I don’t know why have I been running away from people? Vanshi called me, messaged me and even wrote a mail to me but I just didn’t feel like responding to her or anyone else around.
There comes the yelling of my sister, “Kedar… KEDAR”
“Yes! Coming. I know the dinner is ready.”
At the dining table, my aunt, uncle and sister were deeply engrossed in their weekend catching-up chit-chat. I, meanwhile, nibbled at my dinner with one hand and refreshed my phone with the other. I was certainly catching this Social media fever. Facebook was such a hot thing!
“He has forgotten verbal communication. The next time you want to talk to him, drop him an email,” my uncle joked.
I smiled awkwardly but couldn’t keep my hands off my phone. What was this restlessness about? I could never figure out. Picking the phone, throwing it back and then staring into the spaces around, there was something definitely wrong with me. Was it because of my joblessness? I was still searching for my way. My father’s constant pestering about MBA and my mother’s silent tears had forced me to go away from home and stay at my aunt’s in Pune. It was a city closer to me than the oh-so-plastic Delhi.
“Kedar! What are you doing tomorrow?” Swasthi, my sister asked.
As soon as I opened my mouth to retort, the screen lit up with a vibration. I yanked the phone off the table and darted to my room.
Then came out and told her, “I have to see a friend tomorrow.”
I was waiting for her to come online. Desperately waiting! It was her usual hour here, but why was she not showing up today?
After about an hour and half long wait, I saw her available for chat. Without missing a chance, I wrote,
“Hey Vanshi, Vanshu, Vanshini!”
She didn’t respond immediately. After about 10 minutes my phone’s screen lit again. There came her cold reply.
“Hello Kedar, good to know you are still alive!”
“Sorry Vanshi, I just don’t know why I have been unable to respond to you.”
“It’s alright dude. I was caught up in my job too.”
“So what are your plans for the Sunday tomorrow?”
“I am not telling you Kedar!”
“Don’t be mad at me please, I want to make up to you! Please forgive me.”
“I am tired of working here Kedar. And I hate your city already. So I have decided to take myself to a nice breakfast tomorrow.”
“Good Luck Café.”
“What? Good Luck Café won’t welcome you without Kedar. You cannot go there without me, it is my place!!”
“Ha ha! I will manage K. I want to explore a few places on my own.”
“But I want to come. Please let me.”
“Oh dear, don’t plead with me. You are most welcome. I have been dying to see you since I am here.”
“I am so glad to hear that. I will see you tomorrow Vanshu, and trust me it will be the best day of your life!”
There was a sudden peace inside me. Maybe keeping your word brings solace beyond comparison.
Or should I call you with the new name I have devised for you, “Majha Kedar”? You know there are a very few people whose warmth welcome you, whose rhythm of breath matches that of yours, whose touch heals the heartache and whose presence fades the background. Until today, I didn’t know that you had such an effect upon me.
I was just beginning to wander in your city when I finally met you. Our plans to see each other didn’t work for so long, and see how we met today. Someone wise has said that it is not love or longing that makes you go extra miles, but it is the obstinance, the grit that makes it work.
When I was in Delhi you invited me to your city of Pune, and when I came here, you didn’t respond to my persistent calls. I was really upset with you. And when that day I had disclosed my plan to visit that Café, you invited yourself! I have never been able to understand you. After many weeks of determined work, this day out with you was a well-deserved break, or so I had thought! I melted in the hug we exchanged, it was just the beginning of the hugging spree we were on.
That day I saw your city with your eyes, treaded the FC road with you; that little book shop near the high rises, coffee at Kothrud, Chocolade at Deccan and the beautiful setting sun near NDA Road. You know the quiet between us at the dusk said a thousand words. If I can admit, it was the best date ever. The ease and comfort with which we became friends and started to hear the silence talk, it was just another feeling. One of the reasons of penning this down is that today I want to give that quiescence words.
I told you my story, opening the darkest cells of my heart and discussing the fears. Your eyes stuck me like arrows. Thank you for listening to me that day, it cleared my head and heart of all the baggage they were carrying for years.
It was very difficult to leave you that evening. The setting sun, deep blue sky and the rare honks of the passing two wheelers back-dropped the best goodbye ever. The auto rickshaw stopped, you told him the address, we shook our hands. You hugged me and made me sit inside the auto and kissed me with those staring eyes. “We shall meet soon!”. “I am dying to”, I had thought to myself.
With the sweetest feeling in my heart and an oddly faint smile throughout the journey back from Chandni Chowk, crossing the Pashan Lake to Baner, I came back inexplicably happy.
Thank you for being the music in my quiet life. It was by far the best day of my life.