There was hustle and bustle in the house today and why it should not be; today was the day when my best friend Armaan Mallik was getting engaged to his love. He fell in love with her during our college days to be precise last year of our college. They both had decided to get engaged once they settle in their life. After graduation, both had joined job and their love kept increasing with each passing day. Finally, after working for one year they decided to tell their parents about their relationship and now here they are getting engaged. Nevertheless, today was the day that I wasn’t waiting for as today was the day when my love, Armaan was getting engaged to someone else. On the first day of college, Armaan and I had become good friends and one day when our parents were called in college for some function, that day we found out that our parents too were friends since their college days. Due to this we kept on meeting outside college too, as our parents started hanging out once again just like their college days.
Thereafter, we kept meeting frequently. With the passing days/weeks our friendship kept increasing to such a level that I can’t even remember when my friendship turned into love. The day I had realized that I had fallen for my best friend, was the day I had planned to tell him everything. However, that day never came; instead of confessing my love to him I had to help him in proposing his love. I still remember that fateful day when my, Riddhima Gupta’s heart broke. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that day and How can I forget that day, it’s not possible. On the same day when I had realized my love for Armaan, I lost my love too.
I was sitting in the garden on a bench and pondering upon the past two years of my college days. Especially what people used to say and feel about Armaan and my friendship? A small smile occurred on my face when I was remembering our moments. Till date I had ignored everyone’s taunts, comments and teasing thinking they were reading too much in between the lines, but today, today I felt like a fool. People really saw things that Armaan and I ignored. Our feelings were very much present in our every action, it’s just that till date I thought those feelings were only as a friend, but no those feelings were as a lover and everyone saw that except us. I sarcastically laughed at our foolishness or rather mine because I took two years to realized it, had I realized it earlier, we would have been together as a couple long back. But it’s never too late to realized your feelings or was it?
I immediately stood up and murmured, "I will tell him about my feelings right away. I have as it has taken too much time in realising this fact and now I cannot delay in confessing my feelings".
I started searching for Armaan and thanks to one of the students; I get to know where Armaan was. I started walking towards the other side of the garden with a smile on my face. My heart was beating at a faster rate and I was feeling restless. I paused for a second when I saw Armaan in front of me. I took a few seconds to gain back my courage. In such short span of time, I even dreamt of our happy married life. I can imagine we both troubling each other with our pranks all our life. With a smile on my face and dream in my heart, I started walking towards armaan.
However, when I reached near him what I heard and saw, I froze on my spot. Armaan was sitting on his knees and proposing another girl by giving her a red rose. That was it, this scene brought tears in my eyes and it started flowing down my cheeks, as I couldn’t hold them back. My dream broke.
What I saw next it took away all my hopes that I still had maybe. The girl accepted the rose and even said 'yes'. This ‘yes’ echoed in my ears continuously. I saw Armaan standing up and hugging that girl. He had a bright smile on his face.
Not able to bear anymore, I ran away from there to find a lonely place where probably I can mourn over my lost love without any disturbance. After I cried for some minutes, I realized the reality that clearly told me that I have lost my first love.
"Why did I even realized it at first place? I was better off without the realization at least we were friends, but now? Now everything will change our equation, our friendship with each other and this will happen only because I realized my feelings for armaan. I ruined everything just by realizing my feelings. I should not have realized it, why did I realized it? Why out of all days I had to realize it today only?”
I looked up towards the sky and said "bhagwaan mujhe itni himmat dena ki mien apni feelings chupa sakoon kabhi bhi galti se zahir na kar doo. Mujhe itni shakti dena ki mien armaan ko kissi aur ke saath dekh ke bhi uske samne tootoon na” (Hey God please, give me enough strength so that I can hide my feelings and never express it by mistake. Please give me strength so that I can see armaan with someone else and never break in front of him).
Ever since that day I made sure that, I have spent most of my time in all co-curricular activities. I started taking part in all activities such as dance competitions, debate competition or sports competition. Participating in all activities always meant rehearsing with other participants and this way I was able to keep distance between Armaan and me. He was so engrossed in his love life that he hardly realized I was deliberately participating in all these activities. Instead, he used to wish me all the best for all my competition just like any best friend would do. From then on, Armaan and I hardly spent time with each other, but our friendship remained same, from his side. He would never realize that maintaining friendship my side was so difficult. Each day I was dying and crying over my lost love. I had to pretend to be happy in front of everyone and I mean it with everyone. I can’t take a chance of expressing my feelings to anyone, what if it reaches to armaan? He would be shattered to know his best friend is no longer his best friend and after that he might avoid me, may be on request of his fiancé. I haven’t yet recovered from the heartbreak which I suffered I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to handle the avoidance or not by him.
Our talks have also changed over the past few months. Earlier we used to talk about everything from shows to sports to studies to everything but now, whenever he called, our talks are limited to his and his girlfriend’s issue. Whenever he fought with his girlfriend, he used to call me up to discuss ways to melt her heart. No matter how much I hated those talks I still used to suggest him ways to lure back his love just as any best friend would do.
Today was the day when finally I would leave everything behind and move on in life. Not that I was waiting for him to return to me, but will finally free myself from all the pains. Especially from the pain I receive when I see them flirting and romancing. It’s just seeing him in front of my eyes everyday would not let me think rationally.
He already took my heart away but can’t let him take my mind away. Once this engagement was done, it would force my mind to accept this harsh reality, probably my mind still hasn’t accepted it and that’s why I still feel the pain. Nevertheless, once he was officially engaged may be then my mind would accept it and I'll get free from all the pains. After that I will start my life once again in a fresh way, a new beginning was all that I should be waiting for at present.
A loud music broke my trance and I looked around to see the reason for such loud music. As soon as my eyes fell on the dance floor, I realized the reason. The to be couple were supposed to dance or rather grace the stage with their presence and when they were on stage, how can music be lowered? I sarcastically smiled at my condition, years back in college once I had dreamt of our engagement day and us dancing together but the reality was very harsh. All that I dreamt was happening, but the only difference was, I was not a part of it instead someone else was.
I was walking towards the washroom when papa called me from behind. I quickly wiped my tears and turned back with a smiling face.
"Here take your tickets; you have to leave after two hours"
"Thank you papa you are the best and hope you haven't told anyone about it"
"Not yet but why do you want to hide it"
"Papa everyone’s happy and I don’t want to spoil their mood by letting them know about my departure"
"Your job will start next week you could have gone tomorrow or after two days it wouldn’t have made a difference"
"I know but I have to settle down there and that would take at least a week and papa last request please"
"You will not tell anyone about my whereabouts nor inform them if I come and visit mom and you In future. Please don’t ask me why"
"Anything for you beta" papa said and I hugged him tightly.
First time ever I would stay away from my parents, not that forever because I was planning to call them there and we'll stay there forever. Still, for some time I'll have to stay alone over there. I would miss all the pampering and cute family moments for some time, but, above all the support of my friends especially armaan’s. Nonetheless, it was equally good because I would get time to overcome my pain. I need to recover from the loss that I have suffered only then I would live my life that I should.
After papa left, I went to the washroom and locked it from inside. I let my tears fall down as it was getting difficult to hold back. While crying, I was reminding myself that this was the last time when I was crying after this I would start fresh with a smiling face. There would be no place for crying over lost love.
After I cried for a few minutes, I washed and wiped my face. I applied eyeliner again and some gloss on my lip. I adjusted my hair and then left the washroom to attend my best friend’s engagement ceremony.
I was standing far off from the stage and my eyes were stuck on the rings that were kept on a small table on the stage. My heart was beating at a faster rate because in a few minutes, everything would end and my last hope would crush as well.
Finally, the time came when rings would be exchanged between Armaan and his love. The girl picked up her ring and looked at armaan. Armaan smiled and forwarded his hand. The girl slid the ring in his hand.
I closed my eyes to stop the tears from flowing down. After composing myself, I slowly opened my eyes and saw Armaan was picking his ring. My eyes were glued at the ring, Armaan holds her hand and I stopped breathing. Armaan also slid the ring in her hand and I closed my eyes. I released my breath and this time when I opened my eyes, tears flowed down my cheeks.
Finally, my last hope crashed and I smiled sarcastically at my destiny. Before anyone could notice, I quickly wiped my tears and started clapping for my best friend. All our friends went on stage to congratulate armaan. I was still standing down because to go up there on the stage I needed lots of courage. My dream was a reality but sadly, I wasn’t a part of it. In past weeks, I had started seeing a dream where armaan breaks his relationship with that girl because he realized he loves me, in fact, he has always loved me but like me never realized it till date. After that, they would happily plan for their engagement and wedding day. All her pains would transform into happiness.
Unfortunately, that day never came and now finally I could free myself from dreaming about that day. I took a deep breath and then started walking towards the stage. I was controlling my tears and was trying to smile. I hoped that I wasn’t failing badly in portraying a smiling face. I had promised myself that I would never let armaan know my feelings. That would only complicate things between us. One-sided love was my fault I should not have thought about it, I should have let things go as they were going. I committed a mistake by falling in love with her best friend. Neither I can blame armaan for not loving me, nor can I hate him for not loving me. He had made his decision and he was happy with that decision. Now how can I snatch that happiness? My love was never selfish and never will be. I lost him as lover, but I would never lose him as a friend.
I walked towards the couple and congratulated them. I hugged the girl and then I hugged armaan. I know this was the last time I was hugging him because after that I would leave this country forever. I know I would not be able to hide my feelings for armaan for long especially during his wedding ceremonies. But, to keep my friendship intact, I need to hide my feelings and that can be done only when I stay away from him. That was the reason why I applied for jobs outside the country. I know rather facing the reality I was running away from it. But, to keep her friendship intact with armaan she had to do this, she would have to run away from him. I hugged him tightly as it would be the last time she would be so close to him.
While I hugged him I wanted to feel his heart beat that was beating for me at this moment for the last time. I couldn’t control my tears and tears started flowing down my cheeks. All my pledge not to cry in front of armaan vanished after I felt his heart beat. When Armaan realized I was crying so he broke the hug and looked at my crying face. I quickly wiped my tears and smiled at him.
“Teri Akhon main asoon kyun?” (Why you have tears in your eyes?) armaan asked.
“Khushi ke asoon hai tera sapna jo poora ho gaya hai. Chalo ab tu mujhe pareshaan toh nahiin karega varna har roz phone karke yahin poochta tha ‘chandu ek tareeka bata na iska gussa kam karne ke liye’. Iske chalte tune kabhi poocha hi nahiin ki mien theek hoon ki nahiin meri life main kya chal raha hai koi pareshani hai ki nahiin mujhe toh jaise bhool hi gaya jaise ki mien exist hi nahiin karti (I quickly realizedd what I said and changed this into humour). Mera matlab jab pyaar main tha tab hum doston ko bhool gaya tha Or ab toh engagement bhi ho gayi hai ab toh pakka hamare liye waqt nahiin hoga” I started laughing after I said this.
(“These are tears of happiness because your dream has come true. Finally, you will stop bothering me every day by calling me and asking ‘chandu tell me a way to reduce her anger’. You even forgot to ask if I was fine or not, what was going on in my life if I have any trouble or not, you just forgot me as if I don’t exist only (I quickly realized what I said and changed this into humour). I meant when you found your love, then you forgot your friends and now both of you are engaged, you will definitely not have time for us” I started laughing after I said this).
Armaan was so happy today that he forgot to read my pain in my eyes. I still remember when our friendship had just started he could easily read the pain in my eyes and would bring a smile on my face by doing antics. That was one day and today was one day. So much difference, does love changes you so much that apart from that one person you don’t see anyone else or rather don’t want to see anyone else. May be because even I cant see anyone else as my love, even I was so much into armaan that I kept dreaming about him and me even after knowing the reality. It would be wrong to blame him, but then whose fault it was his or mine. Was he at fault for not falling for me or was it my fault to fall for him? Wish it was easy to control your feelings.
We stopped laughing as the photographer said he would like to click a picture of us. Armaan agreed to it happily and stood in between us. Ironically, this was the reality, he was between two girls who loved him very much but no one knows that except me. After the picture was clicked, I once again congratulated them and walked down from the stage. I went towards my friends and hugged them tightly.
“Why are you leaving? Why you don’t want us to tell armaan about it? Said one of our friends.
“When one feels that they are lost in darkness and have no way to come out of it, that’s the indication that’s it time to move away from that darkness. Otherwise, it will consume you fully. So, before darkness consumes me I am moving out of it”. I said.
“What darkness? You know what riddhima I didn’t understand a single word” said another friend.
“Leave it” I said and then went towards mom and dad.
I hugged them tightly and then walked towards the exit. I turned and looked towards a smiling armaan one last time. I captured his smiling face as my last memory of his in my heart and then turned to leave for airport.
Coming up: Armaan and Riddhima meet after a gap of few years.
Next part would be the final part of this OS. Hope you guys liked this story. Eagerly waiting for your feedback, suggestions and comments. Please do like the heart as well.