Sankalp was standing near the door of the train. He was staring outside, lost in his thoughts. The train was speeding and he wished the time would pass equally fast. Time is crazy, when you want it to stop it runs, when you want it to run, it dragsssssss……
He had waited for this train journey. The exams had just got over a day back, and he knew that he would get 26 hrs on his journey back home to sit with her, talk to her, catch up, hold her hands, look into her eyes and say “Ï Love you” a million times.
Destiny had other plans.
“Should I just kick him out of train?” Pradeep said, keeping his hands on Sankalp’s shoulders. “Chill yaar” Sankalp said, wiping his eyes. “Ïts just dirt. side effects of standing so close to the door” he added giving an explanation that no one asked for. “Why dont you come inside?” Pradeep asked, he got a silent “No” as a response.
“You do what you want to do.. I am going.. you stay here and pity yourself. Be a saint, get your name written in History — they will call you the romantic, idiotic hero…” Pradeep said and left. Sankalp sported a smile — a smile with pain.
She was seated on side lower birth just about 10 ft from where he stood. Priya looked beautiful, the shadows of trees passing by left images on her face, the wind was caressing her hair. She was engrossed, listening to Rahul who was sitting besides her and talking.. Sankalp wanted to jump in, ask him to leave and occupy the seat, but he did not, he just stood there. Once again he wiped the tears off his eyes.
Train halted, and they got down “Lets eat Chole-Puri”, Pradeep said. “Lets buy vanila ice cream too, Priya loves it” Sankalp added.
Pradeep ordered for 3 plates. “Bhaiya, make it 4 plates.” Sankalp said correcting the order. “Crazy!!! this man is crazy, Saala, who buys food for a person who has been talking to his girl friend for 3 hrs, and will continue to do so because now he is being fed too” Pradeep said, his displeasure very much evident.
“Where is Sankalp? Please ask him to come over, we can eat here. He is standing there for so long ask him to sit down at least.”, Priya said. “He is fine, you guys, continue”, Pradeep said, moving away, and murmuring curses as he passed by.
After an hour or so, Sankalp came inside and stood next to Priya. “Sorry to disturb you guys, but Priya, please take your medicine, you are unwell and your swollen ankle needs rest. Rahul, let her rest. you can resume after a while” Sankalp said in a harsh tone while giving her medicine. “I think you are old enough to take care of yourself and take medicines on time. You should remember you are hurt and in pain, even if others around you don’t” he continued with an emphasis on “others”.
Rahul said sorry and went back to his seat. He sat there staring at her back, wondering if he had messed it all up. He realised he should have taken care of her.
She woke up a couple of hours later, and Rahul stood there with a cup of tea. She took the cup and looked at Sankalp. He held a cup of tea in his hand as well. She thanked Rahul and they resumed from where they had left.
“Sankalp you are such an ass. She is your girlfriend, you are together, why are you letting Rahul talk to her? You know, he is proposing her. How can you let this continue? How?” Pradeep said. “And for GOD’s sake, whats wrong with Priya”? why is she listening to him?” Pradeep asked, with an expression of anger and frustration, mixed with confusion.
Sankalp could not resist responding this time “You think it is easy for me ?? Look at this from my angle, Rahul is a good looking guy, comes from a rich family, lives in Canada and loves her too. If Priya agrees she will have a great life, if she loves me she will come back to me.”
“I asked her to give Rahul a chance. I will tell you why? Simply because if Priya refuses his proposal, he will never have this misconception that he had a chance. He will never look at Priya again and feel that she could be his. He would never feel that I got lucky because he did not propose” Sankalp said. “I have faith, whatever will happen will happen for good. We three are good friends and I want to get this, out of the way. No ifs no buts” he added.
“Now you understand!!” Sankalp inquired. Pradeep was speechless.
“Sankalp, come here. Rahul, please shift aside” Priya said. “Ï need to talk to Sankalp now, I am tired, I am not used to talking so much”. Rahul moved, not saying a word, he walked towards the door.
“You had a good time, talking to your bestie .” Sankalp said with the tiny dose of sarcasm.
“I Love you. I love you more than ever before” she said. “I thought I lost you” he said with tears rolling down his cheeks.
“He was my best friend, I loved him, he backstabbed me. How could he propose you knowing that I loved you. He was always aware of our affair.” Sankalp had let go of his restraint. He hugged her slightly, fully aware of the eyes staring at both of them.
They sat together, finally, talking and laughing, holding each other’s hand. “Bhabhiji, you need tea?” Pradeep teased, loud enough for Rahul to hear.
22 years have gone by, Rahul is Priya’s facebook friend ….and …….. Rahul’s friend request still awaits response from Sankalp.