With the month of March, spring was here. The sun was subtle, the wind was soft, and nature was in its best of the moods. The season of Aditya’s life too was gradually blooming like that first bud of the oncoming spring. The cynicism in his default thoughts was slowly fading away. He was on his way to be a happy and optimistic person, a person who looks at the brighter side of life first than the otherwise.
Siya and Kaya’s chapter came to a conclusive end, sorting the story of his life a lot more than he had ever imagined. Things finally began falling in place. They eventually had to.
It was Friday evening when Kashish knocked at the door of Aditya’s apartment. He opened the door, looking drained and sweaty, still dressed in his formals.
‘You crazy, you didn’t freshen up yet?’ She said, getting in.
‘I came home just five minutes back. And I am tired!’ He frowned, ‘Thanks for asking.’
‘I am not buying that excuse. Get ready, we need to leave.’
‘Can’t we skip it today? I am really tired, mentally. What should I tell him?’
‘Get ready, Aditya. You got fifteen minutes’ She sat on the couch, and picked the magazine from the table beside.
‘You won’t let me rest in peace, right?’
Groggily he walked up to his bedroom, took a quick shower, got dressed in his casual jeans and shirt and within ten minutes, he was back to the living room.
‘Let’s go, bitch.’
Kashish smiled at him as she rose up the couch and twined her arms with his, ‘That’s like a good boy.’
They took a cab and dodging the clustering traffic of the weekend, they reached the clinic.
It was two months ago when Aditya realized something was wrong with him. One night as he lay on his bed, half asleep, with his thoughts drawing in, he received a call. His heart skipped a beat on seeing the name that flashed on his cell phone screen. Siya, it read.
Not thinking further, he received the call. The next thing he remembers is, how sorry Siya was for whatever she did to him. She begged for his forgiveness. More to it, she was kind and apologetic. Aditya at first didn’t know how to respond but some moments later when the words he heard on the call sunk in, he realised he needs to let go of the grudges he had held inside and be a free man. Free of his own chains. He forgave her and since then they began talking occasionally. When he told the same to Kashish, she was happy and glad that one chapter of Aditya’s life had finally come to a happy end.
A few days later, Aditya received Kaya’s text saying that she misses him and that they could still be friends. That wasn’t the first message she had sent ever since they parted ways. There had been many. Sure she was missing the friend in him if not the lover. Though Kashish had always told him to be easy to himself and to talk to Kaya, he never listened to her. He was holding himself back. But that evening as he read the message again, he contemplated over it and responded to the same. Thereafter, Aditya and Kaya began talking too. His life seemed to fall in place with the incomplete parts now completing themselves.
Kashish was happy for whatever was happening in Aditya’s life. He was happy too. Just to rewind themselves from the hectic long week, they decided to catch up at Kashish’s place for lunch on Sunday afternoon. While they were having lunch, Aditya’s phone rang for a call. He instantly picked up the call while Kashish stared at him in confusion. It was Siya.
‘Hey Siya, I am at Kashish’s place having lunch. Let me call you back later, okay?’ He said, spooning the rice.
‘Yeah, alright. Bye.’ He disconnected and turned to look at Kashish who was staring at him blank faced.
‘What?’ He asked, ‘Why are you looking at me like that?’
‘What did you just do?’
‘I was on a call, maybe?’
‘Your phone didn’t even ring Aditya! I saw it, there was no call coming.’
‘Are you crazy? Take, check the call history yourself.’ He forwarded his phone to her. She checked. He hadn’t received any phone call in last few hours.
‘There’s no call history Aditya.’ She said, now worried. ‘You’re kidding me, right?’
‘Why would I do that?’ He frowned, ‘Call Siya and know for yourself if she called me.’
She obliged and swept through the contact list on his phone. When she came across the name Siya, she tapped on the screen to make the call.
Her worry turned intense when she heard the recorded message from the other end, ‘The number you’re trying to call does not exist. Please check the number you have dialled.’
She hurriedly checked the number and when the clear picture dawned on her, she heaved a deep sigh.
‘It says the number does not exist. This is Kolkata’s number, which she was using four years back while in college.’ She looked at Aditya in the eye, ‘As far as her Facebook posts are to be believed, she in the UK right now. No way she could have called you from this number.’
‘What the hell? How am I talking to her all these days then?’ Aditya was beyond terrified.
‘If you’re not kidding, then I suppose we need to see a doctor.’ She said, softly. ‘Can you show me Kaya’s messages?’
Reaching the clinic, they took a seat opposite to the well groomed middle aged man who sat across the mahogany table with a welcoming smile. The name plate on the table said – Dr. Mehul Verma – Psychiatrist.
‘Good evening.’ Dr. Verma said, ‘How are you both doing?’
‘Very well, thank you.’ Kashish smiled at him.
‘So Aditya, tell me.’ He turned to look towards him. ‘Have you had any hallucinations about Siya or Kaya past two weeks?’
Aditya drew a deep breath, ‘A week back I just got a call from Siya. I mean, I thought I got a call from her. I reminded myself that it was my imagination and controlled my senses. And to be sure, I showed call history to Kashish. There was no call that I had received from her. Obviously.’
‘Hmm. Good.’ Dr. Verma said, ‘You’re improving.’
Aditya nodded as their session began.
From what Dr. Verma explained about Aditya’s condition, it was understood that he didn’t suffer from any severe clinical disease. It was only the stress building inside him since years that had led his subconscious to believe that the incomplete pieces of his life were now complete and that things were falling into place – which in real – weren’t. Dr. Verma assured that with proper medications and therapy sessions, the root to Aditya’s hallucinations would be gone.
For now, he was holding up pretty well.
After they left the clinic, they decided on having dinner at Jassi’s. A small but lively Punjabi restaurant near Aditya’s apartment.
They talked, laughed, and teased as they ate. Their eyes twinkled every time they laughed together. Their fondness for each other evident every time one would say something to the other and the other would smile like there’s nothing more beautiful in the world than the moment they were living right then. Maybe their togetherness was something they had always been seeking for, silently.
Once they were done with the dinner, Kashish straightened herself while wiping her hands with the napkin.
‘Does Rahil still bother you?’ Aditya asked, dipping his fingers in the hot water bowl.
‘Not really. He hardly gets any platform to showcase his I-am-a-poor-guy drama. He sent me some messages on Facebook, though. I ignored it and didn’t bother replying.’
‘That’s good. Would you mind if I see the messages? Just for the sake of confirming if he is not psycho enough and that you are safe working around him.’ He shrugged his shoulders, ‘Also for the sake of entertainment.’
‘Why would I. The app is on, you can check.’ She smiled and forwarded her cell phone towards him, ‘I’ll just be back from the washroom.’
‘Okay.’ He said as he opened the Facebook app on her cell phone.
He scrolled through the Rahil’s messages and wondered how creepy men… sorry, boys… can be at times. Just when he tapped on the back button to roll out of his message, his eyes caught something that startled him – a conversation with Siya Sharma. He opened the conversation only to see a message sent to Siya by Kashish.
Kashish had at first introduced herself to Siya. Just in case the known faces of college faded for Siya. She then went on to say how deep an impact had she left on Aditya and his life. How broken he was and now the impact of it was so intense that he was hallucinating about her. At the end, she had asked if she could understand everything and call Aditya for once and put things to appropriate closure. So that somehow it puts an end to the incomplete event of his life that he had been carrying inside him all this while – and that the root to his hallucinations is killed naturally and not by any medications or therapy.
That message was yet unread by Siya. Not to mention, there was no response from her side.
Somehow that message infuriated Aditya. He felt betrayed by his best friend. He felt cheated. How could Kashish walk up to that woman who had been such a bitch to him and tell her how weak he had been because of her! How could she do it!
Before he could gather his senses to think rational, Kashish came back at the table.
‘Shall we leave?’ She said, slumping on the seat.
‘Why did you message Siya?’ He asked, keeping his voice and tone in check.
His question left Kashish off guard. ‘I… I just wanted to tell her what’s going on and that it would be great if she talked to you and ended things nicely!’
‘You’re so stupid!’ He said, now irritated. ‘You told that woman how weak I was because of her. You told her I was hallucinating about her. You cheated me! You make me feel… betrayed.’
‘NO Aditya!’ She resisted, ‘Please understand. I just wanted to complete the pieces of your life. I didn’t want you to go crazy.’
‘Who are you? God?’ He raised his voice, ‘This is my life. This is about me, not you. You are just a friend, be like one. Don’t try to be my God and rewrite my life. Don’t you bother to intervene in my life. Do you get it?’
Tears welled up in the corner of her eyes as she nodded, ‘I get it. I am sorry.’
She wiped the tears off her cheeks and picking her handbag, stood up to leave. ‘It’s getting late. I’ll leave. Bye.’
Saying so, she turned on her heel and moved towards the exit.
Aditya instantly cursed himself for not keeping his emotions in check and exploding on Kashish and making her cry. He sure sounded rude and mean with whatever he had just said. Realising his mistake, he rushed towards the exit.
‘Kashish’ He called out as he saw her walking towards the main street.
She heard him but did not look back. Agitated, she kept walking.
She began walking towards the road, oblivious of the vehicles streaming in. Aditya noticed a car that rushed from her right, fast enough for the brakes to not be able to screech.
He had his heart in his mouth as he screamed with terror, ‘Kashish!’
The scream was enough to jolt her and bring to senses. She froze to her feet as she noticed the car speeding towards her. A few seconds more and she would be gone, she thought. With no moment to react, she closed her eyes as her body stiffened. Within no time, she felt a sudden jolt in her right arm, as if her entire body was pulled away with force.
‘You idiot!’ She heard a shaken voice.
Aditya had pulled her off the street and now he had wrapped her in a tight hug. He was shivering with fear. More than her, he was afraid of losing her life.
‘You crazy woman!’ He scolded, still hugging her hard. ‘Have the head to look both ways on the street before walking over.’
‘I am fine, thanks.’ She said, still scared but portraying firm. ‘You can leave me now.’
‘NO! I am not leaving you. Ever.’ He tightened his grip on her. She was almost buried in his chest. Though she loved the warmth of his embrace, the love in his fear, and the care in his scolding, she hated the words which he had said a few moments ago. It pained her.
She was just a friend and should not interfere in his life, she reminded herself.
‘Aditya, leave me.’ She pushed herself apart. ‘I am okay, thank you.’
‘Kash… I am sorry! I didn’t mean what I said. I just got angry.’
‘It’s okay. Goodnight Aditya.’ She moved towards the side of the street to catch an auto.
‘No! Don’t leave me like this.’ He held her hand, his eyes reflecting regret and love. ‘Please, I am sorry.’
‘It’s okay, Adi. Let me go?’
‘No! It’s not okay. I would have died every day of my life if something had gone wrong with you tonight.’ Honesty evident in his voice, ‘You’re supposed to stay with me. In me. You’re not allowed to leave.’
‘For now, I am just going home Adi.’ She said, softly. ‘Let me go?’
He let go of her hand and motioned her to walk towards an auto. On reaching the auto she turned to him to say goodnight but he startled her with a sudden warm hug. He was still terrified by the thought of what could have happened had he not walked out of the restaurant on time. The thought broke him. Kashish mattered to him more than what he could ever come to believe.
‘You mean a lot to me, Kash!’ He said with his head buried on her shoulder, ‘I am sorry for things I said.’
She could not resist the warmth in his touch and honesty in his words. Letting go of the hurt, she hugged him back.
‘It’s okay, Aditya. I am here, right here.’
Moments later, he let go of the hug and she got into the auto rickshaw.
‘Text me once you reach home.’ He said, waving to her.
‘I will.’ She nodded as the auto strolled away.
That evening, something changed between them. Some emotion more intense and pious had overtaken their friendship. They were yet to discover it, but they knew whatever that intense emotion was, it was coming to hit their life. None knew if it was for the good or for the worst. All they knew was, however it may be, it was worth the chance.
“Life is like a mysterious energy that guides us through our journey. It breaks us, it even rips us off the people we once thought we loved, but in the end, it makes up for the all those loses by giving a beautiful twist in the story of our life, making us realize the worth of the failures we had and the sorrows we felt – eventually completing us and our journey.
So keep up with the faith people, for you never know the magic tricks life holds for you up its sleeves.”