Next station is Kohat Enclave. Doors open on the left. Please mind the gap.
She was squatting next to the doors on the right, wishing her station to have arrived after a couple of more stops. Why did it have to arrive so early when she was peacefully pondering over the important things of her life while her earphones sang her favorite songs to her? That was a daily affair now. In the mornings as she was devotedly following her habit of being late, she'd wish that the college was just a single stop away. While coming back, her wishes took a U-turn and ran in the opposite direction. Maybe that's why her morning prayers negated the effect of her evening wishes. Anyway, her destination had arrived, and she had to leave. She got up, brushed the dust off her behind and headed to the doors muttering a couple of excuses as she did so. The doors slid open and she walked over to the escalator take her down the exit gates. She was walking towards them when a voice invaded the melodies of her earphones.
She couldn't care less, the Medha could turn and it would end there. But apparently, the girl wasn't listening and the voice wouldn't stop.
"Medha! Medha, stop..."
Just to give the ignorant girl a glance, she turned, only to realize that it was towards her that the voice was directed to. The guy who was calling out the name was about to tap her shoulder and froze the midway as she turned to look at him.
"Uhh.. Medha?" he asked hesitantly, to have mistaken her for somebody else.
"Umm.. No?" she replied, awkwardly.
"Oh," he stopped short. "But aren't you from SRCC?" he asked.
"Yeah. So?" Being from a certain college doesn't make someone a certain person, she thought.
"Actually, I took you for a childhood friend. You resemble her so much, I thought it was you. Haven't seen her for a long time. A friend told me she's now in SRCC. I am so sorry. I'm really sorry." He explained before she could draw any conclusions.
"It's okay. It's cool," she said, and walked away towards the exit, giving the embarrassed guy time to recover.
"So I resemble this girl called Medha." she gave the incident no more thought than this.
2 weeks later.
"What the hell? You can't come?"
She was peacefully devouring a book in a corner of the cafe when the person on the table next to her decided to scream at his friend on the phone.
"Dude, you could've told me before! What am I supposed to do now? Roam in the streets of CP?"
She closed her eyes waiting for the hulk to shut up so she could go back to reading Devrat and Avanti's first rezvendous. She went back to reading once it was quiet again.
"Medha? Is that you?"
On any other day, she wouldn't have turned, but a dejá vu struck her, and she looked in the direction of the voice. It was the same guy who'd mistook for her friend at the metro the other day.
"Uh oh.. Not again." he said, chuckling foolishly. She laughed too.
"Can we introduce ourselves? So that I don't call you Medha next time?" he asked, rather sheepishly.
"Ha! Okay!" she said.
He stood up and walked to her.
"Hi, I am Avinash."
"Hi, I am Arshi," she said as she put her hand in his' and they shook hands.
"You mind if I sit down? I don't really have a company to look forward to."
She reluctantly agreed, not wanting to leave Devrat and Avanti alone, if it was possible to leave two people alone, that is while they roamed about the streets of Kolkata at two in the night. Ugh. What she didn't know, though was that where this meeting was headed to.
Five years later.
"Arshi?" he called.
She merely 'hmm'ed, not even looking up from her book.
"Arshi!" This time the voice from the other side was a little urgent. Yet sweet.
"Yeah." she spoke absent minded.
"Oh God, Avi! You know I don't like being disturbed when I'm reading," she said, irritated. But she smiled as he sat up and frowned.
"Okay. What is it."
"You remember Medha?"
"Medha, who?" she didn't seem to have an idea.
"The one I told you about."
She still looked at him with a blank face.
"The one I said you resemble. The first time we met?"
"Ohhh!" she exclaimed. "Yes, of course. Your childhood friend. How dare me forget her. She's why we're together, right?" She threw her arms over his shoulders as she said this. Even after five years of togetherness, their love seemed to be in no mood to fade.
"Did you find her? Strange we haven't met, yet. You have found her, haven't you? "
"She..." he began to say but couldn't go on.
"What about her? Is she alright?" her voice had a concern, sensing the seriousness in his tone.
"She," he said, "is not there."
"There is no Medha," he exhaled.
"Oh my god, Avi. When did this happen? I'm so sorry. How did this happen?" she consoled him, taking his face his her hands.
"She's not dead, Arshu." he said.
"What? What do you mean?" she stopped. "You said there's no Medha."
"Yes. Because there is no Medha."
"What are you trying to say, Avi? She's not there, but she's not dead either?"
"Well, I mean she's there, but she isn't."
She looked at him like he'd gone nuts. He smiled at her, and kissed his clueless beloved.
"You are Medha, Arshi."
"You are Medha."
"Yes. You are Medha. Ever since I was a child, I had an imaginary friend. Best friend. I used to call her Medha. I knew exactly what she looked like. Her eyes, her nose, and that smile. She was my companion. I'd play with her, talk to her and even tell her all my secrets. And she being the creation of my imagination, understood each piece of me. Even as I grew up, she stayed with me. My childhood couldn't take her away from me. She was there, somewhere. And you'd think I'm crazy, but I was convinced she is my soulmate. And as if a miracle, one day in a mundane metro coach, I saw her. She'd literally just stepped out of my imagination. I saw her. I saw you. You looked exactly like her, and after all these years, I know. You don't just look like her, you are her."
There was a long silence before anyone spoke.
"You lied to me, the first time we met?" her eyes had welled up.
He did not reply. Even if he meant every word of it, it was a lie.
"Arshi, I'm sorry. I know it was a lie, but not for me-
"That is a lie I'd give my life for," she said, as a teardrop fell from her eye.
She wrapped him in her arms. And then kissed him for an ever.
"I love you, Medha. I mean Arshi," she nudged him with her elbow.
As they lay intertwined in each other, she repeated that scene in her mind.
"Why didn't I think this before! But how did you know I was studying in SRCC?" she awoke her half asleep lover.
"What?" he babbled.
"The first time we met. How did you know my college? You said Medha was there, too."
He chuckled slowly.
"You remember what you were wearing?"
"A T-shirt that said SRCC Book Club."
She had to think for a while.
"So you did lie to me, after all," she said.
"Maybe," he held her, closer.
"Maybe? I hate you, Mr. Avinash Singh."
"I love you, too, Mrs. Arshi Avinash Singh."
She laughed and buried her face in his chest, knowing she was not just Arshi. She was someone else, too. Wasn't she?