This is a sequel to Unrequited Love 🙂
The early July sky was covered with dark clouds, intimidating, and covering the whole expanse of the sea. The view was mystic, with the grey sky, with thunder lightening in it, which was contrasting the now dark waters. The horizon between the sky and the sea looked far from real, for it all seemed a single entity. No one could say where the sky stopped, and where the sea begun.
He sat with his arms around his knees, looking at a distant point at the sea, lost in thoughts. He was the only one, who was lost in his own thoughts, not paying any attention to the place he was in, while people around him are having the best moments of their lives.
He looked around to find families enjoying, playing in the banks of the sea forgetting every other thing, children constructing sand castles, youngsters swimming, few couples holding hands and whispering sweet nothings. His eyes stopped at the distant couple for a moment before they drifted back to look into the oblivion; thinking about her.
Every person around him reminded him of her, and the moments that they both shared. He looked at the children constructing a sand castle. He went back in time, when his family and her family went on a vacation to Goa, and had their fair share of enjoyment, exploring it. However, what he and Geet liked the most is sneaking out early in the mornings together, to the private beach of the villas they booked, and constructing shabby sand castles there.
He saw families splashing water on each other, and he remembered a similar scene, where she had tricked him, making him believe that she fell in the water accidentally, making him come running behind her, and search for her frantically. When his eyes filled up, and his heart almost pounded against his rib cage, he felt a push from behind, making him fall in the salt waters, on his face. He heard a giggle then and sure enough it was Geet, who was just having a good time watching him suffer. He was enraged to say the least for her being so reckless and playing such a devious prank. He got back to her, by lifting her off her feet and dumping her into the cool waters, making her gasp and then charge at him. For the next fifteen minutes, they splashed waters at each other like little kids. A smile formed on his lips now as he thought back to those days. He didn’t know why he momentarily forgot that she was an excellent swimmer. Why had been he such an idiot! However, thinking about it now, he felt a chill run down his spine. Even today, if he were in the same position as of that day, he would’ve ceased to think of any logic, and would have worried for her safety.
He had that bittersweet smile thinking about her, until reality came crashing down that she perhaps would remain only in his memory.
At a distant someone played a song, which made him jerk his head towards the direction.
“Yeh Dosti hum nahi chodenge” the song played on, making him again sink back into the past, where both of them sang the song, like maniacs, while they were driving in rain, on his bike.
He was surprised at the number of signs he was getting today, the number of memories that were flooding, almost choking him.
The grip around his knees tightened as he thought back to those painful days of his life. Those initial days after she left.
* * *
The morning after their fight, he woke up with a hangover, for having drinking till early in the morning. When he did wake up somewhere around afternoon, he was informed of Geet’s sudden departure to home. It angered him so very much that she had the nerve to leave him and go all alone. All Alone! That stuck him the most and he immediately called the Handa’s only to know her safe arrival.
That only fueled his anger, which made him not go to home, faking an internship. At the end of his vacation, when his anger subsided, and was expecting her to return, he got another blow; saying Geet’s exchange program overseas. His anger reached the boiling point, and swore he would not go behind her. Their parents found it peculiar, even though they knew their kids fought all their life, this large step taken by Geet was not something they could take lightly. They tried to make them talk, all in vain. It was partly due to his Pride too. It hurt him. He knew a hug, and few talks would end it all but the anger he felt when Geet touched Arjun’s hand that day made him forget every rational thought and stick to his ego.
He did not even go to give her sendoff. Before he could realize, she was gone.
A year passed. The anger was vanished, which was now replaced by hurt, a deep pain in his heart, a void he felt inside. Only when she was not around did he knew how much he missed her, how she became a part of his life, and how he could not live without her. The days without her were wary, and the nights were torture, with the thoughts of her plaguing his mind, snatching his sleep.
He replayed all that happened that day, and no matter how much he retrospect, he could not feel that she was right. Hell, he could not come in terms of letting her be someone else’s. Not Arjun’s, not anyone’s. Then why did he not pay any attention to her all these days?
Is it because he knew somewhere deep down that she would be there with him, no matter what?
* * *
The song now changed into a romantic number, making him come out of his musings.
He looked at the endless sea, again, but this time his eyes aren’t focused at a distant point. Instead, they were focused at a girl at a distance, who was chasing the tides, and walking back just in time, not letting her feet touch the water. His heart did a flip flop, as he felt her so familiar from behind.
There she was, her long mass of hair, falling till her waist, the black anarkali chudidar she wore, emanating her beauty. The Jhumkas churned with the movements she made, making him lose his senses and watch her unblinking. He never saw her in Indian attire before. And now, when he did, he was surprised that he is seeing a hallucination in something which he never had imagined her in before.
He was sure he was hallucinating. But he felt good, for watching her in flesh and blood after so long.
After eons, he felt relaxed, as if a stone was lifted from his heart. He looked at the melody, the Geet, his eyes conjured as he felt his heart fill with something he could not name.
It thundered again, and soon enough started raining. He saw people, many of them, run away to take shelter, but he sat there, not yet ready to let go of this beautiful hallucination yet.
He saw her turn around and signal to someone and what followed made his lips curve into a smile. Around a dozen of children came running to her, to play with her in the rain, with the tides.
They split up and stood on either side of her, catching her arms, and pulled her to their respective sides, while she laughed, throwing her head back, inviting the alluring rain drops to kiss her now exposed neck.
He got up as if he was in a trance, and took slow and deliberate steps towards her. The rain had started falling with much force now and soon enough he saw the children squatter away. The late evening, was turning into night, as the sky had become dark, and the splattering rain blurred everyone’s vision. People were rushing out of the beach, leaving him and his hallucination alone. He walked towards her, wanting to see her from close, to remind himself of her features. He stood behind her and saw her looking at the sight before her, the never ending sea with a smile on her face. She followed the tides again and walked back, but as she didn’t notice him, her back bumped into his chest.
She turned around with a jerk, surprised at the sudden intrusion in her private moment. The sudden jerk made her lose her balance and sway back dangerously. He caught her hand in time, saving her from the fall. However, the moment he touched her, was the moment he realized something. She was real. He could feel her. With a thumping heart, he looked at her, who had her eyes closed, her back still arched, as she was held in mid air, just by his steely grip on her palm. He moved forward and encircled his arms around her waist and made her stand up slowly.
“Geet” his throaty whisper was barely audible, as he felt his voice clog up with a deep emotion.
She fluttered her eyes open and looked at his face. The first emotion that mirrored her face was shock, which was later replaced by a teary smile. Funny it seemed to him that even in that rain, he could make out her tears.
He could not get himself to speak another word. His grip around her waist tightened unconsciously as all he wanted to was to just keep her locked in his embrace and never let go.
She looked at him unblinking. It was a year, three months and five days since she last saw him. She saw thin moisture layer in his eyes, which stood out even in the disastrous rain. But more than that, what caught her attention was what she saw in his eyes. That thing was something which she was familiar yet alien to. She remembered seeing the same thing in his eyes when she played a prank in Goa, few years back, when he almost believed that she drowned in the sea.
But the intensity in those eyes now shook her, and involuntarily she placed her hands on his shoulders, to stabilize herself, as she felt her knees tremble.
“Geet” his voice was strained, and by what she knew, hoarse. It was as if he was keeping a check on his emotions.
She felt a knot in her stomach. She could not see him this way. Closing her eyes she took in a deep breath. She wanted him back. She wanted her Maan back. She had to cut this invariable silence between them. Making up her mind, she looked up at him again.
“H-H-How are you?” she finally managed to utter.
She saw his eyes freeze on her face, and something pass over his face, but he was quick to make a straight face again, not giving up anything.
“What do you think?” his voice gave away nothing.
“Let me guess” she paused taking a step back, making his hands fall off to his sides. She checked him top to bottom.
“Well, a six pack, few more pounds, a stubble, and lack of hair cut for months.” she said analyzing him “Whoa you look like a Devdas” she added cheekily.
He said nothing and the knot in her stomach tightened with every passing second. She had no idea how long she could put this pretense up, but she crossed her fingers behind her back, as she tried to put up the smile in place.
“And what about me?” she asked, at his lack of reply.
His gaze traveled to her now sticky dress, which stuck to her body like a second skin, her milky white skin glowing with the pearly white rain drops, which stood against the black colored dress.
She looked ethereal in his favorite color, in the rain.
“You look” he paused and she felt her breathe caught up in chest, as she waited for his reply “Different” he completed.
Upon her confused expression, he explained “You never wore Salwar Kameez before”
Her face held a wry smile as she spoke in a calm voice this time “When we are away from something, the craving would be more”
As the meaning of her words dawned upon her, she looked at him in shock, trying to justify herself “I mean I never get to wear traditional clothes when I was in states, so I was just—”
He silenced her abruptly as he pressed a firm finger against her lips.
“You are right” he murmured “When we are away from something the craving would be more”
His finger lingered on her lips for a moment before he moved his hands to caress her cheeks, his free hand, tucking another strand of hair from the other side.
Cupping her face, he murmured “Why did you leave me Geet?”
Her eyes were cast down, and she tried hard to control the tears, that were ready to fall from her eyes anytime soon.
“You know what went through me all these days? Look at me Geet” he said tilting her chin, to face her, and sure enough saw the tears well up in her eyes.
“Why do I not bear your separation for a minute? Why does living without you seem pure torture, why do I wish to lock you in my embrace and never let you go? Why do I fear of losing you? Why do I can’t see you with another male species? Why the idea of you falling in love with someone else would be earth shattering for me? Why do I feel utter rage, when another man touches you? Why does at this moment, I want to kiss your tears away? Why Geet?” he asked gently shaking her.
A muffled sob escaped her lips as she lowered her face, and closed her face with her palms, as the tears finally escaped her eyes.
“You know why I feel so?” he asked her, his voice a mere whisper “You want to know” he shook her gently, wanting her to face him again.
He removed her hands, and with one hand going in her damp tresses, and another caressing her cheek, he whispered “Because I am in love with you” he said.
“Because I bloody am in love with you and was the biggest idiot not to recognize it, until you were gone”
He said as he pulled her face closer to his.
“I had had enough Geet. This one year without you showed me what life is without you. I can’t live this life anymore Geet. I want to live with you, share my every moment of life with you, I want you to smile with me, laugh with me, fight with me. I want to live every damn moment with the girl I love. Tell me Geet, would you endure me for the rest of your life? Will you marry me?” he asked, his eyes showing his sincerity.
If she would have felt the world end, even then she wouldn’t have felt the surprise she felt now. These were the words she dreamed to hear, all her life. But when they were out in the open, it looked far from reality. She feared if she would open her eyes, and this beautiful dream would vanish. Unable to put her words properly, she didn’t utter a word, as the tears never stopped.
Maan waited, but upon seeing nothing but pain in her eyes, he loosened his grip around her, and took a step back. He didn’t want to force her into anything. Though it killed him to let go of her, he did. A thousand thoughts clouded his mind, a million possibilities entered, making him feel dizzy. Her loving someone else was one of them. What if she had someone else in her life? She was away from him for a year. What if she’d found her life partner?
He felt his world crumble down at the mere thought. He could not bear it anymore. He turned his back to her, his fists clenching and unclenching.
The moment he turned his back to her, she realized the mistake she did. He misunderstood her silence to be her rejection. She extended her arm to stop him, but he took two steps forward.
No, she can’t lose him. A year was enough, to learn her mistake. Her impulse decision made her regret every second. Now, when she was just a step away from happiness, she can’t let her actions spoil this. And so, she ran and hugged him from behind, and buried her face in his back.
He stopped dead in his tracks, at her grip. She sobbed into his back and mumbled “I love you Maan. For how long, I have no idea. I can’t bear to be away from you anymore. I’m sorry, sorry for leaving you. I’m sorry for being the stupid fool”
He turned and pressed his finger on her lips “Hush! Don’t say that” he shook his head at her. “I am the jerk here. I am the stupid fool. Not you”
“Oh that you are” she bit out and hit him with her fist on his chest.
He chuckled, pulled her close, and locked her in his tight embrace, as he plastered his forehead to hers. “I am sorry” he mumbled against her lips.
“Will you forgive me?” he asked closing his eyes, content to feel her close.
She nodded her head, still looking down.
“Geet” he whispered, “Look at me”
She shook her head in negative.
He made her face him, by tilting her chin.
“I love you” he said and dropped a kiss at the corner of her lips, before she buried her head in his chest.
His grip around her tightened, and she slowly melted in his embrace, her own hands climbing up to his shoulders, as she closed her eyes and pressed her cheek against his thumping heart. Their anxious hearts relaxed in each other’s embrace, feeling their love close.
The couple stayed there, under the raining heavens, before the roaring sea. Nature seemed to celebrate their union, and showered the couple with the blessed raindrops, while both of them were lost in each other’s arms, never wanting to move out of the hold.
And, it was the beginning of their story. . .
* * *