Posted February 2, 2010on:
The mobile rang third time. Ashu looked at the number and sighed heavily. He dreaded talking to his elder brother. He had shifted to this country just to be away from him but he knew he couldn’t ignore his phones. He adored Ashu like his own son.
“Hello Ashu, how are you? I just called to confirm your visit for the wedding! I am not going to hear any excuse this time.”
“But bhaiya…” Ashu trailed off. He wasn’t sure what reason to give for not attending his only niece’s wedding. It was more than twenty years since he had gone home.
“Nothing doing! As I said, no excuses this time. We have never discussed but I know that there is something on your mind which kept you away from home for so long. Not anymore! Past is past. You come home and bless your niece.”
Past is past… what did he mean by that? Did bhaiya know? How am I going to face him?, thought Ashu nervously.
Ashu sighed and disconnected the call.
He went back to the day when he had seen her the first time. Oh, how beautiful and serene she looked! Her long dark hair, bright shining eyes and shy smile… everything was bewitching. He understood the meaning of “love at first sight” for the first time. He kept on staring at her and was flustered when he was shaken out of his reverie. Bhaiya was asking him something but all he could do was, give him a silly grin. He was almost dragged out of the room before he made a spectacle of himself.
Once in the car, on the way back home, bhaiya asked in conspiratorial whisper, “Did you like her?” That single question brought him back to reality from his dream world. He had forgotten that they had gone to see the girl for bhaiya not him. Bhaiya seemed to like her too. It seemed to him that his world was crashing down around him. His disappointment felt unnaturally over-blown to even him. He shook his head as if trying to clear his thoughts and tried to enthuse himself for bhaiya’s sake. How he wished then, that bhaiya would not like her!
As he got to know her more, he started liking her even more for she was not just a beautiful face but was affectionate, intelligent and had an uncanny sense of humour. She was everything a man would want in a partner, and some more. In his heart he knew that bhaiya and she made a perfect couple, perfect in every sense and yet he couldn’t bring himself to see her as sister-in-law.
On the day of their wedding she looked like some goddess. He just couldn’t take his eyes off her. He wasn’t even worried that someone from the family or the guests might notice his blatant stare.
Post wedding days were increasingly getting difficult. Oddly, he never felt jealous of bhaiya but at the same time he craved for more time with her. He learnt to handle his love for her, he kept it brimming at the edge but he took care not to overflow it.
Time flew by with things falling into place. Their routine got set with all three of them going to their work almost at the same time and since her office was on his route he would drop her on most days. She would chatter away to glory and he would smile and nod as and when required.
He thought he had outgrown the romantic love for her till one day he saw her standing in the balcony trying to dry her freshly washed hair. “Sultry”, was the only word came to his mind. And he sighed. He did not know what got into him. Something was pulling him to her. He wanted to have her in his arms, wanted to kiss her senseless, wanted to hug her so tight that she would beg to take her completely. He advanced towards her without even realizing what he was doing. As he went near her he could breathe in her lovely scent. He caressed her hair. She got startled and faced him with her usual smile. But one look at his lust filled eyes ignited fire in hers. Her smile was inviting… but before he could advance she slapped him, hard. Not the force of her slap but the burning coal in her eyes shamed him. He turned around and left.
That was the last day they interacted. She never talked to him again. He wanted to apologize, wanted to be forgiven. He wanted her to know that he never had any intention of harming her in any way. What happened on that fateful morning was a moment of weakness. But she never gave him any chance. She never, probably, told anything to bhaiya but Ashu could never see in his eyes again.
He knew he could not stay with them any longer; he did not have the guts to face her everyday. He did not want to face her ever; and so he not only left the house and the city, he left the country and had not gone back since. It was more than twenty years since he last saw her. If only she would once say that she forgave him, just once…
Hey guys, I just had to post a story. I couldn’t keep away from you people for long however busy life may be. I don’t promise to be very regular but will definitely write as much as possible. Missed you tremendously!!