She smiled, gazing at her best friend, the most beautiful bride, no she didn’t mean the outer beauty, it was something about the inner beauty too. The radiance that glowed on her face when she looked at herself in the mirror and she blushed lovingly. It was the beauty that naturally came when one was in love and happy.
She can’t help herself from the lingering thought of him. Once when he had told her she was driving him crazy and he would want to marry her and love to have a wife like her, she too had felt an emmotion akin to the bride she was staring at right now. Unfortunately, for her, that moment had died even before it could fully come to life.
“Common stop blushing, thinking about all that special moments you are going to have tonight.” The bride’s sister winked at her best friend, who was instead freaking out with nervousness.
“Shut up!” Aish snapped nervously, heaving a sigh.
“Common aish, I have seen you all this days, dreaming, blushing and what not thinking about him. Chupi rustom. Just look at this pictures, you smiling without reason and guess what? Just wait, i am gonna forward this pictures to jijz and tell him about your secret.” She joined their conversation, mischievously.
“You what? Hah. And what if i find you a groom in this wedding? Will that be a deal to keep my little secret?” Her bestie joked.
“That’s not possible.” She replied after a moment of silence, the atmosphere in the happy room transfering to a tensed one, as her tone indicated she wasn’t joking anymore.
“And why is that so?” Her best friend’s sister, afiya challenged, but looking at her blank expression, understanding dawned on her and she replied hurriedly, “Holy crap, you are getting engaged soon, that slipped from my mind totally.”
Since she had someone else in her mind when she had uttered the earlier sentence, she blinked back the tears, until she finally realised who afiya was referring to was not the one who managed to conquer his thoughts even without knowing it.
“Yeah, exactly.” She announced, more to herself while ignoring the wound in her heart which suffered another attack.
She excused herself, at the beeping of her phone. “Salam, mamma! Watsup?”
“Salam, are you asking me? That’s my question actually, whats up with you that you had called me only twice in the past six days.”
“My another friend here is engaged, who you know is addicted to her fiancé completely, yet had not talked to her fiancé once this days. Shouldn’t you feel lucky mom?”
“What is it to feel lucky? Mom comes above fiancé. Ok forget that you should have atleast sent me a whatsup message.”
“It’s whatsapp mum.” She shaked her head at the typical desi pronunciation.
“Be it a whatsapp or whatsup all are same. You should have atleast messaged me asking whatsup.”
“Cool. No problem. Your message is on the way.” In the past 18 years of her life, it was for the first time she was alone, far away from her mom. And the worry evident in her voice was enough to remind her that.
“And the message must be cool too. No boring stuff like take care maa and all that. Ok?” Her mum commanded.
“What exactly you want me to type, say me that too.” She smiled back noting her mamma’s instructions.
“How about you tell me, Mammah bear i bought you a whole of lonavala’s caves?”
She literally threw her head back and covering her mouth with another hand as she laughed, and as her gaze fell on the closed glass window in the mirror her heart felt content this time, as her real smile was still alive, sometimes.
“Now i know why i never liked to watch cartoons as a kid.” She retorted.
“Yeah because you knew i was always enough to fulfil that role too in your life.” Her mother chuckled from the other end.
“I am not even saying anything like that.” she replied back immediately, the smile still lingering over her lips.
“Alright beautiful, now keep that smile of your sticked to your lips and call me when ever you get free.”
“And what if i don’t get free to call you at all in the next two days?”
“Then i will call you when i am free to keep you smiling like this.”
“Deal.” She chuckled, and as her other friends entered the room with loud noices she hung up.
She stood at the far end. As she had no appetite left and after making her best friend who was bride herself, comfortably sit on the most beautiful, royal style sofa, she had slipped out of that place, where literally every single person simmed too happy.
“Sana!” She turned on the voice of sara, their another best friend, who had specially come to attain aish’s wedding even when she was expecting a baby within two months.
“Yes.” She said and walked towards her, to help her with so many bags which were in her hands.
“Where are you going?” She asked gazing at the bags, confused.
“Oh no! I am not going anywhere but i am shifting my things from my room to yours. I mean we don’t like our room anymore, so we need to exchange as soon as possible.” She said, kind of ordered and sana can’t help but smile at the pregnant lady’s mood swings.
“Sure. Lemme help you.” She said and they walked upstairs, where she was given a room to stay.
“Can i ask you something?” Sara asked and sana nodded positively while removing the key card from her clutch.
“If you’re ever stuck into a situation where you have to choose between your own heart and your parent’s happiness, what would you choose?”
At the question, the key card from her hands slipped but sara was quick to hold it back from falling.
“What makes you ask me this question, sara?” She knew sara was a straight forward kind of person since childhood.
“Just a thought.” Sara diverted her eyes guiltily.
“Did aish told you anything?” Sana asked, her eyes and voice demanded immediate answer.
“Oh no, please, she didn’t, don’t ask her anything.” Sara panicked.
“I am waiting for your answer sara. You are hiding something.”
“Last night, while i wasn’t feeling sleepy. I thought of coming to you but i.. as i was about to open the door, though it was a bit opened already. I heard you and aish talking about something. She was telling you that you still love him and in reply you told, there’s no use as he won’t stop you from leaving and you have no choice left but to take a decision in your parent’s favor. This isn’t it, From the time you have come here, you seem sad and lost. Since last few months you sound different on phone calls too, the always happy, smiling, mischievous girl seems lost. Excuse my assumptions if i am wrong but you by any chance are giving up on your happiness for your parent’s sake?”
Sana turned around towards the cupboard, where her clothes were settled in wardrobe, as she wasn’t sure how to respond to that as her eyes got glassy.
“You can get many guys but you have only two parents.” She replied eventually, referring back to nights where she would give her broken heart belief through this answer to the question, why he left.
“So, it’s true you love someone, don’t you?” Sara confirmed.
“It doesn’t matter anymore, because sometimes you have to shut that wounded heart and listen to your logical mind.”
“Are you really the sana i know? Because you speak like those people who had given up on everything in their life.”
There was a long pause of silence before sana spoke, “I don’t want to talk about this sara, Please.”
And with that she took her clothes from the wardrobe towards bag.
“At least tell me his name, which community he is from? may be we can do something.”
Sara emphasized, not letting the topic slip away, as she was one of those people, who understood sana inside out.
“It’s a lost case.” She declared, with her back to sara,”May be, he too is getting engaged soon!”
Sara found all the rays of hope vanishing as she heard that, and she felt like an air baloon that had just been pierced.
“What? How can he do that? May be he never really loved you?” Sara said, throwing some meaningful words on her face.
“I don’t know. Or may be life happened in between our love story.” She shrugged and walked inside the washroom.
Locking it from inside, she turned around and her body slid down the washroom’s door, fighting back the tears and the inner demon who would constantly ask her the same questions her best friend had asked her outside. May be, indeed, she was never enough for him, not even worth a try, worth a risk in front of his family.
As she arrived back to Mumbai, from the hustle and bustle of her best friend’s wedding, the familiar aura of her city made her feel nostalgic. As the sky welcomed her by pouring down water she can’t help but let herself drench in it freely, for her love for the first rain was still same, though everything was changed.
Whenever the first rain would hug her with its presence, she couldn’t help but end up thinking about him. As he too was same like that rain, engulfing her in happiness for sometime, and then he disappeared leaving a lingering memory and his cravings in her heart.
As the rain stopped, she took her luggage out of the airport but halted on the spot hearing someone’s voice, “Tariq mamu, you are seriously habibi.”
She felt like a hundred butterflies fluttered on her skin, while a hundred other bees buzzed around her, urging her to believe that he was near. She turned around and their was a kid hugging a young man whose back was to her.
Tariq was about to turn around, putting her curious thoughts to rest as a familiar feeling weaved in his heart too, but some lady called his name from a far distance and he walked away, instead of turning towards the girl who had been waiting for him all along.
At his retreating back, sana shook her head to clear her earlier misconception. It can’t be him, she thought and strolled in the other direction, towards her brother who had come to pick her up.
And for the second time in their life and the thousanth time in their lives, they were so near yet so far.
“I am still telling you for the last time, don’t take a wrong decision just for their sake. If you won’t be able to be happy, they would also suffer the burden of regret. Trust me, you never know sana, miracles happen anytime. Don’t lose hope and your faith in your prayers. Instead cling on to them and may be…” Her best friend, aish trailed off, leaving the statement Incomplete. For her life was no more but just a case of may bes.
“I have some work to finish. I will call you later. Bye.” She lied and cut the phone, without waiting for any response.
She wasn’t able to take one simple decision. Her heart was uncontrollably in love with that guy who was busy sorting his life for time being and her mind wasn’t able to find one possible way to unite with the one she loves and not with the one she doesn’t. Indeed, in this worst dilemma, where her promises given to him were on the urge of breaking, she needed his support the most but he had already left her alone to decide for her future herself, but instead the situation had rather broken his many promises, already.
It was a strange concept, life wasn’t giving them what they wanted nor was it letting them to forget. Between all this chaos, only fate would decide their role in each other’s life.