Updated: Sep 5, 2020
I glance up at the scorching sun and breathe in a bite of fresh sunshine. I am sitting near the Maidan in Kolkata. Well, the month of May can be tiring in Kolkata but yet it's the summer month, you can't complain. I look down at my pale pink overalls and glance around. This city never fails to skip a beat in my heart. I drown myself in thoughts when I see a familiar face walking towards me.
Oh - em - gee, he's hot. Wait! Doesn't he look familiar?
I start scanning my brain, trying to recall where I have seen this guy. But no matter what he has sure worked out and turned into a greek god. I am thinking hard when I see another familiar face walking towards the guy. Her body is curvy and her frame is tall. Her features, breathtaking. Her black hair trails down to her waist and brown eyes, curious. I can easily tell, she is nervous but she quickly covers it up and her lips quirks up into a heart-melting smile. Her wisdom teeth add nothing but spice to the smile.
Damn! She's beautiful.
I think covertly. I turn towards the guy again and take a closer look at him this time. His black hairs and five o'clock beard stands highlighted against his beige skin tone. A defined jawline adds to the bad boy look but the silver-rimmed round specs brings some sort of tenderness in his look. Last but not the least, his smile. His lips tug upwards revealing rabbit teeth while a cute dimple sits on his cheek.
That's what you call a panty dropping smile!
I hear myself snicker and narrow my eyes at them. Why do I feel like I know them? Suddenly realisation dawns on me and I gasp. To recheck, I take in his features once again.
That's Anirudh. Anirudh Roy Chaudhury, for fuck's sake. Is he back for the summer?
Well, Anirudh Roy Chaudhury comes from a very well-established Bengali family but he wasn't here for the past two years. He studied somewhere abroad and if I'm not wrong, he has come back for the summer. When I last saw him, he was that lean school boy but now look at him. He's so grown up and damn, I'm literally drooling.
Wait! Just a min…
If that's Anirudh then that must be Sharanya.
I gasp again. I didn't think she'd change so much within these two years. Well, Sharanya Banerjee also comes from a high-end Bengali family and she was also out of the country, studying. I am already shipping them and I can even hear the wedding bells. I mean doesn't it sound super exciting? They were both out of the country and now back for a summer. Last time I checked, they were friends. Well, I always thought them to be a lot more than friends. They literally grew up together and were friends ever since.
I can already see the sparks fly as Anirudh is staring at her for the past ten minutes. She paced her steps quickly and reached him. With an intense passion, she throws herself into his open arms. His arms wrap around her tightly and he inhales her scent.
“I missed this,” he murmurs, “god, I missed you.”
“I missed you more, Ani,” her sweet voice comes out as frail as a breath.
“How are you?” he asks her, pulling apart.
There's certainly less talk going on and more staring. They seem to be lost in each other's eyes for the most of the time. It's tiring to watch them like this. I mean everybody around them ships them, even their parents but it's only them who still label themselves as best friends. But now as they meet after a time, I think I notice something shift. I just hope it clicks. Now it is getting really hot to sit under the sun but it's not like I have other options. I watch as he stands up and walks over to me. He bends over and picks me up from the ground.
Ouch! That hurts. Put me down, hottie!
Doesn't matter. My voice doesn't reach him. He caresses a thumb over my cheeks and then hands me over to Sharanya. I look up at both of them and feel a tint of pink crawl up to my own cheeks. I don't remember blushing for someone in a while now. They carried me over, and I let them take me.
“So, are you here for the summer?” she asks.
“Yeah. Will fly back by the end of June. What about you?”
“Nothing different. Will fly back to the UK by June end,” she shrugs.
He doesn't reply. “How's Boston? You like it there?” she pushes further.
“Yeah. I like it there. I don't love it there,” he says in a soft voice, glancing back at her.
She blushes under his gaze and suddenly finds an odd interest in her sneakers.
“God, no. Don't tell me you turned into one of those shy girls,” he practically whines.
“Nah. I'm still that badass best friend of yours,” she snickers back.
“Good. I need someone who can keep me on track and I want someone who can kick my ass at times,” he grins.
He is clearly flirting. I hope she gets the hints he's dropping. I knew, it was bound to happen. Like, someday he had to fall for her and I think the day has come today. I can see him falling for her.
“I'm impressed that you know what you need and what you want…” she trails off.
They walk a bit and then hop onto a tram ride. She smiles from her eyes and he just stares at her. She goes on rambling things and he nods his head after regular intervals as if listening to her but I know the truth. He isn't even listening, I mean he is but half of the things are flying over his head 'cause he's way too busy staring. They reach Anirudh's house and they go inside. Sharanya is practically that typical girl next door. Anirudh's parents greet her and they quickly run upstairs to the rooftop room which is their secret hideout till date.
They both look around and sigh. “We gotta clean this place, real quick,” they muttered in unison.
“Let's start tomorrow, what say?”
For now, they make a perfect place for me and put me down safely. I sit on their window sill and get a bit disgusted by all the dust in the room. They come back the next day, both in basketball shorts and tank tops. She pulls her hair into a messy bun and lifts a huge sheet which is covered in sheets of dust. Ani coughs due to all the dust around and opens the windows.
“Ahhh! Memories,” Ani's smooth voice fills the room as he looks down at his guitar.
He sits down on the couch which Sharanya just dusted off and pulls the guitar onto his lap. With a few dance moves of his fingers, some tune roams around the room.
“Annie, come, sit here,” Anirudh calls for Sharanya.
“You found your guitar but where are my canvases?” she whines.
“Must be here, somewhere,” he stands up and joins her searching for the canvases.
“Hey, look what I got,” she says, amused as she picks up a stuffed elephant and a stuffed panda.
“Hell, I remember these,” he says walking over to her.
“It's been a really long time,” he says, with a sadness prevailing in his tone.
“I guess, two years is a long time,” she replies.
They were sitting on the dusty floor. Their bodies inches apart and eyes finding god knows what in each other. A smile is lingering on both of their faces. After a few moments of comforting silence, she leaned back. Her eyebrows furrow as she finds something soft beneath her hands. She gently pulls it out and squeals of laughter brings life to the room.
“It's your Powerpuff girls' cushion,” she laughed out, “remember, how obsessed you were when you were in middle school?”
Anirudh is surely blushing. His fingers scratch his ears as he looks intently to the floor.
“And I think I got your canvases?” he says after clearing his throat.
“Oh my paintings!” She takes them and gives a bear hug to those canvases.
“Hey, let's plan a reunion or something like that, what say?” he asks out of the blue.
“Sounds absolute fun,” she cheers.
The days pass. One by one it fades. Don't blame me that I can't exactly update you on what's going on in their life. It's not like they take me everywhere they go. But point to be noted, they are always together. Always. They spend their time around the city, maybe visit their old places, get nostalgic and call up memories but when they are not out, they are in this room, with me. Right now, they are creating a mess as they are pillow-fighting and peals of laughter echoing around the room.
Well, the last day was worse. They were having a fight with water guns and ended up being all muddy and soaked.
It is already mid of June. Well, update on me, I have grown taller and bigger and I'm still alive. They are sitting on the couch playing video games when it starts to drizzle outside. By the looks on their faces, they are a bit sad because they know they have to leave soon. Sharanya gets up from the couch and walks over to the window. “It's Raining,” she whispers.
“Yes, it is,” she shivers as his voice catches her off guard.
“I have an idea,” she declares and runs down the stairs. After a great deal of half an hour, she returns back to the terrace.
“God, it's so difficult. Uncle changed the secret place for his wine,” she mutters.
“I guess he did,” Ani laughs as he grabs the glasses from her.
They move outside to the terrace, drops of rain kiss their faces and a thin cold breeze wheezes past them. They both sit down and pour the drink. It is awfully silent between them. God knows what they are thinking.
“Do you remember that one time when we put a thing of ours in a can or something?” Sharanya asks out of the blue.
“Hmm,” he just hums in response.
“We still have it?” she asks.
“We do,” his reply was short and tight.
“What did you put in it? I still don't know and it was back in what, tenth grade?”
He doesn't reply just sighs and exhales noisily.
“Just a minute,” he says and gets up. He walks back in and grabs a tiny tin can from a secret locker.
“Here, open it,” he says as he gives it to her.
“You sure?” she asks again.
“Go ahead,” he nods.
She opens the can with great enthusiasm to find her old bracelet and a piece of old paper.
“A piece of paper?” she asks, raising an eyebrow.
He doesn't make any eye contact with her. He just looks up at the sky and sips his amber drink at regular intervals. She opens the paper to reveal a letter. She reads it out loud.
I have known you since birth, practically. You were my first friend. You were the first girl I saw naked. Just kidding. But it's true right, we have countless memories, we have shared everything from books to brushes. Now as I have already hit my puberty, I feel something's changing. I don't know what it is or how to tell you. I don't know whether you'll get this someday or not but I just don't want to lose you. I don't want to destroy the most precious bond I have and I'm clueless right now about what to say and what not.
I hate it when I see that asshole boyfriend of yours clinging to you everyday. It's hard, you know but never mind, anything for you my bestie. But are you just my best friend? Nothing else? Do you want to be something more? Because I want a lot more. I want you to be my forever, 'cause I can never get tired of you. Who knows what will happen? Maybe you'll never get this letter of mine and we'll always be friends. Maybe we'll never have one of those Disney fairytale endings but no matter what I just want to be the reason for your happiness.
I'll play snake and ladder with you for the rest of my life rather than lose you. I know you love me but I LOVE love you. You understand right? Of course you do. Who'd understand me if you don't?
I love you, Sharanya. If you ever happen to stumble upon this piece of paper then do give a reply. Negative or positive, I don't care; just reply. If positive, then I'd be grateful you chose me as your forever and if negative I'll always stay your best friend, Any. Always.
I see her eyes water after reading it. I don't know why she's acting this weird. I mean, it's not supposed to be weird, is it? She gets up and runs back to her house. He is still sitting out on the terrace, the rain has stopped but his face is clouded. A week left till they go their separate ways again and I guess she just needs her time.
Time flies away and soon they are leaving.
They both have early morning flights. It's the last night, an hour before they leave for the airport. It's busy for both of them but yet they meet up in the terrace room. I sit there watching them intently with two of my new friends, who look similar to me.
Sharanya looks quiet and nervous like the first day at Maidan. She smiles but it doesn't reach her eyes this time. She's fiddling with a hair strand and biting on her lower lip, deciding what to say.
“I will miss you,” Ani's voice breaks the silence.
She doesn't respond for a while then says, “Yes.”
“I know you'll miss me,” he gives a sad smile.
Irritation creeps up her nerves as he doesn't get her. A ray of confidence flickers in her that she's speaking with her best friend. She's known him for twenty years and this fact brings the badass Sharanya back.
“A freaking yes,” she says out louder this time.
“Huh?” he looks down at her cluelessly.
When realisation doesn't hit him, she steps ahead and stands on her toes. Clutching his collar, she smashes her lips onto his. Startled, he stumbles back but wraps his arm around around her waist. She pulls apart. A bliss of euphoria hit both of them in that fraction of second. Her body is still pressed to his, warmth radiating and tingles spreading all over. A sly smile runs across both their lips.
“I love you.”
“I LOVE love you too,” she says with a teasing.
Wait! Where y'all going? This isn't the end of the story. Did I introduce myself all these while? Don't you want to know who I'm? Well, I'm a musk rose. I bloomed beside Maidan and they brought me home. Well, I don't want to bore you anymore telling who I'm. So, I watch them bid farewell, with the thought that starting a relationship with long-distance is a painful thing but again, they need to go.
I watch them go down the stairs and with no one left to water me in that rooftop room, I smile sadly to myself, knowing that I'll dry and my beautiful pink petals will shed. Yet, some people are worth shedding for.
Written by Sanyukta Paul