The days are going well and so are the nights. We hang out together, talk endlessly and everything is beautiful. The way he cares for me every time we go out; be it in the afternoon with the sun shining at its fullest and spreading its warmth in the summer or at sunset with the orange colour of the sky reflecting over the sea and on his face.
Every moment feels mesmerizing when we are together.
It has been a year since I first met him and six months since he’s been taking care of me like a baby. He is my colleague from work and good company to be with.
I took time to understand him before I actually fell for him but he fell for me because of my nature.
I still remember the day I joined the company. I’d received my offer letter to work as an HR Manager and 8th April was my joining date. I walked into the office on the stated day, completed my joining formalities and started understanding the processes.
I was a quick learner and a not-so-friendly HR. It was then that I was introduced to Kabir, the Sales and Marketing Team Leader. He was an impatient but hard working and result-oriented person, which I understood through his behaviour in the initial days.
It wasn't love at first sight for him or for me.
We’d have several arguments related to many issues, which is normal among the different teams in any corporate. However, he would often come and apologize to me after a fight for his rude or angry behaviour. I was definitely impressed by this gesture.
One day, we had a huge fight and the entire office looked at us as we shouted and quarrelled. People tried to calm both of us but things went out of control and he left the office in anger. The day ended on a heated note for me too.
I rushed home and just as I sat on the sofa, my phone beeped. It was Kabir. “I am sorry,” read the message to which I simply replied, “It’s ok.”
He instantly replied back saying, “Won’t you say sorry for your arrogance?
“Yes,” I replied after reading his message. Within seconds he called me, “Hi Neha, a good time to speak?”
I didn’t know you are like any typical girl who doesn’t accept her mistake,” he said in a sarcastic manner. I was about to lose my calm and shout again but I regained my composure, as it was he who’d called.
“I don’t say sorry,” I replied curtly.
Sensing my attitude Kabir said, “You seem angry again. Let’s catch up for dinner if it’s ok with you, and I’ll melt your anger with a chocolate ice cream followed by dinner.”
I thought for a while and I don’t know why but I said yes.
Kabir offered to pick me up from my place but I told him that I’d come on my own. When we finally met, we shook hands and went to a table that he had reserved in advance.
To my surprise, a waiter came with a bouquet, which Kabir took and gave to me in a very gentle manner and apologized again. It was very impressive on his part.
I was really overwhelmed and finally said sorry to him.
“Finally! You said sorry,” joked Kabir and both of us laughed.
“Why the sudden dinner plan?” I asked. “To make you say sorry,” came his reply accompanied by a wicked smile on his face.
Since it was the first time that we’d met outside the office, there was a bit of hesitation but he tried his best to make me comfortable. The food was good and so was the ice cream that he’d specially ordered.
When it was time to leave, he offered to drop me home. But I politely refused, as I’d come on my scooter. Both of us said goodbye and I left the place on a happy note.
From the very next day, our fights stopped, we shared light moments and exchanged smiles in the office.
After a week, he asked me out for dinner again and I said yes. We met at the same place and ordered the same food but it was a better meeting that involved a longer and heartfelt conversation. From that day on, our dinners became frequent.
I could feel the past repeating itself. I’d already gone through this; hence I was a bit worried.
With each passing day, our bond became stronger. He was very helpful and we would have a nice time together. Our dinners continued and we even shared many breakfasts in the office when there were few people around.
Things were spicing up in the office with rumors about us having an affair, but we never questioned each other.
Then he left for a holiday with his friends and I felt very lonely during the time that he was away. He said that he’d return in a day or two.
The next day, he called me at 5 a.m. and said, “Neha, can you come to pick me up from the highway? I just got off the bus and am unable to find any transport to go home.” I believed him and left home as soon as I could.
It was summer and the first rays of the sun had just started kissing the town. I could feel the morning freshness on my face and the cold breeze blowing through my hair. I was excited to see Kabir after three days.
When I took a turn towards the highway, I was surprised to see the road covered in flowers. As I kept riding, the floral spread continued.
At the end of the road, I could see Kabir standing with a 6-feet tall bouquet with “I Love You” written on it.
I was awestruck! I finally stopped in front of him and he sweetly came to me and made me feel the huge bouquet. Then he went down on his knees and said,“I love you a lot. Will you be mine?”
I’d never thought that I would fall in love again. I know that everyone says this after heartbreak, but the difference is that I’m not heartbroken. I’m not cynical, or pessimistic nor sad.
I’m just someone who once felt something bigger than anything I’d ever felt and when I lost it, I honestly believed that I would never feel that way again. But I was only 22 then and life is long.
Kabir made me feel things that I hadn’t felt in a long, long time.
I always knew that this time would come but before saying yes to him, which I definitely wanted to say, I stopped him. I asked him if he knew everything about me to which he replied, “We have our whole life to know each other.”
But I had to tell him everything before we entered this new relationship.
He could sense my emotions and agreed to listen to me. We decided to catch up after office at a cafe. When we met at the café, he was curious to know what I had to say.
I broke the silence by asking him, “What do you know about me?” He knew that I belonged to Haridwar and had been living in Delhi for the past 7 years.
“What else?” I probed.
“Nothing is important to me other than you and your family. Once you agree, I will talk to your parents too,” he replied in a calm manner.
Then I began my story, “I have a past. I belong to a middle-class family with a single parent. My father passed away when I was 4 and my mother took care of me.
She gave me every opportunity to explore my life and continue my studies till the time I wanted. She managed the financial situation and started working in place of my father in the government sector.
I had a childhood friend - Rahul, who was my neighbour and classmate since class 3. As my mother was working, I spent much of my time at his place because our mothers were good friends.
I don’t know when this friendship turned into love but all I can recall is that we were addicted to each other since childhood.
I loved him to the moon and back. We finished our schooling and took admission in the same college. We knew each other so well that we could easily guess what the other person was thinking. Our parents knew about us and were happy for us. Everything was perfect until the dreaded night that changed my life.
I was returning home from a friend’s place when I was kidnapped and raped by two unknown men.
When I reached home, my clothes were torn and I couldn’t stop crying. On seeing me, my mom ran towards me, covered me with a cloth and took me inside. She wanted to ask me what had happened, but she knew the horrible answer.
The tears rolling down from my eyes were self-explanatory.
She tried asking me who had committed this monstrous act but I was clueless. I had nothing to say to her and just kept weeping. Both of us cried the whole night.
I asked my mother if we could go to the police but she refused because she knew that this would severely damage our respect and social reputation. However, she insisted that I tell everything to Rahul.
She was very confident that he would understand the situation and help me get out of this bad phase.
The next morning, I met Rahul and told him everything. But he got furious and started shouting at me for not listening to him and going out late in the evening. Then he asked me about the two guys but I could not tell him anything, as I was unaware of their identity.
I even asked him to go to the police as they could help us but he refused. He told me not to even think about approaching the police.
His reactions were totally unexpected. He was not supportive; instead, he kept getting angry.
I still gave him the benefit of the doubt because he probably couldn’t understand how to react in that situation.
I needed a hug but he didn’t offer one and we left in an unexpected manner.
Since that day, things became different between us. He started ignoring me and whenever I tried to meet him, he was unavailable. I should have understood the signs but I thought that time would help him heal from the shock and damage to his beloved.
One day, I got to know that he was going out of the country for his higher studies. It came as a huge shock and I decided to confront him. I reached his house at 7 in the morning. He was still sleeping and his mother woke him up.
He came out of his room, rubbing his eyes, and I suggested that we got for a walk. We started walking out of his house and the silence was killing me. I spoke up and asked him about his departure. He said that he was going to leave in the next 20 days.
He told me that he wouldn't be able continue the relationship because his parents would never accept us if he told them the truth nor could he lie to them.
At that very moment, we parted ways forever.
Slowly, I understood that what I felt prior to that horrific incident was just an addiction to Rahul and nothing more. He had made those moments special but that was it. I moved on and so did he.
I looked at Kabir and I could see his eyes welled with tears. He came closer, held my hand and hugged me tightly. Our hug continued for a very long time till he finally said, “I wanted to confess something.”
“I was one of the two guys on that night.” And he cried like a baby.
I was stunned and shocked to the core. I slapped him hard, shouted loudly and broke down. He held me close and hugged me again.
I tried going away but could not because the feelings of the present overtook the past.
He told me that he used to be a drunkard and that incident was a result of it. He was not in his senses on that night.
After four years, the same incident happened with his sister and she committed suicide. That’s when he understood the pain I must’ve gone through and since then he had a burning urge to apologize to me.
Fate gave him the chance when I joined his workplace and while trying to apologize, he never realized when he fell for me.
He went down on his knees, apologized again and asked me to marry him. With tears rolling down both our faces, I said yes.
This 'yes' was not because I wanted to forgive him but for the feelings we had for each other. For the cloud nine that existed for me on earth because of him.