Friday, January 18, 2013

The 3AM Call

There are certain days which you remember for the rest of your lives. Days which might have brought immense happiness, Days having brought a waterfall of tears or those that brought thunderous laughter! Nothing like that happened that day. Yes, he had been having a strange pain in his chest whenever he swallowed something. He first thought it to be early signs of a heart attack but some googling even took that chance away. So it could so easily have been a life defining day but sadly Gastroesophageal reflux disease is & was not considered life threatening. Infact, the situation worsened when the doctor recommended him to drink a pink coloured liquid. But still, It was a day Rohan would have found hard to place in his memory a month down the line.




Divya had always been a person who preferred the calm of home over flashlight adorning discos, even on a Saturday night. But, this was no ordinary night. Having spent the better part of the last 2 years working, she owed it to herself that the last night be different. She wasn’t a virgin as far as alcoholic beverages were concerned but her self-imposed limit didn’t allow her to go past 2 drinks on a single occasion and not more than 2 times a week. But today was to be the start of the “special occasion quota” as one of her friends had aptly named it.



Rohan had gone to bed unusually ahead of time. Not sleeping before 2 am had become an unwritten rule with him. But then, if you had to dedicate 2 hours to a movie, an hour to a book and still find half an hour to talk to your girlfriend, 2 am isn’t that bad a time to be sleeping. But with his girlfriend holidaying in Singapore and the entire Oscar nominee list completed, he couldn’t find an excuse to stay up so late.



Her definition of special quota would generally have meant a drink or 2 extra but since this was the first “special” occasion, her friends kept coercing and she kept gulping. She was happy! After a year of courtship, Divya was finally taking the plunge with Vishal. It had been a little tough staying apart all this while but they had scraped through. They had met through common friends during one of her trips back home to Delhi two years back. Vishal came from a family of bureaucrats but had found his own calling in journalism. Divya’s tough schedule working in the financial industry combined with Vishal’s jam-packed calendar thanks to a certain king in Delhi didn’t let the romance flourish. But then, some things are meant to be! Divya had never been in a happier place in life. It was a big decision for her, given how ambitious she was, to be moving back to Delhi but the fact that she didn’t have to think twice about it showed what this meant to her. So when two of her closest friends-Chaya & Fatima wanted to take her out for drinks, she couldn’t refuse. “Why shouldn’t I share my happiness?” she thought! And when Fatima kept pouring shot after shot, she didn’t want to say no. She wanted this night to be crazy. As crazy as how happy she was.

By the time they were done, Divya was way past the stage they call “Happy High!” She was what is known in urban parlance as sloshed! Chaya herself was not in a sober state. Had they known what was going around them, Divya & Chaya would have blessed Fatima for being a teetotaller. But alas!

Fatima had to work hard pushing Divya into a taxi, and then pulling her out, and then keeping her from falling down the stairs, and cursing the Lift for malfunctioning on that very day & then finally settling her into the bed. Chaya’s constant urge to vomit wasn’t helping the cause! Divya’s faint snores were probably the most comforting sound Fatima had heard in a long time. Satisfied, she moved to her next mission of taking Chaya to her pad.



As the sunlight crept through the tiny spaces left between adjoining curtains, Divya swiftly picked up a pillow to cover her face. She had her eyes shut as hard as she could. But her efforts at going back to sleep were being severely hampered by a wave of pain that she seemed to have felt all night, but somehow had instantaneously become unbearable. The pain was as excruciating as a pointed pin being constantly thrust into her head. Lying in the bed, she couldn’t help but think of the endless packing she had to start with. Knowing fully well that sleep would now be hard to come, she reluctantly got off the bed and helped herself with some medication for the head. Seeing the clock at 15 minutes past 11 made her realize it had almost been 12 hours since she had talked to Vishal, which would surely have left him paranoid. Seeing 4 missed calls at well spread times didn’t do much to lift her mood. Just as she was about to call Vishal, something caught her eye that perplexed her even more.

“Rohan, 3:12 AM” was one of the outgoing calls it showed. A Little confused, she then flipped through the list of unread messages from Vishal and the solitary one from Rohan, “You would always be my special one!” And she closed her eyes and it all started to come back.



Rohan was in a deep slumber, the kind which even dreams cant infiltrate. When you sleep for hours and don’t even realize a second having passed, that deep! Suddenly, in that zone, a faint voice had entered. A song that seemed very familiar to Rohan, a song he felt he heard on a daily basis. As the voice got louder, his slumber was finally broken. A bit dazed, he blankly looked around the dark room. As the sound restarted, he realised his phone had been ringing all this while.

“Divya, Calling” It said!

Rohan had his eyes fixed on the phone. He didn’t know what to feel. It had nearly been 4 months since they had last talked. Even the thought seemed weird to him. They had been the best of friends at a point in time, or at many consecutive points in time. They were what is often termed as “inseparable” but, life had taken its toll. They never had any fights, no arguments or atleast nothing serious or anything that is likely to dampen relationships. But still, they had grown apart.

He was little afraid, truth be told. Someone calling you at 3 in the night, after not having talked for months, can always bring negative thoughts. Worried, he received the call!

“Hey” He said with tension in his voice but before he could complete, Divya yelled out the longest Hi he had ever heard in his life “Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii”

And she continued, “Heyyyy Rohan...How are you!”

Her voice dripped happiness. Rohan was one worry short!

“I am good. How are you?” He managed, still a little bewildered.

“I am also good. I am getting married you know.Yayyyyyyyy!” She said in a wavy melancholy.

Rohan had, by now, figured out the reason for Divya to be talking like she was singing. He had had those days. What he didn’t know was what triggered this call. Surely not to inform him about her marriage!

“Shit, Marriage!” He thought

That had erased whatever little fragments of sleep that were remaining. He felt happy for her but still about two hundred fifty three thoughts were doing the rounds in his head at that moment. He realized she was expecting a response.

“Thats great” he said without knowing what he was saying and continued after a little pause “No actually. This is great. I am so happy for you!”

“Thank Youuuuuu” She said and the you somehow just wasn’t coming to an end.

“Who’s the lucky guy? Vishal?”

“Yeaa...Who else? I love him sooooooooooo much” She said and then took off on a flight of a child-like laughter before repeating “ I Love him so much!”

Rohan had never seen Divya drunk. He didn’t even know she drank, let alone this! They had been each other’s life lines during the days of innocence, or you can say theirs lasted a little longer.

Rohan had seen other female friends getting married. He knew the monologue on how wonderful a guy Vishal was soon to follow. This was irritating when most others girls did it but Divya was different. Rohan was just happy to be hearing her voice after so long. How he had missed her all this while. He had tried to maintain contact for sometime but she just kept drifting away. He too gave up sometime in between.

“I miss you Rohan...I miss you a lott”

This Rohan was not expecting though he felt great hearing it, “I miss you too!” He said, meaning it fully!

“Why did you leave me Rohan. Why didn’t you call me for so long? You are lying! You didn’t miss me!” Divya said, and it seemed she was on the verge of crying.

“Ok! Now this is too much” He thought. Rohan rechecked his memory as to whether he heard her correctly.

I LEFT HER! I DIDN’T CALL HER! I AM LYING! I DIDN’T MISS HER! SHE GOTTA BE KIDDING!!

He was a little angry by then, but he was still happy to hear her voice. He wanted to show his anger, but he was happy to hear her voice. He wanted to refresh her memory, but he was just happy to hear her voice!

“How can you say that? I kept calling but you never called back!” He managed, being angry with himself for not being angry at her!

“So, You couldn’t call again!”

“But....”

“Shut up..Don’t say anything. I will talk!” Divya snapped him in between as Rohan’s jaw dropped. He wanted to snap back and tell her not to tell him what he ought to do. But, it was Divya, and she owned him!

“You remember our times in Chandigarh? You remember how it was just the two of us! Or atleast for the first three years!” She said in a voice that brought together tears and smile.

Just a mention of this and Rohan was back into the memory lane, gliding through the streets of Chandigarh, the dampness of the classrooms they sat in, the walks they had walked together, the laughs they had laughed together, sounds of the songs they had sang together! She was right, it had been just the two of them!

“You remember how all the guys used to keep hitting on me. And how I used to brag about this in front of you? You would tease me by linking me up with the lamest guys. And how I used to get angry?”

Rohan was still. He could feel every single word she was speaking. He was reliving all those wonderful moments.

“How you would never let me miss any classes? So that you didn’t have to borrow notes from others! And then you would tell me about what you did while I attended classes and I used to be super pissed!”

Rohan was smiling now, with his cheeks wet and his eyes moist.

“And still I would do it the next time! I was often made fun of for being a nerd. You would always jump to my defence. Whenever we were caught talking in the class, you would take the blame for it. Remember the time when we had gone to Kasauli for a class trip. I had my hand on the railing of the bus and some jerk was constantly trying to touch me. I didn’t even notice this. You were busy playing with some guy friends at the back. You somehow noticed this, came & held my hand and looked straight into that random guy’s eyes. He was so embarrassed.”

Rohan had a lump in his throat now. He wanted to speak but he couldn’t. He didn’t even know what he wanted to speak. He had thought for so long that He will probably never talk to Divya ever again, or atleast in this fashion. He had been angry or disappointed or just sad.

“When you started dating Neha, you got so engrossed that we hardly talked for a month. I was so jealous of her. I almost hated myself for having introduced you to her. I actually started thinking that I was secretly in love with you. A secret even I was not aware of. But, I guess I was just so used to being the centre of all your attention. I liked Neha. I still do. By the way, Are you guys still together?”

“Ya” Rohan tried to respond but Divya didn’t even wait for the response.

“Ofcourse you are. You guys are so good together. I love you both! I was just silly or you can say I was just 21! But, Things were somehow never the same again. I think I never got used to the idea of someone being closer to you than me. I am a possessive b*tch you can say!”

Rohan was now getting some of his answers. Answers he had been wanting to know for the past few years. Answers to questions that had troubled his sleep! Rohan wanted to tell Divya that she had been wrong all along and that she was always special to him and will always be. But he knew where she was coming from. He knew he would have felt the same had he been single and she be involved with someone.

“Time just passed. College got over. You moved away. I moved away. I didn’t like it that you didn’t call me daily so I never called you. I was angry! You would say I was stupid. Which I probably was! Anyway, somewhere you too got angry I guess. Who wouldn’t? And, And here we are!”

Rohan just silently listened to what all she had said. He could have tried explaining Divya how she had been wrong. He could have tried telling her that they could make a fresh start. He could have reassured her how he had never been angry and still regarded her as a special friend. But he didn’t. He was just happy to hear her voice. And so was she, He knew!

“And here we are!”

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice..