THE LAST VACATION

Love is letting someone back into your life.

“Diya maan ja yaar…. Please….” Raghav was pleading to Diya. “Come on Diya, don’t be a spoil sport… This is our last vacation together, who knows where each one of us will be next year. Let’s make this vacation memorable…”  Ishani tried to strike an emotional chord.  But Diya had put her foot down. She had declared that she is dropping out of the plan to go to Goa.

Raghav, Diya, Ishani, Kiara, Rishaan, Medha and Kiran were a bunch of friends. They had been together ever since preschool days. But now, each one of them was going to choose a new way of life. They were awaiting graduation result and each one of them had a plan for higher studies. While Rishaan and Kiara had already started preparing for GRE and TOFFEL as a first step towards MS (Economics), Diya wanted to focus on cracking Chartered Accountancy exam. Ishani was more of a homely kind of girl for whom the priorities were obvious – a job soon after graduation and getting married to the guy of her parent’s choice. Raghav was already assisting a fashion photographer and he intended to pursue his passion as profession. Kiran was preparing himself for CAT – his aim was to secure an admission at IIM Ahemdabad.

“Diya.. if you are not coming none of us will go. This is the last chance I have to visit any place. After this I know my parents will say “enough of fun you have had, now get married and go wherever you want to along with you husband…” Ishani continued to convince Diya

“Guys, its fine if she doesn’t want to come, it’s her choice… we tried our best to convince her.. In spite of that if she doesn’t want to come, let her be, right Rishaan?” snapped Kiara. Of late things were not going good between Kiara and Diya.

“Chill Kiara, don’t be rude. Diya tell me, what’s bothering you? Why do you don’t want to come with us? Yaar Rishaan, you say something… you guys bond so well.” Kiran jumped in to the conversation.

“What can I say? I have been pleading since last night but this girl is just not ready.” Rishaan got up and dashed out of the cafeteria fuming. Kiara was not interested in the discussion so she followed Rishaan.

The whole group was awestruck. What had happened? All believed that Diya and Rishaan shared feelings for each other beyond friendship but they had not confirmed it.

Diya kept looking out of the door even after Rishaan had disappeared. Her eyes welled and she clearly looked hurt.

“Diya, something is wrong between you and Rishaan isn’t it? What happened? Tell me Diya.” Medha said squeezing Diya’s hand. Medha had always been a confidant to Diya.

“Guys, it’s over… it’s over between Rishaan and me. He is cheating on me. We never made our relationship public but we have been dating since a year and it was all so beautiful. But not anymore! He is cheating on me….” Diya finally split the beans

“What makes you think that Diya… I am sure there is some misunderstanding. Why would he do that?” asked Raghav with disbelief.

“Kiara. It’s because of Kiara. They have come very close ever since they have been studying together for GRE since last 3 months. And she has fallen for Rishaan, we all know that!! What is troubling me is the soft corner Rishaan has for her. Their proximity makes me uncomfortable. She just sticks to him like glue and how I hate that!!! “

Diya, baby, listen. I agree what you said about Kiara, but Rishaan is apologizing. I don’t know how bad fight you guys have had and we won’t ask you for any details, but having known both of you for so long, If Rishaan is apologizing it means he is really sorry about what he did. Now come on, calm down and don’t spoil your mood and our plan. YOU ARE COMING WITH US.” Ordered Medha.

“For all you know Diya, this vacation will give you guys a much needed time together. We will make sure to keep Kiara occupied. And you can have Rishaan for yourself to sort out any differences that you guys have had. Trust me, things will be good between you again.” Assured Kiran

Diya nodded softly and screamed the whole group out of joy… “Hurray….Go Goa Gone…!!!”

“Yaar, I am so excited for this vacation, golden sand, sun tanned bodies, girls in bikinis, beer bottles… what a frame man… if I manage to click great pictures then this can be a turning point for my career. My boss had agreed to analyze the pictures that I take and if he likes some he has promised to put them for sale under his brand”

“That’s cool Raghav! But don’t forget to click my pictures. I need some good pictures, my mom wants to share them with a prospective groom” Ishani said blushing.

**********************

The day finally dawned. All were anxiously waiting to board the flight. The whole group was busy taking selfies but Rishaan and Diya weren’t as excited to be in the same frame because there was still an air of awkwardness between them.

“Diya, I am so happy that you agreed to come. Trust me I will not give you a chance to complain. Everything will be good between us.”  Rishaan said breaking the ice.

Diya nodded saying “I hope so Rishaan. I don’t like these fights. I want to be with you….

“Rishaan, darling..come let’s take a selfie…” interrupted Kiara pulling Rishaan towards her and sticking to him as close as possible.

Diya walked away without saying a word. Rishaan kept looking at Diya but she was gone.

Had it been any other normal vacation, Diya would make sure she sits next to Rishaan but today she wanted to be away from him. She was annoyed because Kiara had been constantly disturbing them and Rishaan was not objecting to it. Diya wanted Rishaan to tell Kiara sternly that he needs some time with Diya but Rishaan just didn’t do it giving an explanation of how Kiara would feel bad if he is so stern. Diya was disappointed; she just didn’t want to see Rishaan. How she wished she had not agreed for this vacation. Being alone back in Mumbai had been way better than seeing Kiara stick to Rishaan constantly.

Diya grabbed a window seat and silently hoped that Rishaan doesn’t sit next to her. But as luck may have it Rishaan was about to grab a seat next to her but Kiara raced to grab the middle seat with a clear intention to not let Rishaan sit next to Diya and thus curb their discussion and any possibility for a patch up. Diya could not see them sitting hand in hand; she was heart wrenched and closed her eyes to pretend that she was sleeping. Kiara noticed a tear flowing down to Diya’s cheek but conveniently ignored.

In the middle of the flight, Kiara woke up to go to the washroom. When she returned, she was too lazy to push her way into the middle seat. And with Rishaan readily offering to shift seats, the seating arrangement changed. With 20 minutes still remaining for the flight to land, a sleep starved Kiara took another power nap, this time holding Rishaan’s right hand more firmly. Rishaan’s other hand, though, nervously moved to touch Diya’s. Her heart skipped a beat. Diya pulled her hand away. But a defiant Rishaan held her wrist again, this time firmly and more reassuringly. The changing behavioral dynamics between the three perhaps gave out a foreboding of what was to come in Goa.

When the flight landed at the Dabolim Airport, Rishaan felt uncanny…his excitement seemed replaced by an unknown fear that he found very difficult to decipher.

Ever since last 2 days and all through the journey Rishaan was trying to convince Diya. Rishaan loved her. Or did Diya think so? Rishaan definitely had some feelings for her and feared losing her after this chaos. On one side was Diya – Rishaan’s so called love and on the other side was Kiara – Rishaan’s best friend.  Rishaan had hoped to set things right between them before they land at Goa, but Kiara made sure that things turn worse. And Rishaan could sense that Diya is mad at him. Being mad was an understatement – Diya was furious!

Their fight two days ago had made Diya furious. Diya was feeling extremely unsecured with Rishaan’s attention to Kiara each time and every time. She felt neglected. Rishaan understood this but he also felt for Kiara, he wasn’t sure if it was love though!

They checked in to “Citrus Goa” and retired to their rooms for some rest. Later in the evening, all had were sitting by the pool and enjoying drinks. Diya was feeling restless so she decided to take a stroll. Diya was walking barefoot on grass. How soothing was it! She closed her eyes and was taking small steps at a time. After what felt like a good relaxation she opened her eyes only to find Rishaan there.

“Diya, please talk to me”

“Huh, there is nothing that we can talk about because in no time that idiot Kiara will come here looking for you. Bloody bitch.”

“Calm down Diya.” Rishaan said holding Diya’s hand. Both of them started walking on the grass. It felt awesome. Cold night, dark sky, pin drop silence and Diya and Rishaan. Perfect!

“Rishaan, why do you entertain Kiara so much. I hope you know that she is getting encouraged with this behavior of yours. I mean if you know you don’t have a future with her, why give her hopes? And most importantly I don’t like to see you paying so much attention to her and ignoring me.”

“Diya, Kiara is my best friend and you know it. I want you but I don’t want to lose Kiara.”

“What do you mean you don’t want to lose her? Come on Rishaan, don’t be stupid. You either have her or me.”

“It’s such a difficult choice Diya”

“Rishaan you got to be kidding. I can’t believe that after being in a relationship for a year you think it is difficult to choose me over Kiara???

Diya’s agitation was interrupted by Rishaan’s mobile ringing harshly. The screen flashed “Kiara Calling”

“Cut the call Rishaan. We need to talk!!”

Rishaan was in two minds, pondering whether he should take the call or disconnect.

“What are you thinking Rishaan, cut the damn call!”

Rishaan answered the call “Yes Kiara.. yes I am awake.. I am in the garden… No I am with…

“Kiara.. why don’t you mind your own business?? Rishaan is with me and we are having a serious discussion. Do you mind not disturbing us for a while? And let me tell you bitch, how much ever hard you try, you will not be able to take Rishaan away from me. And if you do that, I will kill you. Now please, stop your fucking nonsense and leave us alone. So many guys have dumped you so far even then you don’t understand that you are not worthy to have a boyfriend..” blurted Diya on phone having snatched it from Rishaan’s hand.

SLAP!!! Rishaan hit Diya hard on her face and turned to go. He waited for a moment, turned back.

Diya had disappeared. He could see her racing towards her room. Rishaan chased her but in vain. Diya had locked herself in her room.

“Diya.. please open the door. I am sorry Diya… Please…” pleaded Rishaan while banging on door.

“IT’S OVER Rishaan. You slapped me for that bitch. You be with her… I am not interested in you!”

Rishaan waited near the door for a long time with the hope that Diya would allow him in and they would talk. But, no luck! In the wee hours of morning Rishaan returned to his room, worried for having lost Diya. Nevertheless, he was still hopeful that he will be able to fix things next morning.

Rishaan woke up with a heavy head next morning. He felt as if something was pounding in his head. He took a moment to realize that it’s not the pounding but someone was banging on his door. He pushed himself out of the bed opened the door.

“What happened between you and Diya last night?” screamed Medh.

“What… Nothing much… I… I just…

“Nothing much??? Then why did Diya leave without informing anyone??” Countered Medha angrily.

“What… Diya left?? How…”

“I was knocking at her door to wake her up but she didn’t respond so I went to the reception to ask them to open the door but the Manager told me that Diya had checked out early this morning.”

**********************

Diya was walking barefoot on grass. How soothing was it! She closed her eyes and was taking small steps at a time. Cold night, dark sky, pin drop silence.  After what felt like a good relaxation she opened her eyes only to find a neon sign at a distance “Citrus Goa” How she wished she had seen Rishaan, like couple of years ago.

An arc of (sarcastic) smile broke on Diya’s face as she muttered to herself “This last vacation will never fade from my memory!” Diya thought for a moment and scrolled through phone contacts. Her search stopped at Rishaan.

Without giving a second thought she dialed his number. The ring went on for some time. And finally she heard a voice from the other end – a very familiar voice. “Hello?”

Diya could not utter a word. After a very long pause she said “Rishaan, I am sorry. I over reacted.”

“Diya??” Rishaan didn’t know what to say but he recognized Diya’s voice.

“Rishaan, I have lost the right to ask you if we can be together again. But I have missed you badly all through these two years. I tried occupying myself with lot of work and I thought I had succeeded in forgetting you. But a work assignment got me here at Citrus Goa and I realized I haven’t forgotten a thing. I haven’t forgotten you! I just want to apologize for what I did. I am sorry. This apology makes me feel light.”

Diya hung up without waiting to hear what Rishaan had to say. Tears flowed down her cheeks. She cried for the first time in two year. She realized the magnitude of her loss – first time in two years!

Diya’s phone rang. Screen was flashing “Rishaan”

“Hello?” said Diya meekly.

“Diya, I missed you too! I always hoped that you will call me some day.  I was so dumb to not realize my true feelings for you. It was only when you dumped me that I realized how much I love you. I tried calling you so many times, but you had changed your number! Never mind, I feel so happy that you called me! ”

“I still love you Diya.” Do you love me?”

“Yes, I do!”

This time both were sure about their feelings!

**********************

Love is indeed letting someone back in your life, like Rishaan & Diya did! Leave no place for ego and hatred in your relationships for you can see ego all around but you will not find love so abundantly. Don’t let petty fights spoil your relationship. Nurture love and make relationships stronger. If you see a relationship reaching a dead end, turn back  and start all over again, you will see a new road which you missed earlier and this road will take you to your destination of happiness.

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4 thoughts on “THE LAST VACATION

  1. Hahaha.. good suggestion but this entry had a word limit of 2500 words so i had to cut short the story really… othws my entry for TOI contenst would not have qualified

  2. Pingback: 2016 Reflections | A Bit of Wisdom & A Bit of Play!

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