Coffee. Both the girls chose coffee over tea.
Sipping the hot coffee after a long conversation about career and life goals, Anjali felt better. She found her twin sister in Sandhya, somewhere Sandhya was like Anjali in her ideologies, but extremely different in execution. Whilst Anju was busy checking her e-mails and stuff, Sandhya remembered how Vivek loved the coffee that she’d prepare for him on a rainy day. Coffee and movies and long conversations about World politics, that was something exclusive to them. Their friendship was something everyone eyed on. And when they decided to be a couple and extend their friendship, no wonder that it attracted jealousy of many. They were the perfect pair, the made for each other type. One a writer, another a photographer. Vivek’s words were nothing but Sandhya’s photographs. It appeared as if the pen fell for the camera each time they were seen together. Everything was smooth. Everyone saw a peaceful life ahead for the couple. Yet, no mask is permanent. It wears off one day.
2 months ago…
“Vivek I told you, please don’t be late atleast today. I don’t want you to offend my parents. They’re in town just for you, and you told me that you were free today. Please come soon. We’re waiting” Sandhya’s voice pricked his ears even through the mobile phone.
“You could’ve atleast discussed about this meetup in the morning. I was free today but I have an important work to do now. If you had informed me about your parents, I’d have made some arrangements. Please don’t disturb me now. Keep the phone. I’ll try. I can’t assure though.” Vivek was angry, short tempered he was, something that Sandhya never entertained.
“Okay, I’m disturbing now. I wanted to surprise you and I’m… ” Sandhya could hear the call being disconnected.
This wasn’t something for the first time. It had happened many times in the past. Yes, Sandhya’s parents too knew it. But, she still wanted to disprove them and wanted Vivek to emerge as the hero. They waited. Three hours passed. The family had a nice time, Sandhya’s younger brother especially. They loved Bangalore much more than their hometown.
“I told you ma, he won’t come. He’s a busy man. Leave it. We’ll meet him next time. However you both have decided to marry, we might have the fate of meeting his parents before him”. Her father was a gentleman, a cool person.
After leaving her family in the airport, she tried calling Vivek, only to be left unanswered. She waited for him outside his home, which was some 10 minutes away from her hostel. He had purchased the home for them, so that she would get to work in Bangalore and he too could get a job somewhere in the town. Vivek couldn’t leave Sandhya. She was his breath.
“Sorry dear. I was totally such today. And why are you waiting here? It’s already late. You could have been in the hostel right? Why did you wait outside, here? Come. It’s too cold.” He hugged her tight and took her inside.
“I expected you to be mine atleast today. I never confronted you on such issues in the past. I just forgave you and adjusted. I would compromise always. But it was too much this time. You’ve crossed the limits.” Sandhya had a shaking voice, an indication of the tears that were about to appear.
“See, let’s go out for dinner. Our mood would be good then, and we’ll talk and sort this out tomorrow. I’m free however. Whole day dedicated to you my queen” he picked a rose and knelt down.
“Oh. Yes. You are free. Your time is precious. Your things must work well. I’m a machine, ain’t I? A machine to whom you would speak when you are free, to rest your head when you’re tired. That’s it. I’m not a human being. I don’t have feelings, I don’t need a shoulder. I’m alive only to fulfill your needs, right? Tomorrow when our daughter loves a person, but he won’t love her and spend time for her the way she does, how would you feel? Would you be happy? My parents didn’t say anything, thinking that I’d be sad. I saw them breaking down. Why Vivek? When would you ever be there for me?” and tears rolled out of her eyes.
Vivek couldn’t keep his calm, “when you were struggling, I was the only one to support you, not your family. You’re the established one now,not me. I’m struggling to get a job just because I need to stay with you in this city. And I don’t have time for you, huh? I’m surprised that the person whom I loved so much couldn’t even understand me. I wasn’t out today for merry making with friends. Ask Aadi, he’d tell you. You trust him, atleast? He’s your best friend. We were out regarding your…”
“I need you, not Aadi’s explanation. It’s not about trust. If i never trusted you, I’d never be with you for ten years. And my family didn’t support me, doesn’t mean I must leave them for you. I never knew you were such a person who was so selfish. I feel ashamed of myself now. I just want to be away from you.” Sandhya hurried towards the door and left his home.
29 missed calls. And many unread messages. Vivek tried his best through the phone but Sandhya wasn’t in a mood to talk to him that night. She left the hostel the next day, and after that, never saw Vivek in her life.
The phone rang. It was Anju’s phone.
“Hello. I didn’t think that you’d call now. Can’t we text?” Sandhya had no clue that Anju was speaking to Vivek.
“No. Listen Anjali, call me when you reach the station. I’m waiting at the book stall outside. I’ll pick you from the railway station. Let me know five minutes before you arrive.” Vivek’s words surprised Anju.
“Why? Why would you come? The head photographer would send his friend to pick me. I’ll go with him. I can’t come with you. I’m sorry. But wait, you’re in Kolkata?” Anju was extremely happy.
“Your head photographer Aadithya is my friend” Vivek whispered.
“I should have guessed. So it was you who recommended me for the internship and included my name in the shortlist.” A surprised Anju guessed it about Vivek.
“No. It’s not me. I saw your name after you were selected. Aadithya is my best friend. Actually, ours was a trio. Me, Aadi and Sandhya, good old days. We had a single notebook during graduation. Write with the same pen, sometimes even submitted the same assignment. Naidu sir always referred to us as the three musketeers!” Vivek still had the spark in his small, brown eyes, and they were so bright when he spoke about their friendship, that it seemed to reflect in Anju’s big, black eyes.
“I spoke to Sandhya. We have bonded really well. I don’t know why you called me again, but I’m extremely happy for that. I mean it. Meanwhile, I didn’t ask Sandhya the real issue between you both. But, as far as I’ve known you both, I think you both must reconcile. An open conversation would break the ice. You were childhood friends, and you know each other very well. Just give it a try, things should be fine.” Anju hid a deep pain behind her smile, only to be found by Vivek.
“It won’t Anju. Leave him. Don’t force Vivek into anything. He’s not the one who would listen to anyone. Am I right, sir?” Sandhya picked a chair from the nearby table at the café shop. She was speaking to Vivek after two long months, which seemed like two centuries for both.
“See, I called you several times. I messaged you. You were the one who never responded. I know, I agree and I apologize for my mistake of not being a good partner. I know I’ve never spent good time the way you wanted me to. But I was trying to make our life, not just mine. You never understood that. Yet I adjusted. You never tried to understand me or my struggle. You always wanted me to be like the one in our childhood. Sandhya, you are a matured woman. We can’t be the same always. With responsibilities, we need to grow up. Sarcasm won’t help now.”
Anju knew that it was better to leave the two alone. She woke up to leave, but then Sandhya held her, with tears in her eyes, “don’t go Anju. I need you. Because I’m the one who has all the mistakes. Please don’t leave me. And yeah, just try to convey this fact to your idol. That of he had said althese to me when we were together, things would’ve never been this worse. If he had opened his mouth and told me where to correct and how he wanted me, I was ready to make the efforts. But no. He adjusted, compromised, and never spoke. And me, experimenting everything as to save the relationship, ended up being depressed. Had Aadi not supported me when I was on the verge of depression, you wouldn’t have seen me alive now” and broke into tears.
There was a sense of guilt in Vivek’s bright eyes. They turned pale after seeing Sandhya’s eyes wet. He hugged her. “You have no clue how much I felt sad and guilty, each time I had disappointed you. For every pain that I’ve given you, I apologize. You were my best friend. You still are. And yeah, my weird habits that I enjoyed only with you, aren’t done since the day you left me. Even the coffee tastes bitter without your company. Please don’t cry. Please.” Anju left them alone. She joined Aadithya, who had pushed Sandhya to speak to Vivek. He was two tables away from them and was watching them from a distance.
“Do you think things would work for them? Everything would be fine right?” Anju asked as she saw Sandhya laughing to some joke by Vivek.
“Yes. They know each other the best. They’ve spent the highest time together. And yeah, Sandhya is a gem. She is a brave girl, she faced everything alone, faced all odds and oppositions and is the winner. She tried a lot to save their relationship, but alas, things just did t work back then. I’ve seen her efforts to make Vivek happy. I hope she would definitely get their relationship back and be happy always.” Aadithya said as he continued staring Sandhya.
“You love her a lot, don’t you?” Anju sounded curious.
Aadi looked into Anju’s eyes and had a fake laugh.
“If I could give my life to see a smile on her face, I’d consider myself lucky. I’m proud to be in love , with her.
“Does she know this?” Anju was surprised.
“No. She asked me once though. But those feelings for me weren’t out of love, they were because of Vivek’s absence. Also, I had seen them together. I don’t want them to be apart, if they really love each other. If I said that I too loved her when she proposed me, that’d be like cheating my friends. Vivek would ask me about her everyday. I have seen his concern and care for her. Also, I’ve seen Sandhya being equally worried for him. I can’t do that Anju, i felt it would be wrong. I want to see her happy, and she is happy with Vivek, not me.” Aadi still looked at Sandhya and observed each of her movements.
“Don’t you feel sad? Was it easy for you to let her go? Is it easy for you to see her with Vivek, instead of you?” Anju wanted to know, as she knew that deep inside she too faced the same situation by letting Vivek go.
“I love her. I want her to be happy and at her best. And for that I’d do my maximum best. When Aadi is for Sandhya, Aadi doesn’t exist. He is always with Sandhya, he exists in his love for her. Yes, I’m sad when I think as Aadithya. But, when I think myself as someone who loves Sandhya, I feel I’m doing my work, the reason for my existence with Sandhya.” Aadi sensed Anju’s reason for the question.
They left the cafeteria. They had to prepare for Sandhya’s presentation, which was scheduled to be two days later. Also, Vivek helped Anju to get prepared for her new life, the life that she dreamt always. Sandhya always saw her best companion and guide in Aadi. Since they were good friends, Aadi was an asset to Sandhya. The four friends enjoyed their dinner with talks and lot of joy, making memories, peacefully and happily. Everyone stayed at Aadi’s house, as he was known to be the best host ever.
The next day, Sandhya and Vivek left the house early in the morning for some photographs. The two were equally brilliant and expressive when it came to the art of photography. Hence, they could make even a spontaneous plan successful. Anju woke up early and prepared coffee for everyone, and later sat down near the window sill. It has rained the previous night. She was in awe for the raindrops that were remnants of the heavy downpour. The nature seemed to depict their life at that moment. After the rain of events, the droplets of memories were remained and the sun rays of hope were emerging from the horizon. The day appeared promising and pleasant. The painful darkness became the past. It was done and dusted, or to be precise, it was forgotten.
“Good morning, Ms. writer. What are you thinking? Any new philosophy? Nature is such an inspiration and the best thing to write about life, isn’t it?” Vivek could read Sandhya’s thoughts even without looking at her eyes.
“Yes. I was thinking, how life could take turns, some unexpected turns and sort out things all by itself. All we have to do is, to go with it’s flow. I’m really happy for you and Sandhya. I hope that your love would stay forever. And yeah, do call me for marriage. Don’t forget. ” Anju was always lively, and that was something that attracted Vivek.
“Yes. We’re good friends. Best friends. Obviously the cloud of misunderstanding would disappear one day, when the wind of a good, open hearted conversation would blow. You were right. And yes, I would always love her. And she would love me too, I know that.” Vivek explained how he and Aadithya had planned to get Sandhya this project , and that was the culprit, since that made him late and missed the meet up with Sandhya’s parents.
“And about the marriage, Sandhya would definitely call you for her marriage, and mine, I don’t know. If marriage happens, definitely you’d be there. ” Vivek said with a smile that made Anju go crazy.
“Sorry. If you both get married, then why would it be separate? Don’t tell me that things aren’t good between you both.” Anju thought that it was Vivek’s humour sense again.
“See Anju, we aren’t getting married. Not because we have misunderstandings between us. Things are much clearer now. Back then, we were together. Hence we thought, things would work for us. But that’s not true. Spending time with someone doesn’t mean you could do that whole life. Me and Sandhya, were mentally together. But, our souls never met. We had to struggle and work for the relationship. Now if a relationship doesn’t happen naturally, what’s the basis for it’s existence. I’m not the guy who understands the person in her. Actually, it’s Aadi, who knows the soul in her. I know just the talented photographer and the smart girl that she is” Vivek sounded happy.
“So, you knew that Aadi loves her? And that she too had reciprocated his feelings, but he didn’t agree because he thought Sandhya would be happy with you?” Anju was really surprised with the turn of events.
“Yes. I know how Aadi thinks and expresses. He never told me that he loved Sandhya, but, his eyes and his words when we spoke about Sandhya couldn’t hide his emotions. He’s such a fool, and only Sandhya could set things right for them. When they come back today, we need to throw a party. The proper people meant to be together are coming, together! Two souls in love are like those parts of a jigsaw puzzle, they fit into each other completely because they are designed in such a way. I wasn’t designed in a way to be with Sandhya. Hence it never worked.
But, I realised it some three years back, that I was happy, i felt that I was myself when i spent time with a fifteen year old girl. Her soul had the light to show my real soul to myself. I felt that I spoke to a mirror when I spoke to her. Yes. I had made a mistake. But then, I wasn’t matured enough to realise that I was physically present with Sandhya, but my soul was always with you, with your memories.” Vivek looked at a surprised Anju and asked her, “does that 15 year old still thinks she felt the right thing for a person like me, or, does she regret being in love ?”
Anju thought for a while. “Her soul was always with his. Hence, she never felt that she was away from him. Hence, she has no regrets or change in her thoughts. It was the truth, how could one change truth?”
Vivek was on cloud nine. He had indeed been right about Anju. That was the moment when he was totally into her. But , he thought something else too, “I don’t want you to decide something in a haste. I want you to achieve the best in your life. Because you need to, you are meant to be the best after all your struggles. And I’d be always happy to see you in the zenith, that’s my priority. I love you, and hence, you are my priority, not your love for me. That’s secondary.”
“I could do all those only if you would be with me. With ease, I could be my best. If I won’t love you, I won’t be my best. After all, all these years, it were your memories and soul that made me walk till here. So, your company obtained by loving you would make me run!” Anju said with tears in her eyes.
Vivek hugged her tight. Tears of joy were rolling down their cheeks. “Will you get me a cup of coffee? Althese days it tasted bitter, but now it would sweet, for I’ve found the sweetness in this soul that entwines mine!” Anju laughed.
Both of them sat down for the coffee at the doorsteps, watching the fully risen sun, shining brightly than ever before. The phone read a notification. It was a photo from Sandhya; a funny selfie with Aadithya. And it was captioned, “Finally I found the proper lens for my camera. Mine❣️”.
So, this was something tried under fiction. Hope it didn’t end up being different from my thoughts, the mundane things! 😅