He didn’t quite know how to respond. Millions of questions were swarming around his head – where was she coming from – what had caused a change of heart, when exactly did she fall in love with him especially since they were totally out of touch. What did she mean she was in love with him?!
He wanted to speak with her. That very instant. 24987321. That used to be her phone number, he did not even know if this number still existed. She must have a mobile phone now and it was way too late to try calling on the landline. There was no way in which he could respond by email, what could he say that wouldn’t sound contrived? He could email her asking her to call him, he decided, especially if she was up at this time, sending him this email. What could have been going through her mind, he wondered. Did she have to summon up courage to do this? Did she wait till it was late to press that send button? Why did she not add her mobile number to the email?
“Hi Varsha, we really need to talk. My local number is 98315 56892. You can reach me on this till tomorrow afternoon and I leave for Hong Kong then. Do call me or email or text me your number.
Bye or Love he wondered. He didn’t want to put on this email how he felt about her, it just didn’t feel right to him. “This is it”, he thought, “Go away email, you modern day pigeon”.
He swore loudly, the damned internet connection. It seemed to be totally dead now and a quick call to the reception confirmed that.
Kanishk banged his laptop shut. There was pretty much nothing he could do right now. He had to get some sleep as he had to attend an early morning meeting and an afternoon flight to catch. But the sleep refused to take over. His mind was hyper, a million thoughts encircled his brain. He wondered if he should postpone his flight and travel to Madras instead.
He tossed and turned. He suddenly felt a fit of hatred towards Varsha, he didn’t appreciate that she felt she could just breeze into his life one fine day and expect him to welcome her with arms wide open. The issue was he was desperate to do that. The sense of longing was so ingrained in his fabric, he had gotten quite used to living with a sense of wanting her love in return, wanting to hold her close, wanting to have long conversations with her, wanting to run his fingers through her hair.
She couldn’t have known, he had never told her that he loved her and thankfully he hadn’t confided in any of his friends either. So unless she was a mind reader, there was no way she could have known, she couldn’t have found out by the way he behaved either, simply because so much time had flown under the bridge. What had caused her to feel this way, old photographs, a conversation with old friends, sudden realisation of what had taken place then? At some point he dozed off, Varsha, school, tuition classes, cycling alongside each other, her beloved Beatles wove in and out of his dreams.
He woke up with a start. It was 8 am and the meeting was scheduled for 9 30, thankfully the venue was within walking distance and he did not have to endure the crazy traffic.
He looked at his face in the mirror as he shaved. He looked tired and for some reason he did not feel the exhilaration he thought he would feel at this point, perhaps it was because what he had wanted for most of his adult life was within striking distance. She must have changed so much. He had, he knew that. He had specific memories of her, but would he have to get to knowing her all over again now?
There was no time for breakfast as he wore his tie, grabbed a jacket and ran for his meeting.
At 11 45 he was done. He had to quickly decide whether he wanted to travel to Madras or go ahead with his plans of getting home. He figured he needed access to his emails first. He wouldn’t travel to Madras he thought, he needed to speak to Varsha first and he did not want to look like a needy puppy. He had to find her number, he could get that from his old classmates, but he didn’t feel like speaking or explaining anything to them. He could try her old landline number.
He called the number. “Hallo”. It was a loud, shrieky, unfamiliar voice. “Varsha please” said Kanishk, He felt strangely calm, like there was nothing extraordinary about the moment. “Office le irukanga. Yaaru?” It was servant maid. He asked if she would give him Varsha’s mobile number, she immediately became suspicious, so Kanishk hung up quickly. He was left with no choice but to email now.
He made his way to a cyber café and there was another email from Varsha! Was she giving him her number he wondered.
“Hey you guys. Sorry about the mail you received yesterday. My account seems to have been hacked into and that email was sent out to all my contacts. If any of you married men got into trouble with your wives – I’m sorry! And girls did I send any of you into a tizzy wondering about my sexuality – or wait yours!?! Do tell!!
Sorry again, I think I will be discarding this address, will send out my new address soon. Change your passwords people!
He sank back into his chair and tried to sort out his thoughts. He smiled. It widened into a big grin, a guffaw escaped from his lips. Was he going mad he wondered? Soon he was laughing loud, the guy manning the cybercafé seemed alarmed. “What is the matter with you Kanishk?” asked a voice in his head.
He paid up and walked out. There was an extra spring in his step. A smile played on his lips. He was finally free.
Filed under: Fiction |