RAGLAK OS : You just need to have a little faith!
Well, Anjali here!! WARNING : VERY LONG ONE SHOT!!!!
I am Anjali’s cousin Ananya! I love RAGLAK from the core of my heart so I begged her to post Raglak version of this OS. The Swasan version was posted on May 16th, I guess.
LINK FOR SWASAN VERSION : http://www.tellyupdates.com/anjalis-swasan-os-just-need-little-faith/
She found him inside a telephone booth, a somewhat rare relic in a place where cell phones were the norm. But she never realised that this was the man she was waiting for, her whole life. Instead, she thought him a hobo waiting rudely in the booth instead of allowing her to make an emergency phone call to the mechanic as her car had unexpectedly died in the middle of the road. Also, her stupid cell phone had died leaving her helpless.
Yes, her day was turning out to be perfect!
She had walked a few blocks before her eye spotted the first and probably only telephone booth for miles around. She waited politely for a few minutes outside the booth before realising that the man inside wasn’t even using the damn phone. He was staring at it…. hungrily and intensely?
God! If that person was a hobo, He was a crazy one. She knocked on the door a few times, before the man noticed. He slowly slid the window attached to the door and peered at her.
Man : Yes?
Woman : May I please use the phone for a few minutes please? I really need to make an emergency call.
He stared at her for a few minutes before replying with a ” No, I’m sorry! ” and closed the window again.
She stared flabbergasted at the man’s rudeness. The damn guy was doing nothing but staring at the telephone but still he wouldn’t allow her? If this had been any other day, she would have given up and just walked around until she found another one, but that day she was tired, cold and that man was being a b***h. So she determinedly knocked on the door once more.
He poked his head out again, and she looked at him dumbstruck as he shot her an irritated look.
Man : Can’t you see I’m busy? What is it?
She glared back. Gods, This man was irritating.
Woman : Yes… I can see that! Staring at that telephone… (she took a breath ) Listen… Am sorry, But can I please make a call.. For just a teensy weensy minute? And then you can stare at it all you want…
A smirk formed on his face, his eyebrows raised. She finally got a good look at him. Short black hair with deep brown eyes, proving a devastating combination. Added to that, his perfectly symmetrical jaw structure. Well, If he was a hobo, He was certainly an attractive one. It suddenly struck her that he was an Indian. Why this was significant, she didn’t know. But it was.
Man : Look! I am waiting for a very important call that may change my life, So please… Go somewhere else.
She stared at him as he closed the door again. That was it…. She was not going to let this rude and crazy man win. She began banging the door until he finally opened the entire door this time. He retorted with a furious ” What the hell” while she nimbly stepped inside the small booth.
Woman : Just let me use this damn phone. It is cold and my car broke down. I have to get it fixed.
She began pushing him out the door, though he tried to resist.
Man : You are freakishly strong… Especially for a woman.
Woman : So s*xist of you.
Man : I really cannot allow you to use it… I need to wait for the phone call.
Woman : Seriously, If you had allowed me to call the first time, We wouldn’t be having this conversation.
As they both struggled to grab the phone in the tiny booth, all the while arguing, Finally one last tug from her found them both on the ground, him on top of her. They groaned in pain as she muttered, ” Todayis turning out to be one perfect b*t*h of a day ”
Man : You’re telling me!
They slowly got up and brushed the dirt off the clothes. As they continued arguing, outside this time, A plump man quickly entered the booth and took the phone, leaving them both shocked and annoyed. They tried convincing the man to come out but the plump man just shrugged.
Woman : (in bengali) This is just perfect… (in english, close to tears) Now how am I going to get my car fixed?
Man (his eyes twinkling) : Hey, A fellow Bengali! That’s awesome… And what were you telling about getting your car fixed? I can probably fix it myself. I know some stuff about cars.
The man was Laksh and the woman, Ragini! Whenever people asked them how those two ever became room mates, He always replied, ” Fate” while she grumbled, ” He didn’t let me use the payphone, acted stupid and am now stuck with him. ”
How they became room mates was another story.
After proving that he wasn’t crazy and that he actually knew some stuff about cars, Laksh asked her for a ride and Ragini reluctantly agreed. They walked back slowly to the car and he started telling her about his love life. Ragini wasn’t interested in the conversation, nor did she try to keep her end of the conversation.
Laksh : My girlfriend and I had a fight! She lives here in New York now. She’s been here three months. I was in Kolkata but she didn’t want me to move here with her. But, I finally decided that I couldn’t live without her, So I hopped on a plane, and came here, wanting to surprise her. I left a message for her in this payphone, which is why I was waiting for the return call.
By the time he finished fixing her car, Ragini knew almost everything about Laksh! How his parents were very annoyed with him for leaving Kolkata and told him never to return. How he had quit his job as a thriving photographer and come here.
Ragini said nothing but couldn’t help but think Laksh was an idiot. He had disowned his parents and left his job for a girl who didn’t even know he was here.
Laksh : Well! Anything for love right?
She looked at his puppy dog face and couldn’t bring herself to tell him her true feelings. So,instead she just nodded and gave a tight smile.
They got into the car and she dropped him in front of his girlfriend’s driveway.
Ragini : Well! Good bye then…
Laksh : Thanks. Good bye! It was really nice to meet a Bengali in this country.
Laksh got down and went inside, just as another couple was coming out, but Ragini didn’t linger. She quickly pulled out of the driveway and had gone 2 blocks before she noticed that Laksh had left his bag.
Ragini : Shit! Stupid man.. He coems to a strange country, doesn’t tell anyone, leaves his family.. This man is crazy. But he has nothing else with him. You better go and give it back, Ragini.
She went back to the girlfriend’s place and much to her surprise, Laksh was sitting on a porch outside, looking miserable. He saw her and his eyes lit up in recognition, and smiled at her.. One that didn’t reach his eyes.
Laksh : She had moved on. 2 months ago… She didn’t care about me at all… Latika has found a new guy, James! What do I do now? I have no place to go… Fate, right?
Ragini said nothing… She could just uttered a few sympathetic words and left this man alone for eternity… Ragini didn’t make friends with strangers. She was an introvert through and through. She only relied on her instincts and herself alone. Solitude was her only course.
But this time, her instincts were telling her, Even though he seemed crazy, Laksh was a genuine person who had just had his heart broken.
And perhaps what Laksh uttered was true.. This was fate probably… Which forced her to take the next decision.
Ragini (bending down and offering a hand) : You can stay with me for a few days and figure out what you want to do with your life. It’s really cold now. Come on.
She grabbed the bag, which she had deposited on the ground and walked towards the car, thinking that Laksh was still on the ground, moping. But when she turned back, she saw he was walking quite energetically towards the car. Only the expression in his eye told that he was hurting. Nothing else.
They drove back in silence. Ragini looked at Laksh, who was just staring aimlessly out of the windshield. She wondered if she should take him to the doctor. Love screwed people.. She should know. But Laksh just took his bagpack and walked with her once she had parked the car, showing no signs of depression or madness.
Well, He was supposed to stay 4 or 5 days. That was Ragini’s plan and hope.
He ended up staying 5 years.
Ragini lived in a one bedroom apartment that had a hall, closet, kitchen and the room and washroom. She had a couch that served as a pull out bed for guests. She certainly had never expected a permanent room mate.
The first night, Ragini couldn’t sleep. She kept thinking that Laksh was going to have an emotional breakdown sooner or later and that he was going to go after every female in sight. But the next morning, when she came out of the room, she saw that he was already up.. And instead of looking like a mess, he was clean shaven and groomed neatly. He was cracking an egg and making breakfast, while listening to hindi songs on his laptop.
Ragini : You look…. Happy?
Laksh handed over a plate of toast and eggs. He smiled at her and began cleaning up the kitchen counter.
Laksh : I’m….. coping. I have some nice memories of her and that’s enough… Why dwell on the bad ones?
Ragini (incredulously) : Because she cheated on you. You are supposed to hate the female species now. Don’t you want to get drunk and b*t*h about her?
Laksh gave her a “You’re crazy look” and stood beside her, eating their breakfasts on the kitchen counter.
Laksh : Take it easy Ragini! Latika did cheat on me. But it wasn’t entirely her fault. We were having too many problems and I refused to acknowledge it. What’s done is done… There’s still going to be a happy ending out there though.
His optimism made her mad and she scoffed.
Ragini : Happy ending? Hah! Such things don’t exist.
Laksh scrutinised her long enough for her to feel uncomfortable.
Laksh (his voice light and teasing) : Of course they do! Haven’t you seen all those light hearted romedies? Kuch kuch hota hai, Dilwale dulhaniya le jayenge? The proposal….. They always end happily.
Ragini shook her head defenselessly. She had nothing to tell this man, though he was the fool here. Life sucked… Ergo.. Happy endings didn’t exist… Love wasn’t such a lovey dovey flowery thing at all.
Ragini : Life sucks. You just don’t get your happy ending.
A pause settled between them as they both thought over her words. Finally, Laksh turned towards Ragini, who had stopped eating and gave her a slight, reassuring smile.
Laksh : Happy endings always come. You just need to have a little faith.
He took a spoonful of eggs from her plate and asked her to eat.
Ragini didn’t know whether she wanted to throw the plate at him for being so foolish or hope that what he said was true.
4 days later, Laksh was still living with Ragini! Every morning she came prepared to ask him to leave, but he was always busy – cleaning, dusting, cooking, talking to her, making her jog with him… He was always chit chatting and asking her questions. The normal silence that surrounded her was gone. This should have made her hate him. The was he was so comfortable in her place.
But she couldn’t make herself hate him. Though she wasn’t all sweetness and sunshine either!
Ragini : So, are you going to get a job?
She asked Laksh who was lying down on the couch watching the soccer game.
Ragini : Listen! As long as you’re staying here, I think it’s only fair that we split up the rent in this place. It costs 700$. Since I stay in the bedroom, I’m willing to pay 450$, and you can pay 250$. The rent is cheap becuase I got it from a friend. But, Are you going to get a job? Or are you planning to go back to Kolkata?
Laksh switched off the telly and turned towards her.
Laksh : I hadn’t really thought about it… But I’m not really interested in going back. Might as well stay here. Life will be an adventure.
Ragini : How could you not have a plan? You’re 25! You’re an adult.
Laksh : Relax! Do you have a plan?
Ragini : I at least, have a job that supports me. I love working at my law firm. You need money to support you. Food, clothes, medicines, other emergencies…
Laksh : Chill! I will find a job soon… And I will pay half the rent! Don’t worry..
He strode over to the food cupboard, took out 2 bags of chips and handed one to her. But looking at the way he was gobbling up the food, Ragini lost her appetite and handed over the second bag of chips to him, which he happily devoured!
Within the next 2 days, Laksh had found himself 2 jobs. One, as a part time photographer for weddings, cocktail parties and other such stuff and the other one as an intern to a photography professor in a magazine.
Laksh (smiling) : See! I got a job… You have to give me a treat now. Let’s go celebrate now.
Ragini complied, sighing.
Ragini was annoyed by Laksh in many many ways, but one thing that really irked her was…
Ragini : Laksh! CLEAN UP AFTER YOU… YOU’RE MESSY!
She pointed towards the dirty dishes and clothes strewn everywhere in the living room.
Laksh (Walking about gaily) : Ragini! It’s not my fault that I don’t have any drawers or cupboards to keep my clothes. And besides, It’s only messy. Live a little.. Chuck it.
Ragini : Living doesn’t equal making messes. Cleanliness is Godliness!
Laksh : Tell you what! We’ll have a bet now… If I win, you have to remain messy for a month.. And if I lose, I’ll be the epitome of cleanliness for one month.
Ragini grudgingly agreed. They decided to play a game of rummy to decide who won.
Ragini (after the game) : Oh God! Damn it… Damn it… blo*dy hell!
Laksh (smirking) : Now you have to remain messy for a month. No folding your clothes, no washing dishes immediately, no making your bed.
Ragini just shot him a glare.
Ragini : I will get you for this.
The next one month was one of the hardest in Ragini’s life. She couldn’t fold her washed clothes, he wouldn’t let her clean the living room or make her bed. It was like living in a pig sty.
It was absolute torture. But the next month, They played the same game and this time Laksh lost. Finally, Ragini relaxed while Laksh endured the torture this time.
Time began to pass and 8 months later, Laksh finally felt able to go out with another girl, Sadie. He met her in a wedding that he was photographing and she was just the girl for him. Smart, funny and vibrant! Laksh was falling in love again.
Ragini, though pleased that Laksh was finally able to move on was a bit skeptical as to how a person could love. It always ended up in despair, divorce or depression.
And sure enough, When Laksh broke up with Sadie a year later, Ragini was there to comfort him. Sadie had to go to Germany for her internship and Laksh who had already suffered from a long distance relationship found it easier to break all ties.
To comfort Laksh, Ragini bought coping mechanisms such as his favourite beer, ice cream and snacks. They settled down on the pull out couch watching funny cartoons as they drank themselves into a highly inebriated state, Laksh crying about Sadie, singing horrible songs, giggling and falling over each other until Laksh asked the question.
Laksh : Have you ever loved someone?
He had always wanted to ask that question. Ragini was a loner, She never had any friends over… Only acquaintances and that too, very rarely. But never any boys, no dates, nada! She seemed to have no one else besides Laksh, himself. Maybe it was because of her past. Laksh knew that Ragini’s parents were alive but he had never seen a photo of them, nor did she ever talk about them. She spoke a little about her studies and school life. But family was a strict no-no.
Ragini immediately stopped giggling once she heard the question. But because of her drunkenness, the barriers slipped and she answered.
Ragini : Once… (softly) In college
Laksh (Curiously) : What happened?
Ragini (letting out a fake giggle as her heart clenched tightly) : He left me, obviously. He found someone else to love. Guess I wasn’t enough.
Laksh (slowly wiping the tear that traced her cheek, whispering) : You can’t believe that!
He came closer and put an arm around her. Ragini found herself slipping into his embrace and her heart began to flutter. She straightened up alarmed.
Laksh : What?
Ragini : Noth…nothing! I’m just sleepy.
She grabbed the bottle of beer from his hand, downed half of it, then returned the bottle to him and went to her room, leaving Laksh utterly befuddled as to what had just happened!
Laksh made Ragini try out many new things. He took her out on walks, jogs, to the park. He made her come out with him as he walked around the neighbourhood, clickinh pictures for his internship. He made her take him to nearby places and far off places, places where they could be just tourists or where he could be a photographer. He showed her how everything could be beautiful.
Saturdays were specially reserved for only them. No phones, no dates, nothing. They did whatever they wanted that day, trips to the zoo, trips to fancy restaurants (when they could afford it), flea markets, around the harbour.
Ragini hated these trips at first. Laksh had to always force her awake and carry her downstairs until the car where she would start grumbling about how unfair he was. But eventually, she began to enjoy these trips. The enthusiasm Laksh brought into the excursion cheered her and she personally loved Laksh (not in that manner) while he worked. He was no more silly and annoying. He was focused, determined and passionate.
Laksh loved bringing his pictures home.. The wedding cakes, the bride and the groom, the clink of the cocktail glasses, the various guests… All these pictures were developed and showcased on the fridge. He believed that these happy moments deserve a special place of their own, that they promised a more happier future.
He also loved taking random clicks inside the house. The furniture, the messy dishes, Ragini!
The first time he showed Ragini a picture he had taken of her, it had ended with him getting an hour long lecture of how intrusive, unfair and wrong that was. Ragini hated pictures, She never could bring herself to smile. She always yelled at him when she saw a photo of her.
Once, they both were sitting on the couch, Laksh meddling with his camera and Ragini, reading some files for work. Suddenly Laksh called her.
Laksh : Ragini! Something is stuck here in the camera. I need your small hands to take it off. Please help me.
Ragini sighed, set her files aside and scooted closer to Laksh to take a look at the camera. But then, Laksh surprised her by putting an arm around her neck and made her look up with him at the camera in the other hand.
Ragini (shreiking) : No! Laksh!
She tried to shirk away from him, but the big brute was too heavy and strong for her. She put a hand out, blocking the camera from her face.
Laksh (pleading) : Come on! all you have to do is smile… Accha sun.. If you pose for this picture, I promise to be clean for a week.
Ragini : One month and no more pictures.
Laksh : Two weeks and no more pictures. That’s as far I’m willing to go.
Ragini grinned. They had a deal.
Laksh (shouting) : That’s it… Keep that face… Ah Perfect.
He brought his cheek and touched her face with it and they took a picture. They framed it after it had been developed and put in above the telly.
Though Laksh was a chatterbox and a happy happy guy, His moments with Ragini also included silent moments. They didn’t always bicker with each other. Whenever they got up early, both had breakfast silently. A ritual was followed. Laksh prepared breakfast while Ragini tidied up the house or prepared for her cases. After finishing, she would wash the dishes while he cleared up the stove and wiped the counter.
Other such occasions included when he woke up with a huge hangover because he had indulged in a lot of drinking with his photography buddies. She never yelled at him. Instead he woke up to find her with an aspirin and a herbal remedy for his headache.
Whenever one returned with stress, either work or emotional, the other instinctively knew it and said nothing about it, preferring to bring the favourite beer or ice cream, sitting together and then slowly talking about it.
It was the other’s presence that made them feel better. And even after 5 years, that was the best remedy they had!
Before Laksh came in her life, Ragini never really cared about holidays and festivals. She had lived alone for almost 4 years now and didn’t really celebrate anything, Hindu festivals or Christian festivals.
But Laksh went into a tizzy. He had celebrated all the hindu festivals at home and when he was in London in University, he celebrated the Christian festivals… He grew so homesick the first time Diwali came that Ragini found herself
up recipes for sweets. That morning Laksh awoke to find Ragini shouting all sorts of words as she hopelessly tried to make jalebis for him. He laughed, took the ladle from her and then proceeded to cook on his own, doing a much better job than her.
That was also the first time Laksh realised how much Ragini cared for him, though she maintained it was the opposite
The christmas holidays were spent shopping for New Years and Laksh took many pictures of Times Square, Rockefeller Center and everything. He even took pictures of Ragini who had finally relented and now even posed well for the pictures.
The first New Year’s Eve… Laksh presented Ragini with a photo.. His favourite from that year.. and Ragini handed him a gift that reminded him of home, either Kolkata or London.
During the four years that Laksh stayed there, He gradually began to think of New York as home, making friends with others such as Toby, Sanskaar, Rohan and Mike. Over the years, they came for diwali holidays, movie marathons, random get togethers but one thing didn’t change in the 4 years. Every New Year’s Eve, Ragini and Laksh spent it together and they exchanged gifts. Laksh, always a photograph and Ragini, always something to remind of home.
Laksh’s presence resulted in Ragini opening up more and losing her introvert mannerisms. Before she never used to socialize with her co workers preferring to come home to an empty house despite how lonely that sounded. But now, she went for dinners, casual drinks and spoke more. A lot more. Laksh had introduced crazyness in her life, and Ragini found herself mentioning Laksh more and more to her colleagues.
Any and every topic somehow had Laksh introduced between them. But she kept up with the conversation and she soon had many friends at work, resulting in more laughter in her life. Laksh also introduced to many new people, usually artists he worked with or whose gallery he had taken her to. She started seeing the world through his eyes and saw not just an ugly, sad life but also a chirpy, colourful wonderful life.
One thing hadn’t changed though. She adamantly refused to go out with anyone. She wasn’t comfortable going on dates and if he ever tried to convince her to go out with someone, he got the cold shoulder.
Ragini : Why on Earth do you want me to go out with someone? That too, with a complete stranger… How do you expect me to trust him?
Laksh replied as always, with
Laksh : Ragini! Sometimes, All you need to have is a little faith.
This comment usually infuriated her in the beginning but now it intrigued her. Was it true? She found herself thinking more and more about it…
Laksh had changed her…..
But she didn’t realise just how much for the better it was.
Ragini had changed Laksh as well, though it was harder to see the difference than it was with Ragini! You had to perhaps look through the lenses of his camera and focus on the changes in his life.
One had to observe the small things in Laksh’s life. After finishing Univerity in London and moving back to Kolkata, Laksh’s life had just consisted of unpredictabilities and staying up late. He was very eccentric and could sleep for 3 days straight or not sleep for 4 days at a stretch. He loved roaming with his friends and getting drunk everyday. Laksh was a happy go lucky kind of guy and nothing could ever get him down.
But now, though he remained the same optimistic person, Ragini’s insecurities with this world brought him from heaven to Earth. As he pushed her to go out and enjoy more, he began to understand her distrust of people. It opened his eyes. That one had to look beyond the rosy cheeks or perfect smile of a person and look inside.
He began to notice people he would never have. People like Ragini… The quiet ones, who preferred to sit on a bench and read, the ones who didn’t create a scene in the bars… and he began to appreciate them more.
It was really hard to make Ragini open up, but slowly he began to see just how much she cared for others and him. He understood how small acts, such as cooking dinner for him and waiting up late for him to come home, but instead falling asleep on the couch could mean so much. She was such a welcome presence at home.. Always so busy and focused, that he found that he preferred staying home most nights than going out doing nothing.
Staying with Ragini made him appreciate life all the more.
As Ragini had noticed before, Laksh was a devastatingly handsome man and he always had women behind him. After Sadie, Laksh dated 2 more somewhat seriously and went out on a number of dates, but these people ended up friends rather than anything else. In the end, he always came home to Ragini usually with complaints about the date he had just had.
Everytime he mentioned a new name, It began bothering Ragini. She thought it was because of her mistrust of love and how easy it was for people to jump into and out of a relationship. She thought it was the uneasyness that made her feel disappointed with Laksh. He was proving to be just like anyone else.
Then came Kavya! And Ragini realised that her feelings ran far far deeper than just disappointment.
Laksh met Kavya during the 4th year of his stay in New York. HE met her at a cocktail party when Ragini couldn’t accompany him over there.
Laksh was captivated by the fact there she was a Bengali… The only other one he had met since Ragini! Added to that was her soft silky black hair, the perfect arch of her back. In short, Laksh felt he had finally found the woman he was waiting for.
That night, he took innumerable pictures of her and after he finished working, walked around with her till the first rays of sunlight appeared.
Ragini ended up on the couch that day, worried that Laksh had not yet returned and because he hadn’t even called her to tell that he might be late. But she didn’t want to call him and sound like his mom or whatever. When Laksh did return, he couldn’t stop gushing excitedly about Kavya. Ragini felt really disturbed listening to him but still, she didn’t say anything and just forcedly smiled at him.
Kavya heard about Ragini in the first few minutes that she spoke to Laksh! He told her all about Ragini… How she helped him, what sort of a person she was, how they spent their Saturdays together, how they ate ice cream and waited up for the other.
After dating Kavya for 2 weeks, he finally brought her home to meet Ragini! After seeing the two of them, Ragini finally began to acknowledge the knot in her heart but she couldn’t quite place the reason for it.. Nor did she want to dwell on it. Instead she put on her usual facade of a smile and spoke to Kavya politely.
Ragini (thinking) : Kavya is perfect for Laksh… But why do I feel so much pain listening to this?
And so it continued.
About 6 months into the relationship, Kavya became really uneasy with Ragini’s position and importance in Laksh’s life. Once all of Laksh’s friends (names mentioned above), Kavya, Laksh and Ragini were playing who knows who best. And when it came to Laksh.. It was Ragini who won hands down. This bothered Kavya a lot. Not to mention the comfort with which those two spoke to each other, understood each other.
Laksh seemed to laugh more with Ragini, his gaze seemed to linger more on her, how Laksh carefully took out the jalapenos in Ragini’s slice of pizza because she hated them…
Kavya also began to notice other things… Laksh always mentioned Ragini at least once or twice in their phone conversations, everytime they met. If they went on a date, Laksh would always order one extra dinner for Ragini… Or if he sensed that something was wrong with Ragini, he immediately left without caring about the person he was leaving behind.
But the thing that bothered Kavya the most was the Saturday trips. Laksh never ever compromised on them and never ever spoke to her on saturdays. It was reserved for Ragini and Ragini alone.
She had never spent a night in Laksh’s place because of the small one bedroom apartment. He didn’t even have a room. But Kavya realised, with a sinking feeling, that even though she was the girl friend, It was Ragini to whom Laksh returned to everyday.
And as she fell more and more with him, She understood that she had to do something. Otherwise she would lose him. So,
Kavya : Laksh! Do you love me?
Laksh (smiling) : You know, I do babe!
Kavya : Then why don’t we move in together? We have been dating for over a year now.
Laksh (surprised) : Why suddenly?
Disappointed with his less than enthusiastic response, Kavya asked, ” Why matlab? It makes sense… That we should move in together now. We love each other. ”
Laksh : Yes.. But..
Kavya (softly, caressing his hair) : C’mon! You can move into my place. It will be fun.
Laksh (his eyes twinkling) : Well… IT will be nice. Ok babe! As you say…
Kavya hugged him. Yes! Now that Ragini won’t be able to get to her Laksh.
Ragini help the pamphlet in her hand. Laksh had just returned home and was removing his shoes. She was damn excited and a bit nervous. It was going to be a huge surprise for him. She stared at the pamphlet again. It showed a cute little apartment with 2 bedrooms and all other comfy amenties without being too expensive.
She thought back to the years with Laksh! The first couple of years, she was completely sure that this was a temporary thing and that soon he would leave. Then, she slowly got used to the fact that he was not going to go. So now, She thought that it was time he had his own room.
She strode over to him, ready to hand over the pamphlet when he saw her, smiled widely and lifted her off her feet and swung her around.
Ragini (shocked) : Laksh?
Laksh ( happily ) : Ragini! Today I’m very, very happy.
Ragini found herself laughing along with him, his cheeriness was infectious. But suddenly, She felt a tinge of fear and stopped.
Ragini : Why? Why are you so happy?
Laksh : I’m moving in with Kavya!
Raginia dropped the pamphlet in shock.
Ragini : You’re leaving?
Laksh’s smile left his face. He was so focused on moving in with Kavya that he hadn’t realised that this wasn’t his house. He would not see Ragini everyday. No more waiting up late. No more drinking all night long… SHIT! What had he done?
Ragini : You’re leaving?
Laksh : Ragini…. I
Ragini fought back the fear that was dialling up in her heart and hugged him.
Ragini : Of course you are leaving. This was anyways supposed to be a temporary thing. Awesome Laksh! I’m sure you’ll be very happy with Kavya! Say, Do you mind ordering pizza? I will be right back…
She turned and went inside her room before Laksh began with an anguished “Ragini…. I”… But Ragini was already gone.
He bent down and took the pamphlet that had fallen down and glanced at it. Then he looked at the closed door, his face ashen. He wanted to tell her that he would always be there for her. That he’ll never completely leave, but the words died in his throat. He now realised that he didn’t actually want to move in with Kavya… He had been completely excited for the change in his life, that he didn’t think about his then perfect life.
But most of all, he could feel Ragini moving away from him and that feeling nearly killed him. He didn’t understand why it was so intense but this feeling just about broke his heart.
Why he felt that way, he didn’t know… He was scared to explore this feeling.. Scared to find out the truth.
The house was empty. It had been a month since he moved out, and that’s what the house was now. EMPTY… Even when Ragini was there, IT felt empty. No irritating chats, no nerve wracking messes, no booze parties, nothing. She dreaded coming to that empty house.
Laksh had left over a thousand messages for her… But she didn’t answer back… The messages bagan with all sorts of stuff but they usually ended with… ” Ragini… I miss you… Please call back? “.
Ragini played each message more than 100 times, if only to listen to his voice and breaking the silence in the house. She wondered why she never called back… The excuses went from ” He needs time with Kavya ” to ” Kavya won’t like it if I call now “. But that’s just what they were. Excuses. Deep down, She knew the real reason was because of the ache in her heart. The fear that she no more thought of him as just “friends”. That he might be something more. That she loved him?
The idea that she loved him made her hate herself. IT reminded her of some events in her life that she didn’t want to ever remember. And that’s why she avoided him, even as she wanted to see him all the more.
It wasn’t working.
Kavya could see it. She could feel it from the very core of her being. Everytime he checked his phone, everytime they saw some sappy comedies, everytime he removed the jalapenos from his pizza reflexively, going through all his old pictures… Everything reminded him of Ragini. Even their fridge was adorned with photos of her more than Laksh or her….. She didn’t know what to do…
Yes, she had him with her. She thought that would be enough at first… But now?
Laksh had had enough. Ragini had been silent for one and a half months now. He had to do something. One day after work, instead of going to Kavya’s house, he came home and found the door locked. Not ready to give up, he sat outside and fell asleep. When Ragini returned, she was shocked to find a sleeping Laksh outside the dorr. She wondered if she should wake him up and invite him inside or if she should just ignore him and move in.
She decided to go in first and then think of what to do. She unlocked the door and made a move to go in, when a hand caught her ankle.
Laksh : Kahan ja rahi ho? Don’t you want to talk to me?
Ragini said nothing, but walked inside. Laksh entered, looked around the room and commented.
Laksh : Nothing’s changed…
Ragini : You know me. I don’t like change. Even when’s everything has changed….
Laksh (holding her shoulders) : How are you, Ragini? How have you been?
Ragini (not meeting his eyes) : I’m fine.. Am going out quite a bit. A bit quiet here… But I’m learning to live alone.
Laksh : Why don’t you return my calls?
Ragini : I need to learn how to live alone without you, Laksh! I need to learn to live without listening to your voice. It’s hard as it is…. I have to move on…
Laksh (sitting on the couch pulling her down as well, sighing) : I know what you mean. It’s hard for me as well. I still think of this place as home… Not that… That’s Kavya’s house.
They sat down that night and spoke of old times, Their fun and stupid times… And it seemed like everything was normal.
The next few weeks, they didn’t meet up. Ragini wanted to learn how to live on her own and Laksh needed to learn that this wasn’t home anymore.
But, one evening, she met him again…..
His name was Sameer. She hadn’t seen him since the last day of college where he had broken her heart. He had destroyed her belief that love was a permanent and a lovely thing.
She met him in a school. She was there to talk to her client, but she saw him picking his son up. He had got married a mere 3 months after they had broken up. He came up to her and spoke like they had never been anything more than friends. That there had been nothing between them.
Ragini was having trouble breathing.. She politely excused herself and left as soon as she could. She drove around aimlessly until she found a bar. She entered it and got exceedingly drunk, trying to remove all the old memories that resurfaced again.
Laksh : Yes Kavya! I’m at home… Ok baba… I’ll leave now… and pick you up. Wait… Hold one second, I’m getting another call….. Yes? King’s bar? God! Which one of the guys is it, this time? Toby? Sanskaar? Wait… What? A girl? Are you sure….. I was first on her speed dial?Ragini? Wait.. I’m coming right now. Don’t worry…. Yes,thank you!!! Kavya… Listen, Take a cab and come home. I have to go somewhere else. Ragini needs me.
Kavya : But…
Laksh (snapping) : Kavya! I have to go now. Bye…
Ragini (happily) : Laksh! You are here.
Laksh staggered back at the stale liquor smell that came from her. Whatever it was, that had bothered her, it must have been bad. Ragini was not a person to over imbibe herself. She knew it lowered her defenses.
He paid the barman and carried her over his shoulder and put her inside his car.
Ragini : You have a car? When did you get a car?
Laksh was struggling to put her seat belt, because she couldn’t stay still. He finally succeeded and went to the driver’s side.
Laksh : I got it recently Ragini! Please say still!
Ragini ignored him and began to sing loudly. After what seemed like hours, Laksh carried a sleeping Ragini and took her inside. He deposited her in front of the couch and went to the kitchen to get a glass of water. By the time he returned, she was awake and aimlessly staring at the blank telly.
Laksh : You want some water?
Ragini : No…. (he sat down next to her and she leaned on him) (softly) I met him again today… Since college.. I met him today..
Laksh paused. Ragini had always avoided two topics… College and her parents. Now it seemed like she was finally going to talk.
Ragini : Sameer! I loved him so so much. We even went out but… But he never loved me… The entire 6 months that we dated, he had had 7 girlfriends besides me at various stages…. And 6 monthhs later, He met her…. Paro.. And I never stood a chance. He broke my heart and now… I met him again.
She put one hand around Laksh and hugged him allowing her tears to fall freely. Laksh hugged back fiercely. He felt an absurd amount of anger at this Sameer who had hurt Ragini!
Ragini : Everyone leaves me…. Sameer did… And now, you too…
Laksh didn’t know what to say. He had in fact left her, And now she was crying helplessly… Absolutely drunk… What had he done?
Laksh : I’m not leaving you…. I will never leave you…
Ragini looked up with a sad smile.
Ragini : But you will…. You have Kavya… Why do you need me? My parents didn’t need me… Sameer didn’t need me… You don’t need me…. Everyone just poofs away from my life!
Laksh : No Ragini! No… Happy endings are always there… We just need to have a little faith.
Ragini : Faith… Right…
Laksh’s phone rang and he saw that it was Kavya. He answered it and got Kavya’s message asking him to come home at once. He cut the call and stayed with Ragini… Who needed him more than Kavya! He put aside his thoughts of what was to come later and comforted Ragini that night… Just as they used, not so long ago.
Later that night, After she fell asleep, Laksh picked her up and tucked her in. But Ragini didn’t remember that. Nor did she remember the lingering gaze he gave her later. She didn’t remember the slight but tender kiss he gave on her forehead and finally she didn’t remember the expression in his eyes that finally showed his realisation…. About his true feeling for Ragini.
Kavya : Do you love me, Laksh?
Laksh remained quiet and stared at her. She came forward, unshed tears in her eyes.
Kavya : Tell na Laksh! Do you love me?
Laksh cupped her face and nodded.
Laksh : Yes, I do…
Kavya : But?
Laksh : Not the way you want me to… Not the way you need me to.
Ragini spent the next day calling Laksh a million times to thank him for taking care of her last night. But she never managed to reach him. She grew anxious and became worried as to what had happened to him or if she had said something. That night, the doorbell rang and she opened the door to find Laksh, with his bags. He also had a pizza in his arms.
Instantly Ragini could tell that something big had happened to him. He entered and they began eating the pizza, all the while he spoke about inane stuff like work and her drunkenness. Finally, Ragini brought 2 bottles of beer and 2 tubs of ice cream and he began to spill.
Laksh : I broke up with her.
Ragini was speechless.
Ragini : What?
Laksh (nodding) : We were having many problems and we finally decided to call it quits.
Ragini : But suddenly? Wait….. Was this because of me?
Laksh : No Ragini! Not because of you… Nothing like that.
He clammed up after that. Ragini stared at him. He had never ever kept a secret from her. But now….
Ragini : Do you want another beer? We can get drunk, like old times..
Laksh (offering her a lopsided smile) : I’d love that…
For acquaintances, Everything seemed normal between Ragini and Laksh…. They resumed all the stuff they did before. Breakfasting together… work, dinner…But one thing had changed…. He didn’t move in. He stayed with Sanskaar instead. Gone were the Saturday excursions, the jogs…everything. Before it used to be just the two of them… But now, they never did anything together. Always, a friend joined them… Sanskaar, Toby or Ragini’s friend Swara… Someone was always there.
Ragini was afraid to move back into the past, where it was just the two of them. She could ignore the aching feeling in her heart when they were surrounded by people but it seemed to magnify a thousandfold when they were alone… She couldn’t lessen it… She couldn’t do anything about it. She knew the truth… But she also couldn’t acknowledge it… It would mean the destruction of her friendship, relationship with Laksh and she couldn’t bear that.
So, She made sure they were always surrounded by people. Whenever Laksh came over without calling first, She quickly called few other people and acted like they were supposed to come beforehand.
But Laksh knew the truth. He was slowly becoming frustrated. He wanted to talk to her and snap some sense into her… But another part of him was scared that if he pushed far too much, He might lose her entirely.
And so, he kept mum. He thought he had that much self control… And he did… Until that day..
” I can’t do this! ”
Four simple words…. It sounded easy enough… Certainly anyone could understand. But these four words were attached with grief, tears, self doubt, frustration and self-hatred, that they tore apart Laksh’s heart. He couldn’t have waited any longer.
All he wanted was to resume their Saturday trips… Just the two of them and he had spent the whole of last week trying to subtly convince her. But not she had given her reply and it just about killed him. Last week, it was supposed to be just the two of them. But Ragini had invited a friend at the last minute and instead of spending time with him, she spoke to the friend.
Well, Laksh had had enough.
Laksh had stood in front of Ragini and asked her to go for a trip with only him for which he had a got a four word reply.
Ragini : Laksh! Please…What’s wrong? Why are you being like this?
Laksh (Raising an eyebrow) : Why are YOU being like this? Why are you going further and further apart?
She looked down.
Laksh (quietly) : Ragini! Look at me….
She didn’t want to, but his voice compelled her to look at him.
Ragini : What do you mean? What am I doing?
Laksh : Why are you going away from me? Why can’t you feel this?
Ragini : Feel what?
Laksh (whispering) : This…
And he kissed her…
It was just a gentle caress at first, meant to only reassure Ragini, but soon it increased to a deep meaningful kiss. Laksh pulled Ragini closer, One hand on her hip, the other ruffling her hair. And when Ragini parted her lips, The intensity grew a millionfold. Ragini couldn’t have pushed him away at all… Though she knew what she was doing was wrong.
Finally, the voice of reason spoke to her and she pried herself apart.
Ragini : We can’t do this!
Laksh : Why not?
Ragini : Because it will ultimately end with us apart and I can’t bear that.
Laksh : We haven’t even started. How can you possibly know that?
Ragini : LOOK AT THE WORLD! Everywhere break ups, divorces, friendships torn apart… Can’t you see it?
Laksh : Ragini! That doesn’t have to be us.
Ragini (sarcastically) : No? My parents have divorced and remarried about 4 times now…. They don’t understand what love means. My chachu and chachi are also divorced. My other chachu cheats on his wife… And even you.
She knew she shouldn’t have said that, but she did and his eyes showed how hurt he was.
Laksh : Me?
Ragini : Latika, Sadie, Kavya… None lasted for more than 2 years. And one day, I might join that list. You will break up with me as well.
Laksh : Why do you think I’ll be the one to break up with you?
Ragini : Because it’s the truth.
She knew she was being unreasonable. She knew she was being rude. But the fear that she might lose him… Was too damning… And so she ran. (not literally)
Laksh : Ragini! Take this leap with me… All you need to have is a little faith. Can’t you?
Ragini turned away from him and moved a few steps…
Laksh (again pleading) : Can’t you?
Ragini paused but didn’t answer…
Laksh (for the last time) : Can’t you?
Ragini : Laksh! I can’t do this…
And he left.
She received the invitation by post.
THE SUPERB ART GALLERY INVITES YOU TO ATTEND THE EXHIBIT OF A BUDDING YOUNG PHOTOGRAPHER
Laksh! It had to be….
He was making conversation after 5 months. 5 months of loneliness…
Fear… The fear of losing him later had crippled her that she didn’t realise that she had already lost him. Everyday began and ended with despair.
She had not spoken to him since that day, save one time. They had coincidentally gone to the same restaurant with friends and when Ragini saw Laksh, she followed him until he spoke to her.
Ragini : Samskaar! Won’t you ever talk to me?
Laksh : What do you want Ragini?
Ragini : For us to be friends again… Please..
Laksh : That is not possible.. I have no clue how to act around you… We will be friends the day I learn to love you without being in love with you….
And he had left. Again.
She glanced at the invitation now, thrilled with his success… She debated on whether she had to go or not.. But in the end, she decided to go.. She had to support him.
Just then she saw another package that had arrived with the invite. She opened it and found a disposable camera. Curious, she began to surf through the pictures…
It was pictures of her and Laksh! On their Saturday trips, photos taken in the house… Everything.. All her memories.. present here..
The final picture was the first one that they had taken together… Where he had forced her to smile and he’d promised to be clean for 2 entire weeks.
It was edited and the text read : FIRST PIC WE TOOK! YOU JUST NEED TO HAVE A LITTLE FAITH.. .
And suddenly she was running… Running towards him… Where he was, she didn’t know… But she had taken the leap of faith and she needed to go to him.
As she ran through the streets of New York, she realised that she finally saw the world the way Laksh saw it. Full of colour, grey shades, A wonderful, cheerful world. A happy world which now could include another person… If Laksh was ready to forgive her.
She wondered where he would be. She remembered the invitation again and smiled. The exhibit was tomorrow, But surely the preparation would be going on right now. She was sure she could find Laksh at the gallery and so she ran there. She entered the premises.
And stopped. She looked around the exhibit. From beginning till the end, It was all pictures of her. There were few of Laksh as well and sceneries… But the rest was her. He had taken so many candids of her that she didn’t even know.
And on one end were 5 photos. The same 5 photos which he had given her every New year’s. Her eyes began to moisten. Laksh had showed the whole world how much he loved her and she … She wanted to tell him right now. But he wasn’t there….
Suddenly she heard a little grunt behind her…
He wasn’t there… Or was he?
She turned around to see Laksh there.
Laksh (surprised) : Ragini?
Ragini (walking tentatively towards him) : Remember when you told there are always happy endings?
Ragini : Well, I think I’ve found it… You want to know where?
Laksh nodded again.
Ragini : Hopefully with you… I love you Laksh!
Laksh’s eyes widened with surprise as a mix of emotions was seen in his eyes. First surprise, then shock, then disbelief and finally, seeing the stark honesty in her eyes, unbridled joy. He stepped forward and engulfed her in a gigantic hug.
Laksh : Finally…Finally…. You have no idea just how much I wanted to hear these words from you….. I love you too Ragini… I love you! I love you! I love you….
Ragini smiled. She put his arms around him and held him tightly. They hugged and hugged, Finally getting their happy ending.
Ragini : You want to know how I’m getting my happy ending?
Laksh (smiling knowingly) : You had a little faith….
Ragini (nodding , smiling) : That’s right! I took a leap of faith. Which you convinced me to take. You were right Laksh! Happy endings are possible. All I needed was to have a little faith
ANJALI’S A/N :
Well… That’s it….
Ik it’s too long… It’s not my story… The words are entirely mine… But the idea was told by my friend who has read this in a five shot somewhere..
I’m sorry to make it this long but when my friend told me about this, I went crazy and decided to do a one shot on this….. She helped me with the plot and the idea also isn’t mine….
Only the words are mine. I assure you, I haven’t copied from the original author! But no credit to me…
Ananya’s note : Thank you guys for reading the OS. I am posting this under my name, but Anjali will reply back if you comment.
Credit to: Ananya