Care, Caress and A Car

Ever since Aryan had heard her secret, there was something different he was feeling. Not that Aryan pitied her or anything – he himself had seen way too much in his life to pity something like this, to pity a choice that Apoorva had consciously taken but her aura had a different chi.

Her energy reminded Aryan of his own. An energy that once drove Aryan but the vagaries of had forced Aryan to block that bubbling force out. But her, she was different. Her strength and her accompanying smile perplexed Aryan. She stood as an enigma, one that Aryan was hellbent on solving but how? The journey from knowing her secret and possibly gaining her trust to making her his was a long one, filled with pitfalls and challenges. The biggest hurdle? Apoorva, herself.

Loneliness does do a number on us. As Aryan lay on his bed in a dark room with Wham! playing in the background and a bottle of his trusted Old Monk by his bedside, he thought – What if? What if she becomes mine? What if I am able to see her true self and experience it first hand. The enigma, the exhilaration was driving him crazy. Friends? Aryan wanted more and he knew it. They say lust and love work in tandem, while Aryan was mesmerized by her thoughts and her attitude, her body…that was a different ball game altogether. She fit right into Aryan’s concocted choice pool. Most guys went after the adage bigger the better but not Aryan. For him, his partner needed to fit right into his hand, the nubile nature of the body to envelope Aryan’s soul, curves that would put an hourglass to shame and Aryan had found her- Apoorva, a barbie in reality.

He decided to start chatting her up and getting to know her more because if Aryan had realized one thing over time it was that love cannot be forced. it just happens. Conversations flowed, about love, life, marriage, food- the entire spectrum. And as far as Aryan is concerned- there was hope! Even though Apoorva had clearly stated that she had friendzoned him, Aryan was a fighter.

“Aryan, I really like talking to you”
“The pleasure is all mine, Apoorva”
“Umm…I know this is a bit forward…but can I accompany to your place?, just the car ride- we
can chat more”
“Sure, I don’t mind!”

Aryan did this not because he wanted to be close to her, he did but that’s not the point. He cared for her! He wanted to watch over her because if there is one thing that Aryan realized it was that beneath that rock solid exterior was a child, that needed love and care and Aryan for once felt what he had felt several years ago, a feeling to be her Acropolis and protect her from harm. These thoughts were playing frisbee in his mind when Apoorva called out- “Aryan, let’s go!”

The car journey was fun, they listened to songs together and got to know each other a bit more but then something happened. A surge of current went up Aryan’s spine and he did something he thought he would never do, he placed his hand over hers on the gearbox! And such was fate, Apoorva agreed, she flinched when Aryan did that. Not the bad kind but the one in which each neuron of your body responds, one in which your timid soul takes a leap.

That car journey proved to be the ice breaker that Aryan needed and as Aryan got out of the car he looked up at the moonless sky and thought to himself – Mum was right, partners are truly a godsend, no matter how much effort you put in or not, if it needs to happen it will.

Stares, Synergy and A Secret

Pull me closer, Aryan. Make me yours. “Whose are you, Urvashi?” Yours. For and forever.

As the clouds roared outside, the tiny droplets of rain coagulated on the window to form a larger body of water rushing towards it’s peril, engulfing whatever came in it’s path. A behemoth hellbent on destruction.
A lightning later, Aryan was jolted up from his sleep. shaken.

Another night, another sleepless night.

Aryan was strong not because he was brought up this way but because time had made him numb to trials and tribulations. Life was cruel and Aryan had become cold. A frigid soul residing in an empty body. Lifeless.
But these days he was feeling a new found warmth, no it wasn’t the heat outside but the heat within that was calling out Aryan’s inner child. A child he had brutally forgotten these past few months, a child that had once driven Aryan’s dream of a Utopian life now lay unattended. This very child now suddenly had a new lease of life. Why? Aryan didn’t know the answer nor did he want to know. He felt good.

The usual routine meant that it was now time for office. Aryan got ready, the same uncaring way he had done these past few months, not like anyone was looking. One hour and several painful thoughts later Aryan reached office. The ride to office was painful, not because of the traffic but because it was empty and Aryan had time to think. A time that Aryan dread because it flew him back to the betrayal.

Did you sleep with him? Yes, I did. Urvashi, how could you? Didn’t you remember me? Listen, Aryan! This is literally none of your business. I can have sex with him as much as I want, I can bloody well make his babies!

Babies…Aryan loved them. He had always dreamed of having one of his own. Something that had once excited him now gave him immense pain not because of the nature of the act itself but because now an uncouth memory had associated itself with it, perforce.

Today office was a bit different. There was something in the air that was pulling Aryan towards the vortex of uncertainty. Aryan had forgotten whether his body was capable of handling such a range of emotions.. He had basically lost the hope of something exciting to look forward too. But today was different.

She looked perfect. Her hair, her eyes- Apoorva. Little did Aryan know that this name would bring about so many changes in his life,

They say work is worship and Aryan has firmly believed in this tenet ever since he came of age. Putting his all in his work, didn’t make his realise how time had passed in office. One commit and an angry Rashmi later, Aryan saw himself standing in the balcony with Rashmi and Apoorva. As usual, Rashmi went about herself and her problems- trivial thought Aryan. Rashmi was a little child who needed constant attention.

Soon Rashmi departed and it was just the two of them, alone and an awkward space separated the two of them. Aryan felt strange. A very strange urge to speak to her came over Aryan and he initiated the conversation.

Trust is a very funny thing. It bonds. Trust is bestowed easily but earned after a lot of effort. Aryan wanted to trust her and as always didn’t think before doing it.

“Apoorva, you’re a nice person” , “Thanks Aryan!”. “There is something I would like to tell you”, said Aryan. “Go ahead na! I’d love to hear it, I’d also like to tell you something.”

Two secrets shared, eyes met. Love happened.

Life, Love and L.I.I.T

Sometimes life gives us choices. Sometimes life presents opportunities that if we do not latch onto form the basis for long term regret.

5:00 AM. The alarm clock rung it’s cacophony like every other day. A stifled yawn and a sleep, teary eyed Aryan woke up from his slumber. Years of getting up early and an Army upbringing had made him used to compromising with the most beautiful thing on this planet- A sound sleep.

Damn another day, another day with nothing new‘, thought Aryan as he got up from his bed. Life had come to make him realize the importance of a schedule but had also taken away his spontaneity. There was a time when Aryan was a bubbly and vibrant teenager who took things as they were. Being with the flow was his mantra. A trip to his washroom made Aryan realize that thick drops of sweat had formed on his forehead. ‘Sweat? In this weather?’, pondered Aryan as the memories of his nightmare shocked him back to reality. Another night, another nightmare.

These past few months Aryan had had the worst possible time for anyone. His heart ached, his arms felt weaker, his mind was drowned in constant stress.
As he took off her clothes and undressed her, she gasped Aviral….you know about Aryan. Doesn’t matter came the response. Are you sure? she asked. Yes.
As Aryan opened his eyes wide. 9 years, countless memories, countless thoughts and all was lost in 9 seconds. Aryan could never understand this. How good Urvashi have forgotten him so easily? What does love actually mean?

Shivani was probably weeping somewhere watching Aryan break but he had to be strong, weakness wasn’t his strong suite. Even when Shivani had left him he didn’t shed a tear. Pushing these thoughts out of his mind, he got ready to hit the gym- the only time where he could really hide his tears in his sweat and push himself to a point where the pain leaves his heart and moves to some other place of his body. The rest of the office was going to be a blur. Carpool, Office, Code, Coffee and Compromise. A compromise with the kind of life Aryan wanted and the kind of life he was leading.

On reaching office, there was nothing knew. He saw the same faces but there was something different. He saw her. Apoorva… Aryan sat back on his chair and quizzed himself- ‘Why do I feel a very strange yet undefinable feeling when I look at her, something about her makes me wonder’
But Aryan was far too busy to think about this and on top of that the past few months had made him really numb to any new feelings, a chasm had formed between his mind and heart. No feelings ever made it past that chasm and the mortal remains of those feelings lay at the bottom of the pit reminding Aryan what a life he was leading- Empty.

Busy in work, Aryan soon heard a voice. Someone was calling out to him. It was Rashmi and Rahul. Colleagues turned good friends. They were calling him for lunch. Once food had been Aryan’s priority but in the race for fitness and health, he had killed his want and desire. “Coming”, Aryan called out. As he met the two for lunch, there she was, Apoorva. As Aryan lay his gaze on her he noticed something about her, she was a bit aloof as if something was troubling but Aryan didn’t want to probe. He went about having his own food.

As always the lunch was a blaze and he was nearly done in 10 minutes. And then the post lunch ritual followed. He got up and headed towards the balcony, took out his cigarette and lit his pain away in the simmering ember and the puff of smoke that followed.

“Hey, bro?”, said Rahul
“Hey, man! ‘Sup?”, Aryan responded.
“Nothing, man. What are you doing?”
“Just the usual, me and my faithful”, Aryan grinned as he brandished in cig in plain air like a flag.
Sahi hai, Nice! Let’s go for a drink tonight?”
“Just the of us?”
“Umm, no bro. We’ve got new people in our people. Let’s plan for team thing?”. Rahul replied after some thought.
“Cool, let me know?”
“Awesome, see you around 6:30?”, said Rahul as his voice trailed away from the balcony.
“Hey, Rashmi? You coming?”, as Aryan turned towards her.
“I might, depending on whether Apoorva comes or not”, replied Rashmi.
“Ah! Your new friend, eh?”, teased Aryan.
Aisa nahi hai, she’s just a good friend.”

The conversation wasn’t really deep or anything to make Aryan ponder as he moved back to him place to continue working, struggling rather. The human mind is a funny thing, it knows what it wants but never has the courage to seek it.

Soon ,evening came and surprisingly most of the invitees had agreed. Apoorva, Rashmi and Rahul were ready. At that point Aryan thought, ‘Let’s give this a shot, why not?’
But as always there had to be snags, Rahul was getting late being stuck in some important task at work, Aryan was ready to leave and Rashmi and Apoorva were getting restless. Apoorva was basically threatening to go home as she had certain timings by which she needed to get home. Aryan was stuck in no-man’s land, go with them or wait for Rahul. Well. he took the leap of faith.

Funny these days numbers are available so easily. Aryan searched Apoorva’s number from the office directory and called her.
“Hello? This is Aryan. You guys left me. I am coming too”
“Cool see you downstairs, I am taking the car out”, replied Apoorva.
At this moment it struck Aryan, why did I call her and not Rashmi? Her voice seems really sweet over the phone.

Things were pretty much usual from then to the club, small talk and awkward silences. But one thing Aryan noticed. As he shot a look to Apoorva driving.
She looks really nice while driving, such focus and confidence. Wow…’ , the song blurring from the radio made Aryan forget his thoughts for a moment. Apoorva certainly had great taste in music.

On reaching the club, there was just Apoorva, Rashmi and Aryan. Orders for the drinks were placed.
“An L.I.I.T for me”, demanded Aryan.
“Good choice”, replied Apoorva with a smile on her face.
God her smile, thought Aryan but brought himself back to his senses. He had literally no interest at this point in time.

After several hours of talking and Rashmi having to cover for Aryan’s slippery abusive tongue, it was time to hit the floor. Dance, it had always enamored Aryan. The way the body moves to the beat and the way it releases it’s tension was an enigma for Aryan ever since Shivani. A state level dancer, Aryan had come to admire dance ever since he was a child. Ism’t that what attracted him to her and ofcourse, her speaking ability.

Would I ever feel the same way for someone? Will I ever be in a situation where I just wouldn’t want to keep my hands off her body, will I ever watch someone sleep as the night passed by?

The night passed as the alcohol flowed, the beats intensified and for the first time Aryan said something.
“You’re not leaving early, 11:15 se pehele nahi
“I’ll try.”, Apoorva replied.

As the night moved on, it was time for Apoorva and Rashmi to leave. But for some odd reason, Aryan never wanted Apoorva to leave. He had just started knowing her. It was too early. And all of a sudden he volunteered to leave them till the card as a courtesy.

As the car raced away, Aryan stared for a moment as the puff of dark smoke engulfed his face and he coughed.

Why now God? What is happening? Something about her is making me think. Damn you intuition.

The Meeting

Aryan walked passed her for the first time during office. Not something very special nor did he notice anything special. The usual. Well, he had work to do and got right to it. Soon he realized someone was standing close to him, he turned around to see the same face he had recognized earlier. “Hi!”, her voice was sweet and caring.
“So I guess this is your seat”,
“Yeah”. “I am Apoorva”, said the girl.
“I am Aryan, nice to meet you. Joined new I presume?”.
“Yes, joined last week”.
“Oh, I was not in office last week.”
“I know, Rashmi told me so much about you.”
“Rashmi, eh?”, flinched Aryan as he got thinking what Rashmi had told her. Rashmi could be a devil sometimes but she was a good friend and Aryan thought, how bad could it be?
“Well, see you later”
As the girl Apoorva said this Aryan was shot back to reality.
“See ya!”.

Strange meeting but Aryan didn’t think much. He was not the same as he had been about 4 months ago. He had changed. He has scared to forge something new. No matter whatever it was. Rashmi had been an exception but Apoorva had a lure which Aryan couldn’t ignore, something that was drawing him towards her, to get to know her more. But Aryan didn’t give it a lot of thought. As the time passed, it was time to leave office. There wasn’t a lot to think whenever Aryan reached home. As usual he opened his books and studied with whatever little energy he had but somewhere the thought of Apoorva didn’t leave him. His intuition was never wrong about such things. Of course, it was accurate- with a psychologist mother and years of bullying had made him pretty good at judging people and seeing their true intentions.

Apoorva…little did he know what that name would mean to his life in the near future. Clueless, he slept soundly like a baby. Tomorrow was going to be another long day.