The Loser

The Loser

8 mins

Late night Sayali was trying to meet the sleep but her anxious mind was keeping her awake. She was enduring this insomnia since last six months. Her job was making her life miserable but she was adamant to continue it. Not for the money but for herself. She knew, she would turn mad if she sits at home idle. Her daily to and fro joggling between Panvel to Andheri inside a jam packed local train was making her worn out. But she was persisting without complaining. Unfortunately, she got no one with whom she could share her misery. She was married for a year. It was an arranged marriage with her disinclined consent. She knew she got a well behaved and matured husband but she was not completely blended with Sameer. She blames herself for it. But now things were going out of her hands and she was worried to find the solace with her mind.

Next day, Sunday, her college friend Priyanka was getting married. With the thought of Priyanka, Sayali’s old memories of college returned to haunt her. The pleasant image of Rohit rose in front of her. She did try to forget him but she knew he wouldn’t be out of her mind and heart till her death. How she could forget her first love! Her eyes got moist; her heart felt the pain of losing him. She was not aware about Rohit’s whereabouts after she conveyed him about her decision of leaving him. Her heart was praying for his good but she was never ever thought that Rohit would return in her life as a catastrophe.

Sayali did not remember the day she had met Rohit first time in the college. But she had noticed him on many occasions before they actually met. After all who carries ‘Guitar’ with them almost all the day rather than a college bag? Music was his life and Sayali was pole different from him. She was a meritorious student pursuing her post-graduation and Rohit was seeking another degree to his name. He was a fun-loving boy. Sayali always spotted him in jolly mood singing his favorite songs in the canteen. Both Sayali and Priyanka actually met Rohit during their college’s annual function. Sayali was a newbie poet. She had published her poems in college’s literary magazine. Rohit offered her to compose it with his music. Rohit was a good singer but he insisted her to sing it with background music of his favorite guitar. It was an innovative presentation at the annual function and their friendship flourished afterwards.

Sayali, Priyanka and Rohit formed a gang and others named it ‘Trinity’. They find it surprising that Rohit is mingling with them though they were not that kind of girl Rohit usually stays with. But Rohit had a reason for it. He had started liking Sayali. He was impressed by her simplicity, maturity and other attributes he jokingly says were missing in him. Sayali got the hint but she didn’t avoid him. The days run by. She was feeling that she was falling for him too. On the day of a very fine evening of their send off, Rohit proposed her with the proposal of marrying him. Sayali laughed at his innocence. For the first time, at a lonely place, away from their departing friends, they kissed. She was feeling complete, resting her head on Rohit's shoulder, and her eyes were wet with tears of happiness.

When the protecting life of college ends, one has to burn themselves in the real cruel world. Sayali, a university topper, secured a well paid job in a financial firm. Rohit, passionate for music, started the life of a struggler in music industry. He had started running pillar to post for the opportunity but he got nothing. The life of struggler requires patience. Though he got many rejections, he was still trying. He knew he is talented. What he requires is a single chance. But destiny had different plans for him.

It’s been more than a year and Sayali was seeing her in predicament. The talk of marriage has started at her home and she could do nothing as Rohit has achieved nothing so far. But frequent rejections were taking a toll on him. He was getting frustrated. Many times he had shouted over her, many times he had cried in her lap. Sayali was finding nothing significant. She had asked her father another year wait but Rohit hadn’t moved ahead in his quest.

Rohit’s heart came to stand still when Sayali finally broke the news to him.

“How can you even think so?” He asked her bamboozled.

Sayali didn’t reply. She was only sobbing. Her flowing tears made him realized that she had tried enough.

“Sayali, I’m so close. Today the director said he had liked my songs..” Rohit was speaking in haste. “..But he said that he would get it sung by another famous singer.. and I said ‘No’ to him. I have sensed I will get a chance. Please hold on for few more months.”

“I will be getting married in two or three months. Time is not with me.” Sayali was facing his back. Rohit was staring the city of Mumbai in deep thought. She felt relieved as she had not to face him eye to eye. Slowly she stepped back and she heard his words from a far distance.

“You would regret it, Sayali.”

Sayali came out of her memories. The wall clock was showing 3 am in the morning. The night was apparently quiet but her heart was tempestuous. She still remembered the day when she heard a familiar voice. She almost ran from her kitchen to the drawing-room. Her eyes were popped up seeing Rohit on the big television screen, singing his heart out, with his favorite guitar. Soon, Rohit was the talk of the nation. He was all-overs in television, YouTube and social media. His followers were in millions. Sayali’s husband was one of them. Sayali’s condition had deteriorated since then.

The next day, on Sunday, Sayali was feeling apprehensive. She knew Rohit would definitely come for Priyanka’s marriage ceremony. He knew I would be there. How she would face him! Now he has every reason to look into her eyes and ask, ‘How are you, Sayali?’ Sayali has no answer to this question.

Sayali was attending the function half-heartedly. Rohit didn’t turn up till the late evening. She prayed he should be busy somewhere and he may not come. Priyanka cajoled her as she and Sameer went to greet her on the stage. Priyanka held Sayali’s face firm gesturing her to be brave. Rohit had promised her that he would definitely come. And suddenly there was uproar from the crowd from far end. Sayali and Priyanka knew that the time had come, Rohit had arrived.

With wide-open eyes, Sayali was seeing the way Rohit was surrounded by the crowd. He somehow managed to reach on the stage. Sayali felt flicker in his eyes as he spotted Sayali close to Priyanka. He walked with broad smile towards Priyanka and hugged her lovingly. Sayali was a hand away, seeing him from the corner of her eyes but he was ignoring her. Sayali felt so. She looked down.

“I know you would definitely come.” Priyanka was ecstatic.

“How could I miss your wedding?” Rohit replied with a genuine smile and he shook hands with her husband.

Sayali was facing Rohit’s back. She could have pulled him over and made him see her. But Rohit’s ignorance made her uncomfortable. The stage glittered with instant clicks from the photographers, media persons and crowd. Sayali felt sidelined. She tried to smile at the back, tried not to look awkward. Sameer rushed to shake hands with Rohit and Priyanka introduced him as Sayali’s husband.

“Yes.. Yes.. I knew him. Great to meet you, Sir.” Rohit spoke smiling as Sameer was shaking Rohit’s hand vigorously expressing his happiness.

“And here is Sayali..” Priyanka spoke intentionally. She had noticed his ignorance too.

Rohit turned back in haste and glanced at her without looking into her eyes. He returned his gaze at Priyanka nodding with a borrowed smile.

“Sayali never told me that you knew each other since college.” Sameer jumped vividly in between.

“Maybe I was not that significant to remember,” Rohit replied with a laugh. Sayali understood the hidden taunt.

“Let’s take a selfie,” Rohit spoke. As Rohit and others posed for the selfie, Sayali was in double mind. She stood away from them. Rohit noticed it. He didn’t click the selfie but waited. Priyanka pulled Sayali and completed the frame. Sayali looked at the camera; she caught Rohit staring at her through it. Their eyes met. Rohit took a second more before removing her eyes from her and clicked the selfie.

“I will keep this pic with me forever,” Rohit spoke softly looking down. Sayali instantly noticed a heaviness in his voice.

For that fraction of second their eyes met, Sayali realized that she was still not out of Rohit’s heart. He is pretending or really avoiding her for all the reasons he has. He wanted to make me realize that I no more exist for him. Her dejected face might tranquilize his heart. He would laugh madly after leaving this place. My saddened face might be the reason for his happiness.

Rohit again shook hands with everyone on stage but not with Sayali and with a mischievous smile on his face, he left the stage. Moist eyed Sayali was staring at his back and the crowd running behind him. Rohit didn’t look back. He was leaving the place victorious. He has won the battle against her. Sayali knew that she would be at the losing end as always. She knew she has to bear this punishment for her entire life. With a crestfallen face, she smiled weakly at the newly married couple and left the stage trying to hide her flowing tears.


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