You’ve got mail – Part III

Continued from Part I and Part II

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, K”

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!

Ciao!”

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.

Advertisements

You’ve got mail – Part II

Continued from here

Kanishk closed his eyes and drew breath sharply. It was like someone thrust a knife into him and twisted it around. He whooped. “I am in love with you”….”And I do not even know how you feel”….he repeated these words.

“Damn right girl, you so do not know how I feel, how I’ve felt all these years”, he thought.

“Varsha”, he spoke the name out loud, carefully pronouncing it. He’d never really liked the name; he felt it sounded way too harsh for a girl like her. He smiled as he visualized her. Delicately beautiful, soft brown eyes, shoulder length wavy hair. When she wasn’t in their boring school uniform, she loved to dress in ethnic Indian clothes. She loved wearing skirts and loads of kajal. While the other girls in school routinely got into trouble for experimenting with ugly black nailpolish, she got into trouble for wearing lots of kajal.

It was funny, he mused how he recalled the kajal of all the things.

Kanishk had been the quintessential good boy in school, one who was liked universally by the teachers and his classmates alike. He did well at his academics, was a strong debater and was moderately good at sports as well. The problem was girls of that age didn’t go for guys like him. They wanted excitement; they fell for the bad boys, the ones who talked back at teachers, the ones who sneaked in cigarettes, the ones who had bikes on which they could speed, those who congregated at the beach each night. They had no use for boys like Kanishk who were for sure “good friend” material. Varsha and Kanishk were good friends, he bailed her out often as she always told her mother that she was with Kanishk studying when in reality she was out with her boyfriend Navin.

Funnily enough Kanishk was excellent marriage material now. He had gone on to study at IIT and then graduated from IIM Ahmedabad. He now worked with an investment bank based in Hong Kong, but had requested that he be relocated to India. He was now transitioning out his responsibilities at Hong Kong and working partly with the India operations. He was in a brief relationship with a classmate from B school, but his heart was never fully in it and they broke it off soon enough. Varsha had spoilt him. She was the yardstick he measured women by and no one measured up.

He was never comfortable with Varsha’s relationship with Navin. Apart from the fact that he was in love with Varsha, he knew that she was way too good for Navin, she deserved better than him. He continued making excuses for her against his will because he still wanted to remain her friend, hoping that one day she would realize how he felt. But one day he found Navin cosying up with another classmate and he could take it no longer. He told her what he saw and the move entirely backfired. Varsha accused him of being jealous of their relationship and things were never the same again. School ended and they went their own way. He did hear from common friends that Varsha and Navin did break up eventually.

They met once at a theatre. It was a strained meeting, they exchanged email addresses and scurried away, eager to break the awkwardness that seemed to have taken over their once easy camaraderie.

And now this.

(To be concluded)

You’ve got mail – Part I

Note: This is my first attempt at writing fiction. I love to write, but I don’t think I have much of an imagination and I don’t really see myself writing a book or dreaming up fiction. But this germ of a story came to me following a conversation with KT and I was itching to write it. So here it is…would love feedback, lurkers do delurk!

Kanishk ran his fingers through his hair and kicked the foot of the table in frustration. He was just about to get into bed when his client called him and wanted some changes made to the documents they had been working on. The work had been completed and he was trying to mail out the documents when his internet connectivity started to falter.

He had tried calling the reception of the hotel he was staying in but given a polite but not so helpful response, “There is a problem with the internet connection, but we’re working on sir”.

In what seemed to be the hundredth time he clicked on the send button, the annoying error message did not flash on his screen.

“Hallelujah”, he said and texted his client to check if he had received the files. He stepped out on to the tiny balcony he had attached to the room. The lights of the city flickered in the distance and he could make out the majestic lights that lined the Marine Drive, a sight that always gave him pleasure. His mobile phone beeped bringing him the message that the files had indeed been delivered to the client.

“Time for bed”, he muttered to himself and turned off the lights with a flourish. Kanishk walked over to his laptop to shut it down. He had received a new mail. It was a long tiring day, of arguing, talking, negotiating and he really wanted to hit the bed and dreaded what this new email was going to instruct him to do.

He rubbed his eyes and sat down to read it. He recoiled as if he’d received an electric shock.

Varsha Shetty. He stared at the name. The message was an innocuous “Hi”. Whatever could she have to say to him now, especially now after all these years. His hands trembled slightly and he felt his mouth go dry. He hated himself at that instant for allowing her to have the kind of power she seemed to have over him. He clucked impatiently, the page was taking was taking an eternity to load and the aggravating message appeared “This page cannot be displayed”.

He cursed and checked the time. It was 2 am, there was nowhere in which any cybercafé was going to be open at this time. He sent up a little prayer, took a deep breath and tried again. Finally the page loaded and he could feel his heart pounding loud and he felt this strange sensation in his stomach.

“Hey! I know this is totally out of the blue but I have something to say and couldn’t hold back. I suppose this isn’t the best way of doing this, but will do it anyway. I am in love with you, have been for some time now. I tried telling myself that this was just a passing feeling and that this isn’t the real thing…you know. And I do not even know how you feel, so this may not be the smartest thing for me to do. But I couldn’t just hold back.

I really hope I will hear from you.

Love

Varsha”

(To be continued)