"Sharon... Swayam... I am shifting to New York next month..." said Rey quietly.
"WHAT??!!" Both Swayam and Sharon shouted.
"Guys.. listen to him.. Let him explain." I said, trying to control my tears.
"Look.. it isn't my mistake. I am sorry for not telling this to you guys. I am really sorry. But, when Kria wasn't here, mom and dad asked me whether I would shift to the US with them. I agreed. I applied to a university there which has the best dance course ever, and they are giving me a full-paid scholarship. I cannot say no to my parents. Both of you know that I have been living on my own terms, I have never done anything for my parents, and they have never opposed me. But they do miss me. If there is something I can do for them, then it is giving them my time. I dont really want to be a bad son, you know." His voice trailed softly in the end.
I looked at him. I was proud of him that he was such a good son. But I hated to think what it would do to our relationship. Our love was strong, but we had so little time to be together. And I didn't know what I would do without me. A shiver ran down my spine, but I controlled it.
"Rey..." said Swayam. "I understand.."
"Like always..." smiled Rey.
"Do you really have to go Rey?" Sharon asked him.
"I wish I couldn't." he replied.
"But... oh Rey!!" In a spurt of emotion, she hugged him, tears trickling down her cheeks. "WHat would I do without my best friend? Who will tease me when I get angry? Who will...?"
"Sharon..." said Rey, a little teasingly, "You are talking as if I am going to die. I won't be here to comfort you, but trust me, you have a better person to deal with you." He gestured at Swayam. "Swayam, all the best!" Rey said playfully, and earned a punch from Sharon.
"But Rey..." Swayam said, stealing a quick glance at me. "Don't you think it's unfair.. I mean you and Kria have had so little time together..."
I looked at Swayam, and then at Rey. I could see the guilt in his eyes. "Swayam.. Our love isn't so weak that it will diminish if we are far away. I had thought that maybe if I let Rey hate me, he'd stop loving me. But that didn't happen. The past has taught me that true love never reduces. Never diminishes. It always increases. I am with Rey. I agree with his decision. We have our lives to lead, separately, and one day together."
Rey was looking at me all the time. I did not let even a single tear come out of my eyes, knowing he would be hurt more.
"Do you know that I love you more than anything in this world?" Rey said, looking directly in my eyes. I smiled at him, and he smiled back. Even Sharon and Swayam exchanged glances.
We sat in silence for a long time. I was sure Swayam and Sharon were wondering about Rey.. Rey must have been thinking about leaving.. and I.. well I realised that destiny was teaching me a lesson.. I had left Rey, now he was leaving me.. What irony! All I wanted to do was break down in his arms, and never ever let go... But I couldn't do that.. I had to be strong for him. I looked at him, and he was brooding, staring at the dying flames of the bonfire. His happiness was what mattered to me. I had a sudden idea. I decided to give him a sort of farewell party. One last time when we all could be together...
I dropped Kria and Sharon at their home, and then headed to drop off Swayam. Swayam had been exceptionally quiet on the ride back, and I was sure it was because I was going to New York. Something was going on in his mind.
"Swayam," I said, as we stopped at his house and he started getting out. I opened the door and came out of the car too. "What are you thinking?"
"Nothing.. I mean.. Just about you.. and well, Kria.." said Swayam.
My heart almost skipped a beat as I heard her name. I knew i was hurting her the most.
"Tell me Swayam. What do I do? How do I not leave her?" He noticed the pain in my voice, and how much I had been controlling it.
"Rey.." he said, and gave me a hug. "Come on in.. Let's have coffee."
We went in Swayam's house, and sat on the table. He made coffee, and till then I walked around the house. I bumped into Taani in the living room.
"Rey!" she said cheerfully. She was watching Kuch kuch Hota hai on television. "Come, sit!"
"No thanks." I said, "I am actually not a very big fan of SRK. I really dont want to watch him."
"Oh man.." she exclaimed. "How can you not like SRK? He's so cute! But anyways, you won't have to endure him for long.. It's almost the end." And she was glued back to the movie.
I shrugged. SRK movies had never impressed me. Swayam came, and we sat together, discussing what could and could not be done. I wanted to be with Kria, but I didn't know how.. We spent some time crashing our heads over, but could find no plausible solution.
"OH NO!!!NO!!! NO!!!!" shouted Taani, and both of us almost jumped out of our skins.
"What?!" shouted Swayam.
"These idiots started advertisements just before the climax!" she sulked.
"Argghhh..." said Swayam perplexed. "You're weird!"
"Oh bhai... you won't ever understand.." And she looked back at the tv, cursing under her breath.
Swayam gestured towards her and shook his head. I smiled. And we again started discussing. "I don't know what the solution is!!" i said finally irritated after some time!
"I know!!" I heard Taani say, as she looked at me, Swayam and the tv excitedly. "I know the solution to your problem Rey!!"
"This!!" She said and pointed excitedly at the TV. My eyes followed her hand, and it was the end of the movie... The song "saajan ji ghar aaye" was playing in the background... I looked at Taani, then at Swayam, and then at the TV..
Maybe.. just maybe.. I had started liking a SRK film... :)
*to be continued*