SWASAN OS – The interview
For the Champion OS competition
Hope you guys like it
Nobody understood why I volunteered for it. Nobody understood that I had to do it.
I was losing my mind. Everyday was torture without him. But now, When my boss came and told that he needed a volunteer to go and interview famous singer Sanskaar Mehra, I raised my hand immediately.
My boss was concerned. He was the only one who knew my history with Sanskaar, but I waved aside his cautious advice and concerns. I insisted that I was the best journalist and he couldn’t do better than me. Finally my boss caved.
The day of the interview approached. I asked for a dark room. I didn’t want Sanskaar Mehra to see me yet. I may not look like the girl he had once known. I didn’t have short hair, I wore kajal and a bindi but even with all these changes, Sanskaar would know me once he looked into my eyes. I was sure of this.
No matter how much I changed my appearance, he would know my eyes. He spent a long enough time looking into them, and writing about them. He did have a flair for writing as well as singing after all.
I entered the room and set my recorder and cell phone on a desk. I sat in my chair and waited, crossing my legs and shaking my foot up and down. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, exhaling deeply. I needed to put on my journalist face. It was the only way I would survive the interview. It wasn’t actually an interview, Sanskaar Mehra wanted to tell some of his secrets.
I had always imagined this day, and finally it was here. I would know him again. I would be the one he spilled his secrets to, and he wouldn’t even know it was me.
I disappeared from Parna soon after he left. Nothing was the same without him there and I had to get away from there. I changed my name, changed my looks. I made sure he wouldn’t be able to find me ever again, just like I promised him. He had chosen his career over me. I didn’t blame him. Music was always his true love, I didn’t even try to compete with it, I didn’t want to. Music made him come alive more than anything.
The happiness a kid gets when someone buys him ice cream? The same happiness was doubled or even tripled on Sanskaar’s when he performed. Whether it was for a friend’s birthday or school function or just a get together. His eyes sparkled like the stars. How could I even want to steal that from him?
As I continued to muse about the past, The door opened and he entered. I looked up, though I could only see his silhouette. “If you take a few steps forward and feel to your left there is a chair Mr. Mehra,” I said in my professional voice.
I didn’t even sound the same as I had back then, so he wouldn’t recognize my voice. I watched as he found the chair and sat back in it. Now it was just him, me and the darkness around us.
“Well, This is certainly different from my other interviews”, His amused voice filled my ears. His voice had become better and deeper with the years and I loved it.
“You asked for the interview so that you could reveal your secrets, Mr Mehra. I thought you would feel more comfortable talking if you thought there wasn’t another person here listening.” If he requested to turn the light on, I would deny it. This would be the only way for it to work.
“This is an excellent idea. It feels like home. I tell the darkness everything, it’s perfect. Of course, the darkness has never talked back before,” he said with a laugh. I smiled.
“No, I wouldn’t suppose it would, shall we get started?” I asked him, turning on my recorder.
“Ofcourse, Let’s,” he agreed.
“Why did you call for an interview? And why choose our magazine, Mr Mehra?”, I started off with.
“The answer to your second question is easy. I had a bundle of magazines who wanted an interview with me, and when I decided that I had to share some information about myself, I went to them and did eenie-meanie-miney-mo,” he chuckled. “It’s how I choose things when I’m indecisive, which is always,” he admitted. I couldn’t believe he still did that. He had gotten that habit from me.
My mouth curved into a smile as he continued talking.
“I have a lot of stuff I need to get off my chest. That’s the main reason I called for this interview.”
“Ofcourse Mr Mehra! Did you want me to ask you questions, or did you just want to talk?”, I asked.
“What is your name?” He asked.
I thought about giving him my original name, but no, that would be too dangerous.
“Helly, my name is Helly,” I said quietly.
“Helly?” It sounded like he was testing the name on his lips. “This is my problem, Helly is a beautiful name, but it just doesn’t sound right on my tongue. Only one woman’s name will ever sound right on my tongue, and I don’t dare let myself say it too often,” he said with a sigh. My heart sped up.
“In all the songs that you’ve written yourself, it’s always about a girl. Is this the same girl?”
“Yes! I write all my songs only about her. They are all for her. Everything for her.”
“Would you be willing to give us her name?” I asked. I hoped he would. All those nights knowing, yet still wondering if the songs were about me had driven me mad.
“Maybe later, but you can try guessing. Her name means sound,'” he said.
“Is she who you wanted to talk about today?” I asked.
“Everything comes back to her, Helly, no matter what. Everything comes back to one girl, in one small town, a very long time ago,” his voice was sad. “She was everything to me, second only to music,” he laughed but there was no true feeling there. “That was one of the things I loved about her. She knew that my music would always come first in my life, and she accepted it. I have never met anybody else who accepted that.”
“How did you meet her?” I asked. My heart was pounding so loud, I was sure he could hear it across the room.
He chuckled, sending a warm feeling throughout my body.
“I was just a thirteen year old boy living in Parna village when she shifted there with her parents. She was very quiet, very shy and the most innocent person I had ever met. Even my younger sister was more corrupt than her. When I first saw her, I thought she was the prettiest girl I had ever seen.
When she first joined our school, Everyone made fun of her for her shy nature. She was the “new” girl. Everyone ragged her. Soon though, everyone realized how nice she was despite the verbal abuse.
“It took me a full four months to approach her,” he stopped and laughed a little. His laugh was empty though, I had yet to hear his true laugh through all of this.
“Our village may have been small but the school was common for three districts so it was big and there were many students. We both joined the same music group. I was so hesitant to talk to her. You wouldn’t believe it now, But that time, I loved having long hair and tying it into a stylish pony. I had no sense of style and usually imitated my favourite movie star from that week.”
I had to stop my laugh from bursting out of my throat here, I was remembering him. Little did he know I had noticed him since I first went to the school.
“Tell me more, Mr Mehra,” I said.
“She was from a slightly well to do family so she knew how to play the piano. She was so damn good at it. I use to watch her fingers move across the keys, playing it like it was an extra part of her body, I wished to be that piano, even at thirteen years old,” he sighed here.
“There was a music competition a few months later. We were waiting for the results in the school’s play area and she was sitting alone. I went over to her, my heart practically trying to pound it’s way out of my chest. I sat down across from her and smiled. She returned my smile hesitantly and I noticed her eyes for the first time. If they weren’t the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen I will give you all my money,” he said.
“You’ve written about them, Right?” I asked. My eyes were watering slightly from him going over our memories.
“it’s hard not to write about her eyes. When she looked at you it was like, she was taking in your whole being. Not just your outward appearance, but your soul… Except for with me, because I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t have a soul. But she could read me. She could tell what was going on inside of my head, and my heart without me having to tell her. She knew me. She’s the only person who has ever been able to understand me.”
I smiled, my eyes still tearful and asked him to continue.
“Everyone another person to be able to know what they’re all about without actually having to put it into words. But, I’m not sure that they understand how vulnerable that makes you. I could never pretend I was okay when I wasn’t. I couldn’t pretend to be happy to make her feel better. I tried a few times, to deny the anguish I was feeling over something that had happened. She never let me. We had the most honest relationship that is possible just because I couldn’t lie to her. I’ve never been more open with somebody in my life.”
“How did that make you feel”, I asked in a tone that almost sounded normal. Almost.
“It terrified me. But it made me feel more alive, more at peace with everything, than I’d ever felt before.”
“Did you know how she felt? Could you tell?” I knew the answer but I wanted him to tell me. I tried thinking as if I were a third party who had no idea about anything that went on. It was one of the hardest things I had to do, because I was so lost in memories.
“For the most part. I’m definitely not as good of a people reader as she was. I guess I’m self-centered and didn’t really care what anyone else felt. She and I were polar opposites for the most part. But I did care about her, I loved her more than anyone else. That’s probably the only reason I came anywhere close to reading her. She didn’t like talking about her problems though,” he paused and I could picture the look in his eyes even though I couldn’t see him.
“Did you ever learn about her problems?”, I asked even though it may prove to be dangerous.
“I tried getting her to talk to me, and on rare occasions she would. But she preferred to shut me up with her mouth when I asked those kinds of questions. But that didn’t come until later. Not much later, but still, later,” he said quietly.
“I’m sorry Mr. Mehra, please continue where you left off in her story,” it was so hard to talk to him in the professional voice when I wanted to talk to him like he was my oldest friend.
“Call me Sanskaar”, He paused.
“It was weird being in a village and calling ourselves boyfriend and girlfriend. Maybe others judged us but we were city children who had come here. I don’t think it mattered to us. We continued talking, she was funny but shy, and almost every time I talked she would blush. Hell, I would never get tired of that blush, not even years after I met her.”
“It was so nerve-wracking ,you know, The day I asked her to be my girlfriend. I was so nervous, Sure she would say no. But then she said yes and looked at me with her soft eyes. t’s kind of funny to look back and see how I’ve progressed. Now I just have to look at a girl the right way and she’ll come to me and I have no problem with talking or touching. Back then I stuttered a lot and couldn’t even hug the girl of my dreams,” he said with a laugh. I felt the small pang of jealousy when he mentioned other girls, but I wasn’t stupid, I knew he’d probably been with tons of girls since me. He was a rock star it was what was expected of him. And he needed some way to fill the emptiness.
“I’ve seen you on stage Mr. Mehra, you have so much charisma it’s amazing,” I couldn’t make myself call him Sanskaar. The way his name rolled off of my tongue tasted too good and I would want to say it in a more intimate situation like I use to. He obviously ignored the fact that I had called him Mr. Mehra even after he asked me to call him .
“Music, it makes me come alive like almost nothing I’ve ever felt. That’s how I get out of myself. I become a different person. I’m no longer Sanskaar, yet I am at the same time. On stage it isn’t really me, yet at the same time… It is. I’m sure none of this is making sense, but she would understand me,” he said and I heard the longing in his voice with the last sentence. He was right, I did understand him.
“Things were looking good. We were growing up together, growing out of the weird immature phase and becoming young adolescents. We grew together, and we grew closer. We went through hardships and had plenty petty fights. Who doesn’t? Nobody is perfect. Then my uncle came and introduced me to my teacher. That started my love for music and singing. I was never really good at anything before that. I’m not smart, I don’t play sports which was what my school was all about, I just didn’t have anything else going for me. So I practiced a lot, learned how to read tabs, and started making my own music and practiced singing everyday.”
“She was with me through everything. She was supportive and understanding. She knew how important learning the music was to me. She sat with me some days, curled up on my bed, doing homework or just watching me as I practiced. She would make me food and bring me drinks, all without me even asking her to. Like I said, she could read me and knew when I was hungry or thirsty. She was my miracle, my saviour But, no matter how much I was into my music, I made time for her. Sure, we were sort of spending time together when I was practicing and she was doing whatever, but I made ‘us’ time. I took her out to the village melas and we went for walks, spent some time in the fields or whatever. I made sure she never felt neglected.”
“When we were 17, I got my first offer to sing in a nearby town. I was so excited. The night I found out I snuck over to her house and we celebrated. I’ll never forget that night. It was the first time we admitted our love to each other. We had been together for four years. I had never even been tempted to cheat, and I doubt she had either. I knew what we had was real, even at the young age of seventeen. ”
“School went on but I didn’t care. My career was music and music alone. I dropped out of school and refused to apply to any colleges. I was a huge hit in the nearby towns and thought I could make it big. I asked Swara to come with me. Her parents were useless and had no time for their daughter, not even when they were sober. That was the problem Swara was facing. Well, I guess I let her name slip. No matter, now everybody knows and maybe someone who reads this will know her. Maybe she will read the article, who knows,” my heart skipped a beat when he said my name. I felt like flying or falling, I couldn’t tell which. It sounded so beautiful coming from his lips.
“Anyway,” he went on, ignoring the pain I could sense in him, the pain that just my name had caused.
“We were 18 now. She had just finished high school and was going to go to college for journalism. I asked her to come with me. I told her about my dreams. She was happy for me, but not completely. There was a sadness in her eyes. She asked me for some time and I knew that something drastic was going to happen. Something I wouldn’t like.”
“What happened then?”, I asked even though I felt like my heart was being stabbed by pins.
“We met near the lake the next morning. I started thinking that maybe the night before was all in my head. She gave me a kiss on the side of my head. I still remember the conversation like it was yesterday. Every word, every expression. I remember it all.”
FLASHBACK – SANSKAAR POV
“When are you leaving?”, She asked me. I noticed how she used to word you instead of we.
“WE are leaving in a month, Swara.” She shook her head, eyes not meeting mine.
“Sanskaar, I can’t go with you,” she said quietly. I could hear the sorrow in her voice. I knew she was making a hard decision.
“Swara! Why not? You know we’ve been together during my entire music practice and career.”
“I’m going to college. I don’t want you to have to support me through life. I need to do something for myself,” she said. She still wouldn’t look at me. I could practically feel my heart breaking in my chest.
“Swara! Please”, I begged her. “Surely we can think of something that works out? ”
She knelt down and cupped my face in her arms. I could see her eyes finally and it nearly broke me. The pain in them.
“Compromise isn’t good for the long run. You’re going to be famous. You’ll have photoshoots and recording timings and everything. Even if I take online classes and join college there, I would be distracted by your career. I wouldn’t go anywhere in life and rely on my rock star boyfriend if I wanted anything. And there are going to be tons of girls begging for you, you could get sick of me, and then what do I do? I’d be homeless, jobless, and have no education under my belt. This is what’s going to be best for me Sanskaar,” she said in a firm tone.
The tears came then. But not from her, From me. I knelt down as well and hugged her.
“Please Swara, I could never get sick of you. I love you. There will never be anyone else for me. I can’t do this by myself. I need you,” I cried into her.
She hugged me back tightly. Then she pushed back and looked at me. “Sanskaar, listen to me. You don’t need me. Everything you’ve done, you’ve done on your own. You’re strong. Your music makes you stronger. I have absolute faith in you. You’ll live your dream. Eventually you’ll forget about me. You’ll move on. You have wanted this since we were fourteen years old. You have to go, this is the next chapter in your life. I’m not going to be a part of it. But know, I’ll be supporting you from where ever I am. I’ll always believe in you, I’ll always love you. I love you so much, My Sanskaar. But… I can’t be with you anymore.”
I knew it was finally the end. Six years I had dedicated to this woman, and it was finally over.
“Will I see you after college? Will you ever come back to me again? You’ll be an amazing journalist. It would work”, I tried convincing her.
Swara shook her head. ” Sanskaar, sweetheart! You and I might never meet again. We are leading different paths from now on. Don’t cling on to the past. Live your life. Move on. We can’t guarantee that we’ll be together again.”
I felt cold in that moment. A cold worse than being out in a snow storm naked. I would say numb, but I wasn’t that lucky. I could feel the pain coursing through my veins. I could feel the space where my heart was, emptying. I could feel a part of me dying. But I gathered myself.
“Then I guess we will make this month the best one possible,” I said and kissed her.
“And then you left Parna to begin your music career. Did you ever go back to find her?”, I asked, broken by the pain in his voice while telling me about that day. I struggled to keep my voice normal.
“She was telling the truth when she said that I would never see her again. I’ve looked everywhere. I went to her house, not that it did any good. She hated her parents and probably just left home. She loved her nani though. but nani refused to tell me anything. She told me she had promised Swara.”, he continued. “She ditched all her friends, never answered their calls, according to them. But I looked until I finally gave up. The only good part about all of this Even from far away she’s still my muse. And I know she kept her promise, she wasn’t one to break them. Wherever she is, she is supporting me wholeheartedly. I’m sure she did something great with her life. If I could only see her again… Maybe she’ll read this. Maybe she’ll come back to me. My phone number hasn’t changed since I’ve known her. I feel like, maybe if I get some closure, I can let go,” he said. His voice was so broken that I was crying silently. It had been years since I had cried. The last time was when he left and I walked out of Parna, never looking back.
“Do you really feel like closure would help?” I asked, my voice shaky. I sniffed as quietly as I could. He was silent for a good long while.
“I understand now why she didn’t want to come with me. She wanted to be independent. We were just 18. It was too big a decision to make. Our lives could have changed in so many ways. Maybe Swara could have fallen in love with someone else. Maybe I could have fallen in love with someone else. I won’t say that this time apart was nonsense because it isn’t. Every second that goes by, I love her even more. Every cell in me yearns for her. Who knows, If we had been together, We might have broken up. I don’t mind that we both weren’t together. but I just want her to come back. I think, that if I saw her again… I would hold on and never let go. I would do anything to be with her again. I’d quit music if I needed to. I’d do anything at all,” his voice was earnest and I couldn’t help myself.
I got out of my chair and went over to the light switch. I flipped it on and met his startled eyes. He blinked once, then another time and a third time for good measure.
There was a moment of confusion before his whole body tensed and he started breathing deeply. I couldn’t look away. I had seen pictures but they didn’t do him justice. His hair was black and stylish. His clothes, the ultimate casual wear – T-shirt, a blazer and jeans. His sunglasses were on top of his head. I saw that near his collar bone, an outline of something that sort of looked like a tattoo.
I’m not sure how long we stared at each other. Slowly, almost as if he was wary of scaring me off, he stood. He was so tall, taller than he was even at eighteen. I came up to only his chest. He walked towards me slowly and reached out a hand. He touched my cheek with his fingers. I closed my eyes and sighed, a few tears slipping from the cracks in my eyes.
“It’s really you?” He asked, amazed. I nodded, not opening my eyes to look at him again. “Swara?” His voice was soft and broken, it brought more tears to my eyes.
“Sanskaar,” I stated. It had been years since his name had slipped past my lips. It felt so good and natural now. I opened my eyes to see that tears were running down his face. He pulled me to him so quickly I couldn’t react. His arms went around my body and he clung to me. I breathed in and smelled the familiarity of him. I hesitantly reached up and put my arms around his waist. He hung on tighter.
“I’ve searched everywhere,” he whispered.
“I didn’t want you to come after me.”, I whispered back.
“I needed you to fulfill your dream. I needed to fulfill mine. I didn’t want our love to stand in the way of our dreams. I… I wanted to be ready for you.”
“Oh my sweetheart!”, He lifted me and spun me around until I was giggling uncontrollably.
“I meant what I said, I’m never going to let you go now,” he said with conviction.
My breathing stopped for a minute. But I knew I was ready for him again. I had been since I let him go. I shouldn’t have done it. But I was glad I did. If I hadn’t I never would have been able to find myself, to get myself through college, to learn to be independent. Things wouldn’t be right and I’d feel useless. It was worth it. There was nothing standing in my way.
“I’m never going to let you let me go,” I whispered. A smile, bright and blinding smile lit up his face. He leaned towards me and automatically I turned my face up towards his and met his mouth. I could feel all of the pent up emotion in that kiss. I could feel his emotions were true. I knew that he loved me and hadn’t lied about anything. And I knew I still loved him, maybe even more than I had before. We were one again and I wasn’t going to let it go for the world.
Many of you may wonder why Swara chose to break all ties with sanskaar.. even after college.
i wrote it that way because it made sense to me. At 18, you may find ur true love.. But unless you have a comfortable career as well, resentment and hatred may build up. it’s not true for everyone , I know. But being just 19 myself, I would have done the exact same thing Swara did.
Let your love free. As long as it’s true, It’ll come back to you.
just my opinion.. criticisms are welcomeee..
FOR THE CHAMPION OS COMPETITION
No more posts.. Until 11th may.. then i’ll post snfm… hopefully 😛 😛
Love you all!!!