Purple Line, Second Last Coach
Purple Line, Second Last Coach34 mins 236 34 mins 236
"New place, new people. Things will be okay. You will certainly make new friends".
That's what She said when we departed, and I relocated to new city to join other organization. Our last farewell conversation was recoiling back and again on my mind as I was seating alone and waiting for my train to arrive at the Baiyyappanahalli metro terminal.
It's the last train for the day and the platform was almost vacant except some score of people waiting to board into the train for the Majestic terminal.
It's been just couple of weeks for me in Bangalore working in the new organization. My office timings are in general 10 to 6, but few days, as today, it generally gets late. I manage to move out of my office so that I could catch the last metro train on time.
As I was thinking about changes in my life in the recent past weeks, I could hear the metro arriving the terminal. I boarded on the second last couch that halted just in front where I was seating. Unlike the usual metro crowd, there were hardly three people that boarded on the same couch.
I took one of the seats, plugged in the earphone and listened to the Wynk music. At the other corner on my opposite seat, I noticed a young girl in her black burkha, was looking on her phone upside down every other two minutes. It seemed she was nervous as I noticed she was scratching her index finger with the thumb nail and was tapping her left foot against the coach floor (I have known people doing this when they are nervous or worried, though not fully proven). How could anyone comprehend what other people are going through, that too for a person without seeing the facial expressions and body language. Meanwhile I was thinking whether any other passenger was trying to know about my worries or my state of mind. Wouldn't it be great if we humans had that ability to know each other's state of mind and we could help each other on most of the situation.
My philosophical thoughts were interrupted by my favorite sound track from the movie, Once upon a time in Mumbai...
Every time I hear this song, I think of myself romancing with some burkha girl that had the most beautiful eyes in the world...(it's a great therapy to dream of the situations that are quite impossible to achieve in your real life given that you are just as normal as the others and no super hero, it really gives you pleasure and peace ).
My eyes turned towards her ( believe me I wasn't dreaming about her in my song that I just listened), I saw she was looking towards me, I felt that she wanted to talk to me but then I thought I should stop dreaming about her and continued my next favourite sound track.
After about fifteen minutes, she came towards me on her golden medium heal scandals, and said, "Hello, can I please borrow your phone, I need to make an emergency call?"
I remained frozen for about ten seconds. I don't know why I was looking into her black beautiful eyes that glazed more pretty on her face covered by burkha.
"My phone has drained out of charge...", she interrupted myself starring at her shaking her switched off iPhone in front of my eyes as if I had never seen a girl before.
"Yes...sim two please...", I replied giving her the phone with dial pad open.
She stepped few steps to the corner. Though she was little far away, her conversation over the phone was vividly comprehensive due to the vacantly crowded coach. She called her mother and asked about Ayiaz's health. And her mother said that he is sleeping now and currently he doesn't have any fever after giving him the Paracetamol tablet.
She disconnected the phone, stepped towards me, closer than before, removed her face cover from the burkha and returned my phone.
She looked very beautiful with her fair skinned face glowing bright and fresh. She was probably in her early twenties with pretty eyes and thick round lips skinned with red lipstick.
"Thank you so much, I was so much worried about my son's health. He wasn't feeling good this morning...and I had to come to office for some important work..."
She paused, and I was still starring at her black eyes...
Your son? Are you married? You look in your early twenties and probably younger than me. You just approached me with a heart filled with love and then followed by an arrowhead. I wanted to tell her that, but I was speaking to myself looking at her eyes as if I was listening to her.
"I couldn't make call... my phone's battery got drained. And I forgot to take the charger today morning", she continued...
"Hmm...", I responded.
"Thanks to Amma...she stays nearby...she came to my place and took care of Ayiaz".
"Well...how's he now?", I asked her after minutes of pause.
"He's good now..."
She took the seat two seats away from me on the same bench. There was silence once again for a while until she started the conversation again.
"Are you going to Majestic?"
"Yes...are you too?", I asked her
"Hm...yah", she replied.
"May I ask you something...?”, I asked.
"Yeah go on...",
"I am traveling by this 8:30 metro for the first time? Is it usually this less crowded? I have never seen this city so peace and calm, especially in metros"
"Yes...it usually remains less crowded, but today I feel it's even lesser people than usual.", she replied.
The display on the palate screen shows that our destination will be reaching on next five minutes.
As we stood up to descend from the metro, she forwarded her hand for hand shake with a bright smile on her face.
"Thanks again for helping. Myself Zarah", she said.
"No problem... welcome, Sachin here", I replied
Usually I walk from majestic for about twenty minutes to reach my rented room that I took temporarily unknowing my office location and was still looking for a better place to live in.
As I walked, I saw that she didn't delete the dialed number that she called (usually people delete the dialed number they call from stranger's phone). Though I didn't feel any bad instinct, yet I decided to search it on True Caller, but didn't get any result for my search.
I reached home, ate, and then slept. The same work office work life continued until I met her again in the next week.
What are chances that two strangers meet with or without any purpose? Or is there any path that had been set up by God that is up to the strangers whether they opt to take it forward or not?
I had reasons to take her to that path since I am alone as well as new to the city and making a new friend won't be an offence. She didn't have any reasons as she is married, she has a family, and everything is fine for her.
I was roaming and waiting for the last metro train since I was late from office that day. A voice that came from behind calling my name.
"Sachiin...Zarah here again, remember we met last week."
"Yeah of course...", I replied thinking that how could I not forget her, but important to note is how do I recognize her every time we meet in public, where she would be wearing black burkha always. Am I supposed to assume that any 5'5" girl wearing a black burkha and wearing a medium height golden heel sandals is Zarah!
I wanted to ask her how to recognize her again if we meet any day further but didn't felt right to ask to a one week stranger metro girl.
"So how's your work going? Enjoying the city?", she asked managing to remove her part of the burkha that covered her head and face.
"It's going well. City is being nice and chaotic together", I replied starring at her as she was so comfortable on adjusting her earrings without help of mirror.
The metro train arrived. Within minutes we got into the second last coach, took our seats on the same bench.
"How's was your day?", I asked her thinking that every time she starts the conversation and that might feel her that it's annoying me and that I am not so much interested on talking to her.
"It went fine...just as other usual weekdays", she replied with her words consuming herself as she ended the sentence.
"How's your day? Where do you work by the way?", she asked
"My day went well. I am working on Honey Camp Software Ltd. It's in DY tech park.", I replied.
"Where do you work? And in which domain?", I queried back to her. Probably that’s how most IT people become friends by asking about their work, skills and experience.
"Well I am working on ABC Consultancy and Technologies Ltd. It's an individual office building located around 2-3 kms from DY tech park", she replied.
"Domain?", I asked her again.
"What about you? Mr.", she asked.
"It feels like we are in an interview panel discussion...", she said. We laughed together and discussed more on some of our skills. Sooner we reached our destination station.
As we descended from the metro, I asked, "Is this your normal shift time?"
"Yes....bye Sachin", she replied hurriedly as she walked quickly to go towards the exit and disappeared from my sight in no time.
The day ended well. It felt like something good after talking to her. Usually it happens when you don't talk much for the whole day, and then you get some interesting person to talk to.
The next day, after my work ended for the day at the usual time, I went to the metro waiting for my 6:30 metro train. I realised I started thinking about Zarah, I felt a strong vibe that she would definitely meet me or call my name from some corner around if I stay till late 8:30. So I decided to take the last 8:30 metro train.
I had almost two hours to wait for catching the metro train. In other way, I had to spend my time moving around the Baiyyappanahalli terminal, so that I get that strong vibe and zeal after meeting with Zarah. I went to nearby ‘More Store’, bought some groceries and stationeries that I usually shop in the weekend.
After having explored the in and around of the metro station, I waited for around less than one hour or so. As I expected, she called my name from behind, I responded and then we sat on the same bench in front of the second last coach. We started our usual conversation about our office work and how the day ended well.
The train arrived, we boarded on the coach and I started our conversation again.
"Tell me Zarah, I would ask you a question. I know you won't like it. But still I am curious to know about it...", I asked her.
"Hmm...go ahead Sachin", she responded while texting someone in her chat.
"Are you married? I assume if I am not wrong, you are barely in your early twenties. Even being married, you have a three-year-old kid..."
"Yes man, I am married. I got married just after my graduation.", she replied back with a sarcastic smile and patted my lower thigh. It felt like she was teasing me that I am unlucky, and I have no chance to flirt with her as she is already married.
"I am not surprised by your question. You are not the first one asking me, rather most of the new friends that I make ask me the same on their first meeting...", she replied.
"You can assume me as introvert", I replied smiling back at her.
"Generally, I don't see anyone marrying so quickly in this recent years, even being a love marriage", I continued my argument.
"Yeah...that is also correct. But my story is quite different. I have known my husband from class nine, we went to same school for 10+2 and ended up in serious relationship from class eleven. We got selected in our respective degree colleges but in the same city. We used to meet more frequent and our relationship became stronger..."
She stopped for seconds and then continued again...
"Sooner after four years of relationship, I decided that the next thing I wanted is to see myself as bride and have a baby. I had never thought of more seriously about my career as beyond my marriage..", she replied smiling back again.
"It sounds interesting...", I responded.
"It's only since the recent years, I took coaching for DevOps courses as few my colleagues who are already in IT industry suggested me as it is in demand and coming as emerging industry. And, we don't need to much knowledge on coding and stuffs."
"Yeah... that's true indeed. Your life is quite sorted and saturated.", I replied to her something that I didn't want to speak but came out automatically.
"I don't know what exactly you meant by that. But everyone's life is sorted and saturated in their own terms...", she replied with a heavy note.
"We will talk about your unsorted life some other day since we are almost reaching our destination station...", she continued
"Sure...", I replied blushing myself.
As I stepped down from the train, came out from the crowded terminal to the empty streets in my locality, I was trying to find answer to her statement that everyone's life is sorted on their own way.
It's been well said that a lonely night has all answers to your worries and that the night never lies to you. I walked lonely on the streets towards my PG room trying to find answer to my worries, I am trying to know myself better and what are my worries and are those worries are my real problem. As I passed by the way, I see some duplex houses, having a branded car parked in their canopy. I even see people living in flats either rental or permanent. A few people that were relaxing in their balcony seems to be enjoying the late evening. I think I found some answers that no matter how's your life is going or how bad is your day going, we should learn ourselves to be happy, at least we should spend the evening in happy and positive energy.
By the end of the night and before resting myself to the bed, I realized that most people's life are sorted in their own terms, but everyone thinks they are living unsatisfied life’s and that their neighbors or their relatives are living a more sorted life.
Next day, after my office work was over I decided to move out from office late as I wanted to meet Zarah again because talking to her feels my day as complete. I reached the metro station, met her again. We boarded on the train. She started talking about my personal history.
"So, what feels you think that your life is unsorted?", she questioned as if we are still living in the previous day conversation.
"Actually, after yesterday's conversation with you, I thought a lot about what I said and felt that it's too early for me to declare my life as unsorted. Just because I met you and I talked to you about our lives, I was literally comparing my life with yours and most others. But I felt that you just like most others are ahead in your lifeline and that everyone's life is just sorted in their own way. Just like you said, you are more experienced in your life though we are of same age, and your lifeline is going ahead of mine...", I paused and took a grasp of long breathe into myself.
"Ha-ha... It seems you have done your homework. I am convinced by you. You took my words too seriously. I talk stupid sometimes...", she replied and then we laughed together.
I asked her to show her son's pictures. She scrolled through the gallery and showed me some of his recent and few of his birthday pictures that passed last month.
"He is so cute and photogenic.", I responded.
"Thanks...he is quite a mischief child too", she replied blushing herself.
She also showed her husband's picture. He is tall, smart, and handsome.
We reached at the majestic terminal. We bid bye for the day and went off.
Our routine and regular conversation continued as usual while traveling in the Namma Metro. We talked about mostly foods. We both were food lover, especially the #instaFood blogger type. We discussed about different types of Biryani and their recipe. We talked about the restaurant that we visited in the city. Since she had been living in Bangalore since her childhood, she suggested about few Must Try Foodies and Pubs.
We also talked about Bollywood and Hollywood movies. Our favorite movie characters, our best TV shows, and OTT web series. Although, we don't share much thing in common except few Marvels movies that are all time favorite for almost all sane humans.
As days past by our friendship went stronger as strong as if we have known each other for years. We shared each other's story of our past school and college life. We also talked about the tourist places that we visited in India. I had travelled to North East India and she had a plan to visit, so l helped her with few contacts and itinerary. She showed her honeymoon trip pictures of Mauritius, it's beautiful landscapes and scenic beaches. She also invited me to go for Coorg trip with her college friends, but eventually that plan didn't succeed.
We managed to spend more time together by reaching early to our metro station. I was anyways free after thirty past six and went to office recreational center to play table tennis, so that I could spend another one and half hour to catch the 8:30 metro train and meet Zarah. But now I have started to spend less time in recreational center, and we met early in the Baiyyappanahalli metro terminal. She also managed to accumulate her days work early and left office half hour ago than her usual time. It seemed for me that it was this moment that I am waiting for the entire day. It seemed like the day remains un-ended without this last hour’s meetings and gossips.
Whatever relationship that bonded between us was just more than friendship and yet wasn't as deep as love ( though I had never had one truly).
Months passed, since our first encounter, from winters to spring and then approaching summer, we would work, meet, talk, eat and then repeat. It was two weeks before the holy festival Eid. She told that she would come with one of her friends and they would go for shopping along with me.
The next day, as planned I left early from office and managed to reach the Baiyyappanahalli metro terminal around 6:30 pm. As usual I waited for her in the same bench just in front of the platform where the second last coach would halt. Fifteen minutes past I hear her calling my name, I turned around and smiled. She looked more beautiful than before as I had never seen her before without wearing a burkha. Her fairy skin glowed more than dusky evening. She was accompanied by her beautiful friend Aazmi. She was also of the same height as of Zarah and would be probably in her early twenties. She was fair skinned with dark eyes. Both looked sweet together.
We stepped out from the metro station and then walked through the hasty crowded roads to reach the nearest ‘Brand Factory’. I went to the second floor to the men's section. I am a guy who doesn't shop regularly. Just tried few jeans but ended buying one printed cotton kurta. I stepped down to other floors to check whether they have completed their shopping or not. As usually expected, the girls were still hanging on different trials for their different dresses. For a couple of minutes, they would try to jeans and top. And the next couple of minutes, they would hang for some ethnic wears. Each time she would dress and would look amazing.
Finally, after several trials of different combinations of western and ethnic looks, we helped each other selecting our dresses and then we paid our bills and stepped out in the busy markets again.
Amongst the chaotic people and the glittering streets with colorful bulb lights, our hungry faces were attracted towards a roadside barbeque vendor. We waited for our order to be served and that had increased our hunger. The aroma of the Hariyali Chicken Kebab with lemon scented juice that was being roasted was worthful.
As we were having our kebabs, I not only enjoyed the delicious food but also was so pleased and overwhelmed to look on Zarah. Her face glowed like blossoms grow after fresh rain. With the reflection of crescent lights coming from the barbeque grills, she was more shinning than the dawning sun. Her smile amidst the chili sensation of the kebab chutney made her look so charming that I am unable to put her on my words. She looked so gorgeous, that I was almost falling into her. Her warmth breathes and her red spicy lips looked her so hot and attractive that it melted me, and I almost thought of kissing her despite I didn't forget that she is married. But anyhow I controlled my adolescence and reminded myself to never think of her in that way.
She interrupted my thoughts on her and asked, "Sachin, did you love it? You are still continuously starring at the barbeque kebabs. Do you want more?"
I wasn't looking into the kebabs but was lost looking at Zarah. I know she was aware that I was thinking of her while starring at her for countless minutes. And she purposefully wanted me to come out of it.
"No no.... I mean ....Yes l really love. The night is beautiful and so are you...", I got little nervous and had mindlessly replied to her. She and Aazmi looked little confused on my reply.
Without much delay, I continued correcting myself, "The kebabs are awesome, and I really love them. The spicy chutney adds special flavour to this delicious item. But I won't be able to eat more. Thanks, Zarah for this treat." I said giving her a winkle smile.
"Idiot, I am not throwing any party...you all pay yourself. Rather you should pay my bills too since I brought you this lovely place.", she replied back still licking the spicy chutney.
"Yaar…, I am super thirsty and also need to drink something after this spicy food...", Aazmi said keeping her plate down.
"Okay...let's go and have some juices...", I said
We paid our bills and then walked along the roadside till we halted on one of the 'Lassi corner'. I ordered for lassi and they ordered some fruit flavored juices for themselves.
Soon we headed back to the metro station, but we missed our last train to Majestic terminal. So, we had to book an uber. I specifically thanked Zarah for this lovely day. I enjoyed it. We also talked about how she and Aazmi know each other and about their friendship. We discussed about my friendship with Zarah. She also invited us to her house on Eid. Although I said that I am not so sure whether I will be taking leave on that day or not, but will certainly try to visit her in the evening or sometime during the upcoming weekend.
As we reached Majestic, we dropped Aazmi first thanked her for being such a great companion. Then I told the driver to take the long route so that Zarah gets dropped first and then my destination can be reached. Initially the driver wasn't ready for that and even Zarah said that she is okay with it she would manage to walk since it's not so late and it's just little far away. I insisted the driver that I would pay extra bucks and finally he agreed with our terms.
Zarah just hold my hand came closer and spoke to my ears, "Thank you, I am too tired to walk even ten steps"
I was surprised by her action. I was little guilty too since I wanted to spend more time with her. I replied to her, "Firstly, thank you for all your lovely plans and I really enjoyed this day. Secondly, I wanted to spend more time with you today maybe I love this moment or your humors company".
She didn't reply anything but only smiled back. A bit of silence encountered our conversation since I was enjoying the song 'Tum mile...toh Dil kho gaye...' played on one of the FM radio stations and was thinking of the her in this song. Not sure if Zarah has same feelings of me or not. I hoped that my feelings were just instant and never grows so serious.
As her destination arrives, she got back and thanking me she said, "Hello brother, don't get attached to me na...Chalo! We will be meeting next week. Tomorrow I am thinking to take leave. Bye! Good night!".
"Bye! Good night then...", I said and then soon reached my PG room in another fifteen minutes. All the night I was still thinking about today and that I was wrong throughout the day trying to get Zarah's attention and getting attached to her despite knowing she is married and a mother it would leave her in a complicated situation. I admitted my ignorance about my feelings towards her and decided to work on that.
The next couple of weeks went well as usual. We met in metro in second last coach. We talked about work, about families and other gossips.
It was Eid the next day. Zarah have been repeatedly inviting me to come to her home. She even forwarded Aazmi's contact. But unfortunately, I couldn't finish my work early and have conveyed the same to Zarah and Aazmi.
The next day was a weekend Saturday, Aazmi and I went to Zarah"s home. We had one of the finest Hyderabadi Dum Biryani. It was prepared by her ammi. Her appu is a businessman holding a wholesale hardware store. He is very cheerful person and I enjoyed talking to him. Her son Ayiaz looks so cute and adorable and was just roaming around the house with his new remote-controlled car. The delights of this wonderful feast were incomplete until we had our desserts 'Custard ice-cream' especially prepared by Zarah. It was heavenly good to taste.
We were having simply chats on her balcony after having wonderful lunch.
She seemed to be cheerful and said that, "I am happy to announce you both that last week I got one better opportunity in Saudi Arabia. Since my husband is already working there in one of the MNC since last six months, and I have been trying to apply for a job there too, so that we could shift to Saudi altogether."
"I was double happy when I got that offer", she continued.
I was both happy for her and sad for myself on listening her words. I was still bit surprised, as suddenly and after pausing a moment, I congratulated her for this great success and the opportunity.
It seemed that Aazmi was already aware of this news as her response wasn't surprising although she always keeps herself jolly and smiling as if there is no tomorrow. I have always observed that good things and bad things always happens on the same day. Just as today, it's good that we all enjoyed for this feast with Zarah's family and the bad thing is that she will be shifting to abroad in few months.
I asked Zarah about all the preparation for interviews and tests and how she started to look and contact for job offers on these abroad companies. And whether the transition process to Saudi as permanent resident is an easy or clumsy process. She was very supportive with her answers to my queries, yet I was not able to make out those but she told she would inform me in more details whenever it's required.
I mockingly said to Aazmi, "See Zarah didn't want to give a separate party for her great success to moving to abroad and getting a reputed job there. And so she was insisting us to come to the Eid celebration party since she wanted to manage both in a single party".
Aazmi laughed and looked at Zarah while Zarah responded hitting my leg with her feet, "Shut up! Idiot! I will be missing you guys and especially your company after the office works. And all you care is about a party? "
"We will miss you too... ", I responded back thought of hugging her but restricted myself as we were in her parent's home.
"Yet, we will need another celebration to cheer Zarah on her success and future endeavors", Aazmi concluded our conversation.
It was already 15 past three and we decided to leave for the day since we were at her parent's home and we didn't want to bother them more.
The next Monday, after the office hours, I waited at our usual seat to board the metro to Majestic. I didn't find her even after the train had arrived. Maybe she took an off because of Eid or could it be there any another reason? I boarded the metro; it wasn't as crowded as any regular day. My mind revisited the state just before boarding the train. I started thinking of Zarah which I shouldn't and was really missing her which was obvious. I haven't known of any such situation that would come so soon. I remember the words what Zarah said about that she would miss us more, but I realized it now what she meant. I need to travel all the rest of days all alone until I meet some another stranger again, or may be even if I meet I won't willingly fall into such desperate friendship.
Couple of weeks, henceforth it was pleasure to be with Zarah some days. She would talk about her preparation and her excitement about moving and settling in Dubai. She talked about the great milestone buildings and their beautiful architecture. The desert landscapes and it's entertaining fun zones. She even invited me to visit her and her husband along with a trip to Dubai. Some days she even showed few such beautiful pictures that her husband had shared to her.
On the other side, while I was always thinking of her (which I shouldn't) and about how badly I would be missing her, but never made a point in our conversation. Probably she was mature enough to understand my vibes and she doesn't want to complex her life with my emotions. So, I didn't want to get complicated for herself. I responded her with a happy smiling face with hidden emotions underneath my face.
Few days she would go very early as she was serving notice period and, she had a lot of preparation to do for herself and her kid. Even I used to purposefully try to go on different time as the usual metro train that we used to take, so that I would try to adjust myself traveling alone and try to forget her. I would generally drop a message to her that I would be going early or late today and she shouldn't wait for me.
When I used to travel alone, I had mix feelings about my actions whether I am doing it right that I am purposefully not meeting her and I am both little jealous and guilty of myself. I felt that am not doing right thing about lying to her and not meeting only best friend in the city that would leave me in few weeks from now.
I had planned to travel alone in some different metro time so that I don't think of her, but that's not what's happening. In fact, I am thinking of her non-stop whenever I am traveling alone. I realized the fact that you get the importance of a thing whenever you are losing it, or you know that you are going to lose it.
In fact, for now there is a conflict with what my mind what and my heart says. My mind would suggest me to stay away from her, this would be good for better myself. On the other hand, my heart says that I should meet her and see her regularly knowing the fact that she is now available in this country land only for few days and I shouldn't miss a single day meeting her. The more I try to forget her the more I think about her. There is this strong close friendship feelings that have now turned into one sided love that has no end tale. It would be forever within me until I confess to her (on morality which I probably won't to anyone).
I needed to come out of my one sided love for Zarah, and it was too late for even myself to understand and accept it fully. So, I had worked out a plan that we should meet, shop, and eat together like friends do. I wasn’t sure that it would work, or it would let me land closer to her. So, I called Aazmi and asked if she is available on next Sunday since I wanted to gift a farewell gift to Zarah and watch the new Marvel's movie 'Captain Marvel' together. It would be a weekend outing three of us together. Initially I felt that I would plan for trip to Bannerghatta Safari, but felt that it would consume a whole day and I was not sure if she would be ready to leave Ayiaz with her mother whole day.
The next Saturday, I was a bit late on reaching the Meenakshi Mall as I had overslept after the mid-day meal. Aazmi had booked the tickets and had already shared to me in WhatsApp. When I reached the hall, I was relieved a lot since the screenplay has not yet started.
We headed towards the food court as soon as the movie was over. It was worth watching and one of the finest Marvel's movie. We ordered our Chinese food from ‘Mainland China’. While we waited for our food to be served, we discussed about the movie and how has it ended. We had also ordered one plain Dosa big enough for three people since all of us were super hungry before our Chinese dishes to be served.
We headed towards the Big Shoppers as Aazmi and I had planned to gift a hand bag to Zarah. Not sure of what type of bags she likes, so we decided to take her along. It didn't take long for her to select the one she wanted and then thanked us for such wonderful farewell gift. Sooner we booked an uber to reach home.
While we were still waiting for the uber to reach, we shared some WhatsApp messages and laughed aloud. I tried looking into Zarah's eye and her alarming smile, but my mind somehow learnt to control my emotions this time. I instead kept on looking my mobile screen scrolling through FB and Twitter time feeds.
Somehow my emotions were under control, but it failed to act when all of us were silent altogether in our uber. I started thinking about her again; about her smile on my WhatsApp jokes that my eyes didn't see it, but my heart has known it. Her beautiful face that I thought it's hidden for my eyes but not on my mind and my soul.
"Raat itni tanha kyu hoti ha ,
Kismat se apni sabko shikaayat kyu hoti hai.
Ajib khel khelti hai kismat…
Jise hum paa nahi sakte….
Usi se mohabbat kyu hoti hai.”
These lines popped out from nowhere in my mind as I was peeping outside the cab window to feel the cool wind that shattered my distressed face as we passed through the KR Puram over-bridge. I felt that my eyes got wet and tried removing the cries pretending to be something that went into my eyes. Zarah helped me with a tissue this time and was repeatedly asking if it's all okay or not.
We reached our home quite early night. We dropped Zarah and met Ayiaz and her ammi. It was one of the memorable outing days and had ended well enough.
It was the coming Wednesday what Zarah told that it's her last working day and her flight to Saudi is scheduled on next Sunday evening.
I have known many colleagues and friends with whom I have worked with or have been acquainted with, and when they changed job or left city, their farewell and absence didn't feel sad to me. But today, it's Zarah last working day and I am so nervous and unrestful. I know I am hundred percent wrong but still I wanted Zarah to stay in the city and to not leave me and not leaving our meeting; not leaving our talks in the metro as our office hours were over. I know I am wrong that I am jealous and selfish; I am unsound that I wanted a married woman to stay away from her husband and would meet me with or without letting her husband knowing whatever she likes. I felt like I am very wrong to cross my limit of morality to this extent and thinking of her. In spite of all these my pains and weird immoral feelings that I carried within me, yet in reality I don't have the guts to let her know that I am in love with her, that I adore her and I have feelings for her.
But my love tale had a different tail, I didn't want to get her life complicated because of me. It could be but not sure that my feelings and emotions for her are temporary since I don't have any other close friend in the city. Maybe it's her friendly and adorable nature of her behavior that anyone would begin liking her just as I have started. It’s too risky for her to let her know that I like her and so I had kept quiet and didn't want her to change because of me. It would complicate her a lot and would also affect her and her kid's life. I wanted her to be happy, satisfied, and cheerful at the end of the day.
I was thinking all these thoughts’ entire day during office hours and while returning to metro station. As usual I was waiting for her in the bench opposite to the spot where second last coach would halt. I wasn't prepared at all for this day. I didn't expect that her notice period ended so quick and all of things happened so fast.
A sharp voice called my name from behind. I looked around , it was Zarah in her burkha dress and her golden sandals. She came and sat by me, removed part of her burkha from face, adjusted her big earrings. Every sequence of actions felt like same as if I am meeting her for the first few days, but in reality it's the last day that I am meeting her.
We boarded the train, we talked about her exit process and all her settlement claims from the present company. We talked about her new role as a supervisor in the foreign country and discussed about all the document verifications and onboarding stuffs to the next company. She seemed very happy and joyful. There was a different sort of excitement and energy within her about her new career and endeavours.
We descended from the metro, headed away from the crowd.
As we were passing through the foot over-bridge in the Majestic bus station. I hold Zarah's hand pulling a bit closer to me and said, "Could we just stop for a moment here?" Zarah reaction was like bit bothered with her eyebrows frowning upwards.
She replied, "Why? I mean I am okay to wait a bit." She feared that I was going to confess about my feelings for her which she wasn't ready to encounter.
I responded back, "Nothing special...just wanted to spend some more 10-15 minutes with you. Now that you will be gone from tomorrow, I will need to travel all alone after the office hours."
Zarah stepped closer and hold my other hand telling, "You are correct, I know how it feels to be remained alone traveling after office hours and weekends. I know what it means to have a close friend like you with which I can share most of my problems. I will definitely miss you a lot".
She continued supporting me with her kind words that it's just matter of few weeks that I will feel sad but she wanted to believe her that everything will be fine. And that some stranger is waiting for me, to accompany with me as a close friend and travel along with me after office hours. She also invited to Saudi to meet her anytime I wanted.
I could feel her warmth breathe as she talked with her eyes gesturing the words as she spoke. I felt like I would kiss her at that moment and the moment to never end.
I jumped on her hugged her tightly, saying "I will miss you, Zarah...will miss you a lot.."
She hugged me back with her hands on my back and then we paused for a moment then she said, "Your name will be always somewhere in my soft corner of heart. We are anyway connected through WhatsApp and FB messenger."
"We are just a phone call away. I will make you posted whenever I come to India to meet appu and ammi..."
"Let's depart for now...Bye...Take care".
"Bye... take care...stay connected”, I replied.
I was expecting that she would turn back around after stepping few yards away and would gesture me a bye wave with a joyful smile...
But that didn't turn up. Instead she ran towards me held up so tight again. Her head touching my forehead, eyes peeping deep into my eyes as if looking for some answers that I am not known. Her breathes falling on my neck and my breathes on her neck bone and I could smell her face cream fragrance, I could hear her breathes sounding like as if there is nothing else exists in this world, as if everything is just a vacuum outside only it's me and Zarah. She placed her hand in my back and I placed one of my hand in her waist.
The moment felt everything to me. I didn't bother what's right and what's wrong, what's moral and immoral. I just thought of Zarah just as a girl as a lover and as more than a close friend. I didn't think of her being someone's wife, someone's mother or someone's family. Somehow my adolescents forced me to sway my lips and touch her lips. Yes, you heard it right, somehow, I went for kissing her. She slowly and very beautifully sucked my lips too. I kissed her harder back twisting my tongue inside her mouth and so was her attempt too. I was brushing my lips against hers.
It was my first kiss that too in public place although the foot bridge was almost empty. Not sure if anyone has noticed us or not. Everything that happened was instantly and momentarily without thinking much about the consequences. May be it was how God has destined to end my one sided love tale, or maybe it was a both side love story too.
Somehow we both realized that we went just out of our limits, so we stepped back but not far.
Zarah just looked on my eyes, saying "It was great..."
She continued, "We are mature enough to understand what's our destiny is ...
Isn't it? Sachin"
"Yes Zarah! understood... thanks it was great having you as part of my life", I responded back.
"Goodbye Sachin... Take care", Zarah waved me bye as she already had started departing away from me.
"Goodbye... Enjoy yourself... take care", I looked at her standing on the same position on the over-bridge until she went out of my sight.
I hated goodbyes in Airports and Railway stations, and now hated goodbye at Metro terminals also.