Monday, June 20, 2011

8. Love Actually

"Love that we can not have is the one that lasts the longest, hurts the deepest and feels the strongest...”


Pratham was existing in an entirely different world. He thought, if he had known himself earlier, say some 6 years back, he would have also known what he wanted from his life. At this juncture he knew one thing, he wanted to see Jennifer. He asked himself, whether he was in love with her, but he found no answer to that question yet.

The afternoon in Mumbai, was an unusual one. It wasn't very humid. He switched off the AC and opened the windows and stared outside. A beautiful view reminded him of his college days.

Surprisingly, he never felt the urge to make a call to Akanksha before. But he picked up the landline and dialled her number. He remember her number because it was just one digit different from his.

The caller tune brought a smile on his face. It was Akanksha's favorite song, the one which she had sung on her wedding, after being asked to sing.

"Hello", Akanksha answered.

"Where are you?", asked Pratham.

"Andheri. Mama's place", Akanksha replied.

"Ok. Stay back if you want.", Pratham proposed.

"Ummm...", Akanksha wondered.

"Yeah, please do. Don't worry about me", Pratham spoke in a formal tone.

"Ok", Akanksha sounded elated.

"I'll have my dinner don't worry", Pratham spoke up as soon as Akanksha started to speak.

"Yeah.. Was just about to say that", Akanksha added, "and.." she went on.

"Don't worry Akshu. Trust me.", Pratham said.

"Ok",she smiled and hung up.

Pratham felt a sense of responsibility, independence and love at the same time. He had no idea, which feeling was towards whom.

Akanksha on the other hand felt reassured that things would get better, as she saw the obvious.

***

After browsing through a few websites, Pratham decided to Google for Jenny.
He typed "Jennifer Peterson" in double quotes and hit 'Search'.

The first search for the name showed a linkedin profile which said Jennifer worked as a Research Assistant at the NCL, Pune.

Pratham was convinced that it couldn't be her. She was least interested in Chemistry, or science, for that matter. He thought hard, wondering what was her major.He recollected a conversation.

"I got an entrance day after, can't you meet me tomorrow", Jenny requested.

"I have an outing with my cousins, Jenny. I am going out of the city", Pratham added.

"And what about your exam. Aren't you appearing for it?", asked Jenny.

"What exam?", Pratham enquired.

"You B-school entrance?", asked Jenny perplexed.

"Ohh.. I forgot to tell you, I am not opting for MBA anymore.", Pratham answered.

"Then?", Jenny yelled.

"Nothing. Will think about it later.", Pratham answered.

"Get lost Pratham. Don't talk to me for a while.", she sounded agitated.

Pratham thought, what was the entrance that she was about to give then. He felt really sorry for not listening to her properly, or not asking her about it at all.

He tried very hard to recollect what Jenny wanted to pursue, but he falied miserably.
He looked for more searches on Google. There was one which caught his attention.

The site was called "sweet alabama" and the owner of the site was Jennifer P.
He wondered whether she wanted to become a writer. What was this sweet alabama all about? The site had some pictures. He thought, again, it wouldn't be her. The site looked unmaintained.

He thought how could he find her.

Right then, Aisha pinged him.

Aisha: What's up, Mr.Banker?


Pratham: Nothing much. A lazy evening, I am browsing the internet, reading some stuff.


Aisha: What stuff?


Pratham: Nothing interesting though.


Aisha: So you trying to find Jennifer.

Pratham felt a bit uncomfortable. Was it too obvious that he would be doing just that, he thought.

Pratham: No, not exactly.


Aisha: Ok. So..


Pratham: So...

He thought for a while before taking the plunge and asking Aisha about something totally out of the blue.

Pratham: Do you know Jennifer?


Aisha: How would I? And why do you ask that?


Pratham: Ohh..just like that.


Aisha: Pratham, can I help you?


Pratham: How can you help me?


Aisha: Talk to me. I won't make any judgements, trust me.


Pratham: :) About Jennifer...

He started, as if he wanted one chance to speak to someone about it.

Pratham: She was not more than 5 feet 4 inches. I am 6 feet tall, you know!


Aisha: Really.. ok.. then...


Pratham: I had a huge crush on her, though she wasn't really beautiful, or charming. But she was very very smart. Pretty. Adorable.


Aisha: :)


Pratham: We studied in the same college, class, attended same tuitions. We shared notes, tiffin, clothes, at times too.


Aisha: Clothes??


Pratham: Yeah, she would wear my T-shirts, and never return them back. I used to hate it. I think I did not have any other friend apart from her.


Aisha: mmhmmm...


Pratham: We barely knew each other when we ended up kissing the very first time. And you know what, we had no guilt about it. And then it went on,one thing leading to the other.


Aisha: I see ;)


Pratham: We were partners. In all senses.. Literally and otherwise. I wonder how did I survive for so long without her. Actually I didn't survive. I kept on killing myself, every single day, until the day I finally decided to finish it all...


Aisha: Pratham..


Pratham: Yes.. I attempted suicide.I think she kept me alive. I think she still does.


Aisha: You think you are in love with her?


Pratham: Think? I don't know. I think she still lives in me, and therefore I live.


Aisha: Why did you let her go?


Pratham: I don't know. She wasn't someone who could become an ideal daughter-in-law,
she wasn't someone who could be an ideal mother to my children.


Aisha: Then, why do you miss her?


Pratham: I have no clue. I want to see her once. Apologise and tell her...


Aisha: What?


Pratham: Tell her... that I probably love her.


Aisha: Probably?


Pratham: I actually love her.


Aisha: Are you sure.


Pratham: I don't know.


Aisha: Then what do you know?

Pratham looked at the last ping. That's how Jen questioned. He immediately pinged back.

Pratham: Jennifer???


Aisha: what, Jennifer??


Pratham: Are you Jennifer. Please tell me... Jen... is it you?

Aisha's status went to offline and Pratham kept staring at the screen.

...to be contd.

Onto Chapter 9: Knowing the Truth

Back to Chapter 7: Mystery Girl