Wiping the corners of her eyes with the back of her hand, Saesha removed the picture from the wooden photo frame. She kept aside the empty frame on the shelf and carefully tore the picture diagonally into two halves. She crumbled the part which had her image, threw it down and tossed the other part into the final box already in the queue to be packed by her BFF.
“Saesha, look at me,” her BFF Tania said.
Saesha turned around, her eyes being red, bleary and puffy. Her cheeks glistened with the salty tears and nose was a red hue.
“Are you really sure about this?” Tania put the scissors down on the glass coffee table and looked at her, hoping the tenth time she asked her this question today might change her reply.
Shaesha took a deep breath and nodded, “Yes.” She had been crying the whole night. Finally, it was over. Finally, she had ended five years of her relationship with her fiancé, the love of her life—Sheil.
“Sir,” the receptionist called over the phone, “Here is a courier guy with five parcels for you.”
“Who’s the sender?” He asked.
“Sorry sir, but nothing is mentioned about it.”
“Okay, send him into my cabin,” Sheil replied, scratching his head, wondering what it could be, above all, who the sender could be.
It took the courier boy approximately five minutes to reach the eighteenth floor where Sheil’s cabin was located. He knocked the door twice. A rectangular black metallic plate with silver words engraved on it was hung on the door; it read— ‘Sheil Mehta, Asst. Director, Sales and Marketing’.
“Come in,” he said.
The courier boy greeted him and handed over the parcels to him. They were square-shaped boxes, all of approximately the same size covered in black marble paper. Sheil signed in the received segment of the register. His curiosity growing with every passing second, he waited patiently for the delivery boy to leave. No sooner had the boy walked out of his cabin; he looked carefully at the writing checking out sender’s name. But the couriers had only his name and address. He took out a small, stainless steel scissor from the drawer beneath his table and cut open the wrapping paper of each parcel. Below was carton whose opening was cello-taped. He cut the cello tapes and opened the boxes. His eyes popped out at what he saw. He just couldn’t believe it.
The first thing his shocked eyes noticed was a watch he had gifted to Saesha three years back on her birthday. He took it out. Below there was other stuff. He opened the remaining boxes. Every box contained every single item he had ever gifted her from the first day of their relationship till the last day he ever sent her a gift. Saesha had returned him every single item he gave her in their relationship of five years. Stunned, Sheil sat on his chair, motionless. A moment later, his eyes fell on a sealed yellow envelope. He hurriedly opened it. There was a letter inside. It read:
‘This isn’t going to work for me anymore. All these years I waited, hoping you to feel my pain… hoping you to change… hoping you to realize what I actually want. But I give up now. Time and again you’ve proved I don’t stand anywhere in your life. So congratulations I’m emptying the little space you had allotted me in your heart. Hope you replace it with some profitable tenant. I’m breaking up with you Sheil. Goodbye forever!!!
Tears welled up in his eyes and it was about to trickle down on his light bearded jaws when the phone rang. He held them, cleared his throat, took a deep breath and picked up the receiver.
“Hello.” He said in a firm voice.
“Hello, sir.” It was the receptionist. “I just called you to remind about the meeting to be scheduled at four today.”
“Yeah, Maggie, thanks.” He put the receiver down. He set aside all the boxes near the shelf. He looked at his watch; it was 3:45 pm. He went to the restroom, washed his face and made himself presentable for the meeting in every possible way he could by hiding his emotions in the best way possible.
“Is everything all right?” Gurdeep, the Asst. Finance Director, called out Sheil from behind. “You look upset today.”
“No, absolutely not, just a bit of a workload.” He picked up his laptop and left the room.
But Gurdeep had noticed all this time during the meeting, it wasn’t the usual workload, it was something else. He had always known Sheil as a kind of person who used to enjoy the workload. He could clearly feel something was wrong. He decided to talk to him.
“If you aren’t busy, can I come in?” Gurdeep, Sheil’s only friend in the office asked peeping through the door of his cabin.
“You don’t have to ask for it, how many times I’ve to remind you that?” Sheil said, hiding his emotions behind a fake smile.
“Wow! Someone has received so many presents today.” He said looking at the boxes lying on the floor. “If I’m not wrong your birthday is next month, right?” He took a seat.
“Saesha has returned all the things I had ever gifted to her,” he handed Gurpreet the letter. “I don’t get it? What does she want from me?” He yelled and punched on the table.
Gurpreet read the letter. He stood and brought each box and emptied its contents on the table. The first thing he picked was a platinum bracelet.
“Oh man, that cost me almost two lakhs,” Sheil loosened his tie.
Gurpreet just looked up at him without saying a word. He then opened a packet; it had a beautiful skin pink, chiffon evening gown. He just gave a stare to Sheil waiting for him to say something about it.
“This one I bought for her in London as an apology, as I wasn’t able to accompany her in touring the town. In fact, out of anger, she spent her whole day in the hotel room. I mean she could have gone out along with others, what’s the big deal?”
“You shouldn’t have done that,” Gurpreet packed the dress and pushed it back in the packet.
“Man, I was on a business meeting tour, I wasn’t there to roam around as a tourist.”
“Then why did you take her along with you?”
“Oh come on, why won’t I? She was my fiancée; I can take her anywhere I want to. Besides, you know how busy I always remain in my works. I thought it would be a change for her as well. She’ll get the opportunity to visit a new country and would have an interesting topic to share and boast among her friends to make them jealous.”
“Really? Did it happen the way you thought?”
“Nope, it made the situation worse. In fact, she stopped accepting gifts from me unless there was any genuine occasion to celebrate.”
“What’s this Sheil?” Gurpreet took out the watch and dangled it in front of his eyes.
“Five lakhs, can’t you see it’s a Rolex?” He took the watch from his hands. “I still remember, I had gifted this to her three years back on her birthday and her friends were like, oh, girl, you’re so lucky to have a lover like him. You must’ve seen their faces, how jealous they were from Saesha.” He laughed.
“And what did Saesha comment about your gift?”
Sheil’s laughter turned into a smile and then he was expressionless, “She just said thanks, nothing else, she reacted as if it was just an ordinary watch for her, I guess maybe she didn’t like the design, I’d have asked her that.”
“You’re not getting it, Sheil,” Gurpreet sat down.
“What do you mean?” He asked.
“No doubt, you gave her one of the most expensive watches in the world and I’m not denying either this would have made her friends jealous, but what about the most precious gift you could’ve gifted her Sheil?”
“I didn’t get you.”
“What I meant was, no doubt you gifted her with very expensive items, yet you failed to gift her the World’s most precious and expensive thing, that might have saved your relationship, and I’m pretty much sure Saesha expected only this from you.”
“And what is that exactly?”
“Your TIME Sheil!” Gurpreet said staring right into his eyes.
Sheil begins to ponder on what Gurpreet just said. Slowly and steadily all those moments of the past came flashing right in front of his eyes when Saesha argued with him that he was always busy and how he used to avoid her during his work.
Gurpreet snapped his fingers, “Back to this world man!”
“I guess you’ve made a valid point,” his eyes glistened with tears.
“Tell me, Sheil, did she ever demand the things you gifted to her?”
“No, not a single thing. She used to organize candle light dinners, camping and whatever she could do to spend few hours with me alone. Most of the things I gifted her was just an apology from my side to turn her plans down.” He couldn’t hold back his tears now knowing his fault and it erupted out of his eyes.
Gurpreet clapped on his shoulder, “Don’t cry man, even I learnt my lesson when Saroj divorced me. Workaholics like us are so busy in making our career that we forget the real meaning of a happy and content life. Happiness indeed lies in your achievements, but what’s the use of rising up to the sky if your beloved are left behind? Most of the men make the same mistake. They think every woman is same. Not every woman think a man as their ATM or wish-fulfilling genie, there are girls like Saesha who don’t value these stupid gifts, all they value the most is the person they love and their time. They need nothing else. You’ve made the same mistake I made, the difference is, it was too late for me, but it isn’t for you. You can still mend it. Just go to Saesha, tell her how much you love her and promise her you won’t make the same mistake again.”
With tear filled eyes, Sheil hugged Gurpreet tightly, gave him a kiss on his heavy bearded cheeks, took the Rolex and ran out of his cabin as if he was about to miss his train.
“Saesha, baby, please open the door,” Sheil kept knocking and ringing the bell but there was no response.
He took out his cell phone and called Tania.
“Sheil, Saesha never wants to meet you again, please for god sake leave her alone and don’t make it worse for her. She’s already not feeling well.”
She was about to hang up when he said, “Hold on Tania, I know you and Saesha are in there, just please let me in once, please let me talk to her, just once, please, I beg of you.”
There was a complete silence from Tania, but Sheil could clearly hear Saesha sobbing, “Put the phone on speaker Tania, please just once.”
Tania looked up at Saesha and she gave her a nod. “She is hearing Sheil, go on what you’ve to say and leave.” She sat beside Saesha.
Sheil began, “Baby, you know very well, since the day you entered my life, you gave me no reason for my head turns to other girls, you are that beautiful. In these five years, I haven’t ever even complimented any other girl except you, whether you are in front of me or I’m far away. You know how much I love you. It’s just that I got too busy with my work that I couldn’t respond to you. I agree I became a workaholic. I agree I got passionate to work harder to get promotions one after the other. I agree I wanted to see myself in the top positions as early as possible. I agree I wanted to earn more and more money, but it was all for you. Believe me, god knows, I just wanted to earn so much money that I could fulfil every demand you ever made to me. Whenever I gifted you expensive things I enjoyed watching your friends getting envious of you, and how they used to say they wanted a boyfriend like me. But I failed to see that excitement in my baby’s eyes. Such an idiot I was. Baby, I learned my lessons that even an expensive watch is useless if you can’t gift your time to your loved ones. Please forgive me my love, I ensure you this won’t—”
The door finally opened, “Do you even realize you are standing at my doorstep after a period of twenty-nine days, that’s almost equal to a month,” Saesha came out yelling with teary eyes and a reddish nose.
“Sorry baby, it won’t happen again, please forgive me, just give me a last chance. I’ll make things better, I promise I—” he couldn’t say a word further because Saesha sealed his lips with hers. He embraced her in almost a bone-crushing squeeze, lifted her and kissed her for almost thirty seconds.
“Ahem ahem!” Tania came out. “I’m not blind guys, go get yourself a room.”
Sheil puts Saesha down, kissed Tania on her forehead, took out the engagement diamond ring which she had returned, slipped it into her finger, again lifted her into her arms, winked at Tania and went inside.
Tania laughed and left. Sheil had succeeded in mending his love relationship.