Her mind decided to click send but her fingers refused to listen.
And then she deleted the text.
What will happen? How will he react? What will this become?
Try as she might, her mind could not contain the questions. She kept thinking of all the possibilities that could be when he reads her text. Most probable of all those scenarios seemed to be that he will choose to ignore it, after everything they had been through. After all, how long had it been? Nine years? Of course. What was she thinking of anyway?
She convinced her inner voice, “no good is going to come out of it”. They had vowed never to speak to each other again, never to see each other’s face again. And if nothing else, they had kept those vows. Kabir had been meticulous in his attempts to avoid any chance encounters which would lead to awkward situations with Gauri. All their mutual friends were given curt instructions that Kabir and Gauri should never be tricked into accidently bumping into each other. No planned blind dates to be fixed by mutual friends, no surprises to the estranged couple. Thankfully their friends were supportive in these matters. They planned their events accordingly. Though at times it was tough to manage; in such cases both Kabir and Gauri were informed that the other was invited. In such cases, they would both take a rain check. Eventually as time passed, their roads diverged, life took such twists and turns that neither looked back. The seasons changed, years rolled by, people moved in and moved out and like autumn leaves, the story of Kabir and Gauri withered away…
Nothing really mattered of Kabir and Gauri to anyone anymore. Not even to Kabir and Gauri. Time as it was back then had changed and nothing, nothing at all had remained.
Wearily, Gauri sipped her morning coffee. The night was long and sleep was a distant dream. She had remained awake, tossing and turning in bed, yearning to fall asleep. But her mind was somewhere else. Her heart was heavy and a heavy heart doesn’t beckon sleep. It beckons a shoulder. But Gauri had only her shoulders for now.
She finished her morning coffee like a chore and got done with it. Her phone was alight with messages from her sister and parents, which she had not bothered to check for the past week. She knew what they would contain: pity and sympathy. And pity and sympathy was the last thing Gauri wanted from anyone. Now is not the day, Gauri thought to herself. She could only deal with so much, and she chose not to deal with the mindless scraps of condolence thrown her way. She kept her phone aside and exhaled a sigh.
It had been two weeks since Gauri’s engagement with Rahul broke and Gauri had not taken a day off from her work. She knew her future had been turned upside down and although she didn’t know what to expect anymore from her days, she kept going. What else could she have done anyway? It was her parents’ decision to choose Rahul for her and after two years of saying yes; Rahul had broken the engagement. She was heart-broken, but more than her, her parents were devastated. She could not stop and grieve while her parents did the same. Somebody had to be strong and Gauri took charge. She didn’t shed a single tear over the phone, nor did she let her parents feel she was shattered. She continued to follow her routine as if nothing really happened.
“Gauri I can’t marry you.” Rahul had said after an hour of silence.
Sitting in that dim-lit café, Gauri couldn’t really comprehend why all of a sudden Rahul said something like this.
“…sorry is not even enough to express what I feel right now. I’ve wronged you Gauri in a way I can never atone.” said Rahul in a shaky voice.
Gauri stood there not moving an inch, not knowing how to react. After two years of their engagement, three months from their wedding, here he was speaking these words.
“I met Sneha while I was on this business trip to Singapore. Things happened between us, it all happened so fast…”
Gauri watched him speak those words, those words now coming out so hesitantly from him.
“I think I have found the love of my life in Sneha, Gauri. I thought about it a lot. I know our parents had arranged our marriage and all the preparations have been made. I’m sorry Gauri, but I can’t do this now…”
Gauri looked into his eyes, those remorseful eyes. He really was sorry and ashamed. She didn’t know what to say to make amends, but she just said, “Thank you Rahul, thank you for your honesty” and walked out.
That evening Gauri didn’t know how to react to what just happened. She felt rejected, on a level she had never felt before. Where did she go wrong? What was her fault in this? Nothing, nothing at all…
She felt as if her destiny had shamelessly snatched the future she had started dreaming of. It was over for her and she didn’t have a say in it. She felt helpless, she felt angry, she felt…lonely.
She told herself that she will not punish herself for this. She was not at fault here and she was not going to sit and shed tears over this. That evening, Gauri slept over it. The next morning, she woke up to her normal routine and continued with her life, naïve enough to believe she could do so…
…until last night…when those traitor tears got the better of her.
The sound of hot water pouring from the tap filled the otherwise quite house. Gauri dipped her index finger into the water to check the temperature. It was comfortably hot. She went over to her bedroom, took her phone and typed:
“Dear John, Today is one of those rare days when you won’t have the luxury of my company. I’m taking an off.”
She sent the message and headed to the bathroom. In a practiced motion, she slipped out of her clothes and slipped into the hot bath. She stayed in the water for a good long time before finally loosing it.
“Happy Thirtieth Birthday to me”, she yelled out loud and burst into a fresh bout of tears.
(to be continued)
Editing Credits: Avinash Pai
In the meanwhile, read:
Subscribe for Banjara updates on future posts: