Thursday, May 25, 2017

I Miss You

"Namarata... " I heard him call... All I could see was a hand coming towards me from the darkness... It was his hand.. I could tell anyday... even if he hadnt worn our engagement ring... The fingers curled in to call me... It was all dark around me and I felt myself sinking deeper and deeper into the darkness...
If it was any other time when Aditya would have called me... I would have stretched my hand towards him... to hold his... but this one was different... I pulled my hand away and said "I am reaching for you!" and his fingers curled and shook in a way to say no and his gentle voice whispered in my ears "No" ... the voice grew fainter and fainter...

Aditya's hand stretched a little more and it came to catch me but I had sunken away.. into the darkness... the darkness was heavy around me... I couldnt breathe but I didnt need to... It wasnt happening with me for the first time... it was the fifth actually... when I had lost my will to survive and I get stuck in a situation where one does anything to survive...

Few minutes back, I sat in the balcony like each morning staring at the world beyond when my cell phone buzzed. Why should I pick up? I had no reason to... but the name flashed 'mum' on the phone. I picked up.. Mum said that she had dropped Isha to the swimming class but now she got stuck in a jam and so wont make it to pick her up and so she wanted me to pick Isha from the club.

Isha is Aditya's little sister... that's what Aditya introduced her as. She is not little anymore though... she would be celebrating her seventeenth birthday the next month. Isha learnt swimming at 'Indo Club'. It wasnt far from our place. Five minutes if you had to walk. I really didnot want to go but Isha was the only one for whom I couldnot say no after Aditya. She was his charm and lately mine too... I had seen Isha since I was twelve and she was just five. I had seen her grow or say we had seen her grow. Isha was indeed an integral part of our relationship and she left no stone unturned to keep it lively. I owe her a big time for all the fights that didnot happen just because Isha was there...

So, I got up with difficulty and changed. I tried to look as decent as I could but when I checked my reflection in the mirror - I found someone totally stanger to me staring back. I had lost alot of weight in the last month... so much that my tight dresses had become loose. There were big dark dug up places unerneath my eyes. The eyes were red. Skin peeled off from my cheeks and hair tied up in total mess. I did my best but then I didnot care anymore... nothing of this mattered...

I reached the club at around 10 minutes past 10. Isha's class was over ten minutes back and I couldnt see her outside the club. I went inside the club... I saw no one... no one to ask... I went to pool number 16 - where Isha learnt swimming. No one was there either. I turned to leave... when I think I heard something...

"Namrata" I heard you call... you were sitting on the edge of the pool with legs dipped in water. Before I could say anything... I heard another voice... "You know I hate it when you sit like this." This was my voice. Aditya loved to sit with his legs dipped in swimming pool. He loved beaches but sheldom went to any... so he couldnot afford to miss the 'fun' - as he called it. And then... it wasnt just my voice.. I saw a girl approach you. The girl was me but in a lot better shape. That me came towards Aditya and stretched a hand to make him get up... instead he pulled me down too... "ADITYA"... "Yes honey"... "Adi get up"... "No Nims... sit here... be still and just listen to the music of water" ... that me wanted to speak but Aditya closed her mouth and made her listen... I heard it too... the water played its own music... and without even realising, both the me's were smiling...

I didnt realise it but I was walking towards where Aditya and me sat... and no I didnt take the whole way... I chose to walk the shortest distance... through the pool... When I was close enough... I stretched my hand towards you.. I wanted to hold you... just once again... just once... but you disappeared and there was nothing left... no you, no me and the water had no music left either.. indeed it was howling and mourning... I heard the water mourn just like people did that day. I covered my ears... I couldnt take it anymore... but the whole pain was coming back... and then everything started to black out... I remember water entering my mouth as I asked the sounds to shut up... but they didnt and then it was all black.. someone was throwing me into nothingness...

I knew this darkness... the same darkness had surrounded me four times earlier and I think that now I had started to look forward to it.. because it brings your voice along. But this time I had sunken deeper than ever into the darkness.. it felt kind of pleasing... this darkness not only made me listen to your voice all over again but it was also a way to reach to you... Aditya I am coming... Suddenly everything lightened. White light was replacing my darkness and I no longer felt being squeezed into darkness... I could hear your voice.. very faint.. as if you called me from a distance... The white light was taking you away... "Aditya" I was calling your name and then your voice was replaced by that of others. "NAMRATA..." It was mummy... "BHABHI..." This was Isha's voice... "NIMI.." This was Nafisa, my only best friend now...

I opened my eyes... no darkness... no way to you... I was in a hospital ward and everyone was around me... Mummy, Pappa, Nafisa, Rehan, Isha and Mum... Mummy and Mum were crying... Pappa looked really angry... Nafisa was furious... Rehan was just like always...

Pappa - "Why are you doing this?"

Mum and Mummy never stopped sobbing...

Me - "why are you both crying?"
Mum - "I lost my son I dont want to loose my daughter"

2 hours later, I was back in my room at home... Isha and Nafisa stayed with me... Isha sat besides me while Nafisa paced in the room... These were the times when there was no numbness... just infinite pain.. I could see that Nafisa was angry but I really didnt care about that any bit...

Nafisa - "What are you exactly trying at?"

I heard Nafisa. The voice reached my brain through my ears but the brain made no gesture to respond. I kept my eyes closed. Isha shook me...

This had been the story since one month and five days. Nafisa was the only best friend I had now. She was like a sister to me. She knew me inside out… I know she cared but she had her own life and I was being a lot stubborn lately. A very small part of that was still not numb with pain, wanted to not trouble Nafisa and let her be happy but that part was really small for anything. The immense pain of the loss never let that small part work.

Nafisa – “For God sake Nimi stop acting like this. Think of uncle – aunty and Adi’s parents. How do they feel when they hear that you are in hospital. Why are you so keen on giving us all trouble?”

Nafisa was pacing in front of me as se said all this. I stayed still. Isha cried silently besides me. I held Isha’s hand and she held mine even strongly.

Nafisa – “Look at Isha. She lost her brother too. But with all the pain she knows she has to go on and in such a situation if you are there to support her… wont it be much better? Or do you want her to cry for two not one?”
Isha – “don’t say such things”

And she hugged me tightly.

Nafisa sat besides me on the other side and held my other hand.

Nafisa – “Nimi Adi is gone. You cannot change this and dieing is no solution.”

Nafisa’s words shook my entire world. I knew my Adi was gone… gone forever but I am not believing it. Never. He cant leave me. He promised me that he will be back and he better be.
To the second part of the statement… I never attempted suicide. I just find myself stuck up at places where suddenly this truth dawns on me and then I loose my will to survive.

Me – “I didn’t attempt suicide. I had gone to get Isha…”
Isha – “then why did you go to pool number 16? I don’t learn in pool 16… I learn in pool 10. Bhai used to go to pool 16.”
Me – “I don’t know… I reached the club and I was coming to you but I found no one. There was no one there. I went to the pool. I don’t know why I went to pool 16.”
Isha – “Everyone was there Bhabhi. The receptionist said she called to you but you just didn’t listen.”
Nafisa – “how did you end up into the pool?”
Me – “Adi was sitting there… I was going to him…”

I told everything.. Isha still hugged me as she cried and Nafisa had some tears too. My eyes were dry. My tears were over. And I had no reason to cry either. My Adi will definitely be back.

Nafisa – “same story again… how can you see Adi everywhere when he is not there…”

Isha lifted her head and wiped her tears… she looked at me ever so innocently… for the first time in a month I saw Isha so carefully and I realised that even her face was dull due to the pain and loss.

Isha – “Bhabhi… if seeing Bhai gets you into trouble then don’t listen to what Bhai says whenever you see him or go to him. I really don’t want to loose you too.”

Just then mummy and pappa entered the room. It took Isha a lot of courage to speak all she did. She wiped her tears and rushed out of the room. Mummy sat beside me… Nafisa told the whole thing… Mummy hugged me and cried.

Nafisa – “Nimi how you see Adi everywhere? I don’t just get you. First time Adi stood in front of a truck and you went to save him. When in front of the truck… Adi disappeared and the truck hit you. Then you touch an electric wire because you saw Adi behind it. Next you stay hungry for days and roam in hot Sun for Adi tells you that it is very hot and hungry where he is… Then you eat rat poison because Adi was drinking Soda from the bottle but when you held the bottle it turned to poison. And now you walk into the pool because you see Adi on the other side.”

Pappa – “beta lets go home. There we will take care of you…”

No… I wasn’t going anywhere… Why didn’t Pappa understand? This was home now… No I didn’t stay in my parent’s house any longer. Even though we werent married yet but Adi’s house provided me more warmth lately; especially now. Every corner and every edge here knows Adi. It helps me live another moment. Helps me survive. Staying with Mum and Dad reduced some loss. It didn’t heal the wounds or make conditions better but it just prevented me from loosing three more special people of my life.

Mum and Dad are Adi’s parents but knowing them for so long made us all one big family and after Adi proposed me, mum hugged me and said that she was officially taking me home now. I don’t want to leave this place. Not today… Not ever…

Me - “No Pappa… I got everyone here to take care of me. I am not going anywhere.”

Mummy and Pappa tried their best to cheer me up and I tried my best to smile but it just couldn’t come. The pain was growing within me… piercing me from within. They left then…

Nafisa – “How can you be so insensitive? You feel so much about someone who is dead and wont return but what about your parents? They are alive. For Adi, you cant let them suffer. Remember your crying wont help Adi but yes it’s going to be painful for your parents. Why don’t you just come out of your dammit other world that you find solace into?”

Nafisa was correct. I knew it but the problem was I had no solution to it… moreover her phrase ‘the other world’ brought back a million memories back. It brought back my childhood and the sweetest memories of my life. To everyone, this phrase may be a mere reference to anything Extra Terrestial but to me this world existed very much on the same planet but still it was totally untouched.

I remember it was 12th September when we shifted in our new house. There were just 11 days for my birthday and I would turn 12. Delhi wasn’t my kind of city. I was born and brought up till now in Lucknow. Delhi to me came like a completely different galaxy. People say that Delhi is a lot quieter than Bombay but I never found so. No one ever stops in Delhi. Everyone is in a race… and where’s the finish line – no one knows that. My pappa was too entering the race. Pappa worked as the senior manager in Krishna Motors. Krishna motors manufactured a lot of things – all the parts of a car, lead storage batteries and other small items. As a result I grew to just know machines. They maynot be my passion but they were my first toys and I was goodwith them. Pappa was transferred to the head office and so we came to Delhi – Pappa, Mummy, Piyush and I. Piyush was seventeen. He had finished his school and Pappa got his admission done in Delhi only and I joined class seven.

On our very first evening into the city, as Piyush and I were setting our things, we saw a ball enter our house. Piyush grabbed the ball and we both ran out to see who was it. It was a little girl of five years of age. She wore a cute pink frock with two ponytails hanging above her ears. This is how I am always bound to remember Isha. A boy, older than me, came running behind her. This was first when I saw Aditya.

Aditya – “You have come to live in the next doors right?”
Isha – “Bhai they must be living in the next house. How can someone live in a door?”
Aditya – “Shut up Isha…”
Me – “Don’t be rude to her…”
Aditya – “She is my sister… and I am not rude to her…”
Isha – “No you were rude to me…”
Aditya – “Isha…”
Me – “Hello Isha..”

Piyush introduced himself and me while Aditya did the same too. They invited us to their house. Isha pulled me right into the kitchen where Mum was chopping vegetables…

Isha – “mumma… mumma.. see Namrata didi… Bhai says she lives in the next door but she cant live in a door.”

Mum welcomed me with a hug and honestly from that very moment, I started consider her one of my family. Mum came with the four of us to our house where she met Mummy and they talked and talked. The boys are certainly the last creatures on the planet to feel awkward and so both of them raced to the building basketball court for a game while me and Isha talked a little.

Next morning, really early morning when I was just getting ready for my first day in school, the door bell rang. It was Aditya and Isha dressed up for school. Mum said that if even I was in their school then why don’t the three children go together. And so destiny clicked and we went together… it continued till I went to school… ofcourse Aditya did pass out before me but he often used to walk with me and Isha to the school. Piyush went abroad for his further studies. Right now he is doing MBA and is in New York working in some company.

Well… back to those days… 11 days later… on my birthday… I am in my room silent and quiet. I don’t wish to go to school.Its my birthday and I want to celebrate it but as I am new in the school, I hardly know them all. So I cant have a party for my friends. Pappa says we can have a dinner for elder people and of his office but I don’t think that to be my idea of fun. At school time.. I hear a knock on my door… Aditya entered… he was dressed for school and mummy told him why was I angry…

Aditya – “Happy Birthday Princess”
Me – “am no Princess”
Aditya – “Well not till now… but if you come to school… you can become one…”
Me – “How?”

I grew curious… Aditya said if only I went to school… he will take me to the most beautiful place on this Earth. I agreed. Fifteen minutes later we were all in school. It wasn’t really as bad as you thought. All my new classmates were sweet and treated me really well… I kept asking Aditya about the place everytime I met him but he just denied to know anything in front of his friends…

While returning home… I thought that Aditya said all that just to make me come to school… and so I wasn’t talking to him…

Aditya – “so you think there isnt any such place…”
Me – “If there was… wouldn’t you tell me?”
Aditya – “maybe it was a place beyond the limits of words to be described…”
Isha – “but Bhai that’s our secret… you arent showing it to her…”
Aditya – “well in that case Isha… it will be the secret of us three…”

Aditya asked me to be ready at five. So I did… At five, Aditya did as he promised. He drove me on his bicycle far from where we lived… the crowd thinned at first and then totally disappeared. Aditya stopped his cycle in front of a jungle … that’s what I thought first… this part of Delhi was totally untouched.. the land was though sold but no one did any construction here yet and it wasn’t planned till next few years either. We walked beyond that… If I would have asked to come alone, trust me, I wouldn’t find the way ever but Aditya seemed to know it by heart. He stopped in front of a tree… I looked up and there were some things on the branches of the tree… I couldn’t make out what…

Aditya quickly started to climb it and asked me to do the same… but how can I climb the tree… I had never done it and Aditya seemed natural at it. I denied point blank at his request of me doing the same. He gave me his hand and pulled me along. Every moment I thought, I would fall and how on Earth will my parents find me here? Aditya wouldnot be even be able to take me to hospital alone on his cycle.

“Namrata… trust me” His voice had that authority. And the way he said, made me believe him. I closed my eyes and did as he told. A minute later, I was standing on something. He asked me to open my eyes. I did so… and my eyes first moved to my feet. I was standing on a branch of a tree which was hight enough and if I fell, my bones were seriously gone. I grabbed the bark with one hand and Aditya with the other.

“I will die Aditya. Get me down.” I almost shook him down the branch. “If you just stop dancing and shaking the branch so much, we both will be fine!” he had said. I am not an easy person to control but he seemed natural at that. He talked me out into standing still and watching the sky horizontally from inbetween the trees. The sun was setting and the sky was orange – red. This sight is already beautiful but seeing it from where I was… it looked heavenly! The trees were like green clouds and only the sound of wind and birds could be heard… the sun looked bigger and sunnier. I have travelled a lot but I don’t find any place better than that. Aditya was correct. It did made me feel special.

“Is this real?” I asked. Aditya smiled. “Yes it is… real for us. This is our world.” Since then whenever either of us felt low, we came here. Me, Isha and Aditya. This was our secret place. ‘Our world’ as we called it. Sitting there for hours, chatting or just listening to the silence. The place where Aditya made me find music in everything of the world.

The flashback faded… I was sitting on Aditya’s bed, almost numb. The pain was so intense that it made me numb. I preferred being numb. No pain… it was just nothing. I was alive but probably lost in memories. In another world, as Nafisa had just said. I had spent an entire week silent. When Rehan told me, I slapped him hard. Piyush pulled me back from the room to avoid creating a scene. Moments later, I heard Isha and Mum scream in the room. I had to break free Piyush’s grasp to run into the room. I was only there a second but the sight I witnessed in that second took away my life. Piyush rushed into the room to take me out and I did struggle but there was no life left in me. I was just a body. One whole week… no food… no water… no tears. Piyush and Nafisa took me to doctor Sharma (our family doctor). He told them if I did not respond soon, I might die… Nafisa and Piyush kept reminding me of Adi’s death. Told me my Adi wont be back… and all sorts of things. They made me hear them. Accept that Adi wasnot around me. He shall never be… After a few days of trial, they were successful. Nafisa cried the whole night with me. Piyush says crying is not a boy thing, but I know he went to his room only to hide his tears. Nafisa’s tears faded overnight. But mine continued till hours after dawn. She would never leave me alone for I wanted to die. I really wanted to. But she did not let me do anything. Hours passed and the tears changed to pain… it started as a headache and then spread to my entire body. The ache was very severe. It did not let me do anything. I found numbness as the only solace. And so, just to avoid that pain, I remain numb these days.

There was some pain still… which meant I could still think and do something. I knew I had to. I couldnot just sit my entire life. I had decided that there was no point but now that life is there, I need to make it not miserable for others. I looked around the room. Aditya’s room. I remember how he had collected each and ever poster that hung on the wall… his study table – it still has his timetable… his shoes are lying in the corner with socks stuffed into them… his basketball is as usual on the chair. His cupboard hasnot been done for more than a month. The clothes he last wore hang behind the door… His computer had a thick dust layer…

Aditya liked to meet people on the internet and play games. He was a total gamer. There was a time when he would spend all his pocket money in play stations and then ask me and Isha to help him the entire month. I didn’t like the computer covered with dust and I started cleaning it. Don’t know what made me do this, but I switched it on and sat in front of it. I connected the internet and signed myself in by yahoo messenger and him by windows live. Thanks to yahoo and Microsoft, we were still on each other’s list inspite of using different email providers. There wasn’t a day when we did not talk to each other. And everytime we faught, we would chat for hours. Our fights were not talking to each other as Isha had told us once. We could always chat and we did. Talking to each other like talking for the first time. Giving our introductions, flirting and deciding to meet sometime later. I stared at the screen. I loved to see him online on my list. I was smiling. Some of Aditya’s friends were online too and they buzzed as they were surprised to see him online.

Inspite that I knew that it was me who had signed in but I couldnot help waiting for him to send a message. I sent him many saying that I missed him. All my emotions.. I just wrote them down. But all of them popped up on my window screen only. Seeing no reply, my smile turned into tears. “Please reply” I kept saying. And when I had given up all hope, I kept my face in my hands. Probably Nafisa and everyone else were correct. I needed to accept and stop holding onto it. And just then I heard Adi’s voice.

“Nafi’s birthday gift, Isha’s pocket money, Ahuja project, Boss’s affair with Julie, Mum’s leg is hurting, Mummy needs a new saree and I love you Nimi. Thanks for being the life in me” said Aditya.

I couldnot just believe my ears. It was real. There was a pop up window on the screen. Adi seems to have installed voice alarms which came whenever he switched his computer on. I felt Adi hadnot left me. I could feel him somewhere near me, like always. Adi shared all his talks with me but he never let me touch his computer. He said he needed some ‘mb’ for himself. I never knew why he said that but as for now I really wanted to know. Part of accepting that he was gone was that I needed to hold onto everything left for me. I heard the voice message over and over again. Isha and Mum heard it too. They were standing behind me, both in tears. I looked at them through tears and pointed to the screen. Tears kept flowing but I was trying to laugh too. Mum was too tired. Listening to Adi’s voice made her a lot weaker. She sat on the bed with Isha trying to comfort her. I went to her. Mum was crying terribly. I kept my head on her lap and we three sat crying…

After I don’t know how many minutes, I lifted my head and took mum’s feet in my hands. I starting massaging them.

Mum – “What are you doing? Girls don’t touch feet.”
Me – “But they don’t let their mother’s feet hurt either. Sorry mum, I have been bad enough lately. You have to do all the work. I am so bad na.”

Mum hugged me…

Mum – “no you arent. You are my little good daughter. But my feet are fine. You don’t need to massage.”
Me – “Mum I want to do this. If not for anyone else then for Aditya. Probably by completing all he wanted to do, I might be able to get a little in senses too!”

It did not heal the wounds but yes it made me smile through the pain. Mum and Isha missed Aditya as much as I did, but they didn’t just say it out loud. Indeed their pain had been a lot more. Mum narrated all the times Aditya fell ill and would refuse to take medicines. Isha remembered all the gifts Aditya had brought her and she showed them. I remember shopping most of them. If anyone in life, Aditya really couldn’t live without was Isha. Mum and Isha talked for a while and then they went to sleep. I felt good after like what seemed a lifetime! Being upset took a lot of energy. Smiling was comparitively an easier task. I was comparitively happier than I had been for days but I still couldn’t sleep. I plugged in my headset to the computer and then started exploring it.

There were lots of pictures. Aditya loved clicking pics. Each pic in the folder had a story attached to it. I remembered all those moments. There was a pic with Isha in pink frock. She had cake all over her. I remember that day. It was Isha’s 10th birthday. Aditya had arranged a surprised party for her. There were nineteen of Isha’s friends. School friends, bus friends and colony friends. Piyush and Aditya did the entire shopping and decorated the garage. Even I wasn’t allowed inside. I was supposed to get a cake and get Isha on time for the party. It was a surprise party. We didn’t tell her and we just told her that we will all go to dinner for her birthday. At around 7 in the evening, when Isha was really born… I mean the time… I said Isha to try on the frock. When she did so, I said lets go and show your friends. Isha did not like the idea. She ofcourse wanted a party but we said that the frock had cost enough to arrange a party. I left her outside the garage at sharp 7 and then disappeared as I was told to. I went to change and then took the cake and reached the party exactly after 10 minutes. Plan was that Isha would hear music from the garage and go in and there everyone was already there to wish her.
However, I was supposed to enter a surprise party but I entered a zoo party! Isha’s friends had got her a cake as well and just to put a little on her, they ended up applying cake all over her. When I entered with the cake, Piyush carefully took the cake so that this one gets cut and eaten than being applied like lotion. Piyush and I were conducting the games and Adi clicked the pics…

I was seeing Adi’s childhood pics when I saw a folder named ‘Nimi’ … how could I be in Aditya’s childhood pics. I double clicked the folder but it didn’t open. It required a password. I tried all passwords I knew of Adi’s different accounts but none of them clicked here… and then I just typed something. I mean ofcourse the thing I type did make sense but I never expected that it would be Aditya’s password. The folder opened and it had other folders in it – ‘Smile’ … ‘Eyes’ … ‘Us’ … ‘Bride’ … ‘School’ … ‘Letters’ … ‘Emails’ … ‘Chat Transcripts’ … ‘drawings’ … ‘projects’ … ‘assignments’ and lastly ‘Nims’

I checked each folder one by one. Smile had like hundreds pictures of me smiling. Eyes had atleast fifteen close ups of my eyes. Us were the pictures of us together. Bride were the pics of me when I took part in a play in school and had to wear a bridal outfit. When I had asked Aditya if he clicked the pics, he had said no but this folder not only had pics of the play screening but also of our rehersals. Tears rolled down my cheeks. School contained pics of me in school. Letters had a scan of the letters I wrote and I guess it contained each and every letter I ever wrote in my life. Emails had the emails that I sent. Chat Transcripts had two sub folders. One of our chats and one of me with everyone else. Drawings… they contained sketches of me and us together but I never knew who made them until I read ‘Aditya’ signed underneath. I never knew Adi could draw too. He never showed me any of his drawings. Indeed he never even held a pencil to draw. Projects and Assignments had scans of all projects and assignments I submitted. I couldnot believe what I was seeing. According to all the data, it seemed that Aditya had been collecting it from the day I met him. It was unbelievable. Aditya loved me for all the time I was in front of his eyes and I could never see that. I missed so much time that we could have had been together. I tried opening Nims but it wont open. It too needed a password. This time I had an idea what the password could be and I could work it in three trials. It opened to reveal Microsoft Word files. Ctrl + A . 18 of them. Each of them was titled as an year. I opened the very first one.

It read –
“This is Aditya Khanna. I am 6 years old and I study in class 2. Tisha didi who is my elder cousin, said that we all should maintain diaries. A diary is a book (notebook) where we write everything we want to. We share whatever happened with us in the entire day and write what all we felt. Tisha didi said it helps everyone to remember our mistakes and prevents us from doing them in future. I found out that many people write diaries too. …”

My goodness… Adi wrote diary and I never knew it. This was probably the only reason he always didn’t allow anyone to touch his computer. Aditya was a strong guy. In all times of troubles he would be the one to be still and hold on to all of us. But seeing that he writes a diary… shook me!

I continued reading –
“I like a lot of things – I like to play cricket, basketball, football and tennis. My favourite player is Sachin Tendulkar and Renaldo. They are legends. I have more than 50 Sachin cricket cards and total 525 cricket cards. I like car race games. I can beat all my friends in them. No matter how hard Krishna tries, he always comes second and he hates me for that.

My friends say boys don’t write diaries but I like the idea and I am going to write my diary. Just I am going to keep it in the computer so that no one can read it. I will not tell this to anyone. Ever. Promise. Not even to Mum.

Bye diary. I will write more soon. Right now if Mum finds out that I am not doing the science homework, she will be really angry.”

I read it over and over again. It was like having Adi with me again. As though he silently spoke all this to me. I felt a huge emptyness in my life. Where had Adi gone? Why wasn’t he here with me? If he was destined to go, why did God ever make ‘us’ together? One phone call and everything in life scattered. For once why couldnot I see Aditya again? Be with him? Why did he had to go if him being gone, changed so many lives?

I read the entire diary. It was Aditya’s account of his class 3. He mentioned his school, his teachers, his friends, parents and himself! There was no Isha either. And the last entry of the diary was interesting.

“Diary.. I got something to wonder today. Dad and Mum came from hospital today. Mum has been going to hospital for a few days now. I asked if she is fine and she said she is. Mum came back today and she was very happy. I am never happy when I come back from a hospital. The doctor either gives me bad taste medicines or injection and I don’t like them both!

Mum and Dad were really happy today. Dad told me that the baby brother or sister which was to come will be coming in a few days now. I donot understand this. Why cant they get me baby brother or sister today? They told me so back that I will become an elder brother but no little brother or sister turned up till now. And when they have to get me one, why don’t they know baby boy or girl?

Dad asked me what do I want a boy or a girl? Dad said if it’s a boy, he can share my things and so I said I want a sister. Mohit got a baby brother – Rohit. And Rohit is so naughty. Rohit breaks all Mohit’s toys and takes all Mohit’s gift. Whereas Nishant got a baby sister Priya. Nishant’s parents get gifts for Nishant too whenever they shop for Priya. So having a sister is good, right?

If I have a baby brother then I am going to call him – Brock. And if a baby girl then Isha. I like the name Isha.

Have to go now. Sleeping time! “

By the time I reached this entry, I wasn’t feeling anything sad. I had always complained to Adi that I never knew him as a child. Probably it was all destined – Adi writing diaries and me wanting to know his childhood. I really wanted to read the entire thing at once but I knew I had to wait. I closed the computer and then went to sleep. For the first time in days, I did not have a sleepless night. I slept peacefully and when mum woke me in the morning, I was not already awake or stressed up. I was pretty happy.

I went outside and mum was making making breakfast for dad. I asked her to sit while I made the breakfast and tea. Dad was glad to see me too. Isha came then. She was going out with her friends for some shopping. She asked me to join her but I had something else to do. Dad went to office and Isha left for her friend’s place. Mum let out a sigh and settled on the sofa. I could see on her face that she had suddenly aged. Mum’s face no longer glowed and it looked that she had grown 20 – 30 years older in just a month. I needed to do something for her. I went in and called Anita Mausi – mum’s cousin sister. Anita Mausi lived in Delhi too and she and mum were really intimate. Half an hour later, the door bell rang. It was mausi. She came to talk to mum. Mum was glad to see her sister but still I saw that she had tears. I suggested if they went shopping and they agreed.

Finally I felt happy. I thought that I had done some good job for a day. When I was done cleaning the house, I switched on the computer and immidiately opened the diary. But before reading, I opened the reminder application and replayed the last recorded message. I heard his voice again. Chill went down my spine. I suddenly felt cold. I wanted your arms to protect me out of this cold but then I remembered that those arms wont do so ever again. Hastily I wrapped my arms around myself. And just then I heard –

“Nims is feeling cold again?”

I looked around to see where he was… no where… but then why did I keep hearing him and feeling him all around me. How did the voice always know what to say? The voice wasnot in my brain. It was real. Then I saw it. I hadnot closed the reminder application and this was the message before the last one. The message made me wonder if Adi knew his fate. How come he made a perfect guideline for me? Did Adi know he was going to die? Wasnot it an accident but planned?
I stared at a long while for Adi to continue speaking but he didn’t. Everytime there was some hope in me, something happened that left my world devastated. Right now I had no idea if I were to be happy or sad. A month back, I lost my life and now I think that Adi knew he was leaving me. Then my phone rang. It was Nafisa. I took the phone. Isha had apparently told her about the voice messages on Adi’s computer and she asked me if I were still listening to it and I told her all that I heard and felt.
I could hear that Nafisa did somewhere have her doubts but she kept reassuring me that Adi spoke all that out of care and his death was just an accident. It wasnot anything more than a case of hit and run.

I sat staring the screen of the computer. Eventually a tear would drop. Then it started to get darker. It then came to my thoughts… two days before his accident when I sat in Adi’s room, the AC was set to full and I was feeling cold. Adi was doing something on his computer and that was when he had asked me “Nims is feeling cold again?” … It was the last time we had talked that way. I had brought to show him my new Chemistry project on analysis of various items and was reading it out to him. But the chill made me shiver and that could be heard in my voice. Adi listened silently for long and then he just turned back randomly and asked the question. I was rubbing my palms together out of cold. Then Adi stood up and came to me. He touched my forehead to check for fever but there wasnot any.

Adi – “How can you feel cold in such horrible heat?”
Me – “zhahzhahhadda…” I just kept breathing from my mouth feeling cold…
Adi – “there is something wrong with you… wait let me get the thermometer.”

I caught his hand and shook my head.

Me – “You AC has set the room temperature to be 21… am I not supposed to freeze?”
Adi – “no..”

I smiled remembering the exact way he had spoken… just like I had smiled then. A very simple and honest – NO!

Me – “Aren’t you feeling cold?”

Adi was sitting in front of me on the bed and I was still holding his head. To the question, Adi reached for my second hand and now all four palms were caught together pressing each other. He shook his head and then slowly said…

Adi – “Not until you are there with me.”

Probably this is what I miss most about Adi. Why can’t I express myself with the ease he did? He seemed to know the exact time when to speak something and he spoke it perfectly. The timing and the way he spoke his words… also the way he chose them… made you remember his words forever. The time when he had spoken those words, it made the smile fade for a moment to be replaced by love in the eyes. I hugged him and he hugged me back. But that day seems so long lost. Like it was in some previous birth. I knew today I would decline the entire world’s wealth for that one hug but it was the only thing I wasn’t getting!

The bell rang then. It was Mum. She was smiling and I did not have the heart to welcome her with tears. So I did my best to smile and I guess I was smiling. She told how she spent her day visiting from one shop to another. She got me a jacket.

Mum – “Adi told me you felt cold in his room.”

Why were you doing this Adi? Sending me gifts even when you arent here? Havent you spoiled me enough that not having you around devastated me? and now you are even ruining my attempts to try and recover?
Mum also got back one of your woollen t - shirts. You had apparently left it at Mausi’s house. I wore that instead. It felt a lot more warmer. Mum did have a hard time looking at me wearing that t – shirt but I guess she was fighting the same emotions as I was. She was also putting on a smile to give me strength while I did the same.

I asked Mum to rest while I put on the vegetables to cooking. They were ready in half an hour. Isha had too returned in the meanwhile. She had brought lots of books to read. She said she found some comfort in them. It was her escape – her other world. The fact was, my other world was just one of numbness but recently I had found another thing – the diary. I went to read it.

Adi wrote his diary daily. Till like he passed his class 5, the diary was nothing more than account of a young boy’s day. He would write what happened at school and then a little general. He would mention Isha a lot. She was definitely his soul. A few days after Isha turned an year old, all the diary enteries of Adi mentioned – “I love my little Sister”.

The thing that really caught my eyes were his class 6 diary where he mentions going to the tree top for the first time.

“… Dad wants to buy some land. Its amidst forest. But I know there will be great estate values in the years to come. Right now though, when dad took me there to see the land, I was just seeing around when I found a tree where a lot of birds were chirruping. Today morning also, when I went there, again lots of birds. Dad was busy with his staff discussing something and I silently climbed the tree. Yes I got some bruises here and there but it was worth it. The branch had an exclusive view to the horizon where even though the Sun was overhead, it looked orange. Very beautiful. I don’t know how long I sat there but I got down only after I heard dad calling my name. I am going to show it to Isha too. It’s some 4 – 5 km from our house but I know the way. It wont be difficult on the cycle…”

After that Adi often mentioned the place as – his favourite secret place! Every week they would visit it. Whenever Isha was sad or they were bored. I closed my eyes and I could almost feel how I did when I had first time been there. Adi wasnot too good at telling his innermost heart and I wondered if he felt the way I had?

I was reading through his class 7accounts when the bell rang. I did not go to open it but surely I wasnot reading anymore. It was Pappa. He was going back home when he decided to stop by. Isha called me. My Pappa had never been an emotional person if I knew. It’s not that I had never seen him fall weak but I never saw him show it. When my grandmother had expired, my dad hugged me and wept long. That was the first time I saw my dad cry. Then when his sister expired, dad had cried again. But all those tears were fresh and soon lost. I have always been the emotional one in the family and even now I miss my grandma and aunt. Today, Pappa had come for another of my emotional healing sessions. He wanted me to concentrate on studies. He said it had been a long time and a long break. I can stop but the world wont and the day I decide that I was ready to catch up, the world would be far ahead and I would never make it then.
Mum second him and so did Dad (who returned soon after Pappa’s arrival). I listened to them all silently. I knew they were all correct but what can I do? I forget to breathe at times… how can they expect me to remember the volumes of books I was taught? The college had granted me 2 months vacations after Adi was gone. Piyush had arranged them for me but those 2 months were only a few days left to be over.

Dad – “that’s probably the best way to restart life..”
Mum – “And you need to complete your education, dear. You cant just let it go.”

I was still silent.

Isha – “Even bhai would want you to complete this.. wouldn’t he?”

I turned to Isha. She had read what was I thinking. Nothing mattered… nothing made sense.. not without Adi. Everyone was silent now.They all had wanted to say the same but just couldnot get themselves to. Finally I promised I will try my best after the holidays are over.
I reasoned it against myself for a long time. They were all correct that I had to move on but how can I? I continued reading the diary. It was definitely the better option. Just after a page or two I saw the first mention of my name…

“… Namrata, that’s what her brother Piyush called her. I did not quite like the way she said I was being rude to Isha. Ofcourse I had to stop her from talking to everyone. She is a little girl, how will she know? Well, all girls are like that. Always poking their noses. But Piyush bhaiyaa.. he plays amazing basket ball and know all the tricks…”

I grew more curious. I wanted to know more.. how did Adi find me.. it was like living all that time but this time from his point of view.

Next few days had little mention of me… but with each mention, it hinted that we were becoming friends. On the mention of the day before my birthday..

“… It’s Namrata’s birthday tomorrow. Isha told me. She also told that Namrata was upset not having made any friends here yet with whom she could celebrate. That is not done. Arent we her friends? She should have atleast asked her. But I think I will definitely help her celebrate. I will take her to our tree. She will like it there. …”

On my birthday.. there was the first long entry after Isha’s first birthday!

“… Lakshay kept irritating me the entire day. Namrata wouldnot believe me that there is a place.. a special one and so she came to me after the assembly and asked me about it. Thank God I asked her to go that time. Just seeing me her talk to me kept Lakshay speaking of it the entire day.. imagine if I would have talked, Lakshay would keep singing this till we both landed in hell…”

I had known Lakshay. Inititally through Adi’s mention of him and later we had met quite a number of times. He never looked the kind to have troubled Adi on him talking to a girl. But well, that’s how we all were in our class 7. Moreover, I don’t even remember anyone was there with Aditya when I went to him. My memories are just too perfect in this sense – just my Adi and me!

I scanned further… the last paragraph for the day.

“… she loved it. It was the same smile Isha had all those times back. I wish she would keep smiling.”

I wish he had told all these words to me himself. It was just like living all these moments all over again just this time Aditya was the narrator. I was 12 again.. sitting on the branch of tree with Adi and looking at the sunset. I had no idea then that we both would go this long way together – 10 years of togetherness! But that time I hadnt even know that just 10 years of togetherness and then I will be one day left to all by myself… to be alone and miserable with no one to hold onto. This wasnot done Adi. Right from this secret world, we shared everything… not your diary but atleast I did share every bit of me with you… I don’t have anyone to go to.

I was thinking all this when Mum called me for dinner. I did not know about tomorrow but one thing I promised myself that I am going to not let Mum, Dad or Isha feel Adi’s absence. I had to be their son and daughter at the same time – even if this is the only thing I do in my whatever remaining life. I immidiately closed the computer.

It continued the same way for a few coming days. I mostly remained silent and did all the chores I could find. Mum would sometimes complain that I am making her lazy. Probably work was also her way of escaping reality. I would ask mum to sleep or do some stiching. Earlier mum would spend hours stiching me tops, Isha’s frocks or Adi’s shirt. But since we had grown up, she had almost left it. I asked Isha to get mum some clothes and then mum starting stiching salwar – kurta for us. Rest of the time I would just sit in front of the computer and read and listen.

It was like living all those moments again except for the difference that this time Adi was the narrator. I relived all those moments. How we went to school together. When he was in class tenth, he used to panic a lot. It would take hours for mum to get him to relax and then I used to sit and study with him. Ofcourse I had my class 8 course. Isha would get bored, after all she was just 6. And then was the first time I took Adi’s place. Each night Adi would tell a story to Isha… this duty now shifted to me. Sometimes Adi would sit in Isha’s room while I told the story and eventually he would too fall asleep. Then I would have to call mum to wake him.
Miraculously, Ishaan mentioned every story I told Isha in his blog. I was reading one of those stories, one day, when Isha walked into Adi’s room. I sat in Isha’s room that night and told her the story. For a while Isha wept silently missing all what I was missing and then slept away. I, for a moment, felt it was one of those days again but no… it wasnot. There was no Adi sleeping in a corner on Isha’s bed or in his room, who would say ‘Done with my story telling session?’ as I would walk out of Isha’s room and enter his.

While reading Ishaan’s class 12th entries… well had grown now. The text was more about what he planned for his future life. Mention of us grew a lot. Our cycle rides changed to walks in the evening while having a heart to heart conversation. I remember all of them. With us growing, more and more emotions rose in both of us. We faced our own worlds. In school, we would hardly meet for I had 10th and Adi had 12th; but once back home… I would study while Adi had his coaching. So each day we had a schedule to meet at 7:30 pm in the buiding compound. Adi would be either playing basket ball then if he did not have coaching and I would be down from 6 sometimes talking to others, otherwise playing some game. But as soon as it was 7:30, we would both leave whatever we were doing and find each other. Sometimes our friends would laugh. As it happened, we had passed the age of being called ‘committed’ by others but none the less the suspecious glances kept coming. We had been fairly clear about our friendship. We were the best of friends and that was something natural owing to the fact that we spent almost 10 – 20 hours as day with each other or around each other.

But I guess there was certainly something… when Adi had passed out school, he joined the Delhi Engineering College. His hard work had paid off and he got computer engineering there. The first day when I had to go school without Adi – I remember it clearly. Isha also felt a little weird but she was a lot fine than I was. I couldn’t get myself to go. I was standing with Isha near pappa’s car waiting for him to come and drive us to school for we had missed the bus –thanks to me ofcourse. But then Adi came out and said he will drive us. Isha hugged Adi as she left. I just stood there not knowing what to say or do. But Adi just smiled and said ‘you know you are going to rock.’ .. we smiled at each other and then parted. I turned back after walking a little to see if he was gone and his dairy said he watched me entering the gate and then left.

Ofcourse it was new class… big class and there were a lot of other things but I just couldnot concentrate. This was one feeling of mine I had no clue about. Why was I feeling so alone? I had all my friends and the teachers werent so bad either but I kept feeling alone. Slowly I got used to it.

And then results came. Adi and I had a great time then. Both of us had surprisingly managed in 90%. I got 94 and Adi had 92. We would go out every evening to celebrate and in like a month of celebrations, we had checked nearly all hotels, lounges, restaurants and discos.
The thing did not last long though. Someone maybe cursed our happiness. Adi got admission in Delhi College. He was really happy then. So was I. Mum, dad, Mummy, Pappa and Isha, all were very happy. All relatives came to congratulate. A few days went very nicely. But then the day approached. Adi took me and Isha to our special place. Adi had applied for hostel as the college was at one and a half hour drive from our place and he got the accomodation too. Isha was crying. The three of us sat on different branches – silently. Adi climed down to Isha’s branch. She was still crying. He kept speaking for sometime but she wont stop. Finally she smiled. Adi asked her to get down saying he was getting me and then we will go home. I saw Adi come to where I was… I wiped my tears quickly but we knew each other too well to hide things.
He sat down besides me, both of us silent for sometime. Finally he left a deep breath.

Adi – “why are you crying?”
Me – “I am not crying.”

I lied. Tears rolled down my left cheek – Adi was sitting on the right side. He stretched his hand across to my left cheek and picked up the tear drop.

Adi – “Don’t tell it to me that you arenot crying. Stop crying, I will know it myself.”
Me – “I am going to miss you.”

Saying so, I have no idea why, but I hugged him. This was the first time I ever hugged anyone apart from mummy, pappa, mum and Isha.

Adi – “I am not going forever. And I will be back every weekend. You can come and meet me in the hostel too.”

Adi said all sorts of things to calm me but it wasnot simple. We let go of each other… more confused of our sudden hug. And without a proper end to our conversation, for the first time we let the topic go.
Adi felt weird about it too.

“… I don’t know why she stopped me. I have been to all sorts of places but she has been stopped me before, then why this time? I was feeling bad about leaving home already, and her crying face wont let me go now. I just hope what I am doing is good for both of us and Nimi remains fine… “

I knew I had tears when Adi wrote it for I was crying the entire night… that night and I had tears now too! It was more than 15 days passed since I found Adi’s diary. Almost 2 months since life decided to desert me. There were just 2 reasons I was living for. One, Adi and I had dreamt of a world with our families. Adi’s untimely exit left them devastated too and I know Adi wouldnot want me to desert them. Not right now. I needed to once again do what Adi should have been doing – being here for them. Second, I had promised Adi and so did he promise me that we will spend our lives together and die together. I tried whatever but death doesn’t find me its dear one. Now I am here, I found the diary, found myself closer to mum and Isha, then I guess there certainly must be a reason for this life. Whatever the reason was, I am not hunting that, I just know I had to play along. It was not a choice but a condition put.

Adi’s diary helped a lot to put a brave face. Especially when every morning I type the password to the folder and diary, ‘Namrata’ and ‘NimsI<3u a="" absence="" actually.="" adi="" all="" along="" am="" and="" arms="" atleast="" br="" burning="" but="" can="" cant="" clean="" clothes.="" comb="" comes.="" computer="" cry="" cuddle="" daily="" day="" down="" each="" empty="" filling="" food="" for="" hair="" has="" have="" here="" him="" i="" in="" into="" is="" isha="" learnt="" life="" lights="" listen="" lives="" make="" many="" me="" mum="" my="" myself="" night="" no="" notes="" of="" off="" old="" on="" or="" pain.="" pillow="" pull="" put="" replacement="" respectively="" rest="" revising="" s="" same="" scenario.="" shut="" sleep.="" so="" somehow="" somewhere="" started="" stop="" strength="" switch="" tell="" tells="" the="" them.="" there="" tie="" to="" until="" weird="" when="" without="">
I am angry. On myself, on Adi or on destiny, I don’t know.

It was my last birthday with Adi around. It was also our 6th anniversary together. Adi had asked Pappa and then we had been out to a late night dinner at the Le Meridian on the eve of 22nd. We danced till there was any energy left in either of us. There was all my favourite food lying on the table but I just rested my head making some space and kept smiling. When I raised my head, Adi wasnot sitting across me… he was on his knees with the same ring in his hand. He must be sitting there for sometime now because all eyes had turned towards us. I was definitely out of words.

Adi – “Nims… say something..”

I opened my couth but no words came out…

Adi – “Nims… speak yaar.. my knees are hurting”

Everyone laughed but I had tears in my eyes. I went on my knees too, to face him and looked at him in the eyes. I held his hand with the ring in both my hands. He was surprised to see me down and wanted me to get up but I just wouldnot.

Me – “I take this ring just on one condition..”
Adi – “What is that?”
Me – “Be there for me and with me always”

Adi smiled and he placed the ring gently on my finger. We broke instantly into tears and then a hug. It seemed like eternity that we were holding each other. And he then silently whispered into my ears…

Adi – “I will be there always. With you.. for you.. I promise. Even if it will be the only thing I do in my life.”

Remember Adi.. you promised.. promised to stay besides me forever… then where are you now? He remembered every promise he made… then why not this one?

We had been like this since he started college. Ofcorse it took us initial two months to actually realise what was happening to us, but once we did, people called us the ‘inseparable ones’. We would talk for hours; he would escape from his hostel at night so we could have dinner together.
But it wasnot so simple after all. When Adi had left, for many days I couldnot help crying. Mum would also see me crying sometimes when I would sit with her. Isha was also silent for few days. The house was definitely out of life.

Surprisingly, Adi was feeling the same.

On his first day of college, 21st July
“… It is good and nice but I don’t just feel complete. I think I am missing Isha and Nimi. Why am I missing her so much? We talk for hours everyday but now the number of hours are restricted. We will never have those evening strolls and the basketball games; teasing her and then buying gifts… I am going to miss a lot of things but probably this is the best, so it needs to be done…”

Reading this brought tears… With each passing day, mention of me increased and finally when he was in college, all he talked was mostly me or Isha; very little about his new life. Certainly he mentioned making new friends, going on picnics, bunking, and all such things but somewhere it was all what I was feeling – missing each other!

But then – no complains.. these moments are the only thing responsible for bringing us closer. When we actually knew that we liked each other and could probably have a nice future together.. our first dream… first vows… first promise!

Our first promise… when he had his freshers party. More than a month into college hostel; I was getting used to meeting him just on weekends and that too sometimes we had to be content with just seeing each other and passing an understanding look as the relatives would never leave us some time for talking to each other.
My cell rang in the evening. I was sitting with Isha in her room. I saw it was ‘Adi’ and I really did not want Isha to talk to him. Fine, I knew being his sister she had the right but Adi and I hardly talked. Lectures were increasing every week and our interaction was decreasing and so I went into his room to talk to him.

Adi – “Meet me at the building basketball court in fifteen minutes. Bbye”

That is all he said and cut the phone. I couldnot understand it at all. If he was coming home why wasn’t he coming upstairs. I rushed to my home. Isha was really suspecious and kept asking.

Me – “just a friend Isha. She wants to talk.. don’t worry, everything’s alright”

But I guess Isha really didn’t take my word. I just wore my slippers and rushed down. Adi came in fifteen minutes, as he said. He didn’t carry anything. I tried asking but he shut me up. We kept roaming aimlessly for sometime and then finally when I was way too curious

Me – “What is it? Why arent you coming upstairs?”

He looked at me so innocently…

Adi – “Will you come with me tonight?”
Me – “where?”
Adi – “freshers party in f-bar.”

He had to be joking. Who the hell takes still school going people to their freshers party? And Pappa would never allow that. It had been really difficult to convince him for discs and I was no way going to ask for f-bars.. and meanwhile the thought process had just started, Isha came running and hugged Adi. Weird thing – next she hugged me.

Isha – “I always knew you two were perfect together!”
Me – “What?”
Isha – “Didn’t he propose you?”

My eyes widened and I looked at Isha then to Adi in disbelief. So did Adi.

Adi – “Who told you that?”
Isha – “oh common, Mr Romeo and Ms Juliet. Since you have gone to hostel, she is so upset and you cant help exchanging looks with her whenever you are back. So stuck up both of you are..”
Adi – “ISHA… we are friends..”
Isha – “friends don’t cry each night missing each other…”

I couldnot believe that the little Isha had grown so much so as to speak all this. I kept looking at her shocked… hearing the last line, Adi turned to me..

Adi – “you have been crying?”
Isha – “see!!”

I was here, wearing my night suit and bathroom slippers, standing in the building parking at 8 pm and discussing probably the most important thing in my life. It had to be a dream! I decided to go back to my house.

“… Nimi went back.. without a word. Isha punched me hard into the ribs seeing Nim go. She said “If today she goes, probably she wont be back. If more than a minute gone, you wont be able to stop her”. Hell Isha was right. I was here wanting to meet Nim and then Isha, out of all people, made me confess that yes there was something, and now I had just a minute to stop that special from slipping away from my life. Hell Isha had been so correct… and I ran…”
Adi wrote this about that incident in his diary. I had no idea this happened.

I turned and went to our building. I took the lift to our house on 7th floor. I didn’t know if Isha was right or rather I did not want to accept it. Adi didn’t, this is enough reason for me not to believe it either. The main concern now was, how will I see Isha again… but as always, Adi was there to resolve my worries. The lift stopped at the fourth floor. Adi stood there.. totally out of oxygen. He had ran all the way. He opened the door and entered inside. This was the first and the last time I felt a little uncomfortable with Adi. Instead of letting the lift move, he did close the door but pressed the stop button. We hung somewhere between fourth and fifth floor. He took a few minutes gaining breath.
I saw him and I am damn sure that I looked really stupid seeing him relax. Finally when he could speak, he leaned against me in the left

Adi – “There is something Nimi.. I don’t feel good with you away. Whatever it is, I want to know. It maynot work, but still I need to know what it is.. and for that I need you to be there with me.”

I still stood there staring him… my lips were open in effort that some word comes out… but they wont. Adi looked too gorgeous and perfect for my words to utter and interrupt me from admiring him. We stood there for long. It had to be long as then the phone inside the lift rang. Adi answered it.

Adi – “yes we are stuck here. Sure. Thanks.”

He turned back to me but I turned away. It was really hard to keep looking at him.

Adi – “Nim answer me…”

I turned back… Adi was on his knees.

Adi – “Marry me…”
Me – “What?”

“… and she burst out into laughter. Oh common, I hadnt been proposing girls for like always. How should I know what to say to make a girlfriend? And especially it had to be special… for Namrata atleast…”

The lift was fixed and the door soon opened to the seventh floor. Mummy and Mum were standing there, a little worried. But as soon as they saw Adi, all theirworries turned into smiles and joys. They hugged him and asked how he had been. No one seemed to notice me... none but Adi. He was answering all their questions but he eyes fixed on where I was. Everytime I tried walking out of the room, he would ask me to stay and listen or bring him something.
A minute later, as I gave him the juice he wanted, he merrily spilled it on both of us, pretending to be busy in conversation. I didnt need to show him where the washroom was, but still I did. I switched on the lights for him but before I could exit going to the kitchen to wipe myself, he locked the door.

He stood there in front of me... and we both stood there staring at each other. He then, suddenly blurted out
Adi - "I am awaiting an answer Nimi."
Me - "I have to leave."
Adi - "Answer..."
Me - "The answer is that you are crazy. I cant answer about marrying you."
Adi - "Are you kidding me? Its been five long years since we have been together. I havent had another friend like you and I know the same for you... Leave that, I dont even know a girl as well as I know you and you dont know a boy... I know you will make an awesome girlfriend and I wanted you to be so for the entire life... so I asked you to marry me."

I just stood there... Adi was the answer to all my troubles. He was flawlessly answering all my feelings. His words made sound, what I felt, so obvious. We had been mysteriously in love for long...

Adi - "Answer me crazy"

Why did I need to answer. I leaned a little closer to him and as they call, kissed him mildly on his cheeks. It was not even a second long but there was so other moment more beautiful than this one we had in our relationship. We both had our eyes closed for a long time...

"... her eyes were close.. and she looked ever so tender. For a moment she was someone so new to me.. not like the girl I had known all along.. but then I knew that we had a long way to go ahead..."

The fun times didnt end since then. Adi rushed to his hostel early in the morning as he had escaped the previous night and he had to be back before anyone woke up. In his room, the first thing he did was call me... yes I had been expecting the call. But instead of the normal 'I am back!' .. he kept asking was the last night real?
We talked on phone each night for hours. Mornings, he would sleep in his lectures and me in mine. Isha knew about the commitment. She would help me sneak out to meet him on weekdays. At weekends, when he was back, we would rarely see or talk to each other in front of everyone.. not event the amount we used to. Social networking sites, still showed us 'single' ... we had our relatives in our friend lists and we were not yet ready for the declaration.
Practically, he knew everything about me. But we wanted to know each other with a different perspective. And so we needed our time.

But as they say, God never asks you your plans. One Sunday evening, Adi was packing to leave. Dad had been out of town for some business meeting and mum had gone to the market to bring him some biscuits. Isha too was gone out with her friends. Adi asked me to come over to help him pack. It had only been six months since he went to college. I was packing while he relaxed carelessly.
He was throwing random comments... making me concious of everything... my dressing, my hair, my movements...

Me - "Firstly you dont do your job and when I am doing it, you wont let me... what do you want?"
Adi - "You"

He said it with alot of seriousness in his voice... one that made me drop the clothes I was holding. He laughed and walked to me. I started walking backwards. Often I saw this in the movies and thought how can anyone do it in real life... if the person you love is approaching you, how can you move backwards.. but now I knew that this is the way things worked. Love never defined things.. things defined themselves in a very lovely way!
I was leaning against the almirah door and no more space to move back... he still kept approaching. Yes it was 6 months into commitment but that magic was always there. We talked less and looked at each other more. I shook free of the feeling and tried moving out but he held my hand. He was holding a beautiful bracelet in his other hand. I noticed it for the first time.

Adi - "I hope there is no problem with this?"

I had refused to wear a ring when he brought one. Everyone would notice and it would be so obvious. He started placing the bangle on my wrist. None of us spoke but kept looking at each other with utmost love in our eyes. Finally when the bracelet was in my hand.. I smiled and turned to leave.. but the moment I turned, the smile turned to fear. He noticed the fear on my face and looked towards the door.
If any moment, a movie director yelled 'cut' from somewhere I wouldnot have had been surprised for the situation was typically one of those in the movies. Mum stood at the door staring at the two of us while Adi and I, stood as close as we could without merging into one and holding hands. We all stood still for a moment. Fear grew inside me like Tsunami waves. With a tear in my eyes, I broke myself from Adi and ran out as fast as I could. In the process, I didnot even realise that the bracelet had broken and all its beats spread all along the way to my home.

I entered my room without a word to anyone and locked it. In a single instant, I felt more fear than I did feel love in the past six months. I dont know what would have happened to Adi. We were so lost in each other that we didnot even hear mum enter the house or walk to Adi's room. I tried reasoning myself that me and Adi had done nothing wrong. Apart from on the confession day, the most we had done is held hands... not even hugged. Adi would at times say he wanted more but had never even done to touch me apart from my hands. But still I couldnt help feel guilty.
And in a matter of hours, Adi would be gone and then, how would I face mum. Tears wouldnot stop. And I dont know for how much time I sat like that. And then... I heard the door bell ring. With wet eyes I peeked out of the door. Mum was standing there in the hall talking to Mummy. She still looked serious. She saw me peeking out and spoke something.. Mummy turned too. I closed the door and retreated inside. Dad would be back any minute and when he gets to know... I am sure sure, he would be hell angry. Well, not to blame him... which dad wouldnt be. Even though both the families knew each other from so long yet when it would come to their daughter, it was another matter! The clock seemed to slow down. I kept staring at the wall clock. Mum was there for two big hours. I can never imagine what two people who meet like ten times a day will have to discuss for two hours unless it was definitely something serious.
Amidst all such negative thoughts, the only good thing was that dad wouldnot be home until late. He had some urgent meeting and it might take him longer than usual. The phone rang once... Mummy probably was the one to pick it up... and I know it was pappa for after 10 minutes of tele-chat, she called out to Piyush that dad would be late. It means that dad knew.
My phone constantly buzzed too. Adi called me more than twenty times and he kept sending messages but I was just too scared to even read his message. I just silently prayed that he was fine and I too would remain fine. Finally I heard mummy calling me. Her voice was serious - typically - no - nonsense type. She sounded really angry. At first I just refused to come out but then she called me again. This time, even more angrily. I went out silently.

Mummy - "What aunty tells me.. is it true?"

I didnot speak anything. Tears rolled down my eyes.

Mum - "I am real disappointed."

I looked at her. Definitely, Adi and me hadnot done right by hiding things but parents should understand that we couldt tell them so easily. Whatever it was, mum sounded disappointed and that hurt. But soon there spread a smile to her face. I didnot believe my eyes. Definitely being super upset, I was imagining things.

Mum - "I am disappointed. For every tiny thing, you can come to my house but you didnt feel like telling such a big thing to me?"

I was so certainly dreaming!

Mum - "Come here little girl or your hugs are now only reserved for someone?"

And both of them were laughing. Mum came and hugged me tight. I am never going to forget that one moment. The moment, I got my entire family. Mummy called someone and then I saw that Adi sat there all along... laughing at me. He came and hugged mummy. Didnt I say that this was the best moment of my life and so it was his...

"... she still didnt believe what she heard and witnessed but it was real. I couldnt lift my gaze of those watery eyes. She had been crying for so long that even now tears didnt stop. With her wet eyes she stared at me...."

This was the moment Mum became Mum from Aunty and Dad became dad from Uncle. Yes, now when I recall the incident, I have referred to them as Mum - Dad only but that is because I cant imagine ever to see them as anyone else... not now!
I re-read the entire entry.

"... and mum was standing there on the door. We were all standing silently, having nothing to speak. I am glad, mum didnot speak for I was scared of hearing what she would say then. And then as if thunder hit, Nimi broke apart my hold and ran away. I wanted so bad to call her but her running away didnt have any effect on mum. She stood the way she was and stared at me. The bracelet broke and all pearls shattered. If Nimi, were to relate it - our relationship and we had shattered!
Mum walked in and sat on the bed. We both silent as long as we could.

Mum - "Do you want to say something or should I?"

There were a hundred things I wanted to say. Firstly like - It wasnt Nimi's fault... and there wasnot anything about fault either way. We didnot do anything and liking each other was no offense.... But no I didnot say any of it. I stood silent and shook my head.

Mum - "Do you like her?"

I nodded.

Mum - "Does she like you?"

I stared at mum giving her one of the 'what' stares...

Mum - "Answer me..."
Me (Adi) - "Yes"
Mum - "I am surprised, I failed to see that Namrata's choice has so much fallen."

Mum started laughing saying so. I couldnot believe my eyes. Yes, undoubtedly my mum was the best in the world and she had always been a huge support but yes, for this matter, I had my doubts.
May hugged me and said "Lets get me a daughter - in - law."

At Nimi's house, aunty seemed to be really difficult at first. Mum asked me to stay with Piyush bhai, inside. I kept trying Nim's number but she wont pick up. Half of my happiness was melting away thinking of her to be upset and crying. I wanted to shout to her... to official propose her but mum had prohibited that. After long moments of wait... I was called outside. Aunty was really difficult at the starting. She remained silent - angry silent! And then uncle called. Aunty told him the entire thing and Uncle had alot to say from the other end. When the call ended, Aunty informed that Uncle would be late.
Aunty came back and sat where she did before. Before she could speak, I bent on my knees before her and said "I maynot be the best... but I know that when Nim is there with me... I know we can together be happy always and face everything. And I know she feels the same. I am not saying I am marrying her right now but I want your permission to marry her when you will know I can keep her happy for the entire life."
Aunty had some tears and mum started clapping. Even Piyush bhai had come out. I went to him and before I could speak, he hugged me and said "I always knew they would make it some day and I am glad you both did!"

It took moments before everything was finalised. Finally Nimi was called out. She was damn scared. And by the looks on her face, she had been crying the entire time... and if I know her, praying too. I so wanted to go and hug her and share my hearts happiness with my heart but it was so damn funny seeing her like that. Finally she noticed her and I could once again see her playful eyes behind those tears which still kept flowing... "

That night, I remember, we did not talk on phone. It was just some weird shyness that had gotten into us. At 12:00 am, the cell buzzed. He messaged me “Happy Birthday Love, I know the bracelet did not work out but I hope the later gift will do”

“… yes even I don’t believe it. All this happened on her birthday eve! It feels as though I wrapped myself up as present for her birthday…”

I dont know why but I was crying. Living all these moments, I was crying again. Suddenly the pain of loosing Adi surfaced. The truth that I would never hear him say these words again... I would never see him smile... I would never be able to hug him again...
All these things left me broken and shattered. I wish that time would fly back and I could be with him.. all over again.. The diary which had been my support for the past few months, to live... to survive... had suddenly become the reason of me loosing control on myself. I was sobbing really hard. Isha came running. She tried all her might but I couldnot just get myself to rise from where I sat.
Dad and mum came running too. Dad was surprised to see me crying in front of the computer. It didnot make sense... mum quickly told him about Adi's diary. Dad was really angry. He stormed to where I sat.

Dad - "Stop it"

Before I even had the chance to look at him.. his hand flew against the monitor and it fell on the ground shattered...

Me - "ADITYA...."

For a brief second me and Dad stood facing each other. His way of showing his sadness was the anger and mine were tears. The moment was too brief. He picked up the mouse and threw it away. The wire broke off. I tried to stop him but he wouldnot. He reached for the CPU but I came in his way.

Me - "Dad please... its all I got left of Adi.. its all we got left of him... Not Aditya... please"

Dad withdrew his stretched hands. He had tears too. I hugged him as he wept. Mum and Isha were too crying.
I dont get it - one person.. just one person gone and like all of us had lost the will to live. Isha too hugged Dad and cried. Finally when Dad could gather himself...

Dad - "Aditya is gone. You have to accept it Namrata. I know it is hard for you but it is hard for all of us. Look at yourself... you havent attended your college for 4 long months. Your studies are at stake. Even I hate going to office daily but I have to. If I dont, will be doing justice to all of you? I cant get Aditya back but atleast I can do something for the people with me."
Mum - "You have always been my daughter... since the first day when Isha brought you home.. remember? And it really hurts me to see you in pain. And being a mother, I am already dealing with loosing my son."
Dad - "As people say... wherever Aditya is - he wouldnot like to see you like this. He did and we all do know that you are strong enough to move on and we want you to."

That night, I wept silently. It took me four months and acknowledge that Adi was gone. it was hard but I had to deal with it.


6 months had passed. Things started getting back to normal as they could. I started going to college. Well, studies definitely help to keep my mind occupied. I definitely hated it when people would come and say sorry for my loss. Nafisa tried being as cheerful as she could. I would smile to her attempts. But there were still nights when I couldnot help the tears. Mum would often see me crying and come and sit with me silently. I went to Mummy and Pappa on weekends. They were glad to see me trying to going on. At times they even tried proposing how do I plan on further life but they knew when they couldnot get me to change my mind. I needed time... alot of time.

One evening, mum had gone to pick up Isha from her swimming classes. I was at home packing. Piyush had come home for vacations and he would soon pick me up to go to home. Dad wasnot back yet. As a result I was home alone... and the phone rang. It was one phone call, that changed everything for me. I had been told that Adi met an accident when he... but neither had I asked and nor did anyone tell me - what kind of accident. Sometimes, the police would call dad for formalities. It was from the Police Station... the person on the other side informed me that the truck driver who was driving the truck, which hit Adi's car is found. He was drinking and driving and the appropriate charges have been put against him.

Never for all these years have I felt the need of doing what I was going to do now. Ever since we had been neighbors, the two houses lived as one. I have known since long where the keys to the almirah are kept; what the almirah holds… Dad often has to travel with money and so he licensed a gun on his name. It was always kept in the drawer in the cupboard and never once sought to be used. There were numerous times when mum asked me to open the cupboard to fetch something or other but I could never get myself to do so. It was wrong to open other people’s cupboard.
But today, it was different. I took out mum’s cupboard keys and opened the cupboard. Adi always told me that his hands shook when he held that gun… mine didn’t. I took the gun and rushed outside.
I had to be too preoccupied as I didn’t hear Piyush enter the house. He saw what I was doing. He must have known all of it – for it didn’t take him longer than a moment to understand what was in my mind. He tried all his might stopping me. Ofcourse, he was elder and physically stronger but I was determined.

I don’t know when but the gun pointed to his direction. My fingers, ready on the trigger.
I shouted “You knew it… you knew it all along and never did once you felt like telling me. Never once you thought that I needed to know it. But now I do…”

I kept the gun in my purse and grabbed the keys of the car. Within moments, I was driving the car as madly as I never had, racing to the Police Station.

“… I just cant wait! Soon, she would be through with her post - graduate course and Pappa wouldnot mind us getting married. But before that the project…”

Adi was working in dad’s company ofcourse as an assistant manager. Ofcourse everyone knew him but he never took advantage of it. He did projects like all others, followed regular timings, etc. This project, he was currently handling, was his biggest one ever. He had to prepare the regional financial reports of a particular factory that was about some 200 kms. For an ordinary person, it would have had been a task for almost a month. Adi took two. He made sure he met each and every employee in the factory, heard them and then reached any conclusion.
Finally, his report was done. He and his report partner Nishant, had gone to hand over a copy of the report to the factory.

Adi had been out of town before on such things and I was used to them. Like always, before leaving, he came to meet me…

Me – “How long this time?”
Adi – “You wont even know I am gone…”

Adi leaned in closer…

Adi – “You know it matters to me.. don’t you Nimi? And I know it matters to you too…”
Me – “That’s why I am not saying anything…”
Adi – “But I hate to see you so upset… you should be used to it by now.”
Me – “Why cant you join as a manager directly? Dad wont mind. You can do the office job where you will be back home at a fixed time and no going away unnecessarily.”
Adi – “You mean the boring stuff?”
Me – “No I mean the safe stuff… stuff with what I know you will be safe…”
Adi – “Hey common… its not like someone’s gonna kidnap me…”

I placed my palm over his mouth…

Me – “Don’t say like that…”
Adi – “Then you don’t behave like this…”
Me – “I behave like this because I care…”
Adi – “Nimi… if this is how you behave right now… what are you gonna be like after our marriage?”
Me – “I wont let you step out of the house…”
Adi – “House? Or the bedroom?”

Even years after of being in a relationship… he spoke such naughty things that made me blush and these were our special moments.

Adi – “Anyways, for being back… I would better be going and I promise I will be back… real soon!”

We hugged each other and he left…
That was the last I felt him… last time I saw him… last time I heard him… and since then, he never returned.

I stormed into the Police Station. Within few minutes, I would be in front of the person who deprived me of my life… who made it difficult for me to breath.
With every breath I take… the pain increases… realizing… that am alive without him!!
All those moments of pain were to be avenged.

I sat there in the bench which the Inspector ordered the culprit to be brought. These were the true long moments of wait.
As time passed… there was the best entry of my life. From the main door, came in Piyush and mum… while the constable brought in the man.
He was thin and tall… hadnot shaven for days and he looked perfectly the kind of person who would kill people or do worse to girls. Yes I hate him.

Standing here, in middle of the Police Station… all thoughts came to life at once. This was the man who was the reason for me standing here – without Adi. Adi never let me stand in a queue at a cafĂ© and because of this person, I was standing here. Mum and Piyush remained silent, dreading what I might do.
The Inspector gave the entire confession of the culprit – “he had to deliver his goods that day but he had drunk the last night and slept. As a result he was running late for delivery. He effect of alcohol hadnot worn out and he was driving in the wrong side to avoid highway traffic. He said… he did not see Adi’s car coming and they both met a collision on the road. The car, broke into millions of pieces and so did my life…

When the Inspector ended… I found myself hitting the man with every possible thing I could. I kicked him… slapped him… punched him and threw all things my hands could find. A female constable was immediately called to stop me. Piyush and mum tried holding me back… but they couldnot… finally I thought of the gun… I took it out of my bag and aimed at the man.
For a second… everything froze.

Inspector – “Maam… we are sorry about your loss and we promise that he gets the punishment but what you are doing is wrong…”
Me – “I knew Aditya for almost all my life. And because of this person… I will never lead the life we had together planned…”

I turned to the man…

Me – “For 10 long years… do you get that? 10 years… big time… everything changes but we were together. He is my best friend… he is the person I dreamt a life with… he is the person I knew I could share everything with… he was there when I needed someone… he was the one to walk down every lane with me… and just because you don’t care… DO YOU KNOW HOW DIFFICULT IT IS FOR ME TO LIVE?”

I pointed towards mum…

Me – “Look at her… HE WAS HER SON… does it make any difference to you? HIS SISTER HAS SUDDENLY LOST ALL HER CHILDHOOD… Who will be there to protect her from everything bad in life?”

I pointed to Piyush…

Me – “That’s my brother… he comes down to visit me every second month… ADI WAS HIS FRIEND TOO! THEY PLAYED TOGETHER… I don’t know any other guy with whom my brother could be so comfortable leaving me with.”

I turned to the Inspector…

Me – “And then you say I am doing wrong? I am just 24. I got plenty of years to live through and the problem is that its hard living every second… what do you have to say about all the years… and where was I wrong? I just loved a guy and this man… he was WRONG…!”

I pointed the gun back to the man…

Me – “I have never hated anyone more than I hate you… I haven’t seen your face before today but all these months… I have hated you. Yes, I didn’t know that it was you who took my life away but all the hatred I had for God for taking my Adi away… is now on you!”

I closed my eyes… no matter what but with open eyes I would never be able to open the trigger.

As soon as I closed my eyes, Adi stood there before me. Very clear and very perfect. He took the gun from my hand gently. It was all black around us and just the two of us shone in front of each other. Never before in the nothingness, had I seen his face. It was the first time.
I fell into his arms and wept… I hugged him as hard as I could… I was not letting him go… he was there in front of me. I told him everything I wanted to.

Me – “Why did you go? I am so lost and lonely… I don’t like anything. The Sun isnot the same bright… the moon is dull… Isha and Mum miss you too much. Dad doesn’t say it but he needs his son. Mummy and Pappa miss those family dinners. Piyush hasn’t touched the basketball. I haven’t lived!”

Adi pulled me away from him so as to see me. I was crying. He wiped my tears gently and then nodded.

Adi – “I know it Nimi. I see it all and I miss all those things too! Atleast you are there with all of them… I am alone here.”

I wanted to say… to ask him to return…

Adi – “Let me speak… The Sun… the Moon… they are all the same. Me or anyone else don’t matter to them. They are far beyond these human emotions. I miss Piyush bhai too… I miss those challenges but I want him to now settle down. He is happy with his job and he is going to do great in future… Isha is very lonely. She needs you to be with her. She is so like you. She too has stopped talking to people. Even today, she sobs when you are not seeing. It hurts me seeing her hurt. She is a smart, pretty young lady and it’s not good if she ruins her life missing her brother… atleast her brother disapproves of it. Mummy – Pappa are definitely broken but I know they are brave people. With time their wounds will dry but the scars will remain. I don’t want you to not let those wounds not heal up. Seeing you miserable… they will never be able to forget me and always be in misery. Dad is all alone. I wish there was something I could do for him. I am sure Piyush bhai, at the right time will be there but yes I know nothing can really help him. For mum, she wont show it ever but she is broken as much as possible… you are still complaining, she got no one to complain to. I hate seeing her like that.”

I nodded in approval and to show understanding…

Adi – “And for you… you were my life… imagine how it is to be here all alone leaving my life so far behind? You know I love you and I know you love me. Our time together was timed! But why are you so much complaining? Arent you happy we met each other? So much happened between us?”
Me – “But there was more we planned… more we had to live together…”
Adi – “None of us is God, Nimi. He decides what happens and what doesnot. I know I will survive here with all those memories… then why cant you survive there? There … with the souverniers!”

I cried again…

Me – “I want to be with you… why cant I be here?”
Adi – “I would love to see you answer this if you were in my place… but God’s been great to not have you here. You have your entire life ahead of you. Live it to the fullest. I don’t want to be the reason for the tear in your eyes… why cant I live forever as the smile on your face?”

We sat silently staring each other…
Adi then showed the gun, he kept aside.

Adi – “As for this man… if it wasnot him… it would have had been someone else. It was destined and so it had to happen. None of us could change it. You have to learn to forgive.”

Suddenly… the darkness was fading away and so was Adi… I held onto him even more tightly…

Me – “No Adi… don’t go… Please…”
Adi – “Remember everything I told you… I know you will be fine…!”

His voice grew fainter and fainter…

I woke screaming “ADITYA”

I was standing in the Police Station. The gun lying on the floor just at my feet. I don’t know what had happened but I knew there were somethings Adi wanted me to do…
Feeling him gone… I collapsed on the floor, crying to myself.

Me – “I can’t kill you… its not enough for you – to be truthful. You must be Adi for someone… there must be your sister and mother, waiting for you. I just hope that you spend rest of your life with the regret that you took one life and destroyed many more… living with the guilt can be the only wordict I cant give you… But just do me one favour – DON’T COME IN FRONT OF ME EVER… ever…”

Mum came running to me… I was on my knees… on the floor… sobbing as hard as I knew. Mourning and groaning for my loss. Mum wept with me.
Piyush picked up the gun and then helped me up.

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Stopping Time

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