[All previous chapters of Awesome Anushka – click here]
“I love you, I really… I mean.. Really do” – I looked into Anushka’s dreamy eyes, and blurted out.
We had gone out to a restaurant. We were seated in front of each other in the 10th floor restaurant, looking down at the beautiful view.
“What? Are you nuts Ari… You are my BEST FRIEND… but I don’t see you that way. You know, I don’t want to get into love and all these things now.. I told you na… that we would be JUST FRIENDS.. Then, what is wrong with you?”
I felt like a knife had cut through me, shred me into pieces as I stood there listening to her. I did not want to live without her, anyway. What can I tell her now? Will we even stop being friends… I should not have done this, I should have kept my emotions in check.. Controlled myself.. Oh God! What now?
“I hate you, I don’t want to talk to you ever again…” Anushka said and walked away…
No.. No, don’t go away.. I will never do this again. I will be JUST FRIENDS… throughout my life. Don’t leave me…. Please…please Anushka!
I woke up, and sat in the bed… OH God.. Thankfully, it was a dream!! Correction – A nightmare!!
My head felt heavy, my heart ached – the thought of Anushka walking away… No.. No.. I cannot let that happen. Ever.
Sitting on the bed, that night, I had decided to do “The Right Thing”
I decided to draw back into the Cancerian shell. Take control of myself, my emotions before it got too late. It was the Right thing to do, than risk rejection!
I made sure I sat with other folks in the school bus, when going to school. I did not speak with her during class the next day. She came up to me during the tiffin break, and asked if we would have tiffin together. I made up story about my appointment with KK sir during tiffin. I did not go for our study sessions either. I feigned illness. The less I speak to her, the less I think about her, it will get easier over time – I reasoned with my weak mind.
But, I missed her… very badly!
It was Tuesday afternoon.. The clock showed 3:30 PM. The door bell rang. It was time for the house maid to come. I opened the door…
Anushka stood there – wearing a stunning pink salwaar kameez.
Anushka: Can I come in? Can I disturb you for few minutes?
ME: Well… yeah.. I mean.. Yeah..
She came in and sat on the sofa. She looked so beautiful… I had missed her so much in the last week or so, that I felt like locking us up in a room, and never let her go.
Anushka: So, how are your studies going?
ME: Good.. I think…
Anushka: Yeah, you will get better grades now.. Now that you don’t WASTE time with me!
ME: Nothing like that…
Anushka: Then, what is it Ari.. Why have you started ignoring me in class! Why do you not sit with me in the bus? Why this stupid, childish behavior?
I wish I could tell her… I wanted to, but the
dream nightmare floated in front of my eyes – “I hate you, I never want to talk to you again”…
Anushka: Ari… what is wrong with you?
ME: Err.. Nothing.. Let me get you some Coke…
I didn’t want to answer the question… I opened the fridge, and poured out Coke for both of us. I did not realize when she had come over and stood next to me.
She touched my shoulder. Her touch sent tingles down my neck. Don’t touch me Anushka.. Go away.. I want to drown myself in Coke. Don’t make it more difficult for me than what it already is. I don’t know why I was behaving the way I was… my mind was weak, my legs were numb.
Anushka: Ari, is everything alright?
ME: Anushka, I cant take this anymore! All the time, I am thinking about you, dreaming about you, wanting to be with you… but guess what, we are just friends – right?
Anushka: What? We are together no… Ari.. We study together, speak on phone.. I enjoy your company.. Being with you is so… u know.. Refreshing..
Refreshing… what does she mean by refreshing… is she using me? I had no intention of becoming some “refreshing drink” – sip when tired, and then throw the empty bottle away!
I moved away from her, and back into the living room.
ME: Are you using me, Anushka?
Anushka: What? Using you… what sort of a question is that?
ME: No.. Its like you spend time with me because I am some comical fellow – make you smile, and get you “Refreshed”… and well, that’s all that I mean to you in your life. Just one stupid joker!
Anushka: Ari… are you stupid? Is that what you think? (she looked at me – shocked!!)
Silence. Uncomfortable silence.. I think it may have lasted few seconds, but it felt like ages!
ME: I don’t know what to think Anushka. You have no idea what it is to be a guy! I dream about you, think about, I cannot concentrate in class. The last week has been the toughest one in my life. I can’t be without you – but I don’t know. I think you want us to be just friends, and I am not up for it. I don’t see you as a friend, you know.. Not a JUST FRIEND… And by the way, just so you know – you occupy 99% of my mind space. Is it so wrong to be in love with you, Anushka?
Anushka: Wow! Sometimes, you talk too much!
She leaned forward on the sofa.. She looked stunning in the pink salwaar kameez.. Absolutely stunning. She was few centimeters away from me, she smiled at me.. Oh! What beautiful eyes, radiant smile…
Anushka: So, Mr. Shy Guy has become a man.. Huh? You have done the right thing.
I had done the right thing. Wow! What a relief! I smiled. I took her hand in mind, raised it and kissed it. The mood was perfect, the timing was perfect…. Our relationship was about to get into the next phase.
The door bell rang! Who has come to disturb us NOW?