Slowly, I learnt to live without Aditya haunting me. First it was a couple of hours, then a couple of days started passing by without his thought entering my head. I took it as a good sign and plunged into life. I threw myself into all kinds of activities, dance classes, foreign language classes, volunteering at an animal shelter. Anything I could do to keep my mind occupied.
College got over and everyone started going their different ways. I kept in touch with my girls, but I really didn’t care about the rest of the college crowd. I was far too affected by what they thought of me to want to keep in touch.
My regular trips to the bookstore never ended. Every Sunday, I would find myself in the same bookstore but slowly, it became more about Vikram than about the books. I never realized when it happened. When Vikram and I started hanging out beyond the book store, beyond the coffee.
In fact, it was Aditya who made me realize the importance of my new relationship, which I didn’t know existed.
We both got through the same company when college ended.
Vikram didn’t participate in any of the placements.. He wanted to do his own thing and I used to marvel at his guts to rebel against everything we had ever been taught and make his own stand. Must study-Get good grades-Get placed- Earn good moolah.
Aditya saw me sitting across the room waiting for the offer letters to be distributed. He walked over to me awkwardly.
“Still mad?” He smiled. I had to smile back. He still had a great smile.
“Congrats!” I said. We both had a job now.
“Right back at you..” He said. I nodded and looked down at the bunch of papers I held in my hands.
“So we are going to be colleagues. Exciting huh?” I looked up, wondering why he was starting a conversation with me. I smiled politely.
“Maybe we should catch up sometime?” Aditya asked.
“Why?” The question was out before I could stop myself.
He looked taken aback at the vehemence with which I asked him why he wanted to catch up.
“Lets just say I’ve been thinking about you lately.”
I stared at him. Who did he think he was?!
“Anagha!” his voice snapped me back to the moment. “Say something..” He smiled again. And this time, his smile didn’t
male make me smile.
Suddenly conscious of my silence he asked “Are you seeing someone?”
I was about to shake my head negatively when I saw Vikram.
It was late, and he had come to accompany me back home safely.
“I’m with him.” I said softly, and I found myself wishing that I was seeing him.
That night as Vikram walked me home, something had changed. I knew my perception of him had changed. Maybe he understood that and morphed with it. The only outward sign of the change in our relationship was his hand holding mine gently and protectively.