On a chilling cold evening in New York, Ananya is sitting on her couch lost in her thoughts about her own past. Music is playing in the background. It’s been two years she’s been shifted to NY from India and like some other days she’s been thinking how far she has arrived, her determination to get into a NYU and her being adamant to pursue her MS course and wishing to settle in NY itself! Gosh! Everything is coming true. She had left her ugly past behind in India the day she took the flight and as the flight moved on she did too. Forever! And thinking about her past, suddenly she was brought to her senses with a knock on her door!
Ananya thought to herself, ‘it’s dark! How long was I stuck in the couch?!!’ She listened to the song ‘winner takes it all…’ that’s one of her favorite songs and connects to it on so many different layers. Its strange how you go back in time to those moments after you listen to a particular song. The memory comes flooding down in front of your eyes, like of a heart break in this one.
She opens the door and damn! An important part of her past is right in front of her eyes and she exhales ‘’ Kabir??!!!”
“Hey Ananya!”, he smiles.
Ananya’s thoughts were running across her mind… “why?” .. “how come he’s..? “why NOW?????”… but what she manages to say is “ Hi Kabir. Please come in.” (smiles back).
There still are numerous thoughts running across her mind- “No don’t you dare! ….. After 5 years you think of me?? I hate you so much you moron! Just get lost… I wish I had a butcher’s knife!…
“Yep! How are you?”’ asked Kabir.
Ananya to herself- ‘Oh! Why do u care?… Anyways I’m great to see someone who has insulted me… someone who has never been in touch with me.. Thanks to his mood swings, at least he messaged me when he felt like…. Otherwise never replied to my messages or let me know that he was shifting to Ohio or before that or after resettling in India…. And then suddenly, he’s in my apartment!’… She tries to quieten her mind by listening to the song ‘I want it that way..’
“I’m absolutely fine! And how are you?”, she finally manages to reply.
Kabir (smiles) and says, “I’m good” whilst settling on the couch. Ananya sits on the other end of the couch facing him.
She begins to ponder, ‘What he’s up to? His face is as unreadable as it was before! Is he liking what he is seeing?’ as Ananya has put off 15 kgs from the time Kabir saw her for the last time, she was 70 then! Should I change or be in these shorts and a spaghetti top???!! Hope he won’t get any thoughts watching me like this. What if he would have had those thoughts? What would have happened then??!! What if he would have leaned in to kiss me? Could I have kissed him back or kicked him hard for the sake of my self-respect! For all that I have gone through because of him and him only!!!’
P.S.: Even then she goes weak in her knees on the thought of kissing him again! Though nothing ever happened beyond that. Was she expecting it tonight?!
“Ananya?? You there???”, questioned Kabir bringing her back to her senses.
“Ah! Yes.. sure.. I’m there.”, she responded. Still unclear about Kabir’s visit she digs deeper, “So how come you are here today?? You were in India if I’m not wrong!?”
“Mm.. Yep.. Just came to meet you!” he replied.
Ananya couldn’t process it, her head went into a frenzy, dumbstruck she was thinking to herself, ‘Fuck!!! Noo!! yes!!?? Why?? How??? Nooooo…!!!!!!!!!!’
Kabir had his patent wicked smile on and said, “No of course. I had some work in New York and thought of meeting you. Just like that.”
Ananya to herself, ‘I knew that.. I am always right.. He’s such a ba&*%$d.. He’s always like that.. He knows I love him.. Why does he do that to me.. “shut up anu.. you know how he is.. don’t let him feel that he hurt you.. just shut up!”… The only thing she could say out loud was, “Ha! How funny?!!” and stick out her tongue mocking him and letting him know that she was just fine.
“It’s a nice place! Although it’s a bit small.” Kabir commented.
Anu fuming at this thinks, ‘yeah yeah.. your grandfather left me millions of dollors behind him that I would buy a 4 room apartment on my own and that too in New York!!!!!!! You jerk!’ and then looking at him just looses the track of her thoughts and muses, ‘Why is he still so handsome…… why he has to be soooo strikingly hot…His pink lips… urghhh!! shut up.. shut up.. shut upp…’ Comes to reality and responds, “yeah.. I could afford only this much! One room place for myself. Anyways I’m scared to stay alone. You know ghost and evil stuff creeps me out. I don’t like to stay in a big house. Don’t know what will come out from nowhere!!!” and shivers at that thought.
“Haha.. You still scared of ghosts??!” teased Kabir.
‘He remembers?? What else does he remember??? Does he remember that I Ioved him/still love him? Does he remember our talks?? My touch?? My kiss??? Does he?? Ooohhhhhh!!!’, she dived into the pool of her thoughts and came back and said, “yes I am! Anyway, what will you have?? Juice? Cola? Water?”
“Nothing! Thanks, I already had!” he said.
“Alright.’’ replied Ananya and looked out of the window into stillness.
Kabir is looking at her and after a moment of uncertainty he asks her, “How are you Ananya? Without me?? Do you still love me?? I know you are in a relationship?? Why did you get into one?? Remember you said once that you’ll never get in a relationship as you’ll always love me and wait for me forever!!!?? Do you remember?? What happened to that?? Was it a lie?? Oh, yes! It was a lie! Wasn’t it??”
Ananya was at the loss of words. Angered by the allegations and lack of trust on her she shouted, “WHAT???? What are you talking about??? Are you in your senses?? Why did I LEAVE YOU??? THIS bothers you?? Does it??? This is why you came here??? To ask me this crap??”
On the other hand, in a very calm voice Kabir said, “Don’t get angry Ananya! I just want to know. Nothing else! I may sound demanding but it’s not like that! Just cool down. I know I’m saying it directly to you. I should have asked it in a better way. But you know how I am! Just understand! I want to know what happened actually!”
Ananya was so confused however she noticed there was no sarcasm in his tone yet couldn’t keep her cool and asked, “Are you serious? You seriously don’t know what happened??? Huh!! Wow! Are you so ignorant Kabir?!! Really?” She got up and changed the song to, ‘I’ll be your dream, I’ll be your wish, I’ll be your fantasy’ … needed something to cool her off.. her favorite song.
After a few moments she asked calmly, looking into his eyes, “Do you really don’t know what did you do?? After I confessed my feelings to you and me trying my best to make you like me and behave in the ways that YOU find ideal, do you remember a single time when you had said ‘I love you Ananya’! Or even ‘I like you Ananya’! Did you any time say that? Did you any time talk to me properly? Minus your attitude that i- am- so- cool- and –you — are — so- not!!!! Was there even a day when you made me realize that you would want to take a step further in this relationship?? Even not on the day we kissed each other for the first time and then maybe because it wasn’t good enough for you, you just left haphazardly! I don’t know why did you even kiss me! Maybe you pitied me and wanted to just make up for it. Do you know how much did it impact me? I was young and naive and so innocent and deeply in love with you! But you?? You never understood my feelings and were caught up in your own mess that you were creating with your unrealistic thought processes. You always thought in black and white, there were no shades of grey for you. And I always fell in grey. No black, no white, but lots of grey.”
Maintaining her poise while pouring her heart out Anu needed a distraction and hence she started boiling chicken, kept a pan on the other gas to make scrambled eggs, looked for bread in the fridge for dinner.
Few seconds late she went on, “Did you ever utter a single thing about you having any feelings for me? I bet my soul on this, if you had said it once that ‘Ananya wait for me, I’ll come for you’. I would have waited my whole life for YOU. But ‘no’, you were so self- obsessed, selfish.. that you never came out of your shell and were always judging me with your preconceived notions about everything in this world and I could never pull you out of your ideal world. You knew I loved you very much. And for that matter still love you and will always love you, because my love for you is pure and you still fail to understand it.”
“The day you left for the US, I randomly started thinking about us and a plausible future. And I soon realized that you would not be a good partner. Because you are so self- obsessed, so not trusting on any other girl just because you were ditched by some stupid brainless girl in your past. You were so into her and some other girls and things they did to you in your past that you would not come out of it. You were enjoying being there! And I knew you would not be any better husband as our relationship would be only one-way. You would never give your heart to me and I would have lost my real self. Coming to that conclusion helped me get over you Kabir, I knew you would never be mine and I accepted that fact. Hence, I could move on, it took time but I could move on.”
Kabir seemed unvexed and asked, “Is this what you feel that I wouldn’t have been able to give you the love you deserved?”
Ananya giving up, said, “See, this is what I’m talking about. You feel it’s just your DUTY to love your future partner because you have already given your love and heart to someone else who has broken it and now you can’t love anyone the same way! Love is about giving more than what a person deserves. And it’s a lifetime thing and not something that would make you feel at the age of 60 that ‘Now Ananya I have given you the love you deserved, and my duty is over, now I won’t love you anymore’. Nooo!!! It does not work that way!! Its an on going process which blooms day after day, year after year. I feel pathetic that I cannot change the way you think. Anyway, this is why I got into another relationship. A relationship with someone who would love me just like that, without any obligations or thinking of what I deserve and what I don’t. And I’m very happy right now with him. But I do want to tell you that, what I felt for you was special! And I loved you more than anything else.”
Ananya smile to herself and said, “I don’t remember the day I started loving you.. but I do remember the party we were present at, you in a black shirt and denims.. GAAWD!!! You still look that hot Kabir!!! I wish…”
Anu was cutting the chicken.. putting it in the oil on a pan, adding tomato ketchup and chilly sauce.. and done… she prepared a quick dinner. She wont let him leave empty stomach, she served the food in two plates on the table, one for him and invited him to sit on the chair and took one for self.
Kabir smiled, got up from the sofa and sat on the chair opposite to Ananya, “Thanks Ananya. I wish too…… I didn’t realize you loved me so much!! And all this time I was cursing you for leaving me and going around with someone else!”
Ananya perplexed, “Wait! What?? Leaving you?? When were we together??”
“Ha! Yeah.. whatever.. I mean you not waiting for me and all stuff. I think I took you for granted that no matter what you would wait for me and now…”, his voice faded.
“And now what???!”, confused, asked Ananya.
Oddly Kabir asked her, “You never asked me how did I get your address in New York?? Though I remember you never gave me any.”
Muddled Ananya said, “What ?? uumm.. Yeahh.. I mean how did you get my address??’, but thinking to herself, ‘why is he behaving so different? What’s wrong with this guy??’
Kabir unwaveringly said, “Whatever.. you know two days back, I had been on a tour to Himalayas! I and my 3 friends, in my friend’s car. While returning…..”, he stopped.
Ananya all worked up said, “Yeah.. what happened while returning?? You met a girl?? Did she propose you? Did you propose her??”
For the first time Kabir seemed impatient and blurted, “Ugh! Wait Anu! While returning we met with an accident!”
Ananya was shocked, confused and thinking to herself, ‘What!! Oh no!! is he hurt?? He doesn’t seem to?? But why is he telling this if he isn’t hurt?? Is his friend hurt??” and then to him“ So?? So what?? What do I have to do??”
Kabir said with a poker face, “I DIED Ananya!”
Ananya couldn’t swallow the bite! She was stunned! She could not breathe, she was just staring at Kabir! Kabir was smiling faintly.
“Shut up!!!”’ said Ananya, scoffingly. “What are you saying?? Ohh god! You scared me for a second. I know you’re just making this up to keep me scared after you leave right?! Tell me you are joking! I don’t like it Kabir! Tell me it was a joke.”
Kabir answered, “No Ananya.. I am not joking!! Think about it, did I drink anything you offered?? Did I touch the food you have kept in front of me? For that matter, did I touch YOU?! No Anu.. I didn’t.”
Anu recalled everything.. He touched me???!! No!! Did he drink anything?? Juice?? No!!! the food?? She saw at the full plate on the table! No!!! She was exasperated and just froze! She couldn’t move! She was just staring blankly at him!!!
Finally, Kabir said, “I came here to meet you and tell you that I have always loved you Ananya. I know I have been a jerk whole my life and I should have conveyed my feelings to you at an appropriate time but me being me just couldn’t do it. I love you ANU, I will always love you and I’ll be with you. Forever!”
And Ananya kept staring at the empty place where Kabir sat just a second ago, a tear strolling down her eye!
A song plays, ‘I just called to say…….’