I am feeling like someone has slapped me hard on my cheeks. A knot twists in my stomach. I want to scream. I want to cry, I am breathing heavily still I feel that my lungs are running out of oxygen. I am suffocating. My heart is hurting badly.
I look at Aarav, he is smiling at me. I turn my face to the road, bite my lower lip, I clear my throat and ask, "who is this Avira?"
I don't want to look at Aarav. What if I see glimpse of love in his eyes when he thinks about Avira. I am not ready for that.
Oh god I knew it from the first but now when I have to face the situation it is so hard. My eyes are moist with tears.
He says, "well she is....." and his mobile rings. I say to myself annoyingly, "perfect timing". He looks at the mobile screen, chuckles and says, "it's my mom.. " And he picks up, "hey mom..." and He starts giving answers of whatever the questions his mom is asking like coming home and eating and many other things.
I think that It was better to hate Aarav than like him, cause his irritating behaviour was nothing as compare to what I am feeling right now!!!
He is still talking to his mom. For a minute I find an excuse that may be I am over thinking. May be Avira is just his friend or colleague. I don't know the answer yet.
As we approach to my home, I stop the car and he ends the call.
My parents hurriedly come out to welcome us like they were waiting for us.. Me and Aarav get out of the car. My dad takes my bags out, my mom hugs me and then invites Aarav, "dear..please come in." Aarav gently denies, "Thank you aunty but my mom is worried so I should leave."
My dad shakes his hand, "Thank you so much for your help." Aarav smiles at me, "You don't need to thank me uncle." Then he waves bye to us.
I don't know the reason but I don't like him leaving. First time in my life I am feeling that waving bye to someone can be these painful!! I look persistently at his car until it's out of my sight.
I feel that part of me is going away..
I wake up from my miserable thoughts when my mom calls my name. As I step inside my home, I breath deeply and then tightly hug my parents and say, "oh god I missed you so much.." My mom surveys me coolly from top to bottom and says, "We missed you too dear. First... tell us how are you?.. you look so weak, didn't they feed you well?"
I reply, "oh c'mon mom.. I am fine..great actually..its just you are seeing me after a week so.."
My mom agrees, "yeah you are right..First time I felt that how will it feel like after your marriage." I raise my brows and ask, "mom really is it necessary to talk about my marriage at this moment?" She smiles at me and says, "let me complete the sentence, I was telling that now I know what it feels like without you so I'll not force you to marry soon."
I widen my eyes, look at my dad. He is smiling too. I pinch myself to be sure that it's not a dream and laugh, "really mom!!" She rolls her eyes and answers, " of course I am joking... Now go and take a bath, then we'll take dinner together after a whole... week."
I am not hungry a bit but I can't tell my mom that so I go to my room, jump on a bed and lie down on it for sometimes, closing my eyes, inhaling the smell of my room, I mumble the song: 'home is the place where your heart sings...'
I get up, take a bath and go downstairs for dinner. Whole table is filled with the dishes I like. I look at my mom,ask, "mom what is this? How can I eat all of these? "
My mom shrugs, "you don't need to honey, there is still someone who is joining us in a while... so you just take your seat.." I sit on a chair and the door bell rings..
My mom opens the door, I see Anurag enters with a big flower bouquet in his hand and big smile on his face. He hugs my mom, then comes to me,hugs me and congratulates me with the bouquet, "for successfully completing the workshop." Then he hugs my dad. We all sit and take dinner talking about my workshop.
After dinner we sit in our garden. Anurag asks me by sitting opposite to me, "weren't you suppose to come yesterday?" Last night flashes back in my mind,I pray please god tell me I am not blushing...I answer suppressing my excitement, "don't ask me, it was the storm and rain..." My mom interrupts, "yeah thank God Aarav was there to help her." I look at my mom somewhat in disbelief and ask, " How did you know that Aarav was there?"
My mom giggles, "when we heard about storm, we were so worried about you, actually your dad wanted to get there for you. But it would have taken a very long time most probably a whole day so...
Then I remember what Ravina told me, that Aarav is in Delhi for his bussiness. So I called Ravina and then your dad contacted Aarav and explained about you."
This is a shock to me. Aarav was a guest lecturer at the institute and I bumped into him but what my mom is saying doesn't match with that...
I am deep in my thoughts that my mom asks me, " Aarav was suppose to stay there for some days.. but he has returned with you.. did you ask him to come with you?"
I look at my mom with wide eyes and answer, "no mom I met him out side of that institute this morning." I lied to my mom cause I don't want to let her know that I spent a night with Aarav, I don't know what will she think about me..? I am feeling sorry for that... I say to myself that I am changed person now. I am hiding things, telling lies...!! this is not a good sign at all!!!
I clear my throat and continue, "and there Aarav informed me that I can join him and I did cause weather was still stormy and I was not sure about flights. But he didn't even mention that he was there for business and you people called him..."
My mom guesses, "it's may be due to storm that he could have shortened his trip..okay well it's good cause otherwise you had to travel in a bus and for that we were very much worried.." I am listening to her still with a shock.
"when did dad call Aarav?" I ask looking at my dad. He answers, "yesterday.. when I saw news about weather." And what did you tell him? I continue. Dad replies, "I asked him to pick you up and arrange a ticket in a bus for you.." I don't like it. I ask, "why dad?, I was able to do it by myself, you could have trusted me on that. I am not a child now, don't treat me like the one. What will Aarav have thought of me that I always need his help..? papa at least you should have talked to me before calling Aarav.." My dad furrows, "I tried....but your phone was out of reach whole day!!"
It may be because of we were in auditorium at the basement I think!! He continues, "and that made us more worried ... as I know you I was sure that you were not going to stay there and you will try to reach at the airport by any means.." he looks at me, I am annoyingly looking at my dad. He adds, "sorry... but I was worried cause Delhi was totally unknown city to you and you could have got lost.."
I interrupt, "I would have better got lost than let someone think that I always need his help" My mom raises her brows and adds, " Aarav is not someone.. He is your friend..." I argue, "whatever mom.. I am very much disappointed..." and I stare at them furrowing my brows.
Anurag interrupts, "Raavi, it's okay. Aarav is not that type of guy so don't think too much.. and I think you are tired now. So you should take rest." I am so angry to speak anything. So I get up and go to my room..
I sit on my couch,thinking about yesterday. Why didn't Aarav tell me about the phone call, is it possible that he came for me on that institute.. oh God he must have cancelled his plans for me. I am feeling so sorry for that.
What would he have thought about me? that I am not self dependent, I always need protection. I am so angry with my parents for that. I am feeling so embarrassed of my self.
Suddenly Anurag enters in my room. I glance at him. He says by twitching his lips, "are you not sleeping yet." I reply by furrowing my brows, "do you think I will be able to sleep?, with the all embarrassment my parents have created?" He smiles at me and replies, "Raavi, it's called care. It is natural, don't blame your parents for that."
I twitch my lips and argue, "oh c'mon Anu, I know you are always on their side, but you know Aarav, we have so many misunderstandings between us from the day we met and now thanks to my parents that he will again make fun of me that I am still daddy's little girl." Anurag smiles at me and says, "we all know that you are. And let Aarav think whatever he wants to.. why do you care?"
I want to tell Anurag about my feelings for Aarav, but I, my self, am not sure about them.. my mind is still confused because of that Avira.. so I drop the idea.
He sits beside me and asks, "are you okay?, please tell me that you are not angry.. otherwise I'll elaborate." And laughs. I look at him and say, "no..you don't need to. I am not angry, I am just worried.."
Anurag ensures me, "you don't need to worry about anything. I know Aarav, he is damn practical, he could have denied to your dad if he wanted to, but he didn't, it means he understands the situation. So just go to sleep now.
I guess.., for tomorrow, you'll have so many things to worry about .. take rest and good night." I smile at him and wish, "thank you Anu..good night"
I get up from the couch and sit on my bed. Anurag gets up to leave my room, waving me bye.
I lie down, close my eyes and once again I start thinking about Aarav. I know Anurag is right about Aarav that he doesn't care about anyone but he didn't refuse to my dad.. he might be very busy though he cancelled his business meetings for me..and I was doubting him..I am really a stupid!!
Still I am not clear about my feelings towards him. It can be just crush, or attraction or more than that. Now comes the girl Avira, if she is his girlfriend then boom... it will be end of my imagined love life before it gets started. I laugh sarcastically to my self over that.
It is really hurting me and killing me from inside. It was not enough that now.... because of my parents I am so embarrassed.
'Avira'...again his word echoes in my mind. Who is she? Oh god..It's all confusion. I am not able to decide clearly, it's all looks fuzzy and entangled..I can't think properly or may be I don't want to think cause either this way or that I know it will be me who will get hurt in the end..
This is the thing about love....!!but I can't let go whatever I am feeling for Aarav, cause now I don't have control over that..so I just close my eyes and try to sleep.
Oh dear why can't I sleep properly from the day I met him?
Suddenly my eyes snap open, was I sleeping or thinking I don't know..? Cause whole night, images were moving in my mind like a cinema reel. I try to look outside of the window, It is still dark. I look at my mobile it is 5:00am. So I again try to sleep.
A message pops in my mobile. When I look at the screen. it is from Aarav, wishing me good morning. Oh so he wakes up this early. He sends me a second message, "I forgot to tell you...to call Ms. Shalini before 10:00am and then let me know her answer, okay." I am overwhelmed that at this time he is thinking about me..!!!.
I reply 'okay'. Does he really care for me? He makes me totally confuse. I am unsure that I should to be happy about it or not!!!
With that thought I again close my eyes...
When I open them I see my mom is sitting near my pillow and caresses my forehead. She smiles at me. I remember how I reacted yesterday and I am feeling sorry for that. So I smile at her and lay my head in her lap and close my eyes..
After sometimes she asks, "what will my angel eat for breakfast?" I answer with my eyes closed, "whatever my mama angel will prepare..." She chuckles happily and says, "okay.. now it's time to wake up."
So I open my eyes and get up, wish her good morning with smile.. she replies, "morning." And leaves my room. I go to bathroom and complete my routine. Then I step down the stairs, my dad is already at the dining table.
He looks at me and asks, "so do you sleep well?" I nod 'yeah'. He smiles and asks, "so what are your plans now?"
I answer, "umm I want to work as an intern so I'll apply for that" my dad encourages me, "good.. if you need any help then I am here."
I smile and say, "I know papa.. and thank you for that" I see, my mom is coming from kitchen, our maid is helping her, she has prepared 'khandavi'.
She joins us and maid serves us. I take a bite of that soft, yummy yellow piece and say to my mom, "wow mom, it's really very tasty." My dad nods in agreement.
We take our breakfast talking about different dishes of our country. I am very proud that I am a part of such a diverse culture.
I step inside my room. First thing I do is edit my portfolio with the help of software. Then as Aarav told me I have to make a call to my role model...Ms. Shalini Kapoor, and for that I am nervous like a hell.
It's already 9:30 so I should call her now. I take that card out, the one that Aarav gave me. Cross my fingers, close my eyes, breath deeply and dial her number. Again I have butterflies in my stomach..
When she picks up..I listen to very sweet voice of hers, "hey dear..good morning..I was expecting your call today.. how are you?" I am speechless. I don't know what Aarav has told her about me. So I reply in a very low voice, "hello..good morning.. ma'am, I am fine..thank you ma'am.. She nods..'hmmm'.
After a short pause I continue, "actually I want to talk to you about my internship." She replies, "yeah..Aarav told me about that so you just send me your CV along with your portfolio through mail.. okay?" I say nervously, "okay.."
She adds, "and I hope Mumbai is known to you and do you have any relatives or friends living here?" I answer, "no ma'am but why?" She chuckles, "oh dear, you'll have to live here no..?"
It's my turn to get shocked.. living in Mumbai but why?..She continues, "okay okay don't worry we have so many P.G. facility here, so I'll try to arrange something if possible.. and about your joining date I'll call you later okay?"
I was listening to her with wide eyes.. what the hell is she talking about..? P.G. facility and joining date.. did she recruited me already? I was hoping that I was giving a try but here I am hired.. I should be happy but I am not cause I didn't achieve it by my endeavour.it is given to me because of Aarav's reference.
Then she asks, "okay so do you have any queries now?" I gently answer, "no ma'am" "okay then talk to you later.. bye." She replies. I say, "thank you so much ma'am.. bye." And I hang up.
I try to recollect, whatever she has just said. I was hoping that under her guidelines I got to work here, because I know that she frequently visits Aarav's fashion house but she was talking about her workplace in Mumbai...for that I am not ready yet.
I have to live whole month in Mumbai all alone, I don't think my parents will let me do that. And big question is where to live in there? So what should I do?, ask my parents or talk to Aarav?
I decide to talk to Aarav first so that I can convince him to let me work with him here, then I don't have to worry about anything. So I should call Aarav right now.
It is 10:00 in the morning so I hope that he is not busy yet, though I inhale deeply before dialling his number. The only thing I hear is ring...
I twitch my lips and about to cut the call that I hear mellifluous voice of him, "yeah Raavi?" I close my eyes and smile. I say, "hi.. good morning.. actually I want to..."
He interrupts me, "excuse me.. just hold on one minute, okay?.." then I hear him saying 'come in' and I get to know that he is in his office.. I hear a girl speaking in an informal voice, "sir, they are here.." Aarav informs her, "okay lead them to the conference room, I'll be there." The girl answers, "okay sir.."
I was listening to his melodious voice and he addresses me, "yeah... Raavi..?" I tell him, "I guess you are busy.. so I'll call you later okay...."
But he instantly interrupts, "did you call Ms. Shalini?" I just nod, "hmm". He says, "great..now you should mail her your CV.." I interrupt him, "but Aarav..." I don't know how to explain things to him? He says, "yeah Raavi.. I am listening"
I reply, "I don't know where to start..and you are getting late. So I'll call you later okay.. bye" He says, " hey wait... we can do one thing..." after a short pause he continues, "umm.. let's take a dinner together tonight.. I'll pick you up so be ready at 9:00.. okay?" and he hangs up.
I am like..what... the....heck....!!! I am going out with Aarav for dinner.. my heart is jumping with a joy in my rib cage.. I am panting heavily.
Again my mind comes front and takes the charge, "don't be silly.. it is not a date... its gonna be a formal friendly meeting....., don't act like a fool, otherwise you'll be again humiliated by a same person..
I recall our first meeting, my all excitement fly away like a vapour and confusion and nervousness takes its place..
I took a dinner with him in Delhi but it was out of necessity. Today is a different thing, Aarav him self asked me .. and he is gonna pick me.. doesn't it look like a date..? then my mind reminds me that I go out with Anurag many times but we are not dating so it will be just a friendly dinner with Aarav.
Though I am very much excited.
First question arises in my mind that what should I wear? I stride through my walk in closet and look for appropriate dress. It must be simple yet appealing. After trying 27 dresses I can't find the one I am looking for. ... though I pick a red one piece dress.
I am looking at my self in the mirror by wearing red dress that my mom enters in my closet. She smiles at me, observes me and says, "so my princess is going out with someone special...huh?"
My face is red. I try to hide my embarrassment, clear my throat and say in a formal way, "no mom I am going on a dinner with Aarav just to discuss about my internship." My mom tries to hide her smile and asks, "why are you blushing?, I think you don't like him." I answer, looking at my face in the mirror, "oh c'mon mom I am not blushing, it's the lights and" I lie, "I still don't like him but he is helping me so I think I should meet him." My heart curses me for saying that..!
My mom twitches her lips, "okay.. I still think that he is a good boy with manners so I won't have any problem if you..." I interrupt, "mom..please stop it!!!"
My mom shrugs and says, "okay.. lunch is ready so come quickly and yeah.. pick up this pile of dresses you tried... to meet a person you don't like.." and she leaves laughing..I shout, "I didn't try them.. I just.." I mumble to myself, "forget it..." I raise my hands in the air, again look in the mirror and smile..
I take my lunch silently without looking at my mom. Thank god my mom is busy talking with someone on a phone, planning to go for shopping
I come back to my room with thousands of thoughts in my mind...
I look at the clock. It's only 1:00pm, I say to my self oh dear I am gonna die of anxiety. What do I do so that time passes quickly? cause waiting is killing me. I am not in a mood to think about anything else. I just want to meet Aarav.
I sit on a couch, switch on the T.V. and start watching songs absent minded. I think about the time we spent together in Delhi. Our dance.. Why is it feeling so good to think about Aarav? I lie down on a couch, close my eyes and think.. will he have been feeling the same way about me???
At night I am ready in my red dress, he comes to pick me up..I sit next to Aarav in his car.
We are going on a highway. It is unusually very dark and road is totally empty. Only our car is on the road.
We are talking about my studies and my plans for doing masters, that suddenly Aarav loses his control over steering wheel and our car hits big tree on the side of the road.
I am not able to decide what is happening? and 'bang' something hits my head and its totally dark in front of my eyes..
When I open my eyes my head is spinning and aching badly, when I touch my forehead, 'ouch'..is the first word comes out of my mouth. I feel that my fingers are wet with blood, I look at my fingers. I slowly turn my face towards Aarav. See that Aarav is unconscious with his head on a steering wheel, I try to wake him up, "Aarav....",my head is aching so badly that I am not able to speak properly.. He doesn't answer.
I again call him by touching his hand this time clearly, "hey Aarav.... " but no answer..now I am worried. I shake him by grabbing his hand and say loudly, "Aarav...." but nothing..
I forget my pain and try to lift his head, and a scream comes out my mouth cause his forehead is stained with blood, his nose is bleeding, I see blood coming out from his mouth..
I gently tap on his cheeks and shout "Aarav... Aarav.... wake up" but no answer..
I pull him close and lay his head in my lap, wipe his blood with my dress and plead with tears coming out of my eyes, "Aarav...please come back.. open your eyes.. please Aarav..."
I am not able to speak properly, I am chocked...I am sobbing convulsively. My tears are falling on his cheeks, I don't know what to do now? I want to yell out loud but voice is not coming out of my mouth...
I start panicking..I look at Aarav then look out side.. not knowing what to do? I am breathing heavily..my hands are all wet with blood and sweat.
I think water will help him so I search for water bottle but I can't find it as my hands are trembling.. I am constantly whimpering.
Once again I vigorously tap on his cheeks and try to wake him up..crying out loud, "please Aarav wake up....please god.. what do I do now?.
Hey friends.. please forgive me for any mistakes..