When Rishav has started college, one thing he had loved most about the idea of going to college was the chance to stay away from family. He thought it would be good for everyone. His half brother and he didn’t really care much for each other so there wouldn’t be any lost love. His half-sister was a kid lost in her own dreamland so she wouldn’t care. His step-father and his relationship has always been awkward so him staying away would only be helpful. And his mother wouldn’t feel split between her son and her current family. And for Rishav, he wouldn’t feel like an outsider looking into someone’s happy ending or a guest who has overstayed his welcome.
But above all these reasons, he has liked the idea of staying away because somewhere deep inside he has hoped for his relationship with every family member of his to get somehow better magically in his absence. Just like they show in the movies. Rishav has thought that if he stayed away enough then for the short period he would stay at home, he won’t feel like an outsider instead every member especially his mother would shower love on him. He hadn’t expected anything like Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham but he had hoped that at least his mother would make his favorite dishes but no such luck there. In fact his absence had quite an opposite effect. At least earlier on he was needed to help his mother and Dinesh with everyday chores but now they have trained Anish for it and he wasn’t even missed for that. And forget about showering love his mother was even more ignorant to his needs than before. His relationship with his step father and half brother was more strained than ever. Earlier on he used to feel like an outsider looking in but now he felt like someone, who wasn’t even allowed to look in. And wasn’t that how families were supposed to be?! No outsiders allowed! And Rishav was an outsider!
Rishav was thinking about going back to hostel two days earlier than he needed to be. After all nothing was holding him here. He has hoped to enjoy whole week with Khanak but that wasn’t in option anymore and his family couldn’t care any-less whether he stayed here or not.
Was it so wrong to want to be loved and wanted by your family and friends? After all aren’t they supposed to love you, want you. He didn’t expect whole world to adore him, just the people who are supposed to. Aren’t mothers supposed to love their first child more than anything in the world then how come he didn’t seem to come even in the list for his mother! Aren’t childhood friends suppose to know you better than your self then how come Khanak and Ankan couldn’t understand what he was feeling.
Is it so wrong to want someone to make him their number one priority?!
He mind was wondering about what has he done so wrong to not get special attention from anyone when Khanak entered into his room, a sheepish smile on her face, as if everything was normal, as if everything could ever go back to normal. Rishav was not going to give her right to hurt him anymore like she did on that day. He wasn’t going to let her make him feel like an outsider yet again in his, her and Ankan’s friendship. He has felt that enough to last a life, he didn’t need it anymore, and, especially not from her… not from the one person he considered most important in his life!
He was going to make a successful career for himself, something that he would call his own, something that he would have full rights on and something that would never make him feel like an outsider, something that wouldn’t leave him just because it has found something new, something better that him.
When Khanak asked whether Rishav regretted how he hurt her that day or not, he knew he had two options – tell her the truth and give her the power to hurt him again or lie to her and lose her. In his anger and hurt, second one enticed him much more than first one. He knew that he was going to hurt her but he justified himself by telling himself that wasn’t it better than hurting each other continuously and they were going to each other. If nothing changed in his, her and Ankan’s friendship then all three of them are going to hurt. Rishav liked her, Ankan liked her, and that’s the truth. A truth which eventually was going to hurt everyone deeply.
And Rishav was in no mood to get passed over for something better like his mother did with him. He was in no mood to get hurt ever again.
When she told him that she was done liking him, he was shocked. He didn’t know that! For a second he let himself hope but then he heard the phrasing her confession has come with. She didn’t say she liked him, she said she was done liking him, and he wanted to laugh. Just when he decided he wasn’t going to let her hurt him, she hurt him again.
Just so that he could have last word he told her to not talk to him for a while. As soon as he said the words he saw her turn away from him and he knew that her eyes must be filled with tears. He wanted to take back everything he has said to her in this room today but something inside him stopped him from doing that. And he let her go. But that didn’t mean that he didn’t care for her.
He picked up the phone to call his oldest friend, the one person who hasn’t been here in this room while he took the decision to let Khanak go but the one person it is going to affect most, other than Rishav and Khanak.
“Hello, Ankan?” Rishav greeted stiffly.
“Yeah, this is me. so, why did you call?” Ankan asked, his voice didn’t have any of the warmth it usually held while talking to his best-friend.
“Khanak is upset.” Rishav told him, his voice held all the apology. all the regret he didn’t express in front of Khanak.
“Rishav, what did you do?” Ankan asked angrily, and Rishav couldn’t answer the question even if he wanted to. He didn’t have the answer himself. He, still hadn’t comprehended his own actions and their consequences.
Khanak kept up the brave face and didn’t let herself cry till he was in Rishav’s house. She somehow managed to say bye to his mother with a strained smile. Khanak knew that Rishav’s mother has guessed that something has happened but thought better to ask no questions about it and let Khanak go with a strained smile of her own. Once she got out of his house she couldn’t stop herself from letting her tears fall even if she wanted to. She ran to her house, tears rolling down on her cheeks and her hands busy with trying in vain to wipe them. In this moment she couldn’t care any-less about what anyone was going to say if someone known saw her like this.
How could he say that he didn’t regret hurting her?! How did Rishav change so much in so little time? Ankan and she were almost same as before. And she tried to be a bigger person, she tried to forgive him when she thought that he was apologetic but couldn’t express it, but how could she forgive some one who wasn’t even sorry for hurting her!
Oh, what a reward did she get for trying to be a bigger person? Confession of her feeling rejected. She thought mocking herself. He didn’t need to reciprocate her feeling but he could have at least aknowledged it.
And what did he say that it was better if they didn’t talk to each other for a while?! How could he say that?! This was not the friend she has known since she was 10. Yeah, he was sometimes grumpy and rude but never unapologetic and he never intentionally hurt anyone. How could everything change so much in so little time? Just last week, everything was okay. Just this morning she thought everything was on track and now, now nothing is how it’s supposed to be. How could Rishav do this?!
Repeatedly, her mind was fixed on only point, like a broken cassette, how could everything change without her even realizing it? Khanak reached her house unconsciously and opened the main door, unaware of her actions.
“Khanak! Khanak!” Lost in her own thoughts and sadness it took her sometime to realize that someone was calling her. For a second she let herself hope that it was Rishav, who has finally come back to his senses but very soon her hope fell when she saw who it was through her tears filled eyes.
“Ankan…” She whispered.