Because first love is always tricky.
Sakshi looks up; the three of us smile and introduce ourselves. There is an awkward silence and I wait for Naira or Keerti to break it.
“He found the diary.” Keerti points to me.
“Are you sure he is…?!!” Sakshi asks and bursts out crying.
I can’t think of anything to say. We sit around her and wait for her to stop crying. One tissue box after another, she uses up three. She sniffs, sobs and says something which we don’t understand and starts crying again.
“Are you okay ?!!” Naira asks her as soon as Sakshi stops crying.
Her eyes are red by now and there are streaks of dried tears on her face. She is okay – looking, but is dressed sharply and looks smart.
“I am fine.” She answers.
“Do you want something to eat ?!!” Naksh asks.
“No, thank you. Can I see the diary, please ?!!” She asks and looks at me, teary-eyed.
I take the diary out of the backpack and give it to her. She does what everyone does. She holds it, runs her fingers over it, looks at the burnt edges, probably imagines what
might have happened and then sheds a tear.
“Where am I ?!!” she asks, pointing to the diary.
I flip the pages and take her to the page where Virat had first written about her. She is no position to read, so I read it out to her. She clutches my arm and grips it tighter every time Virat writes anything nice about her. I finish and hand over the diary to her. She goes over those portions again and cries some more.
“Keerti told me that you guys met Mahi too ?!!” she asks.
“Yes, we talked to him. He too had no idea that Virat….” Naira starts to say but then trails off.
“How is he ?!!” she asks.
“He’s good. He’s working in Bhopal. He still talks very fondly of you. He really loved you back then.” Naira says.
“I know he did.” she says, and looks sad.
“I was the one who came between them. They were the best of friends.” Sakshi speaks, guilt clearly evident in her voice.
“It’s not really your fault.” I say.
“Mahi was always very jealous of what I used to feel for Virat. He had stopped talking to him. That’s what I think, at least. Though I never told Virat why he had stopped talking to him. I didn’t want to lose him. I was too fond of him. I couldn’t have afforded to lose him, so I let the misunderstanding remain.” She admits.
She wipes off her tears that keep trickling down her cheeks intermittently. I look at her closely and find that she is cuter than Virat’s words describe her to be. As she wipes her tears with her hand, I spot a ring on her ring finger. She clearly doesn’t look married to me. She is too young.
“When was the last time you talked to him ?!!” Naksh asks.
“I had just shifted to Mumbai in October 2015. I had called him up the minute I landed. He took three days to call me back. He had never taken that long to call me back.” she says.
“Have you met Anushka ?!!” Naksh asks and it looks like he has been dying to ask that.
“No, I haven’t and I didn’t want to. I was very excited about shifting to Mumbai. I had called him up that day to say that I loved him. When we had broken up, I’d never thought I would miss him so much. It was puppy love, after all. We were still in touch after school but I didn’t think we had a chance together until we were in the same city. When I got a job here in Mumbai, I thought things would change. But when he called back, before I could say anything, he told me that he was in love with Anushka. I couldn’t say anything I had planned to. After that day, I deleted his number from my phone and never called him again. It was very upsetting for me. He kept calling and texting me for a few days but I didn’t respond. I was trying hard to move on.” Sakshi speaks on length.
“I am sorry.” Naira says and holds her hand.
“Never mind. Although he did call from an unknown number once and I picked up. It was about two or three months after I had first called.” She says further.
“What did he say during that call ?!!” Naksh asks.
“He said he was in Bangalore. He sounded really tense and sad. I had never really seen him like that. But I was busy, so I really couldn’t talk to him.” She said.
“You have that number ?!! You called him back ?!!” I ask.
“I called him back a few days later. But it wasn’t his number. I wanted to tell him that I was getting engaged and wanted to invite him for the occasion.” Sakshi answers.
“You got engaged ?!!” Naira asks.
Sakshi waves the ring. She tells us that she got over Virat only recently. All this while, she had been waiting for him to come back to her. She tells us that she is in love again and we congratulate her. We wish her the best of luck for her wedding and her life after
“Can you give us that number ?!!” Naksh asks.
She nods, scrolls through her phonebook and fetches the number. Naksh notes it down on a piece of paper. I notice that it’s a landline number with a Bangalore area code.
Naksh notices that too. He looks at me and we exchange a look. We both have guessed which number it could be.
She looks at us and asks, “Why are you doing this ?!!”
None of us has an answer.
“We just want Anushka to know.” Naira says.
“If you find her, tell her that she is really lucky.” Sakshi says.
If anything, Anushka has to be one of the unluckiest girls ever as Virat is anyway dead now. But yes, she will know that someone loved her like crazy. That means a lot.
“Sakshi, do you know anybody who might know Virat’s whereabouts ?!! Or Anushka’s?!!” I ask her out of desperation.
She checks her social networking profiles to find if Virat is in anybody’s friend list. He isn’t.
Another dead end.
“I wish I could help you guys.” she says, disappointed.
“Never mind, Sakshi.” I say and smile at her.
“I will let you know if I get to know something.” she says.
We talk to her for a little while more and then get her a taxi. She still hadn’t stopped crying. It was a shock for her. It would be for anyone.
The first love of her life was dead, blown to bits.
Precap : When the distance grows.
Firstly, I am so sorry for the late update. Today was my best friend’s birthday and so I was busy the whole day planning surprises for her. So I couldn’t find the time to write and update it.
Also I would be updating another chapter in about an hour. So just stay tuned.
Do comment. Keep smiling. Keep watching Yrkkh !!