So here goes the next one. After the next episode the story will slowly begin to unfold. I hope you people enjoyed this.
As we reached the venue some unknown fear started creeping in me. It was because its been ages since I have attended any parties. I don’t know how people will react seeing me there. Isn’t it funny that the girl who pretends to be unaffected by what people think of her is such a coward? Previously I really never gave a damn about what people thought about me. But now I have so many apprehensions. I don’t know if they will be greeting me nicely or not and with many such doubts now I wished I had not come here. And then suddenly I saw Arjun.
He was breath taking. Dressed in a suit and shirt he was talking on the phone to someone. The sight of him was enough to relax me. I did not know why but as soon as I saw him I became calm. I was no longer panicking. The fear in me disappeared.
“Staring is rude Miss Mishra” Sam whispered.
I glared at her and started walking towards the entrance. I was nearing him. Nearing Arjun.
Slowly his memories started flashing. I started developing in a crush on him from when I was in class 8. It was sports day and Arjun was participating in the running race. He is two years older than me. I was chatting with Neil and Sam. But when the race started I just glanced at the atheletes and at that moment I didn’t know why but on seeing Arjun I had a tickling feeling in my stomach. Yes the same one I had yesterday.
From that day I began observing him and he appeared more and more handsome day by day. I was wondering why I had not noticed him all this while. Arjun and I knew each other but we seldom talked. But Neil and Arjun were best buddies. Though I had met him a few times at Neil’s parties I never took the initiative and talked with him. I did not want him know about my feelings. What if I slip my tounge while talking to him and confess my feelings? So I mostly avoided him as I don’t have a control over what I say. But it was then. Today I speak very carefully. I choose my words with utmost care. I don’t have my dad to protect me from the trouble I invite upon speaking recklessly to people.
Today I am seeing him after 8 years and he has grown more handsome. By this time this tickling feeling should have been gone but it is still there. I began asking myself the same question for which I had no answer. Why am I still having this lingering feeling in me? Brushing all these questions I walked towards him.
He smiled when he saw us. By the time we went near him he completed his phone call and engulfed Neil into a bone crushing hug. I rolled my eyes on their bromance. I know they are best buddies. But they looked like two lost puppies who met after a long time. I know my comparison seems ridiculous but I can’t help but admire their cuteness.
After talking, laughing, cracking jokes, teasing each other with the names of some girls and giving hifi to each other FINALLY they realised that me and Sam are also present there.
“Hey Sam! How have u been?” asked Arjun.
“I was fine until ten minutes ago as I realised that the person who invited me to his party is ignoring me while being very much involved in a conversation with his ONE AND ONLY friend.” Sam scoffed at him.
Arjun gave her a sheepish smile and turned towards me.
“Hello Radhu! Long time its been hai nah. How are u?” he asked.
Both Sam and Neil froze. Their faces became pale and looked towards me. I who have been giving a tiny smile suddenly turned serious. I looked at Arjun with a grave expression while he was looking at all three of us with utmost confusion written on his face.
“Its Radhika,Arjun. Not Radhu. My name is Radhika.” I told him with a stoic expression on my face.
“But you-” Arjun was about to say something but Neil cut him off.
“Hey buddy. Will you keep us waiting at the entrance or will you escort us in?”
“Yah sure. Come on in guys.” Arjun replied.
Arjun and Neil were moving ahead of us while we were behind them. Sam nudged me. I looked at her with a question mark face. She took me to a corner while the boys unaware of this continued to walk.
“He didn’t know Radhika. He had not done it intentionally. Don’t be angry with him.” were Sam’s words.
“I am not angry on him. I know that it is not his fault. That’s why I have not shouted at him but answered him calmly.”
“You answered him calmly but for god’s sake change that expression of yours. Anyone would know that you are miffed.”
“My face is like that. I can’t help it. I can’t give a smile all the time. I rarely smile. If you have a problem with it then don’t look at my face.” I replied rudely.
She sighed. I saw a tinge of sadness in her face but the next moment it disappeared and she back to her chirpy mode.
“Ohh Radhika however bad you may look I will always be looking at your face as I will always be beside in you in all walks of life. Even though u want to avoid me u can’t do that as I will never leave your side and stick to u through thick and thin.”
For a moment I became emotional. I wanted to hug her tight and I wanted to thank her for being my soul sister, for not leaving my side,for bearing my rude behaviour and for doing so many things which cannot be listed. I even wanted to apologise for being rude. She and Neil have done so much for me that I am indebted to them.
But I composed myself and told her that Neil would be worried if he did not find us in the party. She smiled and together we both went inside. The party was in a huge lawn adjacent to the bunglow owned by the Mehras. This was in the outskirts of the city and they came here on vacations. The arrangements were splendid. Of course this is a Mehra party and arrangements will indeed be splendid. I entered into the party looking out for Neil. Even Sam was searching him. And then we spotted him. He was near the bar counter talking with our schoolmates.
School – It gave me many beautiful memories. Schooling was the best part of my life. I had so much fun in school. I was an active girl who was meritorious, chirpy, full of life. In short I used to be a pataka. If my school mates would see me now they will be shell shocked with the 180 degree change in me. I did not want to go there. I did not want to become a topic of discussion among them. So I told Sam that I will sit at one of the tables and told her to meet them.
“It will be impolite Radhika if u see them and don’t greet them. Just say a hi and then we will come back.” Sam said.
I was about to refuse but seeing her pleading look I agreed. This is the least I can do for her. We went to them. My friends all started greeting me and were asking numerous questions. I just answered them in monosyllables. Some of them already started noticing the change in me and began whispering. I looked for Sam. She was seriously engaged in a conversation with one friend. I decided not to disturb her and silently excused myself from the crowd.
But they were not the ones to let go. They forcefully pulled into a conversation in which I was participating with no enthusiasm. After a while even Arjun joined us. We were, no they were talking for about half an hour. I reminded Neil that we had to start in 45 mins.
“What? Its just 9 Radhika. What is the hurry?” Ankit asked.
“Mom is alone at home and I can’t leave her alone for much time. She would not mind but I don’t like it.
Neil and Sam if u guys want u can stay back but I will be leaving. I will tell driver to bring another car and u both can return later.” I told them.
I knew what their answer was going to be. They both will refuse and will only return with me. As expected they sternly discouraged any plans of that sort and told me that all three of us will be going back together. Any amount of pressure or pleading didn’t work on them. So I gave up exhausted. All three of us moved to have our dinner. It was a grand spread. I used to be food lover back then. Neil, Sam and my cousins used to call me bhukkad. But now other than work and company I don’t have love towards anything else.
After completing our dinner Neil and Sam saw some other bunch of our friends. But I was too tired for a conversation so I told them to go ahead and we parted ways.
I searched for a table and finally found an empty one and sat there. I was getting bored. This is why I don’t attend parties. I have stopped socialising with people and I feel bored. But mom is just so stubborn. She never listens to me. With no option left I started fiddling with my phone and when I was seriously involved in clearing the trash messages in my phone I sensed someone was coming towards my table I lifted my head and saw none other than Arjun.
“Hey Radhika!”he said.
“So sorry yaar. I didn’t know u did not like being called Radhu. I hope I have not offended you too much.” he asked with a gentle smile on his face.
“No. You have not done it purposefully so its not a big deal.” I replied and tried hard to smile but couldn’t.
And then followed 2 minutes of silence. While he was silently observing me I went back to my work of deleting messages. I did not know why but he was watching me very keenly and I began to feel very uncomfortable.
And then he got up, excused himself politely and went away. I was relieved. He was probably fed up with my lack of interest in a conversation. I looked at the time. It was 9:40. We had to start. So I got up and began searching for Neil and Sam. At that very moment I came across Mr. Arnav Mehra- Arjun’s father.
Arjun’s father and my father have been aquaintances. Though we were not so close, we were not that distant to not to exchange pleasantaries.
“Hello Radhika beta. How are you?” uncle asked me with a soothing smile on his face.
“How is mom?”
“She is also fine uncle.”
“I have been hearing your praise from many persons. I am very glad that at such a young age you are managing your business very successfully. The main thing everyone infact even me should learn from you is your simplicity. U have inherited that from your father and it is the quality which makes u different from others.” he told me.
I found his praise to be convincing. Unlike others who praise me but who are fiercely jealous of my success, his praise was truthful. Even dad used to tell me that uncle was one of the few people in our social circle whose priciples were striking similar ours.
I gave a little smile to him and thanked him. Sam and Neiljoined me and gave their greetings. We told him that we were starting for home and took his leave.
As we were walking towards the car Arjun came to see us off.
“So guys I hope u enjoyed the party well.”
“Yes we did and thanks for inviting buddy.” Neil replied.
“Thanks????? Neillllll did u forget our classic rule? Friendship mein no sorry and no thank u.”
Arjun’s words reminded me of myself. I used to tell all my friends the same thing. Anyone who apologised or thanked used to recieve a kick from my side as a punishment. But today I thank everyone including my mom. Previously if they used to help me I would hig them or give a light kiss to them but today even for doing my small chores I am thanking them. I have become that formal.
“Okay Sam have a nice day. Bye Radhika.” Arjun waved at me.
I gave a feeble smile and got into the car.
As soon as we got into the car Sam switched on the radio. Some fast beat song was playing and in that excitement Neil started increasing the speed. I yelled and screamed on him. I threatened him that I would get out of the car if he did not decrease the speed. I fear cars. I fear cars rides. I fear speed. And out of all I fear accidents. Before my brain could plunge into deeper of my memories I urged it to go think about something else.
I went back to the memories of the party. Finallyy this got over. From now his path and my path are going to be different. Our paths will never cross and I won’t get to see him again. I feel realxed. But somewhere deep down I wanted to see him again. I was starting to miss him. Infact I was sad that this is going to be the last time I am gonna see him. These many years I never once thoght about him but today I am missing him? No Radhika you cannot do this. Its just because I am idle I am getting such weird thoughts. If I go back to my routine tomorrow I won’t even remember meeting him. I should never deviate from my focus. I should never think of any other thing other than my dad’s dream.
I thought life will be smooth after this. But little did I know that this is the starting of my bumpy ride.
Precap: Arjun’s POV