Bhubanshwer was uncannily windy that afternoon, I was waiting outside a restaurant for a running auto. I had a full lunch and my bike had some technical problems. Waiting in the streets for an unpredictable auto is a real tough job especially when u are alone , all you can do then is revive old memories, a funny incident, plug in your I pod and smile .. making yourself appear crazy to the old lady sitting outside Baskin and Robbins. I have had a pretty jumbled up and eventful past so reviewing life is a real time killer for me .
I was whistling in my mind , when suddenly a taxi came n stopped “ magnetic” I said and my voice seems to echo back in a much higher feminine pitch.
I looked up and kept looking…… there as if like a déjà vu stood just on the other side of the taxi, holding the black taxi handle against its yellow in a serene white kurta a woman, who came in my life four years back , changed it dramatically and then slowly walked away with the promise of never coming back. She was Riya, a girl with whom I had the closest friendship and was just on the verge of a relationship when everything went wrong.
She looked into my eyes with the same surprise and awkwardness as mine, she still had those real big brown bengoli eyes , only now it was hidden behind a red colored frame and those thick black kohl was nowhere to be seen … but still they were as beautiful as I felt them to be 4 yrs back. “150 rupee..app dono share kar lena” these words of the taxiwala got me back to life.. the deafening sound of heavy bhubanshwer traffic seemed to wake me up. She hesitated at first , but then again with her all time grace she behaved as if I was just another passerby , nodded in accent and went in …., making me realize I was still standing there holding the taxi door dumbstruck as a fool , constantly looking at her just the way I did 4 yrs back when I saw her at lunch at a common friends’ place.
The taxiwala pretty conscious of my state started with a “ bhaiya jaldi……” I cut him off and went inside, my shoulder touched hers and she moved aside instantly. Ohkk so now you detest my accidental touch! There was a time when you used to cuddle into me in those rainy winter evenings over a cup of coffee and used to speak total bullshit without even bothering to know whether I wanted to hear them or not and then suddenly I realized all her talk was so fresh in my mind, her tinkling voice as if still ringing in my ears.
The taxi started, I plugged in my I pod again and then God did the magic, I had my shuffle on and last track on my playlist was MLTR’s “you took my heart away” started playing, God! Was this singer guy in a damn similar condition as mine? I don’t know n I don’t care…right then a strong gush of wind blew her hair and brushed against my face. Yes!! The smell I knew! She still seems to be using the same fragrance. How much she loved everything about herself and seemingly still does! I had a strong urge of telling “hey , do u still visit the same shop to buyurcosmetics” but situations are not the same, she wanted to act like strangers why should I .. n m I in a position to say anything to her after whatever I did to her. I held myself back…. I had heard from my friends in the last days of college that she had got though IIM s. She deserved it any day but she didn’t even send me a single text to convey it, nor did I find any proper excuse to congratulate her…while that bloody bastard who kept hitting on her all the four years did that openly on facebook…Suddenly a deep hatred for that guy rushed through me even if he had never ever wronged me. I wondered if she is still on talking terms with that bastard. So many ..damn! so many questions kept coming up one after the other and all I could do was look straight up , I coudn’t even move in case she misconstrued my movements.
After 10 mins I gathered some courage to talk and then there was a blind curve totally turning the taxi and positioned me closer to her at such an angle that her face got visible in the rear view mirror. GOD!!! She was amazing as she had always been, and astonishingly she was just the same only with a streak of maturity and some glamour on her face. After all she was an IIM grad then, and I am still working for that British multinational running slavery in independentIndia. I noticed her whitelucknow chickan kurta had a number of dust patches. No wonder must be returning from one of her crazy social service tasks. Really! She had the patience to carry out that kind of work! I remember how she used to run back from some random slum doing her upliftment work to meet me in that coffee joint where I used to come fresh up from my hours of afternoon sleep. And then I thought, who does she go to meet now with those same wondering eyes, glossy lips and a peculiar smile which conveys multiple emotions in one go ..oh !! how I used to love then , how crazily I fell for that 4 yrs back . suddenly my thoughts broke at the ringing of her cell… okey! She has changed her handset, but does she still carry the same number…it started with some 9938828… shucks!! What was the last few numbers.shit!!!… but who was calling her now, must be a call from her panicky mom, or from home..
HOME!!! Which home ??????her dad’s one or is it now……..she has a home of her own, is she on the way to become another panicky mom herself ???? that question pricked my heart so bad, I got all numb and looked directly at her. I had all rights over her , and now … i don’t even know when those rights got passed on to some other ..might some gross geeky IIM freak, or some “bhodro” (decent) bengoli guy her mom chose for her. How can he , I mean she was all mine…she is still mine …is she still mine????.
The winds ruffled her hair again, they were still so curly, she didn’t straighten them till now ..how desperate she used to be to straighten them out in college..a smile showed up on my lips, she looked back at me this time directly into my eyes … as if asking why , why did u did that to me , why did you take yourself away from me …. Why did you kill the love which I had nourished inside me? And before I could answer she looked away with a finality of never looking at me again. Did I appear so disgusting to her , all I could do the was to look at my blank palm as if to see if my lines said weather I will ever get her back.
I wanted the taxi ride to go on, getting lost in infinity, exactly then the MLTR song said
“ you took my heart away
When the whole world was swayed
You gave me everything and a little bit more
And when its cold at night you sleep by my side
You become the meaning of my life”
A desire…..reminiscence of college maybe…maybe a wave of emotion….a want to touch her….I don’t know what it was but it swelled inside and totally overtook me, I tried gulping down the feeling , but my throat was too choked for it.
The lyrics continued
“ holding your hand I wont feel tommorw
Here when we stand , we will never be alone”
Yes!! I promise I won’t leave you again ,come back to me .. for the last time come back to me. My eyes begged and looked to her side and there, exactly at the very same moment there was a big drop of water in her eyes… yes yes yes!!!!! Love can’t die ..yeash!! she still loves me , Riya I love you too ..come back .. I promise I won’t let you down ever again , I won’t make you cry ever again ….just say that you still love me the way you did then crazily !!! crazier than yourself.
“bhaiya taxi roko , she said sniffing her running nose” … the taxi came to a halt ..what will she do now, turn my side and kiss me or I guess she will just give me a hug, cumon she won’t kiss me in front of that damm taxiwala…but who knows the emotions of a woman .
But what’s this??.. She opened the door , and then I noticed there was tall fair , and reasonable handsome guy standing outside. He held out his hand to her and she so flawlessly took it. he seemed rich , not a typical IIM geek which I was imagining since the last half hour. He kissed her forehead and I looked dumb as I was. Never felt like a bigger looser before…I mean cumon “dude!! She is my girl , how can you so publicly kiss her”
This time she turned back at me, yes! to me and said “ he is Nikhil my fiancé , m getting married in a month… nikhil this is “****” (let me not reveal my name at this point) my college friend”
Nikhil nods a hi to me and takes my girl so far away from me…. This can’t be happening…….I kept looking at her…. awestruck …at her courage….. at her complacence or rather my fate….
They walked and merged into the crowd
The taxiwala looked back and asked me “ purani doost thi kya” and I was silent, voiceless as ever.
P.S all the character are ficticious and bear no resemblem with anyone dead or alive and similarity is purely co incident . and my friends do not construe anything coz of the IIM stuff or any name mentiones , I am truly and pathetically bad at names