Disclaimer: This part has been authored by my creative innovative dear friend Mohua.
February 14, Valentine’s Day
“Sona…Sona….Sona….college nahi jaana hai kya”, her mothers’ irritated voice brought her out of her reverie. “Yes, yeah…aanmm.. yeah, I am getting ready.” “Aur yeh itni subah subah kiska phone tha?” “Ananya, mom. was just asking which colour dress I am wearing to the college today so that we both don’t end up in the same colour looking like clowns….”
Valentine’s Day in Delhi is just like any other day…..except the fact that suddenly the city seems to be draped in red overnight, flower prices sore to unimaginable heights, all multiplexes, Shoppers stops, malls, discotheques, restaurants, Baristas are bustling with couples (all in red) hand in hand, their eyes sparkling, their hearts thumping to be with their soulmates; the news channel correspondents (not in red) competing to get some exclusive love-bytes from couples trying to hide their face from their families, the “Lookhas” can be seen wandering in search of their elusive Valentine, and Shiv Sena and Bajrang dal activists make their annual pilgrimage to Archies and Hallmark galleries. It was Rishi’s idea to meet in a quiet little coffee house in Kamla Nagar rather than any over-crowded pompous place. He always felt that Valentine’s day had been reduced to just a commercial gimmick rather than a day to celebrate the true spirit of love. Giving expensive gifts, wasting his time window-shopping in some malls or stupidly staring at a movie screen wasn’t his idea of a perfect date. He just wanted to spend all his time looking into her kohl-lined eyes, listening to her innocent tales about her friends, sipping in the beauty of her child-like laughter, pure, unadulterated…… Sona also wanted to spend her time just with him, away from the glares and stares of the world. It was Valentine’s day, their day, a day to be cherished, a day to forget all the worries and nagging tensions of life, of a shaking love relationship, a day to collect the ashes and re-invigorate the dying fire of love.
Rishi and Sona both had completed their graduation and were now pursuing their MBA’s. Rishi had moved to Delhi and what started as ‘tp’ chatting slowly converted into a relationship whose foundations were able to resist all the tremors of ego clashes, jealousy, petty misunderstandings, lack of time, insensitive attitude, broken promises and what not. For Rishi, she was the only reason of his very existence. Everyday, he would call her first thing in the morning (the economics no longer a consideration. “An idea can change your life“) to begin his day with her “lavily” voice and invariably would find himself unable to sleep without listening to her voice at night. Ofcourse, the classes were spent in sending SMSes to each other, the cute little texts helping them bear the distance. Though he was in Delhi now, their colleges were quite far away and as such they could meet only on weekends. After Orkut, GTalk, Idea, their love had found a new medium: GMAIL. While the former ones were instantaneous, GMAIL gave their love that dimesnion of longing, that feeling of yearning which is the most pleasant pain of love. It was kind of a modern-day replacement of a love- letter, writing drafts, rejecting them, reading and re-reading them, not sending them, waiting for a reply, checking Inbox every fifteen minutes…..yes, it sounds crazy and unheard of but when has love stuck to any rules or cliche`s……Radio City still united their souls, though both now tuned to the same Delhi station, Sona had become a passionate poetry-lover, even more than him. Weekdays flew away quickly and again it would be Saturday, they would again meet in some quite place, spend the hours just looking at each other, trying to form an image in their minds which would last them another week. The first three days of the week would be spent thinking about their last meeting, replaying every moment in their minds, the next two in crazy fancies about the next meeting. Every Saturday, she would get up at 6, to extreme surprise of her mother, spend the next three hours choosing what dress to wear, the next two bathing and getting ready, calling him up to ask what he was wearing, then deciding that may be she should wear something else, another two hours, till finally it was 5 in the evening, and she would again get late for meeting him. He was always on time, the perfectionist, with her favourite white roses, a stupid smile on his face as she would hug him saying sorry for getting late one more time, and he would just say, “You are looking gorgeous” kissing on her cheek, “I’ll always wait for you.” The next two hours would be the best in their lives, how they wished that somehow time would stop. But stupid clocks, they never forgot to move, never waited for them to complete their talks but even if the clocks had stopped, it would have taken them an eternity to get enough of each other. They would get up almost in tears, making promises to meet again next Saturday, calling every night and sending mails; and saying sweet bbyes, hugging each other, another bye, a kiss, another bbye, another hug and finally as the city became shrouded in darkness, a “final wala bbye”…..
People often confuse love with physical intimacy, being close to each other, the eleven minutes…..but love actually is exactly the opposite….it’s the feeling of longing, a craving to see her/him, the time spent before and after those eleven minutes. It’s not about the happiness you feel when she/he is around but the emptiness that you feel when she/he is not there. It’s about the feeling that you are incomplete without him/her, that you are not different, rather part of a same being. And it was this feeling that kept them glued together. He would pour out his heart to her as a small child and she also found herself opening up to him like she had never done to anyone. They had yet not had the “coffee” together but it didn’t matter. It was not that they didn’t desire each others’ bodies, or they were some modern-day saints, no…., just that they never felt that their relationship needed a stamp of SEX to confirm it. Too rosy to be true….yes, it is….God is not that kind…..but HE waits till the last minute before striking….he lets you rise to the highest pedestal before throwing you down crashing to the ground. It was November again, the time for SPIRIT OF MUMBAI FESTIVAL. They decided to go together as a pilgrimage to the place where it all started, to re-live all those moments all over again. The idea sounded a little stupid to Ananya, she said, “Hey, you guys have never spent a single moment in Mumbai together, what memories are you going there for??” But she couldn’t understand and Sona didn’t care. She wanted to go with Rishi to all the places he had ever been to while he was in Mumbai, to make his memories a part of hers just like he had re-lived all those years in Delhi with her. Romance has got a crazy definition, what appears to be the dullest of things to others, seems to be the most romantic thing to you. Walking along the shores of the majestic Arabian Sea at Gateway of India, hand in hand listening to his stories about how he used to spend his time sitting there all evening, waiting for the night to fall, thinking about her when she had gone to her nani’s, she felt the happiest person in the world. He took her to meet a few of his close friends, Ritesh, Prachi, Smriti, Prachur, to his school, college, Westside Mall, the Paan shop from where he used to call her. They both were dwelling in a dream world. But as they were busy basking in the sunlight of their love, the clouds had slowly started to gather.
P.S. I know the story has got a lot of logistical, grammatical, spelling, and literary blunders. It’s awfully slow, cliche and aimless but then I don’t write for any critical appreciation or as a display of my modest English vocabulary and writing skills…..I write because I like to…….