“Do you like pets?” she asked me
“Yeah, I do” I say while trekking up to reach the beautiful lake.
“Did you ever had one?” She is gasping for breath. Sun is too bright and sky is clear blue.
“Yea I had one, when I was young” I trek along with my bunch of friends, walking behind and ahead of me.
“Wow, when? What was his name?” She is excited!
“I named him Buddy. He was a pug” I am thinking about his cute little face now.
“What happened to Buddy?” she is inquisitive.
“He was with me when I was in high school, then he died” I say sadly
“oww” she is making a dejected face it’s kind of cute.
I look at her sunkissed face through my RayBan sunglasses.
“Do you like pets?” I say back.
“Yeah I do!” her lips end the sentence in a circle!
“Favorite breed?” I ask, and she looks at me, she forgot her sunglasses and was fighting with her boyfriend over it.
“I wish to have a pet, but never had one” She answers covering her face from the sun trying to look at my face with the squished eyes.
“I also have a guest pet at my place, it’s a Golden Retriever” I say climbing the hill, she is behind me.
“Wow” her voice jerking along the steep areas of the little hill we are climbing.
She is looking up at me and I give her a hand to climb up. She grabs it and ask “What’s the name?”
“Laila!” I exclaim.
She laughs and her cheeks are flushed red due to sunshine. I look at her and we climb up.
I see the snowline around, and we are at quite low altitude though, the air is cool. We started off early morning to visit this beautiful, freshwater lake in the midst of mountains.
We are almost there and I click a few shots before actually reaching the lake. She is making annoying faces and I capture her. She borrows my sunglasses and pose. I click some more pictures, and we complete the trek and here comes our Lake.
I am taken away by the scenic beauty, peace and serenity. The lake is pristine blue and undeniably beautiful. The cool breeze rushing through and the green grass field surrounding the lovely place making it a perfect camping spot. Everyone is at the lake, and they are basking in its picturesqueness.
“Raghav, RAAGHAVVV!” I hear her shouting from a little distance. I look at her, and she poses again holding her boyfriend’s hand, Samar.
Samar and Ruhi!
Raghav and Ruhi… sounds better! I think and I click their couple photos snuggling, hugging, holding each other, Samar lifting her, she’s clinging on his back wearing the trekking cap and denim shorts, with her jacket tied along her waist and backpack!
Samar holds Ruhi’s hand, and they both walk through the meadows to the other side of the lake Yug, Amara and Ritz follow. I click pictures of everyone. Walking, sitting, climbing, rolling to the beats of music.
Hours pass by in a blink, we eat, we enjoy, and we decide to camp here tonight, to the cold starry night along the bonfire. I keep my camera aside to breathe in the tranquil air, sitting in silence watching the lake. Amara is playing with the dog that is roaming around there. Probably of one of the visitors.
Yug, Samar and I set up the tents for us all tonight. Ritz is playing his guitar to some ravenous melodious songs surrounded by Amara and Ruhi.
I pick up my camera again to capture Ritz, he sings lost in his essence, next in frame Amara looking at Ritz, moving my lens to Yug and Samar setting up the tents. I ignore Ruhi, to avoid falling for her even more.
I find her staring glances at me. I look at the fading sky. I leave the group with Yug to bring some wood sticks, and some other stuff to keep us warm at night.
Yug and I collect a few things from nearby shops for everyone in the group. We return and I set up my tripod to capture the time-lapse of the sunset and stars to morning sunrise near our tent.
Bonfire is lit, everyone is near the fire, bursting open the chips, popcorn and drinks. I look at the sky and it’s the most beautiful sunset I ever visualized. Little clouds making the stairway to heaven, with all the warm colors spread across smothered in the painting creating the purple pink orange hues, across the azure blue sky.
I stand atop the steepest part of the hill on the corners of the lake, and see the sun going down alone. Dusk greets us all with the cold windy breeze and as I turn around, night is here and stars begin to show, sparkling and dancing. I see Ruhi, looking at me, I smile at her, and she is intently looking at me. I come near the fire and sit across her.
I eat and drink rum along with Ritz. I see everyone giggling and laughing to random things, I smile along, looking at her from the fire crystals rising up in the air, feeding wood to it. Yug plays songs on the Bluetooth speakers.
Everyone is up and dancing, I drink with Yug counting the stars.
I see her dancing, her body swaying to the rhythm, her soft hair flowing down her neck to full-bosomed red hoodie, moving to her little face movements, her shoulders doing the enticing dance. Samar holds her and they both are kissing each other. I look away.
I gulp down my rum and dance along with Amara, Yug and Ritz. I ignore her for the rest of the night.
I go up to my tripod, to check the time-lapse recording, it’s going on. I stay near my tent, sitting beside it, drinking alone, hours pass by, and I am cold. I hear their laughs, her voice, her words, her happiness.
I flip through her pictures in my phone. I look at her soft lips, her eyes, swiping, looking at her hair, her smile, her poses, annoyingly cute faces.
I turn around to find her wrapped in the blanket with Samar, her eyes on me. I look at her and our eyes meet. She shifts in Samar’s lap uncomfortably.
She gets off him and she walks towards me. I turn my face back. I pretend not to look at her, she comes near me, and wraps her arms around my cold self, placing her chin over my shoulders kissing me over my cold face, grabbing me close to her. I close my phone, looking at pictures of her, and she is hugging me tighter, her cheeks brushing against my face my nose in her hair, smelling like fresh jasmine making me warm and I gasp hugging her, she is running her hands through my hair, her red hoodie, and she in my arms. I pull her out of my embrace, tucking her hair beside her ear, holding her face in my hand, kissing her on those lips, I have been staring at all day. I keep kissing her, and she is breathless, she hides her face in my jacket, I hold her and hug her close to me.
I imagine drinking some more and flip through her pictures.
Fire is almost out and everyone, goes to their tent. I walk towards the lake looking at the sky mirrored in the water, what a view. I am walking alongside the lake, to the divine view of the night, thinking about Ruhi. I stand at the lake where all the moonlight magic ends and it reflects back the stars oozing the radiant light.
It’s almost past midnight, and I decide to get some warmth inside my tent and as I walk, I see Ruhi walking towards me.
“What a view!” she says holding her arms.
“Yeah.” I say hiding my easy feelings on my night face.
“Its magical!” she says looking up at the stars.
I do not respond as we both walk towards our tent. She walks with me looking at me again. I keep walking my hands in pocket. She grabs my arms and we stop. I look at her in the midst of that magical night, she looks at me and she does not blink. Her hands reaches my face as she leans in to kiss me.
I look at her lips and her eyes closing as she leans towards me. I remove her hands off me, and put my finger on her lips, nodding my head, her eyes opens in dismay. I leave her and go back to my tent.
I want you all, all of you, all mine, or nothing at all.