Alright, so my dear readers, as many of you, hopefully, know by now, I’m writing this particular story quite spontaneously based on daily prompts. What it means for this story is that I do not have the luxury of adding or editing anything in the chapters I’ve already posted. So as a side little note, “A Love Story? Part One” occurred on a Sunday. And yes, it is relevant.
Read previous chapter here.
I was broken out of my silent war with myself when Radhika finally came in the living room. Radhika. For some reason, I always find her most beautiful when she wakes up. Her usual long, sleek, brown hairs always end up tangled in a mess. And she looks so innocent when she tries to sort it out. That morning wasn’t any different, nothing marred that exquisite display of perfection, not even a blemish. All those idiosyncrasies were just beautiful.
She smiled as she saw me still sipping my coffee and came and sat next to me, her head on my shoulder. For a moment, her smile pierced the fog that had surrounded my mind but then she slowly extended her arms around my chest and embraced me in her usual morning hugs. I wanted to die in that particular moment.
But let me ask you this, and maybe I’ve said it one too many times, what was my mistake. I still struggle with the guilt. Even after so much time. But was the guilt justifiable?
I tried to pass a smile, which was the only sincere thing I could’ve done. And I removed her arms, finally breaking the hug. There was a long minute of silence between us. Maybe she could tell I was struggling with something. But if she did, she said nothing. We have this understanding, when something is bothering the other one we give them their space and when that person feels comfortable, we discuss. Maybe she gave me my space in that moment. I possibly cannot imagine what I would’ve said if she had forced me.
“You wanna talk?” Such simple words and they shook my entire sense of composure. Power of words. “Maybe,” I replied.
“Least judgemental, sweetheart, never forget that.” I always hated Radhika for that one line. I just couldn’t understand how she possibly could say that. But then maybe, we all have the habit to judge others so when someone says they don’t judge you, it becomes kind of weird. Strange maybe. How can they be so self-condescending, how could they feel so superior. Or maybe it’s just me who feels that way.
“I never do.” And that was the end of a beautiful Monday morning for me.
Monday’s are field day for me. No matter how much we advocate digital world, millennial age, People still prefer human contact. Client management, it sounds very important but in reality it’s just about shaking hands.
It was raining. But then again, it rains almost every morning in the month of August. Maybe I’ve said it before, but I love rain. There is only one exception to it. Monday morning. Do you know that particular moment when you feel happy, sad and angry all at the same time? You don’t understand what you feel, I guess you could say you feel confused. I don’t know any better word. Confused because you feel angry, sad, guilt, shame, all of that usual crap, all at the same time. Go figure that shit out. It is a confusing mess but emotions are entirely subjective, what I feel and perceive couldn’t be same for you. Rain makes me very happy. Monday’s make me very angry. Working my way to my work on a rainy Monday morning makes me sad. Now that is one pathetic looking cocktail.
You do not want it to rain, in a metropolitan like Delhi, on Monday morning, in rush hour or peak hour of our so called rush generation. You know why? Because it makes travelling a living nightmare. Water everywhere, clogged sewages, extra slow buses, cars and if you’re having a very bad day, extra slow Metro.
There is a curved turn at the end of the road that leads to the metro. Curved and congested. When I reached the end of the road on that morning, walking in the rain, my clothes soaked, there was a scooter there. A broken down scooter, which would be better suited in a junkyard than city roads. I, uh, I do not want to say anything about that. If you cannot even have the common sense to push your broken vehicles on to the side road, there is no argument in the world that I can make to you. All of it is going to be above your mediocre brain level either way.
Do you know Murphy’s Law? OK I might be making it a bit more dramatic than it really is. But the Murphy’s Law stats anything bad that can happen will happen. That morning was a bad one for me, I guess. It rained, sewages got clogged, my shoes got wet, cars drove slowly, a scooter was parked in middle of the road and as a final fuck you even Metro ran at a speed of five-ten kilometres per hour. I guess, heavy rain gives them an excuse to increase their revenues by people’s suffering.
It took me an hour, to be exact, to reach my destination instead of twenty minutes. That’s Delhi Metro for you on rainy mornings. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. The epitome of all that is modern in Delhi. Every time I looked outside the window, it seemed as if I was simply crawling. And I had to pay my usual fair, for an overcrowded metro. Maybe I should have paid more, you know, a special rainy Monday morning ride.
Maybe I’m making it sound worse than it actually was but why the hell we don’t challan metro for such mistakes. If an Auto rickshaw driver drove on the road the way Metro was crawling, I would have abused him, you might have overtaken him, showed him the finger, atleast I would have and then our beloved Delhi Traffic police would have cut a challan for five thousand rupees. Or maybe they would have taken five hundred rupees for their children’s tuition fees. You know how it is with our dear police, they always need money to pay their children’s tuition fees.
The only peace I had on that morning came from one simple fact. I didn’t needed to go to the office. Field days. It was still early and the minutes passed slowly. It’s strange how we end up thinking exactly what we do not want to. I had tried all morning, in vain, to ignore all I felt about Sandhya the previous night. But in that moment, I imagined her sitting on those stairs, alone in the dark, her face a dark shade of crimson from crying for hours. I just wanted her face to leave me, I wanted it to stop haunting my thoughts. I needed to gather my head, gather my thoughts and get my shit together.
When I finally exited the metro station, I felt more irritated than I felt in the last hour. I don’t exactly remember why. That is when I met Raju. In retrospection, I guess this isn’t the story of me, Radhika or Sandhya. Maybe this is the story of a Rickshaw Puller named Raju or as I called him Raju rickshewala.