Today was the most awaited day of my life. The day started normally, I woke up, get ready and go to the library for study. It was evening time when I received a call from an anonymous number. The voice said
‘Hello, who is speaking?’
‘Am I talking to Mr. Ranveer Singh?’
‘Yes sir, speaking,’
‘Sir, you have cracked UPSC exam and has been ranked first. I am speaking from NEWS EDITOR. I want to have an interview of yours sir,’
I could not believe it; I thought someone is playing a prank upon me so I disconnect the phone without even answering him. I tried to check the result on my phone but there was another call on it again with an anonymous number.
‘Is this ranveer Singh speaking?’
‘Sir, congratulations you have topped UPSC exam,’ said the voice on the phone
I was confused and numb to answer. Thousand of thoughts started to run in my mind. Is this true or am I dreaming. What if this is just a joke or a prank. I disconnect the call again and then there is call from HER.
‘ranveerrrrrr, you did it my friend, you know you have topped the exam,’ said the voice
‘Nanina, so it was you who was playing pranks upon me. How could you possibly make fun of such a thing when you know how serious it is for me?’
‘Ranveer I am not joking nor I am playing any prank. I am serious you have topped the exam, just check your result you idiot,’
‘Naina, I don,’t know how to react. I mean…,’
‘Ohh common it’s time to celebrate. We will have party tonight,’
I was silent. I do not know how to thank her, my only best friend who trusted me in bad times, who always stood there when I needed it most. She hangs the phone before I could have said anything. Then I call my mother who was anxiously waiting to hear this news and my other close relatives also.
In the night there was a lavish party organized by my mother and father to celebrate my success. I was wearing a blue denim three-piece suit and was looking handsome. Off course, it was my day so I have to look my best. Although I was happy to have everyone but I was searching for Naina, how could she be late on this occasion? Naina was childhood friend of mine; she joined the same school in which I was studying. It was an exchange of notes that we started to talk and then become friends. Naina was the first person with whom I shared my dream of becoming an IAS and she did not laugh nor did she make fun of me but said ‘one day you will clear the exam and you will be an example for people,’
At that time her words seems like a dream but people do say dreams come true if that is what your heart desire and yes they were right. But where the hell was she today when it is happening. Therefore, I decided to call her, although it was like winning a battle to come at a side and call her but somehow I manage it.
‘What hello! Where are you? Why haven’t been you here,’
‘I know you will call to scream me, I am right behind your house,’
‘So what are doing there? Playing ghost-ghost with people? Naina don,’t irritate me and come in the party,’
‘No, I will not, you come outside,’
‘Naina try to understand it is not possible. There is a party going on and I can’t come outside,’
‘Okay no problem I won’t come inside either,’
‘Go to hell, do what you feel like,’ and I hang the phone. Moreover, what is she doing there I thought. Although it was difficult for me to leave the party but what else, I can do when the person who trusted me the most in his entire journey is not there. Therefore, I thought to have a look for what Naina is upto. I was not able to see Naina but only a car. I thought that maybe she is inside the car; so I go close to the car and I was right it was Naina on the driving seat. As soon as she saw me, she rolls down the window of the car. I was surprise to see her so beautiful. She was wearing a white color gown and her hairs are open. On her head, there was a tiara like the one girls use to wear on the Christian wedding and a beautiful silver and diamond earring in her ears. Her eyes met with mine and for ten seconds we both did not put our eyes off from one another. Then Naina smile, which make me realize what I was doing, I was actually staring at her. To hide my embarrassment I change the topic and started shouting at her.
‘What is this yaarrr, what are you doing? Come inside,’
‘No, you come with me I want to take you somewhere,’
‘Are you mad? There is a party going on inside. How can we leave?’
‘Ranveer please, just for fifteen minutes. I know you can manage it, please,’
I was not able to say no, although I wanted to but today I was happy, happy enough not to break her heart. Therefore, I come and sit inside the car.
She blindfolded me and then drove the car. It takes about thirty minutes for Naina to reach her destination. She unfolded me and we were on some deserted place. We were standing near a wall, a small wall from which easily someone can fall down. Nobody was there not a single human being nor animal but just we too.
‘Where are we, Naina?’
‘No more questions please,’ said she and pointed towards sky.
As I was looking towards the sky, in hope of finding something like ‘congratulations’ or ‘best wishes’ in the sky Naina just put a belt around my waist and before I could have asked anything suddenly she ran holding my hands and moments later we were jumping from the cliff. In the utter silence all that could be heard were the screams.
I just thought that I would be dead, dead on the most special day of my life. However, to my surprise I survived, we did not even touch the land but were hanging in the air. Because of night and dark, I was not able to see anything then Naina said that they could remove the belt, as the land is only two foot beneath. My heart was thumping so loud that even a person standing close to me could have listen to it. And it was saying ‘Nainaaaa I would kill you’
‘Naina what are we gonna do in this forest, it is not safe,’
‘It is outer area of a forest; don’t worry we will not go deep inside it,’
It was dark so I was not able to look clearly and in order to talk to Naina I step ahead and hit my head with a tree
‘Be careful and follow me,’ said she laughingly.
‘You please sit down wherever you are; in a moment you will be able to see everything,’ said she
Suddenly there were tiny things that started to fly in the sky. First, there are few and then few more and then thousands of flies are there in the sky. Well I think they are the fireflies. It was looking like little bulbs that are flowing in the sky. Although girls use to like them but today even I am enjoying it. Naina put a big jar of fireflies behind every tree now she is letting them fly, fly high in the sky.
‘waoo, it,’s beautiful,’ said I watching thousands of fireflies going towards the sky and few roaming around my legs and on the branches of the trees
‘I know it is,’ said she. I did not notice that she was behind me looking beautiful in that yellow light.
‘So you kidnapped and almost killed me with a heart attack to show me this,’
‘No dear there is something more beautiful than this and for this you have to come with me,’
‘No more Questions, please!’
We went a little inside the forest. Every time she was holding her large gown her dress would stick to some bush or branch and every time she looks back and smile with a puppy face and says ‘Please help me!,’ and every time she looks more cute than ever before. Finally, we reach the mysterious destination and that is none other than a cave. I do not know whether it is a lion or bear’s cave but it was a cave. Sometime’s surprises are a little dangerous isn’t it?
‘So what’s in the surprise this time Naina? A lion come from inside and eats me or a bear comes and together we will fight with it,’ said I
She laughs uncontrollably and then said, ‘naa ree.. Just come,’
She asks me to go forward; off course why not because it was my surprise remember. As I was walking, I was thinking some lion or bear would come running, hug me for clearing my exam, and then will eat me out of sheer happiness. Nevertheless, to my surprise nothing like this happens. The cave was not that large it was kind of an igloo types and as I went inside, I was surprised. There were balloons all over the floor and upside and each upside balloon was carrying a postcard that was hanging with the help of a thread. There was a cake in the centre and was surrounded by rose petals and there were candles on the entrance of the cave. Then there were pictures of my friends, my achievements, my memories. While I was watching pictures, Naina reminded me to cut the cake that I forgot completely. Therefore, I blew the candles, Naina claps, and I cut the cake.
Before going back we just thought to sit on the edge of a pond which is close to that cave. We both sit and remember the days, the hard days when we struggled to achieve success. I looked at Naina and just wanted to thank her for her efforts and her dedication to achieve my dream. However, as I headed towards her to say those magical words, no not, I love you but thank you; suddenly, a voice distracts my attention. It might be the sound of an animal nearby and realizing the seriousness of the situation, I thought to just leave that place.
‘Naina, it’s too late, I think we should go back to home,’
‘Ya sure why not, let’s go,’
I collect all my pictures and off course not to forgot the cake. We headed towards the same way and came just beneath the cliff from which we had jump before. Remember the same cliff from which I could have died.
‘So, now what to do,’ said I
‘Do whatever you feel like, what should I say,’ said she
‘Naina, how do we get upstairs,’
‘I don’t know,’
‘What do you mean you don’t know?’
‘I mean I don’t know,’
‘But Naina it was you who planned all this na, now how do we get upstairs now,’ said I almost shouting
‘ohh that, umm Ranveer I hope you won’t kill me but I don’t know how to go up. Actually all this was organized by professionals. Everything happened so quickly that I was not able to visit this place. We were in contact through video call and I have been instructing them from it. They have known a way out from here but I insisted them the idea of cliff,’ said she with her steps backing so that I would not murder her.
‘Means you don’t know how to get out of here,’ said I
‘Because of the night the way is not visible but in the morning you would be able to find it by your own. The main city is not so far away from here,’ said she almost running away from me
I almost got a heart attack and my eyes are so wide open that it can come out anytime.
‘Nainaaa…are you mad you forgot to-o-o manage…now how do we will get back to our home you idiot,’
‘Ranveer we will find some way na baby,’
‘Find some way at this night in a forest,’ said I while running towards her almost to murder her.
‘Ranvee—ee—rr—relax we will find something,’ said she while running to save her life from me. In anger, I almost look like a bear, the cave type’s bear.
‘Find something what will you find now,’ said I while trying to chase her from behind the tree
‘Ranveer we cannot find a way while fighting, control your anger you blood thirsty bear,’ said she while trying to escape but I caught hold of her hand and twisted in an opposite direction.
‘Blood thirsty bear, now who is blood thirsty bear,’ said he while twisting both her hands behind her back and almost hugging her without knowing it myself. I could hear her breathe and could feel it on my face. I could feel her body shivering in that night. She closes her eyes out of fear and the moonlight falling on her face making her more beautiful. I felt something different, something good. I do not want to leave her and just felt like kissing her on her cheek. At that moment, I just wanted to say her how much she meant to me. However, I was not able to utter a single word. I left her and we relax a bit.
‘Since both of us don’t know the way we cannot find the way at this time. So we should go back to that cave again as there are candles lightning so at least we will be safe with animals,’ said he
‘ohkay, lets go,’
‘What go? Just pick all these cards and cake. Who else will do it other than you,’ said I almost grinningly. In normal case, if this would happen she would have said ‘I will not pick all these. I am not your servant,’ but because she is culprit right now she picks it up very silently. Like an innocent lamb.
We both go back to cave again and sit together on the floor. We both did not utter a word and after sometime started to laugh, looking at each other faces. Naina was tired so she falls asleep on my shoulder. I looked at her although I was tired too but I loved to stare at her face. I still cannot believe that the whole day was so dramatic and I was actually in a cave with Naina sleeping on my shoulder. I wrap my hand around her shoulder, kiss her forehead and fall asleep too.
In the morning I woke up with a loud noise, I was feeling so sleepy that I was not able to recognize whether I was dreaming or this is actually happening. Then there was a loud thud or somebody is as if trying to get into the cave and following the commotion I opens my eyes and what I saw was beyond my imagination. A very large bear was trying to enter the cave but because the cave mouth was narrow, he could only get his face inside and not able to move the whole body. I just hit a stone on the mouth of bear, hold Naina’s hand, and could just utter a single word “RUN-N-N”
We run and run and run, run as hard as we can and finally we are lost in a forest. Naina sat down beneath a large tree.
The sky was clear and sunlight was making its way from the leaves to come inside the forest. There were birds chirping as if they were also welcoming us. I look at her and she was looking at the trees, birds and the beauty of nature. Suddenly she saw a butterfly and like a baby, she started to run after it and I walk behind her to protect her from any harm. I love to see her doing small things that make her happy. Suddenly she looks back to me and our eyes met. I quickly change my facial expression from a happy go lover boy into an angry one. She must have thought that I was angry though I was not but to initiate a conversation I must have to show some anger.
‘I am sorry, it was a surprise ranveer and it turned into a nightmare,’ said she
Who told you that it was a nightmare, it was the best thing that ever happened to me thought I but I said ‘it’s okay Naina, now we have to find a way out,’ said I but obviously I did not meant it.
We were walking aimlessly into the forest not knowing where to go. We started to walk in the morning and now it was noon.
I heard a noise, like someone is walking on the dry leave and I ask naina to keep quiet. Suddenly the noise became louder and louder and then it stopped. I realize either it is the noise of an animal or human being, but how can human being survive. Maybe the aboriginal people who lived in forest, but I thought that these things do not happen to normal people. But for a moment I forgot that I was on a adventurous journey and anything can happen to me now. What happened next was beyond your imagination, group of aboriginal people were chasing a deer with pin pointed weapons. The deer came running in front of us from behind the bushes and looking at us he thought that we too want to kill him so he take a U-turn and try again to go back to the bushes. However, before he could go back to the bushes the aboriginal people have formed a semi circle to stop him. For the first time in my life, I have seen aboriginal people and they are like us but they do not like the interference of other human beings in their territory. As soon as they saw us I felt like their prey changes and my rusted mind works in micro seconds and I hold the hand of Naina and all I could say is ‘
We both run followed by deer that runs fast and just take another direction and disappear in the forest. I could hear the voice of people from behind but it was difficult to understand what they were saying. All I could sense is that they must have thought now the dear is gone so we should make these two persons our food. I was just having thoughts of us being hanging on the bamboo upon a fire and the aboriginal people were dancing to celebrate their success. Naina pointed out a direction in opposite to mine and by this time after so much of running it seemed that she was comfortable in running in that long gown. She was running like a cheetah so fast and talking so long steps. Again, I trusted her and again I regret for it. If we would have gone in opposite direction, basically in my direction we could have found road to go back but now because it was Naina’s direction so we reached close to a waterfall. I look behind and the aboriginal group was so close that without even a second, I hold Naina’s hand and we jump; can you believe we actually jump. ‘
‘splashhhh,’ was all I could hear. I could see Naina drowning in water, as she was not able to lift her body upside. I hold Naina from her waist and try to move upwards but the waterfall was so high that I was not able to move. I saw Naina and felt like she might faint or worse die? For one second I felt my body chill even with this thought. I hold Naina more strongly and with full force, I tried to come upwards and after two unsuccessful attempts at last, I was able to come out. I saw Naina breathing incessantly; I hold her, hold her tight, letting her gain her breaths to normal.
‘I am fine Ranveer,’ said she looking at me when she saw my panic face.
I could not utter a word but just hug her tight. On that day, I realize how important she was to me for all those years and how ignored I was of this feeling. How stupid I was of always treating her like a stupid friend of mine. How could I not realize the importance of her and I am realizing it now in this waterfall amidst a forest. I hug her and our hearts were thumping together.
‘Ranveer I am fine, don,’t worry,’ said she and I almost hated her at that moment. Why can’t she remain keep quiet for two minutes was all my mind could think.
‘Ohh yes, yes,’ said I while leaving her and she smiled back.
I hold her and we get out of that large pond. The place was beautiful; there were small and large colorful birds all over the tree. The trees were tall but full of leaves, so many leaves and roots that sunlight had to work hard to reach the ground. There were little blue color butterflies and off course, the beautiful waterfall that almost killed us but it was beautiful. The entire atmosphere was so beautiful and romantic that I never wished to get back from here. I saw Naina who was adjusting herself on the rock; her hairs were wet and falling upon her face making her more beautiful. She adjusted herself on that oval shaped rock and looked at me. I was wondering how perfectly oval shape this rock was and suddenly I burst into laughter.
‘Ranveer, why are you laughing,’ said she
‘You will get to know in another second Naina,,’
And suddenly she started to move slowly, ‘Ranveer I am feeling like the earth is shaking, is it an earthquake,’ asks she innocently.
I just laughed and laughed and suddenly she look beneath her and she scream in her loudest pitch as she can. Actually, she sat on a big tortoise that is of dark brown color and hence she was not able to identify the difference between a rock and a tortoise. Moreover, she was too tired to note the difference.
‘Ranveer what are you laughing at please help me!!!!,’
‘Nainaaaa…Nainaaaa… congratulations you finally got a perfect mate,’ said I laughing uncontrollably
‘Ranveerrr please na, please help, pleaseee,,’
‘Okay okay,’ I give her my hand which he hold so tight that my blood veins are about to burst. I took her hand and put it on my shoulder and I lift her up from that tortoise. The moment I lift her I loved her more, more than I ever thought, more than life could have expected from me. I look her and smile; I just thought how I could ever be able to tell her how much I loved her. I almost lost in my thought than again Naina said
‘Ranveer I can walk,’ which broke my thoughts. I told you I hated her sometimes and it is not wrong because she always open her mouth on the wrong time. I let her go and almost for a second, thought to kill her but again, love is love isn’t it so pure and so innocent.
‘Ranveer, how do we get out of this forest, I am tired now,’ said she
‘Really, but I am enjoying my success party Naina,’ said I sarcastically but simultaneously eating my guava as I was dam hungry
She make face as she was about to cry but I know she was just manipulating my emotions so I look her with grin on my face; like dogs use to do when they don’t want you to touch them, yes exactly the same. We again start to walk, as after some hours it will be night so it would not be safe to travel then. However, God seemed yet not done with his surprise. So here was a new surprise for us, the forest ends but no, we do not find a road, instead we find a deserted place and as we were stepping ahead, we realize that it was a cliff and down there was a huge river. Actually, the river was not natural but somewhere ahead there was an avalanche and because of that, the way of water disturbed and the water started to flow in the opposite direction. I have heard about it in news and because of dense forest, government was not yet able to do anything about it. I look at Naina’s face and she seems to realize that now we are actually lost but she said nothing.
‘Come, let’s sit over there,’ said she pointing towards the edge where the land ends.
‘But it’s not safe Naina,’ said I
‘Please ranveerrr, come na,’ said she grabbing my hand and walking slowly and carefully. We sit on the edge, our legs are hanging in the air and above us was a beautiful river flowing. The crescent moon was shining; I was thinking that he too was smiling from the huge sky. The wind was blowing and it was playing with Naina’s hairs and off course with my tattered coat, remember I was being abducted from a party. Naina take my hand and slide her hand into my arm. She put her head on my shoulder and together we were looking at the beauty of nature.
‘Ranveer, isn’t it is like a dream,’ said she
Before I could say a yes, I felt a drop on my face; then some more drops and yes, you guess it right it was raining. Neither Naina nor I tried to move towards a shelter to protect ourselves from rain. I witness the most amazing part of nature, the rain. Although in the city during my usual life I didn’t like the rain, every time it rains I thought how the street will get dirty or how if I get in rain my clothes will get dirty. However, today it was all different, today it was Naina, beautiful moon, the rain and I. The rain droplets fall from the sky and touch the river, like a lover meets his beloved and both dance together. Thousands of rain droplets are falling making the river dance on its rhythm. The moon seems to enjoy the beautiful rhythm of rain on the river, the trees and on us. Naina always loves rain; I saw her eyes closed and rain droplets falling on her face. I take my hand off from her, put it on her shoulder, and let her head rest on mine. I too put my head on her head and close my eyes; sometimes you can feel the deepest joy with closed eyes that I realized today. The rain continued for some more time and after it just stopped. We doze off on that cliff itself and my sleep get disturbed with Naina’s coughing.
She was coughing loudly and when I wake up, I realize that she is suffering from fever. Because we sleep with wet clothes, she must have got fever.
‘Naina are you all right,’ said I
‘Yes Ranveer,’ said she while coughing. It was still the night as stars were shinning up in the sky. I uplift her and we sat down, she was still coughing.
‘Naina, I think we should start searching for way again,’
‘But it is still night, even if we try to find a way we will get lost again,’ said she and she was right.
So we just sat there doing nothing but watching the stars upon the sky. We witness the sun rising together. The yellow-orange color sun rises far from the distance slowly and gradually. It fills the sky with reddish color and the earth seems to rejoice meeting with her lover again. We sit there till the sun shines in the sky then I said
‘Let,’s go we have to find way out,’ reluctantly.
She nodded and we just say goodbye to the beautiful nature. While we were walking, we hold each other hands and yet we did not realize it. We both were smiling not knowing the reason but just smiling. I do not know what that magic was but the moment was magical. I know her since childhood, we study, fight, cry, laugh together but today I was just falling for her. Earlier I have a thousands of how when why what questions for her as I thought we were just stuck up in a forest but now only one question ‘Do you also feel the same thing,’
As we were walking, Naina spotted a camp. May be it was a military camp but what if it was not a military camp or some other camp. We hide behind the bushes to see who they really were. From their clothes, they seemed to be Indian military and suddenly I saw a figure coming out of that camp and he is none other than my father. My father was an IPS officer and realizing that I was missing from my home from two days, he must have distributed his team in the entire city and after enquiring many people, he must have an idea that we are in this forest. But what if he finds us, he would scold Naina as she was the one who takes me here and she was not in that state to bear such harshness. Moreover, I was happy to be here, I do not want anybody to scold her for what she did. ‘Naina, Nainaaa, are you alright?
‘Yes I am. Who are these military people? Can we go to them for help,’ asks she
‘Yes Naina, they are safe, and I can see my father also,’
‘Really, so finally your adventure ends here Mr. Topper. I know the last two days were troublesome for you because of my surprise but finally we are rescued,’ said she with a timid voice
‘No I really enjoyed the untold adventure Naina,’ said I while kissing her forehead
‘Come let’s go,’ said I holding her hands
‘No I can’t walk,’
‘But how can I leave you here alone,’
‘Your dad is just a few steps ahead, I am fine. You go and then bring medical aid for me, I will be Okay,’
I was not feeling good at that moment. I was feeling that she is going, going far away from me. I do not know where but I wanted to be with her, I just wanted to hold her hands like she did when I had a bad time. I just wanted to confess what feelings I had for her. I just wanted to tell her that the girl I was always searching was none other than her and I was so stupid to not have realized it earlier.
‘Why are you staring at me like this Ranverr, just go. You want me to die here beneath this tree coughing,’ Said she
‘Just shut up, don’t ever you speak like this again. I am just too afraid to leave you here,’
‘Why are you afraid, it’s a normal fever and coughing? I will be all right. Please go!’ said she
‘I don’t know I am just afraid to…to lose you,’
‘Ranveerrr, I am not going anywhere. How can I go without having a ride in your red beacon car?
I just hug her tight and felt how precious she was for me. My eyes became teary but I could not cry in front of her, as she would be scared if I do it. I kiss her forehead and say
‘Please wait for me. You always said na ki I will never leave you alone so please you should stand on your words and if you ever break that I will kill you,’
She smiled at me and then said ‘No matter where I go, I will always be with you, in your dreams, in your wishes,’
‘Shhhh, shut up, stop talking all this bullshit. You are going nowhere, as I still have to take revenge for all these events that happened to me for the past two days. Okay so wait I am coming,’ and saying this I stand up and started to walk.
I look back and I saw her lying on the ground with her back on the trunk of a large Gulmohar tree. With the gush of wind, the flowers are falling upon her. My heartbeat started to run fast and I almost ran to that camp. I went inside and saw my father. He was shocked to see me and he just hugs me.
‘Where have you been from the past two days? We have searched you almost everywhere and what are you doing in this forest,’
‘Dad I will tell you everything later. Naina is in danger and she need medical help. Please come with me,’
‘Naina, what is she doing here,’
‘Dad later,’ I saw a doctor and asked him to come with me. We almost run to the location where I left Naina. I saw her lying with her eyes closed. I thought because of fever she was not able to open her eyes and that is why she is lying like this.
‘Naina, Naina, open your eyes,’ said I while taking her in my arms. She was cold like snow. My heart almost skips a beat and I thought no it could not be true
‘Doctor please helps her. Please do something,’ said I almost screamingly
The doctor checks her nerve and the worst thing I have ever heard in my life is, ‘I am sorry, she is no more’. She had a high fever and she must have consumed something poisonous. What is the last thing you ate,’ asks the doctor
‘We just ate fruits whatsoever we found on the tree,’
‘She must have eaten something else also. Some poisonous leaves or something accidently which has reacted in her body,’ said the doctor
I wish for a moment I could have some magic with me and I could undo that moment. I was not able to react, I felt numb. How could she died, how could she left me when she promised not to. Naina always fulfill her promises then why, why did she break today. I hold her body and cry, cry and just cry. It was not Naina who died, with her a love died, a new beginning died, a friend died, a hope died, all the years that we had spent together died, and it was I who died. I lift her in my arm and we went to the camp for her cremation. While I was walking with her being in my arm I just wished that she just wake up from her sleep and say, ‘Ranveerrr I am back,’ like she use to say after every fight. How all the words that I wished to tell her remains unsaid?
‘Naina why have you done this, I am very angry with you, I will never forgive you never ever,’
‘Sir, your helicopter is ready,’ said the pilot
‘Yes, I am coming,’ said I while closing my diary.
‘Sir, would you mind if I ask something?’
‘No, not at all’
‘Sir, why did you go to that forest on this particular day? I am watching you since ten years. What is there in that forest?’