Thursday, March 28, 2013

The wedding ring : Chapter 1 (Yester-years . We were BEST FRIENDS FOREVER)

“I want to meet you” she stared at the text blankly as the memories danced before her eyes.”Why?” she replied hesitantly.
“I am getting engaged this week.
Will be settling in states .can we meet one last time ?”

“Married” she was in a daze. All her dreams of standing next to him , wearing the red bridal dress that flaunted itself in the showroom opposite Kulfiwala’s , Kulfiwala , where they used to fight over the last bite of the famous “Badam Kulfi” of Dehradoon , after taking a long walk down the “Mall road” every evening.
In her chirpy voice she had often declared "I want a church wedding". To which Nihal had often replied "Tujhse shadi kaun karega Jhalli.Gay marriage is not allowed in India my Boi." (Who will marry you. ) Seeing her smile fade off , Nihaal had wrapped his hands around her shoulder and pulled her cheeks lovingly "Koi nahi mila tujhe to mai karlunga" (If you dont get anyone then I'll marry you) Lipika would immedietly start chuckling and reply after sharing a round of laughter "Nihal.You will get a firang when you move out of India.".He would inch closer to her and whisper in his husky voice "Koi nahi.Double timing kar lenge.Bhag chalenge shadi ke bad"(Never mind.We'll run away after marriage). And the sun would have plunged into the oblivion and the moon would have adorned the pitch dark sky , smiling at their innocent laughter and immaterial future plans. But alas , it had been seven years since they had walked down that road.Ages since the nature had been a witness of their never ending friendshp Four years since their eyes had last met. Innumerous turns of   unjust life and each night was spent in wakeful agony , searching the farthest recesses of her mind , wondering what went wrong and  how to bring him back ? And now after what seemed like a lifetime he only had returned to tell her that he was getting married.
“Meet me at Creme centre tomorrow at 1 pm” she tasted the salty tears rolling down unabated to her mouth.
She threw away her cellphone in despair.Hanging on to all their memories had been difficult.The wind rustled through the big glass windows facing the west , that gave her a panaromic view of the jinxed city. She banged the table with her fist as she sobbed bitterly
“Can we meet today itself ?
“What time ? Where ?”
“Lipika , remember Kulfi walas ? ?”

The message immediately brought back a thousand memories.How she used to steal chocolates from his bags after school and how he would eat her lunch every afternoon and she would never complaint..How he had confessed he liked a girl in their tution , one fine evening , while sitting on the tattered jute chair near Kulfiwala- their favorite Kulfi shop.How she had played the cupid for Nihal and Alice and how nothing had remained the same in the years that followed.No more evening walks , no more Kulfiwala , no more talking about every thing, no more casual flirting , no more late night conversations and above all “No more Nihal” How she wished she could undo that moment where she had forced him to attend the physics tution on 22nd of December.They would have happily watched a movie that evening , maybe had a heart to heart conversation , followed by a bike ride and may be  just may be she would have had realized after those moments of nothingness , that she was in love with him. Always.But she had to realize it only after  it was too late. Too late to bring him back  too late to not end up being just a friend.After Alice and Nihal completed their one year of togetherness , she had locked herself in the girls washroom and cried through the day. She saw them kiss that morning. Her breakdown and the tears that flooded the washroom an evidence of the heart wrenching pain she underwent.

One sultry summer afternoon while walking down the mall road he had hugged her from behind.He wanted to catch up. She had flinched and jerked him off. Feeling his lost touch her heart raced a marathon and she felt weak in her knees. But how could Nihal not see that she loved him? How could he be in love with Alice ? What is it that Alice had that she didn’t ? Lipika Gupta was the girl guys would trade their lives for. For that charming pleasant smile of hers.About those dove like hazel eyes guys would write poems and sing songs.The way she swayed her waist while dancing or playing basket ball , was the hot topic of discussion in every food court and canteen. “But she is dating that Nihaal from Xaviers.She is anyways an arrogant bitch when it comes to love. And if you dare look at her Nihaal will feed your eyes to an eagle  and make sure you are never seen in dehradoon again.” Another rumor had it “No they are not together Lipika has a thing for Nihal. He is dating a girl outside his community. Lipika Gupta is now single,” While a bunch of plastics believed “Nihal is like some greek god ! And Lipika , she is the perfect example of manufacturing went wrong. Misfit !” As opposed to this there were those silly jilly’s who believed in fables and love stories. Who read Nicholas sparks and believed in Fairy tales “Nihal and Lipika. They are perfect for each other. They are born for each other” But how did it matter as long as they were not together ?

After the basketball match between Xaviers and De’nobli , when Nihal had seen Lipika flirting with the muscular built , six foot frame , fair English guy, he had dragged her through the corridors to an empty classroom and shouted at her “What the hell do you think you are doing ? How dare you flirt with him ? Are you out of your mind ?” after a heated argument and a lot of accusations when Nihal had banged his fist on the window , pinning Lipika involuntarily to the wall , she had felt his warm breath on her bare neck. Seeing his hand bleed profusely she had clinged it to her chest and cried , while Nihal had stared at her wondering how he had failed to see that beautiful side of his best friend ? While tying his injured hand with her dupatta they had almost kissed. She had ran out of the room and not responded to his calls for three long months. She ended up lying that she was seeing someone who was way too possessive and didn’t fancy the idea of her hanging out with guys. He had accepted it reluctantly after battling his confused emotions and carrying forward the male tradition of “never accept your feelings for your best friend” They had never seen each other again after completing  12th boards.While Lipika went to Singapore University to pursue international relations , Nihal pursued business administration and mastered in patents and trademark law along with MBA from Harvard business school.And now the man of Lipika's dreams was getting married.Nihal was getting married.The mere thought made her  sick and she felt nauseous.After a wait of 9 long years , the CEO of Singhvi associates wanted to meet the Chairperson of Sondhi HR consultants.If not anything it was going to be utterly difficult , to face the man she had loved passionately , hopelessly , unwillingly for 9 years.
“Ofcourse I do.Meet me there in an hour she texted back,wiped away her tears and walked towards her changing room as the memories of the yester - years danced in front of her eyes.For a brief moment , even after all the time  it felt as if life would start making sense all over again.