The story ahead:
In the car,
Avinash: You know Sakshi I need to confess one thing to you… I really like a girl. Rather love her. But I am scared of telling her. I don’t want to lose her friendship. She has been such a good friend to me since a long time.
Sakshi’s heart skipped a beat. Were Khushi’s words really going to come true? Was Avinash going to propose her? She wondered and replied;
“Why should you be scared? You know you should always share your feeling. The scenario of could have and should have 5 years down the lane is very painful. And if the girl is your friend she will surely understand and not over react. Why don’t you tell her?”
Avinash looked into her eyes and replied, “Everyone’s not like you Na…..” Sakshi could feel shivers running down her spine. She was trying hard to catch a glimpse of something special in his eyes.Before Sakshi could say anything they had reached the party venue only to see Khushi waiting at the entrance for her. On seeing her Sakshi just ran out of the car without saying anything to Avinash as she felt something had gone wrong.
Khushi pacified her, “Everything is ok don’t worry. I was just worried about you. What took you so long?? I tried calling you so many times.”
Sakshi: Nothing...we were just talking and did not realize the time. (Checking her mobile phone) Oh…I am so sorry my phone is on silent mode.
Khushi: Oh ho…. You did not realize the time darling???? So what was so interesting being discussed?
As Sakshi narrated her tale, Khushi was proud of her predictions coming true. She was listening with a “Didn’t I tell you” look. Both Sakshi and Khushi could not wait to leave the party and go home as they wanted to read what Avinash had written for Sakshi in the book. The suspense was too much for them to bear. On reaching home both jumped onto the bed and dug out the book to read the message. It read;
My dearest Sakshi,
Ahem….Khushi cleared her throat to tease Sakshi on the emphasis on my dearest before her name. One glance from Sakshi and she knew it was time to shut up and read further.
Thanks for being such a wonderful friend always [ No, the score does not change this time J] Every time I speak to you I realize what a wonderful person you are and how much better the life seems with you around. You have always been there as a support for me whenever I have needed and given me a patient listening time and again. I am lucky to have you in my life and it definitely means a lot to me. You are truly cherished and will always remain a special friend always.
Keep smiling always as it makes you look very beautiful!
“Ooooooooooooooo……” Khushi crooned. “Oh my God… a love story about two people from different communities getting married as a gift with a lovely note like this…..something is definitely cooking.” The moment she said this Sakshi ran after her mockingly to hit her with the book. After sometime of playing around like this both the friends decided to go to sleep as they had to attend office the next day. Sakshi could hardly sleep that night. Finally she thought….this is it. This is how it feels. Being in love is so magical. She was wondering why Avinash was not proposing to her directly. And then suddenly Khushi’s theory of testing waters came to her mind. According to Khushi every guy does this with the girl he loves. He gives subtle hints through messages and gifts to gauge their reaction. In case otherwise they back off and if the responses are favourable they consider it to be a green signal to go ahead and propose. Sakshi laughed at her logic.’I am truly lucky to have found her and now Avinash…. I really feel like a chosen child of God….’ Thinking like this she fell asleep dreaming about a rosy future with Avinash.
Tringg…….triinggggggg…. Sakshi sleepily opened her eyes and saw it was 6 am. She thought it was her alarm trying to wake her up when she realized it was her mom calling. As a matter of practice Sakshi spoke to her parents every night before going to sleep. Last night owing to the party as she had got late she did not call them. But she had informed them about the party in advance. It was very unnatural for her mother to call her so early in the morning. Sakshi panicked for a moment and hurriedly answered the call.
“Hello…..” Sakshi’s mom sounded worried at the other end. “Beta ...Can you please come home your father is not keeping well.” Sakshi could make out it was more than this. “Ma…what happened to Dad? Please tell me…”
“He’s suffered a heart attack this morning…” was all that her mom could manage to say sniffling to hide her tears. Sakshi was shocked. With a lot of courage she said, “Ma, don’t worry. I will be there. Dad will be fine. Please take care.” She woke Khushi up and briefed her about the happenings. She then grabbed a few clothes, packed them and rushed to catch a cab to the bus terminal. On the way she messaged her boss requesting for a leave due to personal reasons.
It was when she was in the bus ready to leave for Pune that she remembered Avinash. In the hurry to leave she had completely forgotten about him till now. Hurried she took out her phone and punched in a text message for him. Almost immediately her cell phone beeped:
‘I gt 2 knw. TC n dnt wry. Erythg wl b fine. Cl me incase u req any help’
She could just manage to reply with thx. Her mind was constantly thinking about her parents. She felt guilty that she had been so selfish till now in only thinking about herself. She mentally decided to change the course of things going forward.
On reaching Pune she rushed to the hospital. The moment she saw her mom both of them broke down. It felt as if in the last 10 months her mother had aged 10 years. She hugged her tightly and whispered in her ears, “Ma…don’t worry. Now I am here. Everything will be fine.” Sakshi met the doctor and understood that thankfully her father was out of danger right now as it was a minor attack. But proper precautions need to be taken going forward to avoid any such mishaps in future. Doctor assured her that she could take her father home the next day itself. She thanked the doctor and left the room to make a call. She spoke to her boss requesting for a work-from-home arrangement which luckily her boss agreed to. She spent the entire night in the hospital sitting besides her father holding his hand. Sleep evaded her throughout the night.
The next day she took him home. Once they were settled she broke the news about her deciding to stay with them and work from home. Before they could argue she added that once her dad’s health picks up they could look at relocating to Mumbai together. Her parents reluctantly agreed looking at the current situation. She went to Mumbai the next day to bring back her luggage, finish few other pending things and wrap up everything from there. All the while she was constantly in touch with her parents taking a minute-to-minute update about them. She could not bear the thought of leaving them alone now.
Once back she could hardly sleep that night. There were so many things running in her mind. In the last 48 hours her life had turned topsy-turvy. She realized all this while she had been taking things so much for granted. She suddenly felt grown up overnight. As the realization dawned upon her she broke into hysterical sobs.
After a heartfelt bout of crying she switched on her laptop just to divert her mind. She smiled on seeing a mail from Khushi but got disheartened on not seeing any mail from Avinash. “Maybe I was wrong in thinking that he loves me. I am just another colleague for him who when out of sight is out of mind” she thought bitterly as she closed her laptop. As days began to pass Sakshi got more and busier with her new schedule which included only her work and her parents.
To be continued....In next Sunday Scribblings (The Final Part for Love ~ A mystery)