He found the cell phone in the side pocket of the jacket. All the upsetting and sad feelings of loosing her just got turned into hope and happy.
He was fiddling with his cell phone to retrieve the call list, but unfortunately it was switched off. He banged the car door out of frustration and rushed up to his flat. He kept his phone for charging and was restlessly waiting for it to breathe in a little life. Jeet was staring at him the whole time. He was confused and the hangover headache was anyway annoying him. Finally he asked Gaurav,
“What is going on with you?”
There was no reply. Gaurav had not listened to him, he was busy with the only thing that was his chance to find this mystery girl.
Jeet shouted out, “Dude are you okay? Never seen you like this for a girl.”
“She wasn’t just a girl, I want to meet her again.”
“Are you makin your ‘love at first sight’ saga or something?”
“No I am not in love, but something was incomplete yesterday. I got attracted to her like never before. There was definitely a connection but I can’t say what it was. I have to see her again. I got to do it soon.”
“Your hangover is gotten even worse than I had thought of.”
“You might think I am not in perfect senses, but I cannot get her out my head.”
As he was saying this, the phone switched on. He than ignored to whatever Jeet had to say. He opened his recent call list and then he found it. There it was the phone number that Pallika had dialed last. He finally took a sigh of relief seeing the number but was equally nervous as he did not know what to say to her. In these swirling tornado of emotions, he finally called on the number. After several rings he got an engaged tone. Somebody was ignoring his calls. He tried over and over again, but got the same response. In fact after a few trials a machine generated voice mentioned the phone number he was trying to reach was currently out of coverage area. He was pissed and clenched the phone tightly in his fist.
His behavior worried Jeet, the self centered and disciplined roomie had just lost his cool – and all this for a stranger he had met a night before.
“Are you leaving for home today?”
Gaurav forgot about it, he had to go home today for almost a month. He would be away from Pune, this made his chances of meeting Pallika much more bleak. He sat on his bed helpless and disappointed. Never in his life he felt something so strong for someone. He could not get Pallika and her beautiful brown eyes out of his mind. He did not know if it was love or something else. But whatever it was, his life about to change.
Her life was going to change too – it was going to change for good. The previous night when Pallika reached home in a one piece and vodka stinking all over from her, Ajay was on the door ready for a welcome. Ajay was fair, average height and had a fairly good built. But his eyes were grey and shallow, and something in him was disturbing and upsetting. He looked at Siddhartha who had accompanied the girls to drop them safely. He chuckled and spoke,
“So you have made new friends darling?”, He looked at Siddharth and continued,”She probably forgot introducing me, I am Ajay, her fianceê. You must be her new city entertainment?”
Siddharth was trying to seep in the question Ajay had just asked. Pallika replied back to Ajay,”What are you talking Ajay?”
He walked in the house pulling Pallika with him directly in the bedroom. He closed the doors and sat next to Pallika to talk,
“So why is a stranger dropping you home at this hour of night?”
“I am sorry, but it is not what you think. He is Prutha’s friend and he just meant to be polite.”
“Prutha – the bitch friend who hates me since the beginning. Did you see the way she was looking at me.”
“Ajay, listen you are angry now so you are not understanding the point. We can talk over this later.”
“Yeah right, I have the whole day tomorrow and then the whole night in the train.”
“You are coming with me home, I had a talk to your father as well. Plus, your brother in law is getting married. You have to be there.”
“I have work here Ajay.”
“Did I forget mentioning you our marraige dates are preponed by a year. We are going to be a married couple in a month now. Hardluck you won’t see any of your boyfriends again.”
Pallika had no words. She was stunned, her cheeks were again wet with tears flowing down. She lost all the freedom she was getting after a long time. She had gone through a lot when she had to convince her family and Ajay to let her work in Pune for a year before marraige. And now, just two.months and she had to leave everything behind. She knew there was no point in arguing with Ajay, it would just result in a few bruises and venom filled remarks by Ajay. She remained silent and sat on the corner of the bed trying to hold herself.
Ajay opened the door and saw Prutha sitting with Siddharth on the sofa. He went to them and started acting as if nothing had happened. He was normal as ever and was conversing with Siddharth in a very well mannered tone. Prutha did not want things to mess up further so she signalled Siddharth to leave. She text him saying she would let him know if Ajay causes any trouble to any of them. Siddharth left even though he did not want to. It was Prutha who hold his hands when he was about to back answer Ajay when he spoke ill of Pallika outside the main door.
Ajay went out of the flat to smoke his menthol filled ciggarette. Prutha rushed in the bedroom, shut the door and sat next to Pallika. She was still crying over her pathetic life.
“Why don’t you leave him?”
Sobbing and fighting her tears back, Pallika managed to reply.
“You know the reason.”
“Your reason is pathetic. You cannot live with someone like him all your life just because of that one reason.”
“Anyways nobody would accept me after listening to my past.”
“You are an educated nd modern girl – what makes you think that nobody would accept you?”
“Ask Siddharth if he would accept a girl who went blind in love and crossed all her boundaries”, she paused for a second and than said,”So much so that she had to go through an abortion.”
“It was a mistake you did Pallika, Ajay was different then, he loved you and now whatever he has for you is definitely not love. You are not only suffocating with him but also compromising on your integrity and personal life. You are making one hasty decision.”
Pallika was quiet. She was in the past thinking of how she had fallen in love with her handsome and dynamic college senior – Ajay Malik. They had met during a college fest and since than had become friends. Soon they were dating eachother. The first year of their relationship was great, during their anniversary they had gone to Goa, where Pallika had made love for the first time. It was special for her until two months later she found she was pregnant and she had to go through an abortion. After that incident Ajay had become more possesive. Ajay graduated a year before Pallika – but he had gone so insane in love, he dropped his job offer and stayed on campus for Pallika. He went everywhere she had to go, and never let her out of sight. When they fought he blackmailed her that he would talk about the abortion to her family. Pallika did not want her parents to feel embarassed of her, so she always gave in the argument. Slowly Ajay’s love for Pallika was overpowered by insecurity and fear. He could not take Pallika talking to any other male. The love they shared was now getting difficult for Pallika. it was suffocating her. She had started resenting his attitude and behavior. But she could not leave him. She knew she had no option but him. She had made a mistake in love and now she had to live with it.
Prutha was still trying to convince Pallika, her phone started ringing. The light flashed some unkown number. She did not want to attend the call in between the discussion so she cut the phone immediately. But the one calling probably had his back on fire, he kept calling again and again. The Truecaller app on the phone indicated somebody by the name of Gaurav owing the number. Prutha did not know him, so deliberately put her phone on flight mode to avoid any more calls. She wanted to concentrate on Pallika alone.