The Return Gift- A short story

Dhairya’s mobile beeped. One new message received. He almost cursed the sender as he was busy finalizing a project report when he saw it was from Priyanka. It read:

Though you sent the gift in advance – you could atleast wish me today !!

Oh Shucks…..’ he looked at his watch. Today was 10th September, her birthday. How could he forget it? Hurriedly he dialled her number.

Dhairya: Hey…. I am so sorry Pri…

Priyanka: I know I know…tell me something new. 

Dhairya: I was so busy in work since morning..

Priyanka: (Interuppting him) …that you forgot to wish me.

Dhairya: (Sheepishly) Yes…. But I am very sorry dear. You know every year I am the first one to wish you.

Priyanka: What a performance this year. You are the last person to wish me, though you are not late. It’s just 10, still 2 hours for my birthday to get over.

Dhairya: (Laughs) Thank God… I thought you will kill me.

Priyanka: Galti ki hai to sajaa to milegi.

Dhairya: Aapka hokum sarankho pe huzoor

Priyanka: Idiot wish me!

Dhairya: Oops…Happy Birthday Sweetheart May you..

Priyanka: No No….not like this. Sing the birthday song for me.

Dhairya: Pri I am in office. I cannot do that.

Priyanka: I don’t know all that. Either you sing or we hang up. How dare you forget my birthday?

Dhairya: Ok..ok. Chill. I will sing…wait

[Gets up from his desk and rushes out in the corridor]

Dhairya: Happy Birthday to you…..Happy Birthday to you

Priyanka: (gushes) How sweet….thanks!!

Dhairya: So what did you do today?

Priyanka: Don’t change the topic. Sajaa khatam nahi hui hai.

Dhairya: What?

Priyanka: Yes… do one thing. Send me a nice letter.

Dhairya: Pri….are you serious?

Priyanka: Yes…I am. Yaar mujhe na koi letter nai likhta. Kam se kam tu to likh de na….puhleeeaaseeeee

Dhairya’s heart skipped a beat. She sounded so cute when she said that puhlease. Smiling he replied ‘Ok….pakka promise. Kal subah tera mailbox check kar lena. Thik hai?’

Priyanka: Wow…sacchi? So sweet of you Dhairya. Thanks sooo much!!

Dhairya: Chal abhi…let me get back to work warna aaj ghar ja nahi paunga.

Priyanka: Okies…good night. Take care…

Dhairya: You too….byee.

Dhairya kept staring at his mobile screen long after the call was disconnected. The smile just refused to leave his face. He was reeling under what he called the ‘Pri-effect’ .Only she could do this to him. Make him feel like a fool one moment and feel on top of the world the other. 

Priyanka was his best friend since last 10 years. They had met in the first year of college and remained friends since then. But since past few years he had started getting attracted to Priyanka. Today he had reached a phase where he could not imagine his life without her. Needless to say he was scared of telling her for the fear of losing her.

As he was thinking what to write to her in the letter his phone beeped once again. This time it was some stupid forward message which had 10 random questions which the sender wanted to know about the receiver. Just when he was about to delete it, an idea struck him. He clicked on forward, tweaked the message a little bit by adding one more question: What would you do if you fell in love with your best friend? 

He clicked on send feeling proud about his smartness. Now his next step was to wait for Priyanka’s reply. Depending on that he would decide whether to propose her or not. He had decided that if Priyanka’s reply was in negative he would just send her a normal letter wishing her happiness all her life. Or else he would finally confess his feelings towards her today. He smiled as he thought, ‘This year your birthday gift would be – a promise to have your best friend forever by your side as your partner in life.’

It was not long before his cell phone beeped again. He smiled as he saw it was from Priyanka. He scrolled down anxiously not bothering to read her other answers. He was only interested in her ‘that’ answer. She had replied: Ofcourse tell him J If he is my best friend he will still continue to be. And I might be lucky enough to have my best friend as my life partner. No harm in trying. Dhairya breathed a sigh of relief as he read that. Now he was convinced that he had nothing to lose once he confessed his feelings to her. Rather he stood a chance of winning his best friend forever.

It was around 12:30 by the time he reached home that night. With a lot of excitement he switched on his laptop to write a letter to Pri as promised. And then he went black about what to write. He grabbed his cellphone and opened her photograph in it. Instantly his face brightened up. He recognized the familiar feelings building up inside him and started typing:

Hey Pri,

This is my first attempt at writing letter and that too to a girl. So I hope I am able to do justice to your expectations from your first letter. You have been my best friend since last 10 years and today I strongly feel that you have been the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me in my life. You know you are like that breath for me. Very much present, very much important but always unnoticed. 

Sometimes I might say things which I don’t mean and do things which I don’t intent; but I just want you to know you are truly cherished and will always be. When we had met for the first time I had asked you Friends? Today I want to ask you something more…can I rephrase that question and ask you one more time, Friends forever? 

I have gotten so used to your presence that I cannot imagine a day in my life without you.You are a special part of my life which I don’t want to share with anyone. Every time I want to pass a comment on a girl passing by I need you by my side.  I want you when I feel like ranting about my obnoxious boss. I need you when I am let down by my friends and family. I need you in each and every step that I take. 

Nobody knows me as well as you do. You are the only person in front of whom I can cry my heart out and be sure that I am not being laughed upon. At times of trouble you have been the silver lining in my life. When I am drenched in sorrows you are the rainbow of hope for me. Each time I hug you or hold your hand it heals my soul. You bring a sense of comfort to the bumpy road of my life. You have been my partner in crime when we did lot of masti together and also a partner in joy when we shared so many laughters. Now I want to convert this into a partnership of a lifetime.

So Pri, here I am asking you;
Can I have my best friend by my side all my life?


Dhairya  read the mail a zillion times before finally clicking on send. He could barely sleep that as he was anxious about Priyanka’s reaction. He was hoping she would say yes and praying that if it a no she will still continue to be friends with her. He was sure he could deal with heartbreak if it meant Priyanka would be around.

At around 4 a.m Dhairya started feeling a bit sleepy and he was about to switch off the lights of his room when his cell phone beeped. His heart started beating furiously. Anxiously he went towards his study table and picked up his cellphone. One message received from Priyanka. The moment he saw that he went numb for a while. Sending a silent prayer he closed his eyes and clicked on open.

God please please please…..please…..’ he whispered as he tried reading the message from the corner of his eye. 

Idiot,ullu, gadhe…’ was all that he could read. The beginning of the message shocked him and he opened his eyes completely to read it.

Idiot, ullu, gadhe, stupid, duffer, donkey, monkey…….itni der kyu lagadi yeh puchne main?

Dhairya had to read this message thrice before getting the jest of it and realizing that it was a yes from Priyanka too. Before he could respond, he got another message from her.

Thanks Dhairya for such a wonderful birthday gift. I will remember this birthday forever..because this is the day I got my most precious gift.’

Dhairya immediately replied, ‘Nope. I need to thank you for such a wonderful return gift. No gift on this earth can match this ever. Thank you so much!

Sitting in two different locations, these two souls were feeling a deep connection between them today as the sun’s rays touched their faces through the windows as if hugging them tightly. They looked forward to a life full of love as thousands of dreams and hopes followed their hearts' desires.

Sometimes in life it is important to make an effort to reach out for your dreams. 
You never know they could actually be just within your reach!

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