“Ghhhhoood mhhhhorninghhhh”, Pooja could hardly yawn those words out as he came out of the bedroom. She found a bewildered Amit holding a white envelope in his hand. They had been dating together for the last one year. Both work in the same IT company and after the drunk Friday night, Amit found it safer and wilder to spent the night together in her house. In one hand, he had the milk carton while in other he had the envelope.
“You have cheated on me, Pooja. You did not tell me you had a secret lover. This has been addressed to you with a heart sign on it”, a seemingly shocked Amit handed it over to Pooja.
“What rubbish Amit! You know all about my past. I broke up more than a year back with Sayan back in Chennai and he was never the psycho type; he did not use to drink either, well till I knew him.” And then she turned slightly angry and added, “fuck you, Amit! Where is the love sign on it, HUH??? Just my name.” much to the amusement of Amit.
“I am sure this is the work of some nut job. Who writes letter in the days of e-mail and WhatsApp?” as he tore open the carton of milk. “You carry on with your secret admirer’s letter while I prepare breakfast for my ladylove. You’ve earned it sweetheart after the last night’s performance.”
Pooja was suddenly drawn to some other world. She remembered her school days, the moments and days spent with Noor, her bestie. That was an inseparable bonding. Those were the days when mobile phones were a thing of luxury for the upper class only. So, they used to write letters, to share their moments not spent together. Those writings were silly and ranged from the serials they watched, the new gifts they got, the annoying guests visits, the fights of their parents and other such regular stuffs but they were priceless to them. They were like BFF, it was a match made in heaven. But after their 12 exams, the friendship lost the battle of time and distance. While Noor moved to their ancestral house at Delhi, Pooja went to Chennai to pursue her B. Tech. Initially, everything was going fine but then Noor, 1st diminished and then totally stopped writing. Pooja begged for her forgiveness for calling her a bitch but Noor could never really deal with it and moved away from Pooja. Her letters and calls went to Delhi unanswered and one day she also found that the number is not active anymore.
Pooja was brought back to this world by Amit as he suddenly poked her from beind. She replied, “You know I used to had a bestie and we used to exchange letters, at least once a week. Those were the only letters I ever got from friends or family. This letter reminded me of those old days. Sadly, we’re not in touch anymore. Let me open this letter and find out who took the pain of writing one to me after so many days.”
As she opened the letter, she could easily remember that old handwriting. She shouted in joy, “Amit, it’s her. I can’t believe my eyes. After so many days, how had I missed them!”
It was a long one.
“Hi honey, I know you’re doing well. In fact, I know where you work, where you stay, about Sayan and Amit and lot many more. Surprized? You need not be. I am not your stalker, just follow your FB page. I am sure you know nothing about me, not even that I have a FB profile, right?” A silent and intense voice said in Pooja’s mind, “How I want to know more about you!!!”
“What happened between us? We were like sisters, not just best friends. We shared every moment, every happiness-sadness, every smile-tear, every win-failure; our dreams were similar. How we planned to travel the world together! Then how come we’re so distant now? Was I really such an unfaithful bitch?” A teardrop left Pooja’s eyes.
“I was always very fond of you. I know though I was your best friend, you had so many other friends too. But for me you were the only one, you were the world for me and even now are. There is not a single moment that I stop thinking about you, that I don’t miss you. I know you’ve moved on, well at least your FB posts depict so. Yes, I was the one who stopped receiving your calls or answering your letters but at the point I was shattered, wrecked, devastated. How could you call me.….?”
“I still remember the day that my family shifted back to Delhi. The excruciating pain of leaving you, letting you go out of sight was agonizing. But I knew we would stay in touch, so I somehow controlled my tears. We made so many promises but the one which I still remember is to stay in touch forever, no matter what happens. Yes, I am the one who broke our promise but I found it was better to stay away from you at that moment. Maybe you would have done the same if you were in my place. The heartbreak was too much to bear.”
Pooja left so many sighs. Even Amit was slightly tensed for her but he did not want to disturb her as it was quite evident that she was taking a walk down memory lane and was battling some inner storms. He found it better to leave her alone but he stayed back in case she needs some help. The letter continued.
“The day you chose to get your B.Tech from that college in Chennai, I was both sad and happy. I was happy as you always wanted to be an engineer and I was sad that you went further away from me. How I cursed my luck and dad’s tumbling business in Kolkata!!!! That was the main reason for us to leave Kolkata and settle back in Delhi. I was never that great in studies and you always helped me to secure decent marks. As I lost touch with you, I deteriorated in studies too. I tried to find you in the college but obviously, I could not. I could not concentrate on classes one bit, my eyes always searched you. I missed the giggles, your notes, your passing of letters. I missed your touch, your smile.”
“I was furious the day you told me about Sayan. You were in the 3rd year and you said that you two had been dating for about 6 months. There was a time when you shared every small detail in your life, and then you kept this hidden from me for so long. I could sense that my importance in your life had decreased; I was hurt, I was jealous. That you’ve someone more important in your life than me was too much to accept. I somehow spent that night, awake and wet eyes.”
“You fool, you still were so important to me. I just did not tell it to you as I was not sure or confident either about the relationship.” A slightly annoyed Pooja spoke up in her mind.
“Then came that night, the night when we had our big fight. It was the only time that we fought, amazing was our friendship, was not it? I realized that slowly but steadily I was losing you. You chose someone whom you knew for barely 3 years over me whom you knew for almost your lifetime. I always used to feel that we were somehow connected in our previous lives too, which you always laughed off. I was hell bent to drive Sayan away from you, to regain back my position in your life. So, the moment I had a chance, I used to poison your mind about him. It pained a lot to lie, to hurt you but there was no other way to get you back in my life like our childhood days. You had a huge fight that night with Sayan over his drinking problems and I knew this was my big ticket to cash in. You were on a call with me and he was messaging you constantly. You disconnected my call, kept on doing so on my further attempts to call you just to answer his messages. How much more could you hurt me? You finally received my call but that was after things got well between you two. That enraged me even more. I could see the ship of my hope to get you back was sinking. One last time, I tried to foul mouth about him to you. But you got manic, you could feel my jealousy and you shouted at this unfaithful bitch to stop and not to talk with you ever.”
Pooja threw away the letter in disgust, in anger; she could not read this anymore. She vividly remembered what happened that night. She felt so apologetic for foul mouthing. She called her so many times after that, wrote so many letters. All she got was no reply from her.
She went up to have a glass of water. She was shaken, all these memories which she had hidden within her suddenly resurfaced. Noor did go into oblivion for her in her hectic IT life, but there were times when she genuinely wanted to hear the voice of her once best friend. Amit made a move towards her to console and to know what was written in the letter but Pooja indicated to give her some alone time.
She picked up the letter and carried on.
“Our family business in Delhi was never that big. And no matter how much we pride and boast about secularity, our religion made us face more problems. So, the moment I graduated, my family planned to get me married. I had to sit dressed up like a would-be bride in front of potential grooms. I always loved to get dressed up like a bride, I always dreamt of a grand wedding with the love of my life. The men who came were handsome and from well-to-do families but I kept on rejecting. How can I marry them? How can I betray my love? I know my love does not care about me but I think about my love every single moment of my life. I have also learnt to keep secret from you, have not I?
As I write this letter, I have the blade in front of me begging me to take help from it to get relief from this daily torment of mine.
I felt so happy visualizing myself as the bride with you by my side. You, only you, nobody else.
You were the love of my life.”