Just Another Love Story

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Unfinished business

22th Oct 2014, Diwali….

First festival together….

Importance of the whole festival is just adorable; it is worth waiting a whole year for such a festive ambience; in complete contrast with the environment at my house.

Sure, like every other household we would put up smiling face, do some lighting, prepare sweets, dress up in our best attire ( I guess pretending to be happy in front of neighbors will supersede being actually happy in every era). But inside the closed doors, it resembled cold war. Papa would get few days off from work and had to suffer being around. Times like that would be poignant, grasping my thoughts with ambiguous question, were they better together or being alone?

They genuinely cared for each other, but anger; one of the seven deadliest sins overrides even the most healing emotion-love. Harsh, but true.

I felt trapped in those days, feeling caged in my own house. We had to be extra cautious, to ensure we don’t end up doing something that might snap him. Ironically, with all the fireworks and burning crackers outside, silence prevailed in our house. Even that special day was going just the same, I was getting increasingly frustrated, not finding anything remotely interesting, hopping from bed to couch, eagerly waiting to get over with the day, just then I received a life-saving call. Muskan expressed her willingness to meet me, infact she commanded me to be there at any cost. She literally was my breath of fresh air.

I left for her house as soon as the puja got over, surprisingly with a smiling face. I watched them together worshipping the goddess, chanting prayers. Being a complete atheist I maintained few feet distance from the temple space. Maybe it was the sheer grandness, aura of the occasion or really some bliss of supernatural power, but for the first time in months I saw them happy with each other.

Maybe all that’s required for getting over remorse situations, is just a silly excuse to be happy, even if artificial at beginning, it ensures inner peace as the happy emotions seep in. I wished I could savor the rare moment more, but I had my own blessing desperately waiting for my arrival.

Happy Diwali” I wished her.

“Same to you” she smiled.

“Where is she?” I asked Ayesha not being able to find her sister. It was the first time I was meeting her - her sister’s new boyfriend. I was aware of the close bond they both shared, though not particularly into discussing boys, and being immersed in their own crazy fun talks, she actually termed me as the ‘safe’ guy when Muskan informed her about me. Safe! Really…is that even a compliment? I started mildly hating her since.

“She was just here, Uhmm…there she is” she pointed to a house, in the neighborhood. Her voice was oozing the same sweetness, sharing similar trait with her sister. Just a year younger than Muskan, she even surpassed her when it came to looks, with her dark big round eyes, velvety fair skin, beautifully sculpted face. She looked astonishing in her navel length orange silk Lehenga with choli embellished with dangling mirror work, which made noise every time she moved; along with dupatta falling on her left arm.

She looked elegant and dressed up for the occasion in her curled bun haircut, depicting an immaculate taste in fashion sense. I found myself in dilemma, as the single still breathing inside me yearned to admire her some more, ofcourse I was committed, but I was still a boy. I couldn’t have changed my hormones. Somehow I dragged myself towards Muskan. She was busy throwing half lit crackers at a small kid.

“OH!! You came” she smiled. Nope, nothing, no matter how many pretty faces I come across, nothing could even remotely compare to the treat to the eyes, her smile was. She appeared mesmerizing in her deep sky blue net churidar suit, kameez being enhanced by extra patch work, along with dupatta tied around her waist, keeping herself comfortable in long braid.

“Why are you troubling him?”

“He is THE kid”

“ The one with the teasing?” she had informed me, that a kid in her neighborhood was teasing and blackmailing her ever since he caught us together few blocks away from her house.

“Yup, he is the evil brat”

“Then he deserves to be taught a lesson” I grabbed him tight, “It’s time for revenge” I whispered in his ears, scaring him even more as she lit a cracker barely inches away from his feet. But we had to let go, as his loud wailing sound attracted a lot of attention. We made our way back to her home.

“Beta, you too” Muskan’s mother turned towards me, after gently slapping her.

“Sorry, aunty”

“It’s ok, beta! She talks about you. You two are very alike. Just like brother and sister!” I couldn’t hide my amusement even in that extremely awkward embarrassing moment. We stole our shy glances while Ayesha could barely suppress her laugh. She invited me inside and stuffed me with sweets and namkeen. It was by far the best ‘chakli’ I have ever eaten. We went outside again to enjoy some more, and suddenly she secretly clutched my hand, her eye motion indicating to sneak out on the terrace.

“Come, I have something. A gift for you”

“What for?”

“A bhai-duj gift” Ayesha laughed at her own joke.

“No, because it’s our first festival together” she punched her shoulders as we sneak our way to the top. I looked from Muskan to her, in anticipation to meet her eyes just to give her an “I-have-your-sister” triumphant smirk. She didn’t gaze at us but it gave me an opportunity to observe her once more.

“I think I got the wrong sister” I grinned, tongue-in-cheek as she caught me continuously staring even while walking up the stairs.

“Feel lucky, you even have someone” she smirked. We chuckled.

On the terrace we stood, her face glowed;

From the light, as fireworks explode…

I studied her face; calm yet profound,

As we kept silent amidst cracking sound

Grinning sheepishly, she looked happily amuse,

Clutched my hand, as colors sparkled in hues

She appeared euphoric, I just couldn’t fathom why?

To decipher, I glared deep in her eye...

The temptation heated, our hearts melt,

As I saw reflection of the way my heart felt;

For her. Our soul being brushed by cold breeze,

And like every other time, the ‘moment’ ceased.

She blushed, cupping herself, hiding her face behind

‘What are you thinking?’ I asked, her face shined

’These special occasions, just picturing our fate,

Someday, together; just us, we will celebrate’

I smiled at the thought of our future being seen

Falling in love all over again, at her childish grin

Getting hold of my nerves, I let my eyes drift

‘Wait, here’s something.’ I got presented with gift

I opened it up, my eyes never letting go her sight

‘Just something to always remember this night’

’What’s so special? I couldn’t help but be naïve

‘Just the first special event of many more to arrive’

We jerked off from our hug at the sound of rushing footsteps.

“Aww! Sibling-love” Ayesha chuckled, “hurry idiot, maa is looking for you”…..

27th Oct 2014

“Want to go shopping?” I asked.

“What? Seriously?” she was baffled.

“Yes, I am serious”

“But why?”

“I have to purchase something” I was vague.

“What is it? Tell me, and only then I will come” she chided.

“I will tell you on the way, and we will grab something to eat afterwards, my treat.” It was getting hard to cajole her.

“Are you asking me out on a date?” she chuckled.

“Shut up!! So Saturday evening, done?”

“Okay, fine”

“And don’t tell Muskan, it’s a surprise for her”

“Ohoo! This just keeps getting interesting” Avni laughed.

“Whatever, so I will pick you up at 6, okay?”

“Okay, bye” she hung up the call.

Yup! With Muskan being my girlfriend, I automatically got introduced to Avni. Our chats started when I asked her to pitch in some ideas about places where Muskan would like to go to date. Soon our friendship developed as formal talks got transformed into uncanny humiliations. We weren’t sharing secrets or exchanging days’ event or anything but we were certainly close enough to ask about each other’s well being every few days. Soon we exchanged numbers and she officially became my critic and my mentor for relationship. Though Muskan got skeptical and warned me of a ‘mini-crush’ she was having on me, I guess she was just jealous with having her two best friends getting along so well. She was filling in her shoes, the way we were before relationship.

She became my confidant to occasionally vent out all the troubles I was facing as an amateur in relationship. I was blessed that Muskan couldn’t find my replacement. Being a boyfriend and a best friend is the best feeling ever!

Ever since the Diwali, I realized how much less efforts I was putting in the relation when it meant something that special to her. She was gifting me presents, picturing our future, so drowned in our relation and there I was who still hadn’t told her about true feelings, I mean in actual words “I love you”.

Actually I never got the chance, I never had to put up the courage to blurt out those exact words, she always knew of my love for her. And I never had to propose, I got her the easy way. I never had to suffer the pain of doing something romantic and feel the anxiety and nervousness while proposing her.

Just a few scars on the hand, a whole month of utter depression, a couple of punches, and a scab on nose are all it took for me to make her mine. And believe me; I would have still preferred it that way.

But it was time, to express through words and by action that how much she meant to me, so for the weekend I had something romantic planned.

Shopping with a girl, and that too with someone having as meticulous taste as Avni, is a real pain. Ever since Tushar gifted her that pink frock, I had this idea of gifting her something similar, just more attractive and sexy. I told Avni the specifications I wanted and she furiously began searching for it, but no matter how great the design or dress material was, nothing amazed her. She had vibrant taste in fashion, and she herself looked stunning in her black-grey frilled frock along with the stylish red side bag. Thank god! She applied less makeup (atleast less than usual) else I would have resembled a driver walking besides a gorgeous celebrity.

But I guess in the enjoyment and the contentment she was deriving from her most favourite job, she forgot we were purchasing it for Muskan. She was picking and trying everything she liked as if it was for her own, I feared that she might pick the wrong size. She was inches taller than Muskan, with slim long legs; the most striking feature about her. After two long extremely irritating hours of dress surfing, and our visit to almost every shop in two malls, we finally found a decent one at ’One Centre’. Luckily! She too was exhausted (and yet still enthusiastic) and we were at ’Chappan´ so I was saved from the efforts and money of taking her to some fancy restaurant. Reluctantly, she had to settle for momos.

“So, you told me you have a surprise plan, what is it?” she asked.

“I am taking her out on a date tomorrow”

“That’s your surprise!” she grimaced, “where?”

“Uhmm, to the garden nearby her house, actually that’s the place where we first officially met, the place holds too many memories and is special for both of us, so I am planning a customized date, sort of candle light dinner in the moonlight, just us- with the garden decorated, sort of a personal touch.” I told her, as I mentally pictured the whole scene.

“Wow, that’s…amazing, so romantic” she was jaw struck. It felt nice to see her so amused, I can almost imagine the happiness it would bring to Muskan, and just the thought of her blushing face made me smile.

“Yes, but you have to help me, I can’t make all the arrangements on my own, my friends are helping too”

“Ofcourse I will, so what is it that I have to do?” she questioned. I explained to her, the ‘most important’ part she had to play in making the whole surprise a success, it’s always better to give someone a task making them feel responsible and challenged, it always brings out the best efforts.

“That’s fantastic” she hyperventilated, and I could almost see my plan working.

“Thanks” my voice reflecting the vanity.

“When did you get so…caring?” everytime someone would ask me such questions, I would be like ’I am ugly, I have no other choice’

“Just for her, to thank her for being in my life and making it so beautiful”

“That’s so sweet” she blushed a bit and placed her hand on mine, I slide it backward reflexively. Ever since Muskan planted the seed of her having a crush on me, I maintained certain cautiousness around her, even when I was highly doubtful of such a ‘miracle’. But there was certain warmth between us; we never hesitated telling each other even the weirdest of stuff, almost the same chemistry I shared with Muskan. Who knew she might have developed some feelings for me?

“I hope someday I get a boyfriend who will do the same” it was surprising that she was still single despite her looks; I guess she had a classy choice for boyfriends too resulting in long list of rejections.

“You will, I hope she likes the dress” I changed the topic.

“She will; it’s of my choice” she laughed.

“Yes, your choice is remarkable” my words, genuinely appraising.

“But that sort of dress…make sure she wears it only in parties, you know she doesn’t think much before dressing, but don’t let her make it a casual wear, otherwise people stare” she said. She was telling me, ME!! I was the ‘people’

“It’s okay; I don’t mind much or interfere in her dressing. Anyway, I can handle if it ever gets out of line”

“Yeah, we saw that at Choral” she smirked.

“Oyye, that’s so rude and unfair. I wasn’t prepared” I explained, hurt by her comment. Obviously aware that I couldn’t have fought Tushar even with his hands and legs tied around a pole.

“Dude, seriously! You were literally knocked out in a single punch”

“But I wasn’t ready, and he hit me on the nose, it hurts there the most” I almost cried like a baby.

“The most? Seriously? I heard it hurts somewhere else even more” she giggled.

“Ohh yeah, that’s true” I joined in the humor. “A kick there, and the pain is unbearable”

“Should we try?” we both laughed, but I feared her intentions so I shifted a bit, and joined my legs. It was better than taking a chance.

“And I don’t understand why do you boys get so touchy when it comes to physical domination?”

“Male ego perhaps but isn’t it something you girls like too?”

“Nah! Okay, maybe we do have affinity for muscles but it isn’t like that’s our final deciding point. It’s not something we decide upon, idiot”

“Girls like Muskan, for sure don’t but what about girls like you?” The joke came out wrong.

“What the hell do you mean by girls like me?” her face sad.

“Aree, I was kidding; sorry” I apologized.

“You better be, after all I was the one who got you approved”

“Approved?” I asked, confused.

“Chuck it, that’s a girl thing” she proudly announced.

“So what is it that got me approved?” I asked, curious.

“Well you’re caring and understanding, and have a good heart, mostly that’s all it takes” damn, not a single mention of ‘looks’ in the entire sentence, disappointing.

“Seriously, that’s all it takes?” I pretended to be confused.

“Yeah, so? What do you boys look for?”

“Looks obviously and if not that, we settle for money” I tittered. She laughed too. Luckily, that time she took the joke in the right sense. It’s so hard learning about girls; there is no universal cause and effect relation. They find the same thing- romantic or too cheesy as per their mood. I left the hope of understanding women completely, ever. Soon we finished our snacks and I dropped her off at her home.

“Well, where did you get the idea of such stuff?” she asked, walking backwards toward the gate.

“I watch movies a lot, so I stole it from them” I chuckled.

“Well, these things happen only in movies for a reason” she said, as she entered the hall, and waved before closing the gate. I couldn’t fathom what she meant at that time, but discovered it later, the next evening.

I looked around, the image in front of my eyes was decent, doable, and certainly romantic but not even remotely close to what I had pictured. I felt low, not being able to make it as special as I thought I could, but I guess I was being a bit stupid. It wasn’t a movie set; it was a real life scene. If you also painted a mental picture, of us sitting around a round table, having dinner in the candle light, sitting inside an open wooden hut with the drapes flowing from the roof covered with flowers, the trees all around decorated with lighting and the soft cling of two glasses filled with champagne, it was nothing like that.

We couldn’t decorate the garden with lights because firstly there was no electric connection nearby where we could plug in and secondly we didn’t have the ‘series’. The centre wooden round table was substituted with Prateek’s plastic foldable study table, being his table it was only just that we take plastic chairs from his house only. Luckily, he had working parents and we could assume that they were not going to unexpectedly inspect his room. We covered the meadow with heart shaped balloons to compensate the lighting lacuna. We covered the table with white sheet (which I bought from my home) and spilled some rose petals on it, then carefully placed candles at the middle. It looked pretty cool until the wax started falling, smearing the sheet. I couldn’t afford the champagne, so I bought cold-drinks, a chocolate cake, and ordered three large pizzas.

Around 07:30 p.m. the stage was set, and Prateek and Sahaj took leave with a pizza as a reward of their hard work. I was surprised that they even agreed to help in the first place, maybe they too wanted it to make it special for me, or maybe they were just too cheap to be sold at the price of a single pizza. They pleaded to stay, wishing to witness something like that in real life for once, but eventually I made them understood how it would be an immoral intrusion in a couple’s privacy.

I called up Avni again, and she assured me (read- irritatingly shouted) that Muskan had reached home half an hour ago, and would be getting dressed and that she has placed all the riddles in the place. Yes! I prepared some riddles just to give it a sort of ‘treasure hunt game’ feel. Avni included Ayesha in the plan, who took Muskan out in the evening in the pretence of sharing some sibling time together, while Avni hopefully meticulously placed all the riddles in place. They weren’t tough, each one indicating to the next clue, just taking her on the tour of our happy special memories.

I paced around the garden just imagining the whole scenario.

…….

She would have reached her home, already excited as Ayesha would have intentionally slipped out the secret surprise party plan. As soon as reaching there, she would have found a note sticking to her closed door which read;

All your secrets; safe I keep

Seen all your smiles, heard you weep.

I wake up with you, besides me you rest

I am the one kept closest to your chest

It was fairly easy, indicating towards the teddy I gifted her on her birthday. She had told me once, that it was ‘the most’ special gift for her, and had this peculiar habit of sharing her thoughts, secrets with it and would always sleep tugging it. She always had affinity for soft toys, but being it mine, it earned special care.

On the lap of the teddy, she would have found yet another note…

Walk your feet, out to this place,

Where I saw your shining face…

Standing there, you have dreamt a lot,

And by your glaring eyes, I have been happily caught

Reading it, she would have rushed out to balcony and hopefully looked up in the sky remembering the day she caught me leering. I smiled over the days where stealing even a glimpse of her would make my day and I could almost paint her smiling face too. At her feet, she would have found yet another clue…

Walk back to your treasure

There is addition of a gem, nothing fancy as such.

I hope you won’t mind the color,

Grace it with your heavenly touch

From there, she would have rushed back into her room, opened her wardrobe and found the dress carefully hanging there. I was trying not to imagine her in the dress, saving my eyes a special treat. Beneath the dress, was placed the last note giving further details…

Meet me; undoubtedly ‘our’ favorite spot,

Witnessed; the smile shared, the tears fought

Drenched, you were in my arms, for first time

And my heart knew that you’ll be mine

P.S. - something was left unfinished, let’s make the night count:-*”

I kept on whirling in anxiousness, the questions flooding my mind. Is it going as per planned? Has Avni put all the notes in proper place and not mixed them up? Has Muskan deciphered the clues? Is the garden looking beautiful? What if she doesn’t get the permission to go out of home? I felt nauseated with all the negative thoughts playing inside my head. I got suffocated, fearing that all the efforts put by me would be in vain but finally breathed at her gaze, as she caught me fluttering around.

She looked absolutely stunning as she walked towards the table, her mouth agape, as her shocked eyes glanced around. In that black sleeveless silky one piece, barely reaching her thighs, with open hair, paired up with black high heels; she appeared smoldering hot. It was maybe the first time ever, I saw her wearing heavy lipstick. Usually not a fan of makeup, she applied foundation too, and a hint of bronzer on the cheeks giving her a sun-kissed look. Even a touch of kajal around her eyes was visible too.

Oh yes! She was aptly dressed for the special night. She kept looking down, slightly shy by me appraising yet penetrating gaze. I came close, lifted her chin with my index finger, rising her eyes upto my level, brushing her face with my palm, studying her pretty face, my eyes checking her out in that adorable outfit. My eyes hypnotized by her mesmerizing beauty, momentarily paralyzed by her look. I used my knuckles gently to wipe some hair off her face, and tuck it behind her ear. She flushed, her cheeks heating up. My hands sliding down further, playing with the strands, gracing her neck, moving it around her shoulders and then rolling down her bare arm painfully slow.

She sniffed heavily, as I kissed the back of her hand. I could smell the fresh nail paint, her fingers looked extra long and bit shiny too.

We hugged, and she puffed as I moved my fingers softly around her naked back, YES! The backless was my idea. I completely forgot about the date, it was getting hard keeping my hands off her.

Somehow she gathered the strength to pull away, and took few seconds to look around the garden, it gave me much necessary break to recollect my thoughts, and finally inhale the excitement... Her appraising startled eyes giving relaxation to my heart. The efforts were paying off; I had made the night special for her. She blushed and shyly looked downwards as I kept staring at her, unable to tear my gaze off her. We spoke nothing, just kept staring, smiling stupidly at each other.

Finally she gathered the courage to start the conversation…

“It’s amazing”. Uhh! Even her voice sounded extra melodious that night.

Thanks, do you like it?” I asked, in full anticipation of further praise, she didn’t disappoint me either.

“Ohh, It’s beautiful; believe me it’s like a dream come true moment for a girl” she sounded really pleased. Even though slightly exaggerated, she knew how to make me happy.

Spellbound by her beauty, I kept admiring her, my gaze transfixed on elegance. Those bare long legs, that curvy figure adorned perfectly by that exquisite dress, her sparkling face and those lips, those glossy red lips; just inches away, my desire to kiss her kept getting intensified. It was getting hard to hold onto anticipation, to wait till evening gets over so that I could make my move, but I feared the ripples in my heart would cross certain lines, so I shuddered and put a halt on all my thoughts, and the night finally began.

I pulled her chair, and sat opposite, pouring some cold-drink in the glass.

“So” I heaved, “How’s it?”

“It’s awesome, truly out of world, I never thought you can do something like this” she blushed scarlet.

“Well, I tend to surprise people” I winked, truly ecstatic, on cloud nine.

“Hmm, the effort is commendable, but a little frugal here, don’t you think?” she chuckled, sipping her drink. The girl also knew how to bring me down, back to earth.

“Well, my pocket took a big hit, for someone’s dress” I smirked.

“And how does that dress on someone look tonight?” she asked, as she shifted ahead, resting her face on the elbow, bending in front, looking directly in my eye. She was close, way too close. ‘Do not stare down her cleavage’- I mentally instructed myself.

“I don’t know I haven’t been able to get my eyes off her pretty face” I said. And those lips, It felt good inside, finally learning how to flirt.

Ohh, then it’s a shame putting it on her, not worth it, right?” her voice mischievous, still staring right back, not backing away.

I sighed, animatedly. “It’s ok, it will be worth getting her out of it” I spoke, surprised by my own boldness. Her eyes finally gave away with shy smile.

She kept silent, so I opened up the pizza box, and tore slices.

I put on some soft music, and it started playing ’I won’t give up’ by Jason Marz. The soft light romantic music filled the air with love, adding onto the lovesick ambience.

“No rap songs tonight’ she thrust her lower lip out, “I kind of liked them” she laughed.

“Seriously? I find them extremely gross” I pinched her nose. We both got bored after a slice each, and put the pizza boxes aside. We weren’t hungry anyways. We were just too into the moment.

“So candle light dinner, heart shaped balloons, romantic date, a girl in such hot ’revealing’ dress…”

“Uhh” I interrupted in between, “A hot girl in a decent dress” I did not want to come off as someone who intentionally gifts ‘revealing’ dress (even though that was the plan!)

“Okay, thanks” she continued, “but anyway what’s you plan?” she spoke, her voice soft.

“I better should not reveal just yet” I told her, mischievously.

“Ahann! Well if I correctly remember there was mention of some ‘unfinished business’, what is it mister?” her pitch loud, reflecting all the excitement bound.

“Well, you will know, it will be surely finished later tonight” I winked.

“But why not right now?” she said, and I immediately felt a touch on my feet. I looked down, pulling up the sheet for it to be visible. Oh my! She was playing the orthodox footsie; old yet extremely effective. I breathed heavily, as her toes strolled upwards towards knees, her right feet gently brushing up against my legs. Startled, my feet shivered and it felt queasy as she kept rubbing hers against the jeans, moving them up and down. I had my heart in my throat, as her bare feet now visible; she rested them between my legs on the chair.

“What do you think was gonna happen tonight?” her voice, painfully seductive. She was biting her lower lip, uhh!! I wished she would stop doing that. I was literally panting, as her toes swirled on my thigh, just inches away from groin.

“Shall we eat dessert?” my voice quivered, it was getting hard to control. My hands fumbled as I opened the box. I was desperate to change her mood yet the rush was too hard to inhibit.

“That’s it” she laughed, triumph reflecting in her eyes. She had rolled the dice in her favor, she was meant to get turn on by the whole setting yet it ended up the other way around. But, those sexy moves…uhh!! It was so hard to resist, impossible to control.

Luckily, the cake got her distracted and she put her feet down, otherwise the gap would have been nullified anyways.

But the man in me was just not satisfied, so I got up and extended my right hand, inviting her for a dance as the song changed to ‘Countdown’ by Beyonce.

I had no idea about dance, but still I went for it because I wanted to make night as special as I could, but even more I wanted to hold her, my world in my arms. Surprised by my move, she stood up, and placed both her hands on my shoulders, and I put on her waist. We didn’t dance much either, just moved, I just kept following her steps. Luckily, she wasn’t that good either. She came close, and rested her head on my chest and I kept caressing her back.

“Thanks for a wonderful night” she whispered, as I kissed her forehead. Amidst that beautiful song, the moonlight, all the decorations, just her single smile made my heart skip a beat.

“There’s something I need to tell you, I mean you already know, but still I haven’t told you. So I need to speak…actually I don’t need to, but yes I wish to. And I have wished for it so long but I never needed it and then I thought you know….. I mean ofcourse you know, so I never told you, but it’s important for me that you know” I blabbered, and I wasn’t even proposing just trying to tell a girl that how much I love her, who was already in my arms dancing with me on a romantic song.

“Shh, speak clearly” she placed her finger on my lips. I inhaled, and heaved a sigh, finally gathering some courage.

“Okay, here it is. Muskan Ranade, I love you” and it felt magical, to even just blurt out those actual words.

“Oh, really? Seriously? Don’t tell me that” she laughed, enjoying the moment.

Girls always get to savor the fun part of it. But I meant serious business.

YES I DO, I LOVE YOU LIKE HELL, I CAN’T QUANTIFY HOW MUCH, BUT I INTEND TO KEEP YOU MINE, JUST MINE; FOREVER” there, even though laconically I told her everything and felt relaxed having finally spoken ‘how special she is to me.’

She lifted her gaze and kissed my chin, her eyelashes wet. I feared if that would smudge her kajal as I looked at her hesitantly (and still nervous, I don’t know why) for a reply. (If I had told her in words, she should too, right?)

“I LOVE YOU, MAYBE EVEN MORE THAN YOU DO, AND I WOULD BE HAPPILY YOURS; FOREVER” she smiled. We blushed, stood silent and let our eyes talk again. Even though technically she was already my girlfriend; I felt the same rush and ecstasy, a ‘yes’ would’ve given on proposing her.

I hugged her even tighter, we kept dancing, just resting in each other’s arm, not wanting to let go. Her cell flashed, it was her sister’s call, I noticed, she did too, but we ignored. I had to let go from the hug and move towards cake. She couldn’t have stayed longer. I cut out a piece, and fed it to her, courteously she took the same piece and gave it to me, before attacking on the cake with her fingers; cakes were her weakness.

I had known her for months by then, but her childishness was amusing as usual, she complimented me, completed me.

She spilled some on the sheet, and got a bit tensed making apologetic face but I told her not to worry about smudge. Eventually she got full, after eating just the half, her appetite always cheated with her will.

Her eyes searched for the tissue, and mine for a moment. I took her hand, and licked the icing of her fingers with my tongue, gently kissing each of her fingers, repeating the same motion with the other hand. She moaned once, just a bit, when I gently bit her.

My eyes never let go of her gaze, prodding her to participate, inviting to let go of fear and be lost there with me, in that moment. She accepted, as she took a piece of cake, and bought it closer to her mouth, just resting it on her lips, not eating it; just softly brushing the top against her lips. She put the piece down, her lips smudged with brown icing, which I was supposed to wipe off, using mine. I leaned in, yet came closer to her, completion of my ‘unfinished business’ just few seconds and inches away, I could feel her breath on my face but…

Oh, how I hate the word B-U-T…

Her cell flashed again and again. I let her pick up, and mild terror filled her eyes. Her father was to be home any minute, and she had to reach before, she had no explanation to give for being dressed so...sexy. Watching my face droop, she begged for my permission to leave. I gave it straight away.

“Thanks again for the best night of my life” she said, kissing me cheek, rushing to put on her heels.

“Anything for you” I smiled.

She hurried towards the gate, after thanking me once again.

“And don’t worry, we will finish it someday for sure” she squealed, and waved as she went past the rotating gate.

Minutes later, having finally inhaled the happenings of the nights and being able to breathe again, I called Prateek and Sahaj up to help clean up.

I waited, sitting there alone, looking around; the same decorated arrangement, yet everything looked less beautiful, a hell lot less beautiful. Ofcourse, the real beauty was missing. I wondered why in movies they never show the struggle and efforts before and afterwards the date.

All that furniture, those flowers, all those balloons don’t reach there by themselves; it takes efforts. They helped me out, instructing me what to do, and I mechanically followed their instruction. They look baffled watching the smile, the same smile; still plastered on my face.

“What just happened here?” Prateek intrigued.

“Something eternally memorable”……..

4th Nov 2014

Night stay…

As pressure for studies got built up, we saw lesser of each other. The chats stopped. I don’t’ know if I had absorbed all the hyperventilation or was it the stress of covering up in studies, but I was beginning to lose some interest in unnecessary communications. I felt a little sad but my world lightened up as soon as I saw her text. Luckily, her parents had to be out of town for a couple of days to attend some family function and fortunately trusted their girls enough to take care of themselves instead of sending them to their relatives’ place.

Night stay at Prateek was an easy way out to spend whole night at her house. I had already imagined something special in my mind, even though it had only been a week, it seemed long since we properly talked with each other. We were desperate to meet each other, and locked in an empty house, sparks were sure to fly….

“Take it out” she squealed.

“I am, it is tightly packed” I panicked, but somehow managed to take it out.

“Put it on”

“Just relax, catch your breath”

“I am just sooo excited, I can’t wait” she was panting.

I kept fumbling, my hands unsteady.

“Look it is falling down, put it on properly” she almost screamed.

“Atleast I am trying, you aren’t even helping” I was annoyed.

“How could I? It is my first time; I don’t know anything about it”

“And yeah as if I do it every other night” after few more try, I finally succeeded.

“Finally” she heaved a sigh.

“Aah! It is still not working” I let out an exasperated groan.

I was too tired plugging in my rented PS in her evil old TV. The wiring was just not working, and making it worse was the wobbly wooden stand I was trying to put my PS on. Half of the space was already eaten by Tata sky set up box and I have to adjust on the remaining space. Vertically or horizontally, it just kept falling down. I told her to remove set up box but she warned me not to disturb the cable.

Finally we somehow adjusted them both leaving some portion hanging in midair, connected the AV wires behind the TV, plugged in the remote and started playing. Though I tried teaching her the controls, she was just too enthusiastic to catch breath even for a second. I adorned her childishness but my PS was no toy, it was meant for fun but needed to be taken seriously.

I started the game, which I played most with my friends-Smack down PAIN. After getting beaten up in several fights, she finally paid attention on my words. She was trying real hard to decipher the controls, and play atleast respectably but just wasn’t getting the timing right. She was getting competitive accusing me of playing it unfair, throwing her to a difficult game at first. Her eagerness was amusing, but I wasn’t that oddly romantic to intentionally lose at a game, that too from a girl-just to see her smile.

I knew I would make it upto her but losing wasn’t an option. Soon we got restless and slid down the sofa facing the TV set. She sat, straightening her legs, and I rested my head on her pink leggings which she paired up with yellow Kurta. She had worn couples of bangles on each hand, which made sound everytime she swung her hands, animatedly as if she was wrestling herself.

First time ever, I looked at her upside down, her eyes, her lips…I couldn’t resist but smile. My hands reached for her forehead, followed the strands till back of her neck as I untied her ponytail and let her hair fall on my face. I smelled them as Rey Mysterio kept getting kicked and punched by the Brock Lesnar.

I regained my composure before getting knocked out as Ayesha walked out of the bathroom in her white t-shirt and navy shorts, her hair blow dried, messily falling upto her waist. Her smell perfumed the whole room. We exchanged few greetings, I had nothing to say and she too preferred game over awkward silence. She joined her sister and they both chuckled as they paired up in a two vs. one handicap match. Unlike her sister, she had some experience in it and gave me a tough fight. It wasn’t her first time.

It was close to one, when all of us got our fingers tired and our eyes weary from the incessant gaming. We did switch to few more games-racing ones of their choices but as none of us could expertise the controls enough to win at any, we eventually got bored of it. So we switched to movies, there was obviously nothing good on TV so I plugged in the pen drive to play Frozen, a movie handpicked by Avni guaranteeing that Muskan would like it.

Ayesha rested her head on Muskan’s shoulder.

“Aah! Look at all these beautiful gowns, so carefully carved, so nicely designed, the sweetheart neck design, the way ball gown just flares wider towards the bottom, the princess waistline, the royal trial…oh! It’s so mesmerizing” Ayesha sighed.

“She has a thing for fashion designing” Muskan proudly announced, watching me perplexed over the perfect description of the outfit of princess.

“Oh wow! That’s nice” my voice reflecting genuine appreciation. I always pity my passion deprived life.

“Di, I am not letting you wear a sari, you are definitely wearing a gown, I am going to design it for you” her eyes lit up as soon as she said those words. She was probably picturing future, watching her sister walking down the aisle, I wondered if I should remind her of the Indian marriage traditions, but let her dream. I was also excited wondering whether she was picturing me as the man waiting in the black suit for her arrival.

“Speaking of which, when do you think we should get married?” Muskan asked, as her dreamy eyes turned from Ayesha towards me.

“WHAT?” I asked, shocked, my mouth agape.

“What’s with this reaction?” she grimaced. “We are getting married, right?”

I went impassive. I had no answer. Sure she was the one I loved, but marriage-it sounds such a mature word, something that adults do, even though on the verge of it, I never felt even a year mentally older than my physical age, if at all I thought my mental growth was probably late.

She continued as awkward silence prevailed.

“Answer me, quick” she huffed. “Don’t you ever think about us getting married, having our own family, our kids, our own house?”

The whole image threw me back to old bollywood movies, what was she even imagining? A small house on the mountain, by a river stream, with flowing translucent drapes, me; working on some farm and her bringing lunch for me on a hot summer afternoon?

“Hmm, I don’t know”

“What do you mean by you don’t know? You haven’t even told your parents either, right?” she fumed.

WHAT?!! What the fuck? Crossing your line of stupidity, how could you be so crazy? You foolish, are you fucking out of our mind? Ofcourse, I didn’t say it aloud, but those were the first things that crossed my mind. Tiny drops of sweat bubbled on my forehead.

“You have told your parents?! About us?” I asked, terrified.

“Ofcourse I have, do you think I would allow a boy to spend the whole night in my house else wise?”

I had no answers to that. I started feeling guilty for being there. Several thoughts crept my mind-when did she get so serious about such thing? What all was running in her mind, what was she picturing us as? Ofcourse I loved her, and we were committed- but why suddenly this extra responsibility, burden? Why do we have to grow up so early? Can’t things be just the way they are-less complicated?

“I cannot tell my parents, okay. You know how the situations are at home, and you want me to tell them that their son is having a relationship, that too at such a delicate turn of career? They will end up killing each other” I tried to sound logical, but felt a lump in my chest as I spoke out. What if one day I really want to get married? Or go abroad? Or do anything that might be a sort of big change? Will I never seek their approval for anything exquisite just so they don’t fight again?

“So what do you plan for future? Eloping for marriage?” she raised her eyebrows.

“What marriage? What the hell are you saying?” I had to burst out. “I am seventeen for god’s sake, I don’t even know what am I gonna do with my life. I have no plans for future, I don’t even know if someday I am gonna marry someone or not. And how do you expect me to think about raising kids when I am one myself?” I huffed.

Sensing the stiffness in the air, Ayesha cleared the mess out. “Relax, dude!! Di is just messing up with you” I heard a muffled giggle as her face was turned completely, submerged in her hair on the shoulders, preparing to doze off.

“Hey, have you taken your milk?” Muskan asked her. Probably Ayesha was too sleepy, so she just shook her head.

“Okay, don’t sleep. I will be back in two minutes” Muskan turned towards me “do you want some too?”

“Umm, yes! But I am little hungry too” I was famished, I told maa that I would have dinner at Prateek’s house only just like I used to during night stay so that she would be totally convinced. I hadn’t eaten anything since noon. Just some snacks, but those were shared between three of us.

“Okay, then I will prepare maggi too” she smiled. She got up and hurried towards the kitchen. By then I had lost all interest in the movie, so I followed her to help. She wasn’t particularly letting me do anything, I was just handing her whatever stuff she wanted as she furiously got involved, proudly proclaiming that it would be the most delicious maggi I would ever eat, said she had a different style of preparing it.

We worked in sync, she was giving out instructions, and I quietly followed them, complementing each other, truly like a couple. Couple-the world threw me back to the scuffle we had moments earlier. I felt low watching her so downcast. I hugged her from behind, while she was stirring the boiling milk.

“Hey, are you okay?” my voice soft.

“Hmm” she muttered.

“What is it?” I gently kissed her neck.

“Nothing” she said and stood impassive. I felt disheartened not being able to prod her into happy mood.

“C’mon, again, you’re doing it again for a silly matter” I chided. She was left aghast at my remark.

“Silly? Really?” she grimaced. “Let’s not even talk about it”

“No, no!! That will just get you more upset. Let’s talk, tell me whatever you are feeling” I requested, making an apologetic face.

“I really told maa, about us” she put the milk off the stove letting it cool down, and switched the bolt off. I turned her towards me, and held her hands.

“Really, what did she say?” I inquired, surprised.

It must have been a funny image, a mother being informed by her daughter to be in love with a boy, she thought of as her brother…

“She said that you seem like a nice boy, and then I asked her about tonight, and she agreed.” I was amazed that she trusted her daughter so much.

“You do understand I can’t tell my parents about it” I tried cajoling her.

“Yes, I know and it’s not about that”

“Then what is it about? Marriage?” I ensured that my tone is in check, I did not want to come out aggressive, just mildly persuasive. “Tell me, do you really think of us getting married? Do you truly want it now? I mean we don’t even know where we will be after finishing our school. I am sorry but you can understand why such thoughts never came in my mind”

“Well, I do truly think about it sometimes, and I know it’s illogical, even silly but still…maybe it was just a word for you but ‘forever’ meant something for me. Just tell me how do you picture our future?”

I hung my head penitently. I had nothing to say, I felt a bit ashamed at myself. She had rightfully shown me the mirror. I used those slangs just as euphuism, I knew I loved her, but in that moment I doubted if I ever meant them by heart. Was I so consumed in the moment itself? Was I betraying her, by making her dream about future? Hell, if I really wanted it to be ‘forever’ why haven’t I given any thoughts to it? She watched my gloomy face, and pulled me out of those depressing thoughts.

“And it’s ok if you haven’t thought about it, it’s all little irrational anyways…what hurt me, was your reaction just even thinking about it. I mean is it that bad a thought for you?” her voice was cracking.

“No! No its not. I have pictured us ‘together’ more time than you will ever do, but I dreamt of this, us preparing something to eat, or watching movie in each other’s arm. But we have to be practical too, right?”

“Yes, I understand, but if we don’t talk about it, how are we ever going to figure out our future together?” she seemed a little dejected.

“But the thing is we can’t figure our future just yet. Eventually we will lose our control to time. I mean suppose you get into some IIT, then what? If I ask you to, would you stay here for me?” as I completed those words, my annoyance was clearly palpable.

She kept quiet, looked deep into my eyes, lost in her thoughts. I worried having turned another debate into a fight; I tend to sometimes cross my lines, in efforts of proving myself correct.

“Yes, yes I will. I am ready to do anything you want and ask me to do” she spoke softly, yet those words thundered inside my ears. Her words threw me from the point of being agitated as to ‘what’s all this fuss about’ to being enormously guilty about me.

I looked at her, and the look in her eyes assured no truer words could have been told, she actually meant everything she said. I felt downhearted, being so emotionally detached from ‘us’. Even though I always thought, and proclaimed myself to be the one more crazy, and way more in love amongst the two, she made me realize that infact she was the one who was seriously involved in the relation, I was just being desperate about it from the start. But if I couldn’t have felt the same way, the least I could have done is to respect her feelings and grace them with truth.

“But I would never ask you to do something like that” I replied.

She poured milk in the glass, emptied the maggi into bowl, and headed for the hall. We sat quietly, eating and watching the movie in complete silence. A thousand thoughts stampede in my mind. I was angry and guilty at myself, at the same time being confused about the situation. I was baffled and frightened, because I knew I had no answer to her dreamy yet innocent questions. She wasn’t asking me to get married, or to be there at the cost of my future. She wasn’t even forcing me to tell it to my parents, all she wanted was to hear some sweet words, which reflect my commitment and ensure her of our future, which she seemingly has been dreaming about.

As we finished, we rushed back to kitchen to wash up the dishes, I followed her yet again.

“I am sorry” I repented.

“What for?” she asked. She really needed to get over the habit of asking questions she already knew the answers for.

“You know. I never meant to hurt you, and believe me when the time comes, and whatever will be required, I will do that. I will take a stand for us, it’s just that I haven’t figured out everything just yet but that doesn’t mean that I love you any lesser than you do” I told her in an apologetic tone.

“I know that you love me, and it’s ok. Let it be. I dream too much anyways” she gave a wry smile,

We headed back to hall, Ayesha had already dozed off; she covered her with a quilt. We sat on the floor, resting our head against the pillow. It was close to 3, and the movie at its climax. I wrapped her in my arms, coiling around her waist. I kept on staring blankly at screen, lost in my own bedazzlement.

Minutes later, she switched off the T.V., apparently the movie ended, but I was too lost to gather anything.

The drawing room was dark; we had kept lights off just to give it a more theatrical feel. We forgot to turn the lights off in the kitchen, the bright CFL, the only source of illumination in the entire house. Impulsively, I began to get up to go and turn it off.

“Let it be” she whispered, as she squelched my hand and snuggled up next to me.

What was I thinking anyways? To get the house completely dark, when I was alone with two girls? Hell, even thinking about it sounds wicked.

“Finished your milk?” she chuckled.

“Please chuck it now” she had been teasing me since half an hour. What’s so wrong if a boy asks for bournvita anyways?

She laid straight back on the floor, I turned sideways to cuddle up; my left arm on her waist, cupped by her both hands, and my right hand gently playing with her stands around her neck. It was blissful, to watch her sleep peacefully. In the dim light, her face glistened, and I had to struggle to resist my urge to kiss her. It seemed wrong, with her sister sleeping just few feet away.

But she looked so cute, adorable, sleeping like a baby with her mouth open. I don’t think I slept at all that night. I could never get used to her beauty; I spend the whole night just simply watching her, battling my own thoughts.

Our ideologies were different, she wanted to build a future, and I just wanted to savor the present, be there, in that night. But she was planning for whole life, together. And I have to accept that I was a little frightened by that thought.

But on second thought, I did not want to lose her, at any cost. I knew I wouldn’t be able to survive a day, I had seen how depressed and low I get without her. It is only in her absence that tears make their presence felt.

And just as I turned around once more, a single glance of her pretty face is all it took to coax my heart that she is everything I ever wanted. And I didn’t care even if the origin of those feelings was my desperation.

For me, not losing her meant even more than us being together….

5th Nov 2014…

We got up late in the morning, around 10 and the first thing we did was to wish Avni. In our scuffle the previous night, we completely forgot about her birthday. We called her separately, keeping sufficient interval; the news about night stay would have infuriated her further.

We felt a bit guilty, in our quest to spend more time together, we were slowly getting detached from our friends. As expected, she was angry at both of us, luckily more at Muskan; she was her best friend after all. After apologizing enough and promising her that her gift would be aptly compensating for our blunder, she finally cooled down her ire, and she invited us for the party in the evening.

I left her house around 12, as her parents were to be home anytime. We didn’t talk much in the morning either; most of the time was spent deciding about the party with Avni.

I found myself at her door once again, as Avni, with her elder brother picked us up in their Innova and we headed towards ’Red Maple.’ The party was great, but I felt a little left out amongst their friends. Making it awkward for me was the presence of Tushar.

Though, they were comfortable around each other just like they had been for many nights in the past; the only difference, they were being best of friends without the burden of carrying an emotionally hollow relation.

A surge of jealousy would rush in my veins, each time she would flirt punch him or he would get close to her, touch her. Get off her, she is mine now-I lost the count of how many times I screamed that line mentally in my head. I had this urge several times, to get more physically intimate with her, look him in the eye and smirk; showing my domination, my possession. Yes! I, the one who you thought nothing of, stole your girlfriend.

I wondered if I should go there and tell her that he had already asked Shefali out on a date, twice. Eventually, he told her.

I felt forlorn as I looked at them, and not because of my jealousy; but just thinking about what they could have been. They couldn’t survive because they had no future. Being her best friend, I was aware of every thought she had for him. And not even once, in the entire one year of being together with him, she ever dreamt or pictured a future for them.

I felt blessed and grateful, at the thought but it was time to express my seriousness towards us. I did not want us to end. But even a stronger reason, was to watch her smile, to assure her that her dreams will be fulfilled some day, that I am gonna hold onto it FOREVER.

I requested Avni to drop us off at her home only; it would give me extra one and a half kilometer, to walk alone and talk my heart with her.

Though Muskan was not showing it, her sadness was palpable. She was very discreet, saying only what was necessary. For the first time ever, the silence between us was drifting us apart. She cared too much, to complaint or to extend the scuffle any further, but her demanding eyes were dying to hear a reply, to be assured of the future. And she deserved it.

I held her hand, and untied her ponytail. She smiled, as I pulled her in my arms, I wanted her to be there, in that moment with me, while I was going to confess of my eternal love for her, yet again, this time more profusely.

She looked exquisite in her floral printed crop top with black skirt. But something was missing, something enchanting, magical- her pretty smile.

I tilted my head sideways, hiding my face in her hair. My nose gently grazing back of her neck, as our feet halt.

“We are in the middle of road” she chided.

I sniffed, “These smell so good” I puffed some strands while lingering my lips around her ear. She breathed heavily, her hands shivered as I rolled my fingers slowly on her arms. In the excitement, she dropped her ice-cream cone. She scrunched her nose.

“It’s alright” I whispered as I pressed my lips hard against her temples.

“Someone will notice” her voice barely in check. It was close to 12, there was no one visible for miles.

“I don’t care” I said, before pursing my lips beneath her left ear.

“There are dogs too!” she giggled, fully aware of my phobia of street dogs. Even though I got little scared, I didn’t let it surface on my face.

“Shut up!” I told, gently biting her nose. Then I kissed there, following the trail to her cheek. I gave her fusillades of kisses; moving back after each of them, just to lean right back in and kiss her again. Sometimes I would gently rest my lips on her skin, or I would press hard deliberately making noise.

I pivoted on my toes, to face her. I repeated the same motion on other side of her face. We lost track of time, of place, there was only us!

I leaned close, real close, gently brushed my lips against hers but didn’t nibble. I moved them no further and pulled myself back.

Even if I wanted to lick those vanilla flavored lips, I could go no further without her participation. Regaining our senses, we started walking again. It was already too late. But the nice thing was that her smile was back. It was the perfect moment…

In the moonlight, holding hands

Walking down the deserted land…

I looked up in the sky,

As even my imaginations flew high…

Hues covered with stars; sparkling bright

Yet she shone the most, I clutched her tight

Engulfed by the velvety darkness,

Her smiling face, oozing soothing calmness

Our future being reflected by its vast,

A magic spell being cast

I remembered her face; pretty yet sad

My oblivion made her dream world fade….

The sky appeared as canvas ready for paint,

I had to prove; words were truly meant.

As I pictured us walking through the time,

I feared if she would always be mine;

Valiance rushed in, mocking me for being a wimp

In the spur of moment, impulsively I went on limb…

Bent down on one knee, the moment freeze

That, right there was my ‘masterpiece’…

She sat beside, tears rolling down

‘Wondering about your wedding gown?’

I asked. She pinched my cheek,

‘Can you do this, for me?’ her voice meek.

‘If this is where it is supposed to lead’

‘You’re everything I am ever going to need’

She answered. We could both see;

What a bright future, together; we would be

Luckily, for now, our love will suffice

We hugged, as the temptations arise….

We reached her home, time flew fast…

Memories deserving to be savored till last...

Still unsatisfied, I asked minutes later

‘Is there anything I can do to make it better?’

She leaned; we kissed; as emotions rushed

‘It’s the perfect life, like I dreamt’ she blushed…..

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