‘I don’t need those meds anymore, Kash!’ Aditya pestered, ‘I am fine! Dr. Verma knows it too.’
Kashish frowned at him, then went back to reading the recipe book. ‘I do not want to spend my life around a crazy man who may, in future too, hallucinate about non-existing events. I’d rather you take these meds and become a normal person again.’
‘Oh shut up, I am not crazy! I am fine. I have my head better working than yours.’ He threw a pillow at her from where he was sitting. They were at Kashish’s apartment, where they were supposed to have a house party with few of their common friends back from college. They were yet to come and meanwhile, Kashish was on a baking spree.
‘I am not scared of your craziness.’ She said, turning towards him. ‘I am scared of things you can imagine.’
‘If I had that powerful imagination, trust me, Stephanie Mcmahon would be the one baking cake at the kitchen counter right now and not you.’
‘You jerk.’ She threw the pillow back at him.
Just then, his cell phone buzzed with an incoming message. Just when he saw the content, his face turned pale and numb, as if not wanting to believe his own eyes.
‘Pass me the meds, Kash!’ He said, softly. ‘I am not fine after all.’
‘What happened?’ She asked as she neared him.
‘I can read some message. Ignore.’
‘Give me the phone.’ She picked it up and read through the screen, ‘I don’t think you are sick anymore. This message is for real.’
Siya had texted Aditya on WhatsApp. It was nothing but an innocent “Hi, how are you?”
It took Aditya several minutes to decide if he wanted to respond to that.
“Hi. If I may ask what made you drop this message after all these years?” He replied moments later.
“Nothing important. Just thought of dropping by.” Came a text. “I got Kashish’s text on FaceBook by the way.”
Aditya sighed. Now he could make sense of why was she contacting him after years.
“It’s nothing, ignore it.”
“I know you must be thinking that it’s her message that made me drop a text to you, but that’s not the case. I was thinking of contacting you from quite some time now.”
“Because even I think that things between us could have ended on a good note and not the way it did that fateful day at CCD.”
“Now what?” He texted and looked at Kashish who pretended to be busy battering the mixture. She was clearly worried about the consequences of this conversation.
“Now… We can begin again. We can be friends. Not as wonderful as we once were but may be just like the ones who have no obligation towards the other. We can simply exist for the other. No need to pretend that the other is gone.”
Aditya sighed and looked up to Kashish, ‘Siya says that we can begin anew and be friends again.’
Kashish felt a bitter taste in her mouth. She wasn’t sure of Siya’s intentions and she didn’t want Aditya to suffer what he already did for once. The sole purpose of her text to Siya was to end things between them nicely and not to bud their toxic friendship again. Things do backfire at times, she thought.
‘Do what suits you.’ She finally spoke. ‘Just be aware to not make yourself vulnerable to her again. I don’t trust her.’
‘She has lost the rights to my vulnerability, Kash. She doesn’t have that power anymore. Don’t worry.’
‘Okay.’ She said, and went to answer the door as the doorbell rang.
Days passed and Aditya still couldn’t be sure if he was happy. Aditya and Siya talked. It seemed okay. But they talked when she wasn’t busy. They talked when she felt the need to talk. They talked of her life, and her challenges. His part of say was either ignored by her or unacknowledged. It was again all about her. It didn’t take him much time to understand that things were still the same. Sometimes, you wish for things to change. Change for good. But it doesn’t happen always for the leaves of a tree can evolve anew but the root remains the same.
Siya’s self-pity and self-absorption were her roots. He knew it now. Though he was unaffected by Siya as a whole for she no more mattered to him, he was still in a daze if he should be continuing their so called friendship. He needed a strong and clear thought behind it which he got that evening as he strolled along the coast of Aksa Beach with Kashish.
It was Friday evening and Kashish insisted on unwinding herself of the week long tiredness at the beach. They walked by the shore, barefoot, feeling the softness beneath their feet.
‘Are you still unsure if you would want to continue your so called friendship with Siya?’ Kashish asked.
‘Yes, I am.’ Aditya sighed and turned his face towards the sea, ‘It’s sad how we enslave ourselves to people who don’t enhance but harm us.’
Kashish smiled and wrapped her arms around his.
After walking few steps, she said, ‘These waves feel so heavenly when they touch our tired feets and wash all the stress away.’
‘They sure do.’
‘But what do we do if it is high tide and the waves are vigorous and dangerous?’ She asked, ‘Do we still be calm and let the waves chase and get to us, or we step back to save ourselves from their thunderous impact?’
‘We step back.’ Aditya said, realizing very well where this conversation was now headed.
‘Exactly. We step back when we realize that we are at harm if we still be close to the violent waves.’ She clutched his hand tighter, ‘Some relationships in our life are exactly like waves during the high tide. They have lost the ability to make us feel calm, safe, and serene. Instead, their vigorous nature always keeps us feeling stressed and threatened. No one knows when those waves would engulf us leaving us out of breath. And it is wise if we step away from such relationships in order to protect our mental and emotional wellbeing.’
‘You have spent good three years with Siya and you have had your share of happy moments.’ Said Kashish, now walking closer to the waves. ‘But you have also had moments of sorrow and distress and agony because of that relationship. Nothing in that relationship now remains to be amended. It has turned toxic. It’s time to step away from it.’
‘But I feel a weird obligation towards that relationship.’ Aditya said.
‘Someone once taught me that I should always protect myself from any mental and emotional harm, let alone physical. And that I am not obligated to anyone or anything if it harms my insides.’ She said, ‘Oh Wait! That someone was you.’
Aditya smiled and nodded. ‘I get it. Thank you for reminding me of myself.’
Just when he said that, a thought triggered in him. Thank you for reminding me of myself, he remembered saying the exact words to someone else as well.
‘Isn’t that the quote you showered Kaya with?’ Kashish said, with indifference.
‘It is. But you did the same to me today and much more. Thank you.’
She nodded, ‘So what did we learn today?’
‘That it is okay to step away from certain relationships which are toxic to our health.’
‘Yes. And also be ready to be left by someone if you are a harm to them. Works both ways. Right?’
‘It does.’ He smiled, placing his hands on his hips. ‘So when are you leaving me?’
‘Just when you begin to harm me.’ She spoke softly, coming closer to him now. ‘Tell me, when will you begin?’
‘That would be never.’ He placed his forehead on hers.
She smiled slyly, ‘I know.’
‘You have held me in my darkest of times.’ He whispered, ‘I can never thank you enough for healing my wreckage.’
‘How did I heal your wreckage?’
‘By staying by my side all this while. Nobody ever stayed with me this long. I had begun to wonder if I had a shortcoming in me which made people go away.’ He said, ‘But just then, you happened. I found myself in our friendship. Thank you.’
She nodded and pulled away, looking uneasy. ‘But I thought it was Kaya – your magic – who healed you of your past hurt. She was the one you claimed to have lived your each breath with. Don’t tell me things you told and felt for her, okay?’
He looked at her surprised, ‘You think I don’t mean things I am telling you?’
‘Maybe… Maybe you are just emotional and feeling what you felt for Kaya.’ She felt a lump in her throat, ‘But your words matter to me. You know what, I think I should leave.’
‘Wait. Why are you reacting this way?’ He held her hand, ‘Just know, you are my biggest magic, Kashish.’
She turned on her feet and jerked her hand off. In no time, she was out of sight. Aditya stood by shore pondering over his words, surprised and astonished at the Kashish’s reaction. He couldn’t comprehend what went wrong. Not just yet…
“We are bound with several relationships by choice. At times, as the course of the relationship changes and as people evolve, irreconcilable differences begin to dig into them. It is then the choice becomes an obligation, yielding nothing but the feeling of being caged. It is then the time to step back and save ourselves from waves of the tormenting relationship that comes crashing down on us. Yes, no matter how heartless it may seem, it is okay to leave people and to be left as well. After all, nobody deserves to carry a baggage through this entire journey of life.”