It was a september evening. A week day. I was at my office with a client. It was all exciting when I started out. Office,work,an identity, respect in society, so and so. With time, I should say I got used to all these stuff. Its just that all days are same at office and at home as well. I checked time. It showed 4.30. I have to go home. My wife and kid will be waiting for me. There is an all important birthday party coming up,that we have to attend.I got a call from reception that someone is waiting up there to see me.I asked for the details and came to know that its 'an old friend' of mine.
From distance I could recognize what's waiting there for me at 10 feet distance. I made an eye to eye contact with her.If it had been some five plus four years ago, a harris jeyaraj melody or yuvan's beat would have made an apt background. But as of now its jus my lub-dub. "hiiii Sriram. . ." . she . Bright and clear with the same 1000 watts smile on her face. I said a soft 'hi'.I was indeed happy to see her after three long years. But why she had come all the way to visit me after all that happened.And my eyes said it all.
As always, she was good at reading my mind too. Clearing my doubts, she said "well. .its just a visit. . plain visit ram. . To know simply. .like. .how are you doing. . and how your life has been. . ." in a tone to cool down me. For a moment I felt so silly sbout me.Quickly recovering, I asked her if she would like to have a coffee. She obliged.
I have never seen even in my weirdest dream that I would have coffee with this girl with whom i fell in love with, who just needed a smile to blew me away , who driven me crazy and who left me broken and showed me how much I can love someone. ahhhh well. . its happening. She is right infront me.
Her hairline has gone half a inch above where it used to be when we were together. She has used a darker shade of lipgloss and nailcolors.Under eyebags are visible. Damn different from the swathi I know. But still charming enough.Her eyes still carried that mystique. I could'n see them anymore and when I looked down, I saw her wedding ring. She was looking out through the window sipping the coffee.
I started it. "so how are you,swat? " . "oh very good,Ram. How is your family? your wife and you have a kid no. Heard it from some friend.Boy baby or girl baby?". I smiled and said "girl" . "Fantastic. For godsake don't tell me that her name is 'swathi' (laughs) ". Her joke didn't work well with me. Understanding that she leaned little front, punched me between my heart and shoulders and said,"Man. . I was joking""oh. .Is it madam. .ha ha. ." I shot back. I got this feeling as if we were in college. She speaks a lot now.But at that time it was me.She used to be a good listener.After sharing and spending lot of good and bad times with her, I asked her out. I actually gave her a 2003 diary(an old diary)full of my writings describing how I felt for her. That's how I proposed to her. Believe it or not, she didn't even gave back a word as reply. While returning the diary, she kissed me.kissed me right at my forehead and asked if she could keep the diary with her forever.
"So how is your married life swat. . your hubby. . you both came on a trip to India or what?" It was damn difficult for me to ask this out.But over time I have learned to accept things. She got married two years after and a year later of our break up. "We are not together ram. We got separated.He has gone his ways and am minding mine.Marriage din work out." she stopped.
"But why swat. . you are an awesome girl. Why do u need to go through all this. . " ."I don't know ram.It has been a year now ". We should not have broken up.If I had been by her side, she would not have suffered.I should not have allowed this to happen. But most of the times life is not same as we think.At times it's so strange.When me and swat brought it to a level of telling parents, lot of issues surfaced up. She had a single mother and a very different brought up. Mine is a family of 10 people living in a part down of south TamilNadu.Things never really worked out.Her mom worked as a soft skills trainer.Her professional way of dressing,accent and manners was a bizarre at my home. When me and swat were trying to settle every issue, she got an opportunity to do masters in abroad.She planned to get married as soon as possible or least case get engaged with me formally and then flying out of India.I was not okay with her plans.When family was posing enough problems , we got some more in the form of career decisions. Finally we called 'it quits'. She married an NRI and went to US. That's it. I too got married a little later with a girl of my mom's choice.
"Flash back eh. ." she asked breaking the long silence. "kind of" I said. "Are you happy ram?". "what are you trying to ask swat. .""Just that ram. . are you happy?". "Am content".I took the safer side. "hah. . .Problem is that ram, we dreamt a lot when we were in the college but din stand up enough for even one of them. your aim was to be an entrepreneur. . a small, smart IT start up. .That's what you always talk about at those times.Now what are you doing in in a bank?? " .... ". That's true.I had no answers. Am not doing what I wanted to do.But am doing wat am destined to or that's how I take it to make things easier. "Not just you ram. I too had enough of it.We din marry because our parents din want us to. I went to do a foreign Masters beacause the peers were pressuring to do something to show that I belong to the cream group. And I married some stranger and presumed to live happily compromising every bit of me just because that's the theory. We had points to prove.And infact after all these years we have proved. But now I have this question Ram. why?? why do we need to prove this people.You know why am throwing up now. Because when am in my space, I feel left out.Emptiness is what all I have.Am not happy for what I have accomplished because I have not loved it.I could'n even figure out why my marriage fell out.Its not just about being happy. Its about a feeling of satisfaction that you are living your life"
"......................"I really had nothing to say. She rechecked herself through the process of life while I simply lost myself in the process.what can I advice her. Not to think more and complicate things. well its jus another way of saying get lost in the stream of things.
But she was in no mood to stop. "So I quit my job ram.Am settling down here.will do 'little somethings' to keep me busy and happy. I want to embrace everything that I feel I missed. That's why I visited you. well, I know I cannot embrace you(laughs)"
I admired her more than I did at our times.She should have read that too. I just wanted to see you,make sure that you are fine. That's it. She tried to smile.But a tear rolled down her cheek."It feels so good to be here.But its time I guess. . " she was signing off. I was reluctant to let her go.
She hugged me. Said good luck softly into my ears and left. She din even turn back.I was standing there looking at her vanishing out by the door. There goes the life I dreamt of. . . . . .
" enna sriram sir. . verum road eh morachu pathutu nikkureenga. innum kelambala veetukku. . " office assistant selvam. oh my god its already six!!!! hiyo birthday party!
"hello sorry ma. . call eh kavanikkala. . vanthutey irukken ma. nee ready ah iru. Ten mins la anga irupen. ."