Hritisha and I had come closer within a very short while. I was quite a changed person within a few days. My colleagues had started noticing me. I was smiling, cracking jokes, which I had never done with my office colleagues. I had the same routine going on from the next day. Chatting during morning breakfast, during her lunchtime, during my lunchtime, during the evening, during night.
Hritisha and I had shared lots of good and bad things by then. The best and the worst moments of our life. I was quite happy as we were sharing a great bonding, but was also quite disappointed that the bonding was limited to the virtual space. We had not spent any time with each other physically, other apart from classes and casual greetings.
‘Call me.' I got a text from Hritisha while she was heading home after duty hours.
‘Wait a Second.’ I was super excited as I was expecting this for God knows, how long.
‘Kripya shanti banaye rakhe. Lol,’ she gauged my excitement.
Without thinking further, I stopped my office work, went to the corridor and called Hritisha. With every passing dial, my heartbeat accelerated.
‘Hello?’ She picked up the call.
‘Hiii, hiii, what's up?’ I was shivering.
‘I am good. You say.’
‘Me too. Thanks!’
‘Where are you? In the office?’
‘In the corridor.'
‘I am in the metro, going home. Exhausted. We had training programs and meeting.'
‘Can I ask you something?’ I asked.
I loved her Delhi wali Hindi accent. Especially 'Haanji.'
‘Aap Gori to ho hi, sath me aawaz bhi awesome hai.'
She burst into laughter and laughed at a stretch for a span of two minutes.
‘What?’ I asked.
‘Nothing’ Hritisha managed to speak in between her laughter.
‘Areeey say na?’
‘I imagined your face when you said ‘Aap Gori to ho hi, sath me aawaz bhi awesome hai' and I started laughing.
‘Ae le. Usme kyu hasi aayi?’
‘Areey I imagined that your face must be like a baby.'
‘Achha now there will be no network in the metro. So I will buzz you when I reach home.'
I disconnected the phone, went to the desk and send her a text on WhatsApp, ‘Thanks!’
‘Betaji, your fitness class will start from tomorrow onwards. Just wait and watch.' She messaged me back.
She ordered me to wake up early in the morning to start jogging, and I had to send a photograph while jogging. If I did not send a photo, she would not talk to me for the whole day. Hritisha called at five, sharp in the morning. I pillow held me back, but I yanked myself out of it and left for jogging.
I sent her a pic while I was jogging at Dubai Creek. Hritisha checked my photo at lunchtime. She appreciated me. I asked Hritisha for her photo, but she said that she could not click one in the office pantry. I decided to give her the taste of her own medicine. I told her that I would not talk to her if I did not receive her photo at that time.
She sent me a picture after some time. I asked her to send me a picture in loose hair, but she told me to send her when she would reach home.
When I received that picture, I could not help but fall in love with her all over again. I always believed that jinme shakal hoti hai usme akal nahi hoti and vice-versa, but she proved me wrong. She was not a bimbo; she was the perfect definition of beauty with brains. Our daily routine had started. Hritisha used to call me in the morning for jogging, lunch time chats, chats after reaching home, sharing each and everything, about past, about the present and about future.
There was a horrible night in our friendship when Hritisha was online but did not reply. I thought she started hating me. I sent a hell lot of messages but received no responses from her. I started calling her. She did not pick up any calls. I called around twenty-one times within an hour. I panicked. I thought Hritisha’s parents had caught her chatting with someone else or perhaps her phone was with her parents and they were reading all the messages. I could not sleep all night.
My eyes were aching. I was crying. I was under the impression that I had lost her. Thousands of thoughts were running across in my mind. She was continuously online but did not reply to my messages.
Finally, Hritisha texted after four hours and replied that she had fallen asleep while chatting. She said sorry and told me that it would never happen again. She said how she was such a sotlu, who can fall asleep within a couple of seconds. She calmed me down and went to work. After that, I slept for a while. We used to tease each other by saying that we were siblings from our past lives as we had found many similarities between us.
Already three months had passed since we first chatted. We had grown fond of each other in the virtual world. However, I wanted to spend more time with her. One day, I decided I would not go home until I allocate more time to Hritisha. We both could not talk with each other in the tuition class due to her busy schedule and meetings.
‘Siddhant, are you still here?’ Hritisha asked when she saw me at the World Trade Center Metro Station.
‘Yes. My old teammate met me. He came for the exhibition. So we were talking with each other is liye late ho gaya’ I said.
I did not meet anyone. I was waiting for her to come. I missed almost twenty-five trains to meet her. I had finished my class before three hours.
‘Hmm. Okay’ Hritisha said.
‘Going home?’ I asked.
‘No. I’m going for fishing. Wanna join?’
‘Sorry. Stupid question.’
I became so nervous at that time. Although I flirted with her in chat, talking upfront and face-to-face was a creepier deal. Hritisha was looking so beautiful and fresh even after the hectic schedule of her work. She had started wearing specs since the past few days and that glorified her pretty face even more. I had to get down at Khaleed Bin Al Waleed metro station, which was only three stops ahead from the World Trade Metro Station. I decided to go with her to Stadium Metro Station, the last one from where her father used to pick her and together they would return to her place at Sharjah. I made an excuse that I would also go to Sharjah for some work.
We step into the next metro. There was a hell of a rush inside the metro on Friday. Somehow, we managed to adjust ourselves to stand properly. Hritisha stood in front of me but was not facing at me. I could see her from the glass before her on which her reflection had fallen. The fragrance of her conditioner from her long untied hair forced me to lose my control and to hug her from behind. However, I could not do anything except control myself and watching her through the glass door.
We got down to Union Metro station and went to the Green Line platform towards Etisalat Metro station. Luckily, we got seats at Union metro station itself. She sat beside me. We both were not talking to each other, as she was busy listening to songs from her blackberry phone. I realized she was equally nervous. I was dying to talk with her. However, she was lost in her world of music. I took my phone and started seeing photos from my mobile just to catch her attention towards me.
‘Your family?’ Hritisha asked when she noticed a family photo in my mobile.
Thank God, she stopped listening to music.
‘Yes,’ I said.
‘Missing them, na?’
‘Yeah, it’s hard to live alone sometimes.'
We talked more about each other's families. She told me how much she liked Punjabi songs, especially the Indian pop star Yo Yo Honey Singh. She burst into laughter when I said that I love the song ‘Lucchi Teri Adda’ instead of ‘Unchi addiyan da.' I did not know the correct lyrics.
The stadium metro station arrived. We wished each other ‘good night’ and parted. I noticed Hritisha leaving with her father. Therefore, I came back again and went home.
Hritisha didn't come online since the last thirteen hours. I was worried, as usual. What had happened to her? Was her phone stolen or broken? Was she busy in office still? Has she met with an accident? Did she die? To whom I should call to check whether she was okay or not? I dialed her number plenty of times and disconnected myself. I did not want her to know that I was tensed. So many things were running through my mind. For me, insecurity meant to lose my beloved person. It was not that I doubted her.
What should I do? Where was she? I felt incomplete without her. Continually, I was checking her online status. I could not sleep at night.
Almost two days had passed, and she had not come online. I took a day off on the second day, as I could not concentrate. My ‘good night’ and ‘good morning’ messages were also not being delivered.
‘Hey.' Hritisha replied after two and half days.
‘Where were you yaar? What happened to you? Is everything OK?’
‘No. Not really? I am in India.'
‘My bade Papa had expired two days back.'
‘Ohhhh shit. I am so sorry to hear that.’
‘It's OK. I can understand your situation :)’
She was upset that day. She shared with me some of her memories with her bade Papa. She was missing him. I wanted to cheer her up. I thought it would be not nice if I would crack jokes and make fun of that situation. However, I could not see her upset. Therefore, I was always cracking my sick jokes and funny stories. Slowly she began laughing and her mood changed.
‘Muh dukh gaya, now stop. Lol,’ Hritisha said.
‘That's Siddhant's style.’
‘Hehehe. Thanks for making me laugh.'
‘Any time madam. Be happy always.'
‘Sleep Now. We'll chat tomorrow.'
‘Okk Ji. GN SD TC’
I took a long deep breath and rested properly after three days.
( To Be Continued... )