Friends this is my first attempt at writing short stories...like snippets, or a chapter from the whole book. Hope you enjoy it. Please leave comments and ignore spelling and grammer mistakes i wrote it because of short term insomania ;)
Raghav was a little nervous checked himself in the mirror twice, he smiled his charming smile again to perfect it. His fancy dress shirt he had bought for the occasion was a snazzy grey shade, matching with the black pinstriped pants another new entrant in his wadrobe. He would be meeting many old friends today, it was Anjali’s wedding. A knot appeared in his stomach which eased to give way to those energetic butterlies. They were synonymos to Anjali, whenever he heard her name he got this sensation. He looked into his eyes in the mirror. Anjali, the girl he had never forgotton over the last 5 years, Hardly called or met, until he got an email usually a group forum mail he saw her name sometimes, saying she had got engaged to an IIM grad from Chennai, and the guy was a cool dude earning an obscene salary and was a handsome geek and she had got into the relationship as an arrangement, but was sure this was for real.
He looked into his eyes and smiled, He seemed to have that charm, but this eyes didn’t smile. He could see cheek lines getting deeper the teeth flashing from between his lips, the stretch in his jawline, his cheeks uplifting…but his eyes contracted but didn’t twinkle. Hmm pointless to try, the same has his slightly protruding belly, resulting of his sedentary lifestyle. His mind was flashing and his stomach was a series of knots. The Thunder outside was resounding, it was pouring heavily this July night. Heavily like the day, it had changed everything between Anjali and him.
On that July evening he called up anjali, to tell her he was meeting her for dinner today.
She sounded happy, Ragahav felt the knots in this stomach, but these were those of anticipation. They were filled with hope, not guilt or despair. This was love, the four letter word that meant the world to him then. Anjali was the friend, the support, the laughter, the blood in his viens, the flesh on his bones. The time he first saw her was not when he fell for her. It was not her first smile that meant the world to him. There were talks on the way back, there were notes exchanged, there were jokes and laughter shared, the accidental touch on her arm, the shyness to the coy glances. It grew but he never took though it was love, until she had left for home after the last day in college, way after he saw her in that sari at the farewell party. When he had asked her to dance and guided her across the floor, waltzing. Everytime it grew deeper into his soul. The eyes that smiled until they broke into that dimpled giggle. He could crack the weirdest jokes from the end of his wits to make her laugh, and watch her. And all this stopped when they had gone their own way, he to his nice job in Mumbai and she to her job in Chennai. That’s when Raghav yearned every day for seeing that smile, to feel his blood throb in his veins again, to make the stomach knot again in hope. It had all gone… in one sweeping stroke of time.
And this Rainy day Anjali was back to get the degree awarded in that black suit and that graduation hat. This was fun for the old gang of friends, there was so much to say, so much to party about, first salary, first day at work, bosses, colleagues..etc. But Raghav had his eyes on Anjali the whole time, he just wanted to see her smile, her hair blowing in the wind, her words, her lips. She was leaving tomorrow morning for Chennai. Today evening was gonna be his last chance to meet her. He wanted to tell her the way he felt about her. He was not at all sure whether Anjali, felt the same way. She was never the first one to call him after college got over when there were many uncomfortable day of killing silence between them. But maybe Anjali didn’t know about her feelings, he thought why not just tell her. His inward silence was saying that it woul ruin the friendship, and to give it time. This was not friendship this was something else and it was beautiful. He was waiting for her to come out from her friends place, on his scooter.
“Hey Hi, Rag’s” came a voice from behind, He turned back to see her standing behind him outside his house. “ Still have your moto-scooter, zip zap zoom, I miss these in Chennai, the company bus is oh so boring..”. She was looking amazing he thought in his mind, Wearing a yellow tee and blue jeans. He managed to say a customary hi and muttered the favourite café’s name they used to haunt during college as a group. His mind was preoccupied, should he tell, should he not. The struggle didn’t seem to go amiss with Anjali, “Rags, Whats the matter, something troubling you”. Raghav managed a shrug and Anjali pestered on. He pretended it was the helmet, and zipped through the country side road, the shortcut to the way.
The dark sky just got greyer and started thundering. He could feel Anjali flinch in the back seat and clutching his shoulder. And then it poured…heavily and steadily. The road was empty and a huge tree was situated near buy. Raghav rushed under It on his scooter and they got down. He had a look at anjali, she was drenched and so was he. These short and bursty rain clouds, just show no mercy. But Anjali seemed to be cool about it. “ This is so beautiful, the country road the greens everywhere. I really miss Pune” The saw some god sent rocks just under the tree and sat there. Anjali noticed Raghavs silence. “ Kya hua Rag’s, Please, something is not right with you”. Raghav looked sideways to her curious face. She was concerned, he could see her eyes though the wet hear hair stuck on her forehead. He could feel her arm leaning against his. He shifted his weight and looked the other way and said “Nothing Anjali, Just….”.
“Whats Just… Rag;s Tell me”
“ Anjali, kuch nahi, its just that Its too much for me…”
“Whats too much…”
“This Life”, he said, “Everything, its so fake, so pathetic, I just cant see how I can stay here without my friends, without you”. He hesitated and said, “ its just not the same, and I miss the times, remembering them, The place seems haunted with memories, this road, the café, the bench, this rain, everything seems to have this ghostly feeling, I just keep coming back to the past,….coming back to you” …”All of you” he added.
Anjali, was looking at his face, he wished she would look away, he was staring at the wet soil all this while the rain was getting harder and he had to shout to get her to hear him. His face was hot, his breath seemed short, like when he woke up from the nightmare’s he has repeatedly, invariabley starring Anjali.
Anjali spoke at last. “ Rag;s its not easy for all of us. This happens to everyone, people move away, but they are always friends, in the heart. We are always just a call away my friend. Comon, cheer up yaar. Its not all that bad.”
An explosion built up in his heart, went down his throat, But nothing could come out. The lump stayed in his throat and the eyes were turning moist. He thought it was best for this to pass. He kept staring at the leaf now soaked in droplets.
Anjali, reached for his hand, and held them, They had held hands only twice before.
They were comforting, he felt the lump dissolve and the words coming out.
He clutched her hand hard not to let her go and blurted out load “ I love you, Anju. I cant live without you. Please don’t leave me”. He looked into her eyes, pleading and begging. He had the look of a person asking the satan to trade his soul for one more day on earth to say goodbyes. He felt tears moistening and running down his cheek, just half way. As if by impulse he gets up and leaves her hand, stepping out of the tree umbrella, Standing in the rain. Anjali looked shell shocked. It didn’t matter what she thought now. He had said it and he knew he could only wait for his instinct or Anjali to guide him through this situation. The rain melted from his wet hair into his cheeks and disguised the feelings streaming from his eyes. Anjali got up, she knew he wasn’t kidding. She walked into the rain and stood beside him, They looked at each other together. Anjali had her eyes red, due to the rain water or something else, was not for Raghav to guess. “Since when?, how?....” Raghav said. “ I don’t know stupid, its been since any of the days we cared for each other, I cant point to a moment. But I know since you’ve gone I am not myself. Im missing me being with you. I was so much more when I was with you. I was not Raghav, I was your Rag’s. I Just know that I would love myself the way we were, carefree, caring, loving, mastikhor, everything…without you there is no Rag’s, no Raghav, Anjali, you complete me like no one does. Don’t you see what ive become.” Raghav couldn’t control the tears now. He cried as he spoke, and rain splattered on his head. The drops hit his heated head, hands his shirt with stinging force, like a thousand cold needles pricking slightly on the tip of the skin. Tingling and stinging… It had a calming effect and a kind-off stimulant to keep the words coming out.
Anjali, looked at this with tears in her eyes. She couldn’t feel them running down, they just joined the rain drops diluting the pain in her eyes. “Rags…” She managed with the same pleading tone Raghav had, when he had said I love you. “I don’t know…” she said.
“I don’t know either Anju, Its confusing for me too….but I know that I love you so much that there is not a single moment since the last 4 months that I have not thought about you, pictured you in my happiness, in my sorrow, spoken to my pillow thinking its you, waited for you call, a missed call, browsing through the albums, ive been crazy Anju, its not yours to know. Its mine… I just cant understand why this is happening now..and its just keeps coming back to one thing, I am just not me, when you are not around.”
Anjali said, “I don’t know if I have felt the same raghav, its not like that for me. Im busy with work, I miss you too, but not all the time, I miss all of us together. Do you thing you are sure…are you sure…its love…or friendship.”
“Friendship?...Anju, you think this is friendship…I have crossed all the boundaries of sanity..just to tell you all this….its insane in my head…like a hundred questions and just one answere that I love you…”
Anjali cried a bit loudly in reply.. “why is this happening Raghav?...why to us?”
Raghav” Anju, I don’t know, do you love someone, do you think this is friendship, and I may be wrong. Maybe I am missing the times of lifes. And wanna relive them, ive been through all this in my head but the answer is always more confusion”
Anjali cried “This may be the confusion, Rags.. I don’t think I will ever love again, ive lost everything once, I cant handle it again. I haven’t had the guts to share this with you or any of us..but my love is gone..He left and I never manged to get over him.I never even told him all this you told me. I wish I could, but I think its too late and im still not sure it was love” She sobbed with her head down. Rahav reached at her hand now sobbing loudly too.
They Clenched their hands tightly. Today was the first and last chapter of that love story. Raghav realized that she had the deep cut of her first love wound that she wouldn’t heal, and she never will feel about him like he did about her.
“Anju, we will be friends forever atleast. Please don’t go away. I promise I will never mention this day again..ill never tell you how much I love you …maybe you are right its better to be friends for now”
Anjali just cleched her hand tighter in answer.
The thunder jolder Raghav back into the mirror. His Tie knot was done nicely. He was gonna attend her wedding today. A friend that he loved, a friend who was more that a friend for him. And she had moved away slowly and the friendship stayed through the occasional emails. Hope this is not the end…..