Another end to Moving on-2
After two long years, I flew down to India on a personal visit. This time with a new adornment around my neck to show that I officially belong to a man. None of my friends knew about my visit because I dint tell anyone. I cloaked myself with the busy image for not keeping in touch but my heart always belonged here. May be it was full of guilt. Or may be it was love.
I was searching my bag for my car keys when I found the dial Karthik gave me when we were a couple. It was a round dial with white stones. It had a mirror on one side and a world clock on the another. While I laughed till my stomach hurt about the gift Karthik had a different story about it. He said that gift meant that if there was anything timeless for him, it was me. He told me that both sides of the dial change with time but not his feelings for me. With a heavy heart, I put it inside my bag and stepped out of my house.
I drove to our college and went past the classroom where we first met. Then I took the snaky route which Karthik loved a lot. I went to the same canteen where we last met and sat on the table where we usually sat. The reason I went there was I was told that Karthik generally frequented that place. I wanted to see if he was over that painful phase.
Though I regularly stalked his social profiles, I felt Karthik is one guy who wouldn’t forget me for lifetime. I had no intentions of breaking my marriage for him but some curiosity inside me wanted to know about his feelings for me. I waited for an hour patiently and got ready to leave. It was then I saw her entering through the front door. I quickly sat down and pretended to read the magazine in front of me. Karthik wasn’t around but she had ordered two coffees. He must be coming anytime soon, I thought to myself. I saw her from a distance and she looked very pretty in person than in photographs. She was reasonably fair and tall and her hair ended in curls. Karthik must be really loving her hair. For a second, I wondered if she was pretty than me. While I knew it was immaterial, I wished she was not. She looked around for an empty table and it was then she saw me. To my horror, she started nearing me and I tried to ease myself.
“Aren’t you Sruthi?” She had come over to my table.
“Yes. Are you Mrs.Karthik?” I knew she was.
“Yes. How do you know?” She sat in the chair opposite mine and was pleasantly surprised.
“I saw your picture on internet.” I shamelessly confessed. I couldn’t think of any other reason for identifying her so promptly. She smiled to acknowledge that. She looked definitely beautiful.
“So how’s everything Sruthi?”
“Yeah I am good. I got married two years ago and I moved to the US. How are you?” I paused. “and Karthik?” I said the last two words in a low tone.
“Oh Karthik is wonderful and so am I. All thanks to you.” I could only smile. I dint know what she meant by that.
“Does he pester you with his silly jokes and irritating logics?” I asked smiling. Though it seemed like I was continuing the conversation, I wanted her to know how well I remember everything.
“Yes, he hasn’t changed much that way” She laughed it off. He hasn’t changed that way? What could she mean by that?
“I am happy for you both. Good for him that he has moved on.” I was in fact jealous because both of them were happy together. I found no peace in being with Surya though he was a gentleman.
“In fact he has not.”
“What do you mean?” I asked trembling. May be he always keeps talking about his past and irritates her like I do to Surya.
“He is still the same old Karthik. He fondly wears his check shirts and drinks coffee twice a day. He says first love is not something that can be easily forgotten. He told me every episode of your love story before our wedding and how much he needed you in his life. I was moved to see him long so much for a girl. I am not a creative person to define love but I feel it is that feeling which makes you feel comfortable, feel like a royal when you’re with someone. He said he experienced it in your fellowship. And he asked me if I wanted to be another Sruthi in his life. I instantly agreed. And we have been happy ever since.”
“But doesn’t that mean he moved on?”
“Or rather I moved to him” She said smiling. I looked away and tried to understand what I just heard. Karthik doesn’t hate me for leaving him. Or does he because he found another girl and is happy with her? Karthik doesn’t repent for losing me like I do it daily. He had the heart to welcome a new girl to his life and I was ruining my life cursing myself and my destiny to which I had to give in. For a second, I pitied Surya who was bearing the brunt of my folly. I wanted to apologize and fall to his feet for being so patient with me.
“Did I say something wrong?” She had the courtesy to ask that.
“No. Not at all.” I replied. From the window next to me, I saw Karthik getting down his car. He was walking towards the canteen and I decided I should leave immediately.
“I should leave now.” I stood up and collected my bag.
“You seem to be hurt. I am very sorry.” She tried to stop me by hand like Karthik.
“My husband must be waiting for me. We wanted to go out for lunch.” I instantly lied. And in parallel, I decided to date my husband that afternoon. Both of us smiled at each other and exchanged our phone numbers.
“Tell him that his old friend said a hi to him.” I said before leaving. She nodded her head.
I exited our canteen and looked at the dial Karthik gave me. I looked at my face in it for the last time and smiled heartily. Mirror reminded me of Neethu’s analogy of car mirrors. Actually happiness doesn’t depend on what mirror you’re looking into. Happiness is only when you like what you see in your mirror. I moved on.