Recap: Varnika and Anamika are sisters from India who have graduated in London and now work there. Varnika’s destiny brings her in front of her secret childhood crush and when they meet, Anamika gets tensed as Varnika is already in a beautiful relationship with Nakul.
For the next 2-3 days, I kept thinking whether I should check Varnika’s phone for any text or call from Haris or should follow her down till her office but then refrained myself from doing this to my sister. I know she’s honest to me yet the thought of Haris becoming a part of her life kept bothering me. Surely his arrival had got me scared about Varnika and Nakul’s relationship. They are perfect for each other and Haris is an unwanted guest in their life plus he is a cheap guy. I have seen Varnika craving for his attention in her dreams during school days. She wanted him madly but never approached him because she fathomed that her responsibilities towards her own life and our family are bigger than these rosy dreams and thus her mind always pulled her away from her feelings.
Monday arrived. I was tucking my shirt in the trousers and Varnika was under the shower when her phone screen popped up with “Arrived at Heathrow 🙂”. I read this text from Nakul on the lock screen and shouted from my place “Nakul has landed Nik.”
“Yayyy! Lemme come out and call him up.” Varnika sounded happy. The idea of sneaking into her phone again caught my attention but my trust on Varnika did not give into the sly thought and I ignored it once again. Both of us got ready and left home.
“Is Nakul showing up in the evening?” I asked Varnika getting inside the elevator.
“You bet he’ll do.” She smiled and said.
“Heyy Nakul!” I opened the door and could hardly see Nakul’s face behind a big bouquet. As usual, he had brought a big bunch of light pink roses for his lady love.
“Hi Anna! How have you been?” Nakul side hugged and pecked on my cheek and came inside. He placed the bouquet on the table and as a usual routine, took off his winter coat and neatly placed it on the coat hanger and sat on the couch.
“So what would you like to have?” I pointed at our mini bar.
“Thanks Anna but nothing as of now.” He said and paused. “I was thinking that the three of us should head out for drinks and dinner tonight. It’s been a month.” Nakul suggested.
“I know. But my tummy got upset today! So I have cooked Khichdi for myself.” I replied pressing my belly.
“Oh. Should I call the doctor, doctor?” He joked and I laughed.
“By the way, I like that Khichdi aroma coming from the kitchen” He said.
“I’ll share one or two spoons Khichdi with you. Don’t worry.” And we both laughed again.
“Are you sure you don’t want to have anything?” I asked him again.
“Umm… I’m not up for a drink right now but I can have a cup of your special Assam tea if that packet is still with you.” Nakul said.
“Sure. I have saved some amount only for you.” I smiled and rose up from my place and headed to kitchen.
“So how was your trip?” I cheerfully asked from the kitchen.
“Ohh… Super amazing it was.” Nakul excitedly came and stood by the kitchen’s door. “Greece is love. What amazing islands and oceans there… the scenic views are simply breathtaking. Lemme show you some pictures.” And Nakul took out his phone and showed me amazing photos of him and his friends on the beaches doing kayaking, parasailing or simply relaxing on the beach.
“Wow! Beautiful place indeed.” I said while looking at the pictures.
“And now Bulgaria…” he swiped in his phone gallery and opened another folder “Trust me Anna, Greece and Bulgaria are superbly beautiful but are much-underrated places in the world. You know most of the times, we explored Plovdiv and Sofia on our feet… walking down the streets there was so fun-filled as well as relaxing… It’s a peaceful nation in my opinion… We did some mountain hiking there… here you see.” And he showed me more pictures of his hiking “and I just loved the food and the wine there… My travel to both these countries was completely hustle-free Anna… You know… Even people out there are so warm and friendly. Best part, there was no language barrier as everyone speaks English.” Nakul kept going on and I heard his each instance with full enthusiasm.
In between this one hour of our talking, Nakul checked his wrist watch apparently the fifteenth time and said “On my way here, Nik told me that she’ll be home in 10 minutes. And now it’s been an hour. I hope she is okay. Her phone is out of reach.” He sounded worried. Even I was worried on this as I had no clue what had kept her away from Nakul today. He had come back from his trip after a month and Varnika was so eager to see him.
“Wait. I’ll try to call her.” I said and looked around for my phone and the moment I picked up my phone to call Varnika, the door bell rang.
“It must be her.” Nakul dashed towards the main door.
“Oh my baby! I missed you so much!” Nakul and Varnika said in unison and kissed right at the main door. I heard them and laughed on their spontaneity. Nakul, who was fretting until now, had forgotten all the fears upon seeing her.
“The fridge looks empty. Let me get some beer, some veggies and a few other grocery things.” I said and left the lovebirds alone to spend some time with each other in our 1 bedroom apartment. Well, I mostly stepped out of our house whenever Nakul visited us after a long time. The reason was quite obvious that our house had very small area and anyone sitting in the living room could easily hear the whispers coming from the bedroom and their love sessions would embarrass me as well as them, therefore, I usually used to leave the house in this case.
I bought my grocery stuff from the nearby store and checked time on my phone. I had spent only half hour till now so I decided to take a walk and headed to the London Bridge.
London, this wonderful city, never ceases to amaze me and in some way or the other, it reminds me of my hometown Kolkata. Except for the language and culture, everything is same – the people, places, architecture – everything! I always enjoy walking down the Thames just like I used to walk by Hooghly River in Kolkata. There is a constant vibe in London that keeps one hooked. I was only 17 n half; a school pass-out when I had arrived here for my graduation and this city had welcomed me with so much independence which eventually led to self-discovery. Every little struggle that I made here is worth a memory. Varnika joined me after two years for her graduation and I had got my partner. We had so much fun with each other in all these years but sometimes, I just love sitting alone by the Thames and watch other people sitting or wandering here. Being beside the Thames makes me feel at home and most of the times I call up Baba or Amish when I’m sitting here.
Thinking all about these London memories and looking around, I took out my phone and clicked a few pictures of the beautifully lighted Tower Bridge and uploaded a decent one on Instagram. This reminded me of the great photographer that I had recently started following and I checked his feed. There were a few pictures of Swiss mountains that he had uploaded. “A wanderer in real terms” I spoke to myself and liked and commented on each beautiful photo.
By 12.30, when I came back Nakul was tying his shoe laces. Varnika had slipped into her favorite night dress which clearly hinted that the two had a much- required pleasant time in my absence. After Nakul left, we headed to the bedroom to sleep.
“I shouldn’t have been late today.” With her eyes closed, Varnika recalled her day while I was already asleep.
“No, you can’t leave so early. It’s been only 15 minutes that you’ve come. Leaving in between your drink is bad manners.” Haris told Varnika and kept her bag back on her couch.
“Oh please Haris. My fiancé is waiting for me. He has come back after one month.” Varnika tried to explain him.
“Yeah… so after waiting for a month, can’t he wait for another hour? No, I’ll not let you go that quick.” Haris persuaded her.
“Please Haris… I’ll see you soon… let me go please.”
“No way babe! This is only the second time that we are meeting. Abhi to jaan pehchan shuru hui hai… abhi to bahut kuch kehna sunna baaki hai (We have started knowing each other recently. There is a lot to say and hear from each other)” He flirtingly touched Varnika’s hand and it did make the impact he wanted and Varnika was compelled to sit down for more chit chat with him.
Varnika inhaled a deep breath after recalling this whole incident.
“I was missing him so much when he was not around all through these days and finally when he came back, I kept him waiting for extra one hour after this long day at work. Not fair!” Varnika regretted hiding this fact to Nakul that she had got late in meeting him because she was with Haris.
She turned to my direction and realized that I was snoring hard. “Anna is right.” Varnika thought looking at my face “I must not meet Haris because I may have to rue this later. I can’t lose my relationship with Nakul.” Thoughts kept evoking in Varnika’s mind and slowly sleep embraced her.
Next morning I received a DM from this Instagram gentleman “Hi Anamika, thanks for all the likes and comments on my feed. Have a good day. 🙂”
I smiled at the message as I liked his gesture and replied back “Hi, your pictures are truly mesmerizing. Love each of them. Keep up the good work. Good day to you too. 🙂” and signed off. The normal routine followed.
to be continued…