Fall Issue 2022
"My Relationship Status:
It's Complicated" by Riitik Babar
Its winter holidays and I am visiting my home back in Bangalore from Holland. I love being back home, as everyone does. Oops! I completely forgot to tell you about me. Hi, my name is Mihir and I work with a Software Programming Firm in Amsterdam, Holland. My family stays in Bangalore and I visit them often in vacations, which actually I hardly get. I love travelling, despite being a dedicated workaholic. It has been 5 years working in Holland, but still it seems like yesterday only, when I remember my initial days. I am here to meet my Ma and Dad for Christmas and expecting to have a blast of time with them this year, as I last visited them in September 2012 only, when my best buddy Tushar got married. Ah! This marriage stuff, I never get along with this topic. Relationships and marriages... those love stories of love till last breathe sound amazing in novels or movies only. Anyways, it’s time to meet my sweethearts.
“Hey Mom, I am hooomeeee…” I shout at my loudest, while stepping into my so much missed home.
“My son, Mihir… missed you so much! How’s my baby?”
“I am great! See, 6 pack-abs again…hahaha… your son is getting hotter day by day, Mom,” I reply back to crack the emotional ice.
“Where’s Dad, Ma? Busy with some meetings or what, huh?”
“Yes, Beta, but don’t worry. He would be back in sometime, as he knows you are back. Now, you freshen up and I get you some coffee and prepare for lunch.”
After having that amazing home-made lunch, I start focusing on to-do list for these holidays.
“WOW! Nice Christmas Tree!” I exclaimed, seeing the fully-loaded stunning tree, which was shining right outside my room.
"Feeling hell sleepy!" murmuring with a big yawn and thinking what to do now, while scratching head.
"Well, let’s just check my things first. My car keys! My India’s sim card! And my Pluto!" Pluto by the way, is my 3 year-old Great Dan breed dog, whom I miss like anything in Amsterdam. My mom is truly a sweetheart. I find all the things right bang on!
"How about some net surfing?" I turn my laptop on in a thought to kill the time so that I don't drop off before meeting my super busy dad.
The moment I check on Google, I see a bunch of flowers flashing on the homepage. "Oh Gosh! Not again…"
I close the window and look for some games to play for some time with a ruined mood. I don’t know what do I hate, these flowers or some relationship with them, which is still not isolating me.
“Was it actually love?” I scrutinize myself, while moving back to the lanes of my unwanted memories.
June, 2008 – My senior secondary results were out and like other science students, I was hell impatient to get myself into a reputed engineering college. The stress of cracking entrance was getting so much onto my nerves that I started yearning for a break from studies. Yahoo messenger had become a rage those days and alike other people, I was also badly addicted to it. Honestly, it was not merely an addiction to socialize, but an avenue to get out of the trauma of my recent break up, which was heaping up inside me. Sieving every possible chat room, I used to chat with unknown people around, being regardless of their countries, religion and language.
It was the late night around 1am IST, when I landed upon France Chat Room 1. At such an odd hour, I was not expecting any real ones, but still even before I could check out the members, loads of spammers fainted on my laptop screen, inviting me for yahoo cam chats and all, you know.
While crossing them up, surprisingly, I noticed one decent ID, “Janette_007”.
"Aha! She seems to be a real deal," I murmured, having an almost wicked and success-filled smile.
“Hey, what`s up? You speak English?" I typed and started to wait for her reply. I glued to her chat window for another 2 minutes and then, seeing “Janette_007 is typing…” I got my scratched breathe back.
“ASL?” she replied.
“17/M/IND and you?”
“16/F/Paris. I speak little English," she replied.
BINGO DUDE! Came out as my instant reaction, but I controlled my excitement to know her further.
“Oh nice, so, how’s life? What do you do? What’s your real name?”
I wanted to ask her real name because I knew how people were there, flaunting fake happiness of their fake world.
“Umm… You are experienced in chatting huh, real name…lol,” she replied back, “Well, it’s Maria and yeah, rest of the details are same as told earlier,” she added..
“GREAT, nice to meet you, Maria. My name is Mihir. So, how’s your love life?" I straightaway came to the point to know more about her love life and make sure that she was single just like me.
“Hahaha! You are so cunning. You could have simply asked single or not :D Btw, I broke up last year only. What about you?” she typed, making me reach cloud nine. "YIPPIIIEEE!"
“Lol…OK. I am single too. So, got pictures or cam? Btw, I am here for a decent chat alright so, your snaps would also do :D,” I made sure that taking me as another freak, she doesn`t cross the chat window up.
“Haha! Cool. Here are some, decent boy.”
She was gorgeous, as expected and thankfully, she had liked me too. Despite being a regular casual chat, it somehow triggered off something, about which we were completely incognizant. We started to chat regularly, wherein she used to share things about her life, her family and ask the same to me. With every passing day, our regular amiable interaction was turning so much into a sort of desperation to connect that we used to stay super excited to see each other online or drop texts, even while being offline so that we could read them and may be, start missing each other.
The span was completely different and beautiful for us, especially me, as talking to her, I was not only coming out of my devastating experience, but was also realizing how wrong my previous relationship was for me. Soon, we shared our digits too and Mr. Graham Bell’s innovation started helping us in cropping down the distance of our “Long-distance” friendship-cum-relationship. I knew my long ISD’s bills would put me into the orbit of my parents’ doubts, but thankfully, my dad stayed as my savior, allowing me silently to enjoy that new rush.
“Hey dear, how are you? Where have you been? Sorry, could not see you online so thought of calling. Would you come online tonight?” she called up, being anxious, when due to my admission formalities, I couldn’t go online for almost a week.
I was with my mom in her room and was fixing up the net wire, which freaking rats had bitten up a bit, exacerbating my miserable state.
“Hey, all good, dear. I could not log in due to some prior engagements and technical error at my end. I am trying to connect it now and hopefully, it would be working again soon,” I said, concealing the real freaking scenario and assuring her about me being online soon.
“Oh! Great then. So, what's up? You missed me or you were chatting with any other girl, being invisible huh… hahahah,” she tried to dig out, which clearly showcased her possessiveness for me.
“Oh freak! No ways! I never stay invisible, except when you come online and I had told you the reasons too. Of course, I was missing you, my Miss Paris,” I tried to curb her insecurity, as I didn’t want her to think that I was catching up with other chicks around and avoiding her.
“Please, come online as soon as possible, as I need to sleep early tonight. Got my exam tomorrow, you remember I told you the other day?” she asked.
“Oh yes, sure. I am trying my best to get this connected, but if I don’t get to make it tonight, I would text you. Okay!” I said, knowing the fact that rats' shitty things had caught me up badly and was to take long and probably, the professional service as well to be fixed.
"Argh…! My bad luck! No issues, you take care!" she despondently ended the call.
That day was actually full of unwanted surprises for me. The rats had already made my state terrible and seeing me so vexed with everything, my mom also started her bombardment of questions, which were already piling up inside her due to my frequent changed schedules and long ISD bills.
"Hey beta, where have you started being busy the whole day? You don’t even go out with your friends and when they come asking for you, you make me lie about your health. Is everything fine?”
"Yeah, I am all good, Mom. Actually, learning French online these days so, stay connected with my online French instructor, the same person I call almost every day too. It's better to do something constructive nah!" I tried to manipulate her.
She gave that “I know everything” smile and just went back to the kitchen, without making me more embarrassed.
“Hey by the way, Mom, what if I get you an “Angrezi Mem” as your daughter in-law?” I asked, trying to play around with my Mom.
“Hahaha. You know Dr. Mehta? He had called me up yesterday to ask about you. I told him that you are a bit stressed up. Don’t worry, let me call him up again today to fix an appointment for you, sweety,” my mom replied in a notorious way and kept laughing.
My Mom was like my best friend only, with whom I could share everything and anything. But it was not the right time for me to share about Maria, as although, she was making me go ahead with my feelings and our emotions too till then were mutual only, I was still under the fear of being into a “KLPD” zone, wherein proclaiming my feelings or love in front of the whole world and then getting “I guess, there is some misunderstanding. I never took you as more than friends” was not at all my plan. Things were going smooth and I wanted her to take her full time to decide everything.
Anyways, after that last call, when she had asked me to be online, I couldn't log in, as my system had crashed down too. I called her up thrice to inform her for the same, but when she.didn't pick, I thought of giving her ample time for her exams, without disturbing her.
“Hey Maria, how did your exams go?” I called her up after 15 days, thinking that she must have got free by then.
“Oh hi, Mihir, it went well. How are you? Is your connection working now?” she sort of taunted me.
“Ah! You Okay?” I got puzzled on her cold behavior.
"Ummm... Yeah! Would talk to you later," she said and disconnected the call.
I was taken aback by her behavior. It seemed as if she was no more interested in me. I thought of spelling out things between us and so, that same night, I went online, expecting her too.
"Hey, all good?" I pinged her, being surprised on seeing her online already. "Yes, was waiting for you only," she sounded so changed from, what she was on the call.
"Oh alright. But, what had happened to you that time? You just disconnected so coldly. You know, I felt so bad," I tried to know the reason.
"You did? Like I had, while missing you?" she sent. "But, I had buzzed you up thrice; you only didn't pick," I defended my stand.
"Only thrice in 15 days? You know, how much I missed you. I thought, you must be feeling the same for me. But instead, you had probably started flirting with some other chick around, I guess that you didn`t` even think about me. I got dejected that time, thinking that I had lost my Mr. India :(," she finally blurted out her innocent feelings.
"No ways! How could you even think of it? I missed you as badly as you did, but didn't call up because I thought you must be busy with exams. Moreover, you are talking about flirting, I didn't even come online, as my system.had crashed down and FYI, I was calling to inform you about that only. But look, what did you think about your Mr. India, my Miss. France -_-" I verbalized my hidden vague feelings.
It was like the moment of do and die for me and I chose the former by asserting my feelings, from which probably, both of us were running away. Silence enveloped us for 5 minutes, and then, she sent me a kiss emoticon, allowing me to have a sigh of relief.
I couldn't believe my eyes and got the biggest jerk of my life on seeing it.
“Is this for me or you mistakenly sent it, while sending to someone else? Haha…” I tried to fill some humor in that tensed environment.
“Hahaha oh yeah, Yahoo is the culprit, which sent it. I was sending you a smiley and it was sent. But, did not you like it? Lol” she thankfully, turned normal.
“Ah! It was amazing and could feel the kiss too, Miss Paris.”
“*BLUSH*BLUSH*” “ :* :*”
I sent the same kisses back to see her reaction. It was quite evident from her jealousy, possessiveness and all that she was willing to take that friendship. Moreover, common guys, being a guy, I could very well understand which emoticons are sent mistakenly.
“I think, I am in love with you,” she confessed, making me numb for few seconds.
“Well, I was about to say the same thing, but could not get the courage to admit. Moreover, the other day you said that you don’t trust these long distance relationships so, I thought you don’t like me or don’t want anything more than friendship.” I sort of confirmed, as I never expected her proposing me and was figuring out the ways myself to bring it out.
“Yeah, but in your case, I couldn`t realize when you made a soft corner in my heart and I started liking you. I think, its love, as I never felt such for any chat friend. Would you be my boyfriend? lol… A LONGEST DISTANCE BOYFRIEND? :D :D”
“Hahaha, it would be my pleasure, Maria. But I am really serious about this and hope you are too. I mean, for the feeling and going further for our future together. To be frank, I never proposed any chat friend ever, neither anyone did. I was in a relationship before, but she made me more alone by dating someone else too. I always wanted to be with the one, who could love me back too,” Finally, I expressed my skepticisms.
I knew that those “Yahoo love stories” were often short-lived. People used to fall for somebody without meeting them in real. But, after finding the real side of their story, they used to feel sick about their own feelings. Still, we got drowned in that emotional moment and for an unknown reason, I promised myself to make it an example for those fake love stories.
“You are a great guy, Mihir and I would love to be with you for life. Btw, I have a surprise for you. A great news actually,” she suddenly made me curious, dragging me out of the aura of that cupid-struck moment. I prayed to God, “Please God, don`t make her show her husband and baby’s pictures now, saying she is already married” LOL.
“Oh wow! Please, tell me what’s that? -_-…-_-… Please, tell me fast!”
“Well, my parents have agreed to send me to India for my winter vacations. Having this chance, I would love to meet you there. I have checked about the hotels in Bangalore too, but getting no idea. Would you help me in getting a good deal? I would have a good budget to shell out though…hahaha,” she broke out that perfect news, making me look myself in the mirror, which was attached with the center wall against my bed, “Wahhh boss! Teri to nikal padi!” “ARE YOU FREAKING SERIOUS?….:O :O I mean, somebody please pinch me so that I realize that I am not dreaming. Why hotel? I would try arranging your stay with us here at my home. I have got many of my friends from Delhi and Mumbai for staying at my place. So, it’s all cool. My mom is super cool about all this. So, NO HOTEL! Moreover, you save that amount and get me a great gift...LOL,” my humor worked to convince her.
“LOL, you are crazy!:D I mean, never thought about staying with your parents. Hey btw, you would not get naughty with me, seeking alone time in your place huh…? Hahahaha … kidding!”
“LOL... You just come then, would show you how naughty I can be …^_^…:*…” I got stunned honestly, seeing how direct she was, unlike Indian girls.
“LOL… I am scared now. Hope, you don’t harm me much with your wildness…Hahaha. Jokes apart, that’s so nice of you to ask me for staying with you. I felt like I have someone of my own there too. I love you dear,” she touched my heart with her three amazing words.
We kept on chatting for another hour and decided on her stay with us only. It was exciting, but then thought of asking Mom the next day and slept, praying for her permission. Though I knew she could not refuse, but still her approval meant a lot to me.
My next morning, as expected, started with me, taking the approval of Mom. Thankfully, she agreed and finally, I was confirmed on Maria`s visit and stay in my house only. It was literally a WOW moment for me, as even in my dreams, I never expected such an incredible gift from her. I called her up to share my happiness with her and she was sounding excited too.
The world was appearing all new to me and finally, I was all set to shout it loud in my friends about my love. I called my best buddies up to break this news. Though they were feeling ignored from the last few weeks, best friends are the ultimate gift of God I felt that day, when they started suggesting me things to do before her flight. Crazy my buddies were, really. I told them that I would need their help in making her feel special and they instantly, planned to throw a surprise bash in some pub. Spending our first date there sounded like a cool plan to me and I in no time, agreed to it.
“I love you so much, Maria and really want you for lifetime,” I started our chat the other day.
“I love you too and eagerly waiting to feel your presence around me. I am bad in expressing, but in your case, my heart seeks for occasions to express the feelings.”
“You know, your expression makes me feel so amazing, Maria. I did not know how lucky I am, until I got you as my girl. I have started sketching out plans for us and want them to get the right direction. I really have so many things to talk about and show my emotions, having you in front of me…”
“^_^ my world starts with you and ends with you only now,” she made me feel blessed to have her in my life.
Every passing day was heaping up our restlessness and craziness to meet each other. Without knowing what future was planning for us, I was thinking to get her all the happiness, which she had started to deserve because of her love and care. She was indeed the most impeccable girl for me and she even proved me right, when the other night, I told her about my cozy moments of my last relationship. The possessiveness and jealousy, which her initial anger reflected was expected, but the way she handled everything afterwards made her, win my reverence too.
“So, all packing done, honey?” I called her up a day before the flight, as I was getting impulsive to see her with me soonest.
“Yeah baby, all done and I am hell excited to meet my love,” she delightedly voiced her excitement.
“Same here, Love. I am waiting for you badly and have planned a huge surprise for you. Be prepared for it!” I flared up her excitement and kept teasing her for few more minutes, until her father intruded for her meal and she hastily hung up.
Finally, my much awaited day arrived with my anxiety at its peak. I started waiting for the clock to reach 4 for her flight's arrival. She had texted me her flight details so that I could easily reach to pick her up on time and correct arrival gate.
My heartbeats were racing like some wild horses, when I reached the airport by 2 with a bunch of red flowers to welcome here in my life and see my most wanted dream, turning true.
I was continuously imagining her, being awestruck because of my surprise and so, I texted my friends, “Guys, be prepared with all the things, I would be coming with her by 4:30” to ensure that everything gets ready perfectly.
I was waiting at the Terminal 1 only, thinking to go and check for the arrival time of her flight, when suddenly, I saw people, running towards Terminal 1, where the flight Air France, flight from Paris was about to come. I thought there must be something, otherwise all of them, who were waiting for the flight would not have rushed like maniacs. Out of curiosity, I also ran to check what’s there, but on not finding any info, I asked some old man, who was crossing me, crying and dialing some number.
“Sir, is everything alright? I mean, everybody seems to be worried. If you know the reason, would you tell me too?” I asked him.
“Son, I have lost my wife in the plane crash, which just happened in the case of the flight, AF 201” he shared the biggest shock of his life.
I, with no heartbeat inside me, immediately checked her text, which she had sent with the flight number along with the other information. “Please, God, you can’t do this. Please, God, please… I would die… Please don’t do that… Please,” praying hardest, I kept searching for the text with shuddering fingers.
The bunch, which I was carrying fell down from my hand and my knees failed to withstand my weight, when I read the text.
”Hey Love, my flight number is AF 201. Be there on time, as I am dying to see you soon.”
Riitik Babbar is a 27 year old author from the city of Delhi. His debut novel UNSATISFIED SATISFAACTIONNS was into an instant hit within a month of its release.
Not just a dedicated blogger, Babbar likes to explore various cultures and traditions, and is a follower of Manchester United being a staunch soccer freak.
You can follow Riitik on FB just to say “Hi” - https://www.facebook.com/riitik.babbar
or on Twitter - @Being_Riitik