Wednesday, 15 May 2019

ARSH /KASH OS : Hope 2

        He smiled at me and sat beside me. I looked up at him and nodded. "To...tum aa rahi ho na?" he asked while hesitating a little. I looked at the other side of the table where he sat, stiffened. After a little while of contemplating as to what I should answer, I sighed "Nahi..." He didn't even let me finish and quickly asked, "Lekin Kyun?" with a pout which I just adored on his marvelous face. "Kyunki...bas nahi aa sakti!" He looked at me with a raised eye brows. "Tumhare paas legs hai?" I looked at him, totally confused at what he wanted to ask me. He didn't make a movement to say anything and still looked pointedly at me. I looked away and said, "Haan!". He continued, "Tumhare paas time hai? I mean after you get off?" I nodded my head. His questions did not stop here, "Tumhare paas car hai? Escort hai?" I rolled my eyes at him and nodded again. "Tumhare paas car me petrol hai?" Finally I couldn't stop myself and yelled, "Armaan!" with an exasperated expression. "Haan bolo? Jawab dona?" I looked at him, totally aghast as to why he was acting so childlishly. I nodded again. "To phir kyuun nahi jaa sakti? Me bhi to chal raha hoon. Aur phir Sid ne mujhse personally kaha hai ke me tumhe lekar aaoon!"

        I looked at him. My skin began to burn. Crimson color starting to show on my cheeks. "Oh! to isiliye tum mera dimaag kha rahe ho!" He smiled and nodded in a 'no'. My hope made a U-turn and came back up again. "Dimaag uska khate hai jiske pas hota hai...ya phir jiske pas excess hota hai!" For a second, I could not comprehend what he was trying to point and when I did, my hopes were crushed again. I looked at him, hurt at what he said and got up. He got up as well when he saw me leaving the table. "Oh come on Shilpa. Just come already!" I looked at him and with one sentence silenced him, "Dost kabhi dusre dost ko force nahi karte! Meri problem samjho!" He looked at me...certainly shocked at my strange outburst. This was it and then I exited the canteen.

        I did not know why I was feeling the way I felt. I continously kept on getting my hopes up at what he said and how he acted around me. For the first time in my life, I actually expected something from someone. Alas! That person of all had to be the crazy lover Armaan. I looked up and watched as Sid approached me. He looked at me and smiled. Oh! How I hated when he did that. I did not want to spoil his good mood and tried to turn away when he called out to me. I froze, unable to utter any excuse to escape. He came closer to me, "Shilpa, suna hai ke tum nahi aa rahi ho aaj party me?" I nodded apologetically. His expression changed and he was questioning me again, "Magar kyuun?" I did not know what to say. "Sid, wo bas nahi aa sakti..." Sid looked away, evidently angry at what I said. "I am soooo sorry" I began to apologize again and again. After what seemed like 100 apologies from me, he turned towards me and smiled. "Fine, Agle baar zaroor aana hai!" I nodded and began to go towards the children's ward. He called out to me again. I turned around. "Wo Armaan ko dekha hai!" The hidden sadness and anger started overflowing from me again and I said, "Nahi, sadu ko mene nahi dekha!" Sid chuckled and said, "Armaan ko bata dena ke tum nahi jaa rahi ho". "Why?" Sid did not say anything, so I continued on, "Waise bahut pareshaan kar raha tha mujhe. Aur mene use bata diya hai!" This being said, I turned around and left without seeing the worried expression on Sid's face that changed into a wide smirk.

        I walked in the locker room after I was done for the day. I saw a very unfamiliar sight. Armaan's always sunk shoulder, which he showed only when he went to the locker room, were now straight and he was taking out some things from his locker. As soon as he saw me, he smiled. I smiled back, totally forgetting that I was supposed to be mad at him. I was about to go to my locker when I caught sight of Ridhimma Di's picture in his hands. A familiar feeling took over me and I felt my heart sinking. There was this lump in my throat that I could not swallow. This heavy feeling that came over me whenever Armaan reminisced about his past with Ridhimma. It may have been due to the pain he felt when he did....but I did not know for sure why. He tried hiding it away from me, and I looked away knowing full well that I cannot or am not allowed to invade his personal space and past memories like this. He cleared his throat, "Kyun nahi jaa rahi ho?" I looked at him surprised, "woo...actually me..." before I could finish, he cut me off, "Tum nahi jaaogi to me bhi nahi jaunga. Aur phir Sid aur Ridimma bahut hurt ho jaaenge"

        That feeling came over me again. Oh! I finally got what this was about. He wanted me to go so he can have an excuse to meet Ridhimma! I knew I was supposed to understand and consider his feelings. I knew I was supposed to smile at him and tell him that I will go and he did not need to worry. I knew that he was doing all of this to make Ridhimma believe that he is finally moving on. I knew that he was using me because I, myself, consented to this BUT I could not be understandable enough to him. I could not see him thinking and thinking continually about his past. I looked at him, anger enveloping me, "You know Armaan, tum bahut selfish ho. Sirf apne bare me na socho. Sid aur Ridhimma di ko akele thora time do. Aur mujhe bhi..." I trailed off, almost whispering the last part. I knew I needed to get out of there and sort myself out before it was too  late. Apparently it was! He looked at me bewildered. Then he slowly turned towards the locker, "I am sorry. Wo tumhari aadat ho gayi hai mujhe isiliye kahi jane ka man nahi karta tumhare bina...Akele nahi reh sakta me ab. I just want a friend to be with me, but it is ok. I will ask someone else and go with them." He turned around and gave me a big smile and left. I lowered my eyes, guilt overtaking me. but more than that pain overtaking me. Was I that replaceable in his life?

        A tear drop trickled down my cheeks, making the only moistness that I experienced from the morning. I sunk down and sat on the nearby bench, unable to control my anger that came out in form of tears. I cried harder and harder, until I couldn't hold my hiccups and needed to get some water. I carefully scanned the locker room and went to the bathroom.
        As the cold water splashed on my face, I was reminded at how nice it felt when Armaan looked at me under his heavy lashes, even though it was just as friends. I knew I could not tell him that I loved him or that I want him to move on in life. I knew that all I can do is to be there for him when he needs me, but I just could not today. Maybe for the fact that it was my birthday and I did not want the person I loved to look at some one else other than me. I know it would be selfish for me to ask him that, so it was better if I did not go to the party. At least it would save me the pain that I felt every time I saw him looking sadly at Ridhimma. It is true that I felt guilty because, after all, it was I who told him that I would be there for him when he needs a friend. I knew that he needed me tonight because tonight was Sid's Congratualtion party for being an amazing disciplinary. This night Sid would definitely dance with Ridhimma and Armaan would be hurt again. I knew all this. I wanted to go. But all I did was to wipe my face with a paper towel, take my belongings and go home to call it a night.

        I woke up with a heavy head. I did come home to sleep but received a packed cake sent by my caretaker from the orphanage. How could I just leave it like that? I cut a small piece of the chocolate-filled cake and put the delicious sweetness in my mouth. It had a note with it that said: Shilpa, I know that you may be busy with your friends in your birthday party. I know that you may have bought a birthday cake yourself, but this cake is from all of the people from orphanage so please eat it with your friends dear. We are missing you a lot and we wish you all the happiness in the world. I hope that you are happy there. Come by sometimes. We are eagerly waiting to see you! ~ With Love, Your Masi. I could not believe it. I hugged the letter and sobbed harder and harder. I could not finish the cake, so I put it in the fridge but  I took the letter with bed. The whole night, I hugged the letter, the only valuable possession that belonged to me and cried. I did not know what else to do. I did get SMS from several of my friends that wished me a very happy birthday but that did not make my loneliness dissapear.

        I walked in the hospital and saw Sid fuming. "Kya hua?" I asked him. Sid stormed towards me and I checked my watch to see if I was little late. I wasn't. "Where was Armaan?" I looked at him, confused.  How was I supposed to know that? He was not with me! "I don't know Sid. Tumhari party me to gaya tha?" Sid rolled his eyes. "Shilpa, wo meri party me kyuun aaega jab tum nahi ho waha to?" Now it was time for me to roll my eyes, "Sid, I told him and he said that he would go with a friend!" Sid looked at me shocked. "What? Tumhe pata hai ke wo aana hi nahi chahta tha but we forced him and he said that he will only go if you'll go! That is the reason I told you to tell him." I looked at Sid, "Kya? Sid I did not know. How was I supposed to know?" Sid sighed, "you're right. Sorry yaar. Tum dono waha nahi the to bura laga" I apologized to him again and he was about to say something when Armaan came walking in the hallway. "Late ho tum" Sid yelled playfully. Armaan gave him a small smile. After that, Sid and Armaan began whispering something to each other that I was unable to hear.

        When we were assigned to our respective tasks, everyone left except me and Armaan. He was about to go too when I called out to him. He did not turn around but he stopped in his tracks. I came jogging towards him, "Wo...hi!" That was the only thing I could think of saying in that awkward moment. Armaan looked at me and said hi without any smile. I knew that he was upset at my outburst yesterday. I came in front of him and held my ears. He looked at me and suddenly I saw his expressions change. His eyes spoke something that I never read before. I did not know what it was, really! but there was something. He looked away and a smile graced his lips. "Theek hai maaf kar dunga but uske liye ye baatana parega ke tum kyuun nahi gai Sid ke party me?" I raised an eye brow, "Really? What about you? Tum bhi to nahi gae the? Itne gussa ho gaye the tum?" He looked away, as if hiding something that he did not want me to see at any cost. "Wo...nahi...wo..." I smiled, "Dekha Armaan, kuch baante hum kisi ko nahi bata sakte. Kuch baate hum apne saath hi rakhna chehte hai. I understand that aur me tumse nahi punchungi agar tum bhi na puncho!" He again met my eyes. "Theek hai! you got me this time. Achcha ab chalo kaam par."

        It was break time for me and I went straight to my locker. I was extremely happy that nothing really had changed between me and Armaan. I was washing my hand when the file slipped out of my hands and the some papers fell in the recycle bin. I quickly wiped my hands with the paper towel and went on the task of sorting out my papers. I was just taking out all the papers from the recyling bin when something caught my eyes. There were some pictures in the bin. They were the same pictures of Ridhimma that Armaan had along with all of the comics that she gave to him. He threw this away? I could not believe my eyes. So this is what he was doing when I yelled at him? Guilt overtook me again but I was reminded that Armaan had forgiven me. But what did this mean? Did he finally decide to move on? Yes, probably because Armaan would never do this kind of thing to Ridhimma's gifts even if he was angry! What does this mean? Does it mean that I should have hope that he would come around? Or not? I did not know what it meant and how to understand the meaning of it either. The only thing I knew was that I would again get my hopes up even if they are crushed again because that is how much I loved him. I will be ready for the pain for this friendship which is the only thing that connects us!



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