“Am I that special to you?” Aryan asked. “You never know”. She replied. Aryan scrolled down the conversation. It has been almost 9 years since he have talked with Arthi. This was the last chat they had. They say ‘Time Machines’ are impossible. But today we have facebook and whatsapp instead of them. They store everything we said, we shared, we did from time to time. So want to see what was it like in the year 2012? Go to that time in facebook or keep scrolling up the chat. Mission accomplished. This chat occurred almost 8 years before. Still Aryan kept those chats not cleared. Aryan’s and Arti’s was same old cliché love story. Aryan often asked “Have I ever said I love you?” “Do we need such boring drama amongst us?” replied Arti. They knew they loved each other. But Aryan was confused about their relation. He wanted to build a life of his dreams where Arti and he can live happily. For that he wanted to go much farther. Arti said “I will not leave you. I don’t want a car, house or luxury. All I want is you.” “Just think Arti, this is for us. For the kids we may have. I want to give them everything. Make them happy. Make you happy.” “Do you think you are making me happy?” Arti asked. “I’m trying to. Try to understand things Arti. Whatever I’m doing it’s for the best.I’m flying to California tomorrow. I may not be able to come for another couple of years. I may not be able to call you or keep in touch with you. But always keep this in mind. This is for us”.
Beginnings are always not good. It was a tough time for Aryan. He worked hard. It was then that the idea of starting a company came into his mind. Within 4 years Aryan became one of the richest amongst California. Time passed. But Arti was still in his mind. But he never tried to contact her. Because he thought attachments are always a hindrance to the growth. Once time was right Aryan came back. His family was waiting for him. They hadn’t see him in a long time, but he hadn’t seen Arti for longer. He wanted to see her. Invite her to his life. Because he thought this was the right time. He dialled Arti’s number. “Hello this is Arti who is this?” “Have enough time to care for an old friend?” asked Aryan. “Aryan! Oh my god. It has been a long time.” Said Arti. “9 years 4 months and 3 days.” Corrected Aryan. “Why don’t we meet up today evening? I hope we’ve got a lot of things to talk about.” “Uh..yes a lot of things. Why don’t we meet at the beach at 4?” “Fine. I’ll come to pick you.” Said Aryan. “No problem. I can manage.”arti said. Aryan noticed that indifferent tone of her’s. He expected a warm talk just like they used to have before. But this was unexpected. She must’ve been busy with her work. He thought. He was eagerly waiting for this meeting. He has at last accomplished everything he wanted to and now if Arti says yes, then the list is complete.
They were at the beach. This was their usual meeting place. Near the old bridge, which now served as a tourist attraction. There was also a park where they used to spend their weekends, the shop from which they used to buy ice creams. The light house, the restaurant with a lawn opening to the beach, everything was still the same. Except Aryan and Arti. “You have changed a lot Arti.” “Nothing much, except for some extra fat that I own now” said Arti. Yes she had become a little fat than she was when he left. Well it was around 9 years ago. But Arti still had that beautiful face of her unaffected. “Well, Arti let me come to the point. You know there is nothing much in the world that I do not have except you. It was for you I went all the way and came back. Will you be my other half for the rest of my life?” Arti calmly said “No”.
‘Did I hear it wrong? Was she accepting my proposal or was she turning it down by a simple NO. No she didn’t mean it. No way could she let him down. She was his and only his.’ thought Aryan. “I know what you are thinking now.” Started Arti. “I meant what I said. I can’t be yours when I am someone else’s. Where were you all this time? You weren’t there for me when I needed you. I told you I was happy with everything we have. I asked you to stay. You didn’t. Instead you wanted to make money, earn a lot. But what is the use of wealth if you don’t have your loved ones near you? What is it that you value most?” asked Arti. “You and only you”. “No Aryan you are still making a fool out of you. If I was the one you valued most, you wouldn’t have gone abroad in the name of making money. You would’ve stayed here by me, supporting each other.” Aryan kept quiet. He had no justifications to make. Deep inside he knew Arti is right and he is wrong. But still he couldn’t let go of this girl. Arti continued “Do you know anything that happened over the past 9 years? My father passed away. Whole responsibility of the family was on me. Everything was going fine until the recession hit the Indian IT Industry. I was fired from my post. This made the situation worse. None of the companies were ready to hire me. I felt the whole world against me. I became depressed. Spent most of my time in my room. But my mother gave me strength to move on. So I started searching for other jobs. I wanted to stand on my own. I didn’t want to go before any of my relatives begging. I was ready to do any jobs. It was then Vivek came to me with a job offer. Even though it was a start-up I could see an excellent team behind it. Vivek happened to know about my family backgrounds. I didn’t want even a tinge of sympathy from anyone. Vivek knew that. It was like a group of friends working together. So there wasn’t much stress or strain. A perfect place to work. With that team work and leadership of Vivek, the company flourished. Within 3 years the company made a reasonable profit. It was then Vivek had come up with a new project. A group of foreign investors wanted to buy our service. So there was a party at his place. It was then that happened. Vivek just proposed to me. I was not out of my problems. I wanted time. As time went, I made my mind. Vivek was the one for me. While you were running behind money and wealth, Vivek gave me the love you never gave. So yes, we are in a relationship which is about to turn into a marriage.” With that Arti paused.
Aryan was still somewhere else. It took a while for Aryan to come back to the reality. He knew what he had done was wrong. He could now do nothing to turn things back to the time it was perfect. Whatever we may do, whoever we may be fate has something in reserve for us. Only that can happen. He couldn’t say anything. But Aryan did grab some words. “Arti, I’ve always appreciated your choices. I agree with everything you said. I am nowhere to be justified. I’m leaving you to your opinions. Vivek is your man. But know one thing it’s not because I don’t love you. It’s because I still love you. I’ve hurt you many times. I don’t want to hurt you anymore. But know one thing nobody will love you more than I did. All those years spent there were for you. Anyway I’m Happy for you. Live a life you want to. But we’re still friends right?” They smiled. But deep inside Aryan cried.
It was 15 minutes to sunset. The sky had turned red. Sun was about to set. Birds chirped away to their nests, people slowly retreated from sea shore. The beach was almost deserted. They got into Aryan’s car. He had offered a ride home. Aryan waved his hands while leaving her at home. His mind was blank. All his life and dream just set with the sun. He looked outside. A rain was on its way. Within few minutes rain was all over the place. Rain drops almost covered his vision. A lot of questions arose in Aran’s mind. Money was just another piece of paper. Bearing all those questions in his mind, he drove the car. It was raining heavily outside.