Life took a complete 360 degree turn that very moment. I knew things were going to change. But, my mind was never ready to accept it. The harder I tried to make myself understand, the tougher it became. And now, I have stopped thinking much guessing this will make things easier (but, not right) for me.
It was some evening of July, 2011. Getting oneself into a coaching institution was a tough job when pupils were being selected via some brainstorming exams. And I, being someone lucky among the many deprived ones, was sitting in the classroom of one such coaching institution and dreaming about walking in the corridors of an IIT rather than paying attention to what the teacher was saying.
“Have you seen those new comers?” Swastika whispered into my ears.
I stumbled in my dreams. Being brought back to the class from my dream corridor sucked.
This thing about swastika irritated me the most. Whenever I would be busy, she would appear out of the blue to bother me.
Only then did I realize that the teacher was not in the classroom. This relieved my stress level a little. Dreaming about IIT was the easiest thing to do, but thinking about getting into an IIT had always given me some severe goose bumps.
“New comers??” trying to show swastika that I was paying attention to her, I brought back her topic.
Her eyes sparkled as always. Whenever she would feel that someone was paying attention to her, her spirits would lift beyond the blues and she would keep on blabbering. But, her blabbering had helped me always to return back to my normal senses and that would make my goose bumps relax!
“Yeah, AD told me that some new comers are going to join us. Their classes are going on in that small classroom. Just a hand full of students though!” she continued “and you know there is a guy named Ayush. He is super cute. Believe me, he is such a close friend of mine. He is just so so awesome…” she continued.
Paying little heed to what she was saying, “We had such a tough time cracking those questions of the selection exam and these people are getting admitted without even giving an exam!!” I started talking to myself!
I suppose, by then, I was more curious than swastika to meet those new comers just to see if they were some one really special who could get admission without giving exams.
We got a break of 30 minutes which was for me, the best part of being in the classes. The whole classroom filled with blare.
“HEY, THEY ARE COMING!” swastika flew into the room screaming at the top of her voice.
My curiosity was growing beyond limits.
A girl entered followed by some other boys. All of them looked dumb to me (most of the times, I judge people by the way they dress).
I was trying to figure out that ‘cute’ boy about whom swastika was talking without any halt. At last finding no one better than the worst looking guy in my school, Don Bosco, I stopped my search and anyway, I was getting bored staring at dumb people. Instead, I preferred getting involved with my friends.
And by that time, next class was about to start.
‘Math’…the class was interesting.
While I was busy wrecking my brain on a sum, sir’s voice broke my concentration a little. He was talking with someone at those back benches. Being lazy enough to turn back, I continued with the sum with an ear to sir’s conversation.
“…Ayush, nothing`s easy now-a-days. There’s competition everywhere…” sir continued with his usual dull dialogues, but the name struck me that very moment and my laziness disappeared in the blink of an eye. I turned round to face what I had not expected in this dull, boring atmosphere filled with nerd looking pupils! Among all the boys Ayush did stand out. It took me some real moments to force myself to do the boring sum and stop looking at someone so soothing to my senses! In a single line, he was the kind of guy, a girl would be proudly moving around with.
‘AYUSH!!’ I murmured under my breath. He had some charm, after all.
“Heeeyyy…..did you see Ayush? We are the bestest friends, you know. He shares everything with me.” Swastika had opened her mouth the very moment I was busy concentrating on a guy! “And you know what; he has a crush on me…ssshhhh! Tell none. He really likes me you know!”
I stared at swastika, up and down, and finding no reason for a guy like Ayush to adore that tiny, 4 feet 3 inch girl, “Lemme concentrate on the sum!” I told her. Though, then, the sum for me meant Ayush.
“Okay now, am single, not that bad looking and from what others say, friendly too. Btw, is Ayush single? Uummm…he must be single! Did not swastika say that he has a crush on her! Eww… that’s impossible. . . . Maybe, possible. And one can have a crush on someone even after being in a relationship.” My mind was all jumbled up with stupid sarcastic thoughts.
The next day in class while he was entering the class I stared at him like people stare at the cinema screen.
‘He did not even look at me! Dumbass, go and talk to him yourself!’ but I never had that gut. Days went on and slowly we started greeting each other with smiles and simple hellos. And by then, after knowing about his girl friend I had already started feeling a little jealous whenever I would think of it!
I was living with some sort of attachment with this guy. Time was to decide whether I loved that guy or was it mere attraction for some moments!
Every day, I would keep on waiting for him to come and greet me with a smile. But one particular day, classes had already started and he was nowhere to be seen, I got depressed. The classroom looked like a dungeon to me. I wanted to see him once. It had grown into a habit of mine to look at him, from a distance though, and that too, without his knowledge. Even swastika was absent that day, so there was none to lift my spirits, which were by then, a thousand meters below the crust. It was me sitting with Manisha alone in a three sitter bench.
To my utter disbelief, and my absolute happiness, Ayush entered the classroom. Unknowingly I was smiling. I had never been so happy and relieved in my life, not even when I broke up with my ex-boyfriend! Ayush looked for a place to sit at the back benches. But lucky enough for me they were fully occupied that day.
“You can sit here” I motioned him moving closer to Manisha and making space for him to sit. I have no idea, how I spoke to him then, but I loved myself for opening my mouth at the right time.
He came and sat near me. I could feel that fragrance he carried, his warmth, the sense of Ayush near me was something words can’t express. He looked attractive (as always). His hands were so near mine, I wanted to hold ‘em, feel his silk touch, and just tell him all I wanted to. I was completely without a doubt, so mad for him! Sitting with him in the classroom, was like living a dream.
For a microsecond, his hand did touch mine (accidentally!) and I remember clearly, how I blushed and turned red at that touch (which can hardly be called touch!). After that I did not have the guts even to lift my head to look at what sir was teaching.
How foolish it was of me, to be pushing myself into something that was never going to turn into reality. Even though, it seemed like things were going my way, I knew somewhere something was going to get wrong along the way. But I did not have the courage to move away from Ayush! And I fell deeper into the pit, running at his back.
As time passed by and as I did not get anything more than a smile and a hello from him, I tried to take off my mind from Ayush. I also had my new school mates to deal with then, and that was rather a lot of trouble.
To be honest, for a few months, I almost forgot that there existed some guy for whom I was so passionate at the beginning! It grew into my usual habit to smile at him and pass the classes looking at him, but I never knew that in some corner of my mind, some part of Ayush was still alive, dormant, waiting for the right minute to arrive!
Gradually, I fell in love with one of my classmates, Arhan. He was the type of guy I always dreamt of - mature, loving, caring and so understanding- the perfect guy to make our commitment endure through all times!
Those first days of relationship, new love romances, being so involved in each other that we forget the whole world, all of it kept me so engrossed that I started imagining my childhood fairy dream to be turning into reality. But things never remain the same. I started finding fault in my newly made fairy tale. How I dreamt my boy to be at my beck and call every moment I wanted him to. Arhan was indeed a matured guy, or from my point of view someone over matured for a ‘childlike’ girl like me. Every time, I would find some fault in him, I would realize how stupid I was, and that started giving rise to more and more grudge over the days against Arhan, against my relationship with him, and most specifically against myself for choosing him as my boy friend!
In the mean time, my ‘friendship’ with Ayush grew stronger. And without my knowledge, I was falling for Ayush.
By the time, I realized it; I knew how wrong things were. Guilt over took my mind and soul, but my heart was not ready to accept the fact that Ayush was not my guy. My heart had gone so far into Ayush that I realized; there was either no way back, or a real tough time ahead!
I surrendered in front of my heart, and I let it wander around Ayush, rather than helping Arhan making our relationship stronger and durable. At every moment, I knew I was going the wrong way, but I let everything happen its own way.
Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, over the days our friendship had grown into not only some strong bond, but it was going much ahead of just saying ‘I love you’! I would surrender before my desires rather than my conscience. I opened myself in front of Ayush.
During the first days, no hint of hesitation came to my mind when we both got lost into one another. We went on with the flow and for me life seemed ‘perfect’.
One day after coming out of my school gates, I knew not what went wrong with me. I pulled Arhan out of his crowd of friends and pulled him to a spot near the Baptist church. My conscience did turn out victorious in the war against my heart.
“Can we talk for a while?” frustration was clear in my voice and I knew he had realized it because he held my hand and started walking into the church. We sat inside and for the first time, (after how many months I don’t remember) he kissed me softly on my cheek, “Anything wrong dear?” the softness in his voice pierced my heart. Guilt filled in every nook and corner of me.
I broke down in his arms. He held me tight till I regained my senses to speak.
“Arhan, I am sorry.” I could not look into his eyes. I was filthily ashamed of myself.
He sat there holding my hand and playing with my fingers. Neither did he say a word nor did he look at me. I knew he was preparing himself for what I was going to say.
I went on. Starting from the first day I have seen Ayush till that very day, I told Arhan everything. Finishing my detailed elongated speech, I looked at him. He was still holding my hand and then, even tighter. He was looking out of the window. I did not want to say anything more. I was feeling like my real self at that moment. I had told Arhan everything and I knew whatever decision he would take would be the last decision and I won’t have any word on that! I was ready to face anything that would come in front of me because I knew no matter what happens he would still love me. I kept on looking at the outline of his face which was slowly getting hazy due to tears in my eyes. He was the best person by heart I have ever met and I will ever meet, and I knew I loved him truly.
Surprising me, “Come let’s go. I will pay your bus fare! You must be getting late.” He stood up. The moment he left my hand some emptiness entered my soul.
I followed his words like an order or rather like an obedient child who was caught for doing something wrong. As we were walking by the streets to the bus stand, I was finding it hard to direct myself. At last, I spoke out in a voice which sounded like a stranger to me, “You don’t want to say anything? I mean, about…” I did not know what or how to say.
He did not look at me. Walking straight looking ahead, he said, “Past is past. I want you to live the present always. Thanks that you have told me everything. I have full faith on you that you will never do anything wrong with me.”
He silently bade me good bye. Though he did not say anything more, I knew how hurt he was. ‘I trust you’!! His words echoed in my mind all the way back home.
Things did not get any easier after that. I knew that I have told Arhan everything and now it was my turn to prove his trust on me valid. But facing Ayush and controlling my heart was going to be the hardest task.
Coming for coaching today?
I stared at Ayush’s SMS for long. I knew I had to tell him that what we were doing was not right, neither on my side nor his. Instead, I preferred to check things out for some more time. ‘Telling him something like this all of a sudden won’t be a good idea. I better fuck my mouth shut for a while, and try to lessen our closeness slowly!’ I told myself!
Yep, see you then! Don’t be late… I replied.
I had my mind clear what I had to do in the coming days, but there was my weak heart pleading me all the way not to push Ayush apart, though it already had Arhan in it! Things were getting freaking insane in my life and I had no idea why or what I wanted.
Entering the classroom, Ayush came and sat near me! His fragrance once again filled the air. Fighting over my emotional ‘emotions’, we completed our class. I guess I did succeed in behaving as normally as I could.
Acting as if things were okay for me, had grown into my habit. I told Ayush nothing about the conversation between me and Arhan. I told him nothing about what I thought about ‘us’.
Sometimes the thought would come in my mind that if Ayush would not have been there, life would have been so much easier for me. I had cursed him a thousand times in my dreams and even when something went wrong between me and Arhan, I directly would put the fault on him; though I knew Ayush would be the last person on this planet to be blamed for anything going wrong in my life. No matter what happened between Ayush and me in the past days or more preferably in the past few months, had created some respect in my mind for him. He had supported me all throughout these months, being there for me whenever I wanted him to and even when Arhan could not find time for me, Ayush would be there to cheer me up with his adorable nature. And I believed I had no right to disturb him with my sentimental talks of pushing him apart.
Ayush and I would go for walks hand in hand before our coaching classes. Those dark winter evenings would turn into a romantic feat with him near me. If these walks would have taken place a few months earlier, I guess I would have never felt any guilt in my conscience. But, then, it was different, Arhan knew about Ayush and even after that, I was moving around with Ayush! I would get so depressed at times thinking about how terrible I was that I would spend the whole night wetting my pillow with tears. These were the times when those teasingly spoken words would seem true to me. After I broke up with my ex-boyfriend, Javed, one of my childhood friends, laughed at me and enacted a few words, which if summarized speaks that I was a characterless brat playing with boy’s lives, and that I should carry a hoarding at my back saying, ‘boys! Beware.’
At those tough times, the only person who brought a genuine smile to my face was Arhan. Every day or every moment with him was special. Being with him left me guilt free and light hearted for a few minutes. His presence near me had always given me some freedom from my solitude.
One day, I had almost prepared myself to talk with Ayush about those matters. With an upset heart, I walked into the classroom and started my wait for Ayush. That day, he was not as late for the coaching as he always was. Watching him walk up to me, made me choke for a second. Finally he sat beside me.
“Hey!” he looked into my eyes with that zeal in his.
I smiled back. It was getting harder for me with every drink of his fragrance, to preserve those words I had to say, in my mind. Slowly yet distinctly I felt his touch. I did not look at him; rather I traced his touch which slid right round my waist. Holding me tight, he slipped much nearer to me leaving no gap between us. I took a deep breath inhaling his fragrance even more, which was slowly taking me into its grip, making me feel lightheaded. By then, all the words I had prepared had vanished from my mind. Little by little I lifted my hand and placed it on his thighs. He held my hand, filling the gaps between my fingers with his.
“You smell so good…” he whispered in my ear inhaling a puff of air! I turned to look at him just to realize that his lips were only a few centimeters away from my face. I turned the other way, turning red with my heart beating so hard that I thought it was gonna tear my chest apart!
I heard a short laugh from Ayush, “proximity alert!!” he laughed again and moved a little apart.
“It’s damn hard to control myself!”
I knew I had to say something, but I preferred staying quiet. I merely nodded my head and laughed.
Months passed by, but I never could gather the guts to tell Ayush or Arhan about what was going on in my life. I had started to acquire a liking towards life with Arhan near me in school and Ayush near me the other times of the day. I had stopped thinking much because it would always lead me into depression.
In a corner of my heart, I knew that I was ruining mine, as well as the boys’ lives by not sticking to my decision. But, I could do nothing. I did not have the strength and courage to face either of them after making them know the reality. I stopped thinking about how the future would be for me. And I started living with a guilty soul piercing my heart and darkening me all the while.
I had grown too weak over the days to even speak my mind out in front of people. I was afraid of everyone. I believed that telling people what I think would push ‘em apart from me. I had no more confidence left in me. I was not living, but simply passing the days on this planet. Every night I would pray and pray for things to be right. But the next moment, I would ask God not to take Ayush away from me. I wanted him to be with me at every step of my life just as I wanted Arhan to be. I had no idea what I was leading myself into.
Finding some unexpected turns at every point of my life had turned into my habit. This time too, it was nothing different. When life had started to settle down a little and was in the process of seeming better, I had to face what I did not imagine even in my dreams.
That night, after having my dinner I settled myself on my study table. I had loads and loads of things left to practice and even memorize! Opening the first page of my book, anger filled me in. Those problem sums always got the hell out of me.
Saving me from the anger pit, my cell beeped once. I jumped up and ran up to my cell phone kept in the next room. It was Ayush. I was relieved on finding Ayush then. Opening those books of our syllabus had given me serious headaches most of the time.
We talked for a while. His words were always enough to cheer me up at any situation, and that had made me dependent on him so much that whenever I would be in a state of depress, or anger or disgust would fill the air around me, I would contact Ayush and that always did make everything just perfectly fine.
But then, I had gained some control over my heart consoling it with the fact that Ayush was always going to be near me, no matter what happens. Even though I would be close with him just like before, I had the control over what I was doing. I wanted him to be near me till the end of times as my closest friend ever. Life without him was unimaginable and I never did try to think anything of that sort.
I loved myself for regaining my control over my heart. Arhan was my love and yeah, Ayush! I loved Ayush too, but not more than the best friend of mine. I loved sharing every minute thing with him, things which I would find hard to share with others, would end up in Ayush’s ears.
I had to talk about something important…
Unable to make out what it might be, I replied,
I have thought about it a lot and I think it would be better if we remain just friends…it would be good for both of us…I think this will be the best thing to do…
I never expected these words to come from his side. I was utterly shocked and confused and injured. The next moment I controlled myself ‘that’s what I wanted all these months. It’s good that it has come from his part. We will still be friends…best pals!’ consoling myself,
Aah! Sure. That should not be a problem J
I was hurt and my heart was aching. Tears were incessantly flowing down my cheeks. I did not bother to wipe them away. I had no idea why I was so hurt, but all I knew was that it pained a lot.
J I wanted to tell you this from a long time, but was not able to. Anyways, I got to go now. Good night.
He spoke everything with so much ease, that at that moment, I was urged to feel like it was I who was some unwanted element in his life. The darkness of the night seemed darker that night, with silence everywhere around me. And in that dark night, I wept, with its sound filling my little room.
Even then, I had that little might in me left to face him. The next day at the coaching was the same for everyone else. Neither me, nor Ayush discussed anything about the previous night’s messages. But, that day, he was not that Ayush who used to stare at me whenever he got the chance to, he was not the Ayush who would make me forget to breath for some split seconds with his touch, he was not the Ayush, with whom I used to be so freely sharing every detail of my life.
The next day was even worse. Trying to talk with him from the beginning of the classes and finding failure at every attempt had started hunting me. I did not know that being ‘just friends’ meant I won’t be able to talk with him the way I used to. I had heaps of things stored in me to tell him. I did not know that being ‘just friends’ meant less talks and less looking at one another. I never thought that being ‘just friends’ would push me so apart from him within the span of two days.
According to him, he did what he thought to be the best to do. But, was pushing me away all of a sudden really the best way he could find?? He was the same with everyone else, except me.
He started being with new people most of the times. I still had Javed, Jyotish and Manisha – my good pals in the coaching centre. But, Ayush was always someone more special for me and will always be, no matter what decision he takes. My heart did not listen to my orders ever; then how was it supposed to accept Ayush’s sudden decisions.
… Life took a complete 360 degree turn that very moment. I knew things were going to change. But, my mind was never ready to accept it. The harder I tried to make myself understand, the tougher it became. And now, I have stopped thinking much guessing this will make things easier (but, not right) for me.
I stare at Ayush as I always used to, I always look up to him entering the classroom, with the hope of he looking into my eyes with that enticing zeal. I still have that hope of him slipping next to me in the classroom, fill me with his striking fragrance and listen to my nonsense talks, and make me smile. I no longer have my Ayush to bring back my cheers.
I now got what I wanted a few months ago, without even making the effort of talking with Ayush about all of those.
But, I never wanted to create this distance between us that it would be difficult even to talk with him without that hesitation in my voice. I now feel left out and lonely all the time.
Every time he would look or exchange a few words with me, I would find it hard to control my tears.
Every moment with him flashes before my mind, whenever I see him standing so close to me, yet so far away!
We had shared moments which will be treasured by me till my last breath. He will always be that miracle in my life that filled my life with moments many crave to experience once in their life time.
A part of my heart will always beat for him no matter how hard I try. And now, I have stopped trying, guessing it will make things easier for me.
I can’t stop hoping that some day he will be back…the Ayush I knew, because it was he who once told me, “I will be in your life as long as you want me to…”