I am driving on the roads after the busy workday, looking towards the way in front of me, the hair on my head has greyed and I can’t find any black buddy left. I look at the car in front of me, and as I take a turn, I see you, at first I am a little skeptical is it you? I try to look closer and it’s you. Even if it wasn’t you, I’d like to think it was you.
The car rushes forward and I take a turn, I put on the music, and I listen to the song playing.
After all these years, I see you here, in my city, I wonder was it You? or was it just a shadow, that I thought was You? I have lost touch with the gang over these years, no one has time, busy in their own life. I look at them sometimes over social media, see their kids, their job promotions, and random trips they take with their wives and family. I never married after you left me for him. The song plays and I am taken 18 years back to the time I met you.
It’s about the time in the year 2003. We had known each other quite a while, but it was not until the movie I saw with you when something happened between us.
We were young and just out of college, we were celebrating and parting our ways on a very emotional note, we promised each other a lot, which we never kept all these years. There was something about you, your gaze towards me, I wondered, is it something else, but I never pondered it over, I was naive, I didn’t know what does it feels like to be interested in someone, we were not evolved back then unlike today, where being a single dad is itself a challenge and I now know tonnes more than I knew back then.
We all decided to meet on graduation day, I could never forget that day, we waited outside the cinema hall for our tickets for beloved Naina, the line moving slowly and we are laughing, gossiping about random teachers and their personal dramas and talking about why is it all the girls named Naina always be wearing spectacles, named Naina but then unable to see! Kal Ho Na Ho. You were an SRK fan, guess what I have never been romantic, I always thought it was a gay thing back then, but I loved you with all my heart. I laugh at all the things I thought, I smile as I remember your name. Vedika. Still a beautiful name. Vedika Joshi. VJ!
We went to watch Kal ho Na ho, in the theatre all of us, and I sat with you, not deliberately, but that’s how we all were arranged randomly. We all laughed and cried a little in the movie, made fun of every single one who did. I laugh a bit like I am watching the movie in the dimly lit theatre with all of us young and it was you who cried the most, the girl who never cried, I was surprised to see how could a happy go lucky person like you would cry all through, you took my handkerchief, even used my shoulder, my shirt to wipe away your tears. I switched the seat in the interval and you sat along with me. Again! and I still had no clue.
And as the movie begins again I let you sit and cry, I wonder what all hidden feelings were coming out from inside of you. As the movie ended, you woke up from my shoulder and as the light is about to be lit up again, you kiss me on my cheeks. I look at you, surprised. What was that for, and you lean in again kissing my cheeks? I look at you and your hair, over your face. The first kiss of my life and the lights were on.
As we left, you hold my hand and did not leave it, until we all parted our ways. I was speechless and happy, and there was no reaction from our gang as well, I never knew you liked me or was it the movie that made you fall in love with me. We dated soon after and we kept meeting as you pursued your dreams and I worked. I was too young to think about a life with you, or maybe I did.
I am about to reach home and I can’t wait to see my son. I am glad you left me after those wonderful 6 years. Had you not found him, I would not have found my son Kushal, the only human, who loves me unconditionally. After you were gone, it took me years to be able to live without you, be able to bear the pain, and I decided to raise this pretty little kid alone. The song ends, and I am few blocks away from home. I see you again, there is your car and You are standing outside. It is you. Why are you here? You ring the doorbell and my 11-year-old kid opens the door for you. I park the car at a distance and I quickly move towards the house.
As soon as I enter the house and he hugs me, I feel safe in his arms, I pick him up and I kiss his soft cheeks, he loves me like I have never felt loved before, I love him like I have never loved before.
I look at you standing in the hall, you smile as you look at me and I wish to beg from you to return me that love, which I once had in my heart for you, cause I have never been able to love anyone like that.. and with the same broken heart I smile back at you, thinking, how the things have changed and though it is you only, even if you return me that love back, even if I had a chance to have you back I won’t ever be able to love you the same or anyone else.