FLYING TIMES

I still remember the first day at school.
Wearing a blue and white uniform , neatly ironed
With a water bottle hanging around the neck,
With the socks that stretched till the knees ,
With the shoes , that was so well polished that I could see my face in the shoe .

It was with so much of enthusiasm that I went to school. With new books neatly wrapped with orange wrappers, that I was so fond of. With a whole new set of pencils and an eraser and a sharpener. It was such a happy experience. I loved the first days of the re opening. You meet your friends after such a long time. You have so many stories to tell. You have so many stories to listen. With no cellphones , still we managed to keep in touch with our best pals. The best part was that we used to write letters. Ah!!! How I miss the letters. I used to be really excited when I used to see the postman and I used to be even more excited when those letters were for me. It means something .

Anyways it was the first day I saw him. The first words of him was ” Hi . I’m Armaan. I’m new to this school. “.
I saw him . He can be someone who would be completely defined as a “good boy”.I mean it. With the neatly oiled and partitioned hair , with wearing the uniform on the very first day and he looked so neat. Like really neat.”

“Hi, I’m Ahana , nice to meet you 🙂 Which school are you from? Why did you change your old school?How do you like this school?”
Oh!!! Yes . I did ask a lot of questions even then .
He smiled, may be he understood the fact that we girls are like this, yes there’s nothing wrong with asking questions , right??
“I’m from Pune. My dad’s job is such that its subject to transfers frequently. As a result of which , we have to change our cities often.”

That was it. After that day , we became the best of friends. We used to talk. Like talk a lot. Yes , we used to talk about anything and everything. I used to tell him about how caring my dad is , he used to tell me how his mom used to love him so much , I used to speak of the amazing food that my mom prepares, he spoke about the amazing toys his dad used to buy him. I spoke to him about my cat, he used to tell me about his dog. We spoke about how irritating some of our classmates were, we spoke about our friends. Basically we spoke about anything and everything. And any time we found ourselves free , we used to talk. When the school ended, it was a sad time, because that meant we would not be able to talk to each other.

Mondays were the days we looked forward all the time. Saturdays were depressing because that meant that we would not be able to talk to each other. Oh yes, we used to be so close. We were the best of friends . All the time.

Years passed away.

It was in 9th grade, that he fell in love with a girl whom he met in his tuition. He used to tell me about her like a lot. He loved the way she used to talk, her long hair , her pink lips, her wheatish skin , her cuteness , her smile. And honestly speaking I used to get tired listening about her. She was such a Bitch. I hated her. Like really. He always gave an exaggerated version of her. She was not all that beautiful.May be she was for him. He loved her after all. But I never really did like her.

Slowly things started changing between us. I found guy and started spending more time with him.

Days passed like anything. Now we rarely spoke to each other. We didn’t even have the time to smile at each other. I neglected the person who used to be my best friend. I neglected somebody who was my world to me.

Things changed. Times changed. I changed. He changed . We changed.

After 12th , he moved out of the city. Even I went to Mumbai , to pursue my further studies.

Even though I had his number I never really did contact him “Why , the hell should I contact him?? He left speaking for apparently no reason.If he wants , let him contact first”

Years passed .
One fine day, I found his profile on facebook. I thought of sending him a friend request, but then a question popped in ” Would he accept my friend request?Does he still remember me? What if he rejects? What if he doesn’t even remember me ? What’s the point?” . With this, I used to refrain myself from contacting him.

It was 27th May 2012, when I receive a call in the middle of the night.

“Hello, who’s this??”

I heard a familiar voice”Hi, This is Arundathi(Arundathi was my school mate), Did you hear about Armaan ??? He passed away last night ?? ”

I couldn’t believe it, my phone slipped from my hands and banged on the floor. No, this can’t be happening. There is surely some mistake. How can it happen. He is so young. Just 23 .I decided to check his facebook timeline. I logged on immediately, but to my shock , all I see is the ” rest in peace ” messages from his friends and loved ones.

I call him up. There’s no response. No feeling could ever explain what I am going through. Have I lost him forever. Will I never get him back. I should have spoken to him. One last chance is all that I need. I decide I should go to his place. Yes, in the middle of the night. But all I know was his place in Bangalore. I didn’t know where to go. I call up Arundathi and ask his address. I got to know , even he’s staying in Mumbai. He came back to India , 6 months ago.

In the middle of the night , all I know is I can’t see anything happening to him. I drive like crazy to his place, and then running and panting I ring his door bell. There’s no response. I bang the door as if I want to break it, and finally someone opens the door.

You can’t imagine my shock when I see the person who opened the door. It was him. I don’t know what happened to me that instant. I burst out in his arms. I hug him like I have never hugged before. I never wanted to let go. Armaan was definitely shocked and surprised by this gesture of mine.

I pull myself back, “I’m so sorry. I got a call saying that you’re no more. I checked your timeline, everyone were like “RIP”. What on earth was that. You killed me almost. I thought I had lost you like forever. I thought I could never see you again .”

He was there , smiling. “so, you came here because you thought I was dead ,why did u ignore me all these years. You know you always meant the world to me. Seeing you smile , made my day. I’ve always been in love with you. But after a point of time , u changed. You started ignoring me. You no longer loved speaking to me or even seeing me. I don’t know what was my mistake.I thought I had lost you. I wanted to go away from you. That was the reason I moved abroad.But I could never forget you. You have always been my first love. I might have been in a couple of relationships, but you never left my mind. What if I had been dead? Would you grieve for me even then? Why did my death matter to you. Do I matter to you?”

I didn’t know what to say, may be I wasn’t all that late. God after all gave me a second chance.This time I never wanted to let go of him.”I love you. I always did, but when you started telling me about your girlfriend, that was when I realised that I’m just a friend to you, whom you will forget after sometime. I thought its high time , that we part our ways.That was the reason I stayed away from you. I still love you ”

Before I knew , what was happening, he just hugged me , so tightly and so endearing .This was the best feelings ever. Being in arms of the man, you’ve always wanted to spend the rest of your life with.

We tend to ignore the people , when they are with us . Don’t assume things. Go , speak your heart out. Its better to regret with the things you’ve done rather than regretting about stuffs you wish you had done. Life rarely gives you second chances. I was very lucky. Not everyone is so lucky

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You never know when is the last good bye

It was the first day of my school. I saw him for the first time . And the instant I saw him I decided ” I so hate him “. I don’t know if this was intuitive or prejudistic , but I knew that I would not be able to tolerate him . He was someone I hated with all my heart , with all my soul. He was my arch rival , my enemy. I don’t know why I despised him so much. In fact, I hated most of the men during those days. At some corner of my heart , there was a feeling that all men are heartless creatures.

But the point was that I had to bear him for the rest of 3 my school life. The only impression I had about him was that he was a Casanova.He was someone who irritated me for the rest of three years of my life. Who knew this person would be someone who I’d remember for the rest of my life.

Years rolled by.Finally came the day where I had to clear the board exams and came the day where I would be leaving the school and join a junior college. To be frank enough I was really happy. There was a kind of desperate need in me to get out of the school as soon as possible.

But things changed drastically as soon as I left my college. I became friends with him. I started to know him better. And I was filled with regrets for having hated him earlier. I realized not all the men are heartless. There are some men who could be your friends as well. I was happy. Life was perfect. We started hanging out together. Lots of laughter, giggles and coffees . And like all good things even this had to come to an end.

I decided to take up management studies in my undergraduate level. It was there I met Ananya for the first time. We became the best of buddies since the first day. After a week I introduced Ananya to Dhruv. I observed Dhruv was completely smitten by her. She was pretty . I could make out that he was checking her out. I don’t know why I never fell in love with him. I never felt any such feelings for him . But I just thought that these could make a wonderful couple.

Anyways after that day , I could observe that Dhruv had become more than busy. Everytime I called him , he was held up with one work or the other. Then came a day, which changed everything . I could make out that he was avoiding me for Ananya , this hurt me more than anything and everything. He started keeping secrets from me. He started avoiding me. Things changed badly. I was never so helpless before. One day while I was with Ananya , we were discussing about him , when I saw the need to call him and clear all the differences. But as soon as he picked up the call all I could hear was “Hey ,I’m sorry .There’s a fest at college and since I’m the co-ordinator I’m little held up. I’ll catch up later .Bye.” He didn’t even allow me to speak. Just after a minute of this, he calls Ananya,and there he is talking to her for more than an hour. I was so stunned. How could he do this to me.

This was it. I decided I’m never going to talk to him ever again in my life. After 3 days of this incident , Ananya calls me up “Hey babe , Guess what?? I’m in relationship with Dhruv. I feel so lucky.” 

I never felt so stabbed in my life ever. Two of my best friends had stabbed me on my back. All I could do, was just cry my heart out. Cry,Cry and Cry!!!

I knew I had to take both of them off my life. I stopped speaking both to Dhruv and Ananya. I started avoiding Ananya badly. I made new friends, started hanging out with them more often.

Ananya started whatsapping me ” Not talking to me ?”

“What’s wrong”

“What’s happening?Atleast tell me my fault? Why are behaving like this.This is totally childish.Don’t you think you should be more clear with what’s wrong?”

Finally one day she encountered me at the canteen.”What’s the problem? Why on earth are you not talking to me? I now see what it is. Since the day , I told you I’m in relationship with him, you stopped talking to me. Isn’t it ? He warned me not to tell you anything. You’re so jealous. You’re so possessive. You couldn’t bear to see me with him. That’s why you’re moving away right? Wow!! So clever, Bitch!!.All your life, you did nothing but used him for your selfish purposes. He should have left you long back.You could never ever be happy for your friends. You’re such a sulking bitch.”

I was stunned to listen to these words, my best friend thought about me.”I was a sulking bitch, like really?”

I could not control “Oh! really .I’m a sulking bitch, then why don’t you get the hell out of my sight. I don’t even wanna see your face ever again in my life again. You get it ? You better get it. I so hate you, Ananya. You know why? You’re the reason why I and Dhruv are no longer friends.You spoiled everything between us. And you’re saying I used him . Get the hell out of my life.”

After this incident I completely cut her off my life. She tried to apologise. She was sorry for whatever she said that day. But how could I ever forgive her. I had never learnt forgiving anybody.Two years after this episode, Dhruv came to my college , but this time not to meet Ananya, but to meet me. I was in parking lot, taking out my vehicle , when “Hi , Akriti .How are you.??”

I turned back to see Dhruv, standing behind me ” Ananya is in the canteen. You can go and meet her.”

Dhruv was hurt by my words for sure “What’s wrong Akriti? I came to meet you.You’re my best friend. I cannot afford to lose you. You mean the most to me . I know , you’re hurt by some of my actions. Ananya feels so bad without you. She misses you so much. Talk to her once. Sort out things with her please. I cannot see her crying like this. I love her , damn it for God’s sake. She means my world to me and I cannot afford my world to be sad.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. He was here for her and not for me” All you care about is her and not me ? How could you be so selfish? You know me from the past 8 years and she from past 1 year. Does she matter to you so much , that you are ready to forsake your friendship with me. Just go away. Let me be .Go away.”

This was the last time I ever spoke to both of them. I moved out of the country for my further studies. London was a better city , a better place by all means. But I could never forget them. For still I missed both of them so much. 

Years rolled by . I got married. Life was happy, until Siddhart told me ” You see their photos everyday. Go to India , meet them.Talk to them Akriti. ” I understood I had to forget the past. 

I knew that both of them had gotten married and lived in Pune now. I packed my bags , booked my ticket to Pune. I thought it will be a good time. We’ll forget everything. I’m going to set everything right. But not really. As soon as I went to their place, all that greeted me was silence. After waiting for about 10 minutes, an old lady dressed in a white chudidar opened the door. 

“Hi, I’m Akriti. I’m Dhruv and Ananya’s friend. I’ve come from London.” The lady burst into tears, “Come inside”

After having a cup of coffee, I asked” Where’s Ananya?? Office”

I could sense something is wrong “I’m Dhruv’s mother. Ananya and Dhruv got married 5 years ago. 2 years ago, the same day when they were travelling from Delhi to Pune , their plane got crashedImage.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. Like dead ? Seriously? How could this happen? They were so young still. They had an entire life to live.Why is life so uncertain? I had lost the two most important people in my life. All these years all I wanted was to talk to them. Make everything alright.But my ego was too strong to let something like this happen.

“All I have now is the memories. I just wish I was not so rude to them.All I wanted to tell that, I still cared about them. I still loved them.”

YOU SHALL ALWAYS BE MY BEST FRIEND

Like every other night, I didn’t want to go to sleep early. Suddenly mom entered my room and ‘Pihu, its late go to sleep.’

I requested her for a story.”Mumma, please one story , just one story.”She knew she couldn’t put me to sleep without a story and she knew that I love hearing her stories.

“Once upon a time , in a distant kingdom there was king and a queen . They had a lovely daughter who was the pride of their eyes…”

“What happened , then ? Mumma, mumma , mumma ?

I woke up seeing myself in my room alone. There was no one around. Tears started flowing from my eyes. The unspeakable tears that perhaps nobody could have understood.It took me a while to realise that this was just a dream , that mom used to tell me when I was a kid. I know I’m a big girl now.But inside this little heart there’s a lot of unspeakable pain , that anybody can seldom understand.

It all started when I was kid years ago. Life was so perfect.I had a perfect life. Loving parents , an irritating yet adorable sibling and a happy family. Until that one day, that changed all our lives forever.

I was 12 when this life changing incident happened. I still remember that day , “Mom, please stop it . You don’t need to tell me what I’m supposed to do.I’m a grown up girl , I can handle myself. I don’t need your permission for anything.” Saying this I walked out of my house. I had a party at a friend’s place.I came back home by 7.30 in the evening. I was filled with guilt for being so rude to mom .

As I came back to my home, I found silence greeting me. Where was mom? She’s home always by this time. Suddenly I see my brother coming out, “Where’s mom?”

I could see tears flowing from his eyes,”She’s met with an accident.She’s at hospital. I’ve come to take you.”

I just hoped that she was alright. The guilt of how I spoke to her this morning was killing me. I so badly wanted to apologize. I knew I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself if something happened to her. But it was too late. When we reached hospital I saw her,she was so traumatized.I never knew she would be in such a position.

“Dad, how did this happen?”

Dad couldn’t control himself ” She met with accident ,while coming back from office.”

I just held her , kissed her tenderly on her cheeks “Mom, we will take care of you. Nothing is going to happen to you. We are going to get you out of this.”I couldn’t control myself “I’m so sorry , mom. I shouldn’t have spoken like that this morning. I’m really sorry.”

Mom knew that was not true , she knew she wouldn’t be able to make it ” I love you, Pihu. You are a big girl now.Take care of yourself.I was longing to see you. Always remember I’m always there for you no matter what.”

That was it. Those were her last words. Did I lose her forever? What was my fault? Why was I being punished. No mom couldn’t leave me.She said she’d always be there for me .”Mom, wake up .You promised. Mom, wake up.” But I knew she wouldn’t wake up. She had slept for ever.

Things changed drastically after that. Dad sent me and bro to the boarding school. He married another woman. My little family was completely broken. You can say that I started hating Dad since that event. How could he do that. He was my Dad.How could he marry someone else?

Times passed quickly. My bro who used to be my best friend started going away from me slowly .He completed his studies at the boarding and went to US for his further education.Dad married someone else and he has a happy family there of which obviously I’m no part. May be that was the reason , he sent us to the Boarding School. He never even tried meeting us even once after that incident.All I know is that he kept sending us money. We were just his expenses not anything else.

Last year , Khush got married. He is happy there. I was invited but I knew there is no place for me in such a world. He is in love with a girl and got married to her. We lost touch for the past 3 years. After 3 whole years he contacted me to invite . Why? You desert your sister and you build a new world for yourself , and then one fine day you realise you have a sister- a forgotten sister.

I didn’t go. Today after 15 years of that incident, I still miss Mom. I miss the way our family bonded. It was just perfect. Now I’m just a lonely person deserted by everyone in this lost world .

May be this is the reason they say” A son is a son till he gets his wife ,  a daughter remains a daughter for the rest of her life.”

The only family that I have now is my brother. I still do miss him. He’s still my best friend. Shall always be