floor. Before I could realize my heart was stolen by you. I didn’t knew whether it was The golden saree or the spot light or those slow romantic songs,or your touch made all my walls break and gave you full access.
Later that night I watched you getting high and being all cosy with other girls. I was like no one . You didn’t even acknowledge my presence . While dropping me off u asked me not to get bothered by tonight. I didn’t knew if it was for the proposal or the other things.
A lot has been changed in these days. Our circle, our interests , our defination of enjoyment and perhaps the way we view people. But one thing was constant ,my love for you and your care for me. Days have passed by, I have grown to be nerdier , you have grown to be cooler , we still talk , we still study together , we still fight with each other and still fight for each other. That day in the cafeteria you have beaten the shit out of the guy who had commented on me. That gesture was sweet, but I don’t know why do I search for the old rishav who would have made the guy apologize me through his witty retorts.
Now It seems you don’t find it comfortable to talk to me in front of your friends. I understand your dellema, I’m from the group of girls who burry themselves deep in the book, does all those stuffs In the library, teachers pet type, and you were one of those for whom every thing comes easy. But I didn’t complaint. I was more than happy with our study sessions, with our weekend trips, long drives everything. I loved you that much. I still do, it’s just that I was not happy with what I’m getting. May be love makes us greedy, may be I was being unreasonable. But what about instincts? I could notice your diversion of paths whenever you see me, I could feel your apprehensiveness when we talk in public, I could feel it to my skin. And as per your wish I started to melt down into the shadows. I started stalking you. I noticed my comments getting no replies on your posts. Unfortunately we , those who remain in the shadow have an ability to hear the untold, to look beyond the covers and to read spaces between the words.
I was in the library , I watched you going with your friends to collect some books. I followed you and sat behind you. I heard you being accepted for the foreign exchange program. You showed him the letter which had arrived a week before. I couldn’t belive u hadn’t Informed me. I couldn’t control anymore. I went to him and sat. His friend took his farewell . I asked “Why!” Then controlling my voice , “Why Rishav, I was okay with being in the shadow , I was okay with not meddling with your life.I was okay seeing you flirt with other girls. I was okay with our weekly day outs. I was okay cause o thought everything between us is okay. I thought I ment something to you. You are leaving the country yet you didn’t bother telling me”
You replied in an aloofed voice , I hadn’t told anyone. Not even my family. I was going to break that in our dinner . And common Meghna, don’t be so naive. We are not in a relationship, I’m not answerable to you.”
Though he uttered those words with his playful smile, they stung me in those places which I never knew existed.
In an attempt to hide my tears I stood up. You held my hand . For the first time in months you asked me to stay. But The noise of my screaming heart was more powerful than your pleas . I looked at the book in my hand and read out the quote aloud.
“When you are
a bit less blinded,
Am a bit less naive.
When you know
what being sensitive means
and I have mended my ways
We would sit up all night and talk
Perhaps would talk the whole day along
That’s a promise
I would trade my heart to keep
But until then ,my friend,
(Let me love you and live.)
I couldn’t complete the quote and rushed out. I broke down .
Calenders has changed. People has changed . My life has changed. Yet time has brought me again to the place from where I had started .
Rishav or Ishaan , two sides of a coin , completely different yet so alike . I wish there Was something in-between in the tossing of coins, for I couldn’t care more who wins the toss ,but in the end Its the coin.It has to live with both the results.
I have to be honest with him. Atleast he deserves that. But to my surprise he didn’t even turn up at the college. Why is it like that, we miss a person when he is not around, and all we do in his presence is to lurk in the shadows.
He was at the pond. Looking down at the water . Throwing stones into it. He was throwing stones, and then waiting for the ripples to die down and then again throwing one into the water. I waited for some time. Then I took a stone and threw it , breaking his presence pattern . He muttered a curse and looked at me. I went to sit beside him. He stood up, but I caught his hand and made him sit down. This time I started the pattern . He just looked on.
“I love someone, else.”
“I can’t love you”
“Can’t or won’t?”
“You are lying”
I looked at him perplexed and he continued,
“I know about Rishav”
He never ceases to surprise me
“I can tell you that you were in love with the idea of him , not with him.”
I smirked and started the stone game again.
No one would ever understand my love, my wait, my crave for Rishav. May be what Ishaan knows about Rishav is enough for him to judge my love , but what he didn’t know was we had a history of 10 years to back us up. The girl He is in love with is Rishav’s undoing. Rishav was the confidence I never had on me. May be in later years their equation has changed, but in the end they are the variables needed to make an equation. Like an one dimensional point has no equation, I was dimensionless without Rishav.
I stood up to go. Ishaan let me. He threw a stone, without waiting then the threw another, then other and other.
When I turned my back he said silently, He might come back, he might get around and love you back , but tell me one thing Meghna, can you forget all those shadows and dark hours you put together to have a single glance of him? Can you get past all those avoidance which made you doubt yourself!? I hope you could. I sincerely do. Cause if not, you would be burdened down by the consequences of your choice.
Once again I was wrong. This time not about you, this time it was him. It seems he could see into my fears , my insecurities and my love.
Soon it was time for Him to board the train back to his home. Sitting by his side had become a daily routine now. He understands the ripples between the water, he understands the stones on the path, he understands the wrinkles on the forehead, he understands the gap between the stanzas.
He still painted. He painted water, he painted smoke, he painted fire , he painted lilies, he painted daisies, but in the middle he never forget to paint butterflies.
He still wrote poems, he wrote about desires, he wrote about love, he wrote about souls, he wrote about bodies, he wrote about flowers, he wrote about pearls but In some stanzas he a always used colors.
To day I got a mail from you, telling how much we have to cover on your arrival which was just 2 days after his departure.
Perhaps this was the moment of oblivion. I felt a brust of two opposite emotions at a time, yet none of them were potential enough to make me smile or make me cry. I just sighed. Perhaps thats what happens with a coin . It has to carry on. Perhaps thats what life is all about. A cocktail of emotions and a deep sigh .
Ishaan and I were sitting on a bench on the platform.
“He is coming, then”
“And I’m going”
“No, You are not”
“What!! I can’t get a refund now”
(We both new what you actually meant. I smirked at his attempt to make it easy, but good byes are never easy. Are they?? You keep telling me there is something good in every goodbye. May be there is. But there is also a bye in it.)
I said, “Oh come on, we would be in touch”
He just got up and stood. I dragged his hand, but unlike last time, he dragged me up.
Keeping my hand in his , he started saying the lines
One day we would talk ,
We would talk the whole day and
Perhaps all the night along,
But I then my friend
I wish you would be a little selfish
And I would be more persistent
When there would be no Rishav to wait for
And only we have met a life time before.
One day in another life, in another world, I would wait for
It’s a promise, I would trade my soul to keep
With each line he took a step away. And with each step he took a part of mine
His train left. I watched him dissolving into the smoke. I listened him voicing the unsaid. I felt him cutting my soul and taking a half with him. That moment I felt like the Meghna I had built over the past one year, in the absence of Rishav. I was back to square one , with only the part that had loved Rishav. Known only Rishav . But what to do with the time, the memories on which he had left an colored imprint of his bare soul.
I was at the platform waiting for Rishav. But my fingers were fumbling with 10 digits, which every time dialed responded with “the no. doesn’t exist anymore”.
There was no trace of his social networking account. There was no address in the College profile, other than his college name. I had asked a lot of students from his college,but none had given me any solid information. Like he doesn’t exist. Like he was some one from the smoke and melted into it.
Rishav got out of the train and hugged me tight. And with a sound kiss on my forehead told me he had missed me.
I hadn’t told Rishav anything about Ishaan. And surprisingly enough no one had never took his name in front of Rishav, like no one ever talked about Rishav in front of Ishaan.
Rishav Took me to his home. And his mother made us sit together. He now proudly introduces me to everyone as his fiancé.
Life is fine. But oddly enough Rishav had gift me a charm bracelet having butterflies on it.
It reminds me of me,of him and of you. It tells me as beautiful as a butterfly may be, it never stays caged. It reminds me every ugly duckling, insecure caterpillar has a beautiful future and every beautiful butterfly has an ugly past. It reminds me of the colors life had to offer. It reminds me how fast the colors change. It reminds to live in the moment. It reminds me never to forget him.
“वो सच्चा था , तोह उसका वजूद झूठा कैसे!!?
वो लम्हे महज एक ख्वाब थे, तो मेरी ज़िंदगानी एक हक़ीक़त कैसे?”
(If he was true, how come his existence is a lie? If those moments were mere a dream , then how come my life is a reality??)