pic courtesy: Google images
He was sitting in Café Coffee Day, sipping his coffee and staring at the small package lying on the table in front of him. A gift which was long overdue. He sighed thinking he has to hurry, he has to still pick up his bags and reach airport right on time, to catch the flight to Delhi. Before that, he had to make a phone call. He picked up the package and smiled thinking what will her reaction be after seeing the gift inside. He was getting engaged after 2 days and will be married in a month. But this gift was not for his would-be wife. This was for someone special, from his past.
He remembered the first time he had met her in her friend’s "house warming" party. She was dressed very elegantly but she was not the standing-out-in-the-crowd kind. She was the blending kind. He was surprised that he noticed her. She had smiled at him and her eyes had sparkled behind those glasses of hers. But she was still not noticeable enough to hold his interests.
He relaxed back in his chair wondering how he even remembered all these things. He was not that kind of a person to remember all these emotional things.But still he remembered every detail about her. He remembered the second time he met her, in a Café Coffee day, something like the one he was sitting now. She was with her friends, laughing, making jokes, pulling leg. And her personality was so vibrant that he couldn’t stay away from her, he was compelled to go to her and re-introduce himself as the person she met in “that” friend’s house on “that” day.
He had invited her to have coffee with him. She had glanced towards her friends indicating that she was with company. He still didn’t understand on what compulsion he had told that he will wait for her till her friends left. And he had waited.
And when she had joined him for the coffee, well, then he understood what a humble and well educated person she was. She could talk about anything but she was not a blabbermouth. He remembered feeling so comfortable in her presence. They had exchanged numbers and soon became very good friends or was more than that. He didn’t want to dwell on that thought. He shook his head and glanced around himself to remember he was still here.
He paid his bill and climbed his car to drive home. How they had started meeting every weekend, seemed so natural to have her presence in his home every Sunday. He remembered dropping her at the end of her street, never in front of her house. She had cooked for him on occasions. She was always so generous and humble.
He remembered the evening she was stuck up in a place, with no way to get home and had called him. He had rushed to her help and was so furious that she didn’t take care of herself. Something had stirred his heart that day thinking that when she was in trouble, she had called him and also that when she was in trouble it troubled him. She had just touched his cheek and said 'Thank you' and had smiled that innocent smile. She had so much trust in him. Unknowingly a smile tugged at his lips now.
And how could he forget that dreadful day when he got the news that he lost his brother in an accident. He was so drunk that day, she had rushed to his side to support him, to be a shoulder to his grief. And how she had lied to her parents that she was staying in her friend’s hostel. She had stayed back with him, had hugged him the whole night, supporting him, grieving with him. She had made breakfast for him in the morning, packed his bags, he had already booked a flight ticket, but she had made all the other arrangements. When he was leaving, she had just smiled and said “Take care of yourself for me”. They both knew he is not coming back.
That was the only time she ever indicated that she needed something from him, and that need also was about him not about her.
She had never asked for anything, never indicated how she felt about him, never pressured him for any commitment. He had always known that she loved him, maybe even he loved her. But at that age he was not ready to make a commitment, he was a free bird and she had let him be whatever he was.
He smiled thinking how she always kept him informed about her contact details. Never failed to wish him on his birthday. She never forgot his birthday and he never remembered hers. But she was never angry with him, always smiling, always accommodating. But still after all these years she never expected him to do anything for her. He parked the car in the garage and went inside the house. Quickly he changed his dress, and got his luggage, called the taxi to confirm that they are coming. And sat down to wait for it, he picked up the gift again thinking how much she will be surprised to see this. He immediately dialed her number, bracing himself to hear her surprised voice.
“Hello Ananya, Arjun here”
“I know, but I was surprised so was doubtful as to who is this”
“So no hi anything, just doubtful” he said with a smile. He knew she knew that he is smiling.
“Hi Arjun, How are you” He could hear smile through the her voice
“Hi Arjun, How are you” He could hear smile through the her voice
“Am fine, how are you??!! And before I forget tell me your address”
“Why ??!!! are you here in my city??” He immediately recognized her eagerness, her pleasure to know that he might be there. He grimaced, he didn't want to disappoint her.
“No, but I have something to send you.”
“Me?? ......... What??”
“Ok, write down”
He wrote down her address. And in a slow voice he said “Ananya, am getting engaged day after tomorrow. Am leaving for Delhi right now”. She was silent for a long time, he got worried, he was not sure what to say, he just said “Ananya, are you listening”"Why are you telling me this Arjun ??!!"
"I have to Ananya................ No, I need to.. I mean...." He couldn't complete the sentence.
Suddenly in a very cheerful voice she told him “Am sorry, I was just shocked for a moment. That’s great news, good for you. Who is she? Is it a love marriage? Why didn't you tell me before, that you are planning to get married”.
He knew immediately that she is faking cheerfulness. He answered all her questions, but somehow he was still surprised that he was not as cheerful as expected, not even as much as she was faking it. He inquired about her life, after a few minutes of talk, he bid her goodbye and ended the conversation. He kept staring at the phone, remembering. 6 years back how she had frantically tried to reach him, but he was away on a pleasure trip with his buddies to Australia. After coming back he saw her mails, lots of them and the last mail had just stated that she got engaged to be married in 3 months. He had felt an ache in his chest, he didn't know why. The same ache which was forming now again, but this time he knew why.
He wrote her address on the gift, and saw that the taxi had arrived. He picked up his bags and the gift, locked his door and started to the airport, on the way he couriered her gift. He reached the airport on time, got in his flight and when he relaxed on the seat, the ache in the chest was still there. But somehow he felt he had ended a chapter. He knew it was time for him and her to let go of the past.
Ananya got a parcel in the morning; she signed for it and opened it. Inside the box was a card and a small velvet box. She opened the card and read “For all those moments that I didn’t give you”. She opened the box to find a beautiful bracelet with many charms on it. As soon as she saw she immediately knew who sent it, and that all the charms were especially made for her, as all the charms were related to something she loved. She understood that he always knew what she felt, she let the tear drop from her eye, she let the unshed tears flow for the untold love of her life.