GHOSTS OF PAST: A SHORT STORY!!!
“I don’t know for what I am writing this letter as it has no significance now because we are apart, I know it will be very difficult for you…………
Take good care of yourself, I will always pray for you, I love you!!”
ARVIND SHRIVASTAV, a group leader in HCL, read these lines as he found a letter in his notebook he had carelessly left in college canteen!!
Fumbling through my notebook I threw it on my bed and read it again, no tears, stunned silence!! I could clearly hear fan rotating above my head and all the midday noise appeared to have disappeared, there was no song in my head, no emotion in my heart, I was perfectly numb!! I love those moments and wish I could re-live a fraction of that time piece once again!!
What next?? Depression was the easily available remedy those days costing little less than rat poison and tasting better than that as well, I took it I guess more than the recommended dosage of a week and extended it to three bloody months!! No offense to the poison making companies barring cyanide ones of course, ”YOU BETTER CHANGE YOUR MANUFACTURING PLANTS TO DARK AND DEATH MUSIC BANDS”.
The immediate thing I was able to do after going through the beautifully composed letter was to ease up my stiffening arms and legs, somewhere I feared mom and wanted to be physically good because I had heard about people freezing in their positions at times and I never wanted to be a frozen piece, so I let go pretending nothing happened and got my share of meals out in plate, the spoon just did not move, I kept it aside and started out like I would do when I was 1st grader, and now my food canal did not cooperate, to be really honest my stomach wanted all of that yummy meal but sorry buddy inlet is in a kind of emotional problem caused by Mr. administrator sitting right in my head.
“I will never see your face again, and if I ever happen to see you again, I will kill myself then and there”
She shouted at me in my class in front of almost 75 students, rather 75 engineers who all opined me and SIMONE REYL to be really close friends. Ah we all know what close friends means in an engineering college, don’t we?
“You were my worst nightmare SIMONE”, I shouted back at her as she was leaving the class not expecting to hear anything from me.
‘WORST NIGHTMARE’… it is absurd no? The very word nightmare is perfectly negatively superlative no?
I noted a good thing about human behavior that day, “we mostly use superlatives when we fight”.
She was absent next day, and for next two days as well. Mr.ARVIND, that is the way people address me here, starts to feel uneasy for it was just a fight and she would call me after every fight and we would discuss which words were too much, where she should have shut up and where my blowing up was totally unnecessary, and I don’t know why but she always wanted to know how all my friends felt about it, especially the female folk, for she could make a rough sketch of everyone’s character in her mind and burst it out when needed, so I decided to see her at her place on day four of her absence after the college!!
“ARVIND, ARVIND SRIVASTAV from her college… her class… her best friend, I kept on adding to my so called gate entering resume”
Gatekeeper was not that impressed with my CV and replied back,
“sorry we can’t allow you in, now disappear”, as he said this, he followed it up with a blow on the gate with his stick to scare me and believe me unlike all bollywood stuff I was scared and ran for the fear of the dog that they had left unchained, ready to go at anything, boy’s meat for lunch was a treat in flesh dearth villa of SIMONE.
“This can’t happen with you, you will have to think of something bright”
All these ideas and thoughts kick our mind when AAA’S get activated and believe me if someone asks me to appear in the toughest exam of india, I would crack it, given that my SUPER state lasts for more than five minutes.
I tried every idea in my head ranging from climbing 7ft wall to daring it out with those keepers of the princess’s gates, but as they say where there is will there is a way and there was no will there, I just wanted to know reason of her absence and missed her a bit. I turned back and walked up to gatekeeper and
“chaacha ji, is SIMONE home?”
Relationships are valued more than life here in india and this is what made me use ‘chacha’, I never meant it for him that day but today I do. The very use of the word melted the lock on the door and I was in…
I could have made you my legal heir of property uncle if you did it the first time I was here.
“Hurry up son, saab will be here soon”, he answered me assuring me that son-chacha relation is really acknowledged by him as well.
SIMONE SIMONE SIMONE, SIM… I called her name as I entered the palace of princess!!
I sometimes prided myself for being the sole owner of this property if uncle REYL agrees to give her daughter’s hand in mine!!
“ARVIND beta, ah” the voice was no doubt feminine, but it was not princess but queen herself!!
I quickly got up from deep sofa set and bowed to touch her feet, and recovered my posture and asked my very first question:
Still looking somewhere upstairs for SIMONE to follow I asked aunty,
“Where is SIMONE?”
“She had to go, sit down I will tell you everything” she sat down with a fashion magazine in her hand.
I sat down not because she told me to but it was kind of involuntary, kind of fall, kind of ahhh state.
And before I could open my lips to ask when’s, where’s and how’s, aunty started.
“Well beta since you know her grades were dropping here with every semester and besides engineering was never her passion, RYLE just forced it on her( why do women always complain about their husbands in their absence), so now to make things easy for her we”
She stopped as she got up to open the door and left me wandering if SIMONE had committed a suicide or something, how can all the ceremonies end in just three days? This logic kept me pre-occupied till she came back to conversation.
“Yes aunty and what did you do”, I asked as if really running out of time, actually I was too eager to know and just ended up messing things up.
“So RYLE sent her to fashion school, to learn fashion designing in IIFT, all her friends are there and besides the hostels are really comfortable, they are even better than this villa……..bla bla….”.
I could not hear anything after it, I mean I did not pay attention to anything she said after this!!
“She must have told you atleast, wait here I will get coffee for you” she smiled and walked towards kitchen slowly expecting to hear my answer faster than her footsteps.
“Yeah!!” I responded quickly.
IIFT what the bloody hell, new friends, dropping grades!! I was too confused and wanted to do all the self talking in my own room, where nothing makes fun of me and understands me like no one else, I left without coffee and without any further torture.
As I walked outside in the hot baking sun I thought about every word she spoke to me in recent days to know if she ever hinted on what was coming and yes, “I will never see your face” came in my mind as it was the last fight we had together, come on she did not mean it, she said so in her every fight, all the moments spent with her were going in my head and believe me for the first time in my four years of engineering I was thinking about only one thing, there was nothing else going in my head!! I wish I could have done the same on my sessionals and semester examination nights.
All the shopping trips, marriage parties we attended together, college festivals we were part of, lectures we had bunked together, fights we had and fun we had and time that was, it was all in the form of a cloud in front of my eyes just moving away. I had walked good 3kms and was fully drenched in my own sweat and tears, I don’t know I dropped any or that was just sweat but I was really heavy, I mean she could have atleast told me to accompany her to the railway station!!
The night was tough to live, there was no sleep, obviously I loved her, I never said it neither did she, I wanted to talk to her about it in some months after getting in this damned computer company. I noted another important human behavioral activity, “men do cry”!!
I lived through the night somehow checking on my cellphone more than 5 times in every ten minutes, I know the frequency is low as compared to the present day people but that was it, I was married to engineering and after all that had happened in day I had the love and care of a SEMINAR REPORT. Poor paper sheets, most of them got spoiled by tears rather than the wrong bits and bytes!!!
***3 MONTHS LATER***
No phone calls, no mention of her name in college, even teachers did not mention her roll no now, it was more than death of hers for me!!!
Human behavior tells us to move on but there is a bigger thing to it that actually happens, we do not move, I mean it is all the same we never learn, if we did we did we would change for better, it is battle within!!!
There was no love story that had just ended in fact she moved out when it looked like it will be a relationship!
I wondered at the amazing features of our relationship all these months and would scream out at night,
“shut up!! We had a relationship going in better than any fucking hyped pairs in college”
There was everything in our relationship,unconditional love, trust, sharing, no complaints and I never heard any question from her side, neither did I question her although I wanted to, at many times, I mean there was everything just not SIMONE!!!
I finished up working on my final year project report and decided to meet up uncle RYLE next day and yeah I was in the final year and I wanted her to know that I will be coming for you soon.
Another important feature of human behavior, “we can cover up almost five times more than what we do ordinarily when we are depressed or in a semi depressed state, just need to have good friends and awesome depressing music”
I was surprised to see just chachu at SIMONE’S gate where I could see almost an army of guards when she was there, ha ha, she was the only precious thing there and now she was not there so were the guards.
Chachu valued our relationship and let me in, I don’t know about the confidence I had when was walking up to the marbelled hall where uncle was sitting going thru the newspaper.
“Come on in beta, just have a seat” uncle was sounding really good after she had left.
I adjusted myself to fit in a deep chair and stayed upright to show respect.
“How are your studies going?” he asked.
“great sir”, I don’t know why I tend to use sir when I am nervous but I guess it helps sometimes.
“uncle where is SIMONE exactly, I mean she did not contact anyone in college, neither she called me after that?” I quickly asked before uncle would engulf me with my project related questions. I mean we bloody engineers remain same, it was almost 2 decades of his luxorious life and he still talked about his projects, I would spit on engineering if not for the holy bond and commitment I made to it when I learnt basics in 1st semester.
“well she is out on an exchange program and she is in Austria in some welfare delmonte college, I am surprised she did not call you, I was out when she took this decision to leave engineering in 4th year, your aunt told me she had even thrown a party here only where you are sitting and she was telling everyone including your principal attended it”. He turned to sham kaka and told him to get the laptop and drink for me, sham kaka was fastest servant I had seen,in five min I saw my college friends and non friends and teachers and almost everyone in the pics, BUT NOT ME.
“Oh! Me, I was out of town sir, I missed the mega event”, I replied with a smile…)
Time has an old problem with everyone and if you are going through a sad phase, it will hurt you more, the clock ticked slowly. I started to live, rather started to fake away life!!!!!!!
There is this amazing thing that will give you a cloak to wear, a cloak you can put when you go out with the rise of sun and wear it down at twilight to burst your heads off with depression and work. WORK WORK WORK there was nothing on my mind and I was not innovating not learning not even engineering, I was just keeping myself busy. I travelled to almost all of northern india with just a bag and some money as company. I was learning, I was getting friends with people who were new, who were different and who will never ever be able to touch the strings which play bad music of my life, rather the most beautiful music of my life!! The best thing about humans is that they can see pain in others and so did some of my friends and helped me overcome them, fight with them, although I always faked my pain story to one and all. I learned to live with this new identity of mine.
The easiest thing to do is to act, I learnt to act and believe me acting for your own self is really tough, you always have to think how a happy ARVIND would do it. I mastered the art, the art of lying, the art of faking, I did for happiness, not my own but for my small clan, my friends and people who believed they love me.
She did not deserve all that I wasted for her, I would think like this sometimes and then get busy in my hectic busy and fake world.
Hey I did not even notice it, I finished my engineering in all these talks and fake living and fortunately got job in a reputed company.
Ha ha hectic life schedule hardly gave me any time to think beyond bits and bytes, but there are somethings that never change, tsunami occurred and I do not find any wave standing tall as testimony to it, earthquakes rocked us, but I feel no inch of ground trembling now, world wars are gone and I find no bullets no smoke in air, this doesn’t mean things have changed, I mean would you feel the ‘change’ if you were in the middle of any of this!!! Something’s are never meant to change for some people, and the ghosts of past always haunt us no matter how far we run away, how deep we burry ourselves with fake happiness or awesome depression, these ghosts will find their way up to your room and will shake you up once again!!!!
“INDIA has the largest postal network system”, postman chachu told me as he delivered a letter this afternoon when I was going through some network review of my company in my villa. The letter looked quite different from what I was used to get usually from my company or clients. I was excited but there was no person in my mind, I thought it to be a letter from my grandfather who believed telephone was biggest curse that satan gave to mankind. I opened the letter and started reading it…..
“I don’t know for what I am writing this letter as it has no significance now because we are apart since last 2yrs, I know it will be very difficult for you to even recollect who I am, you used to call me SIM and you are my ARVI. We were the best friends in college, we were the happiest couple in and out of campus, yes ARVI we were a couple, I never thought I needed to go through that formal, down on knees “I LOVE YOU” way and neither did you. I am working in film industry, that was my dream you know it no?
How is your love with engineering going? I tried to access you from every possible source but you seemed to have narrowed down your life to yourself only hmm, so here I am addressing the man himself. I hope everything is really fine your side, well I know I owe you many explanations, many answers and many queries and many fights, long talks and everything, and you know what shoe shopping here in Mumbai is just terrible, they just don’t allow any bargaining, and chaat wala’s they are so ill mannered, and theatres are really clean and there is no torchman .:).
I don’t know you will get this letter or not and like you I am not a great fan of writing and reading things written by other people, but here I am writing and you reading on the other end, you are there no?……………….
A tear rolled down my eyes and I came in to my room to finish it up…
I can still see you carrying those books and flirting with me in every possible way and ARVI I missed your one liners, they were superb, I remember all of them, and that one about the holding the chat thread was the best one, Mumbai guys are really not good at flirting, and hey ARVI, I did good for a change, I finished up with 7 point GPA.
I OWE YOU MORE THAN SORRY I KNOW AND YOU WONT FORGIVE ME I KNOW IT, WELL YOU WILL HAVE TO FORGIVE ME THIS TIME ATLEAST ARVI, BECAUSE THIS IS MY LAST MESSAGE TO YOU AND TO ALL.
My dad fixed my marriage with RYAN, you remember, the one who used to top the class, we both have a history of recorded fights with this fellow no? Look ARVI not all love stories have I love you in them and not all end up with you and me on one side!! I know you were a brave boy and you should have moved on in life, hey how about RIENA JAISWAL, she proposed to you no?
Look ARVI I know I have disturbed your life like anything and I don’t seek forgiveness, I just want you to live your LIFE.
PLEASE DO NOT MAKE ANY MENTION ABOUT THIS LETTER AND DO NOT ATTEND MY LAST CEREMONIES!!!
I WILL WAIT FOR YOU IN HEAVEN AND I WANT TO WAIT A THOUSAND YEARS!!!
DON’T CRY ARVI!!
I LOVE YOU.
YOURS TILL ETERNITY
THIS IS A SMALL CHAPTER OF MY UPCOMING BOOK!!!
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