It was time for the Mandatory Sutta break in the afternoon of a lazy day at Technosoft. Varun was busy scrolling down through his Facebook wall while a cool breeze was flowing across his face. Technosoft was at the 23rd floor of a Corporate park in Powai and the terrace above was generally the assembly point for 200 of its employees. For some it was an ideal place to just come, relax and gaze at the high rises and the traffic around and for few like Varun, well it was just a place where they can smoke.
It had been 5 years since Varun had joined this company and today he is the Senior Manager in the Administration department. Like all the corporate employees living in Mumbai, a 9-6 job was not a choice but compulsion and he like the others, had to compulsorily love that compulsion.
After a few minutes of spending time on his smartphone, Varun was back on his desk shuffling through the mailbox and the Excel sheets and suddenly saw a pop up on the bottom right side of his screen.
"Dear Team, I have recently joined the organisation as a Manager in Operations. Please assist me with the assets and stationary" read the mail. Although the content of the mail was a routine for Varun, being in charge of Admin, it was the Sender's name that rung a few bells in his mind.
The mail was sent by Shikha Parmar, a name which he was more than familiar with. A name with whom he had an equation for last 14 years. A name which he has been stalking for the past 8 years. A name that will probably stay with him forever. And this name made him froze at his desk. In other cases, Varun would have assigned this task to his subordinates and get it done, but this time it was different, or at least that is what he thought. He got out of his desk and knocked on the cabin door of the new Manager. "Please Come in" came the reply and that voice, that same voice ran down zillions of emotions in Varun in seconds.
As he entered the cabin, he saw her, not the name but the person herself. "Hi Shikha, Longtime!!!!" he said while trying to be as professional as he can. Shikha could not believe what she was seeing. She was about to stand up from her desk in astonishment but did not. There was an awkward silence in the room as they both just tried to not glance at each other while getting caught doing so."Please help me with the stationary and notepad" said Shikha while appearing to look at the Laptop. "Sure I will. Everything that you need will be at your desk by EOD" saying that Varun turned around to leave. "And Haan, let me know if you need anything else, will get it sorted" and he left the cabin.
Varun and Shikha went a long way back. They had met during their college days and eventually fell in love with each other. Their relationship lasted for 6 strong years. They begun as friends but it all started with the long phone calls which often ended up till the wee hours of mornings. From studying together to hanging around, Love just happened organically. The Long drives and the songs that played along, the lunch dates and regular surprises made them extremely sweet and appeared committed to the outer world as well. And committed they were forever. And then something suddenly went wrong. A phone call from Shikha that night saying she doesn't feel right being in this relationship and we should end it here, was and is something that Varun remembers now and probably after every few drinks. His "But Why and what happened?" never got an answer. It had been 8 years since that phone call and this was the first time the two had seen each other in person. The only other time they had seen each other in these 8 years was only through social media, wherein too they were neither friends nor followers.
The days passed by and a couple of glances here and there was the only thing that was exchanged between them. Neither of them wanted to go ahead and break the ice or did they want to?
It was the Quarter End Lunch party in the office. The entire staff had gathered on the floor to celebrate their hard work and have a nice time over the lavish buffet that had been laid down. Varun was just not interested. After spending some time with his colleagues, he sneaked out onto the terrace to have a smoke.
He was struggling to get his lighter on in the cool breeze and suddenly heard a voice "You still don't like crowds? I mean I thought you would have learned how to cope up with Corporate Commitments." said Shikha, standing next to Varun. "Somethings just do not change I guess" was Varun's response. It was the 1st time the two were talking!!!
"When did you start smoking and how many in a day?" asked Shikha looking at the cigarette in Varun's Hand. Varun, well he just smiled.
"You know what Varun? I thought you knew that I was angry. Just Plain angry. And I thought you would come back to me, come and pacify me, come and be with me!! You just did not come" this time her voice wavered from being assertive to stern to weak, all in one breath.
Varun looked at her and smilingly said "I did come back Shikha, but to the Blocked Numbers, to the Unfriend-ed Social platform, to the Closed Doors and perhaps even to a Closed Heart"
Shika and Varun were looking straight into each others eyes. Eyes, which were about to be moist, emotions about to burst and the world around about to be non existent. The pain of all these years had just overpowered the happiness of being able to talk to each other. "Why didnt you move on?" asked Varun while both were looking in other directions."I did try hard Varun, but it wasn't easy. So just stopped trying", came a reply from her with a deep breath. "And what about you?" she asked. "Well I just did not want to" came the reply, after a breath and a pause. Gathering themselves back after minutes of silence, Varun muttered "Can I ask you something Shikha? All these years, did you hate me?"
Shikha smiled. Now looking at Varun she said "I have hated you since the last 14 years, since the day we met, and I will always hate you. Because it was you who were the reason why we happened, and it was you who were the reason why we did not." and she left with a smile on her face. Varun, on the other hand just kept looking at her with perhaps a smile in his heart!!!!
He went on to Light another Cigarette and this time the Lighter lit the spark instantly. A Spark...yes indeed!!!