I have always been nervous while trying something new. However, the fear of failure somehow is overcome by the desire of success. I have tried my hand for the first time in story writing. Hope to get your valuable suggestions and feedbacks. Do let me know how you find it! J
Time changed or she did?-Part I
5:05 A.M., weekday, Iksha was already cursing herself on losing those precious five minutes when Rishabh opened his beautiful eyes that drove her crazy even today, after 8 years of their marriage! She hated the idea of leaving the bed and heading for kitchen and Rishabh’s playfulness was making it more difficult. His idea of romance never faded and she loved him for that (too!). He held her waist and planted a cute peck on her cheek. Iksha was now loaded with enthusiasm that normally lasted for the whole day. She finished off cleaning, cooking, packing lunch for the family and then went to Jiggi’s room. She woke her up with a kiss and held her exactly as she did 6 years back in the hospital when she was born. She carried her to the washroom and beheld Rishabh helping Jiggi brush. She just stopped her tears from rolling out of the simplest joy, life. Sometimes she herself couldn’t believe that she was capable of the amount of love she showered upon her little angel.
They left Jiggi at the bus stop while Rishabh drove Iksha to work before leaving for his own. The drive was a routine one, but Rishabh never let her feel the same. He was a breeze of fresh air every time he talked, looked, smiled or loved her. She was early for the office and Rishabh decided to stay on for few minutes in the cafeteria. She felt something different in the air and her husband too. But somehow nothing mattered when he was around. She kept looking at him with the madness of a girlfriend. He came closer and she felt distracted as her heart beat quickened. A bouquet of red roses and a red envelope was snap in front of her eyes as he displayed the best of his smiles. “Ohh no!!” was all she could usher and rushed in to hug him as her colleagues passed by. How could she miss this? Come on! It was exactly 8 years today, it was her marriage anniversary! She felt instantly guilty but didn’t find a speck of complaint in his eyes. She tried to say, “Rishu, I am so irresponsible, I don’t know how I missed it, I’m…..”, while he hugged her tighter and erased all needs of speech. He then drove away leaving her feeling lucky to have found perfect love in an arranged marriage.
As she reached her cabin, carrying an unusual payload, she looked at the envelope decorated in Rishabh’s ornate handwriting which stated, “Happy marriage anniversary, Mrs. Iksha Agarwal”. He was someone who didn’t speak much but she understood all he didn’t say. He made sure that she received a greeting card on every occasion as he knew her fascination for the same. Iksha rushed in to see the greeting card and a look at it, and all of Rishabh’s efforts went in vain. It was the same card…yes the same card…that had once been her favorite since childhood, one that Aparikshit gave her, one that she showed Ritwik, one with which Ritwik made her come to life again with, one that haunted her, one that lied in the corner of her cupboard, even today, without a name on it, a card, specklessly clean card, very unlike her past. She unwontedly started ruffling through the pages of past.
College days are the best part of life and if not for few instances, Iksha’s was a dream come true. She was one of those geeks in the first year who are noticed by every teacher and hated by every student. The sophomore year turned out to be almost the same except some friends who took the risk of befriending her and some science projects that she managed to get into. Hers was a life very few wanted but many desired for. Lost in books, thoughts, lectures and libraries, she was never popular among peers. She was just an average looking girl and not many boys showed interest, the ones who showed even a bit were welcomed with the wrath Iksha was known for. She had fought with boys since her school days for reasons unknown and unreasonable. In a gist, she was a boring, proud, emotionless, selfish and nerd gal who was mentally imbalanced and programmed to study. This was what she always portrayed and had successfully made that impression. However, life changed a bit too much in the second half of her college life.
Iksha was hurt from few instances of child abuse and couldn’t ever gather the courage to trust anyone, leave alone think of a relationship. Iksha had hated boys who enjoyed being boys, just because they could down show girls. The attitude of prominence rendered to boys had implanted the seed of tom boyishness in her, apart from the non-discrimination that she experienced at home. She remained convinced that a spinster’s life will be the best for her. While many wondered if she was actually immune to the Cupid’s arrows, she had not admitted it even to herself that she had a crush on Ritwik, ever since the end of the first semester when she noticed him. Ritwik was a different boy in every sense. In a campus studded with ‘studs’, he was someone who still chose trousers over jeans, mustard oil over hair-gels, tucked in check shirts over the flamboyant tees and lassi over alcohol. Iksha didn’t take much time in gathering that if she kept stealing looks at him during classes, she would lose out on studies and worse fall in love with him. Still, the play of love for the first time is quite a difficulty in life and she underwent a transformation within. She didn’t hate all boys anymore. The stirrings in her heart didn’t pay heed to her constant reminders. But one day, around 2 weeks after she had felt her heart skip a beat when Ritwik entered the class, she came to know that he loved someone already. She knew all she supposed to have felt was a deep burning jealousy for the girl but how many times Iksha did what she was supposed to do? She had lived every second on her own terms, terms that were decided and transformed only by her. All she felt was a sense of hollowness and further reinforcement of the feeling that love was not possible in her case. She felt a fear and insecurity, a sense of deep pain and wet her pillow all through the night. The next day, she was the same old Iksha who was not affected by any boyish charm and was as stone hearted as ever. She was back to studies and being alone while disregarding her interest in Ritwik just as a crush. The only thing that kept haunting her was the reason behind her crush. However, a changing Ritwik through the months made forgetting really easy.
It was a phone call in the third year that changed everything for her. It was 11:30 PM, night of her birthday. She was hell tired from the proceedings of the day and was least expecting someone to wish so late. An unknown number further encouraged her to sleep. The phone kept ringing for another 15 minutes and when it became unbearable, she picked up. All she could utter was, “Apri, u??? Can’t believe...” when she was cut short with warm wishes and a lot of questions. It was Aparikshit, a childhood friend, family friend and someone who liked her but never confessed. They talked for another 4 hours about the long lost friendship, life afterwards, college, course and every other thing they could think of. “Ikki, stupid to ask this, but do you finally have a boyfriend?” She murmured, “Apri, you know me” and they broke into laughter. After college the next day, she waited for his call which was sure to come. They discussed few things after which it was Aparikshit’s turn to open up. To Iksha’s never ending queries, he finally said, “Yes Ikki, there is someone in my life”
…..to be continued