It was yet another Saraswati Puja.This day was always hard for him.Brought back a lot of painful memories.Since that year,every year he hopes the day would pass quickly and he would not notice it.But cruel as the days are they always took 24 hours to pass.Bringing back yet again those memories.They cut through his mind like broken shards of a mirror.
There wasn't any reason it would be any different this year.But what he hadn't anticipated was that this day could go worse.He was woken up by his phone vibrating loudly.He reached out from underneath his quilt and grabbed it-
'Wow up already you lazy bugger??I called you 5 times since the morning!!!'-said a voice he hadn't heard in 2 years.
'Aniket???" He asked his heart pounding.He was now wide awake.
'Oh so you remember??I feel really honoured man!!!You are such a big shot these days....I was afraid you wouldn't remember an old college friend' laughed Aniket from the other side.
'Wow!! I dont believe it dude...It's really you!!!!' he cried.
'Now now...don't wet yourself in excitement...so..you got any plans for today??' asked Aniket
'Well,I...' he was actually thinking of spending the day by himself...
'Ok Ok...I understand...I was thinking maybe we could go out...you know...go someplace...catch up on the old times...but if you are busy....' his voice trailed off.
'I dont believe you man...you call me up on the morning of a holiday to make plans....but hey,you know what...I am an impulsive guy...YOU'RE ON!!!!' .
'Now we're talking....meet you at Pacific Blue at 2 in the afternoon..cool?' asked Aniket.
'Cool....see you...bye for now'
He was standing inside one of the Pacific Blue bathrooms-trying to figure out how things got like him this afternoon.When he left his house today he had thought that this would be a quiet afternoon with his best friend in college..catching up on the old times.Maybe it would take his mind off the depressing memories associated with the day.But things haven't gone to his expectations and now he was stuck in this bathroom.
At exactly five minutes to 2 he had parked his car in the parking lot of Pacific Blue.When he entered,he saw Aniket was already there.He had thought that the place would be quite full with today being a festival but it wasnt.As he sat down he noticed Aniket looked the same as he looked in college.Aniket was a stud in those days.A handsome guy who used to make girls go weak in their knees.
'Let's order first shall we?' asked Aniket as he motioned a waiter to their table.
'Yeah ok,,,' he replied.
'I will have a Chicken Enchilada Casserole' said Aniket.
'Same for me too'
'So big guy,how is life?'asked Aniket.Aniket had this habit of calling him big guy because of his larger than normal stature.
'LIfe is fine...although pretty boring at the moment...how about you?'
'Hey...couldn't be better man.....I got a promotion at job....and there's this girl...man,is she is a kisser or what?'
'Still think you are a casanova eh??Give it up dude...the girls only feel pity on you...'
'Yeah well...jealous people tend to demean other's credentials...Hey Kabir!!!' Aniket suddenly shouted.
He turned his head towards where Aniket shouted and saw a suave-looking guy in tux and a girl beside him.His heart nearly stopped the next second as he realized it was Raya..Aniket didn't seem to be perturbed.He then realized Aniket didn't know Raya.He had heard about her but didn't know her.
The guy Kabir and Raya reached their table.Aniket began the introudctions-'Kabir this is Amit.Amit this is my colleague Kabir and his girlfriend Raya.'
Kabir smiled and extended his hand.Amit shook it.'Nice to meet you.'
Everyone smiled awkwardly for a moment.then Kabir spok-'Well...I guess we will be seeing you then...'
As they moved away Amit and Aniket sat down.The waiter came and kept placed their food on the table.They started eating.But Amit was hardly in a mental state to eat.He never knew chicken enchilada casserole could feel so tasteless.He had then excused himself and came to the restroom.As he stood before the mirror all the memories came flooding back.
Well, since my baby left me,
I found a new place to dwell.
It's down at the end of lonely street
at Heartbreak Hotel.
You make me so lonely baby,
I get so lonely,
I get so lonely I could die.
-Elvis Presley 'Heartbreak Hotel'
Amit and Raya has were first introduced by a common friend in their last year of high school.A month after that Amit had proposed and Raya said yes to him.After that their two-year long relationship saw some up and downs but it was in their second year in college on Saraswati Puja day that things finally broke down.
On that day Amit and Raya were supposed to go on an outing.But the previous day,the couple has had a huge fight and they weren't on speaking terms that day.Amit was pretty angry and had gone out with a group of friends.He had decided to let things cool down a little before talking to Raya again.
But fate had other plans for him.As he and his friends were sitting down for lunch in a South Kolkata restaraunt,one of his friends said-'Isn't that Raya?'
Amit quickly looked up and saw Raya sitting at a table some way in front with a boy whom Amit didn't know laughing and joking.
The blood rushed to Amit's head.He went to there table and shouted at her calling her a lot of foul names before storming out of there.He swore never to see her again.
But love is a very unpredictable emotion.When Raya called him in the evening he couldn't help receive the call.
'Congratulations' said Raya in an icy voice. 'I was having a huge guilt feeling for leaving you.But today you proved how right I am.'
'YOU FUCKING BITCH!!!'screamed Amit 'I LOVED YOU...AND YOU CHEATED ME YOU BLOODY --'
Raya cut him off-'And I loved you but you aren't worth it.You don't have any respect for anyone.You don't know how to behave with ladies.It's over.Goodbye'
And with that Raya cut the line.Amit sat there motionless for quite some time.
After that day 5 years had gone but the cupid did not visit Amit again.He felt he still hadn't let go of Raya.And today's chance encounter only accentuated this feeling..
After 20 minutes he returned to his seat.
'Hey.you could have told me about your stomach infection.We could have ordered Crocin instead.' quipped Aniket.
'Maybe we could live without the wisecracks??and Crocin isn't for stomach problems you ignorant oaf' said Amit.
'Of course you would know a lot about that wouldn't you?' laughed Aniket.
'Let's get out of here' said Amit.
They left the restaraunt 5 minutes later.The encounter with Raya left him shook.But he trusted Aniket's quips and poor jokes to cheer him up.Maybe they could go to his home and chill over a pack of beers.What a depressing life it would be without friends.he thought.Maybe he should try socialising a little more instead of going into the shell.
The story might appear stupid to you.It may appear pointless to you.But this story does not try to tell an universal story for all ages.This is just another Kolkata tale.Nothing more.Nothing less.