Their shifts had just ended, so with cups of tea in their hands, they headed to sit under their favourite tree in the campus. In the past year, being posted in the same unit, they’d come to know each other well and rather enjoyed each other’s company. Relishing the steaming cup, Reva looked affectionately at Ahaan. She found him quite delightful. He was intelligent, had a great sense of humour and they shared quite a few interests. But the best part was, he was attentive towards her and she could be herself around him. He never judged her and just let her be.
“So, where do you see yourself after finishing your MD?’, asked Ahaan, jolting her out of her thoughts.
“Oh, my parents would have found a match for me, by then. In fact, as we talk, they are already on it, so who knows,” Reva said, trying to sound breezy but that tone fooled no one.
“How can you be so casual about the most important decision of your life?”, Ahaan persisted.
“My career is my most important decision, not who I get married to”, she said. She gulped the remaining tea quickly and got up brushing her clothes.
“What’s the hurry? There’s still time before the evening rounds”, Ahaan held her hand gesturing her to sit down. She half-heartedly did but her mood was pensive.
“You say your career is important, but who you marry will definitely have an effect on your career, for better or for worse. Give yourself a chance,” he said following it up with a hurried muttering, “Give me a chance.” There, the cat was finally out of the bag.
For a while both had been skirting around their feelings for each other and somewhere knew that what started as friendship was turning into something more serious. Not sure of what she’d heard, Reva looked up and his expressions told her that she hadn’t imagined those words.
“I am not exactly looking for love. That door is closed now”, said Reva with tears welling in her eyes. Visibly hurt, he withdrew his hand he’d lovingly placed on her knee.
“Don’t get me wrong Ahaan, I like you… I really do. With you it’s different, it’s just me. I do not have it in me to go through the same agony, all over again.”
“How can you compare the two situations? And… and how would you know, if you never gave love a chance?”, he stuttered in an effort to not let go off this opportunity to get it out all in the open.
“I told you na, I was in a long-standing relationship before I came here. And although it was I who broke off, it still hurt as much”, she wiped those tears that were now threatening to come out.
“I know all about it but don’t allow your past to drag you down and come in your way of living your life. Its ok that chair was not made for you. Move on to the next one,” replied Ahaan nonchalantly.
“Uhh… what chair?” asked the befuddled girl.
“Arre… when Shahrukh said it in ‘Dear Zindagi’, you seemed to be nodding your head in approval and now when I said it, you give me that look,” Ahaan pouted faking a hurt expression.
She burst out laughing through her tears remembering the dialogue- ‘Hum Kitni Qursiyan Dekhte Hain Koyi Ek Lene Se Pehle… Phir Apna Life Partner Choose Karne Se Pehle Options Dekhne Main Kya Problem Hai’ (we look at so many chairs before we finally settle for one, then why can’t we exercise our right for options similarly when choosing our life partner)
She nodded in agreement as he heaved a sigh of relief. He hated to see her in tears.
“I know you are still gathering yourself from your parents’ refusal and the subsequent heartbreak, because you just couldn’t bring yourself to go against their wishes….”
She interrupted him, “Ahaan, it wasn’t just my parents’ disapproval. There were so many other things…big and small… that had started glaring back at me. My earlier relationship was straight out of a romantic movie. Flowers, cards, gifts and the works… but the possessiveness that I used to find cute initially had started suffocating me. We were two very different people and whatever they may say about opposites attracting each other, at least for me it wasn’t the case. I have always believed that if the shoe doesn’t fit or hurts, don’t expect time to make it better. The same is aplicable for boyfriends too. I was losing myself so when my parents put their foot down, I just took it as a sign from God. That doesn’t mean I can write off all those years I had invested in that relationship. I still miss him simply because I was so used to him. As for giving you a chance, I really wish I could. But I am just too scared. And what if my parents disapprove again. I have neither the energy nor the inclination to go through all of it.”
“All I say is give me a chance. Let’s take it one disaster at a time.”
She nodded in agreement as he let out a squeal of delight.
………………… Two years later as she looked back to that day, with their relationship status upgraded to ‘married’, Reva couldn’t help feeling elated. Ahaan turned out to be all that she had expected and more. The mutual trust, the respect and the space that he gave just brought out the best in her. It was just so different this time around. The freedom to be who you are was so liberating as she rediscovered herself. There were no over-the-top romantic gestures but there were thoughtful little ones. And she still had his genuine friendship and mutual admiration. She still would have tears in her eyes, but more often than not because he would keep her in splits with his whacky sense of humour.
She would always remeber that evening when he had urged her to give love a chance, to not let a bad experience pull her back and boy…. was she glad or what to have followed his advice!
As she looked at him snoring away to glory, she smiled inwardly thinking, ‘To Find Your Prince, You Have To Kiss Many A Frog’
The prompt that I chose to write on, was- ‘With You It’s Different’