Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Coincidental Love. (Part II)

          I go to him and say, "Hey! Didn't you just get here? Why are you leaving?" He seems angry and bizarre, "I thought you didn't have a boyfriend. You needn't have to lie to me. All you pretty girls are the same, aren't you? I really thought you were my friend!" Oh, so he heard that, "Are you talking about Preet? Did you hear anything?" "I heard enough." His tone his high and he really is angry. I try in my most sweet and flirty voice, "Ohhh. Are you jealous? You really seem to be!" "Why would I be? I am not your boyfriend or lover or secret admirer! You go and have a good time with Preet!" Just as he turns to leave, I hold his hand to stop him, "Preet is my cousin who has a mental condition. He thinks I am his girlfriend. I just go along with it because it makes him happy." His hand is still in mine. He look relieved and says, "Oh. I umm..." "You were jealous mister." He has a little awkward smile. And I am holding some amusement within me. "Well maybe." He is doing his super shy thing now and I blurt out, "Akshat, would you like to go on a date with me?" I cannot believe how I got the courage to ask that question. It came as a shock to the both of us. But right after my question ended, he said, "I would like to go on a date with you." Now, we are at the party smiling at each other like some love struck teenagers.
          Tonight is our first date. The past 2 days went by slower than morning traffic. We chatted a lot, especially during the nights. Those chats were too flirty to put here. But, one can imagine. Anyway, I just couldn't wait for tonight. And, now that it is almost here, I am beyond scared. I'm going through so many feelings at once that I think I am going to explode. I have been on dates before but it was never like this! I hope these feelings just disappear and it works out. I will just be myself. I am wearing a full length purple dress which has white crochet work and a few diamond-like pieces here and there. I have my long straight hair down. I am in my white and silver pumps. My accessories consist of silver bracelet and my silver clutch.  I look really nice but whatever. Since I asked him, I decided on a nice dinner in a posh Italian restaurant. It is going to be perfect. We both meet outside the building. He is here in his car. I offered to drive but he flipped out and insisted on him driving. Men and their dignity! I get in the car. We look at each other and electricity flows between us as our eyes do their little talking and our smiles keep getting wider. He is wearing an impeccable light purple shirt paired with grey corduroy pant. He smells really good too. Such a co-incidence that we are both wearing purple! I will have a long list of coincidences if I start about it. We reach the restaurant. I have been here around 5 times and absolutely love it.
          As we enter, our eyes twinkle reflecting the glossy restaurant interiors. The hall is huge. There are chairs and tables all around the center. There is a little dancing area in the middle circle. The walls are a shade of cream. There are wooden chairs and tables matching the wooden floor. The dancing floor is white and holds a great deal of attraction.  There is a mini bar in one far end corner. At another end, the wall painted in modern art is decorated with frames and carved glass-wood art pieces. Beautiful chandeliers hanging above brighten up the place in a dim lit atmosphere and the soft music gives the place a very romantic feeling. As we approach our reserved place, Akshat pulls up my chair as a gesture of manner. And that makes me feel special. Now, our conversation actually begins. Akshat says, "You look gorgeous, Abhira. Every day you are as splendid but today there's an added charm of beauty." I can't help but smile, "Thank you. You are looking stunning." Suddenly the talkative girl is gone giving the place to a shy and quiet girl. The one which I am getting to know for the first time. He is smiling at me and wouldn't look away. I find myself doing the same to him. Oh my God! Will he stop doing that? I can actually feel myself blush! He says, "So, are we going to order or are we content just by seeing each other?" I blush even more. "Any of the two would work for me. Although, they won't let us stay here for the latter one." We are going through the menu as the waiter approaches. I can hardly concentrate on food at the moment. I will just eat my usual. I say, "I will have cacciatore and lasagna." Akshat says, "I will have the same. And some red wine." I nod a yes. Now the waiter is gone leaving us to our over-joyous selves. He says, "You know, I was surprised when you asked me out. But more I became sure that I wasn't living in some fantasy of mine." "What do you mean?" "I am the kind of guy who isn't looked at twice. And you were the first woman who approached me. Ever since I have known you, I am awed by your intelligence, sense of humour and humble nature. Despite being beautiful, you also have a heart and a brain which most people lack. And when I started to like you, I thought there was no chance you would be interested in a guy like me. So, when you asked me out, I was relieved from that fantasy." "You are one gem of a person. I just don't understand why you always under-estimate yourself and hide yourself behind a mask. And for all that's worth, I like you too. So, there was no question of me not asking you. I never thought you saw me. But, it feels good to know that you did." We are both going for the ultimate honesty then which is surprisingly great. He talks quite a lot now as compared to earlier, which means he must really like me. He says, "So, as a matter of fact, this is my first date. Have I said too much already? I have no idea about the rules. I just believe in honesty, trust and love." And love. My inner self is doing somersaults and I will have an attack if he becomes more romantic. Where was he all these years?  "That's a good policy. I think I will stick with yours." We smile at each other for what feels like a lifetime.
          Wine arrives and we make a toast to 'New Beginnings'. We keep talking. He looks intently when I am talking. He laughs his heart out when I say something funny. He looks at me when I laugh as if he is under a spell. We are enjoying a lot. This is the most relaxed, fun and romantic evening. We just go into a different world after tasting the delicious food. The dessert, Crostata was heavenly. Now is the time when he will be tested. The bill arrives. I take it because it was my idea. He begins, "I am going to pay. So, give it here." I reply, "I asked you out. Hence, I must pay." He comes back, "Look, I respect that you are an independent woman but you are attacking my dignity." I try, "How about we both pay partly?" "I'm not negotiating. Just let me pay, please." "It's either partly or nothing. I am pretty stubborn, you know?" "Oh come on! Fine! Just this time then. Agreed?" "Of course not. But let's settle that way this time." Paying partly, we are about to leave when Akshat says, "Wait. Would you like to dance with me?" I am shocked that he is ready to dance, in front of everyone. But more I am glad. He is doing this to make me happy! "I would love to." We join another couple on the center of the place. I whisper in his ears, "From that first forced dance until this one, I cannot believe how much everything has changed. And I am grateful." "Fate is playing with us and I feel like we are winning." I smile but inside I am a ballerina dancing with extra merriment. Now, we are heading back. He says, "I had a great evening Abhira. I was never this happy. I am glad that you are in my life." "It was a lovely evening because of you. I couldn't possibly be more happy." We walk upstairs in silence and reach my floor. He takes my hand and lands a delicate kiss there. I go ahead and kiss his cheek. We bid goodbye. As I am home, it's 11.15 and all I can think of is him. His expressions. His laughs. His talks. His kind gestures. His walk. His dance. His smile. Every detail of this evening is coming back to me and I feel like I am in love with Akshat!


          I know that things have gone rather fast. There are things that I don't know about him and him me. But, the feeling I have for him is so new to me. I cannot compare that against anything. And, we have our entire lives to get to know one another. Tonight is our second date. Akshat asked me out this time and I wonder how it will enfold. I am wearing a nice red kurta and leggings. Usually I wouldn't have worn this but he said he liked me better this way. And I like it this way as well. In fact, he said that I look more elegant in a kurta, which is the exact word I had used! There goes another item in the list of co-incidences. So, we are meeting at 6 pm. Since our little story has gone faster than I anticipated, I am feeling very weird. I don't want it to be over but I also don't want it to be a hoax. I trust him but you may never know what guys are hiding. But, I am not going to let the circumstances bother me. This was meant to happen. And I as I see Akshat wearing a red T-shirt, I am surer about our destiny. He asks, "Do you trust me?" "I trust you." "Now, today we are going walking. It's nothing like that hotel, but I'm sure you will like it. Since it is a surprise, I'm going to blindfold you, okay?" "Well, how will I see then if we are walking? What if the people think you are kidnapping me?" We both laugh at that but it was a sincere question. He replies, "Don't worry. It is quite near." "Alright then!" This is bringing back all the negative vibes. I cannot see anything and I have also lost the sense of direction after that one left and one right. He says, "We are almost there. We are now going upstairs in an elevator." The fact that he is providing a commentary makes me feel safer. We have reached now, I think.
          He is slowly removing the blindfold. I notice that we are standing on our building's terrace! What? He notices my confusion and says, "Turn around." As I do, I am overwhelmed by the view. There is the terrific view of the Bandra sea face. There are lady musicians playing music at one side. There is a chef preparing barbecue on another side. There is a comfortable bed and champagne at the end. There are flower vases decorating the place. Thankfully, there are a couple of non-noisy fans too. It's like a little picnic.  As I realize my hands cupped my mouth all this time, I finally manage to say, "This is incredible! I am impressed Mr. Akshat!" He might have felt all those insecure feelings too. That's why he chose our own building's terrace and indulged other people. And I am so beyond words. He says, "Now, let's sit here and enjoy the beautiful sunset." Since our building is 25 floors, the view from here is perfect. We drink champagne while watching the sun set. We are quieter than usual. He finally says, "Are you okay? You haven't said much since we got here." "I am just.. I feel really special. No one has ever done such a lovely thing for me. You are so great to make me feel this way." He takes my hand and says, "I am the happiest now. And you are special. To me you are." I could almost cry. "Now, would you like to eat?" I almost forgot about that part. We eat some herb potato salad, marinated grilled chicken and blueberry pie. He must have got the best chef in the whole world because this food is so appetizing that I could eat it every day. That pie was exquisite! After eating, it's almost 8.30 now. I ask him, "Would you like to dance?" He smiles and we enjoy our third dance together. We are alone now. It's only 9 pm. He says, "Now, the best part of the evening." He takes me to bed. We have our hands entwined. He lies down on his back and asks me to do the same. He says smilingly, "Don't look at me. Look above." He tilts my chin and my eyes envision the beauty of all the stars. I mutter, "Wow! This is so ethereal." "Shhh. Let it sink into you." We both are lost in gazing at the starry night. Right this moment, life is perfect. After a lot of time has passed by, I silently say, "You may have been alone all your life, but you are certainly a romantic at heart. I should thank God for saving you for me." As we are looking at each other, he says, "Maybe he was." Our shoulders are touching each other. Our hands are entwined and soon our lips follow suit. Our first kiss is one of love, passion and wanting. It feels like we were away for a lifetime and now we are one. It feels so meant to be. After our long kiss he says, "I am in love with you, Abhira. Ever since I met you, it's been a bliss. Being with you feels more natural and perfect with every passing day. It feels forever." I'm enthralled by his romance. He is in love with me and I'm so shocked by his directness that I'm stupefied. We are still looking at each other when I finally say, "Akshat, you are the one person with whom I feel like myself. I am under some magic spell when I'm with you. And I love you." With that, our date ends and we head back to our homes. There is the traditional stairwell silence but this time it's good. We keep smiling and our hands never leave the embrace.


          After 2 months of being with Akshat, our love has only grown, if that's even possible. We see each other every day. We went on a shopping date yesterday and splurged a lot. I bought him really clever shirts for work. He bought me pretty kurtas and a handbag. My job is going great. The readers love my column; 'Common Man Columnist' and I enjoy every bit of it.  My parents are happy about Akshat. His parents are happy with me. Meera has become a good friend of mine. So in short, everything is perfect. Today, my most awaited article is going to be published. For the first time, I got an entire page in Fashion Classics. I have a day off today so I'm going to adore that article a lot. Then I will start reading 'PS:I Love You'. Akshat gifted me this and has practically forced me to read it. Well, it's 8 am and I have just got the papers. I directly go to the magazine. I scan all the pages twice. To my disbelief, I cannot find my article! What the hell is this! I call my boss, "Hi Fenil. I was wondering why my article was not published in today's magazine?" She replies, "Oh yes. We are extremely sorry. It was brilliant but it was an entire page. And we had to publish Malini's." Malini is the one who is the most famous fashion journalist. Every company wants her. Thus, they keep on publishing her articles every week so she won't leave. I reply, "That is really not fair, you know?" "I know. But you know how it works. Maybe we will publish yours next week!"
         A week goes by. Even today my article is nowhere to be seen. I am fuming with anger. I am with Akshat at his home at the moment. I convey him what had happened. "I am so angry right now. Why does there have to be corruption everywhere? I am sick of these corporate cold wars. I might as well just quit that job and set up my own publishing house. Who do these people think they are?" Akshat as calm as ever says, "Try to relax Abhira." "How can I relax after all this? How can you be so calm?" "Because being short tempered is not going to solve any problems." "Oh just forget it! I am leaving!" "That's what you always do, don't you? Leave?" "What?" "Whenever the situation doesn't go your way, you just pack up and leave. You ran away to Switzerland when you were fired. Over there, you ran away from me because it was impossible of anything happening between us. You keep saying 'whatever' always. You always do this! You always shut off the people in your life whenever you wish!" "Oh please! Don't make this about me running away! If that's what you think about me, then I don't have anything to say to you.  And what about you, huh? You say that I shut people out but you never even let them in! You don't know what intimacy is and if you keep behaving like that, then you will be all alone one day!" I storm out as he says, "You are doing it again." I reach home. I don't understand how he can say such horrendous things about me. Is that what he thinks I am? A quitter? Instead of staying with me and consoling me he decided to pull up a fight? What is his problem? Whatever. No! Not whatever! Ughh!
          It has been a month I haven't talked to Akshat. I thought about what he said, a lot. I even asked my parents. They said the same thing but in a much more caring and understanding manner. My friends also said the same! I don't understand why didn't any of them just tell me earlier. I wouldn't have quit on them. But, after so much of introspection, I have decided to change myself. I mean, whatever Akshat pointed out was not wrong. His way of conveying was but the facts stay as they are. Firstly, I spent a lot of time thinking. Then, I spent a lot of time thinking about what to talk with Akshat. I saw him in the society a couple of days back. And we decided to ignore the existence of the other. Maybe we both are going through the same process, I hope. The last month was drastic. At work, eventually I was told to continue with my usual column rather having some fancy one page article. So, all my efforts on the previous one were a waste. At home, mom and dad keep asking me about Akshat. And there is radio silence from Akshat. Just a month back, I can recall myself being the happiest butterfly on this planet. And now my condition is worse than a moth. I just want this phase to be over. I just want to talk to Akshat and clear the air. What must he be thinking? Will he talk to me? I hope he doesn't hate me. I hope this is not the end of us. These series of unanswerable questions that render me sleepless at nights. Tonight is one such night. My parents are off on a holiday. This home is my moaning place. I'm watching 'Serendipity', eating ice cream and crying over the perfectness of that love story and imperfectness of mine! My phone rings and I cannot even see the name through the tears so I just pick it up trying not to sound like I'm crying. "Hello." "Hi." "Who is this?" "I am Akshat. You deleted my number already?" What? Did he say Akshat? I try to collect myself and say, "Oh hii! No, I didn't see the name actually. How are you?" "I'm not so good. We should meet and talk." "Oh yes. We should." "Can I come over?" "Okay." So, this really happened. I have to clear up. Oh God! My eyes are so messed up. He will know. There goes the bell.
          Here he comes with evident sadness on his face. "I am sorry", we both say at the same time. I begin, "Please let me say first. I thought a lot about what you said. Maybe I'm a runner. That's what I always do. I never realized it until you pointed it out to me. But, I'm going to improve myself. And our fight incidence also had me wondering about us. We have been going really fast in this relationship. We love each other but do we really know each other? I feel like I don't know the real you. I know the things you have told me but we should share that bond where we know what the other is thinking." "I should not have gone off on you like that. I was just pointing out the realm of the whole thing. While doing that I forgot to check in about your feelings. And I agree with what you said. I don't let many people in my life. But when I do, it becomes quite hard for me to share every aspect of my life with them. And that's where I went wrong. I never let you in. You were my first girlfriend. Maybe I was rigid. We don't know each other's deepest souls. We should make an effort to really understand each other on a whole different level." "I know. We could start right now?" "Okay. Well, here's one thing. I am more reserved than you think. And even though it is difficult, I love being alone. It's like my sacred haven." "Okay. That's not bad. Spending time with your own self really lets you understand yourself in a much better way. I have a problem where I run away from things." I give a little smile. He smiles too. We discussed so many relevant matters and shared some of our deepest secrets. It really helped a lot to get a whole new dimension of Akshat. Now, I can surely say that I know him better. Earlier, we only used to talk about the things that are related us. (Like our jobs, news, families etc.) But, today we talked about the things that relate us and the ones within us. (Like our feelings, opinions, thoughts etc.) He says, "I thought girls only watched romantic movies, ate ice cream and cried only in films!" I reply, "Oh shut up! I was crying because of the movie." "Oh yeah? okay.", he says in his funny tone. We watched the whole movie again. We kissed before he left. And now I feel so light and free. He might not be the guy who everyone loves to have around. But he is definitely my guy. And I cannot be more happy.


          After 2 years since we first met, we are now going to his beach house. We reach there by 8 pm. We get inside and it's beautiful. It gives me the vintage feeling. Soon, after getting refreshed, we take a walk outside. As soon as I am out facing the ocean, I see every person there I have known in my life. There is my family, friends and cousins. There are at least 100 people here! What is happening? Akshat comes towards me. He looks so handsome in his white shirt and blue jeans. He is having a smile on his face which seems like it will never fade away. He is coming to me. Is he going to do what I think he is going to do? He gets down on one knee. With a serious expression of warmth, love and surety, he asks, "Abhira, would you like to dance with me forever? Will you marry me?" and pulls out a gorgeous ring! There are fireworks above the beach. I am so mesmerized by this whole setting that I feel like a princess. I guess I am and he is my prince. Before his lovely expression chances, I say out loud. "Yes! Akshat, I love you!" He replies, "I love you too, darling." We hug each other for what feels like forever. This is perfect and I am on top of the world!!
          Akshat is now giving a sort of a speech, "Our story is one which is made by destiny. As much as I couldn't believe in it before I met Abhira, I do now. We have been together for quite some time now. Until today our journey was one with many surprises and shocks. Now as I imagine my life ahead, I am not at all scared of married life. As I look further, I'm sure my amazing, humorous and happy Abhira will be there with me throughout my life. Abhira, you're the one person without whom my life is incomplete. I promise to love you and protect you. I promise that I will always love you." My eyes are wet now and I'm hardly able to say anything. I go near him and embrace him in a tight hug awaiting our future together.

[This is my first love story. Thank you all for reading it. A special thank you to my friend, Vaishnavi Upadhyaya, for helping me throughout the process. If it weren't for her technical skills, re-reading of this story many times and valuable suggestions, I'd still be stuck halfway. Also, the credits of the original images goes to their creators.]


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