The Reason12 mins 17.8K 12 mins 17.8K
It was still dawn when I stepped out of the cab and walked towards the entry gate of the Delhi airport. The early morning February air was pleasantly cold.
I was travelling to Bengaluru to attend a college friend's wedding. It had been four years since we graduated from the same college. This wedding was also going to be a reunion of our batch mates. But what I didn't know was that the reunion would begin much ahead of time; right in the queue in front of the airline counter.
I was almost sure it was her. Same height. Same long hair. Same complexion. Curiosity had my eyes glued to her. And then about 60 seconds later, she turns. And she proves me right. My ex-girlfriend stood two places ahead of me in that queue. We had never met after the college farewell.
BHU - Batch of 2010 - Farewell Party. Read the contents of the posters all around the college. It was June-2010 when the juniors (3rd year students) were busy organizing grand farewell party for one of the most happening batches of the prestigious BHU - IT branch of the year. With 100% placement in top MNCs and whooping packages, there was joy and cheerfulness all around. Except Shreya. Who sat alone in a corner. Shreya was one of the most intelligent girls of the batch. 5 feet 4 inch, dusky complexion, long hair. Yes, not *typically* pretty, but she had a gleaming confidence and a never fading smile that made her look beautiful. She was leaving the college with a great job offer in hand, but what she could not carry was the pain of a break-up. I could see that in her eyes on that day. Then why did she do this?
When she joined the college, she was very much like the nerdy studious girls out from some IIT coaching center who just believed in study and no fun. But during the 4 years journey, she transformed into a more fun-loving at the same time mature person, who was a perfect friend one can have. Always there in-need! Calm and composed nature was her strength. And all this made me fall for her.
We started dating when we were in 3rd year in college and it was best of the times I had in my college life. We were so much in love. We used to understand each other so nicely. We used to hang around every possible nook and corner in Benares, on bike, eating from all 'thelas' and food joints simultaneously and enjoyed occasional short trips to nearby places with friends. It was all going great when suddenly everything fell apart.
It was a trip to Shimla-Kulu-Manali planned with full excitement on account of making last year of college the most memorable one. And yes, it did turned out so. We were a group of 6 people including Shreya. Manas was the guy who did all the arrangements. We all were so happy to be together. It was at the camp fire when Manas proposed Shreya. I mean.. everyone knew I and Shreya were together and still that idiot did it. Spoiled the whole outing. Shreya could not answer. She left the place. We all knew it was not a joke. Manas was the most serious guy in the group. If he said something, he meant it. He loved Shreya; is what he said. How can he do that?! He was one of the best friends I had. Traitor.
After the trip, I and Shreya could not talk about this for many days. PLs (Preparatory Leaves), internals, externals, assignments, exams kept all of us engulfed. After the trip, it was never the same. Shreya used to avoid me. I don't know what had happened to her. Manas was also avoiding me. I was frustrated with the series of events and one day I confronted Shreya. I asked her if she was seeing Manas too and thrashed her for not giving it back to Manas the same day when he dared to propose her in front of me and all others. Shreya was listening and after sometime she told me that she thinks "It won't work! and she wants to break-up". I was devastated. I got angry, I asked her why she was doing this to me but she didn't say a word. I knew it was all because of Manas. I tried to get hold of him but came to know that he has left the college. He just left without even telling others in the group. And it was over. After verbal abuses, few messages and calls. Over between me and Shreya.
The security at the airport was asking for my boarding pass and I was re-living my college days. I came back to senses when the security guy took my name aloud after seeing it on my pass in my hand. As he took my name, Shreya leaned back to catch a glimpse of me. That was the moment our eyes met. For the first time in 4 years. Naah! For the first time in 4 years, 8 months and 6 days. I could not help but stare her. She was the same girl I loved with all my heart for 2 years.. or for 6 years 8 months and 6 days. Yes, I still loved her. And hated her at the same time. I could see a pain in her eyes back then, I could see a pain in her eyes now too. What I am not able to see is the reason!
Security asked me to go ahead and we boarded the flight. It was destiny or a mere co-incidence that I was having a seat booked near Shreya's. As we took our seats, I could see a sense the discomfort in her so I asked her in a stern voice - "If you are not comfortable, I can ask for a seat-change" and started looking for air-hostess who was busy making other passengers comfortable who were on board.
She spoke in a low voice - "No, its ok! Please take your seat". We belted up and the flight took off in no-time. Shreya was restless. I was restless too. I wanted to know the answers and she wanted to avoid the questions. I finally broke the awkward silence and asked her how was she and how is her job and all going on. She answered me unenthusiastic ally that everything is fine. She knew I could ask the very question any time now, so she started reading a magazine. She was just flipping pages not reading anything. I was wondering what can make someone whom you love with so much passion just walk away from you. Is she now with Manas? Did they started dating after we broke up? was there already something in between them when she was with me?! I was going crazy. These sounds in my head were getting over my nerves. Only the answer was required to stop everything once and for all. Answer to the question "Why?!!!"
When I again looked at her, she was busy scribbling something on a piece of paper. I was hating her more and more now and was admiring her beauty more and more. She had not changed in past 4 years. Those beautiful hair, which I used to kindle, were re-kindling my feelings for her. I loved her, she loved me. Then why did it all happen. Why did she leave?
The flight was about to land now. 2.5 hours and not a single word she uttered. I hated her. Finally the flight landed. We were about to get off the plane when she came in hassled manner to me and blabbered something. I was busy checking my mails and could not understand much but could make the word "sorry" from what she said. She left. I came out of the airport and took a taxi to the hotel where my bookings were done for 2 days. While I was about to keep my phone back to my jacket's pocket, I could feel something inside. A piece of paper. I took it out. It was a paper from a notepad. A letter. How did it came in my pocket- I was just wondering while starting to read it and then .. I froze. It was a letter from Shreya.
I know I don't have the right to call you dear but still I felt like writing so. I know you hate me. You should. You must. What I did was very wrong. I walked away from you.. just like that. I know you were very upset and angry but I did what I felt was right at that time.
Once, I had a thought of telling you everything but again I restrained myself. I still curse myself for it. I walked away from you as I didn’t want to hurt you. I didn’t want to make you take harsh decisions.
I didn’t want you to know that Manas was the reason I walked away from you. I knew you already were angry on Manas at that time, I didn’t want to make things more complicated. I knew Manas liked me even before we got into a relationship. I always treated him as good friend but didn’t have such feelings for him.
When he proposed to me on the camp fire night, I got very upset and went to his home to talk to him about this. There, I met his mother who told me that Manas was not at home and after knowing my name, she took me to Manas's room. There, she showed me Manas's art works - he was an amazing painter, a poet and a sculptor.
She told me that he always keeps talking about me and says that he loves me. He wanted me to be a part of his life. I was baffled. I told her mother that I don’t love Manas and he has already created scene by proposing me in front of my boyfriend. Her mother was sad to know and apologized.
Then she told me something which turned all our lives Aaditya. Manas was suffering from terminal cancer and he was in the last stage. He always wanted to have a girlfriend and roam around with her, wanted to have a blessed wedded life, wanted to have children. He wanted to stay alive and pursue his dreams to open an orphanage. Orphanage - because he knew; I was an orphan.
He knew about my struggles in life. He knew how I made to the BHU after struggling for food/clothes when I was living with my maternal uncle and aunt who used to abuse me and made me work in neighbors’ house to earn my livelihood. Yes.. these things he knew because I told him once when we were talking about school days just like that.
You and I never discussed anything about my past life. You always believed in living in the present. So, I never mentioned this to you. Manas loved me and he wanted me to know this. He wanted me to be in his life and love him. But he also knew that You and I were in a relationship. He apologized the very same day and asked me to come over to you so that we can sort the things out. But I chose the other way. I knew that you will be shattered but I also knew that you were strong enough to handle this. Manas was not. I read it in his eyes that day. I chose him. I didn't reveal anything to you as I didn't know how would you react on all this at that time.
Manas wanted to live his last days with happiness, with love, with cheer Aaditya; and I was the one he was looking up to. What should have I done? I walked away from you and walked into his life. I had no parents to fight with for my decisions. I married Manas. He was so happy. We went to Kolkata as my posting was there and with the help of Manas's mother, his uncle and aunt, we started the Orphanage - Gungun. You remember? you always loved this name and wanted to name your daughter, our daughter as Gungun. I never could forget you Aaditya. I loved you from the bottom of my heart but I also loved Manas. Is it so wrong to love 2 people at the same time? I wanted to be with Manas during his small journey.
We spent 2 years with devotion and love towards each other and it was in Dec 2012 when Manas passed away. He died in peace. Last year Manas's mother also expired due to a massive stroke. Now, I take care of "Gungun" along with my job. We have 20 kids whom the world has abandoned but whom we have taken into our arms. I will not ask for any forgiveness as I know I have broken your heart. I acted selfishly but I did what I thought was right at my part. I was afraid that you will not understand me at that time and will force me to shun this idea and be with you. I could not do it; I knew that. So, I chose not to reveal anything to you and made Manas promise me the same. It is not possible to justify all things and all actions. I have no guilt, no remorse. I loved you and I loved Manas too.
Aaditya, If possible; please forget everything and forgive me. The path I chose was a difficult and a complicated one and will be a difficult one. I didn't wanted you to suffer at any point of time because of my decisions.
I hope you have now got answers to your questions; that you could not ask me in the flight. Have a good life Aaditya. Take Care.
As the taxi stopped in front of my hotel, I was looking at the wet letter, whose words were now drenched with tears flowing from my eyes. I was feeling like I just took a dip in the Ganges at the Varanasi Ghaat. I could hear the chanting from the Sarnath temple in my head instead of those sounds that were getting on my nerves in the flight.
I could feel a sense of peace and contentment. I could feel my Shreya's giggles around me. I could feel her head rested on my shoulder and her long black hair with cold breeze trapped in them.
I understood! I understood the meaning of life by one letter. What Shreya did was not a betrayal.. it was an act of selfless love; which I could never see. I could see the pain in her eyes but the twinkle she must have brought to Manas's eyes; I was not there to see that. Oh! how unfortunate I was.
I got out of taxi and knew what exactly has to be done. I will bring the twinkle back to Shreya's eyes. I will stand with her, for her, in her journey. I will take care of her, of Gungun. I will be her strength now and her support. I will go to her, talk to her and make her agree to marry me! To be with me ... not for my selfish love but for the selfless love.. which I understood today! I love you Shreya. I love you.