Moving On... Part 5

Moving On... Part 1 | Moving On... Part 2 | Moving On... Part 3 | Moving On... Part 4

When the newly wedded couple was about to leave, Maya’s mother told Sneha that Maya wanted Sneha to accompany her to Sanchit’s house though they had suggested that her other cousin sister should go. Sneha knew it right from the beginning that Maya would pick her up for this. Sneha was supposed to go and stay with Maya for a few days according to the rituals. Sneha was meant to share Maya’s room. It was only after the couple visited their family temple, would they consummate their marriage. Till then Sneha was supposed to share the room with Maya.

Sneha thoroughly enjoyed the days she spent with Maya. On the last day, when the couple visited the temple and returned home Sneha told Maya that she would leave the next day.
“Where are you going for your honeymoon?” Sneha asked.

“Not yet decided.” Maya replied
“We won’t be leaving in the next few days.” Maya said
“Why?” Sneha was surprised.
“I have some important work in office so the honeymoon is postponed.” Sanchit replied
“So, I would be living with you in Bombay for a few days.” Maya said.
“Really!” Sneha exclaimed
“See, did I not tell you she will be happy about this.” Sanchit said looking at Maya.
Sneha smiled.
She was not aware that Maya and Sanchit had decided to postpone their honeymoon plans for Sneha’s sake. Maya wanted to stay with Sneha for a few more days. Something told her that whatever it was, was about to happen soon.
Sanchit had been very understanding and said that he would make the excuse and take care of his parents.

Finally Sneha left the couple alone and walked out of their room. That night, as Sneha stood in the balcony enjoying the calmness of the night she was very happy. She was happy for Maya. Finally Maya was in the arms of her lover. She closed her eyes and said a silent prayer for the couple.

The next day Sneha went to her house in Bangalore and said her goodbyes to her parents and the other relatives. She packed her bag and moved to Sanchit’s house. It was from here that she and Maya were supposed to leave for Bombay the next day. Sneha’s parents said that they would stay in Bangalore for few more days and then join her in Bombay. Sneha spent yet another silent night standing at the window. Sanchit had offered that Sneha could sleep in their bedroom if she wished to but Sneha refused.
The next day the girls got ready to leave for Bombay. Sanchit told Maya that he would keep in touch with her and she should let him know in case she needed him.
“How romantic!” Sneha teased Sanchit.
“Have to say such things you know.” Saying so Sanchit winked.
As the couple came closer to kiss Sneha cleared her throat and walked out.
Sanchit held Maya in his arms for a little longer.
“Come back soon.” He said as he kissed her again.

Sneha was tired when they reached Bombay. They had traveled by train, it was Sanchit’s idea. As she switched on her mobile and got into the bed, her mobile sprang to life. Maya was in the living room talking to Sanchit. Sneha looked at the display. It was Avinash’s call.
“Hi! Where have you been?”
“Maya got married.”
“You never told me.”
Sneha did not like the tone.
“I had called you, you were busy.”
“Oh yeah”
Silence …
“Avinash can we talk later, we just reached Bombay and I am pretty tired.”
Sneha disconnected the call.

Avinash remembered; Sneha had called him when he was with Sandhya. Yes, he had told her the truth. He was busy. He just did not tell her, with whom.
Avinash knew that Sneha did not like the way he reacted when he came to know that Sneha had been to Bangalore. He had to take care the next time. He did not want to lose her. He had told Sandhya about Sneha. She knew that Avinash was in touch with Sneha through calls and messages. Avinash had told her that on his own but Sandhya did not know that they had met.
She would never understand, Avinash thought.
How would she understand when he had not been able to understand it himself?
He shook his head as he kept the mobile on the bed and walked to freshen himself. He was feeling lonely and hence he wanted to talk to her but Sneha was not in the mood to talk.

Sneha did not know how long she had slept. When she opened her eyes Maya was sleeping next to her hugging the pillow. Sneha smiled as she walked out of the room.
She walked to the kitchen and began making arrangements for dinner.
The next day Sneha went to meet the Thomson’s on her way to the office. A quick hello and she was out of their residence. Somewhere, at the back of her mind she was feeling guilty for avoiding them on the day she had met Avinash for the second time.
When she was at their place she realized that Mr. Thomson was worried about something. Mrs. Thomson was silent and observing. There was an awkward silence for some time and Sneha told them that she would have to leave.
“See you in the evening.” Mr. Thomson had said as she was at the door.
Sneha turned around and smiled.

Sneha reached her office and got busy in her work. At around lunch time Avinash called her to ask whether she could meet. Sneha knew that she must not get used to this or let Avinash get used to it.
“I have some pending work in office today because of the leave.” Sneha gave an excuse.
“How about meeting only for a few minutes? I had something to share.” Avinash pleaded.
“Ok. I will try to finish my work and let you know.”
After disconnecting the call Sneha thought for a moment. Meeting just this once was not going to hurt.

Sneha finished her work and as she was about to leave the office she called Avinash to tell him that she would be reaching the café in about half an hour. When she reached the café she found Avinash waiting for her. The moment she sat down he ordered coffee. He seemed to be in hurry, of course, he understood Sneha’s limitations. She had to reach home soon. They finished their coffee but Avinash had not spoken a word yet.
“You said you wanted to talk.” Sneha broke the silence.
“Yes.” Avinash said and smiled
“I have been promoted.” Avinash said
Sneha was silent for a moment. Was this all? Had he called her to meet only to tell her that he was promoted?
“I wanted to celebrate with you.”
“You should be celebrating with your wife!”
There! She finally had said it. Avinash smiled and said, “She would be glad to know that I shared it with you first because she knows that you are the best friend I have got.” Avinash smiled.
“Come let us walk” Avinash said offering his hand to Sneha
Sneha got up but did not take his hand.
On way out Avinash paid the bill and they started walking. Avinash started walking to their favorite spot but Sneha looked at the horizon, she was getting late.
“Avinash, I think we should leave.”
“You know what? Sandhya will be very happy to meet you. She always wanted to know you. Especially when I told her that you helped me to get close to her.”
Sneha looked surprised, “You should have not told her.”
“It’s fine. She is okay with it. I told her after the marriage anyways.” Avinash winked.
Sneha smiled as they continued walking.
All of a sudden Avinash stopped walking and said, “Let’s go home.”
“Now?” Sneha said looking at her watch.
“Yes. Just for some time. I will drop you home.” Avinash pleaded yet again.
Sneha could not refuse.
Avinash started the motorbike and Sneha sat behind him and put her hand on his shoulder to adjust herself on the motorbike. As she removed her hand from his shoulder Avinash said, “You better hold me tight. We are going to speed home.”
Sneha put her arm around his waist.
Fantastic! That is what he wanted. He sped across the streets making way out of the traffic. Today he did not bother to apply sudden brakes. He wanted to reach home soon so that later on Sneha could reach her house on time.
Sneha thought that finally she was going to meet the woman who had taken her Avinash away from her. She had not even attended the marriage so that she never had to come face to face with Sandhya. But today, finally she was about to meet her. The final nail on the coffin! Sneha knew that she would continue to love Avinash forever but now her love would not hurt. It would be more of pleasant memories. Maya had said that when ghosts return in life, they return for a reason. Perhaps this was the reason. To accept Avinash in her life and live with the fact that he’s the best friend she ever had.

Sneha did not realize that Avinash had entered the compound of a building. As he slowed down and stopped the motorbike she got down and looked around.
Avinash walked straight ahead and Sneha followed. He was about to get into the elevator but then moved back. He remembered that Sneha was claustrophobic and avoided elevators. They climbed the steps together. The staircase was narrow and hence as they climbed the stairs their arms brushed against one another. They reached the third floor and Avinash turned left. He walked towards the end of the corridor. He opened the door with his keys. It was dark inside the house. Sneha was surprised. Avinash walked inside and switched on the lights
“Come in” he said making way for Sneha
Sneha entered inside and looked around.
“Please be seated, I will come in few minutes.”
“Where is Sandhya?” Sneha asked before he could leave her alone.
“Sandhya … she’s gone to her parent’s house for delivery. She’s pregnant and is due anytime soon.” Saying so Avinash started walking inside
“But, you told me she would be glad to meet me.”
“Yes! Of course! She would be glad to meet you…” Avinash said.
Before Sneha could say anything he added, “When she comes back.” He smiled and walked to his bedroom.
Sneha’s heart skipped a beat when she realized that there was no one in the house other than Avinash and her. She sat on the sofa and took out her mobile. She tried to call Maya. Her mobile was switched off. She left her a message to call her as soon as she could. Sneha wanted a reason to leave his house immediately.

Avinash returned with a disc. He had taken a shower and had put on a deodorant. He inserted the disc in the player and as the disc started playing he walked towards the sofa where Sneha was sitting. It was the disc of his wedding. As Sneha looked at the television screen Avinash sat next to Sneha. He shifted closer and put his arm around her shoulder.
As she was watching the video Avinash said, “I missed you at the wedding. What a shame that my best friend did not attend my wedding!” As Avinash said this he pushed back the tuft of hair that was falling on Sneha’s face.
Sneha smiled nervously.
As she continued watching the video she could feel Avinash moving closer, next she felt his toes moving up and down on her legs. Sneha shifted nervously. Avinash stopped.
“Do you remember the night when I was drunk and I told you about Sandhya?”
How could Sneha possibly forget that night? She nodded.
“Do you remember what you told me that night?” Avinash said placing his hand on her thigh.
Sneha turned to look at Avinash. There was a mischievous smile on his face. Before Sneha could say anything he continued, “I was drunk but I clearly remember what you told me that night. You told me that you love me.”
Avinash moved closer and before Sneha could react, his lips were on hers. Sneha moved back.
“What happened?” Avinash asked
“What are you doing?” Sneha retorted.
“What you wanted me to do that night. I could see it Sneha, you wanted me to make love to you.” Avinash said. He placed his hand on her waist and pulled her closer.
Sneha struggled. “Stop it.” she said
“Please…” Avinash pleaded kissing her neck.
Sneha tried to break free but Avinash was pressing her down on the sofa.
Avinash forced her back and as Sneha fell back on the sofa he got on top of her kissing her neck and trying to open her shirt buttons.
Sneha tried to push him away.
“I need you Sneha” Avinash whispered as he continued kissing her.
Finally gaining all her strength she managed to push him back and as he fell on the floor Sneha straightened herself.
“What the hell were you doing?” she screamed.
“You love me Sneha, I know it… you still love me and I need you. Please come back to me.” saying so he got up from the floor.
Sneha moved back, “Disgusting.”
She turned around to go but Avinash reached for her waist and pulled her back. He turned her around and was about to kiss her when Sneha, gaining her entire strength, slapped him hard on the face.
Avinash looked flabbergasted.
“I hate you.” Sneha screamed, picked up her purse and ran towards the door. She opened the door and ran out. She could hear the elevator halting at the third floor and she ran towards it. She pressed hard on the button and climbed inside the elevator when the door opened. She was scared and she could feel her heartbeats in the throat. She expected Avinash to come in front of her any moment but he did not come. The doors of the elevator closed and Sneha closed her eyes.
As she reached the ground floor and the doors opened she ran out pushing away the people waiting for the elevator.
When Sneha walked out of the gates it started raining. It was dark and as she walked hurriedly on the road it started raining heavily. Feeling fatigued all of a sudden Sneha slowed down. She started crying, her tears being camouflaged by the raindrops. She was completely soaked in rain and there were a few guys on the road who were watching her. Sneha became aware of her dress. She realized that two buttons of her shirt were open and her brassiere was visible through her wet white shirt but Sneha felt more secured on the street than she felt at Avinash’s residence.

She could not believe what Avinash had tried to do. Sneha walked faster, buttoning her shirt as she walked. She folded her arms as if embracing herself and walked faster. She was shivering. Finally Sneha broke down. She sat on the stone on the side of the road and started crying.

She cursed the day when she met Avinash at the mall. She repented her decision to call back. She would have lived happily loving him for the rest of her life but now… now she hated him. Suddenly Sneha remembered what Maya had said, Ghosts return in life for a reason. This was it! She remembered the look on Mr. Thomson’s face when she had told him about Avinash. They knew it all along, Sneha thought. She started crying again. Her mobile sprang to life. Sneha wiped her tears and opened her purse. It was Maya’s call. Sneha answered
“Sneha… where are you? Are you fine?” Maya asked as she heard Sneha’s quivering voice.
“Maya … Avinash tried to…” Sneha started crying.
“Come home.”
Sneha continued crying.
“Where are you?”
Sneha told her where she was.
“Wait there. I am coming to get you.”
Within a few minutes Maya reached the place where Sneha was sitting. She got out of the cab, opened her umbrella and walked towards Sneha. The moment Sneha saw Maya she ran towards her and embraced her. Maya held her with one hand, then realized it was no use trying to stay dry so she let go the umbrella and embraced Sneha. After some time she helped Sneha to get into the cab. They were silent as the cab took U turn and started off in the direction of their house. After some time Sneha said, “You knew it all along, didn’t you?”
Maya looked worried.
“I knew something would be going wrong but I did not know he would force himself on you.”
Sneha looked outside the window.

When the cab halted in front of their building, Sneha saw that the Thomson couple was waiting for her at the entrance. There was a concerned look on their face. Sneha turned to look at Maya. “They knew it. I don’t know how. Mrs. Thomson was at the door before I called you. She said Mr. Thomson was very worried about you. She asked me to call you and it was then that I saw your message.”
They both got down of the cab and walked towards the couple. Mrs. Thomson was crying. She had held Mr. Thomson by his arm, both to steady her and support Mr. Thomson.
As Sneha walked closer to Mr. Thomson he turned around to go…
“Let’s go home,” he said.
Sneha followed him. The Thomson couple walked inside the elevator that was waiting at ground floor. Maya started climbing the stairs assuming that Sneha would climb the stairs but when she saw Sneha walking inside the elevator she too got inside the elevator.

The moment they were inside Thomson residence Sneha collapsed on the nearby sofa and started crying. Mr. Thomson stroked her hair. Tears trickled down his face as he tried to console her.
“You knew it grandpa, you knew it.” Sneha said putting her arms around his waist and holding him close.

Each chapter of life has to be closed before a new chapter can begin…” Mr. Thomson whispered.