I’m sitting in Dominos with Ahana, Saumya and Trisha. Divik has failed us again by being half an hour late already. It’s Saumya’s birthday and she literally forced me to come. It’s Sunday! I was supposed to stay home all day and sleep for at least 16 hours.
My sleeping pattern has considerably improved after joining office; so much that I have become addicted to it. Off lately, I have started believing that it numbs me off any thoughts without deteriorating my health. It’s certainly better than the addiction of cigarette, alcohol or drug after all! Moreover, my parents are now happy. Dark circles around my eyes have vanished and supposedly the color of my cheeks has returned. It even justifies them, forcing me to go out and do a regular job, but I don’t care. As far as no one interferes with my sleep, I’m alright with pretty much anything.
The prime reason I wanted to skip this birthday party is however different. If I am to believe Ahana and Trisha, Saumya likes me. I can’t think of a single reason why anyone would like me. I’m boring as hell and other than making a couple of funny jokes when we guys are together; I don’t say much. I just listen and react like a robot to most of the things. If you take a survey, I must be the least talkative person in my office. On the other hand, Saumya is such a lively girl who is making everyone laugh, helping out her entire team and organizing these crazy weekend getaways. Why would such a person even consider liking an average trash that I have become?
I try to keep myself from staring at Saumya because I’m usually speechless around her and it would be a really awkward situation.
“Shaurya,” she says and I’m forced to look at her. Her big kohled eyes can definitely send anybody in a euphoric trance. I notice the flicks of hair on her forehead, the faint blush on her cheeks and her moving lips.
Ahana snaps her fingers in front of me to bring me out of the daze. This is exactly what I feared. Now the three of them are giggling and I feel helpless.
“Saumya was asking if we should order something since you have to get back home as well. Divik will be reaching anytime now, there’s no point delaying,” Ahana says.
“Um, yeah, why not,” I revert fumbling up with four simple words.
It’s a pure lie. I don’t have to go anywhere and I would probably have been asleep or sitting blank in front of my computer screen at this time. I just wanted to skip the party seeking which, Saumya asked me to come only for an hour. How could I say no to her, or to any four of them? I enjoy their company and they are some of the best people I have come across in life.
I was never hesitant up until I came to know about Saumya’s feelings. Although, I am quite happy that she has not confirmed it in her own words, I’m afraid what I’ll do if that day arrives. How will I explain her that my heart still belongs to Ananya and nothing can change the fact? It’s true that it has been months I have even heard from her, but she’s still there with me in all the things I try to ignore helplessly. She exposed me to a pain I never knew existed, but every time I look back at our memories, a faint smile crawls up my face and it can easily beat the pain.
Our pizza arrives and before we can even open the box, Divik is here. “The VIP has arrived,” I say, shaking his hand. “At least I’m not going to leave the lovely ladies soon enough,” he remarks hugging each one of them. He is smooth. The way he mixes up with any stranger within a couple of minutes, literally makes him a super human, I believe. He is the first guy I acquainted in the office, because he can never shut up and I’m a pretty good listener, since I usually don’t have anything to say. We have a few common interests and the fact that he sits right next to me helped us in bonding well.
We eat our pizza while gossiping about our managers and the diplomat brigade of the office. It’s surprisingly hilarious that we can talk endlessly about the same thing. I wonder if it happens in every corporate or we have aced the art.
“I should leave now,” I say, interrupting the conversation.
“You’re sure you can’t stay Shaurya?” Trisha asks. “We are going to hang out for some time,” she adds.
“I told you, I’ve got some important thing to attend to or I would have loved to stay,” I revert hesitantly. I don’t know why I feel that Divik can straightaway read the hidden lie, but he chooses to stay quiet.
“It’s alright Shaurya, let me walk you out,” Saumya says.
As we walk towards the exit, the nervousness in me climbs to reach the peak. A cool gush of wind hit my face the moment I step outside. The weather has become pleasant and the clouds suggest that a shower can bless the dry earth anytime.
“Thank you for coming,” she says as I turn towards her. “It means a lot,” she adds.
“I had to, but I feel bad that I’m leaving early. I wish I could stay longer,” I lie.
“It’s alright Shaurya,” she smiles.
I smile back. “Guess, I’ll see you on Monday then?”
“Yeah, you will!” She steps forward and hugs me. It’s a formal hug, the one you give your friends every now and then, but I freeze, making it unusually awkward.
“Bye,” she says parting away. I’m a hundred percent sure that I have gone all pale by then, but I manage to say goodbye.
While I’m standing idle in the metro, I try to summarize what just happened. I can’t think of a single person on earth who won’t be excited and happy to be in my shoes right now. However, I feel uneasy. I can’t go through with it. In my heart, I know I can’t love anyone like I love Ananya. Won’t it be unfair with Saumya in that case?
“What am I even thinking? Why am I assessing it at all? I’m waiting for Ananya and I’m hopeful of a miracle that can unite us together again,” I speak it out loud in my mind.
Just the thought of her drives me away from the present. I wonder what she is doing right now. Is she painting or taking a walk of her terrace with her earphones plugged in. I she still listening to the songs I had suggested to her? Even if not, does she think of me if she comes across those songs involuntarily?
I haven’t asked about her from Naina since long. All I know is that she is doing well in her career and moving on with her life. Probably that should be good enough for me. It is often quoted that love is all about finding contentment in someone’s happiness. Does it make me greedy if I want to be a part of that happiness?
I plug in my earphones as I walk towards my home after de-boarding the metro. It has started raining and there is no better combination to rain other than Westlife songs. Of course, there are so many memories linked to each of the tracks on my playlist and revisiting them is one of my favorite hobbies.