Awaiting Life

The Saddest Part of Life is We are Still Alive

The Girl Next Door

    “By the way, where did you first see her?” Ravi asked Aasish as they sat talking on his terrace.
     “What?…I thought I….”, Aasish looked surprised at the question.
     “Yes, yes. You have told me that. I mean…I mean when. When did you first see her? You see, we both have come, yesterday, together from our hostel and you did not tell this then. Now you are….” His voice trailed away.
      “Oh! Yes, I did not tell you of her yesterday. But that was because I…I did not see her by then.”
      “But...”
     “Yes. Yes, I saw her only yesterday. But I seem to have known her all my life…she….she is my dream girl.” His eyes took on a faraway look.
      “Love at first sight, eh?”
      “Yes,…I think you can call it that.”


      Neither of them spoke for some time and then Ravi asked, “You mean, you first saw her only yesterday... standing by the main gate of her house?”
         “Yes.”
         “And…and you fell in love with her,---JUST LIKE THAT?”
         “Yes, just like that!”
          “Oh!!”

     There was a longer pause this time, and then Aasish said in a low voice---almost inaudible, “She is beautiful…very beautiful, in fact you can not express it in words. She is…she is like an angel, like a…like a…”, he stopped as if uncertain of himself and continued in an even lower tone, “She is beyond comparison.”
         “Well!…if you love her so much, why do not you go and tell her…. I mean you go and tell her, what you felt on looking at her and all that. After all, at the worst she could only refuse you.”
          “That thought!…that THOUGHT is what I can not even bear…due to that fear, I can’t even dare myself to ask her,---to express my love for her, my adoration, my…”
        “Hey! Be a MAN! Go and tell her. She can’t refuse you. I know. …after all, I have fallen in love quite a few times myself. Anyhow, if you do not tell her, how will she get to know your feelings for her. You see what I mean, don’t you?”
         “Yes.”
        “Now I will go away as it is getting pretty dark, and …and when I am here tomorrow I want to hear from you the result of your….your EXAM.” He smiled and continued, “If you don’t tell her tomorrow, I will come and pester you daily, till you tell her.”

        He rose from the parapet, on which he had been sitting until then, and started to walk towards the staircase.

        “Good Night!” Aasish called after him.
       “Bye!...And remember what I told you. On second thoughts, I don't think I will pester you to tell her, but actually propose myself.” 

        Ravi ducked, and the stone that Ashish threw at him, sailed past harmlessly.  He  walked away into the  night, chuckling.

 

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             “I love you!”
             “But…but I don’t even know you.”
             “True. But I too did not see you before last week.”
             “WHAT???”
              “Yes, I saw you only in the previous week and… and I fell in love with you.”
              “It’s…it’s madness!!”
              “No, it is loVE!”
              “You are mad, you are…”

             The doorbell rang and Aasish snapped out of his reverie. He opened the door and found Ravi waiting.

             “I am sorry”, said Ravi, even before Aasish could say anything.
             “What…WHY?”
             “Don’t you know?”, Ravi asked in an unbelieving tone.
              “Know? What ?”
              “Know what? eh!… Know that they are packing.”
              “Who are packing?” he asked, and he was scarcely able to contain the irritation creeping into his voice.
         “They…your bel…” He stopped short as he saw Aasish’s mother looking at them perplexedly, and continued in a whisper, "Your love---your BELOVED.”
             “WHAT?!!” Aasish ran out of the house. Ravi glanced at Aasish’s mother before following him and saw her regarding him with ill-concealed disgust. He swallowed hard and walked out of the room.    
 

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                “If only I had told her.”
               “It was not your fault; there was simply not enough time for that.” Ravi looked up at Aasish and added, “In fact, you had only one week to tell her….there simply was not enough trime.”
               Ravi looked around at the terrasce as neither of them spoke for some time.
               “If only I had told her, when you told me to…”
               “FORGET her, mate!… No good will come out of thinking about her all the time.”
               “I can never FORGET her, nor FORGIVE myself…..if only I had more time…..”
          “Hey! Cut the melodrama!..Sorry, I dont mean to be rude, or hurt you wantonly. But..but don't keep revelling in your misery.” Ravi could not keep the irritation out of his voice. However, he noticed the hurt in Aasish's eyes, and felt guilty. He walked away, wondering if Aasish would ever get over this..'this shit' as he termed it.

 

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           As  Ravi rang the doorbell, he thought of Aasish. It had not escaped his notice that it is now over a month, since they had packed and left. But 'he still can’t forget her', Ravi thought. He remembered how Aasish had looked, when he visited him yesterday----his body grown thin, hair and clothes unkempt, dark circles under his eyes, due to lack of sleep, and that look…
            The door opened, and Ravi looked into the care worn face of Aasish’s mother.
            “Oh! It’s you.”
            “Good morning, aunt! Where is Aasish?”
            “Aasish had gone onto the terrace, and listen…” she said as he turned.
         “Please tell him that whatever it is that he is bothered about…it is not worth it.” She added with a smile, “You see, you can’t decieve me.”
           “Yes, aunt.”                   

          Ravi ran up the staircase wondering how to tackle Aasish. He found him sitting on the parapet, staring at the house in which she had lived. He came closer and observed that there was a dreamy look in Aasish’s eyes.

             “Aasish…”
              Aasish looked up and saw Ravi. A smile broke out on his face.
             “I saw her!”
             “WHAT?”
              “Yes, I saw my dream girl….. they have just gone into that house”, he said, pointing towards the house.
              “Really?”
              “Yes, and I don’t know how to express my feelings about her. She is… she is beyond comparison.”

            Ravi was shocked, as he felt that Aasish is now delirious. He had not realized that Aasish was madly in love. He nerved himself to look at the house expecting to see nothing.

            Ravi came to the edge and looked down at the house. He saw a young girl, but she was turned away from him. As he looked at her, she turned, and he stared into the face of a girl he had never seen before. "You see her, don't you?" chirped in Aasish happily. "This is my Dream Girl. You were right. The other one was just an infatuation."