It is 7.10 on his watch; she hasn’t returned home, they were to travel and the train was scheduled for departure at 9.15 P.M. He was restless.
7.15, Beep..Beep! She opens her inbox to read, “W u?” She looks across at her boss, who had failed to notice her fidgeting. She was thinking of an excuse that would help her get out of the meeting and head home to pack her bags. Her boss was animated; he was aghast with the team for leaking several bugs to the production. She knew all wasn’t well, yet she had to go.
Vikas and Reema were going to meet after seven long years. Their life’s had taken different turns, since they left college. Vikas, the vibrant young lad in college, stung by the ‘study in the US of A’ bug did not sit for his placements, while Reema was placed in one of the top tier Indian IT services company much to the joy of her family and friends. They had been ‘good’ friends through college. Even the last day of college, couldn’t help them express their feelings, they bid farewell without any remorse.
Tonight – a night they longed for!
College days, the days of fun and frolic, where the only worries one had to handle were exams. Drowned in enthusiasm and camouflaged in the promises of the future, Vikas and Reema failed to see the companion in each other. Vikas went on to prepare for his zillion exams that test his proficiency of English at his home town in Bangalore. Reema was complacent, having landed with a coveted job.
Reema was soon married off to, yet another Software Engineer in Bangalore. Life portrayed a picturesque canvas for the newly married, and Reema joined in her new job after couple of months. Life wasn’t all that rosy as it seemed, it started throwing surprises for her. Reema’s husband Raj was brought up in a town down south and the sudden bloom in the IT industry took him to plush city like Bangalore. They could not complement each other; Reema wanted a man whom she could confide in. A man who could listen to her in silence, a man who could guide her through difficulties, a man who could pamper her with words and a man who could understand her inside out . Raj, on the other hand loved his wife because she is a women, a women who should take care of him and his needs without any reciprocals. Life’s every surprise and each disturbing act from her husband reminded her of Vikas. She matured into women, the girl in her faded into oblivion, she needed a man. Every day she wished, she would meet Vikas at the traffic junction like in the movies. In Reality it never happened.
Vikas, enjoyed his days in Bangalore, he was immersed into the city’s true flavor. He met many girls at the various parties he went to every night, but every morning he came back longing for Reema. He got admit to study in the US, he flew to the land of million dreams. One dream was lurking forever, to meet Reema and tell her what she meant to him.
Years went by; Vikas fell in love with Rita. The days in love were Vikas’s best moments in life. Every moment with her brought in happiness, the times spent together; the long drives across the states, the treks down the valleys, the walks along the shore- Life was bliss. Every time, she walked into his apartment there was a magic, a magic that would transform his life. They decided to wed and moved in together, hell broke loose, the magic was ethereal. Living under same roof, brought their differences to light. Life’s beauty just did not lie in sharing joy but in combating the hurdles. They faltered to shoulder the responsibilities in unison. They split.
Reema didn’t not belong anywhere; her job was no more interesting. She felt her potential was being undermined not just at work, but at her very home. She decided to reach out and socialize to soothe herself, much to the objection of her husband. She met her old friends, began her hunt for Vikas. Reema’s life was beckoning for fresh energy; she knew bearing a child was not it. She could not let herself nurture a new life in the calamity of her clouded mind. She distanced herself from her husband, Raj could not handle it when, his only avenue of pleasure was plugged. He became eccentric. Reema decided to end her marriage with Raj.
Reema went on to live alone, it brought her peace, but it could not fill the emptiness. Vikas lived through this break up without socializing, he went into the oblivion, but came out strong. He returned to India for good, with all the charm for the US dead.
Vikas, wanted to meet Reema. Being in the city they had studied, made him nostalgic. As he walked down the streets, the infamous Xerox shops, the Pani Puri stall, the coffee shop, everything brought pleasant memories. The laughter echoed through his lonely nights. The little arguments they had, the patch up there after- sweet indeed to reminiscent. He recollected the days they struggled together to get their project working, even through adversity, they held on.
He slumped into his chair, reliving the moments, every night; his laptop being is only true companion. He had received a mail from his boss seeking status on his work; she switched tabs to run through the umpteen friend’s requests on Facebook. His eyes were transfixed, he stopped scrolling, and his lip widened into a smile, the name Reema was glaring! It was a friend request from Reema.
Vikas: Hello! How have you been?
Reema: Life had interesting twists for me, I have survived them.
Vikas: Reema, you sound the same. Let us catch up over a coffee to tell our tales.
Reema: Let us get out of town!
Vikas: Well, the ocean to stand testimony to our lives?
Reema: You always knew what I needed. This weekend it is.
Vikas: Sure! I will have it arranged; I can’t wait to see you.
Reema: So am I.
8.00 P.M, Reema dashed out of the meeting faking a Headache. She rushed home, threw in few clothes, it didn’t not matter how she appeared before him.
Beep...Beep! ‘I will be there at the station in 15 mins’. Vikas looked at his watch, it was 8.45 P.M. He smiled.
9.05 P.M, He spotted Reema walking towards him. Time froze for a moment; He stood alone amongst thousands of passengers on the platform. The moment passed and time rewound to his last day at college, not his first love but His first mistake.
Reema waved at him, they hugged and jumped in to their compartments and the train took off.
They sat across each other in silence. As Vikas began to speak, she interrupted to say ‘I need you’. Vikas bent over to plant a kiss on her forehead. His hands went over her shoulders, setting her silky hair behind her ear lobe. He fondled beneath her neck, held her in his arms and responded, ‘I have been in love with you ever since’. She whispered, ‘I know’. Their eyes spoke a language of love; they kissed for a prolonged moment.
My first (deliberate) attempt to write a short story :) Looking forward to all your comments/suggestions and criticisms !!