To have someone love you '
And then to forget you like they never knew you'.
Is there a more acute pain?
Yes, she loved him even when it was insane and pointless to do so. Not that she ever let him know about it. Not until their last meeting.
Their last meeting.
He shudders at the thought of how that could've been literal. But God, the God that she so firmly believed in and he so firmly disregarded, had been merciful. He had found himself praying for the first time since he had passed into his teens, since people had stopped forcing him to do so. He had prayed for the first time yesterday. He had prayed for her. For his Moti.
He brought his cycle to a scrunching halt on the Rastogi's driveway. Hurriedly leaning it against a wall he rushed in. This was his home after all. He didn't need to be let in. Covering the stairs two at a time he reached the all too familiar room of his best friend, whom he had taken for granted.
Entering the room he encountered two other familiar faces - KD and Kiya. They turned to look at him. Kiya's eyes showed sympathy while KD's showed hostility - for the first time since their friendship a two months ago. This confused him but he didn't have time to dwell over it. His head turned towards the bed.
Though he had expected this - the site of his best friend covered in bandage - it still jolted. He registered that it was better than the horrific images his brain formed. Only her head was bandaged and she had lost weight for sure. After all she had come back after a month and half in hospital. Between ICU and wards, it would be a wonder if one didn't. He could joke with her about not being able to call her Moti.
He had started moving towards her when Kiya blocked his way.
"Ranveer listen'" she began but he cut her off.
He knew that he was about to be reprimanded about their last meeting - his and Panchi's. It was one of his bitterest memories and he didn't need reminding. He knew that he needed to make up. He had three long, lonely months in US with his parents to take stock of his life and the people who mattered. He knew now that more than anyone, more than even his parents Panchi mattered to him. After all she was the only one who cared for him without any demands.
"Kiya I know" he gently removed his friends hand off and reached the bed before she could stop him. KD gave him a long look - an assessing one- before getting up from the foot of the bed.
He turned his attention back to his Moti. He ran his eyes over her before looking back at her open kind face. She was eyeing him with confusion. Probably still confused of whether he would blow his fuse like their last meeting. He would soon tell her that he hadn't meant to, the anger wasn't meant for her. It was all the pent frustration. Knowing that she loved him, inability to decide about his feelings. Inability to place trust in relations. After all he didn't have much relations. All that along with a few teenage and family issues had made him blow his gasket . It had taken him a while to cool down and by then he was on his way to the airport. He had wanted to go back but this was the first time in a long time he was going to visit his parents. When his calls weren't answered he attributed that to her anger. Never for once thinking that she might be hurt.
"Hey Moti!" he gently calls her.
Her brows furrow as she looks at him. She looks even cuter.
"What can't I call you that? Oh wait, you have lost a few kilos finally" he got into his easy manner albeit with a cautious smile. Like he was expecting a slap any moment. He knew he deserved it.
He was still a little angry that no one let him know about his best friend's conditions. That she spent nearly a month in the ICU hanging between life and death. He could understand Reema Auntie, Panchi's mother's, reluctance. He was as good as a son to her and it had taken a lot of coaxing on her part to send him to US.
She wouldn't want him worrying. But why didn't the others? May be she had told them not to. But that was no excuse! You don't keep secrets from friends.
"Moti please slap me if you have to, but please not this silent treatment" he begged.
"It' s rude to call someone names" she said finally and in the elation of hearing her voice after two months he hugged her.
"Oh Moti! I missed you" he said into her hair.
"Get off me! What are you doing?" she shoved him away, glaring angrily at him.
"Panchi calm down! He means no harm" KD comes to her side and places a hand on her shoulder. Ranveer has a sudden urge to swat away the hand but he controls.
"Harm? She knows I won't harm her, don't be foolish KD" Ranveer smiled at Panchi who was looking between him and KD.
"Who is he?" her question was directed at KD.
"Nice joke Moti'I think I will introduce myself'.Hey there! I am Ranveer Shergill'..I live a few blocks away'.may I know your name gorgeous?" he asked in a cocky fashion.
"Panchi my name is Panchi'you can stop calling me Moti" she replied in a huff.
"Duh! Like I will'.not in this life Moti" Ranveer replied.
"Listen whoever you are I maybe fat but that gives you no right to call me Moti" she shot at him in anger.
"Panchi please I know I was a jerk, I shouldn't have screamed at you, I was at fault that day'.please I am sorry" he took her hand in both of his and pleaded earnestly.
"What are you'?" Panchi began perplexed.
"Ranveer please come with me for a while" Kiya beckoned him taking his arm "It will only take a while I promise"
Before he could protest KD said "Go Ranveer" and something in his tone triggered an alarm in him. Ranveer followed Kiya out of the room.
"What?" he became a little rude in his haste to return back.
Kiya took a deep breath before dropping a bomb on her friend.
"Ranveer she has lost her memory"
"Wha'?" Ranveer begins to ask but then it dawns on him all of a sudden. Explanation to the grimace that had crossed KD's face when Panchi asked who he was. Explanation to why he can't see the truth in Panchi's eyes. Because she wasn't.
"She isn't pretending Ranveer'.she really doesn't remember any of us'..Retrograde Amnesia'.that's what the doctor calls it'.she remembers her mom, dad , family and all and she remembers she is about to join Royal Academy..after that nothing" Kiya explains.
Ranveer's mind only registered one thought. A thought that caused him an almost physical pain.
She forgot him, his Panchi, his Moti forgot her Nonu.