You know how it is, especially for a North Indian girl in India. The moment she comes of age, parents get worried. Marriage becomes the be all and end all of life. Sometimes, when I think about it, I don’t feel so bad. Parents are justified in their thinking when it comes to their only child, and not too many close relatives around whom they can count on. So I didn’t feel very bad when they seemed a bit too pushy at times. Also, living alone in a different city, working your ass off, with very little time on hand for socializing, would give them plenty of reasons to worry. So that time, when I went home to visit them, I decided to heed to their advice. I wasn’t ever closed to the thought of a relationship and then marriage, but I just didn’t have the time.It was the perfect date, and then.. ! #Fiction #lovestory #tragedy Click To Tweet
At their insistence, I opened an account on the latest dating site – DateforLife.com (hmm, seems I wasn’t ready for marriage yet, that’s why I consciously avoided the wedding sites). At times, when I did get some breathing space at work, I must admit that I did go through the dating site to figure if there was someone who I could go out with. Nah, I am a pretty girl (many have told me that) and had received many proposals too – some direct, some indirect. It’s just that I was yet not sure how to handle them. So I decided it was best to start looking on my own. As I browsed through the site, I came across this great looking guy who was based in my own city. Something about him tickled my insides, and I yet did not find the courage to ping him or send him a message. “Maybe next time”, I told myself and closed the window to drown myself in work.
It was pretty late when I left office. I didn’t check my blackberry till I reached home. It’s only after dinner that I sat on the couch watching television that I decided to look at my phone. My heart skipped so many beats at once when I saw an email from the dating site. I am not sure whether it was due to an algorithm that tells people who was browsing through their profile, or was it sheer luck (is that how I feel about this guy already?), but whatever it was I did get excited. The email said that he was impressed by my profile and whether I would be open to a coffee date sometime. I blushed and this time I replied, without a second thought. I said yes! Within the next five minutes I heard another ping on the blackberry, from Ravi again. He sent his mobile number, asked me for mine, also asking me whether I was free to meet the coming weekend. I replied back with my number and a positive reply, and the conversation ended with another ping, “Speak to you tomorrow, pretty girl. Sleep tight.” Well well, that was enough reason to be awake all night!
Promptly, the next morning, as promised, I received a call from him. It is always good to know the face and the voice too. I felt myself floating in the air, blushing away to glory; his voice was so mesmerizing. And the killer was that I received a compliment for mine. We decided the date, time and place of our meeting, which was three days away. It was again a good enough reason for me to have three more sleepless nights in a row. Of course the daily message exchange just built the anticipation and anxiety to meet Ravi. There was a nice ring in his name and I couldn’t wait for Saturday evening to arrive within the next hour. Did I mention that I must have looked through my wardrobe at least a hundred times to find the perfect dress? Finally I decided on my staple dressing. Blue jeans, white shirt, red scarf, red heart neck piece, red ballet shoes and red bangles. Perfect!
We met at Starbucks at the appointed hour on Saturday. It was almost like a déjà vu situation. I think I acted like the silly school girl who felt her first crush and was dying beneath it. He was so charming, well dressed, the perfect gentleman who would pull the chair to sit his lady down. Needless to say his charm worked wonders on me. In the beginning I couldn’t help but act coy, not for the sake of ‘acting’ but that’s how I felt. But in no time, I felt a comfort that I had never felt before even in a friend’s company. The initial seconds and then minutes of anxiety and apprehension disappeared in no time and soon the minutes turned into a few hours. We both didn’t realize where and how time flew and finally it was time to part ways. I didn’t want to, and after reading all those Mills and Boons stories during school and college days, I had this weird idea of calling him home. But then I didn’t have the courage and while he did drop me home, gave a peck on my cheek to bid goodbye, I was happy!
Back at home, I felt a hint of regret for not inviting him over. But then I thought I should act like the grown up girl I was and give it time to see where it goes. Nonetheless we chatted through messages for the next couple of hours after he reached home, and all I can say is that it was the most perfect date I could ever had dreamed of. They say patience bears sweet fruit. I now knew why. He was the perfect partner I would ever have. And the best part was that he was totally taken by me too. He couldn’t take his eyes of me the entire evening. Lucky girl, na?
The next few days were very busy ones for me especially. I had a product launch coming up and meeting Ravi was next to impossible. But we exchanged messages morning, afternoon, evening and night; and spoke as and when it was possible. A week passed this way, and undoubtedly, it was one of the happiest weeks of my life. We decided to meet the coming Wednesday since he was traveling on the weekend. He had already promised to go with his friends on a hiking trip and felt bad to turn them down last minute. I thought that wouldn’t have been fair either and I could wait a few more days. The weekend passed and I didn’t hear from him at all. I tried messaging first and then lost count of the number of calls I made, but no answer. Initially the calls went through after which the mobile was switched off. I was terrified. I couldn’t focus on anything and I didn’t know what to do. Wednesday passed too! He was not the types who would make a lady wait. What might have happened then? I also feared that he met a better girl on the trip and didn’t want to see me again. Silly thoughts of a silly and emotional fool! I decided not to be negative and that I would go over to his office the next day itself.
The next day, I took an early lunch and quickly drove towards his office. I had butterflies in my tummy. What if my worst nightmare of Ravi having found another ‘pretty girl’ was true? Hush, I told myself, I would know in a few minutes. I parked, walked up the two flights that took me to his office and waited for the receptionist to call me, as she was busy on the phone. Finally she did and I told her I was there to see Ravi and that I was his friend. On taking Ravi’s name, the color of her face faded completely. Was she the one? She was a pretty girl after all. There was silence and those few seconds seemed like hours to me. I smiled and asked again if I could meet Ravi. “Sorry” she replied, “he’s no more.”
“Oh, you mean he hasn’t come to work today?” I asked without even realizing what she said.
“Ravi is no more, ma’am. He met with a fatal accident last weekend and died on the spot. I am very sorry. We did try and inform as many of his friends as we could.”
I didn’t even know how to react. It couldn’t possibly be true. How!! No no, this was absurd. He was so fit, so charming, so good, how could he do this to me? How can someone like him die in a fatal accident? No, how could someone like him die? Oh my god… I felt as if I would pass out that very moment. My entire world had come crumbling down. I sat down on the nearest chair. The receptionist realized I was shocked and immediately called for water. I felt as if my heart stopped pumping, I couldn’t breathe. All I could think of was how could he?
I tried to gain control of myself. Driving had suddenly become the most difficult task. I couldn’t go back to work. I messaged my boss telling him I had taken ill and decided to go home and cry. And cry I did for the whole afternoon, evening and night. I couldn’t bring myself to eat or drink. Being a loner of sorts I really had no one to talk to except my mum. When I saw the watch it was 2 a.m. and I thought it wasn’t right to call her and disturb her then. Somehow I cried myself to sleep only to wake up crying in the morning. Going to office was next to impossible. It was a Friday morning and all I wanted to do was run into my mother’s arms. I called in sick again, opened my laptop, and booked a flight ticket to go home. I have no idea how I managed it, but I did reach home in one piece. My parents were shocked to see me in that state, but sweet as they were, they just let me be.
It was only the next morning that I could finally speak up. I told them about Ravi and his tragic demise. My mother held me tight as she cried with me silently. My father patted my head and walked out of the room, leaving the two of us to grieve together. The day passed slowly, and then others passed a bit faster than that. I went back to my city and back to work, knowing that time would heal my deep wound. I tried to distract myself as much as I could. I didn’t know Ravi’s family but I did write to the dating side informing them about his tragedy. They were not aware and pulled out his profile the very next day. And as I grieved over for the next few months, I wondered how much of my grief was for him and how much of it was just grief for myself?
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