Sometimes heart knows something and takes time to convey it to the brain. And then sometimes even though the brain and heart know that something, it still takes a lot of courage and convincing to get those body parts moving as if they were working on their own will.
Was it the work pressure, was it his own guilt of realizing it too late, was he still working out the reasons for creating a distance between himself and Snehali – Neerav could not figure out but it took him a month to process the information and get the courage to share it with her.
“What was it about telling someone that you loved them?” “How would I know, it is happening for the first time with me?” Neerav found himself wondering often.
One day he found himself standing in front of the mirror imagining he was standing in front of Snehali, “Hi Snehali, umm… umm… Why did you not message me for so long?”
He thought to himself “Come on Neerav you can come up with something better”. But the truth was now he was not able to understand why had Snehali not bothered to ask his whereabouts for so long, it was true that they did not talk regularly but after their last meeting he thought they would be at better talking terms. He again hit his forehead with his palm “Might be that was only inside my head again”.
He asked himself for the umpteenth time “What if she does not have the same feelings for me?” and sat on the bed with a dejected look. He had not shaven in the past 2 weeks and was wearing a loose t-shirt and tracking pants that gave him the look of a person who was starved and tense.
He stood again with a new found determination and told himself “Whatever it is, I need to know and I will.” He noticed himself in the mirror after a long time and saw his dishevelled looks. “With these looks, any feelings in her will simply evaporate.” he mused.
He went to the barber’s shop and got his shave done, his hair cut, his face messaged. He came back home and started messaging Snehali and cancelled it muttering to himself “No no, no message this time, I will call her and surprise her.”
He dialled the number he had looked at so often in the past month that it was etched in his memory forever. It took a long time for any voice from the other end but when it came it said “The number you have dialled is switched off.”
Yeah – totally unexpected, the moment when Neerav’s mind gave a loud thud. He was totally not prepared for a situation like this, he had known Snehali for such a long time and he was always able to reach her when he needed, he could not comprehend the reason behind the circumstances he was facing today.
He again picked up his phone and redialled the same old number again. Again it took sometime as if the phone too wanted to connect desperately but the same voice came up again. “The number you have dialled is switched off.”
Neerav weighed in his options, should he go to her house to check? Should he ask someone at the office if everything is alright? He settled with waiting for an hour before trying again. He reasoned might be her battery just went off, I am sure she will put it in charging soon.
He tried being busy in something else, he cooked maggi for himself, ate it. Flicked through the channels on the TV and when he could not settle on anything he wanted to watch, he picked up his phone again, again tried to call up Snehali and again he met with the same recorded message.
“Yeah so now heavens are playing games with me. It is so funny to keep me hanging. Isn’t it?”
It was funny to see a patient, calm, always in control Neerav hopping from one place to another in anticipation changing to hope changing to dismay in a loop.
He sweared to not try her number for an hour now and left the phone in his flat and went to the nearby market to grab some household stuff he had been planning to buy anyways.
It took him about 30 minutes to buy all the things, he kept on checking his watch again and again as if he had a planned meeting with someone soon. How would people know it was just love that was making him behave this way.
It took him another 15 minutes to reach back to his flat. This time he was worried that Snehali must have called and he must have missed it. As soon as he entered he heard his phone ringing. Neerav’s heart was beating too rapidly now and he jumped to get his phone. All his excitement died away when he saw it was just Karan.
“Hello Karan”, he said in a defeated tone.
“Why, you did not like I called you? Or were you expecting someone else to call?” Karan teased him.
“Stop it Karan, I have been trying to call Snehali and her phone is switched off.” Karan could hear Neerav’s disappointment in his voice.
“What’s the urgency bro? Might be she just forgot to put her phone on charge and is enjoying somewhere?”
“Karan, seriously! I am dying with tension and you are not helping.”
“Ok Bro, see – don’t worry. She might be busy somewhere, you just wait for sometime. I am sure she will call you as soon as she realises you were trying to reach her”
“I hope so”
“Ok, you want to go grab some food? I am hungry.”
“Karan, when are you not hungry huh? Ok, lets go to some nearby place, I guess I too need a change.”
“Ok lets meet in 20 minutes.”
Our minds make some telepathic connections with each other which are tough to explain most of the times. You are missing someone and they would call at that very moment. You just went to meet someone and they swore they were thinking about you all the time. Some kind of telepathic connections for sure.
Something similar was happening to Snehali – she was busy with her work, packing and everything but it was like Neerav had reserved a place for himself at the back of her mind and she was not able to displace him. She was genuinely busy and the thought of contacting him always seemed implausible. So she had decided to call him once she was settled in Mumbai.
That day she was on the plane to Mumbai. Last month had been a roller coaster ride for her. She had never imagined that her idea of creating a catchup centre in the office would be so appreciated that she would be asked to visit the head office and create plans for that. This was an excellent opportunity for her and she was excited. She was off to Mumbai for atleast 6 months. Everything happened so quickly that she could not update everyone she wanted to. She had all the intentions of letting Neerav know but he too had not contacted her. Snehali had noticed that he had a habit of disappearing from the scene for a while and she was not worried, hence the situation now.
Snehali still could not dislodge the thought of Neerav from her mind but she did not have an inkling of what magnitude of worries he was getting into and what they would make him do eventually.
Snehali’s plane was now landing in Mumbai and she was finally able to switch on her phone. The missed call messages from the network took some time to arrive but Snehali was not expecting any, so she just dialled her Papa’s number and told them she had arrived safely.
Now she had to worry about getting to the guest house that was her temporary accommodation for the next 15 days.
While in the cab taking her to the guest house she took out her phone again and to her horror, she saw 10 missed calls from the same person. Clearly it was something urgent if someone like Neerav had called 10 times. She had never seen him calling her again and again. Even if he messaged, he only sent another one once he saw a reply. It had to be something urgent.
She dialled his number and soon Neerav had picked up the phone. Snehali was about to say hello in the same happy tone she had unintentionally reserved for him when his serious voice on the other end made her nervous.
“Are you alright?” she heard him say in a faltering tone on the other end.
“Yes, perfectly fine. I am sorry to get you worried. I just saw your missed calls.” she was feeling bad now for not letting him know earlier.
He did seem relaxed, like he was able to breath after a long time “That is good, I am almost glad that my worries were rooted in nothing.”
There was a pause where she waited for him to say something more while he did not say anything.
“I have something to tell you” they both said in chorus.
They laughed together but it was Neerav who said “Ladies First!”
She told him about how she got a chance to be in Mumbai for the next 6 months to work in the company’s head quarters and how her idea was so appreciated.
“I meant to tell you but I had no time and I had to get ready to come here.”
When Neerav spoke next it was as if he was recovering from a shock “Wow, Congratulations. I am so happy for you.”
“Now it’s your turn, what were you going to tell me?”
“No, I just realised it was nothing, not now at least. You go and take some rest. You have had a long day. “
Snehali was confused by the way he was behaving. She had never seen Neerav change his mind like that. He always gave the vibes of someone who was sure of things and had them in control.