That night, was the 11th rejection Sanya had from the matrimonial… Back of her mind she knew that consequences of her conversations with Mr. Nerd, yet the verdict disturbed her. Her night went sleepless and she woke to a gloomy Saturday thinking about her life and where is she actually going to land! She scrolled her Facebook and saw a handsome face tagged along with a mutual friend. A game buzzed in her head, for she was more vulnerable today than anyone else. She continued to stalk and gave pleasure to her sulking heart. There, she approached the link and asked for the number of the Handsome. She wasn’t denied the number, which was shocking. She texted the number trying her luck and freeing herself from the rejection trauma.
“Hi, Sad to know that the handsome is already taken”
“Sorry, whose is this?” A reply came after ages
“Doesn’t matter. I saw you tagged in a picture, mutual friend”
“Then, I should know that mutual friend”
“Naa, let it be”
“Ok, show me the picture atleast”
“And where did you get the number from?”
“Why you guys have to interrogate so much”
“Haha.. nothing like that, just a better introduction can happen if we clear the air”
“Ok, I know you through a cousin of mine…, Indian Army?”
“Honey Singh fan?”
“Not much though”
“YoYo, was in sync”
The conversation went on for a while, where Sanya exchanged her musings with Lakshya and he exchanged the snaps shot by him. There was silence after a while… and the silence of night broke with few snaps from the mountains, waterfall and bullet rides. She smiled at the way he bragged his photography skills. And she dozed off typing a message, accidentally a click connected her call. She woke up to the innocent laughter and the handsome face of Lakshya in front of her. She disconnected the call afraid of the video calls. She woke up to the Good morning text at 0530 hours and dozed off again. At 0730 hours, she woke up… this time to the incoming video and not to her alarm. She blushed, as he raised an eyebrow asking her questions.
“Where are you posted?”
Sanya blushed at the place, he uttered. She had her travel plans in a fortnight to the place. She had all the time on earth to stalk him and drool over him. He had all the time, to show off his badminton skills, his Montra, drunk eyes and his Royal Enfield. As the day neared to meet him, Sanya went restless about everything…!
15 August 2018, 0300 hours
“Good morning, Happy Independence Day”
“Happy Independence Day”
“I don’t want to come”
“Seriously? Are you kidding me?”
“No, I m not. Just let it be… I don’t want to trouble you”
“Can you stop over thinking! Just come over”
“Is this an order?”
“No, it is not. But stop over thinking. I will pick you up once you land”
“I will think about it in the flight”
“As you wish lady. But don’t do this”
1445 hours, Pune
She received a message from Lakshya… “I am running a bit late, due to the cocktail party. Can you please take a cab and come to the location?”
She walked out of the airport and booked a cab, still lost in thoughts and scrolled his pictures in her phone. She waited outside the guest house, plugged her earphones and stood there. After 10 minutes, she heard a thud of the bullet and she turned to witness the most mesmerizing view of her life. He was dressed in black pull-over, khaki pants, aviators not to miss, a grin on his face and the Royal Enfield which read “Army”. She skipped a beat, and her subconscious mind said… “Don’t faint”. He parked the beast and walked in sync, which sounded like Melody. Sanya smiled in spite of the fact that she was angry. They walked in the guest house and she rushed to use the washroom… splashing water on her face to remove the blush. He sat on the bed waiting for her to return from the washroom. He decided to take her out for lunch, and make up for it.
“I am not that hungry, but sleepy. I have to be ready for the meeting tomorrow”
“Its ok. You have been travelling since morning. So, better have something”
“Oh you do remember I have been travelling?”
“Yes I do”
He accelerated the beast and she sat close to him… her heart racing badly.
“What happened to your neck?”
“Cancer. I have cancer”
That smile vanished from his face… his eyes were filled with sympathy and he stared silently at Sanya. Sanya laughed hard at that expression and told him the story behind the scar.
“If a guy would have cracked this up, I would have trashed him.. But aapko kuch kar nahi sakte” he uttered smiling at Sanya
Sipping coffee, they spoke about their families, their differences, Sanya’s love stories… She asked him to pull over as it started to drizzle, she grabbed a cigarette and puffed… He looked at her and said, “Aapko yeh nahi karna chahiye.” She smiled at him and narrated the saga of smoking cigarettes. He wasn’t convinced, they drove back to the guest house and all the while she remained silent. He nudged her while driving and she didn’t utter a word… grabbed him around the waist, support her head on his shoulders and closed her eyes till they reached the guest house.
“What happened? Why are you so silent?”
“What time you have to go back to the Unit?”
“Like now now, I will have to leave”
“Ok bye then” she pulled the blanket over her face
Lakshya walked till the door and returned to her.
“What do you want from me?” he asked her
“Nothing” her head buried deep in her palm
He lifted her chin and stared in her eyes. She embraced him and stayed there for a while. They parted a tear trickled down her eyes (She had encountered the first man in her life, who didn’t treat her as a sex object). He saw that tear and walked out of the room controlling his outburst. The phones remain silent for a while and then Sanya called and shouted at him for not consoling her. He said he was standing outside the room near the lift, waiting for her to come and make things normal for him. Sanya found love in his care, a friend in his instructions and an innocent soul in his smile. She returned back from the trip, but still could not forget the time spent with him. She wrote texts for him on WhatsApp and deleted them, she uploaded statuses for him and check the number of views, she changed display pictures when he came online. But all in vain! One fine day, he called and instructed her… not to text, not to call or else he will have to block her, as he can’t handle the way things are turning between them. He knew Sanya had developed feelings from him, more than a friend and less than a lover. He decided to save his relationship, a 7 year long relationship. She shed a silent tear and deleted the 4,205 messages they shared. She sobbed while she showered, she sobbed while having meals… she tortured herself repenting meeting him. She tried getting back things to normal… but he blocked her in few days… punishing her. He blocked her from everywhere, and now she just stares at the screenshots she had… of them dining together, of them smiling together. He had mistaken her for falling in love with him, whereas she misunderstood his care for something else. She was more in love with care than the lust. She was more in love with his friendship than the relationship. She was more in love with herself when he was around.
“You won’t live in my stories, you will be the story of my life”, and I repent uttering the statement… Sanya thought for the rest of the day, sipping her whiskey on the rocks… dialing his number… deleting his number… stalking his Instagram every night. She wished for a friend for life, and all she got was a Punishment for life.
She still smiles to the memory of Lakshya singing, “Toh Chalun, Toh Chalun” from the movie Border.
She still smiles to the memory of Lakshya talking to her in his UP accent.
She still manages to smile at those snaps they took in those 8 hours of togetherness.
She still manages to wait for him to forgive her, and his display picture returning to view again.
“Humare Pandeyji thana mein nai karte hain duty” she shed a tear replying to an old message enquiring about Captain.
“More than the smile, I ll remember the fight..
More than the care, I ll remember the hatred..
More than the talk, I ll remember the rebuke
For you broke my heart into zillion pieces
For you stabbed me where it pains the most
For you threw me off under the speeding truck
For you slapped me hard for being a friend”