The Wait and the Heart Break
Another story from Mira’s life…
It’s been two years that Arohan moved out of Mumbai because of a challenging career move; He was offered a huge package by an IT company in Delhi, and he couldn’t resist that. He went away to Delhi, and with it began a long saga of wait, thirst and loneliness for Mira.
Mira waited for Arohan’s call every day. But, he seldom cared. Perhaps in two years of relationship, Arohan was sure that Mira was here to stay. She wrote countless SMSs, waiting to hear back. And he replied only at his will. Days passed, weeks rolled by, and their relationship slipped into doldrums.
“But you said you’d come to meet me this week!”, she said breaking into tears.
“Do you think I am jobless? I told you I had planned, and now I am saying that’s cancelled. What am I to do when I am not being given the leaves? Should I resign and come at your service ma’am?” he yelled, not knowing how his harsh and unsympathetic words pierced Mira’s heart with a sharp pain. This time she yelled, her voice turning hoarse.
“OK, OK…I quit! It was my fault to get into a long-distance relationship. It was my fault that I loved you. What I wished from you was your attention towards me and your love – just love. Now that I realize how unjustified it was to ask for this much from you, I quit. I call it quits!” She sobbed uncontrollably.
Arohan said nothing and disconnected the call. Mira held the phone close to her ears even long after the call was disconnected. She sat speechless, staring at absolute nothingness that lay ahead. Then she dropped the phone, knowing very well what she had done – she had broken up with Arohan, and Arohan’s disconnecting the phone without a word was only an affirmation to what she did.
Next morning, she dragged herself to work, feeling a strange numbness at heart. She felt like losing her cell phone somewhere or crushing it to pieces. The phone reminded her of all the phone calls and SMSs that kept the distance short in their long-distance relationship. But she didn’t. Perhaps she still waited deep down in her heart for the cell phone to ring again, to see Arohan’s name flash on the screen and to hear Arohan say “sorry”.
Yes, it rang. But it wasn’t Arohan’s call. The call was from Anurag, her college classmate, who lived and worked in Mumbai. He had got connected with Mira recently through a common friend. They soon exchanged phone numbers and spoke occasionally.
“Hey, Mira! What’s up? Just wanted to ask you if we can meet today? Hope you are free? Please say: Yes! Anurag sounded very enthusiastic. Mira had this strange feeling of esteem when Anurag asked her out. She felt important after a long time. She felt somewhat better. She thought that was the best chance to get away from Arohan’s memories and the relentless wait that knew no ends.
“Yes, I shall see you. Let’s meet at Cafe’ Aroma, at 6 pm. OK? OK, madam! He sounded more enthusiastic when he said that.
That evening they met. They shared all about themselves. Anurag talked about his girlfriend. He told her how they met and how they fell in love. Now it was Mira’s turn to speak. She was afraid to tell that she had a boyfriend and she had recently broken off, for reasons unknown to herself.
She started talking about herself, about Arohan, and how they managed their long-distance relationship so beautifully. She felt horrible to lie, but she did. While she spoke, she noticed Anurag listening to her very keenly, noticing every move of her eyes, her lips, and how her fingers made motions while she spoke. She felt uncomfortable, as if her lie had been caught. But she went on.
At around 7:30 pm they were ready to leave. Anurag proposed Mira to drop her home. She agreed. She wanted to spend some more moments with Anurag. She was neither in love with him nor did she feel any kind of attraction for him. She just wanted some time to pass, so that she could escape her loneliness. Anurag and Mira left the place.
As Anurag drove, he looked at Mira and said: “It was so nice to meet you. We should meet often.
Mira smiled and said: “What about your girlfriend? Wouldn’t she mind?”
“No, Mira. Not at all. I already told her about you and she is happy that I am seeing an old friend.”
A sword soaked in the poison called jealousy perforated her already broken heart. She thought: What a beautiful relationship they share – so open and clear.
Anurag looked at her once and towards the road while he drove. He said: “What are you thinking? I think something is disturbing you! What’s that? Tell me, come on.”
How he read Mira’s mind (or face), Mira was unsure about. But she was impressed for sure.
“This boy is so sensible! If he can see the pain in my eyes, I am sure, he could do this better with his girlfriend, “I thought.
He fanned his left hand across my face to break my thoughts, and said: What’s wrong? You look lost? She sat silently gazing all the things outside the car window.
“OK, forget it! Let me take you to my favorite restaurant. Let me make you happy tonight.” He looked cheerful.
“Oh, no! Please. Not to a restaurant now. I am late and moreover, I am feeling a bit unwell,” she said gently. She was trying to act as normal as possible. But Anurag could clearly see the sadness in her eyes that day.
“Oh, my God! You are so stubborn! I told you that you will feel happy at heart after you went with me to my favorite restaurant. But still, you are adamant not to go with me,” he said. He looked really offended, as if, Mira was his girlfriend who confessed of not trusting him.
His eagerness to take Mira to a restaurant made her really doubt his intentions. Mira thought: ‘ Should I trust him? He has a girlfriend, then why is he showing so much of interest on me? Hope he didn’t sense from my behavior that I have broken up with Arohan. Delhi boys are so clever and smart. I am sure Anurag must have also grown smart with time.
No, I can’t go with him. What if he tries to get physical? What if he kisses me?’
While Mira was soaked in her thoughts about Anurag, the car came to a sudden stop, and the jerk shook her back to reality.
‘Why have you stopped the car here? Where are we?’, she asked annoyingly.
‘Madam, chill! While you were busy cooking your thoughts, I drove you down to my favorite restaurant! There it is!’
Anurag opened the window glasses and pointed out towards a man standing at the side of the street, with two large steel utensils which let out steam from its sides. Young boys and girls gleefully devoured delicious-looking steaming Momos, smeared in red chili-garlic sauce.
Mira was thrilled! She looked happily at him. For the first time since that evening, she actually smiled from her heart. ‘Remember Mira, how we gobbled up the steaming momos at Debeshwar’s stall near our college in Guwahati?’
Anurag said enthusiastically. Let’s re-live those days. Both jumped out of the car (literally) and within a few minutes, they were devouring delicious momos.
After they finished eating, it was already 8:15 pm. ‘Let me drop you home,’ Anurag proposed. Mira didn’t want to show him where she lived. By now she started fearing his demanding and over-friendly nature.
‘Sure! But not home. Drop me near DDA market. I need to pick some grocery from there,’ Mira said.
‘As you say, Madam,’ Soon they reached the DDA market.
Mira opened the door of the car, looked at Anurag, smiled and said: Thanks, for the lovely evening!
Anurag just smiled. As she was about to step out of the car, Anurag quickly said: Hang on, Mira. I have a quick question for you. Mira looked back at him, startled by his serious looks and intense eyes. ‘Do you really love Arohan?’ Mira was taken aback. ‘What kind of a question it is?’ she thought. ‘Yes, I love him a lot, Anurag. But why did you ask that?’ Mira asked. She was utterly confused.
Anurag smiled and said: ‘Great! You may go now. Go..go..go you are already late! He was giggling now.
Mira was zapped by the dramatic change of Anurag’s expression. A while ago, his eyes reflected the looks of a deperate lover who was craving to be loved by the woman he loves and one who doesn’t love him but someone else. And now, he was the same cheerful friend that she knew in college.
She said a warm friendly ‘bye’ and left. Anurag drove away.
That night Mira couldn’t sleep. The beautiful moments of togetherness with Arohan in Mumbai haunted her. She felt like a lost child in an unknown neighborhood. She was craving to be hugged by Arohan. She was craving to hear his voice. She hated the thought of staying away from him. She kept staring at her cell phone, hoping that it rang. But it didn’t.
It was 1:30 am. Her eyes were tired and sleepy. But she couldn’t close her eyes. The moment she did, she couldn’t see anything else besides Arohan’s face.
Not for a moment she thought of Anurag – the man who tried to make her happy the last evening. He was, for her, an evening well spent. She kept staring at the night sky.
From her bed, the window opened into the dark sky above, with millions of stars which lay strewn like her dreams in a future of absolute darkness. At least, that night, she was not aware what the following days would bring to her. She was not aware of a new beginning that awaited. Soon her eyes closed and she sank into deep sleep, with dreams of Arohan wrapped under her pillow.