Joined: 09 January 2007
Khanak dropped her fork and was too shocked to respond or turn around. The person brought back years of painful and joyful memories
The first time she had met Shaan, he struck her as a serious type of person and that time she was too scared to approach him. She always had a bad habit of judging too quickly by just looking at the person, not their interaction, just their physical-self. She did the same thing with all the guys before and this wasn't any different. She thought he was some sort of goon or something because of the way he wouldn't talk and kept most of the things to himself.
She met Shaan for the first time at a fashion show rehearsals, which was part of a student organization's show that she was part of. She was in-charge of the fashion show at that time and was teaching girls and guys on how to walk and whom to walk with. She didn't know Shaan back then so she didn't really interact with him much and didn't bother at all. Not only that, it was her 2nd year in university and she was focusing more on her university life than on boys and such non-sense. She didn't have time to be hanging out with guys because she wanted to focus in university. She wasn't looking for a relationship so she never did hang out with any guys more than intended to. The only reason she even knew a lot of guys was because of the organization she was part of. She hung out with them till she has to; in this case she was in the university show so she had to be there for daily rehearsals.
That was their first meeting, their second meeting had better interaction and more talks. Again the same student organization compelled them to meet and this time their meeting involved face-to-face talk. She had become an important part of the organization by taking the role of secretary in her 3rd university year. There was a pot-luck dinner that their organization was throwing and she was in-charge of food. So she had ask him to make the biryani and bring it in, hence she had to talk to him about it. After that, they didn't interact much, except she got to know that he was a friend of Suraj, a guy who had a crush on her and was part of her board too. So Shaan and Khanak had finally found a common ground and that was Suraj.
Khanak and Suraj had a story of their own. It seemed Suraj had a crush on her for the past 4 months (they were in September now) and was hanging out with Khanak every day. Khanak had found out somehow over the summer in July and had kept her secret so not to make Suraj feel awkward. Khanak didn't want to hurt the poor guy's feeling so she never stopped him from hanging out with her or chatting with her.
Khanak and Suraj started chatting in July about the organization and Suraj's computer interests. Khanak being herself wasn't looking for a relationship and Suraj was just another guy so she ignored all his advances at that time but she still talked to him. She became friends with him, of course the guy lied about a lot of things but she ignored them all. She was good at that game. But Khanak didn't see what was coming after this during upcoming semester.
Somehow Khanak had started to crush on Suraj and it increased even more when university started and he joined the student organization she was part of. She recommended Suraj as the web-master for the organization site when university started and hence Suraj was on board with the organization. Due to their daily meetings and daily rehearsals, since their group was the most active group on campus, Suraj and Khanak started to hang out a lot. This was a mistake because Khanak had eventually started to like Suraj. Khanak didn't plan for it at all but it just happened because the guy would be everywhere, where she would be. She had to stay after school every day due to her hectic schedule but the guy would stay with her and give her company. He wouldn't exactly tell her the truth why he would really stay after but he would make some lame excuses and Khanak didn't have anything but to believe him.
As the semester progressed, Khanak and Suraj were hanging out frequently and it was becoming difficult for Khanak to hide her feelings from Suraj. What was even worse Suraj, it seemed, had started suspecting that Khanak had started to like him. Khanak always had issues with masking her feelings because she wasn't used to stuff like this before. She also had issues with insecurities. When Suraj found out that Khanak liked him back, like a typical guy he started to ignore her. It turned out that Suraj didn't want a relationship and neither did Khanak but both were having hard time not to spend time with the other.
It was in end-October that Khanak had let her feelings out of the bag and acted on her stupid impulsiveness and ruined things between her and Suraj because he had started to move on. Suraj being a guy was thrilled that a girl liked him back so he acted as a jerk towards her. He would deliberately do things that she liked or had told him. He would talk to other girls in front of her and would ignore her completely. Khanak tried to maintain the friendship between the two but he left no chances to ruin that too. This was what Khanak was good at, even if she did like a guy she would never ruin the friendship on purpose and was always the one to forgive and forget; at least she had hoped to.
This was the most difficult time for Khanak because her best friend was busy with her education so Puja didn't have time for her; her family were having financial problem and not to mention the citizenship issues with the state; and her semester wasn't going well due to so many university functions. That is when Shaan came to her rescue as her guide and support.
It was in early-November when Khanak and Shaan had their third meeting one-on-one. Khanak had to pick up some flyers from Shaan for the next event, which was a concert, since Shaan had volunteered to make copies for the group for free. Khanak had talked to Shaan before due to the past events but she never really talked more than two or three sentences and all were business type too.
Khanak had called Shaan to find out where he was and he had told her to meet him in the library because he was studying. She had gone there to pick up the flyers but it turned out he had placed half the flyers in his car so Khanak ended up staying in the library till he was done with his homework that he was working. Khanak knew that Shaan and Suraj were friends but she didn't know how close.
Since Khanak was having problems and none of her friends were present to help her through. Not Puja and not Amber, since both were busy with their respective lives. Amber was another one of her best friends, which is going to lose later. Puja was busy with college, while Amber was either busy with her love life or had to go home due to the restriction her family had placed upon her. That day she needed to talk to somebody because she was feeling down as she had just witnessed Suraj with another girl and giving her the cold shoulder.
Khanak hadn't planned to talk to Shaan when she came but she ended up doing it. They first started talking about his homework and the classes they both were taking that semester. Then they talked about the upcoming concert and how she was appreciating Shaan's help with group. Khanak was random at making conversation because she hated quietness, she didn't want to disturb Shaan from his work but she couldn't help herself. What was even worse, it was sweet of Shaan to let it go too. So randomly Khanak started talking about her friends and how she was having trouble with them.
Since Khanak was insecure girl, she needed to hear security from her loved ones and when they didn't give it to her; she would go berserk on them and would have fights with them. But Khanak always believed that fights made her stronger and her love for them stronger and deeper. So that night she started talking about her friendship with Amber and how she loved Amber but some things she didn't like. Khanak was a loyal friend and didn't reveal about Amber's life but only that she didn't like her behavior towards Khanak.
Khanak sat on the table next to him, where he was working, "So I love Amber but sometimes I get the feeling she lies to me a lot. I mean she tells me eventually but a bit late when I find out from others. She told me about whom she is going out with but she wouldn't tell me the complete truth because apparently she skips classes and tells me she attends them." Khanak was as quite as possible but she was afraid one of Amber's friends would hear her, since that friend was near to them. Khanak showed her concern and asked Shaan to move from there. Khanak was sure he wouldn't but she was surprised when Shaan obliged.
Khanak: "Oh, I'm really sorry Shaan. Please don't move; I'll come back later. Finish your work; I don't want you to move because of me. I would feel bad if you had t leave like that. I'm sorry for disturbing you."
Khanak was frantically apologizing when she saw Shaan wrapping his homework mid-way and packing away.
Shaan: "No it's all right. It's cool. Beside I was getting an early homework done. I can finish that at home. Plus you just told me that you had to be home early so we will go grab those flyers for you and then you can head home."
Khanak: "I really am sorry Shaan I didn't mean to disturb you like that."
Shaan: "It's all right buddy, don't worry about it."
Khanak and Shaan then left the library and headed to where his car was parked. On the way, Khanak was again talking about how she was as a friend and what she expected from friends and then she started talking about the main thing that was bothering her and that was Suraj. She told Shaan about how Suraj was being an idiot and she wanted Shaan's advice on how to handle Suraj situation. She knew Shaan was Suraj's friend so what better person to ask than Shaan on how to handle Suraj.
What Khanak liked and admired about Shaan that night was that he was a loyal friend because he didn't give away anything about his friend but did tell her how to deal with the situation. Khanak told Shaan everything about Suraj and her friendship and how she fell for him and how he was being a jerk now and it was hurting her. Shaan had advised her to move on and ignore Suraj because he was sure she would find someone better than him because she deserved better. He gave her his example and told her a bit about his love life and how similar it was to hers. Shaan was being sweet to her that night, or so she thought.
Khanak: "That is sweet, Shaan. But somehow it will take me time to believe it. Anyways enough about me and whining because I feel like I will bore you with all my frustration and then you will think something else of me and your opinion will change."
Shaan: "Hahaha, no nothing like that will happen. I understand the frustration you are going through because we all go through that."
Khanak: "Thanks for understanding. I just hope some people were like that. Anyways'I'll be always sad so why don't we switch to something different. You can tell me about yourself."
So Shaan did. He talked about his love life and how he has hurt so many people in his life and now he was repenting for his mistakes. Khanak listened to it patiently and agreed to things here and there. He didn't completely open up that night but he did talk about how his life did change after that and now he was trying to focus into his education and be a better person.
That night marked the beginning of a beautiful friendship that Khanak could never forget in the years to come. Khanak needed a guys input in regards to Suraj and Shaan became that guy. She would call Shaan whenever she felt down or felt like venting frustration over Suraj.
They shared everything about their life together. Khanak was the one to have shared her whole life with Shaan and Shaan reciprocated.
Khanak was surprise that she never shared that much with a guy or any friend about herself in a short period of time and that scarred her. She told him about her family's struggle to strive and make a living in America. She told him about her last 9 years of her life in America and how she kept herself away from relationships. She told him about all her issues, mental and non-mental. She told him everything about her life from beginning till that point and all that in less than a month.
No she wasn't a fool to have done that because she knew what she got in return, a friendship to last through life-time. They clicked somehow and it worked because soon Khanak saw herself forgetting about Suraj and moving on. Both Khanak and Shaan had found a lot in common in short period of time. They practically knew about each other a lot because they both felt that both were an opposite version of themselves.
They had similarities, yet differences. If Khanak was simple, Shaan was flamboyant. If Shaan was spontaneous in actions, Khanak was spontaneous in words. If Khanak believed in loyalty in relationship then Shaan was behind her on that. If Khanak was sweet and cared for others too much that they would take advantage of her, Shaan would be careful in the same aspect and try to avoid being taken advantage of. Khanak was book smart, while Shaan was street smart. If she was practical and thought of the future, Shaan preferred to live in the moment. If she was calm and patience, Shaan lack self-control and was always hot-headed. Together they were always butting head with each other but apart they were stronger than a bundle of sticks put together. They even shared the same star-signs and had formed a club on that. People thought they were going out but they both denied it all and never hid their friendship. They spent so much time together in university and on the phone. Whenever Shaan would leave work, he would call Khanak, the first person he could think of. They would end their night talking on the phone for hours.
Just as they were bonding stronger, Shaan had found a girl of his own at that time and Khanak was immediately happy and encouraged him to go out with her, which he eventually did.
It was during this time; the initial phase of friendship that something happened that had Khanak grounded for life. Khanak knew about Shaan's past, which he regrets to this day. His ex-girlfriend, Tina, was troubling him and his current relationship and Shaan had called Khanak one night on what to do.
Khanak: "Look Shaan, you can't act on rationality. You have to be practical and have to have self-control otherwise you will lose your character and make a fool out of yourself."
Shaan: "But Khanak what should I do? I mean she said I love you to me and I have not replied back."
Khanak: "Why did she say I love you in the first place?"
Shaan: "Well because of Tina, she has been bothering me and when I tried telling Simran that Tina is bothering me, Simran wants to talk to her. So I put Tina on the phone once and told Tina off and Simran was there to listen to the whole conversation."
Shaan: "And then Simran agreed to my reasoning to avoid Tina and then the next day Simran told me about her past and how she was hurt and then out of emotion, she said 'I love you' to me and I didn't reply back. And when she asked me, I have not said a word and I don't know what to do."
Khanak: "Bas itni si baat? Shaan I can't answer that for you, you have to find out yourself. You don't go around and say 'I love you' to any random person. The word has a meaning. I know in today's world the meaning has become a piece of loss fabric but it still holds the same meaning. Do you feel strong for her? Have you felt that strong for anyone before? Does she stir something in you?"
Shaan: "I don't know. I mean she is a great girl and I don't want to hurt her. She is pretty emotional too and I can't see a girl cry, you know I can't. Last time I said that to a girl, I lost a great friend and we never went back to being the same. You know that."
Khanak: "If you don't feel the same then tell her the reasoning that you can't reciprocate her feelings because you don't know if you mean it not, at least not yet. And don't be harsh to her when you say that, I'm sure Simran will understand."
The rest of their conversation was about Love in general and it seemed Khanak had convinced Shaan about how to tell his true feeling to Simran. As soon as they ended the phone conversation, Khanak got a text message from Shaan stating, I am so glad to have you in my life Khanak. I love you!
Khanak was shocked at that msg. She had girls telling her that who were her friends but this was the first time a guy was telling her that. She was a bit shocked at first but then she took it as a friend thing and ignored it. But she knew in her heart that he meant what he said because she just had the talk on the importance of the phrase with him and she saw him as the type of guy who wouldn't say it till he meant it. She responded back to his text saying that she loved him too as a friend. Even then she made things clear to him and that was the beginning of many hints that she would purposely ignore in the future.
After that day, their friendship was just as strong and maybe was getting even stronger. They would talk about everything, he would always be there for her, especially during hard times when her parents were sick and family financial stability was in jeopardy and in university Suraj was not making things easy for her either. Whenever she needed a friend to talk to, he was there.
She couldn't thank him enough for being there for her because if he wasn't then she doesn't know what she had done because she felt vulnerable at that time. She knew she was a victim of depression in the past and she couldn't deal with that again. She had tried to commit suicide due to her depression and Shaan had known that about her. No one, not even Puja, knew that fact about her except for Shaan and he helped her get over that depression phase.
Eventually after a month, when February came, Khanak had moved on from Suraj and was not affected by Suraj's presence or his actions at all. In fact she had become stronger because she was still willing to be Suraj's friend, after all the things he had done.
While Khanak was recovering here, Shaan was moving on with his relationship but now he was having troubles with his girlfriend. He shared all his fears and concerns with Khanak and Khanak was there to support him through. It was during this time, that both would talk about the future a lot and would always joke with each other on how if they didn't find a respective guy or a girl to marry by the time they turned 25, they will marry each other. Shaan would say that a lot and Khanak would always respond by saying that yea sure but she had time to find the guy. Khanak would ask him why he would say that and Shaan would simply respond that it is best to marry someone you know than being with someone you don't know (he was implying to arrange marriages).
Khanak was a traditional girl and believed in giving arranged marriages a chance and she would always tell him that she wouldn't mind being married off like that. He would always complain to her and wonder how she can think that and then he would joke that he will come and break her wedding and she would always tell him that she wouldn't give him that opportunity because she would never invite him. In the end Khanak would always change the subject so they wouldn't get into the real thing, even then Khanak felt he had some feelings toward her but she ignored.
Then Shaan made a mistake that caused him to ruin his relationship with Simran. Apparently his ex was nagging him a lot so out of frustration and irrational thoughts he acted on impulse and did something to ruin his ex's life. Shaan regretted as soon as he did that and the next thing he knew, his relationship was in jeopardy. Due to his mistake and his stupid idea for revenge, his relationship with Simran ended and this was the first time Khanak saw him breaking down and being vulnerable. This time it was her turn to be there for him and she was. She helped him after that and they decided to deal with his problem. She was the first person who he had called to seek support and she was with him in a jiffy.
It was couple of nights later that she got another hint from him that he wanted to be with her and again she refused him in her own way. Khanak was suppose to go home with her brother but it turned out he was busy so he couldn't come pick her up and she didn't had a ride back home. That day she had to stay after to help out with her organization so she got late with that and by the time she was done, only Shaan was with her. She called her friend Amber, the usual friend she called in need of rides but even Amber wasn't available so she was left with Shaan to drive her home. It wasn't a problem except that her parents didn't want her riding with only a guy at night since she was from a respected family.
On the way home, her and Shaan talked about his ex troubling him again but this time he had listened to Khanak and apologized to his ex, Tina, for the mistake he did to take revenge on her.
Shaan: "So I said sorry to her and she was sweet about it."
Khanak: "That is good so what seems to be the problem?"
Shaan: "She wants to get back with me and I didn't know how to turn her down so I'"
Khanak: "What did you do?"
Shaan: "Khanak don't get mad, I didn't know how to get rid of her so I thought what came to my mind right away and I couldn't think at that time. She was pestering me so I told her that I might like a girl and I'"
Khanak: "What did you do Shaan?"
Shaan: "I told her that you were that girl I was interested in and she knows your name now."
Khanak was shock and upset because she didn't want the girlfriend drama and she couldn't believe that Shaan would do that.
Shaan: "Say something'"
Khanak came out of her shock, "How could you do that Shaan? What made you think that and give her my name? Now she would surely stalk me and do what she did to Simran. Great now I have to think of a way to avoid her. And people will talk about it."
Shaan's face had fallen and he didn't hide it either. He apologized to Khanak and told him that he would fix everything. Of course Khanak didn't put it against him at that time but she didn't forget the conversation. She told him that she would help him out in any way possible but not linked to him like that. She was scared of what happen since she wasn't looking for relationship and she was worried people will find out and her family would have to go through the trouble and she didn't need that. She explained all that to him and he understood too. He dropped her off and went home and he again apologized for his mistake.
That was another one of hints that Khanak ignored but that didn't stop her from being his friend because she didn't want to lose him as a friend.
A week or two after that incident Shaan told her about Tina and him getting together. At first Khanak was a bit surprised and a bit upset that he told her late but then she was happy for him. He told Khanak that he was with Tina because she was nice enough to forgive him and he felt bad so he thought to give it another chance. Of course Khanak wasn't up for it because she knew the reason why he was doing it because she knew he didn't love Tina, but she let it be and had him figure it out on his own.
Even during this time, Shaan gave Khanak so many hints of liking her but ignored again and again. He had invited her into his family, with his friends and his brother. She seemed to have got along with all, which, Khanak noticed, pleased Shaan. The only other person who was invited like that was his guy friend, Suraj and that was saying a lot to Khanak.
Came March and it was Khanak's birthday, Shaan and her close friends had planned a surprise birthday for her and Khanak had planned to spend her day just enjoying it like she always did every year and Shaan was with her the whole day like he had promised her. From her birthday cake to her birthday dinner, which wasn't part of her plan, but Shaan was there. Shaan and their two other mutual friends took her to dinner since she didn't eat anything all day. It was unplanned dinner but they all went together. Shaan had a friend-date that night as well but he came to the dinner with Khanak and two other people because Khanak had asked him to come. Khanak was touched because she was ditched by her friend Amber and her friends Puja wasn't there as well.
Shaan had planned to come there for a while but he ended up staying longer than intended because he had asked his friend to join them. This was the same girl, whom he loved in the past, his very first girlfriend and first love and Khanak liked her.
After that Khanak went home and wished Shaan the best for his friend-date. Shaan had called her that night and told her how his friend had liked Khanak a lot and had told Shaan she was the best thing that ever happened to Shaan. Khanak didn't know what to say to that except thank you. Another clue that Khanak ignored about Shaan's feelings.
A month later, it was Shaan's birthday and Khanak had planned a surprise for him. Shaan wasn't planning to stay for his birthday because Tina was in town but Khanak convinced him because his friends and family would be there. She had planned a BBQ and a day of picnic for him, an idea she had originally thought of for her birthday. Khanak had never really shared her original ideas with anyone but with Shaan she was willing to do that. She blind folded him and took him to the park because he didn't know who would be coming there and she wanted him to be surprise and he was surprised too. They spent the whole day together, playing games and celebrating his birthday with his close friends and family. Shaan's girlfriend wasn't liked by his family so he had not asked her to join them that day, although Khanak had some other reasons in her mind.
The next day was his actual birthday and Khanak had requested him or made a pact with him of meeting him on this birthday a month back before Tina was part of his life again and Shaan respected her wishes. This was the first time Khanak met Tina, his current girlfriend, because Shaan had asked her to. Khanak was uneasy meeting Tina but she had to because Shaan asked her. Although Khanak had shown her feelings and uneasiness later but she hid them for Shaan's sake.
After meeting Tina, Khanak was starting to feel the emotions that she had buried them and promised not to venture into. Khanak was always vulnerable to her emotions and she showed that by being obvious. Shaan didn't make it easy for her when he asked her to dinner as a friend. It was a "friend-date" as Khanak had called it but it felt more than that that night because they had spend time talking till 10 that night on the side of the road. That night Khanak had felt more than friendship and it wasn't easy for her to hide the emotions. She couldn't afford to be linked in anything of that sort and she knew what she had to do: avoid.
Luckily for Khanak, at that same time, her student organization came to her rescue and exams were around the corner and Khanak got busy. She kept herself busy throughout and even during the summer that she ignored everyone around her, even Shaan. She didn't intend for that to happen but due to the family financial issues she was forced to.
She talked to Shaan but her talks had become to the minimum because she was scared to explore the feelings that were starting to emerge. Over the summer, Shaan had broken off with Tina and had informed Khanak about it. Khanak didn't know if she should be happy or sad for Shaan so she showed neither and told him that if he needs a friend she is there.
Summer was the toughest for her because her family problems were getting worse. Her family had moved here 10 years ago but till date they were not free. They were free from worse environment conditions but the financial problem had made her family poor, especially after her dad fell ill to diabetes, resulting in him losing job and putting pressure on her, her mom and her brother to pay the bills, mortgage of the house and get herself through university. She couldn't be considered for scholarships or such grants due to their residence status of still living with no green-card but legally residing in the state. Due to all these problems, she had cut herself off from everyone because she felt she couldn't share her burden and have people take pity on her. She didn't want to become that whiny person that people would complains to others about so she cut herself off from social networks and the world for 2 straight months, except for talking to Shaan once in a while.
This is when she found out who her true friends were and she had decided to just go on with her life without worry over the people who didn't give a damn about her.
Her feelings for Shaan didn't change but instead they grew but she knew she couldn't do anything about them so she tried her best not to see him so she could avoid making the biggest mistake of her life.
In the meantime, Shaan had started to spend time with one of their mutual friend, Anita. In the beginning they were only friends and like everyone, who thought they were not, made comments on their life. Shaan would tell all and Khanak the same that they were friends and Khanak believed him. Khanak liked Anita because she knew Anita before she knew Shaan and Khanak wasn't the jealous type to behave oddly towards another girl for no apparent reason and hate her. So she didn't do that with Anita either.
As the semester started again, and Khanak knew she would have to see everyone, she couldn't avoid Shaan so they had met on the first day. Shaan wasn't going out with anyone but he was spending awful lot of time with Anita and Khanak knew what was bound to happen after that so she distracted herself or rather her work, school, her family problems, and her student organization kept her busy. She met Shaan sometimes but their meetings were to the minimum. Then at one point their meetings became frequent and that is when she made the biggest mistake of her life.
It was in mid-October that she finally told Shaan about her feelings. For a month she was being a good friend and was trying to hide her feelings and he wasn't doing it on purpose but she would tell Shaan about this guy she was crushing on, whenever Shaan would talk to her. She was only trying to move on and not feel anything for Shaan but he took it wrongly and she regrets what happened after. She knew she should've denied it but she didn't.
Khanak: "So, I'm loving my project partner, Karan. He is so cute. He is young but he is cute. I wish he was a bit older then I'd definitely date him."
This was the 4th time Khanak had mentioned it to Shaan and the first time over the phone. She was mainly joking and plus she needed sanity to remind her about things.
Shaan was quite for a bit but then he spoke with hope, "Khanak, can I ask you something? Will you respond to me in all honesty?"
Khanak knew what was coming and she knew that he knew she couldn't lie to him, "Yea you can. You know me I would tell you the truth. I can't hide it."
Shaan wasn't the one to beat around the bush too long, "Are you saying all this to make me jealous? Do you like me or something?"
Khanak was quite, a small, unsure smile spread across her face and for the first time she was nervous but she didn't hesitate for a bit, "Yes I do like you but I'm not saying all this to make you only jealous but I really mean about the guy. I just hope this doesn't break our friendship because I can totally handle it and you don't need to tell me if you like me or not because you know I'm not looking for a relationship."
After that they had decided to stay friends and had hoped it would stay that way but how wrong they were. Khanak had wished every night after that that she wished she could've changed it but she couldn't and she could never.
After that night, they had met and she saw the same emotions in Shaan's eyes that she always saw before for her. She tried to avoid him after that for the sake of her own feelings because she didn't want a relationship and plus her family financial status was again getting worse.
Shaan gave her hints again this time that he liked her or so she thought.
On a phone conversation, one of the last decent ones she had, Shaan had indirectly told her that he might have found that one girl who could tame him and his wild nature, as Shaan liked to say. Khanak never asked him directly because she was scared to. Shaan told her she knew the person and he told her that she was the one he would take home to his mom and Khanak thought he was talking about her, he could've but she would never know. What she did know that Shaan was definitely hinting towards finding a girl who pretty much described her because due to Khanak he had stopped smoking and had kept away from having a girlfriend and focusing in his life.
After that conversation, he tried to spend time with her but she was busy, she didn't do it on purpose but she was super busy. And that time, Shaan had found support and a friend in Anita. They got closer, while Shaan and Khanak got farther apart.
There came a time when Shaan told Khanak about liking Anita and Khanak had told Shaan that even Anita liked him back. Shaan had asked Khanak how she knew and Khanak simply said that girls knew when a guy liked her. They can act on it or they can ignore it. The same night Khanak told him about her best friend from the past, not to get a reaction out of him but calming her own self and her heart.
After that when Khanak heard rumors she directly asked Shaan about them and he had gone and shared it with Anita and that pissed off Khanak because they were supposed to be best buddy and this act of Shaan made her feel like he didn't care about her at all. Feelings were on the side but your friendship shouldn't mix. Since they talked about everything, Khanak told him how she felt on this and he apologized before things got out of hand. But they were out of hand, according to Khanak, they were way out of hand.
What happened next, no one knows, Khanak got busier and busier and with time, her depression got worse. She went completely MIA and then somewhere along the line, she lost it.
Khanak's mom recently had a stroke. All her friends had abandoned her, her work was interfering with her education, and her student organization was taking a toll on her life. Her family financial situation didn't help to the cause. She had completely lost it and there was no one she could talk to because apparently not one of her friends asked her if she was ok.
That was Khanak's main complaint to everyone around her. The people, who called her their best friend, had treated her like some piece of shit. She only wanted people's honesty and loyalty from their friendship but she got none. She was genuine behind towards them and cared for all her friends and asked them from time to time if they were ok but she never received the same treatment.
That is exactly what happened with Shaan. When she had found out that her mom had a mild-stroke, she called Shaan up immediately that night, the first time in many days because she needed a friend who would listen to her and what she got in return wasn't what she was expecting. Instead of talking to her completely like she wanted, he had told her to pray to God and that he was around people and he would call her later. She understood that at that time but she needed a friend because she couldn't wait for his call since she had to get up early the next day. But she let it go because it wasn't a big deal.
But then she was expecting him to call her and ask about her mom but he never did after that night. He never once did and instead treated her like an ordinary person. Not even when she sent him a txt to get a reaction out of him. Not even when he saw her next in person. He saw her few weeks later but he didn't even say hi to her or even talked to her at all. That was probably the last straw because she was deeply hurt and he didn't care, not even once.
That broke her apart and that night she broke it off with him and Amber because both were ignoring her like anything and none of them asked her about how she was doing or how her mom was doing. Khanak decided not to tell them how much she was hurt, especially by Shaan's behavior. That night he had texted her saying that he didn't want to lose her as a friend and she wanted to tell him that he already has.
She just couldn't believe that this was the same Shaan who knew everything about her. The same Shaan, who told her his darkest secrets. She was hurt beyond repairs and she could never recover.
After that night, she saw him again when she was least expecting to and something stirred inside her, she wanted to slap him and question him but she didn't. She didn't because there were people around them and plus he wasn't willing to talk it seemed to her and neither was she. She bottled up her emotions again.
Just as she was deciding to move on, she got another Jhatka that Shaan had been Anita before their fights and apparently people saw them together. She knew there was something but she didn't expect him to hide it from her.
So Khanak vowed to herself that she would never talk to Shaan again.
Two weeks later, she received a written facebook apology from Shaan, irking Khanak even more that he didn't care so why should she. She ignored it for a while and just focused on her semester exams.
Just as she thought she was moving on from Shaan, she saw him again at a friend's birthday party, even there he had acted as an ignorant. She had wished he would've talked to her that night but he didn't so she equally ignored him.
She shut herself from the world again and had gone back to her old habits of being the mystery girl she was before she met Shaan or Amber.
Khanak thought hard about it for a month on how to deal with the situation and she did in the best possible way, apologizing to everyone whom she hurt intentionally and unintentionally. She wanted to start her semester in a good positive note and forget about the past but she couldn't forget her and Shaan's friendship no matter how hard she tried. Things have changed after that and would never stay the same.
Before Puja could answer her, Khanak heard a familiar voice behind her that she hadn't heard in years, "Hi."
Khanak dropped her fork and was too shocked to respond or turn around. The person brought back years of painful and joyful memories
Khanak slowly picked up the fork and put up her best, composed smile and turned around to greet the person who had haunted her all these years, "Hi." She extended her hand forward.
Shaan noticed the smile didn't reach her eyes; it was as if someone sucked the joy out of her life. Her eyes held pain and hurt. He wished he wasn't the cause of that pain but he was.
Shaan didn't show that he noticed and shook hands with her. Just as soon as she shook his hands, she immediately with drew it.
Shaan wanted to hold her hands and wanted to hug her and apologize for his behavior but he didn't know how to.
Khanak couldn't stay there in his presence because it still affected her. No matter how hard she tried but she couldn't forget him and his presence. He had such a strong hold on her. She couldn't pretend everything was ok between them. She had forgiven Amber but she hadn't forgotten her behavior either. With Amber she was still in touch but not so much anymore.
Khanak excused herself, "You guys stay and catch up. I'm going to head back to work. I have a lot of articles to review."
She turned to Puja, who was giving her pleading looks and Khanak ignored them, "Pooj, I will need an extension for a day so you will have my article tomorrow."
She turned to Shaan with a plastered smile again, "It was nice seeing you Shaan. See you around."
With that she rushed out of the place, leaving her unfinished food on the table, while Puja tried to stop her but she didn't pay any head. The bottled up emotions that were build up inside were waiting to spill out any time and she did her best not to break down.
As soon as she reached her cabin, she frantically kept herself busy for the rest of the day. Even when Puja came to talk to her, she told her off with "I'm busy" excuse.
Puja knew her friend was stubborn but she was just as adamant. Puja had decided to talk to Khanak that night and patch up things between the two.
Khanak walked inside her apartment quietly and Puja followed suit. Khanak knew she couldn't avoid the subject anymore and she didn't try to either.
Khanak made two cups of coffee, after a long time she was having coffee, and offered one to Puja as she joined her on her kitchen counter top.
Puja: "So, what was that today? I thought you had moved on?"
Khanak: "Apparently, so did I."
Puja looked at her friend, thought for a second, "And do you mind telling me everything now? Because it's about time you guys fix this. It has been 5 years now."
Khanak took another sip and sighed and started to tell everything to Puja.
After listening to Khanak's story, Puja started laughing. Khanak looked at her friend confused sulked, "Why are you laughing, Pooj? This is serious!"
Puja: "Because you are an idiot! Your insecurities have caused you to ruin your own friendship."
Khanak immediately jumped to defense, "No, I did not! I was never insecure!"
Puja: "Yea and I was the president of the United States once!"
Khanak: "Pooj! Seriously yaar'come on I was never insecure!"
Puja: "Ok just forget that because that is in the past and this is now. It has been a long time now and you need to look forward and move on. You need to go talk to him and tell him everything."
Khanak: "Well it's not that easy as you say. It is hard!"
Puja: "I know it is hard but you have to find the courage and do it otherwise you will always regret it!"
Khanak thought about what Puja said and contemplated on it.
The rest of Puja's and Khanak's evening was spent on working on the next issue and watching a chick flick.
Two weeks later
Khanak was standing in line with a phone in one hand and hot chocolate on the other hand. She felt someone stand next to her and she moved to the next side, till the person moved closer to her. She moved again, he followed. It happened two more times and she was annoyed now, she turned around to give him the piece of her mind.
Khanak: "Look Mister, who do you thin'"
She stopped midway as she saw Shaan standing there. She was caught off-guard because she didn't expect to see him here waiting for the Subway.
She looked here and there for a minute but then she thought about what Puja said and decided to give it a try. She smiled and looked at Shaan, "So'How are you?"
Shaan: "Good. You?"
Another awkward silence till Khanak spoke again, "I never saw you here before, just starting to use the subway?"
Shaan: "No, I've been using it for the past year now."
Another awkward silence and again Khanak broke it, "How come I never saw you here?"
Shaan: "Because my home was elsewhere before. I just moved to a new apartment."
Before another awkward silence fell Shaan jumped to the first window of opportunity, "Can we meet up for lunch today Khanak?"
Khanak was taken back. She didn't respond immediately because she was unsure of her response. She saw him and saw the desperation and hope in his eyes, "Sure."
Shaan was relieved, "Cool, same place?"
Khanak thought for a bit and then responded, "No. How about Central Park? We can buy those Gyros that you like a lot?" Khanak smiled at him.
Shaan smiled in response and agreed.Both boarded the train and finished their journey in silence. Hoping to talk about their past as the train moved on, Shaan and Khanak looked forward to their meeting. For once their hearts were free at last.
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