Ankahee Chapter 5

Posted by Shabia Walia on

#storiesbyshabiawalia

Ankahee

Chapter 5

As Randeep stared into the horizon from his sea facing 5 bedroom apartment, he couldn't help himself from going back 12 years. He was 28, bright, positive, full of hopes of a good life and was quite the eligible bachelor. He had several offers of marriage and many women dying to be with him. Not surprising since he was good looking, tall, a Harvard bred and quite a successful person early in life.

He wasn’t keen on marrying so early. He wanted to wait for the right one but his mother who had a weak heart often chided him to settle down. ‘Others wait till their careers take off. You already are doing so well. Why do you have to wait?’, she often reasoned.

Randeep often tried to argue his point but being the only son his heart lay in his mothers happiness. His mother had been particularly keen on Nimrat as she was her best friends daughter. Both families were very close and Randeep though didn't know Nimrat too well, found her to be intelligent, determined and quite pleasant looking. Maybe his mother was right after all, what was he waiting for? Love?

Love hadn’t been too kind to him on the last two occasions. One had ended in his girlfriend dating his friend behind his back and the other was too bothered about his bank balance than him. He had been hurt but over time had healed himself by drowning himself into work. And work had never broken his heart. In fact, even if he worked a little, it brought him returns in multiples. This only proved how smart he was and coupled with hard work, it was a deadly combination.

‘Sir coffee’, his thoughts were interrupted by Pramod, his man Friday. Like Ruhi, Pramod could sense Randeep’s daily needs. He knew when to interrupt him, when to stay away, when he needed coffee or a pill for his aching hand. He was instinctive and Randeep valued this in Pramod.

As Randeep acknowledged the coffee, he settled on the floral settee on his deck. A 180 degree view of the sea calmed him. It was his favourite place after he returned home. He would often work here, have his coffee, make his phone calls, reflect on the day and sometimes even fall asleep, lulled by the sea breeze. Someday he hoped Ruhi and he would look at the view together and have coffee on this deck.

Ruhi, the name brought a smile on his face yet again. For a second he forgot what had happened with Nimmi a few minutes back. The scent of her was still fresh in his mind. Warm sunshine on a wintry cold morning, yes her scent reminded her of warmth. It had been missing in his life for a long time. He wanted to hug her and sleep for the longest time without waking up. He wanted to feel her warmth next to him. He hoped that her warmth would warm up his heart, the heart which had gone cold for a very long time.

The cool breeze almost replicated the thought. He sighed and got up. His hand had started aching again. As he tried rotating his shoulders wishing the ache would go away and turned, he saw Nimmi standing there.

‘It's paining again?’, she asked with concern.

‘A bit, but nothing to worry’, Randeep replied. He knew there was no farce in Nimmi’s concern. She did genuinely care for him. They were both good people. It's just that they didn't know how to bridge the distance between them.

He knew they had tried, both of them in equal measures. But however much they walked towards each other, the distance between them just didn’t end.

‘I am sorry Randeep… I didn’t mean to..’, Nimmi said with a lot of guilt in her voice.

Randeep walked upto her. He caressed her cheek with the back of his hand. His face softened as he tucked a strand behind her ear.

‘You never have to feel guilty Nimmi, I have said this before, I am saying it now. We both know it's not your fault.’ Randeep said genuinely.

Nimmi put her hand on his hand which still lay on her face. She gratefully looked at him, ‘I just wish we both knew it would be like this’, she said almost regretfully.

‘If only we knew Nimmi, but then who is to know what the future holds. Each of us has to live his karma. And no one can change that.’, he said sincerely. Nimrat nodded to what Randeep said and relaxed a bit.

As he removed his hand, she wished he hadn't. She moved towards him a bit hesitantly. He could feel her come close to him but this time he didn't move or made any gesture to get close to her.

She brought her lips close to his cheek and gave him a peck, not a romantic one, but the sort you give a good friend or someone you trust and respect. He behaved like a good boy by staying still.

She moved away and he looked at her. She smiled at him. ‘Sleep well, Nimmi, I am around if you need me.’ Randeep said to her assuringly.

She nodded, gave him a half smile and left to go towards her room. He heard the door to her room close.

He moved to his and looked at his own bedroom. It looked empty and cold. As he lay on his bed and closed his eyes, he could visualise Ruhi laughing with Suhail in the conference room. Damn Suhail, if he continued laughing with Ruhi so much, he would soon lose his job, he thought wickedly.

His thoughts then went to Ruhi again. What if he had not let her go from the doorway of the conference room? What if he had just pulled her in his arms or laid his head on her shoulder? How would she react?

And on a cue, his phone beeped. He got startled and then reached out to check. It was Ruhi. He was surprised. Ruhi had never messaged him before, not after working hours.

Her message said, ‘Randeep, you awake’? He felt like a kid who had been caught stealing his favourite candy. And then he smiled.

……to be continued

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