Anonymous And Nickname...

I

She loved him, a lot. Perhaps more than she could ever imagine loving anyone. She knew him since childhood. He was the first guy to hold her hand and walk along the beach. He was the first guy she had punched; the first guy she had hugged; the first guy she had rolled with, in the sand at the seashore. He was the first person of the opposite sex to know that she had grown up. She did not mind discussing it with him; in fact he was the one who had provided her the insight into its physiology.
He was the one who always kept telling her what was the right thing to do and what she should not be doing. She loved him and he did not know. There was no chance of him knowing it. She never let that happen. She did not know why, but she was scared of him. He was only four years elder to her, was her best friend but he always sounded like a big brother trying to protect her from the bad guys.

As a teenager, she had her own share of infatuations till she realized that he was the guy she really loved. In the beginning, she tried to ignore her feelings as one of her infatuations. He was the first person to know about her infatuations, other than her infatuation for him. He was the person who ran a quick study on the background of the guys she dated.
One night she shared a different kind of secret with Karan, she shared her experience of first kiss, which happened to be with her third date. The first two dates did not go further than a handshake and a dance. He had told her so in advance, but she had not believed. The third date was special, he had told her and he was sure she would spend more time with that guy than she did with the first two. Something strange had happened the night she had told him about the first kiss. The starlit sky and his company was a perfect combination. When she looked in his eyes, she could not stop herself from staring at him. The moment seemed so magical. That very moment she wanted to kiss him. The butterfly feeling in her stomach was getting too unbearable. More than that, she felt something else stir within her, something that had not happened before. She was just sixteen, then.

Her third date seemed to last longer than she had assumed it would, rather it turned out to last longer than she wanted it to. After the night of her first kiss, she started receiving a red rose every morning. She knew it was from the same person but she did not show it on her face. She let the roses come, she kept the rose on her desk, everyday and threw it in the waste paper basket when the next one arrived. She dated the same guy for a few days but she did not let him kiss her again. She could not allow him. Hence, she was not surprised when he chose another girl after a few weeks time. But the roses kept coming. She smiled. She kind of liked it. What kind of man he was? Dating another woman and sending roses to his ex-girlfriend. The roses were beautiful so she let them come.

After the night she told Karan about her first kiss, things changed. She realized that the weird feeling within her resurfaced every time she was with him. Her desire to rush into his arms grew stronger every time they met. She was no more comfortable in his presence but still she wanted to meet him. She realized that she started having sleepless nights and her dreams now exclusively belonged to him. She dreamed of their future together and whenever she saw them together, she did not see them making love, she saw both of them, grey haired, holding each other’s hand and walking along the seashore. Though not immediately, she finally realized that she was not merely infatuated towards him, she really loved him. He was the man she would love to spend her rest of the life with. He was the man she was meant to be in the arms of. He was the man, the only man who could make her happy. She could not date any other guy after she realized how she felt for him. Over a period of time, the beautiful roses started irritating her. She started throwing the roses in the waste paper basket the moment they arrived. There was no way to stop them from coming. There was no florist she could talk to and she did not know the whereabouts of her third date. Why he was still interested in sending roses to her, she did not know.

A single rose, placed every morning on her doorstep, waited to be picked up as she opened the door to pick up the morning newspaper. She wanted to leave the rose on the doorstep but she did not want her folks to know about it. Hence she picked it up every morning and brought it to her room, only to throw it in the waste paper basket.

She secretly continued loving Karan, cherishing every moment she spent with him. She hoped that someday he would understand her love and reciprocate it. As they held hands and walked at the seashore she could feel the chemistry between them and wanted the moment to last forever. She tightened her grip on his hand whenever she felt that weird feeling within. She wondered whether he realized that, even if he did, he never showed it on his face.
He once questioned her why she had stopped dating and she lied for the first time in her life. She told him that she was too heartbroken to date anyone else after she came to know that her last date had chosen another girl over her. She told him that she needed time to start dating again. She could not tell him about the roses she received everyday. So many times she wanted to tell him but then she could not. What would she tell him? My third date who is now dating someone else still sends me a rose every morning? No way!

Five years, she spent five whole years loving him and not telling it to him on his face. Too long a time to secretly love someone, she decided. She made up his mind of telling him, no matter how he reacted. She should have done it long back but she could not. But now, she decided, she had to. Merely dreaming about spending her life with him was not enough; she had to do something for them to come together.



II

He loved her, a lot. He loved her as much as anyone could possibly love someone, perhaps a little more than that. His love was not about holding her, restricting her. He let her explore her options because he believed that in the end she would be in his arms for no one could ever love her as much as he did. She was his childhood friend. He admired her for the person she was. She was the first girl he had hugged; she was the first girl he had held hands and walked with, at the seashore. She was the first girl he had rolled with, in the sand at the seashore. She was the only person to understand the changes in him, his mood swings as he began to grow up. She was the girl he had shown his first grown moustache. She was the only person he had cried in front of. She had wiped his tears, allowed him to rest his head on her shoulder. Though people believed that she was a weak person, he knew how strong a woman she was. He never fought with her but there were times when he took out frustration of somewhere else, on her. She never complained. She understood him, listened to him, and helped him to calm down. She did not have to do anything special, she just held his hand and smiled and his anger vanished.

He trusted her as a friend; he knew that she would be there for him whenever he needed her. He could never think of anyone else other than her but he did not force her to consider him as the only guy in her life. He could never date any girl but he allowed her to date other guys. When he had built sandcastle with her as a kid, he had imagined spending his future with her in that sandcastle. He was the king and she was his queen. He had often told that to her and she had hugged him. They had rolled in the sand and had fun together and cried together as waves washed away their castle. He had wiped her tears and promised her that he would build a big house for her in future. His parents were poor but he knew he would build a house for her, someday. He never spent the money his parents gave him as pocket money. He saved it for her.
When she started dating, he ran a quick study on the background of the guys she dated. He told her, what was the right thing to do and what she should not be doing and she obeyed each and every thing that he told her. He knew that she respected him. The first two dates of hers did not go further than a handshake and a dance. The guy she danced with; got too drunk and started misbehaving with her when he interfered and punched the guy. She did not meet that guy after that day. The third person was comparatively a tough rival but he knew, though she would spend more time with that guy, she would finally come back to him. He knew that she was looking for something special in the guys she dated, something that even she did not know. He knew that only one man could provide her the kind of security she was looking for and that man was him.

The night Jacintha shared her experience of first kiss; he knew that matters were on the way of getting serious. He had to do something about it. The night she had told him about the first kiss was magical, the starlit sky and her presence was a perfect combination. His feelings for her grew stronger that night. As she looked at him, he could not stop staring into her deep blue eyes. He wanted to wrap his arms around her and kiss her but he knew it was not the right time. She was just sixteen and perhaps she would have not understood how true his love for her was. He wanted to wait for the right time. But, he knew it was time to make her feel very special and let her know how much she meant to him.
The next morning as he stepped out of his house for his regular morning walk, he stopped at a florist shop and bought a red rose for her. On his way back home, he placed the rose on her doorstep and waited behind a tree to watch her pick up the rose. She picked up the rose with a smile on her face and he fell in love with her once again. He knew he would remember that angelic face for the rest of his life. She was the first woman of his life and he knew that she would be the last one. Later in the day when they met, he waited for her to tell him about the rose, but she did not. As they sat together on the bench, looking at the waves, the air was filled with her perfume and as he took a deep breath, he knew that he would remember this smell forever and whenever he’d feel lonely and sad, the smell of her perfume would fill him with happiness and contentment for it would remind him that he had her in his life.

Whenever they met, they held hands while walking and there were times when suddenly Jacintha tightened the grip on his hand. Every time she did that, he felt something stir within him but he did not show it on his face, he did not want her to have a wrong impression about him.
He continued sending roses to her, one every morning and saw her picking it up as she opened the door for picking up the newspaper. He noticed the change in her as she started picking up the roses without smiling. He waited for her to tell him about the roses. He wanted to tell her that he was the one who was sending them to her but when she did not question him, he thought maybe, just maybe she thought that it was someone else sending them.
One day, she told him that her third date had left her for another girl. He put his arm around her, trying to comfort her and as she placed her head on his shoulder he tightened his grip over her shoulder. He was not sure whether she noticed that but even if she did, she did not react.

After a few days he asked her why she had stopped dating. That day, he intended to ask her out on a date. He had planned everything. He had chalked out the entire day and in the evening with the setting sun as the witness; he intended to propose marriage to her. But she had said that she was too heartbroken to start dating again. She was still hurt because of her third date.
He decided to give her the time she needed. He had made up her mind to be there for her whenever she needed him. He was going to be hers forever though there was someone else who secretly admired him.
There were many girls who were attracted to him but he did not pay any heed to them. There was someone special who sent him chocolates everyday. Just the way he kept a rose for Jacintha. The label on the parcel read – “With love from Jini”. For a moment he thought that Jini had something to do with Jacintha but when he had approached her with the box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, the look on her face showed that she was not all that pleased with the idea that someone had sent him a box of chocolates. He smiled. Perhaps that was the beginning of their wonderful life together. Perhaps she was also falling in love with him. He was ready to wait till she was fully prepared to accept him in her life.
If it was not Jacintha, then who must be the girl? He wondered everyday as he received the box of chocolates. After eating a few chocolates he would distribute the chocolates amongst children.
The box of chocolates kept coming; there was no way he could find who the sender was because the payment for the chocolates was done by cash as per what the storekeeper had told him when he had traced the store from the address on the box.

One day, while he was at one of his friend’s residence, his friend’s kid sister approached him and told him that she loved him. The girl was just thirteen year old and all that he could do was smile. But when he came to know the name of the girl, he was surprised. Her name was Jenny. That was so close to Jini. He talked to her and made her understand. He was not sure whether he should have told his friend about this. He could not. He did not mention the chocolates, either. A thirteen year old girl spending so much on chocolates seemed weird to him. Maybe he was wrong; maybe she was not the girl.
The chocolates kept coming and Jenny tried talking to him whenever she got the chance.

Five years, it had been five years now, he had been placing those roses on the doorstep of Jacintha’s house. He had allowed too much time to slip away. There were many reasons for that. Her education, his education and most importantly the house he had been working on. He had bought a simple house at an affordable cost and he was renovating it with the money he had saved all these years. The house was just as he had dreamed of and he was sure Jacintha would love it too. He wanted to propose marriage to her in that house. It was situated on the outskirts of the town they lived in. A one hour traveling on his bike and they would be at their dream house.
When the house was almost ready he told Jacintha that he wanted to show her something and then he set off to have a last look at the house before he showed it to her. The house still needed a final touch but other than that it was ready to welcome the love birds. He smiled to himself as he looked around the house and visualized Jacintha in his arms. He could already smell her perfume.



III

Jacintha got ready and waited for Karan. He had told her that he wanted to show her something, whatever it was she knew it would be a pleasant surprise. Also, she had made up her mind that she would propose marriage to Karan as soon as they reached where he was supposed to take her. Something told her that he would accept her as a part of his life.
She had been having a strange dream past few days. She visualized them together in a wonderful house on the outskirts of the town they lived in. A house he had built for her. She remembered how they had played as kids. How he had told her that he would build a house for her when their sandcastle was washed away by waves! She smiled as she sprayed perfume and brushed her hair before walking to the window. Karan had called her up saying that he was on his way to pick her up. But, it was late. She wondered where he was.
Her mobile rang again and she rushed to attend it. Her lips curved into a smile as she saw the display. It was Karan’s call.
She attended it
“Hello, where are you? I am waiting!” she said as soon as she attended the call.
“Hello, who is this?” said the stranger on the other end.
“Jacintha, who are you?” she asked
“I am Inspector Shroff” the man said
Jacintha felt a chill run through her spine. What was an inspector doing with Karan’s mobile?
“Yes?” she asked
“Madam, I found your number on the last dialed list, I wish to inform you that there has been an accident on the highway on the outskirts…” the inspector said
“The man…” the inspector was still speaking but Jacintha could not hear anything. Her mobile fell on the floor and she rushed out of her house. She took a cab and reached the highway. She could hear the siren of an ambulance as she reached the place.
“Wait” she screamed as she paid the cabbie and rushed towards the ambulance in which Karan was being taken to the hospital. The inspector stopped her and asked who she was. She told him that she was Karan’s girlfriend and she was the one he had spoken to on the mobile.
“I need to talk to you” the inspector said as Jacintha tried to get into the ambulance.
“Can we speak later? I need to go with him” Jacintha said as the doors of the ambulance were being closed.
“We will talk in the hospital” the inspector said as he saw the look on Jacintha’s face.
She got into the ambulance. An oxygen cylinder was supplying oxygen to him. Blood was being infused in him and he was unconscious. There was a gaping wound on his head and the nurse was trying to stop the bleeding with gauze. Her vision became blurred as she continued staring at Karan. This was not how she wanted to see him. She wiped her tears and knelt on her knees near the stretcher Karan was placed on. She placed her hand on his and held it till they reached the hospital.
Once in the hospital, Karan was immediately rushed to the operating room. Jacintha signed the consent papers as Karan’s girlfriend. She called up Karan’s parents from the hospital and informed them about the accident.

The inspector asked a few questions to Jacintha and left. A constable waited outside the operating room. Karan’s parents reached the hospital within few minutes and asked Jacintha as to what had happened exactly. They waited for the doctor to walk out of the operating room. After what seemed like an eternity, the doctor walked out with a serious look on his face. Jacintha felt a lump in her throat.
The doctor told them that because of too much bleeding; Karan did not have enough time left. Karan’s mother started wailing and his father collapsed on the bench. Jacintha did not react. Tears streamed down her face, silently screaming in pain.
“Can I see him?” she whispered.
“You are Jacintha?” the doctor asked
“Yes” she replied with a surprised look on her face.
“He’s been calling out your name since the time he gained consciousness.” the doctor said and allowed her to go inside. Karan’s parents looked at each other. They knew that Jacintha and Karan were friends but they were a bit surprised that he wanted to see her at this time. Perhaps they were hurt too, but they waited for their chance to go in to see their son, for the last time.

Jacintha entered the operating room. Karan’s lips curved into a smile as he saw her. His angel was walking towards him. He loved her a lot and she was going to know that now. As she reached the operating table she started crying.
“I love you” Karan whispered.
Jacintha read his lips through teary eyes and said, “I love you too”
She bent over him and kissed him on his lips.
Karan managed to open his mouth and kiss her for the first and the last time.
He tried to speak again, but all that Jacintha could hear was a whisper. She brought her ear close to his lips and tried to listen to what he was trying to tell her.
He told her about the house and how he had intended to propose marriage to her. He told her that he wanted her to visit that place whenever she could and never let it get lost under the dust of time.
Jacintha promised him that she would visit the house and she kissed him again but this time Karan did not kiss her back.
Jacintha screamed and collapsed on the floor and Karan’s parents rushed to the operating room to find their son already dead.

Jacintha attended Karan’s funeral. She knelt near his grave and cried for a long time. When the inspector called Karan’s parents and her to the police station to collect his belongings, Jacintha took the keys to the new house and visited the place. She knew she would love the house. As she stepped inside she visualized them together. An old couple sitting on the couch, enjoying the warmth of the fire burning brightly in the fireplace! Jacintha looked at the box of Ferrero Rocher she had brought with her. The box she had intended to give him after their first kiss.

As she stood at the window, she remembered the day when Karan had approached her with the box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates she had gifted to him. She was angry on him because she had not liked the way he had distributed the chocolates to other girls. Those were meant for him, a gift of love from her. She had hoped that he would know but he had failed her. Jacintha closed her eyes.

Karan had once approached her telling her about a girl named Jenny who was his friend’s kid sister. He told her that he felt she was the one who was sending him the chocolates. That moment she had wanted to tell him that she was the one who had been sending him the chocolates but she could not as he had to leave. After that, she never got the chance to tell him, many a times she decided of writing her name on the wrapper but she was scared. Perhaps that was her biggest mistake. She should have told him, told him long ago. Tears streamed down her face as she cursed herself for not being able to tell Karan how she felt about him. She looked around the house and wondered how much blessed her life would have been had she got the chance to share her life with him, in this house.


She left the house and went to the graveyard and placed the box of Ferrero Rocher on his grave. He knew it now who was Jini; he knew it was his Jacintha who sent him the chocolates everyday. She returned home with a heavy heart.

The next morning when she opened the door to pick up the morning newspaper, something was amiss. The rose was not there on the doorstep. Jacintha collapsed on the floor, the ache of realization was too much to bear.

Things would have been a lot different, had they both expressed their feelings for one another when they had the time, Jacintha thought everyday as she placed the box of chocolates and a rose on the grave of the man who had loved her all his life. The only man whom she had truly loved but had never got the chance to express her love.



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