Sagar sat at the bar with a beer can in his hand. This is the fourth one he is having within an hour. He is irritated today, Reema’s words got on his nerves. How could she, he thought. Yesterday was his birthday and Sagar wished to spend this special time with few of his close friends and Reema. He booked the terrace of a hotel and they enjoyed their party there with song dance and drinks. It was almost midnight when their party ended. Reema was tired and she came to Sagar to wish him good night and leave. He rounded her up in his arms and pulled her to a much quieter place of the terrace. Reema fluttered to get free but he held her in his arms and said “Come on my darling. Today is the best day to be one other’s forever” and tried to kiss her.
Reema didn’t seem comfortable with these words nor kiss. She pushed him a little away from her and said “Let me go Sagar. You are drunk today. So you aren’t in a position to think properly. I wish to hear words of love when you are in full sense” Sagar held her tight and said “Did you call me a drunkard? Yes, I’m but that’s not due to wine but your love has made me. Please Reema, I find it irresistible darling” and he again tried to lock his lips with hers. Reema slapped him hard and screamed “Sagar you aren’t in your senses. Don’t you ever compare me with your other girlfriends who like bodily pleasure and declare it to be love. Just get lost!”
Sagar’s mood was in fire. He yelled at her “You get loss you dirty bitch. This is my party”
She didn’t wait for a second more but dashed out. The others enjoying the party too left immediately without a word more.
“Hey, Sagar! How are you?”
Sagar looked at the stranger and found her to be a classmate from his school days. He smiled and said “What a pleasant surprise! It’s you, Shayari! We are meeting after a long time”
She smiled “Oh yes! Almost after six years. So what are you doing now?”
“Working as marketing manager in a renowned FMCG”
“And what about you?”
“I started as wildlife photographer and am getting assignments to complete”
“Wow! Are you alone today or someone else is with you?”
“No. There’s no one with me”
“Then lets’ go somewhere else. The crowd is maddening me” he said pointing at the dancing pairs on the floor. She agreed and both left. After coming out Sagar said “Did you ride a cab to come here?”
“No, I came in my bike”
“Oh, I too came in my bike. Then lets’ go together”
After a ride of fifteen minutes they came to a stop before a plush apartment. Sagar said “I live here with my parents”
Shayari said “But I didn’t come here to talk with your parents”
He laughed “Don’t worry. I’m going to take you to the terrace. You will see what a great place it is to spend time”
“Really! Ok, let’s go”
They reached the terrace after few minutes riding the elevator. Once on the top she was happy about seeing the surrounding. The night sky was dotted with glittering stars and the skyline was shimmering with the city lights. The crescent moon was almost up. Sagar said “Come and sit here, beside me” Shayari found him sitting on the top of a big water tank. She went up by spiral stair and sat down. Then she said “Yes, the place is magnificent. You have really discovered a great place”
Sagar replied “I come here whenever I’m sad”
“You and sad! Are you joking? You were the most ebullient one in our class. So there’s no reason to be sad. And you earn good nowadays”
He sipped from his beer bottle and said “Does money always matter? I feel the relation between people matters most. And I’m always in loss when it comes to love”
Shayari understood something is hurting Sagar badly. Should she ask anything or remain quiet she couldn’t understand.
Sagar murmured “My luck always goes against me”
Shayari said nothing. Past summoned up.
Her father got transferred to the new city and she got admitted to a new school again in class six. She was sad to leave her old friends known neighbourhood and come to a new place. But she had to join the new school. When her father dropped her at the school gate, she walked to her respective class like others. Everyone was at their desk when she entered and no one willing let her sit down beside them. At that time Sagar asked her to sit beside him. Teacher walked in and after attendance introduced her with the class. He whispered, “Welcome to new school Shayari”. Time went by and every student became good friend of her but Sagar and Shayari remained close friends like the first day. Both shared their books notes even every secret with each other.
Years went by and they reached class ten together. One day maths class was going on when Sagar whispered to Shayari “Meet me in library during recess. I’ve to share with you something”
Shayari was drawing a circle in geometry copy when Sagar’s words gave her a shiver and her drawing wasn’t perfect. She looked at him roughly when he whispered “Sorry for what happened. And Please remember what I said”
Shayari nodded and tried again to solve the geometry problem but suddenly felt her heart is racing like a wild horse and seems to get out of control. She remembered Sagar has been saying from past few days that he is in love and wishes to share his feeling with his loved one soon. Shayari had developed a soft corner for Sagar and today when Sagar declared to her that he is in love, she could understand she too is in love with him. And today when he wished to share his secret with her she felt he will surely proclaim that he too loves her. But she was totally wrong. When she reached the library during recess no one was there except library Mam Mrs. Nair. She had to wait for him until the class bell rings so she went to pick up a book from the shelf and pretended to read. When she reached the third shelf to pick up a book she was shocked to find Sagar and a junior student of class nine in tight embrace and lip locked position. The book slipped from her hand and fell on the floor with a thud. The sound made them aware of the place and both came out of the hug and looked at her. Sagar said “Thank god. I felt Mrs. Nair has caught us red handed….. Let me introduce you to her. She is Paalak and Paalak, she is Shayari, a friend of mine”.
Shayari was shocked at Sagar’s introduction, ‘just a friend’ and nothing else? She forcefully put a smile on her face and said “Congratulations to both of you. You have chosen the best partner” She couldn’t stay a moment more and rushed out saying “The bell is going to ring and so I’m going to the class”.
But she didn’t return to the class but went to the toilet to cry out her heart silently. She could understand she has fooled herself, Sagar never loved her.
After that day she distanced herself from Sagar and his world of affairs but never ever could forget him.
Sagar said “Leave my failed affairs. Say something about your love life”
Shayari laughed “I didn’t get anyone still now whom I can accept as my life partner”
“Oh. And what about Rajeev? Didn’t you and he come close to each other in the last year of our school days?”
Shayari remembered Rajeev at once. After she got hurt from Sagar she was all broke. At that time Rajeev came close to her but they were just friends not more than that. After a few months they passed out and never met again. She went to Bangalore to complete her studies and then took up freelance photography as her career. She answered “We never met again after we left school”
“And what about Paalak?”
“Our relationship didn’t last more than two months. I tried to say everything to you but you were in that Rajeev’s arms”
Shayari looked at him confused. Why his voice sounded jealous? Was he expecting that though he hurts her she will still wait for him? But she was so depressed that she never tried to build up relationship with any other, though some showed eagerness in her. She said “It’s almost midnight. I must leave now”
“You are going?”
“Yeah… you too go to your home. Bye and goodnight”
Shayari left. Sagar stared at the door to the terrace.
Next day Sagar woke up late. He had passed yesternight sleepless and fell asleep in early morning. He hurriedly got ready finished his breakfast and moved to his office on his bike. But throughout the day he couldn’t concentrate on his work, Reema and Shayari alternately enveloped his thoughts and his mind. In the evening when he left his office he was in a perplexed state.
Shayari received a phone call in late evening. “Hello”
“This is from police station. Do you know Sagar?”
“Yes, he is a friend of mine. But what happened? Why did you….”
“He met with an accident. Please come to the city hospital immediately”
Shayari couldn’t stay for a moment back home. She reached the hospital within half an hour. She ran inside and enquired about the accident patient admitted to the hospital. She moved towards the direction as given by the help desk person. Yes, in the ICU he was lying unconscious in embrace of various machines. She looked for a long time to see whether he moved once or not. But there was no sign of life in that body. Someone said “Hello” She looked up to find a senior doctor looking at her compassionately. He asked “Are you MS. Shayari?”
“The hospital staff found your number to be the last outgoing from his mobile. So they called you first and then his parents”
“And how is he now?”
“His condition is very critical. He was riding his bike in a drunken condition and went headlong crashing with a car. But we are hoping for the best. Why are you crying? Please be calm. Nothing will happen to him”
She touched her cheek to find tears running down silently. Why was she crying? Does she still have some soft corner in her heart? She couldn’t answer her mind. She visited regularly the hospital, stood before ICU and prayed to God to save him. After passage of crucial 72 hours, he at last opened his eyes. Senior doctor gave her the news and said “You should be happy to know he is at last out of danger. God has listened to your prayers. We will shift him to the cabin soon and then you can go and visit him”
Shayari thanked him and went home. She felt happy and relieved. She cooked her lunch quickly and ate fast because she has to go to visit him during the visiting hours.
On the way to the hospital, she bought a bouquet of flowers for him. When she reached the hospital she found most of Sagar’s well wishers friends and his parents have come to visit him. So she thought of waiting in the lounge. After some time they left and Shayari advanced towards the cabin to speak to him. She was about to enter when she heard a woman’s voice “I’m sorry Sagar, very sorry. Hadn’t I fought with you that day this wouldn’t have happened to you. When I got the news I was shocked. I prayed to god to keep you ok and pull you out of danger”
Sagar said “Stop crying Reema. I know you care for me”
Shayari smiled sadly so she was worrying for nothing. Sagar has someone to care for him. But what should she do now? Should she return or go in for a formal visit? She thought for a second and took up the second option. She removed the cabin curtain and entered saying “Hello Sagar, how are you now?”
Sagar was sitting on his bed. He smiled and said “Much better today. How did you get the information?”
“Police gave the news after you got admitted in the hospital”
“Oh meet my friend and colleague Reema and Reema she is Shayari,, friend from school days”
Both said hello to each other. Shayari advanced the bouquet towards him and said “This is for you”
“You carry on. I’ve to leave now”
Sagar couldn’t say a word more as Shayari had left by then. Reema said “It seemed she left quickly to let us enjoy some special moments”
Sagar looked harshly at her and asked her to leave at once. Reema was shocked but she too didn’t speak a word more and left quickly. Sagar looked through the window and whispered “I feel I did the same mistake again”
He rang the bed switch to call the attendant immediately. When she came in he asked for his mobile. She said “Mobiles are not allowed here sir”
“Please do me the favour please or I’ll lose someone forever”
The attendant didn’t argue more and brought his mobile after a few moments. He immediately rang her number. The mobile went on ringing but she did not pick the call. He went on trying and at last his call was attended. “Why did you call me Sagar? I’m busy with my work”
“Please Shayari I wish to see you here now”
“Are you mad? This isn’t visiting hour”
“I’m waiting for you and so you have to come”
“Ok I’m coming”
She reached the hospital and went to the doctor’s cabin to ask for permission to go inside his cabin. Doctor smiled and gave the permission. She entered the cabin and saw Sagar looking at the door. She said “What happened that you gave an urgent call?”
“I had a nightmare that you are leaving me forever”
“You got a nightmare and called me at this odd hour? And why should I be with you, you have Reema to take care of you”
“No, it’s you whom I love and that too from school days. But you moved away from me which made me angry. I made relations with many girls but just couldn’t remove you from my heart my mind”
Shayari stared at him silently. He advanced and hugged her “You are my sweetheart my love dear! Please never leave me or I’ll get lost in this world”
She hugged him “Never my dear”