A little too not over you!
There are things which elude the human comprehension at times, then ricochet back and hit him right where he buckles in unanticipated agony. His ignorance of these things isn’t imperative. It’s rather the nature of the things which he chose to ignore. How do you weigh the importance of things? If every decision needs to be quintessentially materialistic in the broader perspective, then would you never look at it from an ascetic viewpoint?
If Karan was put up with this dilemma, he would gladly prefer being a tramp rather than being stamped! He was a self-proclaimed romantic at heart. His actions looked ambitious but his true self was buried deep inside; untouched and unadulterated, devoid of the blatant animosity that surrounded him. As a person, he was the most ideal ambivert you could find.
It never occurred to him that things that look happy in nature are always put to test knowingly or otherwise. In his case, it was the latter. That Sunday afternoon was a soggy mixture of sweat and petrichor all around the neighbourhood. He stepped outside his house, greeted the watchman with a curt nod and walked down the wet road towards the medical store. The moment he entered the store, he realised that Krutika’s dad was at the counter. Epiphany struck him hard and he double checked his collar and shirt sleeves. He chose his words carefully and asked-
‘Do you have aspirin?’
‘Yes, wait a minute!’ he replied and turned the other way to give Karan the weirdest shock of his life.
KRUTIKA WAS THERE! She was fumbling with the medicine strips and arranging them in order. The sweat beads started downwards from his forehead, between his eyes and trickled from the tip of his nose on the glass slab before him. He was momentarily frozen. And then again someone shouted-
‘Krutika! Where is the Aspirin Box?’
She turned back towards the customer, gave a solemn expression of surprise and almost instantly started helping her dad. He was shell shocked. Why was she working in the store? Did her father told her so? Or was she just being the ideal Indian daughter? He decided to leave the medical store first.
It took them five minutes to find Aspirin. The headache seemed to have disappeared in thin air since he saw her looking for the medicine; and that too for him. He reached home and called her. She picked up on the first ring and he asked-
‘Hey, what’s wrong?’ with the sense of urgency in his tone.
‘I don’t feel like talking, so don’t call back.’ she replied with almost no emotion. He was confused.
‘Wait! Wait! What’s the issue?’ he asked, feeling a bit annoyed.
She took almost 5 seconds to reply and when she did, there was no one in the house to not stare at his half-baked face.
‘Karan, I really like you.’ his heart sank and she continued, ’I was in my room yesterday when my dad knocked. He sat beside me and we had the weirdest talk. He wants me to study further.’
Karan still didn’t see any reason for her working at her dad’s medical store. Unless that’s what his dad meant by ‘further studies’. Actually, he didn’t even mind. She had got him by the first sentence and he was too involved now.
He shouted on the phone-
‘What? Wait… What? What are you talking about?’
‘I am going for my MBA next year. I might not be in town. So it will be better if you don’t contact me anymore’
At this point, Karan couldn’t comprehend the reason behind not meeting him. He wasn’t that bad. And she liked him. That makes it official!
Why are you denying yourself the company of a good guy? (Presumably) It wasn’t like he was even forcing her into a relationship. He never wanted to label it. He never did. Then how can one be so indifferent? And that too, so soon!
‘All right! What about right now? Why are you so insistent on not meeting me?’ that’s the best he could do for now.
She sighed for a moment and said-
‘Whenever I meet you, I see us together in the future. I feel good at once. And then I get apprehensive. And it all goes downhill from there.’ And she stopped talking. For a moment, he thought she was crying and felt bad. Wait! He didn’t even say anything. Then why was she crying? He was going to ask her when she added further-
‘I want to know where we are going with this.’
It was like Karan could hear bells tolling faraway until he realized his heart was in his mouth. With this? What? With what? Wait! Is it safe to answer this question after dating 2 months? He wasn’t exactly sure if he even knew the answer. What happened to ‘Living young and wild and free’? This was the first time he couldn’t find proper words to express himself.
‘Would you prefer to talk ‘this’ over tea? Meet you at 7 near Faraday’s?’
‘Be there at 7:01 and you might not see me again’ and the line went dead.
Karan grabbed hold of his pillow and took a black pen. He made two caricatures of himself and hers facing each other. And then he made a bold line stretching from one end of the pillow to another. It was like he was giving words, in this case-figures, to his thoughts. He always maintained himself at the other side of the line. Call it his insecurity towards commitment or the fear of losing his independence, he always wore a mask of contentment. His projection of happiness was an image which portrayed utmost respect towards oneself and all. He worked hard to earn it. But this time, he inched closer to that line and gave in.
This was the first time he crossed the line!
Now, the fact that he still felt proud to have done it is what amused him.