The following day
Priyanka and Rishab were at Rishab's place for the lab assignment.No one else was home,so Rishab was in the kitchen preparing snacks for them.While he was away,she casually picked up a notebook lying on his bed.
As she glanced through it,she noticed it contained a lot of unintelligible scribblings.
Just so characteristic of Rishab,Priyanka thought amused.
But a few scribblings caught her eye.She squinted her eyes to make out what they said.Those were enough to handcuff her attention and put it under arrest.
"Why does it feel like a million stars exploding whenever she smiles..."
"Love must be an architect dotting my mind's skyline with skyscrapers of sweet dreams...Dreams all about her..."
"The earth always starts moving slowly as I talk to her lovely eyes...and as her black round baby-eyes talk back to me..."
"She giggled spontaneously at my silly joke.And suddenly I felt my world being drowned in a cotton candy avalanche.....sweet,creamy and delicious...It was crashing all over me...Crushing me....do I have a crush on her????My throbbing heart-chambers tell me I do!!!!"
Priyanka wondered who all these lines were about.She continued flipping through the pages of Rishab's notebook.
Who is this idiot gushing and blushing about?Is it just one gal or several?Megha,maybe?
Or..by any chance,could it be...?????.Noooooo waaay!!!!
"Hey Pri!!!!Would you like some tomato on that sandwich?"Rishab's voice interrupted her thoughts."It would take a little more time."
"Yes,please!!"Priyanka hollered back."No need to hurry,Rishab.We've plenty of time." She needed more time to see the rest of the notebook,dammit!!!Maybe that way she could figure out who the lines were for.
She impatiently flipped to the last written page to see what it contained.
"I stared at it.I stared at her teardrop as it stood at the edge of her eyelashes,reluctant to leave its beautiful yet sad cradle.Finally it gathered enough courage to take the plunge.It trickled down the side of her face,and hung for dear life when it reached her cheeks.I stared at it.A crystal clear salty pearl,yet so unmistakably full of pain and mourning.Its journey resumed,it slid down to her chin and with a heavy sigh let itself fall to the hard floor beneath.I wished so deperately to could catch it.Hold it and see the pain enclosed within its tiny form.
Damn you,Suyash!!Why did you have to make her cry so much??
But the little teardrop is not alone.It would soon join hundreds more like it.They would accept it into their ranks with open arms.The little teardrop would ask them who they were and where they came from.They would reply that they belonged to a guy.A guy who still loves his best friend and hates himself for it.A guy who wished he could hold the little teardrop and lock it away forever in someplace safe."
Priyanka could feel her cheeks tingle with a delightfully warm red sensation.She was starting to blush.All these....written for her?Her heart rejoiced in the knowledge that someone could think of her as so important.
But almost immediately,a sense of alarm spiked in her.This would automatically complicate things so much.How would she handle it?She didn't love him.Did she?
"Hey Pri,here is your sandwich." Rishab called out as he was about to enter the room with her sandwich."Took some sweat making it.I most certainly deserve a tip when you're finished eating and licking your fingers like a satisfied.."Rishab stopped dead in his tracks when he saw Priyanka reading his notebook.
His notebook.It contained everything he felt about Priyanka which was worth writing down.Goddamn everything.
An uncomfortable silence descended.Rishab's nervousness rose sharply like the mercury of a thermometer which has just thrown into boiling water.His mercury was threatening to smash through the roof of his thermometer tube.The silence was beginning to boil all around him.He couldn't keep it together any longer.
And mercury is poisonous.
"Umm....so you read all that stuff,huh??" It was the dumbest and silliest thing to ask.But it was all he could come up with to prick the ever expanding balloon of soundlessness threatening to fill the entire room.
She just stared at him silently,the speech centres of her brain having shut themselves off.What should she say?What could she say?
Things seemed to be playing out in a TV set whose speakers had gone bust.He wished desperately for her to say something.Anything.
Say you found all what I wrote just a damn big joke!!!Say you found it awesome!!!Say you are touched beyond words!!Say you love me.Say you hate me.Say something,dammit.
She looked at him.A black mop of hair carelessly combed.A boyish face with soft features.Big bright eyes pleading her to speak.Arms with a noticeable muscle tone.A modest height of 5'7''.Could she decide to love him?
"Why won't you say something,Pri??!!!For chrissakes,say something....pleeeeez!!Don't make me mad this way!!"He cried out in agony.
She wasn't done staring at him.Rishab,the guy who had been so desperate to get a gf.Rishab,the guy who filled page after page with lines of sweet passion for her.Rishab,the guy who saved her hide during second semester.Rishab,the guy who pleaded her to be his fake gf so he could score popularity points among women.Rishab,just a regular,average looking guy.Rishab, with no substantial confidence or charisma to set himself apart.Rishab, who saved her from burning her heart at the hands of Suyash.Could she fall in love with him?
Or could she?Shit!!!It was so damn confusing!!!!
"Rishab,I have to go now."She finally managed to say as she proceeded to leave the room.
He didn't try to stop her.He had been rejected even without proposing to her.While that was what he had fearfully expected all along,it still hurt.
He walked her to the door."Goodbye,Rishab."She mumbled without even looking at him.He couldn't bring himself to wish her goodbye.It just hurt too much.
He started closing the door ,sighing heavily,when he saw her coming back.His heart soared.She was coming back to say she loved him.She loved him.She would hug him and everything would be alright!!Life wasn't so painful after all.Thank heavens!!!!
"Rishab,I forgot my bag."She said,standing at the door,refusing to come in.
"Huh???Ok.I'll get it." Rishab retreated into his study room heart-broken as Priyanka waited.
"Here!!"said Rishab handing back the back to her."And I am sorry,Pri.Sorry for all this.I really am.I never meant for you to know.I.."
"It's ok,Rishab."She interrupted and just left.
Rishab blinked back a tear.
At her home,that afternoon,Priyanka was unpacking her bag when she noticed a diary among her belongings.She immediately realized how it must have got there.
Damn you,Rishab!What did you put a diary in here for??????
She picked it up.She flipped through the pages,not reading,just to see what all was in there.
It was all about her.And Rishab.It was their story.They were everything that they went through.Everything that had happened was right there,in her hands.Rishab had written it all.It was their life together .On paper.
The contents had her at the edge of her bed and transported her to the times they were set in.Events got restored from her memory's archives and started happening again.She watched everything go by.She and Rishab becoming lab partners because of their consecutive roll numbers,their first bunking of college together to catch a movie,the card which he took 5 hours to pick for her 19th birthday,his taking the fall for her during second semester, Suyash and everything about him,everything.It all came back.She was dumbstruck.
Some of the words jumped out of the pages and onto the center-stage of her attention.They were all either said by her or written by her during chats with Rishab.Sometime or the other.Each one of them.Rishab had strung it all together.
She was trembling as she turned the first page to read.It was Rishab,with the most beautiful handwriting he could manage.
"I honestly don't know what I feel about her.
Earlier it used to be simple.I was crazy about her and just had to have her!
But now,I just don't know.
I don't want her by my side,I just want her beside me.
Her company is the best gift life has ever given me.
I can't see her sad.
I could give up an arm just to turn her frown upside down into a beautiful smile.
Her smile.It could light up an entire town and the hearts of all inhabitants within it.I wish I could clone myself into several copies and occupy that entire town.
I know I can never hope to win her heart.And so I search for her in others.Desperately.
So far my search hasn't turned up anyone,I doubt if it ever will.Not that I'm that successful with women.But it doesn't matter.No one can match up to her anyway."
She still hadn't come out of the shock it had sent her in.It was the best thing anyone had ever done for her.
Her eyes welled up as she started reading everything the diary contained.Everything she had ever told him was in it.He remembered everything,every thought,every word,and every sentence.She started losing herself in those moments from the past.He had hung onto every word,everything that she told him.Everything that she ever loved,ever wanted,ever hated,ever felt.Her most cherished dreams.Her deepest insecurities.They were right there,in front of her.Rishab was beyond her best friend.She would not give him up for a thousand hunks and studs.
She was on the last chapter.It had been five hours since she was reading it,never looking up unless it was for rubbing her tears away.He didn't miss a single thing she had told him,often reminding her of things she didn't remember herself.He had brought the glittering golden moments back.
She finished the last page.She read the last line.Priyanka,please let me remain your friend.
Rishab must have scribbled it at the last moment,before tucking the diary into her bag.She cried a little more,thought a little more about Rishab and thanked her stars for having given him.
She switched on her phone and called him up.Rishab picked it up instantly.
"How did you do what you did with that diary???"She squealed delightedly into the phone."You gotta be gay or a girl for doing that kinda stuff!!!!"
"If you were a dude,I would happily be either one of them."Rishab smiled.
"Hah!But how did you do it?When did you start?"Priyanka asked incredulously.
"Eight months back.I thought I would give it to you on the last day of college.As a parting gift.The diary would be more filled out by then.But everything seemed to be getting over today.I just had to do something.I couldn't let you go away.So I slipped in that diary into your bag when you asked me to get it from my room."
"I soooo freaking love you Rishab!!!!!!!!!"Priyanka crooned in a voice which made Rishab's testosterone levels shoot through the roof.
"I love you too,Pri.Always have.Always will."
"Say something insanely romantic to me right now!!I demand it.I know you can come up with something.Cmon now!!!!!!"
Rishab suddenly realized with a growing horror that his creativity's assembly line has suddenly come to a grinding halt.He couldn't come up with anything!!!!
He cleared his throat."All I can say right now is something insanely silly.The heart has four chambers.2 ventricles and 2 auricles.Every quarter of a year,I will keep one chamber of my heart with you.And keep the rest three with myself.That way,by the end of the year,the whole of my heart will have lived beside you.My heart can't bear to stay away from you,Pri.Some part of it just has to be with you.All the time."
"That was so silly!!!" She squealed again."But I loved it.I love you.Will you love me too??"
"Till the next hundred years!!!!"He said happily.