He had never expected that she would say ‘this’. Not even in his dreams. Neither did she ever imagine that she would speak like this with anyone. With him! But such words are not planned and articulated. They just spill out. Like emotions. Like tears. Like an overwhelming surge of a deeply felt pain. The way she didn’t think even for a moment before she ran towards him to ensure that he w...
Gratitude and loads of love for all the replies, likes and responses on all the parts. Read the last ones. Thank you. I will never forget ANY of you.
You are all too special.
I had some time. So, I thought that the best form of reply from the writer is the next update. So thank you all collectively. And instead of writing ‘thank you’ to every comment, I decided to write another update.
Stay safe. Stay calm. Stay happy.
“I don’t forget any relationship.”
She had spoken this on an impulse because relationships had always mattered to her. She had very few people to call her own so she cherished each of them. On usual days, she didn’t trust everyone easily and didn’t allow people to be close to her. But when she did, she made sure that she valued and treasured them. The connection she felt to places of her birth and education was precious to her and she just expressed that in words. Impulsively.
On second thoughts, now, she didn’t want Anshuman to think that she was reminding him about their relationship. It would be a disaster. Too mortifying to her and too awkward for him. She would never do that even in her dreams.
She pressed her lips and turned away, hoping that he would let it go. She would hate to become the reason for things to become embarrassing between them. He made it easy for her. He looked at her for a moment and replied very casually, “Yeah, I saw that. The way you took care of Pricks at her engagement, you came to Delhi for her, and stayed with her so that she doesn’t feel low. Mom told me about that. Thanks.”
“No…um… I didn’t mean to brag about anything that I did. I said it just like that.”
“Ohhh!!” He left a small sound, leaving it at the tip of his tongue, with his mouth opened in the shape of an ‘O’ while looking at her keenly and squeezing his eyes for a bit. Then he nodded with his head up and down as if not believing her and turned towards the valley too, “Oh-kayyy!!”
After a moment of silence, she informed him, “I’ve filled the form for Tazkira to be made for me. And the new printed passport too. They take online applications, then give a date for physical appearance for verification.”
Informing him was important in case he was looking forward to her documents completion and citizenship formalities. They were important before they proceeded for divorce. She didn’t want him to keep wondering about that. Instead, she wanted to relieve him that she was pro-actively getting her documents completed so that he could be free of her and begin a new life with Amanda.
She wondered why she was getting affected more than ever, by this thought. He had already told her, much before, even before they had met that he was looking forward to proposing marriage to someone he loved and thus he wanted to be free of this forced knot tied with her. She had always known this fact. And she had accepted it.
In fact, she knew and remembered very well that she was positively happy for him. Everything that made him happy became a duty for her. She had never allowed herself the luxury of thinking of herself as someone’s wife. A part of someone’s life. No. She had never thought anything in this direction.
Then why the thought of Amanda and Anshuman being close to each other left a void inside her heart? Why it felt like a sinking sensation had engulfed her and was eating her away?
She turned around. “I’m feeling sleepy. Shall we go back?”
“Hmm.” He turned around too and nodded in reply, wondering what happened to her suddenly after telling him about the documents and citizenship issue. Did she really feel sleepy? Or did she became uncomfortable talking about it? But why?
They walked in silence. They had started talking casually with each other a while ago but the track was broken once again by silence and apprehension. She didn’t know what to say anymore. Every word exchanged between them turned her into a transparent crystal, dangerously open before him. Pretty vulnerable to being broken, at the same time. It was new to her. She had to do everything possible to avoid getting hurt every time she talked to him.
He didn’t know what to say either. Making her feel uncomfortable was never in his plans. But then, he couldn’t say much to make it easy between them. He had already build a lot of expectations for her. Now, he feared not living up to them and hurting her. He was hurting too, but that was not even in his thoughts, right now. All that mattered was that she should complete her story, get her documents made, and go back to India, safely.
“Alright…” When they reached back to the tents, she turned away to enter her tent after she said, “Good night.”
“Manasvi.” He stopped her.
“Yeah?” She stopped and turned to him, waiting for him to speak.
“When is the appointment at Ministry of External Affairs at Kabul?”
She observed his keen, sincere face when he asked. Unwillingly, she told him, “Day after tomorrow.”
“Okay. I’ll come with you.”
“You don’t have to do that…” She tried to ask him to continue his work and that she would manage.
But he interrupted her, “I’ll drive.”
“But…” She protested in a very low voice. She didn’t want him to bother for her. She didn’t want more favours from him. She hated to disturb his work. She didn’t want her to fall more for him. She didn’t want to be hurt anymore. Staying away was one perfect way of ensuring that she wouldn’t get affected by him. And also, she didn’t want to hurt Amanda, who was miffed when Anshuman had been to Jalalabad Population Registry office. So many reasons for not wanting Anshuman to be with her. And she could share none of them with him. Probably, she didn’t need to.
He gave her just one reason to let him be with her. Almost as an afterthought, he said –
“It will make me really happy if you let me come with you.”
There was no chance she would speak anything after this. If accompanying her made him happy, then all her other reasons for not going with him fell flat before this.
She smiled warmly and said, “It will make me really happy too if you let me write the story about you.”
The serious look on his face softened slowly and he slightly smirked, “Are you negotiating?”
Her smile never left her. In fact, it became more adorable when she softly nodded, “Yes. I guess, I am!”
He rolled his tongue inside his mouth and gave it a deep thought. Then, he folded his arms at his chest and looking straight in her eyes, he asked, “Can we negotiate some more?”
“Allow me to choose the questions. I should be given a choice to skip the ones that I don’t want to answer.”
She slightly parted her lips, still thinking about her reply. Something that distracted his focus from her eyes to her lips. He tried not to look at them. Instead, his eyes roved towards a curl of her hair escaping down over her cheek from her dupatta at her head. The curl of hair flew due to the cool breeze. With a deep sigh, she realised that she didn’t have many options when he was talking to her, looking at her, requesting her. What was she even thinking about, when she had to agree after all? She nodded to agree.
“Thank you. That was really kind of you.”
“See you tomorrow at your OPD.”
“Sure!” He was relaxed that after making a choice at the questions, he would be able to carefully dodge the uncomfortable ones. It was a big relief for him. He added, “And the day after tomorrow, we’ll be going to Kabul to MEA office.”
Suddenly, she was worried, “But I hope there is not much of a problem at the camp. I don’t want to disturb…”
“Relax. I’ll take care of that.”
“Thank you,” She sighed.
“Good night!” He smiled slightly and turned to go back to his tent to sleep.
Feeling slightly happier than ever before. Completely unaware of what brought about that little change in him. Unaware that she felt the same – happy and content than ever before.
Going to his OPD felt like a bad decision because when Manasvi reached there in the morning, Amanda was already in his room. Manasvi felt like an intruder and contemplated going away as both hadn’t seen her. Their back was towards her.
Anshuman was doing a wound-dressing of a patient with his face towards the bed. He had worn gloves in his hands and had a mask on his face. He was cleaning the patient’s wound on the arm and talking to Amanda who was standing near the chair and facing Anshuman’s back.
Amanda spoke, “I think you should take charge of the inventory and the stock. The new doctors lack experience and I am not sure if they are keeping a proper record. In any emergency, this mismanagement will cost us a lot.”
“Why do you think they are not doing it well? Go and check if they lack competence. Honestly, I would prefer to trust them.” Anshuman replied.
Amanda was offended. Annoyed at his suggestion, she retorted, “You think I am a kid or what? Complaining about nothing great? I’m informing about that because I saw them taking things for granted. Are we even prepared for a sudden demand for more? But like always, you won’t trust me. You never take seriously, anything I speak – whether it is about Alex, rosters, or stock.”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean that,” Anshuman spoke casually, throwing away the sterile gauze piece that he used to wipe the wound, saying, “I just thought that instead of pushing others to accept what we are telling them, we can allow them to share their opinion with us.”
Amanda didn’t like what he said. She huffed and turned around to leave the cabin. When she turned, she saw Manasvi behind her, visibly confused if she should leave or keep standing or say something here. Manasvi bit her lower lip and widened her eyes. Amanda gave her an irked glance, turned to look at Anshuman’s back, and then left the cabin. Manasvi stepped ahead to stand near the chair facing the table.
Busy with his patient and his wound, Anshuman didn’t realise that Amanda had left and Manasvi had come to stand in her place, instead. He spoke after a moment, “Amanda, did you see Manasvi since morning? She is sharing the tent with you, so I thought you must know.”
Manasvi didn’t speak anything to reply to him. Instead, she waited for him to complete. He straightened the patient’s arm and tried apposing the wound edges to see how he was going to suture them. Then, he asked, “Has she gone to meet her friend, Krish?”
Manasvi didn’t know what emotion she heard in his voice – Disappointment? Envy? Or just curiosity? Whatever it was, but his tone was definitely not normal. It had a weird, low, tearing pitch to it. The one that comes after losing a sports match or something precious.
“Why are you not speaking?” He stretched his hand in the air, sideways, slightly behind him, towards her and said, “Okay, forget it…pass me the monofilament suture and the artery.”
Manasvi looked at the small steel box holding many small and big instruments in it. This box was kept on the table before her. Not knowing anything about what instruments he had just asked her to pass to him, she took a deep breath and stared at the box, speechlessly. Anshuman was annoyed. He turned completely, “What happened? Why are you not…”
His remaining words were stuck inside his throat when, instead of Amanda, he found Manasvi standing there, looking at him cluelessly. His eyes were locked with her eyes. His words, his feet, his hands, and his heartbeats – almost all of them stopped for a short moment.
Her questions were written all over her face. And he didn’t know if he would ever be able to skip any.
(Thanks for reading.
I am writing the other story – Till Eternity And Beyond – Chapter 2.
I will post if I am able to finish it)