KD sighed as he flopped down onto his couch. He didn't have the courage to walk up the stairs of his penthouse to the second floor, where the bedroom was located. At the time of buying the house, he'd liked the idea of having to use them, thinking of them as 'exercise' after a long day at work. But now, he spent half his days in front of the TV in his living room, watching reruns of old sitcoms before falling asleep. He patted his belly. It was still flat and perfectly sculpted, but one could never be too sure. All that alcohol at success parties, all those hours of sitting in front of the laptop at work-something was sure to go wrong.
He stared at the blank screen of the plasma TV. It showed him a bespectacled 30-something man with hair that was on the verge of turning grey and crinkles at the corners of his eyes. Women actually dug his 'mature' look. One woman in particular. He sighed as he realized that he didn't have the courage to call his girlfriend either. When one ignored Kiya Gujral, there was usually hell to pay.
Theirs had been a tumultuous relationship. Kiya was an egoistic, spoilt rich brat who was used to getting what she wanted. When KD had repeatedly turned down her advances at parties, she had made it her mission in life to 'conquer' him. In the process, she ended up falling madly in love with him. She was a beautiful, confident, sucessful woman. KD smiled as he thought of her. She was so vulnerable. She had broken away from her socialite mother when she'd been only 19 and started her own business. She was a self-made woman, just like him. He couldn't bring himself to leave her, even though he'd vowed never to love anybody.
He took the remote lying on the coffee table and switched on the music system. He closed his eyes and let the melody entrance him. It was an old Bollywood tune.
Why did you break my heart?
Why did we fall in love?
Why did you go away-uh-away-uh-away-uh
He never liked corny songs. He always snickered at them. But it was twelve 'o' clock in the night and KD was tired, and it was the perfect setting for one, especially a lonely entrepreuner, to lapse into melancholy.
It wasn't Kiya who entered his mind. It was somebody else, a 13 year old girl, chubby, with wavy black hair. His childhood sweetheart.
Stop teasing him Ranveer!
Ranveer Shergill, you say one more word about my best friend, and I will kill you!
Panchi yaar, leave it.
He's calling you a 'Chawl ka keeda' and you want me to leave it? Grow a pair KD. Tell him to stop it.
It doesn't affect me.
Yeah Panchi, it doesn't affect him, so stop being such a hellcat.
I'm not being a hellcat.
He closed his eyes, and to his horror, a tear trickled down his cheek. His father had always told him that tears were a sign of weakness. He made a face at the thought of his father. He was in an old age home now, with people as grumpy as him. It had been a mutual decision. KD visited him once every month, more out of a sense of duty, than out of affection.
Panchi, will you come to the party with me?
No um, KD, I'm actually busy.
Oh. Well, if you change your mind, I'll be there.
The farmhouse was packed with teenagers. After watching numerous seasons of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars, the resident party planners of Royal Academy, Juhi and Samar had decided to recreate the dramas on Juhi's parent's property. Lots of hookups and breakups were expected. They had just hit puberty and they were desperate to enjoy it.
KD had never been part of the 'in-crowd' in his prestigious high school, mainly because he was a scholarship kid, and also because he was somewhat antisocial. However, people were civil to him out of respect for Panchi, who wasn't a 'cool girl' either but pleased everybody with her smile and her willingness to help others. KD often wondered what had possessed Panchi to make friends with him.
His worst fears came true when he saw Panchi and Ranveer pressed up against each other on the dance floor. He should have hypothesized. Maybe Ranveer had pulled her there against her will. Maybe she had been looking for him, but the crowd had pushed her against Ranveer. But all he could think at that moment was: She's betrayed me. She refused to come with me, but now she's dancing with Ranveer. Panchi had looked at him, seen the fire in his eyes. Even at 13, with acne on his face, Keshav Desai looked pretty scary when he was angry.
She'd followed him out of the farmhouse, but he'd ignored her. He was too busy running away-not from her-but from the idea that had been implanted in his mind-that she would one day leave him for Ranveer Shergill.
You bloody loser, this all happened because of you!
Panchi was your best friend. But you treated her like crap you know that? You kept taking her for granted. You were always so damn moody with her.
But how does this explain her getting hurt?
You were upset with her. You wouldn't talk to her, and it was driving her crazy. Anybody else in her place would have given up on you. But she stood up for you. And look what happened! Those guys humiliated her because of the comments that they were passing on you.
In hindsight, the situation could have been handled more maturely. But KD had been blind to reason. It never occurred to him to find out what exactly happened.
All he knew was, that after that night, she stopped talking to him. When they met in corridors, she ignored him. She refused to pair up with him for assignments. She went with Ranveer Shergill instead. She became Ranveer's best friend. Eventually, by the time they graduated, she was civil to him. But she always pretended like they'd never known each other.
He'd tried so many times to make contact with her again. He'd sent her letters. In tenth grade, he'd got an opportunity to explain to her face-to-face, that he was sorry for his behaviour, when they'd been alone in class once. She hadn't smiled and forgiven him, nor had she admonished him. She'd just said, "KD, I'm sorry but it's too late." Too late for what? He'd never known.
He opened his eyes. Why was he thinking about this now? It was over. It had been almost 20 years. Panchi and Ranveer were married now. He'd seen photos of their kids on Facebook. Why the heck did it matter?
He wondered, whether in some secret corner of his brain, lurked a fantasy about Ranveer dying or divorcing Panchi one day, so that he could come and assume a position in her life again. He felt ashamed. Not only because she was the mother of two kids, but because of Kiya. Kiya didn't deserve a man who thought about somebody else. Suddenly, he wished he'd called her after all.
The doorbell rang. He gave a start. Was it Panchi? He laughed. He'd drunk too much coffee at work. He opened it, and a flustered Kiya Gujral stomped in. "You didn't call me," she pouted. "I was worried. You always call. I thought you'd had a heart attack because of stress or something."
He laughed again, and this time it reached his heart. What was he thinking? The past is the past. The present is a gift, so enjoy it.
ok...i know this is a bit weird. I was kind of in a hurry. please comment/press the like button!