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Just Saying

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Take me with You by Subhasis Das

A group of five girls- barely seventeen- all dressed in their school uniform, the supposed to be full sleeve white shirt were folded till elbows with each girl having a few buttons of the shirt opened making a silver chain with a tiny pendant visible in the necks of each of them and the navy blue skirts actually didn’t qualify to be called school skirts, they were tiny and low waisted, socks were pulled down and they walked flaunting their streaked hair in air. They were the ‘Ashleys’ from St. John high school. People in the mall gaped at them warily as they made their way to the theatre. As if they cared!

TWILIGHT was on its last installment and they had been quite fanatic about it; they had watched the first and the second part on the first day of release together and so, how could they give this one a miss. With the board exams ahead in few weeks, there was kind of curfew situation back at home but they knew how to break through, today, they had bunked one of their prelim exam for the movie.  They could have watched this movie a day after too!Anyway, finding a twilight fan who isn't mentally challenged is almost like finding a girl who is sensitive, smart, open minded and sexy at the same time. Impossible!

But then such mentally challenged people are abundant. With that long queue outside the ticket counter, they were pretty sure that they wouldn’t make it by honest ways and they perhaps very well knew what to do about it. You see girls have this big advantage over men; they could get anything which otherwise not being smart and intelligent just by being dumb. Three of them stood at the lobby while two them went ahead to try their luck.
‘I seriously don’t think that they could get the tickets. You should have gone,’ Tanya said worryingly.
‘C’mon! I went last time, it’s their turn now,’ Riya explained.

‘I really get this gut feeling that we might miss this,’ Tanya said.

‘Don’t say like that, it’s heartbreaking. Let’s check what they are doing?’ Riya suggested and they all moved to the counter.

‘Riya!’ Someone called her.

They all stopped and turned. He was waving hands at them from far end of the mall. The sun rays coming in from the glass behind made it very difficult to recognize him. Riya took a few steps at him to have a closer look and when she had reached closer enough, she couldn’t believe her eyes. She was dumbstruck and froze at her spot.

‘Hey! Riya! How are you?’

‘It can’t be true.’

‘Of course, it’s true. Ask your friends to take a pinch.’

‘Who is he? Riya!’

‘I am Rohan. Didn’t she tell you about me?’
They all shook their head in unison.

‘C’mon, I am Rohan, Riya’s boyfriend.’

‘Hey! Shut up! You’re not my boyfriend. I had blocked you long time back, just after we broke-up.’

‘Broke-up,’ Her friends cheered up in excitement and curiosity.

‘It’s nothing like that,’ Riya clarified. ‘I have moved on. It was just a teenage fling. It happens.’

‘Yeah! It happens,’ They giggled naughtily. ‘By the way, where do you come from? Which school or college?’

‘Oh! I am in first year of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Delhi.’

‘IIT Delhi? You came here from Delhi?’ Tanya was astonished. You don’t meet a guy from IIT every day.

‘Ya,’ Rohan nodded.

‘Whoa! You came all the way from Delhi to meet Riya?’

‘So?’ He smiled. ‘You see love has the power to overcome all barriers.’

‘God! You and your cheesy lines, I hate both,’ Riya wasn’t pleased with the attention her friends gave to him.

Actually, she had been way possessive about him and that’s why she never told anyone about him.

‘C’mon Riya, don’t be so rude. He is so nice,’ Her another friend Dona said.

‘Oh really? Do you even know him properly? Ask him why I stopped talking to him.’ Riya hailed at Dona.

‘Ah! That was really stupid of you. I was out to meet my childhood friend which Riya didn’t like. She had been a bit obsessive about me.’

‘Stop lying, it wasn’t like that. I had called when you were out with your so called childhood friend and you lied that you were with your Mom.’

‘What’s big deal in that? Would you’ve liked if I had said I was with my friend?’

‘Whatever. At least you shouldn’t have lied to me.’

‘I lied because you don’t like to hear the truth and I hate it when we fight on such petty reasons.’

‘You were cheating on me,’ She screamed in aghast.

‘No. I wasn’t. Jyoti is just my friend. We were talking about you.’

‘I just don’t care. I don’t want you anymore.’

‘Hey! Hey! Just stop it,’ Tanya interrupted. ‘People are looking at us.’

‘This is what you’ve to do, hurt me like this. You’ve come here to tell my friends how bad I am.’ Riya sobbed. Girls can actually produce those tears at will.

‘I had come here just to see you and this is how you behave on our first meeting,’ Rohan turned away.

‘What? You have never met before,’ Tanya inquired.

Rohan and Riya shook their heads at once.

‘How romantic is that! A relationship blooming completely online and love making its way before not even seeing each other, seems like plot of a Mills and Boon Novel. Wow!’ Dona said excitedly.

‘It’s not exactly that way; we had lot of video chat throughout it.’

‘Okay! That’s even more romantic.’ Tanya said. ‘By the way, what you people used to do on video chats?’

‘Fuck off Tanya! Keep your dirty thoughts with you only.’

Meanwhile, Riya other two friends Sana and Rashi returned with the tickets and they too couldn’t resist themselves from the charm of Rohan. For a moment the movie was completely forgotten, Rohan answered all their curious questions with a smile which was followed by loud giggles and high fives. Rohan had been such a charmer always and Riya knew that very well. Actually, that was reason which had created the insecurity in her and had lead their relationship to fall out but right then she just wanted those girls to stay away from him; she still felt ‘Rohan is just mine.’

‘Aren’t we getting late for the movie?’ Riya remained with her friends.

‘Oh! Yeah! Rohan why don’t you join us?’ Sana offered.

‘C’mon! He can’t come with us,’ Riya protested. ‘This outing is exclusive to the Asheys only.’

‘Ah! Then Rohan why don’t you join our gang too? It’s gonna be fun with us,’ Rashi said.

‘No. how is that possible. It’s a girl group and he doesn’t qualify.’

‘Whatever. We can change that rule for some time. Especially if someone is as hot!’ Tanya said and moved her eyes over Rohan. ‘Who wants Rohan in? Raise your hands.’

All of them except Riya supported. The disappointment was straight visible on her face which Rohan clearly noticed.

‘What girl! You don’t want us to spend time with your boyfriend?’ Sana complained.

‘It’s not liked that. Riya had promised me earlier that whenever I come to the city, She would take me around.’

‘So your first date?’ Sana quipped in.

Rohan nodded.

‘No way. I am going for the movie,’ Riya declared.

‘Riya!’  Tanya pulled her to a corner. ‘C’mon yaar! Don’t be moron, he is so cute. See.’

‘I don’t like him anymore,’ Riya was miffed.

‘It seems Riya is quite adamant for the movie,’ Tanya said. ‘Why don’t you take someone from us out?’

‘Me! Me!’ They almost broke into him like the hungry hyenas. And that only fumed Riya.

‘Hey! Stop that,’ Riya demaned. She pulled a ticket from Neha and tore it into pieces. ‘I’m going with him.’

‘But you said you don’t like him anymore,’ Tanya teased.

‘But that doesn’t mean you have a chance.’ She pulled Rohan’s hand made her way outside the mall.

‘Hey! Hey! Girl! It’s fine now. I am safe now,’ Rohan joked.

‘Shut up. They are not good, you know,’ Riya said, she was still holding his hand. For her, Rohan was so handsome that she just didn’t feel like removing her hand from him. It gave her a sense of assurity of showing the world that he belongs to her.

‘Really? But I thought they are your friends,’ He was smiling.

‘Asshole!’ murmured as they crossed the road.

‘By the way, tell me how you actually find me?’ She asked.

‘Well… what you want to hear? The truth or the lie?’

‘Of course the truth.’

‘But I am afraid you won’t believe the truth.’

‘Why not?’

‘Ok! See, I was to visit my grandparents in Mumbai. I boarded the flight and dozed off. When I opened my eyes I was not in the plane; it was a strange place, I was there in. All around white, seemed boring but was actually pleasant indeed. Then there was a huge gate but I was stopped when I tried to enter. There was a tall man dressed in white standing there. He asked me whether I had any wish to be fulfilled. I thought a bit and then replied him that I had a girlfriend in Kolkata. I love her so much and wanted to tell her that. He smiled at me and after that I don’t remember much but then I was in the mall and you were in front me.’ He said.

‘Fuck! You gonna be loser all life,’ She threw her hand away.

‘I told you. You won’t believe.’

‘Believe what? Your this stupid story? I should have watched the movie instead.’

‘Ok! I am here on some College tour. I tracked your cell phone location through device my seniors had made.’

‘That’s better,’ She twitched her lips. ‘Tell me where you wanna go.’

‘As if you don’t know.’

‘No way Rohan. We are not going to Victoria Memorial.’

‘But I was thinking of Howrah Bridge.’

‘Howrah Bridge? Really?’

‘Ya, I guess that’s the most popular landmark of Kolkata. But then I see Victoria Memorial is a better option.’

 ‘May be not. We are not couples any more.’

‘Is it mandatory that only couples can go there?’

‘Ok! Let’s call a cab.’

‘No cab. We go in a tram.’

‘Now you’re annoying me. You know how much time it till take.’

‘What’s the hurry girl? Abhi toh pura din baki hai!

She narrowed her eyes but in another moment she was blushing; after all this is what she had always craved for, his company. Almost everyone from her class was hitched with someone and at times she had felt being an alien. Though she was one the hottest girl in town but her strict parents had actually abstained her from exploring the fantasy of teenage romance. That’s when to kill her loneliness got in this on line dating stuff via Facebook but then might be due to lack of experience or mere immaturity, she couldn't actually handle it. So, the thrill of her first date gave her goose bumps.

As they saw the lazy tram approaching them, there wasn't any hustle in them to board on, they just casually walked in. Trams are actually characterized by their tortoise speed which in fact makes it unpopular among the daily commuters and so over the years it had been turned into a cool hangout for privacy-starved couples and curious tourists. Perhaps, the vintage essence inside makes it a memorable experience where time is just a number.

It was the first time they were together, so even being almost alone there was a kind of awkwardness in them which was coming in between their closeness. The uncomfortable silence between them only made them more anxious as each of them thought of how to break into a conversation. They avoided looking into each other and when their gaze met it only resulted into a little smile full of shyness. And then Rohan finally got something to start with.

‘You see, Kolkatta is the only city in the world which the most varied transportation. Metros, buses, trams, ferry and not forget the richshaws pulled by men; they are all here together and still going strong.’

‘You can say that. Actually, the people here in Kolkata feel very hard to move on,’ she said.

‘Really? So what about you?’

‘What about me?’ She looked dubious.

‘Well… I’m saying do you too have the not-to-move-on attitude in you.’

‘I am not sure,’ She shook her head.

‘I know Riya, you still love me,’ Rohan said in a stern voice as he gradually shifted closer to her.

‘Please Rohan, don’t spoil the mood. I am just here to take you around the city.’

‘C’mon Riya, I know why you’re here. Stop pretending,’ He argued.

‘You want me to go back,’ She hailed at him.

‘Your choice. I don’t need a tourist guide,’ he turned away.

Riya had been always popular for her attitude and arrogance. And such a statement was not less than an insult to her yet she stayed back. However, it did hit her ego badly and Rohan was aware of that but he wanted her to know his importance. It actually worked.

‘You know what?’ He whispered into her ears. ‘When you get angry, you look good but when you smile you’re just awesome.’

The lost trace of her smile was back at her face. He now put his hand forward slowly and clasped her finger. The gesture almost made her skip a heartbeat. Of course, she wasn’t expecting such a thing but she wasn’t complaining even. She wanted it to happen, then continue and not end forever. She closed her eyes; she wanted to feel that thing called LOVE. Rohan had to shake her up and she was completely lost in thoughts resting her head on his shoulder when they reached Victoria Memorial.

The place could no doubt be referred as Kolkata’s Taj Mahal not for it was made in the memory of someone’s love but for its ambience- lush green carpet all around the place, cool shady seats under the big trees makes it a perfect place for lovers to express and feel. And so, as Riya stepped in the park, she kinda felt nostalgic about the fact that even her parents’s love story had blossomed at that very place. Love is actually contagious there, as Riya could feel the automatic urge to get close to Rohan but he seemed rather shy on his part. However, Riya was in no mood to spoil the momentum as she went ahead holding his hand and leaning to him.

Sitting on a corner bench, they talked for hours looking into each other’s eyes, hand in hand, laughing and giggling, neither their stories nor the eagerness to hear more ended. Perhaps, the world around them actually didn’t exist for them anymore and they wished the moment of togetherness just continue to eternity. They were already sunken in deep love.

 Though love happens everywhere in the city but the River Ganga remains an eternal place for romantic souls in Kolkata. Nothing could actually match the experience of a boat ride along the breezy river or just snatching at each others' ‘jhal-muri’ along the banks. Riya was aqua-phobic and those shaky steps on the boat were just freaking her out of life. She clamped herself to Rohan while he was happier to get her that close. With the cool breeze tugging at her carefully set hair and the nip in the air tickling her beneath their shirts, she felt blissful in his arms watching the sun set far behind those tall buildings. Life couldnot have looked more beautiful. Love couldn’t have seemed more complete and togethereness couldn’t have seemed more perfect!

It wasn’t the end of the wonderful day yet, she had her dance classes followed by her Tuitions for Boards after school which she all knew wanted to skip. Moreover, her parents were out of town for her dad’s some business tour and were only to return late. So, she had all the time of the world with her to explore the amazing world of romance.

They took a Metro for Esplanade to shop at the New Market, she had always carped that Rohan had no dressing sense and who would have been better than Riya to groom him as she is the Lady Gaga of her school. But all that anticipation just hit a road block as Rohan mentioned that Delhi Metros were way ahead of the ones in the Kolkata, it actually ended up on a dirty argument between them and Riya miffed of Rohan and sat away from him. She felt a lump in her throat thinking of the days when their relationship started to tore apart. Rohan had always complained being her brainless, arrogant, dominating and spoilt Daddy’s girl while Riya had labeled him insensitive and phoney who always took her for granted.  When she finally turned at him as their station was nearing, Rohan was peering at her relentlessly, his eyes reflected regret but Riya didn’t care, she walked down the Metro and then towards the exit. Rohan silently followed.

‘I am sorry, babes!’ He whispered in her ears as they were on the escalators. She gave him a long stare and then turned. Of course, she didn’t want to ruin the day but then she did want herself to be treated.

‘C’mon, Riya! I said sorry,’ He pestered.

‘So?’ She said.

‘We were having a wonderful time together…’

‘But…’ She interrupted. ‘You had to ruin it. Rohan! Is your Delhi Metro more important to you than me?’

‘It isn’t about the Metro? It’s about you Riya! You just want to be all over me.’

‘Ya! I wanted to be because I think you’re mine. But do you care?’

‘Yes. I do.’

‘That’s why you always lied to me.’

‘Riya! Jyoti is just an old of fine. I had told you many times.’

‘Then why did you lie to me on that when you went out with her,’ she demanded.

‘I didn’t go out with her. She had come to my place and I just went to drop her home since it was late in night and when you called Mom picked up the call and told you that I was out with her.’

‘Whatever. You never put in any effort to clear.’

‘I was pissed of your loyalty tests all the time.’

‘And so you thought to end it and move on.’

‘It wasn’t me, Riya! You blocked me everywhere and also changed your number. It was a very hard time for me, I cried all the time, I got in my shell and I didn’t talk to anyone for months. Time went by, life went by and all I could think of was why you were gone. I just wanted you. You were all I wished for, I wanted, I needed. I love you.’

‘I love you too but all this for a Facebook girl whom you never met?’

‘I love that Facebook girl with my life. You would never understand what it took me to reach to you today.’

‘May be you’re right, I won’t understand. A man in white dropped you here; you want me to believe that.’

‘I am not lying, Riya.’

‘You know what Rohan, you’re very funny and that’s why I was so attracted towards you,’ She was almost in tears. Girls actually know it very well how to win on an argument, all they need are those fat drops of tears and the opponent becomes helpless. But Rohan knew all the tricks from book to get away. He pulled her by her hand towards him and grabbed her in his arms, tightly. All their differences melted in that hug and in her heart she made a promise to never let him go, no matter how hard it becomes.

It didn’t matter that they were in the middle of a street and people around them were watching. I told you earlier, for them the world around actually didn’t exist. When they broke their hug, there was tinge of a smile on both the faces. The world of love was at peace. 

Rest of the day was as awesome that she almost fell like both of them were characters who jumped straight outr of those ‘Mills and Boons’ novels. They didn’t fight or even argued, not even when Riya bought him a pink T-shirt nor when Rohan said she sucked in those tight jeans. They wandered all along carelessly with hand in hand throughout the streets of the city. Kolkata had so much to offer to them, it’s not called the city of joy just like that. They had such an amazing day in their life and now desperately wanted that the day just doesn’t sees it end. But the time never stops; it was almost 9.30 when she checked her watch.

‘Rohan! It’s getting so late. I need to go now,’ she said.

‘Ok!’ He smiled. ‘I will drop you.’

‘Hmmm,’ She sighed. He called for a cab.

As she sat with him in the cab, her heart almost sank. It was going to end in sometime when she reached her home. She had never loved anything more than her parents but that day she didn’t want to go back to them as she couldn’t stay away from him anymore. If she had always insisted that she just wanted him to hers but all she knew now was that she belonged to him completely. She regretted all those seventeen years of her life that she had spent without him and now she vowed no matter how bad it goes, she would never again doubt his love. That was what she wanted for her life, his love. She realised that he was all she wished for. And even more!
When the cab stopped at her gate, she felt her heart had stopped beating. She clutched him tightly as she could. Tears rolled down her cheeks. ‘Take me with you.’
  
 ‘Riya, I wish I could!’ He kissed her forehead. ‘I guess you should go now. Your parents must be worried. You’re good girl. You should not disappoint them.’

It took an effort of her life to open the door and get off the cab. Tears were still flowing through her mist eyes.

‘Riya, how was the day?’ He asked.

‘It was the best of my life,’ She blushed.

‘Don’t you think you should thank me for that?’

‘Really? Should I? How?’

‘Well, just a little kiss to say good bye.’

‘I knew it, you would ask for it. You still remain that bloody pervert. But you see I am a good girl. I should not disappoint my parents. Anyway, we have the whole life to kiss each other.’

‘No, Riya. Life is too short. You don’t get second chance for everything.’

‘God! You and your philosophy,’ she leaned on him and pecked his checks. ‘It’s enough for you. I am getting late. Bye.’ She ran towards her house.

As expected, her parents had reached home already and were worried not to see her at home. They had called all her friends but nobody could give them an appropriate answer, of course, nobody could tell about Rohan. They had made their mind to approach Police when Riya rang the door bell. She owed a lot of answers to them but all she did was to give her Mom a tight hug. Her strange behavior did create a suspicion and when her Mom inquired about it late in the night, she smiled and told her everything about her and Rohan. Her Mom was so happy to know it, her daughter had grown up so big that she had a boyfriend, how did she exactly fail to notice that? Riya slept in between her parents that night after messaging Rohan- ‘You are the best thing ever happened to me. Take me with you.’

Next morning she woke up late, she had an amazing dream of Rohan but she wasn’t amused a bit about it because the reality was even more beautiful. She checked her phone to see Rohan’s reply but there wasn’t any. Perhaps, her message wasn’t even delivered. She called up, the number was switched off. She unblocked him on Whatsapp to leave a message. He had last seen Whatsapp three days ago. Something seemed really wrong, she felt restless. She logged in her facebook account and unblocked Rohan from there too. She visited his wall; there were thousands of messages and all ended with

Rest In Peace.

Rohan was in the Mumbai bound flight which crashed three days ago.

Author: Subhasis Das
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3 comments:

  1. Excessive conversations killed the narration. Story was dragged by conversations, unneeded. Nice Blog.

    ReplyDelete
  2. touch my heart

    ReplyDelete
  3. A well written story. gr8

    ReplyDelete

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