Miles Away2 mins 12.8K 2 mins 12.8K
An intense feeling of deep affection
Love doesn't need to stay forever to fulfill its purpose.
reserved, modest, and shy
The light of the day has always been preferred by most. The way it glimmers, the way it lights up not only the mother nature but also the hearts and minds of many is unrealistic. It has always been man's way to success, as the saying goes--with a new day comes new strength and new thoughts.
I have also always preferred the day. The night, the darkness was not really my cup of tea. But I never knew that night would be start of a passionate journey where I would start to love the dark, the night, the memories it will bring with it.
Starting with the office in the morning, tending to people's needs all throughout the day, the day was as plain as most of the days. Socializing--nah, I'm not a big fan of it. Loneliness is what suits me the most. I like the way silence feels. It has its own way of healing people, and I desperately wanted to be healed. Staying away from family is hands down the most difficult thing I had experienced in my 24 years of life. But staying alone, I came to value the company of my amma, papa and my siblings that I once enjoyed every day. Foremost it made me aware of my own existence, what I am to myself and what I am to the outside world.
But those couple of nights, I didn't want to be alone. I wanted to talk to someone. Up until now, I never understood why I wanted to talk to someone who is a stranger to me, maybe because the person won't judge me even if I shared all my stories with them.
Anonymous chat—one to one
My phone screen lit up with thousands of search results. There were tons of options. I opened a few of them and settled on the one which was most convenient to me. I found a few decent persons there to be honest, but none of them appealed to me that much. Skip and skip is all I did most of the time in those couple of days. But that night wasn't like those previous nights. Unknowingly I came across someone who I never knew will unknowingly become everything to me in the days that followed.
the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way
West Bengal, India
The night of Kolkata is as fascinating as people imagines it to be. The city lights, the tall buildings, constant rushes of people may make people a bit intimidated. But the soulful embodiment of culture, love, mystery, passion of people truly makes it a City of Joy.
But dark always accompanies light. Dark is what makes light the most desirable. The gloominess, the leisure, the relaxation, the coldness is sometimes necessary. Some people like the calmness of the dark, how it connects souls to God's greatest creations. And I am fortunately a part of it. The night has always been my favorite. It gives us a moment to realize where we are in this universe, what makes us exist as one of the top beings on this planet. We get to feel where our feet lies among all distant creatures.
That night was one of those nights where I could have enjoyed the serenity of the outside. But schedule packed up with school and tuition, I felt like there was no time to even breath. Manya— meaning beloved. My father kept this name to assure me that I'll be everyone's beloved, under any circumstances. But I guess life is just billions of people, who are lonesome together. It is not a lie that I had everything enough to be lonely.
Those day's events had tired me to great extent but those waves of exhaustion did not keep my mind from wandering towards a release. And for me this was through a conversation with a random stranger. Weird? I know. Do I care? No. It is sometimes good to meet new people, ask about someone's lives who I had no relation with.
But for some reason I was restless about something. I did not know what. But now that I think about it, one thing gets clear. Not love, but feeling is the greatest thing soulmates experience. And I surely had experienced it hard...
The next chapters will be longer than these ones (which are like kind of a background info of these characters). Do check them out:)
Yawing softly, my eyes lids flutter open. The surrounding coming into focus. The birds chirping fills my ears and I realize its already past 7 am.
I rub my hands on the soft sheets, remembering the previous night.
A smile tugs at my lips. That was interesting.
Slowly sitting up I raise my arms and stretch. Turning around I grab my phone and start scrolling through the timeline of my non-existing friends.
I guess that's what social networks do right now. Thousands of friends are just one click away, but we still stick to our reserved nature.
And for me that's fine. Introverts or extroverts, they are all the same. Both tries to make their lives better. Some do it in these ways, and some have the capability to change it according to situation.
My fingers automatically open up our last night's conversation.
Again, a smile appears on my lips.
Is it okay to feel this giddy for a stranger? He was a little creep though.
Am I turning nuts?
"You're gonna be late for school Manya"
Quickly deleting the conversation, I jump out of the bed and usain bolt towards the bathroom to start my day.
I decide to take a cold shower, to get rid of all the thoughts of last night. Well, I tried to.
Looking in the mirror my eyes fall to my shoulder length black hair.
Such a mess.
I comb through it and put it all up in a messy bun.
A girl with brown eyes, dimpled cheek is what I see in the mirror.
A typical Indian girl. Nothing too fancy.
After the shower, I hastily dry myself and head to wear the uniform. I wish our school was liberal enough to permit casual clothes. But it is what it is.
Hurriedly I go to the dining table being as late as usual, getting those disapproving looks from my parents. Smiling awkwardly, I eat my breakfast and get on the school bus shortly.
Surprisingly, never once did he from last night leave my mind. I was trying my best to push those thoughts away. But all in vain.
I hate school. Not in that sense, but I hate the dramas which go on in the school. A new week—a new drama. I have been the scapegoat a few times and its pretty nerve-wrecking.
Entering into the school, my ears fill up with the chitter-chatter of the students. The school corridors bursting with immature hormones, daily mocks and taunts on the nerds and the underachievers. Couples showing their affections openly, not caring about how everyone would judge their PDA. But to be honest no one really cares.
I'm used to it by now. Though I've never been the victim of bullying but I've never been able to help someone being bullied. So I'm no less than the bad guy.
I enter into the classroom. Prying eyes observe my every step and I know right then I'm screwe-
"Hey babe" Arms coil around my waist and push my back into a hard chest.
"I missed you" Lips trail behind my neck and a kiss is placed behind my ear.
I try to free myself from his hold but I'm afraid of creating a scene.
"Leave me please" He not so gently unwound his hands, making me release a sigh of relief.
I look at him, eyes full of hate. A body of uncontrolled testosterone. Hazel eyes stare back at me, a smirk fixed at his lips.
"What? I'm your boyfriend"
The Previous Night
She seems to be a decent one. But I was not sure about it cause this site is not as clean as it claims to be.
But I hope she is.
I send the text and wait for her reply.
Hello. How are you?
Not gonna lie, the first person to ask this question. Majority are like 'male or female?', and if it's a male, they'll skip, as if they are thirsty for the female population.
I'm good. Thanks. What about you?
We messaged back and forth and I got to know that she's 17, going to be 18 in a few months. She seems to be as introvert as me.
She asked about my name.
Manan means deep thought, a profound mind
We had a lot of similarities, a lot like 'the female version of me'.
I laughed thinking that.
Even though we were alike in many ways, we clashed at our choices of entertainment. I consider myself to be a movie person. I like to visualize the story, take into account the expressions of the characters. But she, was the complete opposite, a book lover. She despises movies.
The most astounding fact was that I didn't feel like I was being dejected. Rather I was impressed. Impressed with the fact that not many people in this time are into books. Sure enough people are into literature, but girls this age normally aren't like this, like her.
Can we exchange numbers?
Why did I say that? I don't know. It was like a spur of the moment. I was thinking something and the next thing I know I have sent this. I know taking or giving a number to a stranger is dangerous. But I didn't think of her as a stranger.
From the first second I felt there was something other worldly, magnetic about us. As if we were being tied by the doings of God. And I was never the one to question the God. I live my life unplanned, as it is by this that you can live life to the fullest.
But now that I think about it, she might say no, she might think I'm a creep to ask for her number this soon, there can be hundreds of things going through her head-
A genuine smile broke out on my lips.
I quickly saved her number and messaged her. She was shocked at how fast I was.
Was I that fast? I don't think so. I should have been faster.
We chatted for quiet some time. Talked about our favorite food, families, my job and everything. I didn't think me being 23 and she being 17 affected our conversation. We chatted away like any normal friends would have.
She asked for my photo.
Now, I don't really like to click selfies. It's way out of my nature. I cropped some group photos and sent her.
I didn't think she would find anything in a Punjabi turban boy but what she said made me laugh.
You look like a king
I too asked for her photo. She looked nothing like a 17-year-old. A lot younger to be honest. But who cares? I believe her. And I believe her talking style is way more mature than a 17-year-old. I didn't have any doubt.
We said good night shortly after. She had school and I didn't want to be that nuisance who would ruin her schedule.
I kept my phone next to my pillow.
Closing my eyes, I remembered everything we have talked about. Everything unfolded in my mind like a movie.
Is it weird I'm feeling this way?
[ˈmaɡwa] Sorrow, grief, hurt
"I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death."
- How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)
He always had a hold on himself—his behavior, his routines, his actions and foremost his thoughts. He had always been assisted by none, but him. An ability so powerful, that could destroy several.
But Manya seemed to be that only exception in his life. She had occupied his entire mind for the whole night and the following day.
Is it because she was the first female he had opened up to?
Or is it something else?
Manan had lost the game with his own mind. War with one's own mind has never been beneficial.
The pale walls of his room didn't seem to catch his eyes anymore, for his mind was on something else.
The first light in the morning soothes your eyes, but the twinkle in the eyes and the beam on the face is when it captivates your soul.
Manan didn't know about attraction, about love. But Manya sure did captivate him.
Love is what which makes the toughest of all weak to their knees. It is an illusion to a perfect world. Everyone deserves to be loved, to be cherished but only a few experiences it.
From the first second Manan awoke, he had his phone in his hand. Having read their texts for over ten times, he cursed at how pathetic he was behaving.
The thoughts of Manya had bugged him the whole night and he had no clue what these fellow feelings are all about.
He wanted nothing but the warmth in his heart to be due to the welcome of a new 'friend' in his life. Nothing else. Nothing.
Manan never experienced this kind of attachment nor did he want to.
But hearts cannot be caged.
All through the day, Manya had somehow slipped into his mind and stayed there. He had difficulty in focusing. He thought about all the things he would talk about today. With her of course.
Manan couldn't put his finger on what made him this impatient, this restless. What was all that nervousness about?
Manan concluded it to be how Manya had the same nature as him when he was small. Those introverted behavior, the love for books, the innocence, all seemed to be just like how he was when he was a teen.
He could see a speck of him in her. Finding oneself in someone is one of the greatest feelings ever. Every other relation starts with a fleck of connection. And he surely had felt it.
He was surprised at how different this girl was. Being a part of an Indian family, he had tons of cousins, and never did he see a girl like her.
He knew he was making a major judgement, still he couldn't help but think of her as being close to perfect, if not the perfection herself.
These many assumptions after only one day of knowing her, when you haven't even seen her face to face?
This question did arise in Manan's mind but Manan himself didn't know what had happened to himself.
Every person, at some point in their life, finds their purpose, the purpose for which one has been sent to this Earth, the purpose for which one is living and the purpose for which one will sacrifice their life. Purpose has its own way through the heart for the heart sees what the minds cannot.
The heart wants what it wants.
And here, in the other end of the country, Manya's condition was no different.
She was apprehensive of how Manan had sparked of something in her which had opened herself to new understandings and mostly unknown feelings.
As a girl, she had been hearing stories about prince and princesses since she was a baby. She was fascinated by this kind of worlds where everything happens and happens for good.
But maturity kills innocence.
Hardships in life are as common as finding stars on a clear night. Life is never and will never be a fairy land. Happiness, merriment, jollity looks better in books.
Reality is ugly.
But the fondness she grew towards Manan in less than 24 hours made her doubt her way of looking into things.
The bond, the sparks which she felt being as far as one thousand miles, is unreal.
The whole day at school, she had been annoyed and mentally tormented by her so-called boyfriend. She never ever realized why did that boy claim himself to be her boyfriend one year back.
Is it because of a bet?
She didn't know. She tried her best to stay away and ignore him, but he always got his way into her private space.
The level of clinginess the guy possessed was out of this world. A slap in the face should have suited his pretty face.
But violence is not always the answer.
Manya never opened up to anyone. In her perspective, the world doesn't value people, it values people's deeds, their belongings and their stature. Opening up to someone was never in her mind.
But Manan made him realize that there are still some real and authentic people in this world.
Though he was a creep for asking her number abruptly but she had gotten over that.
But she was unsure of how close she was feeling to a stranger, how everyone seemed to fade away when she thought about him, how his every little word floated in her mind.
She was afraid. Afraid of being falling into a trap.
So, disregarding her every urge to talk to him, she finally decided to ignore him as she had been ignoring everyone until then.
Hours passed and she felt satisfied for controlling herself.
A new notification
It was from him.
She had promised herself to be strong. She decided not to reply.
She can't. She can never.
No authority can reign over fate. What is supposed to happen, will happen. There's no in between.
Picking up her phone from the bedside table, she opened the message.
Hey, how are you?
Her finger ran over the keypad automatically as if they were longing for messaging him.
Hey I'm good. How are you doing.
Sent. Delivered. Seen.
Was he waiting for her?
'No, you fool, he was not' Manya's head was then thinking of all sorts of negative things.
You replied late. Are you busy? We can talk later if you want.
Now, this was the time when Manya seemed to have fallen in her own made hole.
We can talk. I'm free now. Was studying, nothing else.
She sent the text and prayed to the Gods above to not make him think of her as a weirdo.
Oh ok. How has your day been?
Manya was ecstatic to talk with him. It seemed like he was the best part of her day. But she was sure enough to maintain the distance. Not the actual one, but she didn't want him to know those unknown feelings she was developing for him through her texts.
Manya didn't want him to run away from her. That would be heart breaking.
The sudden realization froze her.
What was happening to her?
But before she could think-
Hey I wanted to tell you something
She didn't know why this simple text from him increased her heartbeat.
She hurriedly texted back.
Oh yeah. What is it?
Each second seemed like a year to her. What is it that he's going to tell? Could have been a simple thing. But her heart decided to disagree.
I went to the hospital today
Hospital? Did something happen or what?
Why though? Fever?
Yes. I'm okay now.
That's all matters. He's okay. Manya was a fool for thinking so many things.
There was a nurse there who assisted us
Why was she feeling so uncomfortable?
She was so beautiful
I think I have a crush on her...
accustom (someone) to something, especially something unpleasant.
Manya rubbed her temple and sighed bitterly as her eyes went over to the busy road on the other side of the glass wall.
The disarray of cars on the street giving rise to a never-ending traffic jam, people in a hurry, moving from here to there, a fast motorbike on the verge of an accident, everything suited the life and scenery of city life.
Her mind was no less than that. A pure mess.
Thoughts flooded her head, some of which she didn't want to fill her mind with. Her eyes went over to the table at the other end of the café.
Her eyes stuck to the elderly couple. It seemed to be unreal how their aura, their presence screamed affection, care, and mostly love.
Not only her, but every person in that café, at least once, if not more, had had this thought.
It is true that little things in life teach us some values that the wisest can't explain.
Her eyes met the elderly woman. Having being caught, she quickly turned her head.
The sandwich which she ordered long ago lied on the table. Her coffee cup was empty and she had been here for the last 20 mins but still, she didn't seem to gain any ounce of energy.
"What's wrong with you today huh?" Rhea, the friendly barista that she had come to know from the past two years mumbled.
"Oh, nothing. Just lost my appetite" She didn't know how but Rhea seemed to understand that something was up with her today.
She picked up the coffee cup and left Manya in her own little bubble. A complete contrast to Rhea's regular sassy and chirpy behavior.
She had been hungry for quite some time, so, she needed to have something in her stomach.
Tearing open the plastic, she bit onto the bread.
From the corner, her eyes noticed the departure of the couple.
Just when they were about to cross the door, the lady looked back at Manya, and her lips shaped into the most beautiful smile she had ever seen as if to tell her that everything would be fine. Something which was bothering her would definitely go away as the harshest times are accompanied by the most beautiful forever.
And Manya couldn't help but smile back and, to say, it was a real one.
A new notification
Somehow the message itself seemed to have lost its motive.
Just only two days ago, this message could have lifted up her entire mood, but now it was all confusion and sadness.
She didn't reply.
Maybe she was being pricey, maybe she was being childish but getting over the feeling of losing him when she didn't even have him in the first place, took a toll on Manya.
She thought about how awkward and boring their conversation would be from now on and it was just, because of her. She just couldn't keep her feelings controlled.
"Just because I'm not wanted, doesn't mean that we won't be friends, right?" She thought.
She'll try, for now, and as long as she could.
But how can she be friends with someone she loves?
Love is a big word. But this time the word 'crush' didn't seem to properly define the feelings she had grown for Manan.
But he's not mine, he will never be.
Quickly packing her bags, she left the café.
Walking along the sidewalk, her mind drifted back to last night.
I think I have a crush on her
She felt everything around her stop for a minute, eyes only fixated on her phone. A person afar could never realize what was happening behind those irises, how badly she wanted to bawl her eyes out just because of this simple text.
Was she seeing right?
The text seemed to have sucked the life out of her.
The thoughts which she had a couple of hours ago to be apart from Manan, suddenly seemed to vanish in thin air. At that moment she wanted nothing but to have him take back his words. She wished it was just a joke.
She could have lived with just being friends with him, but knowing he wanted someone else just broke her heart.
"Isn't it what you wanted Manya? To have him as far from you as possible. It was you who wanted to ignore him, it was you who thought of those absurd things. Now when destiny has fulfilled all of your wants, why do you seem so brokenhearted?" Her mind screamed back.
She tried her hardest to regain her composure, but it is tough to stop the bleeding heart.
She tried to be happy for him, she tried her hardest. She wanted him to be happy, above everything.
Is it possible to feel this intensely for someone?
The fingers which were eagerly texting him back a few minutes ago suddenly had gone paralyzed, as if her whole body was denying him, denying everything he said.
But still, she fumbled out a reply.
Oh, that's great Manan.
Only Lord knew how much effort and self-control it took for her to type out those few words. The pain behind those words could never be felt by anyone, but her.
She knew everything he was telling was the truth. She was his friend. So why would he lie to a stranger he met a few days back?
But somewhere, just somewhere, in the back of her mind, she wished for the opposite. Her heart could not accept her fate.
Manya, in her life, only felt like this once, and that was when she met Manan. She unknowingly had been consumed by him. And all this time, she was lying, to her heart.
She looked at her phone again.
Yeah, I don't know her name yet. So, I probably won't be able to find her.
Each and every sentence was like a punch in the gut. She felt extremely uncomfortable. She felt herself being deeply hurt as if her heart had been ripped out of her chest.
The first person she fell in love with would not be hers, never, and the pain was excruciating.
Just two days ago, he was no one to her, and now, he was everything. She then knew how wrong she was, she could have just accepted her feelings but she just had to refuse.
She somewhere felt like, she was the reason for all that was happening. If she hadn't thought about such things, maybe Manan wouldn't have said that.
You should have asked someone her name. Did you talk to her?
Oh, how pathetic she was. She asked for stuff she never wanted to listen to.
You know I'm shy, I didn't have the courage to tell her something, let alone ask her.
She felt sad about how excited he was for someone. But truly, it was none of her business. He could have had a crush on anyone.
So now what's the plan huh?
She didn't know why she was so curious when she knew this curiosity could cost her, her peace.
I don't know. You tell me something.
Her? If she had that kind of power and guts, she could have told him to forget that girl and just focus on her. But that was never going to happen.
She blinked her eyes rapidly as if to push those thoughts away. She didn't want to remember him. She has to forget him.
Manya blinked those tears away. She didn't want to break down in front of everyone on the street.
This was the time, when she felt for the first time, that being in love is like a drug, you want more of it, every day, every second. When you're in love, whatever you do, your mind will definitely drift back to that someone, as if your soul has found its home, its purpose. But the pain which comes, is not because of love, for love is a pue thing. It is that separation, that empty feeling you get while losing someone, is what hurts the most.
And Manya felt that love wasn't for her. She knew she should never lose her belief in love but she couldn't help being miserable. She wanted to own the pain for this was the first time she lost her love, and the first one.
15 minutes had passed and another buzzing came from her pocket.
She knew it was him but she didn't want to see it. Not because she was angry with him, but because she was angry with herself, angry for ruining their friendship like this. She felt that this friendship could have bloomed prettily, but she ruined it by developing feelings.
But on the other end, the situation was not what Manya had ever expected, that night.
"She isn't acting any different. Doesn't she feel for me like what I feel for her?" Manan's inner self asked.
"You can ask someone, you know, about her. Maybe you'll be able to know her name, then you can easily search her on social media."
He didn't want to hear anything about that girl anymore. He had understood that Manya didn't feel for him, not even a little bit.
He wanted to see how her reaction was, kind of like if she was jealous. But everything told him that Manya was off-limits. A girl like her can never love someone like him, never.
That night was the toughest for those two souls, who laid awake in their beds till late night, thinking of each other and wanting each other but alas their own misunderstandings had ripped them apart.
But fate has its own ways.
The desire to have one's feelings reciprocated
The sunset is doubtlessly one of the most beautiful and gorgeous things seen by the livings, symbolizing the mysteries of life and all that is beautiful. The sultry glow, the warmth, the way the brilliantly red and orange merge in the sky to create such a heavenly masterpiece, is truly spectacular.
Sunset's beauty often reflects the completion of a day, accompanied by the arrival of a much-needed break from the daily mess.
Manan also found this time oddly companionable, the timelessness of the moment and the way the sun sets seemed to him as if all the sluggishness of the day had set along with the sun.
But the night prior had been filled with infinite questions and unfortunately no answers.
Uneasiness settled in him the whole day at the office. Millions of thoughts running through his head.
Maybe she doesn't like the idea of love
Manan repeatedly tried to convince himself, tried to make himself understand that perhaps he should have taken it slow. Expecting Manya to get attached to him in just a span of two days is out of the question.
Walking along the park at the end of the day, Manan seemed to be as low as he was the whole day, all anxious and disturbed.
His mind didn't seem to move anywhere from Manya. Manan's favorite part of the day didn't seem to be as pleasurable as it was a few days back.
"What's wrong?" questioned Anil, his office mate.
As expected, his mood and behavior had caught the eyes of many, but none other than Anil was close enough to ask the question in person.
Manan looked the other way. Eyes over to the distant mountains which looked to be the haven for the sun, hiding it from the darkness which would soon reign.
But Manan's head couldn't seem to hide from anything that was bad. Every thought, every action of his, portrayed melancholy.
He tried to close his eyes to all of Anil's questions. But he knew he was not capable enough to hold it all in.
"I met a girl" Here, he told him.
Anything regarding Manya seemed to make him unconsciously weak.
Little by little, he told him everything. Starting from the first night, every second, every moment was vivid in his mind.
"She is utterly unlike, despite being a girl of this time"
Lost in her thoughts, he didn't even realize when the blissful colors of the sky had faded into a dark and cloudless night.
Time goes really fast when you are absorbed by someone, and thinking about that someone. And that is what happened to Manan.
But he did not know what he'd do this night, how he would spend this night.
Walking back home, he thought about how their conversation would be today, would it be like those previous days?
For him, it would surely be difficult.
He realized letting Manya know about his fake 'crush' was not a good idea. The chances which he might have had, definitely got ruined.
But he was satisfied with the idea of being friends with her. He was afraid of the fact that if he opened up too much in front of her, he might lose their friendship, and never in a million years, he wanted that.
Moreover, her replies from yesterday were suspicious to Manan.
Late and short.
He was wary if she had lost interest in him. He knew he wasn't interesting or jolly of that sort, but he knew he was real and genuine. He questioned himself if it looked as if he was disturbing her, and if he was, he would make sure to keep a distance from her.
But neglecting and ignoring him like this? Manan did not expect this from Manya. At least, she could have told where he was wrong, where did he make the mistake. But she had told none. She had just left.
Manan was soft-hearted but he was not a fool to overlook what Manya's actions were gesturing.
His pride was hurt.
The girl, on which he had drained all of his energy, by thinking about her and only her in these past few days, had done this to him.
The agitation, the discomposure, everything he had suffered through didn't seem to be worth it.
But he couldn't deny the butterflies he had gotten, but all of that had been overshadowed by the continual ache in his heart.
Is she angry?
He scoffed at his mind. Why would she be angry?
So why wasn't she answering properly?
Maybe she was busy. Questions had crowded his mind and sadly, he had no clue.
But his mind had somehow wandered and stuck to the same question that he tried to avoid up until then—
Is it over?
School for Manya was no less than hell, and for most students, it is the same. But for Manya, her disheartened state had overpowered her dislike for school.
These few nights had been an emotional roller coaster for Manya, and she was mentally exhausted.
She knew she acted differently the night before, her texts were impassive and cold. And Manan was not the one to be blamed, for he was guileless. It was Manya who was at fault.
Her instability had landed them both into this whirlpool of delusion.
In their attempt to find each other, they had somewhere had lost themselves, lost control of themselves.
Two days into this magical feeling—love and I'm already heartbroken.
Negative thoughts had occupied her mind and the repercussions of it had wounded Manan.
Manya had always hated congestion and school was the prime site of it. She wanted to be anywhere but here.
However, she had no choice.
Entering the school, she was met with familiar faces, some smiling at her, and some scowling maliciously.
Society stands on judgment and its first lesson starts from school. Violence and enmity are the basis of school nowadays. Gone are the days when friends were considered to be the brothers from another mother.
Manya maneuvered through the corridors and into her class, where waited for her, the Satan himself. Keeping her bag on the desk, she took her seat, and instantly, her eyes met the hazel ones—a perfect blend of beauty and venom.
Appearance can be deceiving—Dan was the perfect example. Sat on his face, a deep set of bright hazel orbs, a slightly upturned nose, a clean-shaven face, and thin and somewhat pale lips.
For any other person, Dan appeared to be the prince any girl would wish for, but only Manya knew what rested behind that façade.
Such a contrast.
Totally different from her Manan.
She realized that her heart was immune to her consolations. She was trapped and there was no way out.
Manya got out of her reverie with a snap of fingers.
She found that she had unknowingly gawked at him for a whole minute.
"Dreaming about me I hope" chuckled Dan.
Manya had been the victim of him since the day she had joined this school, he had practically been glued to her side. But this day was different. Pent up frustration and anger were itching to appear.
Manya was unaware of the mistake she was going to commit.
One moment she was here and the other moment she was dragging Dan up the stairs and into the washroom.
Confused looks and stares were following them, but Manya paid no heed. Hell, even Dan was puzzled.
Maybe it was the vexation, the jealousy, her wish of forgetting Manan, everything piled up at once and at one point she failed to keep it all in. And in a flash—
She slammed her lips on his.
a feeling or state of intense excitement and happiness.
Dan moaned into the kiss and plunged his tongue into her mouth.
What was she doing?
His lips moved possessively against Manya's lips making her heart beat a mile faster.
His hand ran up her back to her hair. Dan fists her hair tightly and tilts her head to kiss more roughly.
"Gosh I love you so much" Dan breathes into her ear.
I don't. I love Manan.
Dan again placed his lips on Manya. She never felt this vulnerable. She understood what she had done without any thinking.
A bead of tear fell from Manya's eyes.
But Dan was hellbent on satisfying himself.
It seemed to be like forever before his lips left hers. Harsh breathes and pants echoed throughout the washroom.
Manya looked down. She didn't even have the guts to look at someone in the eye. What she did, was so unlike her. She didn't expect this from herself.
Dan already had left the washroom with the ringing of the bell. But Manya didn't have the energy to even stand. And bit by bit, she broke down.
She slid down the walls and cocooned herself. Till then, her sobs were haunting the place but she didn't want to face anyone. She tried to muffle the sounds. But the more she tried to suppress those, the louder it got.
And the only question that clouded her head was—why did she do it?
The next time the bell rang, her condition had worsened. Eyes bloodshot, hands shaky and heartbroken.
But she felt that she shouldn't wait for more in the washroom. She needs to sober up or else she might get into trouble. But she never knew what waited for her outside.
The moment she got out of the washroom, she was bombarded with questions and odd looks.
She didn't expect such ruckus.
Her own friends were giving her awful looks and she was pretty sure they had already started spreading millions of rumors.
Such was the world.
And among all those people, her eyes had drifted back to him.
Standing at the corner, with all his charisma was Dan with his gang. He smirked when he noticed her staring at him and with a last wink, he left.
But she stood there.
Eyes on the floor, as if it was the most interesting thing in the world.
Fortunately, there was no trace of teachers in the corridor.
She felt lonely, not for the first time. But this time, the feeling was different. She felt hollow, empty from the inside.
For Manya, surviving school was in itself, a huge matter. She tried her best to stay faded in the crowd.
But she understood that, after what she had done, she would be facing extremes in the days that would follow.
Her heartfelt heavy and she knew, her only cure was Manan.
Noisy and chaotic.
That's what best suited the state of Manan's office. Everything was cluttered with anything and everything. Books and folders piled everywhere and people rushing to get their works done.
The first day Manan entered the office, he knew what he'd find – a small and cold environment, faded curtains, and the most expected one –severe rush hours.
Manan had been in his chair the whole day, eyes and mind only on his work. He felt, making himself busy would help his mind from riveting back To Manya.
Leaning back in his chair, and cranking his neck over, his eyes moved to the window. Above which, was the never-ending sky, deft blue and cloudless.
Nature is the only eternal beauty of this planet, and its appreciation knows no limits.
Staring blankly into space, Manan's mind wandered back to when he was small. He missed those times when there were no boundaries of living life, no tension—whereas now, it was only filled with pressure and anxiety, senses invaded by uncertainty.
Manan felt tired and spent. It seemed as if he knew something bad was going to happen.
Manan smiled sadly for he knew what was all this about.
Manya had been the reason for his sleepless nights and his overburdened days. She was the reason behind his mood offs.
He was fed up.
The office pressure, Anil's constant bickering about how Manan should get a girlfriend, and Manya's thoughts—everything made him emotionally unstable.
He was minutes away from lashing out.
Anil being a married man, judged Manan's lostness to be the effect of him being alone and not getting any female company, which is why he tried to set him up with a girl—the nurse, to be precise.
But Manan's heart was somewhere else, specifically at the other end of the country. But he knew he had a zero percent chance of being 'her' man.
This didn't mean he didn't want to talk to her. Surely, he did.
And so, he crossed his fingers and sent a message.
'She could have messaged me if she was online.'
Shut up, your mind.
His heart started to beat faster. Reason—he couldn't and would never be able to comprehend.
He knew she was ignoring him but he couldn't help. He feared if she was going to block him. But all his assumptions flew away when he saw, she was typing.
A smile had automatically got plastered on his face.
'Are you angry?' Manan so wanted to ask this question but he was shit scared of its probable consequences.
What are you doing Manya?
Manan was terrified if she would be annoyed by his questions. But he hoped she wouldn't be.
I have tuition Manan.
Is it possible for someone to feel emotions through texts? Cause Manan felt as if she was low, just by looking at her texts.
Manan wasn't someone to say something without any proof. And this time, it wasn't different. Previously, angry or not, Manya would always ask about how he was doing before getting into any topic.
He could be wrong and he wanted to be. He didn't want to see Manya in pain or being sad and all down.
He tried to know more.
He sensed her lack of attention. Typical of her. She has been like this for quite some time.
He decided to ask, but before he could say something—
I'm getting ready. What about you?
Manan smiled. At last, she was back to her usual self. All chirpy and active.
They talked until it was Manya's time to leave.
Manan felt as if his entire being had lighted up. As it was Manya who was talking.
Manan liked this about her. When she talked, she talked about everything—what she was doing, what she would be doing in a few minutes, everything.
It made Manan feel as if he was with her all the time.
Will you be going alone again? If you are, be cautious and stay safe all the time.
He worried too much about her, particularly when she traveled at night. Though Manan knew she was capable, still he cared.
I'll be okay. I'm 17, you know, in case you forgot.
So, what fashion did you do?
Manan decided to tease her. By then, his insecurity had already vanished.
I just did my hair. Nothing else, you fool. I'm going to get an EDUCATION.
Manan's cheek was hurting from smiling so much. He unconsciously always got a smile on his face when he talked to her.
Okay miss. My apologies.
Manan released a deep sigh, he felt relieved after talking to her.
Okay, I'm going. I'll be back in two hours okay? Bye. Take care.
At last, their time together was getting over. But he was happy he got to spend some minutes with her.
He felt sad—sad because he wanted to talk to her a little more, sad because he had already started to miss her when it was not even a minute.
But it is what it is.
Manan laid down. Keeping the phone aside, he looked towards the ceiling fan.
Manan remembered his heart also beats this fast when he is with Manya.
A notification sound brought him back from his world.
Unlocking the phone, he checked it.
Message from Manya
'Didn't she leave?'
Did she send a photo? About what?
He hurriedly opened the inbox and there it was, a photo of her, with a single text—
Look what type of fashion I did.
What the hell?
Time does stop.
Time stops when you feel something out of this world, it stops when your eyes find its home when you truly feel you're living life.
It stops when you feel alive.
It was as if Manan had stopped breathing. Time had stopped for himself. Staring right into his phone, into her eyes. If it wasn't for his lungs, he would have held his breath forever. Is this the girl he has been talking to? She?
You look beautiful. He typed out the message.
But by then, Manya had already left. Their time was finally over. Maybe she wouldn't receive this message before her tuition was over. He set the phone aside.
Breathing heavily, Manan felt as if he had run a marathon. The furious beating of his heart, 'that' unknown feeling, everything made him more puzzled than ever.
Seas full of questions were coming into his mind, one after the other.
Why would she send me a photo suddenly?
She looked nothing like the previous photo. Is that even her?
He couldn't control himself. He unlocked his phone and opened her photo once again, this time analyzing every detail.
The way her lips curved up into a smile, making that dimple appear, lovely. The way her hoodie was placed so disorderly and her eyes, Gosh. They were just so sweetly intense, expressive just like her smile.
Her eyes were the ones that hooked him to her. Those simple delicate features completely contrasted her deep penetrating gaze, just like a black flower in a pool of peace. Only, there was something innocent about her, Manan pondered, but he couldn't figure it out.
Why was he behaving like a creep?
He himself didn't know. The only thing he knew that his heart was trying to tell him something, but he wasn't ready to accept it. He couldn't and he wouldn't. never ever.
He tried to act like he didn't care. Like nothing was out of the blue, there's was nothing unlikely about his behaviour. He pushed himself in a big wall of toughness and pretended to be fine.
Well, until she comes. It was not a lie that he missed her. A little too much than he should have.
Maybe it's just attachment, but he didn't know.
He was a ball of confusion and so was Manya.
Manya by then was walking through the busy streets of Kolkata. People pushing each other through the tsunamis of people, vendors shouting at the top of their voice, cars moving like ants, the total opposite of what she liked and wanted. But, nevertheless, the world runs like that.
Finding peacefulness is, in itself chaos.
Two long torturous hours. That's how long her tuition lasted. Both of them were aching for each other, asking the time to tick faster.
Walking back home, Manya hoped she would be in time for the train. She couldn't run, for it would look awkward in the middle of all these people. She wasn't someone who wanted attention on herself.
Manya had only and only thought about Manan during her class. Surely, she did pay attention, but somewhere in the back of her mind Manan was there, it was as if he was telling her to complete her work first, he won't go anywhere, he's here with her, forever.
She had been blushing since she saw the last message he sent. He complimented her. Her crush. That did earn her some awkward looks from her classmates. But who cares?
At the station, she took out her phone from her bag. Sent a "Hi" and waited for a reply.
Hey, class over?
They talked randomly for a few minutes before the train arrived.
Upon reaching home, Manya plopped down on her bed, hands holding her phone tightly, too excited for Manan.
They had talked all the way to her home.
Manya had normalized with the fact that she had fallen for Manan. Pretty damn hard. But for Manan, he was sure he felt something but he was just too lost. Just like Manya, denying everything he was feeling.
First love always confuses.
You have heard about prank calls, right? Manya asked.
Where have you heard it from? Don't do it ever. It's pretty dangerous.
Manan was confused as hell. Why would she ask about foolish stuff like that? Such a kid she was, he concluded.
Well, I'm doing it lol.
Thought so. Manan was right, she wouldn't listen.
It's better to call me than call strangers like that, you know.
Though they met a few days back, Manan felt like they were not strangers. They had shared enough to call themselves friends. After all, every person on the internet is not a creep. And Manan himself was a gentleman, not only him but every person he had come in contact with was of the same opinion. Real and polite.
So, you want me to call you huh?
To be honest, Manya was laughing her butt off at what must have been Manan's reaction to this message of her. Pretty cocky, but she thought Manan must have freaked out. And this was pure fun.
And this was exactly what happened. Manan was nervous to his core. Almost started sweating. He never thought this girl could have made him this worked up just for a call.
He hurriedly typed back.
Don't don't. Sorryyy.
But Manya was determined to make Manan act like a cat on hot bricks.
Nope. How can I reject your request? I'm calling you. Do answer okay?
The ringing of the phone filled Manan's ears. She was not joking. Panic mode – ON.
After about 6-7 seconds, he finally picked up the call, still not daring to say anything or make any sound. Just like a statue, not even moving a muscle.
Manya's condition wasn't any different. She planned to act all cool and chill. But the moment she heard him breathing, all rationalized thoughts flew out of the window.
Silence reigned over the call. Only breathing could be heard accompanied by a racing pulse.
Is this how it feels to be in a call with your crush? Manya wondered.
And they cracked up. Lol.
Both were laughing at literally nothing. Silly people.
After a solid 5 minutes, they finally stopped their madness and again let silence rule them over. But someone had to say something.
Manya was the first to say—
And as usual, they knew nothing after that. What to say? How to act? How to react? How to frame sentences? Everything.
Manya was seconds away from googling 'Topics to talk about with your crush' when Manan spoke up—
"Who told you about these prank calls?"
"Google" Manya laughed.
And eventually, they unlocked their hearts to each other, everything was open now. Every wall had fallen down and now, the wait until realization.
Their shyness was still visible but mostly, they were comfortable.
They talked and talked until their cheeks pained due to smiling so much.
They would have talked the whole night had Manya's mother not stopped her from being on phone for so long.
But before they hung up, Manan did not forget that particular thing—
"Your eyes are beautiful," Manan whispered.
They had formed a connection, something so greatly pure, and that's a beautiful thing, so real from the world.
She tried to hide her head inside her blanket even though there was no one inside her room.
12 o' clock.
The time showed. They have been talking for two long hours. But for them, it seemed like two minutes. They wanted more.
But at last, they had to bid goodbye.
A ping from her phone startled Manya.
Don't you think our meeting wasn't just a coincidence?
Manya stared at the message for long. Long enough to make Manan feel as if the text was awkward for her.
Forget what I said lol.
Well, this is just a filler lol. The next chapter is going to be fun.
IX - Mellifluous
pleasingly smooth and musical to hear
Walking through the sea of people, Manya looked back at her watch for the nth time. She was late—something she has accepted to be running through her veins. Body clad in 'half uniform-half casual' attire, she was sure of looking like the clown itself. But she could care less.
"May I have your attention please, train no. 34068 with destination Bidhan Nagar is running approximately 20 minutes late. Your inconvenience is deeply regretted."
Oh, she wasn't late after all.
She looked down at her sneakers, rubbing on the bristly sediment underneath her. The worn-out linings of it catching her eyes. She needs to get a new pair.
Fishing out her phone from her back pocket, she looked for Manan's message, only to be met with the disappointment of not getting one. The sun had already started to set, welcoming the dark.
She loved the dark, but it is not unknown that evil lurks in the dark. It is invisible and it is silent. It is something present in all but controlled by few.
Souls have corrupted to extremes, to the extent of making the death itself bow down to its cruelty. Should humans be so cruel? Should humans be the embodiment of bloodthirsty? The decision of the ultimatum lies in us, and once the work is done, we can hope to bring heaven on earth.
The train arrived with an atrocious whistle, making the platform filled to its brim. Only if she didn't have some meat in herself, she would have been squashed and trampled by now. Such was the crowd. She wished for nothing but to reach home as soon as possible. Partly because of this crowd, and the other part being Manan.
But, where was he?
After contemplating whether or not to send a message, she finally decided to send a 'hi'.
The reply came bullet fast.
Manan was a mystery to herself. Understanding him was like finding a pin in a haystack. One moment, he made her feel like she was on cloud nine, and at another, she was nothing but a stranger. His head seemed to be a puzzle; she was sure that Manan himself was incapable of understanding it. For if he could have, he wouldn't ignore her hints as if he was blind.
Love is hard. And loving someone is harder.
And Manya had realized by now that Manan just saw her as a friend. Maybe she was wrong, maybe she was right. But it seemed to be the most rational of all. Her feelings had locked her into a jail of naiveness, which made her unforeseen to what Manan wanted.
She wanted to tell him about what she felt for him but that was just too tough on her behalf.
Nevertheless, she cherished the time they spent together, even if her heart was meant to break at the end.
"I am going out with my friends tonight."
Sure enough. She was the only unsocial person in the entire world. But she was happy that Manan was not as dumb as her to not make any friends even after eleven years of schooling.
But somewhere she was sad that this night will be filled with just her. No Manan and his sweet words. Never mind, she would dissolve herself in the castle of books she had, the only things per se to be permanent in her life.
She opened up his photo, staring at him, intently at that. She wanted to talk to him, almost in despair to hear his voice. His words still lingered in her ear, the way he talked, the way his laugh sounded, the way he called her, everything was enough to make her an addict, the drug being Manan.
Love is not life. Love is a part of life. It is just an additional amount of happiness and pleasure that makes life beautiful from the exterior. Point to be noted—exterior. It is a whole new world and a whole new set of problems. Nothing is perpetually satisfactory. Nothing. Just like the first glance at the world seems to be the glance of heaven, the continuity isn't considered the same.
But people still yearn for it isn't it? Yes, they do. Human nature, if you question.
But have you ever been so consumed by someone that you have forgotten the existence of your mind? Making it impossible to behave as you had been behaving your whole life.
Side effects presumably.
Until and unless the connection doesn't wear off, love is magical. But that's not the only problem. The connection isn't something done in a snap of fingers. It is a process of the mind. Besides, some people die to find this connection. Some just.... give up. Love is a probability.
Our story characters were struggling with the same. But, what's love without struggles? A fairytale? Some magic? I don't know either.
Manya and Manan had an irresistible connection with each other, both had no idea, a visual of what the next days will bring to them. Both were unknown to the feeling they had lighted in each-other's soul. They were not ready to compensate for their friendship in front of their feelings.
It wasn't as if Manya had found the perfect man to have ever existed. She had her own opinions, judgments, and love for Manan. But complaints are always everywhere.
New love, new feelings, new confusions, everything was a part of life, but she never thought that it was supposed to be this hard. One-sided love hurts the most and the worst.
After completing every torturous hour of school and tuition, she always waited for Manan's entry in her day. His calming presence, his voice, everything seemed to tone down every little discomfort of her. After all, it was her love who was speaking.
But he goes too soon. But she couldn't blame him. Manan didn't know how she hurries back home just to be with him for a few more minutes. And maybe, just maybe, he'll never know. Thoughts like this saddened her. Why did they even meet when they weren't supposed to be together?
Each passing day, she fell little by little, a lot harder than she expected. She loved him, adored him, and even did fantasize.
It wasn't anything other than normal—Manya often thought. Consolation is good for her, at least in this grave situation. She fantasized about the man she loves.
Time passed with Manya being alone in her room, daydreaming about how perfect it would have been if Manan loved her back. But daydream it was. Will never be real.
It was around 10 pm when Manan's message came.
It was hard to suppress her smile. It was as if Manan was the medication the world was yet to provide for the cure to gloominess. But this option was only reserved for her, her Manan.
But the happiness went as soon as it came when Manan dropped the bomb.
I saw her today at the hotel.
Did he always have to break her heart like this? She didn't want to see him portray his love for 'that' girl. She didn't want to have her heartbroken anymore. It was already hard to not let her feelings overpower her mind but the constant wounds that Manan gave were impossible to ignore.
Why couldn't he love me?
Why was he not understanding the storm happening inside her?
Our eyes met once. But I don't think that she would ever like me.
Doesn't matter. You like her. that is enough to break me. This was what Manya wanted to tell, rather than shout.
Drop by drop her tears fell. She cried too much and she hated herself for that. But the situation she was in was worth crying. Torn between a love triangle, she registered her futile struggles against the man she so badly wants, but at last, it ended with her succumbing to her fate, which was heart break.
But Manan was negative about how things would turn about with 'that' girl.
Twice now, Manya saw himself getting worked up over 'that' girl.
Hence, putting a rock over her feelings, she decided to do what had to be done. She had suffered enough, more than she ever imagined. She wouldn't have given up had he not mentioned his liking for the other female. But seeing Manan with someone else was just a punch to the gut for her.
But here, on the other hand, Manan was still shocked at how impassive Manya was to his second attempt of making her jealous. Was this only one-sided?
He tried to put this insecurity at the back of his mind and started to talk about everything other than that. But Manya seemed to go back to talking about the nurse.
He didn't want to hear her name. he just wanted to talk to her, to Manya. He had waited so long for her, the whole time he was away, his mind was only filled with her.
Somehow, he had gotten dependent on her, the energy and smile she brings with her were enough to light up a whole city, if not a country. Manya was the reason for Manan's happiness. It came when she came and it went when she went.
He always wanted to talk to her, always hear her. Sometimes even wanted to scold her if she was late. She didn't understand how she had become a part of his life. he loved everything about her.
"I missed you so much." He spoke on the call.
"Me? You missed me?" Manya's laugh could be heard on the other side. Though the sound of her laugh was music to his ears, he was confused as to why Manya was laughing. Did he say anything wrong? Was he too fast?
"It seems like you are falling for me. And I'll advise you to never fall for me."
Even if it was just a joke, Manan felt as if his life had been sucked out of him. The pain he felt in his heart was so intense that it was turning to the point that tears had started to gather in his eyes. He couldn't believe what Manya told him. He was so heartbroken that Manya didn't feel the same about him. Even though it was not like he loved her, but after this moment he surely understood that there was something, something more than just a liking.
He realized that he loved her. And yes, he loved her.
A special place discovered for solace and relaxation
He repossessed the last strings of his sanity, and beheld his breadth to the point that his chest burnt, burnt due to the grief that engulfed him, but today he let it. He let the heartache wash over him, for it was no one but him at fault. His heart was now broken to pieces, completely shattered to the extent of being unrepairable.
He regretted—regretted for falling in love, regretted for realizing this late.
It was her who made him feel love.
This was yesterday. And today seemed to be worse. Every passing moment made his mind go back to Manya, and her sweet self, but the next moment it was full of the previous night. Oh, how hard it was for Manan to think about it and not cry. Working at a public place, it was not possible for him to cry, to let all his frustration and sorrow out, as if he had not spent the night doing the same.
The seriousness of the situation dawned onto him. He was sensible, a person with a heart as rich as gold, and as fragile as a china dish. It was useless to think about forgetting her, for he can't. He can't forget Manya and his feelings towards her. They were too strong to erase and too precious to be forgotten.
These feelings were beyond the bounds of Manan, it was new, but Manan liked being in love with Manya, and only Manya. Even if it was one way around. He feared this love would increase with each passing day, and might make him fall into his own created pool of despair, something which was a never-ending puzzle.
The longing, the greediness, the depth of his love was dangerous. Dangerous for him.
But he wouldn't leave her. He would love her, as long as his heart wants. Yes, from afar. But his Manya had pinned him to her, and he would definitely be a fool to leave her.
So did months. The arrival of the new year came with the new wants, new longings that they had somewhat formed and craved to be real.
The winter season perfectly describes how love should be. A warm cozy feeling, new sensations of comfort and satisfaction, an intimacy so hard to describe that it can only be felt, felt through every fibre of one's being.
"Aren't you going to buy a cake for Christmas?" Manya questioned. She was curious if there was anything that he did for himself alone. All this time she had been with him, she had never seen him do something for his own happiness. The thing she noticed was that –he puts everyone before him, whether it is as small as helping a colleague in office or finding a friend a home to live in. Yes, he did everything. But he forgets that he is also a human, and by some means or the other, people also forgets to appreciate him for what he does, selflessly.
"I never really do anything for Christmas, let alone any other occasion. Life isn't all bubbly when you live far away from your family"
Manya felt as if she should ask him to do something this time, she wanted him to know that she was going to be beside him at all times, after all it was the thinking that matters. The thousand miles suddenly didn't feel like a hefty matter to her. Love doesn't care about distance, does it? If it did, then Manya wouldn't have met Manan in the first place.
"You are going to do something this time" The finality in her voice made Manan a little bit alarmed, but mostly the 'angry mother' tone of her voice made him laugh a little. This was a new side of her, and he already loved it.
"You will buy a cake, I don't know from where, but you will. And you have to send me a photo of it with you as a proof" Manan can already picturize the 'oh I'm not so fool' smirk of Manya when she asked for the proof. It was funny as hell. He couldn't believe how much effect she had on him. Her one word, and he is hooked.
Confrontation was far from their mind. It was ridiculous to even think about that as they were still too shy and afraid and nervous and much more than words can convey. Maybe at some point in the future, when their walls would vanish, leaving them bare to each other, then they will voice their heart out, but not now.
But as it wasn't their wish to have gotten the chance to meet, the same way everything wasn't going to be like what they thought of.