Part I - Unforgettable Time
Arjun moved out from the AC cabin in the train and stood near the door. Fog formed on his aviator framed eyeglasses due to the sudden change in temperature of the surroundings. He was smiling deeply engrossed in his thoughts that he didn’t even notice the physical transition happening right in front of his very eyes.
The train was gushing at the rate of knots. The plastic covers that were thrown out from the trains, that passed by for decades, were trying to catch up with the train. In the journey, trees were left behind, people looked like ants and Arjun felt like he was impersonating Flash.
Just then a familiar face standing beside winked at him. He responded with a smile and nothing else. She was the girl who sat in the opposite berth to his.
Three years back, he would have at least tried to impress her but now his mind was just confined to occasional glances and smiles.
The girl started, “Hi... Hii... I’m Diya. Who are you smiling at?”
“It’s nothing. You won’t understand it unless you experience love.”
She retorted, “Oh! Come on... I’ve been there thrice!”
Arjun smiled again and exclaimed, “I can understand the way you were in love and, to be frank, it isn’t what you call love.”
She furiously asked, “Okay Mr, how long has it been since you’ve been in love?”
Arjun answered, “Three years to be precise.”
“Oh, God! That’s like decades! How did you manage? My guy, the second one couldn’t breathe for three days and broke up with me as I wasn’t available to him during my college trip.”
Arjun sarcastically retorted, “Wow! To be frank, it is not tough to figure out how you’ve failed with the other two boys.”
As he spoke, his thoughts time travelled back to the day he met Her.
Her as in…
“What’s your name?”, asked Arjun to a cute looking girl in a blue dress fitting her in the best possible way.
“It’s Aditya sir”, the girl replied in fear.
“What? Aditya? Interesting... Which branch are you in?”
“Me sir… and I’m in the same branch as you are in. I’ve seen you many times within the campus.”
“Aha... so can I conclude that you’ve been following me keenly?” Arjun asked.
“No girl would be foolish enough to accept that sir.”
“So... Should I take it as a yes or no?”
“I leave it up to you sir. By the way sir, I’m running late to class. Can we do this later?” requested Aditya.
“Sure, Adi. That would be fine. Don’t forget to send me a friend request,” said Arjun.
“So, how many women have you been sleeping with? Ever since you left your girl in your hometown?” asked Diya.
“What? Oh! Come on. I love her. Why would I prefer pleasure from anyone else? We promised to each other that we stay united for eternity,” explained Arjun.
“Ahaa. Is it? What if your beloved girlfriend cheats on you?”, asked Diya sarcastically.
“It’s not just a promise. It’s trust upon your partner. You stay connected to them no matter what happens and you always stay faithful to the girl even if she cheats on you, which usually doesn’t happen.”
“Can I know your name- the enlightening one? Wouldn’t be good if I don’t know your name considering the wisdom you are offering on romance and relationships.”
“Sir, your name, please? It’s the fifth meeting and you still haven’t given me a chance to interact with you more”, pleading Aditya was behind Arjun again.
“Don’t you think interacting with you in person is enough? What else do you want?”, Arjun was still persistent to make her wait for him.
“I only want to send you a friend request, as you asked sir. We are gonna chat for hours just like everybody out there”, Aditya assured.
“It’s Arjun. I work in Pune and I am physically and mentally committed to Aditya who is not a guy as the name suggests”, puts his hand forward to symbolise the start of a new friendship.
“Seriously, your girl is so lucky to have someone who’s so cute, handsome, witty and intelligent” praised Diya.
“Oh! Come on. You’re flattering me. It’s just that I respect the feeling and I don’t want to spoil the goodwill it has acquired over the years from what life has taught me.”
“That’s so sweet of you. Okay then, it’s time I leave... My dad’s gonna search for me and if he doesn’t find me in the berth below his...”, she giggles.
The emptiness of the whole situation creeps back to Arjun’s mind.
“Are you sure you want to do this Arjun?”, questioned Aditya.
“Of course, I’m sure. I know you love me too. It’s just a matter of commitment that we would stay together no matter what happens.”
“But I am not so good looking. I may or may not meet you as frequently as we do now. It’s all gonna become a burden to you. Why do you want to waste your time with someone like me?”, asked Aditya.
“Look, Adi, external beauty is not my concern and frankly you have a beautiful mind and generous heart. You are more than what I deserve and other issues don’t matter as long as you are with me. Is it written anywhere that a relationship only will last when two people are together in the same city and meet every day? The onus is upon us to keep our relationship strong wherever we are. I hope you understand.”
“What if one of your previous crushes returns to you? What happens to me then? As a girl, I only want your commitment to be with me till the end. Other than this, I don’t really find a reason to turn down your proposal.”, Aditya finally expressed her concern.
“I wouldn’t have come to you if I was still gloating with the thoughts of my previous crushes. Anything I say now would become an exaggerated promise about the future which is never certain. All I can say is that I am damn serious about you and will never ever think of leaving or hurting you”, Arjun assured her.
Part II - Value of Commitment
The cool breeze paved its way through his hair as the train gushed. His man bun was shattered and his hair was all over his face. The joy of one’s hair dancing to the wind’s tune around your face is never understood by the typical Indian parents who force their children to get their heads almost tonsured every time they see a strand of hair falling onto the forehead. It does really pain high when you have to get a haircut once in every two fortnights.
He recalled to the times when Adi used to play with his hair when it was way shorter and trimmed. The smile was back on his face as he was finally going to meet his love after two long years.
He moved back to his seat where Diya was sitting along with her dad. She shot a smile at him. He smiled back and received a stern angry look from her dad.
“If you would like to talk, I would suggest talking in English for our privacy. Though my father won’t understand, he would feel proud that his daughter is speaking in English even with strangers.”
“Hahaha... Then we should definitely talk in English then.”
Settling down facing her, Arjun advised, “So, I want to tell you something. I don’t know if I’m close enough to say all this but make sure you select the right person whom you feel you’re worthy of and mesmerise him to such an extent that he must lose himself when he’s with you. There’s no point in you jumping into relations, just hang in there and wait for the magic to happen.”
“Yes, sir. That’s so nice of you and personally, I envy your girl. I love you. Not as someone to share the rest of your life but as someone whom I can look up and turn towards when I am in need. Arjun, you made my trip worthy. Thank you and my station arrived so goodbye. My number is Nine two zero nine zero nine zero nine two zero. Wish you happiness and success in your life and stay in touch with me.”
“Thank you... I’ll be in touch with you for sure. If at all there’s anything that bothers you in your life... You can always count on me”, said Arjun as he bid her goodbye and smiled at her dad.
The send-off again blasted his thoughts back to...
“I don’t want you to leave me here. Why can’t you just stay back, Arjun?”, pleaded Aditya.
“How is that possible, honey? It’s not just the two of us. There are two families with whom we are associated. Spare a thought about them too. And moreover, no father would want to give his daughter’s hand to someone who’s unemployed. It’s just a matter of two years and I’ll be relocating to my own city.”
“I’ll miss you, baby. Take care of yourself. Don’t forget me, I won’t give you a chance to either. Love you loads, baby”, hugs him and starts crying.
Arjun wipes her tears and says “Miss you too and I love you more than anyone. I won’t forget you. Goodbye... honey.”
The feeling of missing her for two years has now overcome with the bliss of meeting her. Two years of loneliness even though he was with many others, his heart was nowhere in the vicinity. People loved his company, many girls had a shot at him but he politely refused them. He became a good friend to many colleagues and his decision was often respected and adhered. Arjun was slowly getting his senses back. The train came to a halt.
He stood on the platform and enjoyed the fresh air. He waited for some more time to see whether there’s someone who’s gonna receive him at the station.
His phone beeped and the screen blinked with the notification “Message from Adi <3”
Arjun immediately unlocked his phone and read the message
All Set... With Enigma... Have A Very Elaborate… Attributes of Love Respect Experiences Affection Discipline Yearning... Don’t Engage in Code It’s Dead End... Don’t... Over Note... What’s Here Entails Reason & Execution... We’re Ending up to Meet Elephant Eagle Tiger When Horse Egg Nursed... You Open Up to Return Exile Tragic Untold Rather Not Heroic Opus of My Exuberance.
Give your brain some work. I love you as hell.... please help me, baby!”
Arjun was shell-shocked upon reading the message. He did not even understand a single sentence. He thought “Is she in some kind of problem?”
Arjun was losing control over himself. He was here for her after two long years and here there’s something new for him to unravel to reach her. Was it something with the words? Is she trying to say something through the message?
His mind was running out of thoughts. His heart was pounding faster than ever. He did not understand what to do. He was confused and couldn’t figure out the meaning of the message. It was like... being asked to write a test after you get your results.
Arjun was in pretty bad shape and was getting vexed up. He bought a drink and gulped it till the bottle was transparent all over. He had no one else who could understand his problem. All his friends were out of town busy in their own lives.
He picked up the phone, gave her a call and was responded with the message “The subscriber number you’re trying to call is currently switched off” and so he pinged her on WhatsApp, nudged her on Hike, messaged her on Hangouts but nothing helped.
Was this some kind of a prank or an intelligence test? He was perplexed. He thought maybe he should read the message over again. Not even a bit went into his head. He went through it again, but couldn’t find success.
He was pretty good at solving puzzles. He thought of deducing something out from the message. He tried everything with the words and their meanings. Just then it struck him that there were capital letters for every word in the message. So he thought of writing them on a piece of paper and then he was smiling finally after struggling for 45 mins.
‘AS... WE HAVE... ALREADY DECIDED... ON... WHERE... WE... MEET... WHEN... YOU RETURN... HOME’ was what it meant.
He hired a cab and reached the destination within no time. He was no alien to the serene atmosphere, it was their favourite meet up spot. It was a café, that provided customizable customer-friendly space for every visiting member run by a group of fat and pompous, crazy about love guys, who are the only heirs to their also fat politician daddy’s immense wealth.
The wonderful ambience and the services offered by the café were exquisite and are second to none. Both Arjun and Aditya have had some very good times and some bitter times too at the same place, so they have decided to meet up there.
The moment Arjun entered into their own private space in the café. He dashed Aditya who was on the way for a hug.
There were tears in her eyes but it wasn’t because she was sad. Arjun patted her, rubbed her back, took her face in his hands, looked into her deep eyes, removed his glasses while still looking into her eyes, and got closer to her face. Aditya closed her eyes and Arjun planted a soft kiss on her forehead.