Sunday, October 3, 2010

Some things are just never meant to be

 Note: I haven't written fiction in a while. And I happened to come across this on my old blog. So I'm posting it here! :) Enjoy! And do let me know what you think.

I watched her as the golden light streamed through the only window in her small room through the space between her old, cream colored curtains. The peace on her face as she slept, after the long tiring nights that she spent working, trying to earn a living for herself, was almost touching. Her face was becoming pale (she generally forgot to eat) and the dark circles around her eyes were becoming more prominent with every passing day. She had always been such a delicate darling, given everything that she wanted without even having to ask for it. Yet, she chose to earn the life she wanted and not ask for it. I knew it was hell for her. The short hours of sleep, the small room without an air-conditioner to beat the summer heat, with the tiny fridge beside the bed that had room only for a couple of water bottles, was not something she was used to. But she never complained. To be honest, she never really talked about having to work and study at the same time. Yes, Devika was a college student, majoring in 3 languages-Spanish, Arabic and French. I figured she was learning Chinese too, seeing the cover of the open book that was kept against her chest. I bent down to kiss her cheek, took the book, closed it and kept it on her study table.

My best friend, her room-mate, sighed at me. I looked at her, saw her shaking her head, as if trying not to say something that she told me every single day.

"You still love her don't you? " Aashima asked in a low matter-of-factly manner.

I opened my mouth to say something, my always 'full of thought' mind not telling me what I should.

"It was rhetorical. You don't really have to answer."
Aashima knew. And there was no point in trying to deny it. She was one of the few people who knew me better than I knew myself.

"How does it even matter now. She... isn't mine anymore." There was a hint of nostalgic regret in my voice.

"Can you blame her?" It was the first time in the past year that Aashima looked at me with a disappointed, frustrated expression.

"Was that rhetorical too?"

She didn't answer. She grabbed her book bag and we walked to the canteen, right in the centre of the huge college campus.

"There's nothing I can do about it now. She deserves a lot more, a lot better, someone who appreciates her more than I ever did."

"Right. She deserves someone who doesn't believe in letting go off her like that, someone who is not as oblivious. You're stupid to not have seen it before. Everyone could. She... LOVED you. "

"Its funny how you have to use the past tense for that word now."

"Yeah especially because its her last month in college."

"What do you mean?"

"Didn't you know? After the college exams next month she's going to Turkey to work for some company as a translator. The pay isn't bad. Plus, the only thing she's looking for right now is the work experience."

That was the end of our discussion. From my side atleast.

***************

Everything after that day had been a blur. I don't know why but I went to see Aashima earlier every morning, just to be able too see Devika sleeping. Everyday that I did, I could feel dread making its way through my heart and mind, as I tried to prevent the hatred I felt towards myself, from turning into rage so emotionally conquering that I would have to punch a wall more than once till my knuckles hurt to calm down again. The only thing that ever stopped me was the tranquility on her face and the love that I still felt for her, probably stronger than I had felt when she was actually with me. Its funny how I felt closer, more attached to her now, how much more of a difference she made. I wanted her to be able to read my mind and hear the things that it was screaming out to me. Was it too late? I would never know. I would never try to find out. And for once I knew something for sure.

Devika's last day in college wasn't a quiet event. The social person that she was, she had many friends who all made promises to keep in touch with her. She took a few very close friends out for dinner, including Aashima. While all our common friends were out celebrating the start of a new journey for her, I was sitting in my room with a bottle of vodka and a packet of cigarettes, celebrating the end of a journey I wouldn't have wanted to end in the first place,trying to kill the memories that once made me smile. My mind was heavy with the weight of a million thoughts that I wish I could burn, for I always knew that it was because of these thoughts, crammed into my head, that I was usually oblivious to my own emotions, let alone others. iTsearched for reasons and answers to questions I myself was unaware of. No matter how hard I tried I could never figure out things for myself too soon. I could find solutions but I never knew the problems. These were some of Devika's last words to me. We had never exchanged as much as a "hello" after that.

The next morning, while I watched Devika sleeping, I could feel a sense of loss seeping in. I could tell that this was the last time I would be seeing her for a very long time if not forever. I made a silent promise to myself to see her, make a genuine effort to find her wherever she would be when I decided to see her again. It wouldn't be for a very long time but that day would definitely come. I was sure. Devika stirred in her sleep as her alarm clock went off. She opened her eyes, shocked to see me standing right beside her bed. She got up in a hurry and leaned against the back of her bed.

"Aashima must be taking a bath." Her voice was uneven.

"I know." I was probably making her uneasy with the way I was looking at her. "I wasn't here to see her anyway. Not today atleast."

She looked at me, blankly.

" I just wanted to say good-bye... and wish you all the very best. I really do hope you get what you set out to achieve. That makes atleast one of us who's worthy of what they've asked for.. or in your case, worked for."

"Thank You." She took a couple of seconds to smile, but she did.

"Well, I'll be going then. Tell Aashima that I'm taking the day off. I'll see her in the evening." I looked at her, hoping she would have something to say. She just nodded.

I knew it was my fault. Day in and day out, I hoped that one day she would forgive me, just like I'd asked her too. Was it fair on my part to even ask for forgiveness.. for that matter expect it too? I didn't know. But was I forgiven?

*****************
I spent the day all alone in my room. AGAIN. It was that one place I spent most of bad days. Or the worst of the lot, I would say. I didn't know what it was, but I could never be truly happy for too long. Some kind of negativity always lurked in the corners of my mind. Why could I see black in the deep blue of the sky? Why could I see a storm on a quiet, pleasant day? Why could I sense selfish reasons in selfless actions? Why did I doubt emotions? Why didn't I believe in letting anyone in, letting anyone know the depths of the person I didn't know I was? I was beginning to hate my mind more every single day, to the limits I didn't think were possible. Sometimes I wished I could drill a hole into it, drain my mind of its thoughts and feel the ecstasy of a normal mind that could emote what it felt, what it thought, what it was afraid of thinking about.
But there was something even this invisible, heavy weight of brimming thoughts of meaningfully meaningless things knew in its obliviousness. Devika had loved me. She, out of everyone that I had kept on the other side of the wall I had unintentionally built around myself, made her way through it. She could see me and I felt it every time she looked at me. I didn't think I would ever forget her. I didn't want to.

*****************

(Seven Years Later)

"Amishka and Aakash, you guys are going to cover Turkey this month. Beautiful place, beautiful people. Tickets are for the 11th. See me in my cabin in 10." My boss' deep, chirpy voice boomed from the phone's speaker, and before either of us responded Chetan cut the line.

"That was quick." Amishka giggled. "How can anyone call my job 'work' ? Traveling, seeing new places every month and writing about the food, the history, architecture, the best hotels.. nada nada nada. This is the LIFE."

I had to agree. Travel journalism was probably one of the best things that had happened to me. It was completely my thing. Seeing new places and writing about what I saw in them. Of course I had to keep some of my opinions to myself. People weren't really interested in knowing how the silence in the thick grasslands of Mfuwe, getting in touch with forces of nature and its beauty helped me find a better person within me, or how getting away from life in the city helped me throw open the doors of my mind. Understanding and respecting someone's history, their culture and beliefs was an important part of my job and it was what I loved about it the most and hence I stuck to that when I wrote about my experiences. And not to mention, we had out own popular TV show and the pay package was great. All in all, I had the perfect job.

"I hate to burst your bubble but that's not what you say when you have to give in the article. You're such an annoying pussy when you start complaining about "work", as you put it. " I laughed remembering her frowns and scrunched face when she would have to work late, imitating them as she looked at me with an expression that threatened me to shut up. 

"Uhh.. Boss' cabin. See you in 5." Something told me dinner was on me tonight.

I had been working with Discovery for over two years now and it was back then, that I had met Amishka. Her stunning beauty was inviting- The perfectly sized curves of her body, that complimented her long legs with muscular caffs that she carried on high heeled shoes, that weren't really necessary considering how all eyes followed her as she towered over the many handsome men she had to look down to talk to. There was a sex appeal about her that didn't go unnoticed. Her long hair, curled their way down to her waist and she usually kept them open, and they bounced with the slightest movement of her head. Her sharp features never failed to notice the smallest of things. Her voice depicted intellect. It usually intimidated many as she was a woman of her OWN point of view, which was difficult to change. She was self aware, maybe arrogant of her beauty, that she knew was the centre of attention wherever she went. I could see it in the confidence of her stance and her walk. Whatever it was, she was definitely one the most attractive women I had ever come across and I was one lucky dog to have been able to experience the sensuality of her beauty.

I pushed open the door to my boss' cabin.

"Great. You're here. Where's Amishka? Never mind actually. The tickets. The itinerary. You're stay is for 5 days exactly. You're at the Radisson Blu Bosphorus. Don't forget you have to give the hotel atleast a fifteen minute cover on the show. You know what to do."

"No worries, Mr. Chetan." I backed out of the door, my eyes studying the tickets.

It was then that it hit me- The sudden wave of a familiar past, that for a minute washed my mind off the present. I didn't know whether SHE was still there-probably not- but I was nervously excited. It had been years. I remembered the last time I saw her like it were yesterday. For some reason, it felt like it was destiny's silent promise to mine, that she was there to help me find my past in the future. I felt guilty about wanting to see Devika again. I didn't know why. But I just did. I just wanted to share one drink with her and just know that she was where she had always wanted to be. She was probably much ahead of that. But I needed to know anyway.

"You know, you can imitate me well." Amishka laughed. "I hate to admit it, but as soon as you left, I went hysterical laughing."

"Since when do you have a good sense of humor?" I teased.

"Oh please! You reckon, you need to come up with better jokes?" She teased back, imitating a Kenyan accent.

I chuckled. "Well, looks like you're used to my bad ones anyway."

"Yeah, I guess you could say that. Anyway I have to run. I'll see tomorrow. I have to meet up with the girls today." She pecked me on my lips and walked out of the cabin.

I sat at my desk. For a while all I thought about was Devika's last day in college, how she had changed my life and why I had never let her know how grateful I was for that. Today, if I were in a good relationship with a girl who knew how much she mattered to me, was because Devika had made me realize how wrong and oblivious I was to emotions and gestures that mattered so much, but the same ones I failed to appreciate.
I couldn't think of any way to contact her. No numbers, no addresses.. NOTHING. The only person I knew who could possibly be in touch with her was Aashima. 

But Aashima had stopped talking about Devika a very long time ago. I guess she realized it was for the best. I stopped asking after a while.

*To be Continued...

4 comments:

Rish Jain said...

Emm, good how you intact most of the facts with a string of personification(if the story is not real).. but, you are too focused on the common gender, you should play other end, like mold a male character, that ll bring bling in your post and quarter raise of interest on ur reader's mind..
(well thats just my perception, do tell me if i m wrong or not, i want to polish my writing skills)

Splatters Of Ink said...

^Thanks. Will work on that. :)
Like I always say, you're entitled to your opinion. And I respect that. Thank You! :)

Jeweliot said...

nice nice, i liked it a lot! the kind of stories i like to read. 'to be continued...' kab!!!

waiting :)

Rish Jain said...

well, i havent heard saying u a lot, so waiting for time to come ;)