The Midnight of Love
The Midnight Of Love
I could no longer wait to see him again, but it was as if he knew that and wasn’t appearing before me on purpose. I had already enquired a lot and was beginning to fear that I would never be able to see him. I regretted not telling him all that I had felt since he left.
My eyes always wanted to watch those soft black eyes looking straight into them. I wanted to be around him, for no matter what reason. I couldn’t believe that I might lose him, whom I wanted so badly.
That morning I woke up surrounded by my fears and his aura, that had remained with me since he left. I had not been able to sleep much like many other previous nights and my head whirled badly. I could not get up from my bed that day.
I wanted to go to college. I had the hope of getting to see him again, at the back of my mind. I did not know what else to do at that time. I could not believe I had become such a hopeless case.
When I did not get up even after 9 in the morning, my mother came to see me, worried. I had never stayed in my bed till that much time.
“Are you okay dear?”, she asked me placing her hand on my forehead.
“Yes mom, just don’t want to go to college today. Feeling a little weak.”
“It seems you are not sleeping properly these days. Is there something that’s troubling you?”
The way she looked into my eyes with the care that I really needed, I wanted to say yes, but I ended up saying, “Everything is fine mom. I just need some rest.”
“I hope so. Don’t get stressed for anything dear. Get up now and have breakfast first”, she said getting up, “I hope there is nothing that you haven’t told me”, she said. I nodded in disagreement.
That’s one thing about mothers and daughters that is unexplained. They know everything already, and we still seem to manipulate. I feared, actually I had a strong fear that she knew what was wrong with me. But for that time, she hadn’t asked me, and I felt thankful for that.
I didn’t know why I had decided not to go to college that day. Probably, facing the rejection of wishes is more heartbreaking than ignorance, and that is what I feared. I didn’t want to go back to college before I knew I could face him normally. I wanted to pay the price for the way I had behaved with him last time.
I informed Ratna that I wasn’t coming that day. She did not ask me the reason for that. I continued my day with Timothy and my mother. I knew I wasn’t being normal. I was simply trying to drag the day, and they seemed to notice that, but did not enquire about it.
It was 12 P.M. when I received a call from a local number. It was surprising because I didn’t talk to anybody here except Ratna, and her number was already known. I had a weird thought if it was a call from my college, enquiring about my absence.
It was a call from my college but not from the office, as I got to know.
“Hello, can I speak to Miss Sengupta?”, I knew who it was.
I stood frozen for a second, not knowing what to speak.
“Hello, is this Mishti Sengupta’s number?”, the voice enquired.
I had so much to speak, but the words were lost. I did not know what to speak. I had so much to tell him about how I had been for these days without him. I had a lump in my throat which prevented me to speak. I gathered courage and replied.
“Yes…I am Mishti. Who is that?” I could not stop myself from asking who it was. I feared it would seem very direct if I had shown that I knew it was Aryan.
“Phew…miss Sengupta! You scared me! Where have you been?”
I scared him! I scared him! It was he who had scared me till now. Disappearing for so many days without even caring to inform, without even thinking how scary it would be; and then appearing normally as if from a weekend, asking where I was. It was as if those were my words to be spoken. But I could definitely not say all that to him.
“Oh actually your number was not known to me. I am at home today.”
“Yes, Ratna told me you are not well. What have you done now that you fell ill miss?”
“Nothing, just a little weakness.”
“Hmm, better get well soon. It is required you see”, he laughed.
“Why is it required?”, I asked trying to remain normal.
“Well, the tour I told you about is finally planned and everyone will be informed officially today. Since you were not there, I thought I should ask you as tomorrow would be the last day to get your enrollment confirmed for the same. It is an educational tour and many arrangements have to be made beforehand at the place”, he replied in his usual tone.
I could not understand how he could talk so casually to me after all this time. Probably, nothing had happened for him. It was all very normal. Probably, I was thinking too much and it didn’t matter to him at all. I had to stop thinking all that I had unknowingly started feeling over the past few days.
“Oh actually I am not sure if I will come. You see I am not well”, I replied trying my best to hide my actual tone speaking with difficulty.
“You are not well today. I know you’ll be well by tomorrow”, he laughed.
“No, you don’t know. It is my choice any way”, I replied rudely.
“Oh, we shall talk about it. I hope you are coming to college tomorrow. Take care and get well soon”, he said in a low tone. I know I shouldn’t have spoken that way, but it didn’t matter any way. Nothing mattered to him.
“I might come. Thank you for the concern”, I thought it was okay to say that, before I got disconnected.
I could not understand why he had called me. It wasn’t important for him if I existed or not. I did not know why he wanted me to join him on the tour. I did not know what was so urgent for which he had called me.
That night, when I thought of him as usual, I only knew that it was required that I soon put a check on my feelings. They were not appropriate. They were not mutual. More than that, I had started behaving stupidly. I was never like this.
I felt alright the next day and decided to attend college. Although my fears and anxieties remained, I had made up my mind to remain very casual and I knew I could do it. When I entered the premises, Ratna was the first one I met over there.
“Finally, I got to see you completely fine. So are you coming for the tour?”, she asked me eagerly.
I looked at her, confused.
“Oh I forgot to tell you that I have to collect the names of those interested from our batch and submit it to Aryan sir. He has asked me to do that, and of course I will ask you”, she giggled.
“I am not sure Ratna”, I replied dejectedly.
“Oh you leave that, as far as I know you, I am sure you will come. You have to. How can you miss it when you know it would be helpful for our upcoming case study too!”
“Oh I had forgotten about it”, I replied. I had really forgotten about it. It seemed that I had forgotten about everything else, but him.
“Add my name, if you want. I will think about it till today evening”, I replied, still lost.
“I had already added your name, dear. I was just informing you”, she replied naughtily.
What a friend I had, I wondered with surprise. I couldn’t stop from smiling at the way she was.
I stayed normal for the rest of the day and did not get to see him. I could not understand if it made me happy or it hurt me, but I knew it made me feel somewhat comfortable. It was better that I did not have to face him then.
By the end of the day, I knew that I was going too. As I left from the classroom, Ratna was happy that I had made up my mind. I realized that it wasn’t only me who felt lonely sometimes, when I looked at her.
“I hope you know we have to gather by 11 A.M. in the college campus tomorrow. We will be going by a reserved bus.”
“Okay Ratna”, I replied while looking around.
“He has left earlier today. He had to make some arrangements for tomorrow”, she said with a smile.
“I was not looking for him”, I replied in an irritated tone.
“Chill, I was just pulling your leg dear”, she said looking calm.
“Okay. Sorry. See you tomorrow”, I smiled at her and left.
I did not want to say anything further, because I was trying to calculate everything that was on my mind at that time, and I knew nobody could understand that.
I was wondering if I was doing anything wrong. I was also wondering how to remain out of this and how to forget all that I had started thinking about.
I had made up my mind to proceed with all that I had decided. I was going to remain as normal as I had been earlier, as he remained with me. It was not just a question of my self-respect but also of the persistence of my individuality.
I reached my college around 10 in the morning. Thankfully, I met Ratna again. I did not have to face him because he was too busy and I did not care to go and talk to him. As everybody got ready to leave, I remained with Ratna and occupied a seat beside her.
My mind was occupied by a lot of issues but I had a lot more to concentrate upon; the reason for the tour for instance. I had agreed to it because I knew it would help me to learn a lot. I wanted to explore the possibilities of my subject; and the bigger reason was that it was going to help me work for my dream of writing about it.
I opened the book I had brought with me. I always carried a copy of ‘Gitanjali’ with me. It had so many points that I always thought about. I knew it would help me when I felt lonely on the way.
We left around 11 A.M. and he entered the bus. The soft black eyes looked at me and he smiled. I acknowledged him with a smile too. He occupied a seat in front of mine. I got engrossed in my book and Ratna soon dozed off. She had not talked much since morning because she had been awake the previous night in her excitement of going for the tour.
An hour had passed quietly. I was still busy with my book when he turned back.
“Are you a fan of poetry? I mean very few people read the work of Rabindranath Tagore. It is not so easy to understand I think”, he said to me.
“Well, I find it very simple. It contains aspects which are real in every way. It has been written with that point”, I replied.
“That’s good. Are you a writer too?”, he asked again.
“Not exactly. Actually you can take it as a no”, I laughed.
“So how did you finally agree for this tour? We haven’t talked since 10 days or so. I had just forgotten you were not very eager for it”, he enquired.
Oh, so finally he remembered how long it had been. But I had to seem normal to stay away from this.
“Actually, Ratna insisted a lot. She was alone. And I thought it would help me to learn something”, I replied bluntly.
“You didn’t ask me where I had been for so much time?”, he asked looking at me with an eager expression.
I looked up in those soft black eyes. They did not seem to be fake but I was not sure either. I wondered what to say further. He was asking me just what I had wanted to ask him, but I did not want to admit that to him.
“I forgot”, I said. He looked right into my eyes. I did not know if I seemed to say the truth or not.
“Really?” he asked, continuing to look at me.
“Actually I thought you would be busy in something important, and you were I suppose”, I replied in a tone as normal as I could make it sound, trying not to look at him.
“I didn’t know you were aware of what is important to me. Enjoy reading”, he said and turned away from me.
I was left baffled again. This was something I really didn’t enjoy after talking to him. He seemed to throw puzzles or remarks and then disappear into his world. I cared about what he said and it always left me bewildered. I wanted to know why he never said anything clearly. I wanted to know if I could tell him at least something of what I felt.
If not, then at least I wished to be left alone. He crossed my path always, and though I didn’t accept it, deep inside I knew it hurt me every time. But then, what is desired the most, always hurts, I had heard that and now I was experiencing it.
I tried to concentrate on the book but I couldn’t. I looked outside the window. Sometimes, we get to realize the importance of loneliness and random aspects of life too much. Just because, it takes us away from the pangs of pain we have in our realities, towards the possibilities that might be. Yet, these are just possibilities.
I closed my eyes and felt the breeze dissolving in my breath into my soul. It was soothing, peaceful and I felt lucky to be blessed by it. At least I could be the way I was with it.
It was evening by the time we reached Golconda. It was a quiet place, unlike the noises in Hyderabad. The weather was much the same. However, since it was evening, it didn’t trouble us much.
Though everyone was tired, we all still insisted to visit the place before it was dark. We got divided into groups and were led by our mentor lecturer, Mr. Senthil Rao.
He had been there before and was the perfect guide for us. We visited the famous fort, the locality, got to see a few natives. There is so much that history hides behind itself and we never have enough time to unhide those secrets. I was fascinated by everything I saw, more because I was trying to give it all of my concentration.
I was with Ratna all the time who seemed to get bored because she was already aware of this culture. Aryan accompanied Mr. Rao and some of his batch mates. In between, he looked at me and I couldn’t help myself from wishing for more of it.
At night, we had to participate in campfire after dinner. Since, we had to leave from there the next evening; we had just one night to enjoy the campfire. Everybody proceeded towards the point of gathering. Ratna had been with me all the time out there.
As we reached the place, I saw everybody gathered around Aryan. He had a guitar in his hand. I really didn’t know that he could play a guitar. In fact, I wondered how much I knew him. Yet, it did not prevent me from getting to think more about him.
The crowd soon dispersed and he was cheered up by them. He started playing it. All I could do was listen to it, and get mesmerized in what I heard. The music was not familiar to me. Yet, I felt as if I knew every part of it. The cool atmosphere around us added to the beauty of the moment. And the sight of him playing it, those soft black eyes, lost in something, the genuine smile I had seen for the first time, and his voice; it made me get drowned into the night. The more I tried to wonder about the time that I was into, the more it seemed beautiful to me.
When the music stopped, I opened my eyes, as if waking up from a beautiful dream. Everybody clapped around me, and so did I. He looked at me and smiled. There was something in that look which made me blush from inside, but I did not want to show that. I signaled a thumbs up to him and smiled back. He seemed to smile more at it and I turned back.
I was doing something which I had not thought I would do. There was more of singing and clapping, making it a worthwhile campfire. What I saw was that when in such an atmosphere, we often tend to show our real self. That was what happened around us. I saw many familiar faces laughing and enjoying, which included Ratna too, who had always been silent in classes otherwise.
Around 11 P.M., we all dispersed. It was time for us to sleep, as we had to wake up at 6, the next morning. Ratna went inside the room. I decided to take a walk outside. I never felt too sleepy, plus the atmosphere there tempted me to take in more of it rather than miss the opportunity by sleeping.
It was cool outside with a soft breeze that seemed to revive the soul every time. I did not want to go inside. I remained there with my diary and wrote a few lines, merely to pour out all what I didn’t want to talk to anybody else. I was engrossed into it when I heard his voice behind me.
“Quite a nice place to write something, and a nice time too”, I turned back, quickly closing my diary. I feared if he had read anything from behind. I didn’t know for how long he had been standing there.
“I wasn’t sleepy”, I replied.
“Neither am I”, he said,” “I didn’t know that you were a writer”.
We didn’t speak further. I wanted to kill that silence.
“I didn’t know you play guitar and that you sing too”, I looked at him,” You are a wonderful singer actually”, I said the last few words looking away from him.
“So that balances it. We didn’t know so many things about each other, isn’t it?”, he looked into my eyes.
“Probably”, I replied.
We sat for some more time in that silence, enjoying the breeze. For me, it was more of being by his side, that was taking my breath away.
“So where were you for the last few days?”, I don’t know why I asked him. “You had said I hadn’t asked that, isn’t it?”.
“I am glad you did”, he said, “I had met with an accident, a minor one though. Just after you had left that day after the treat”.
“What?! And you are telling me today? How could you be silent? I didn’t even know that you were not okay” I shouted on him.
“You didn’t ask me, and I didn’t know how to start about it”, he replied calmly.
“And you didn’t even tell anybody! Do you even know how worried I was? And more than that how dejected I felt wondering that you had simply disappeared without even telling me. Do you even care about it?”, I said in a flow, not being able to stop my tears.
“I do”, he took hold of my hand. I felt that warmth running inside me.
“I got to know now that you might have needed me, I mean anybody. All this time when I thought I needed you”, I said looking at him with tears in my eyes.
“I am sorry, and I didn’t need just anybody, but…”.
“Why are you sorry? You know it is me who should be sorry for being this way”, I didn’t stop.
“I said that for you”, he replied.
“You need not worry about it any way”, I took my hand away. He took hold of it before I could take it away.
“But I will. There is a reason and you should know that, Mishti”.
“I do not want to know anything. It doesn’t matter to you after all, Aryan”.
“But it does Mishti, it will…always”, he paused, “I care about you”.
“You need not. Though I am thankful for it, but you need not”, I looked away from him.
“It is not about you, it is about me. I love you”, his hold got tighter on my hand. If I hadn’t been crying, I wouldn’t have believed it was true. I did not know if I could believe his words but those eyes always seemed to say the truth.
I smiled with tears in my eyes and looked at him. I couldn’t really believe that time had stopped over there, but it had. He had said something which I wasn’t sure about, but had been wishing for. He embraced me around his arms and I silently leant on his shoulder.
If it hadn’t been for me back home, I would have wished that the time remained like that. Just me and him, and that night. We didn’t speak anything but we didn’t need words either. We remained there till don’t know when. I hadn’t come to know but hat mesmerizing midnight was the one that enchanted the strings of my heart. At least I thought so. I wished that nothing changed. I wished.