After Mukul left, the room was painfully silent except for the sound of my beating heart. He left me with words that kept wandering in my head. In the weekend, with not much to do at home, I kept thinking about the last few weeks of knowing him, spending time with him and figuring out this guy, who was so adamant to reboot my heart. We never spent any time alone. Every evening our little gang would go to the park and sit on the those wet muddy benches and just talk. Looking at the bamboo trees shining in the evening glow, we all had chai, served by a withered and ragged woman, in her rusty kettle with a half broken spout. She could scare all the notorious children in the park. Those little spaces in time created by teatime rituals were filled with conversation about our lives, dreams and ambitions.
Anger is the mother of all sins. It not only eats away the real you, but effects the people around us too. I was angry. I was angry all the time. I was angry at God, angry at him for breaking my heart and most of all, I was angry at myself. Now, I was not a “typical girl” if there even is such a thing. I loved myself. Sure, there were things I wanted to improve, but I didn’t have a problem with what my body looked like or my personality. I was focused. But then I found myself lost in a long trench. I would ask myself, “For a guy?”. It did take time, but then I was prepared to cautiously pull myself up.
Sunday afternoon, I had a very good time with my family. I kept playing scenes in my head about the next day. I envisioned myself making an impassioned speech to Mukul about how my emotions were messy and I had tucked it in the bottom like my least favourite shirt. I had no idea, the rack, was soon going to stumble. I also thought of the speech I would give Varun when I see him in Pune. I wanted to tell him, that he was not going to get away with stumbling over my pride and crushing my spirits. For a long time, after the fight, he asked for my forgiveness.
There is no calendar to define an old end or to mark a new beginning. There are big or small events that give us hope. What’s more important is that, we should stop looking for our beginnings and happy endings. We usually let go. But amid all the crap, there are certain things that are worth holding on to. I remembered one beautiful evening, as we walked through the park with our Chai, a light drizzle began to fall. I pulled out an umbrella from my bag and Mukul pulled up his hood and hunched his shoulders. The cream coloured hood was stained with Chai and his brylcreemed hair was a mess. But he still looked flawless with all the gentleness in his eyes. We all walked to kaku’s cafe to finish our daily dose of chit chats. “ Do you ever wonder why things have to turn out the way they do?” He suddenly asked gave a big smile and answered his own question before I could say anything. “Because its all destined. It was destiny, that I found you.” Was I so naive to understand his feelings that day !! I cannot adequately describe the intensity of what I was feeling at that moment.
Next morning, I was all prepared to talk to him. I needed a reason. I needed a sign that things will be okay! I just needed something to happen. As I reached work, it was all a big mess. There was no time to sit and talk. The event was in 15 days and everyone were working day and night. So was Mukul. I saw the excitement in his face. This project could make or break his career. I only had 8 more days to get all my work done before leaving for Pune. Mukul was mostly out meeting the sponsors and I was stuck at my desk, busy writing speeches for everyone. But a few times we crossed path and when he saw me, I blushed like an idiot. I don’t know if actually things were this crazy, or I just made it to seem that way. I was scared. May be this was the sign. Two days left for me to go to Mumbai and Pune, and yet there was no talk. After careful consideration and many sleepless nights, here’s what I decided to do.., I called Varun. He picked up the call and said “Hi”, with a dandy voice. Few months back, all my calls went unanswered because apparently he was always in the library.
I said, very firmly, “I am coming to Mumbai in three days for a meeting”. There was a complete silence for a while. “Can we meet?” , I could sense an inquisitiveness in his voice. “Sure” I said. “I have to leave for Pune, as soon as I land in Mumbai. The first meeting is scheduled in Pune.” I informed him my plans and I made sure he knew, there was not much time in my hand. He interrupted me saying, “I will be there in the Mumbai airport. We can travel to Pune together. We can talk in the bus. I can get all the college forms you wanted.” I agreed to the plan and I kept the phone down.
The last morning before leaving, I saw Mukul through the glass door of the conference room. He looked better than I remembered and I remembered him a lot in the last few days. He was sitting alone so I went in. I gathered all the courage my heart could possibly hold and said, “I am leaving tomorrow evening”. He looked up straight into my eyes and there was no talking. He got up and walked towards me. I wanted to tell him my thoughts, but the sound of his voice suddenly silenced the emotions inside me. “You are not going anywhere. This is where you belong..!.” He held my hands close to his chest. “I know you are scared. Listen to your heart. This is a small battle, before you go in, better decide how much you’re willing to lose. Go there, take your time and I promise you will always find me next to you.” Well, he lied.. Eventually, he did leave me alone, even after I won the battle. I lost him to an illness and the void still exists.
PART 4… Coming On August 20. Stay tuned!!