A Heart's Compass

‘Neha?’ said Ashish. Neha couldn’t believe her ears. For about three years she had been waiting for this moment. She was overwhelmed with emotions, tears filled her eyes, her heart skipped beats and she felt jittery in her stomach. All she wanted was a call from Ashish and now he actually was on the other side of the phone.

‘Hi’ said Neha and heaved a sigh. Ashish was nervous too; he was restless to make this call and in all that eagerness he hadn’t thought what he would tell her. Ashish had been missing Neha immensely; his life had come to a standstill without her. Yes he had taken a long time to come to this realization nevertheless that didn’t make his feelings any less real.

They were on call with each other for the very first time after that fateful summer night when they had decided to part forever. Their hearts leapt with joy and at the same time were apprehensive about the state of mind the other would be in.

‘How are you?’ said Ashish.

‘I am good. How are you?’ replied Neha in a shaky voice; what she wanted to say was she was not at all well without him. Nothing mattered without him and she was restless and unhappy every moment with him.

Both were trying their best to conceal their feelings from each other. Strange are the ways in which the heart reacts. It chooses not to reveal its true feelings when that’s all it yearns for more than anything else.

‘I went home today. The maid told me you would be out for months together. Where are you Neha?’ was all that he managed in a serious tone when all he wanted to say was that he missed her and he was sorry at the pain he caused her. He wanted to beg Neha to come back to him; he wanted to go see her at that very instant but these words failed to reach his lips.

‘I am in Delhi at Meenal’s, my friend from college if you would remember. I am going to Shimla. Actually I have signed a deal to write a novel and I chose to do it from Shimla’. Neha too already on the verge of tears wanted to tell Ashish how much she missed him; his hug; his presence in her life. She wanted to scold him for he was wrong and that they were only meant to be together and not apart as he had thought. She wished to be able to see him. But alas she too failed in bringing the pain in her heart unto her mouth!

Both had taken away a piece of each other and that was a constant reminder of how wonderful they were together as a whole.  There was silence at both ends; they say silence speaks a million words. Was it possible that it was actually their hearts that were speaking to each other; one coaxing the other to stop and listen to it!

There was a time when Neha and Ashish would spend hours on the phone; they had so much to discuss. Sometimes they would be up whole night talking. Neha’s hostel roommate wondered what they could possibly talk about when they were together the whole day! Today it was totally opposite; they hadn’t spoken to each other in years still they didn’t know what to converse about. They knew what they wanted to say to the other; but Neha for the fear of being rejected again and Ashish skeptical of being thought of as one who chooses to be in a relationship at his convenience forbade themselves from bearing their hearts out to each other. Often one wonders that life would have been so simple but for the matters of love.

After Ashish congratulated Neha for this new course in life in writing the novel both were again quiet for a long time; not knowing what to say next. Just then Meenal entered Neha’s room and when she came to know that it was Ashish she took the phone and rebuked him left and right.

‘You have the audacity to call her. I respected you so much but not anymore. Is this the way to treat anyone; what the hell were you thinking. Go get yourself tested’ saying that Meenal hung up the call. Meenal was always like that. She would blow up on your face if you had done anything remotely wrong by her books. More so if someone hurt her friends; only god could save that soul then! Neha stood there not knowing how to react at Meenal’s outburst. She wanted to speak to Ashish, that’s what she had been waiting for since a long time. How could Meenal hang up like that she thought! What if Ashish had something important to tell her? But when Meenal hugged her and told her that she wouldn’t let Ashish hurt her anymore, Neha realized that whatever Meenal had just done was out of genuine concern for her. She smiled and thought that if Ashish had to say something he would have told her by then. In a way she was content just listening to his voice after ages.

Ashish on the other hand was angry at Meenal to have come in between him and Neha. He had always been particular in that; he would get irked very soon if people interfered in matters concerning between the two. Though he knew very well Meenal was just being a good friend but all that she said annoyed him too. So instead of dialing again; he left his phone behind and did what he always did when irritated and angry. He sat on his porch; beer in one hand, music on the background and cigarettes on the other. It was the first time in months that he had gotten drunk; he was troubled with how he would get Neha back in his life. He realized it wasn’t going to be easy. On top of that his guilty conscience was bothering him to the extent of not allowing him to divulge his love to Neha; after all he was the one responsible for them going different ways few years back.

That night as Neha sat admiring the starlit night sky she told Meenal how she had been waiting for that one call from Ashish. She told him that she still loved Ashish and wished to be with him more than anything else but ofcourse that would only happen if Ashish ever decided to come back to her. Little did she know that Ashish had already covered the distance of realization that led towards her, it was perhaps just a matter of time for their happily ever after. She told Meenal how content she was to have the sense of hearing his voice.
Listening to Neha, Meenal realized she perhaps shouldn’t have hung up the phone. She held Neha’s hands and asked sorry for reacting that way. But she also told Neha that she shouldn’t build hopes around this call, as Ashish had changed a lot over the years. Why else would he in the first place end their relationship? Meenal ofcourse was only saying what any good friend would have and also she didn’t know of the turmoil in Ashish’s life without Neha. Would Neha listen to Meenal or give that hope a window of opportunity to lead her back to Ashish? Would she listen to her friend who wanted nothing more than her good or would she listen to her heart which had been saying loud and clear to go back to Ashish? They say by using your heart as your compass, you can see more clearly which direction to go perhaps it was Neha’s moment of listening to her heart before it was too late!

PS:A story I had written very very early on at the start of my blogging days.