I met her for the first time in November last year while we were on our way to attend a client meeting. It was one of those pleasantly sunny days in late November. It was windy, but it was bright and reasonably warm. Okay, let me give you some context.
It was an ordinary day in November. I had boarded the metro rapid transit and was on my way to the office. I worked for an integrated communications-marketing firm in Gurugram. Now, travelling all the way from Janak Puri to Gurugram via the metro rapid transit was quite a challenge. The 2-hour-long journey used to be quite an adventure, I must admit. You had to be on your toes all the time, waiting for a multitude of people to barge into the train at every station. I boarded the metro at around 7:30 AM every day. That day, it was a bit different. I had recently changed my work profile. After trying my hand in client servicing for a brief period of six months, I had joined the editorial content board within the same organisation.
We were invited to attend a client meeting in Gurugram. The client was an American energy giant having countless offices across the globe. So here we were making our way to a client meeting. The meeting got over and soon enough, we were on our way to the office.
I didn’t utter a word, and neither did she speak. Time kept on flowing like a river of sand. My encounters with girls had been quite disastrous in the past. Ah, not because I had indulged in an argument or something of that sort, but because I was more of an introvert (I still am). Some of you might disagree with me, but I strongly believe that the art of talking is something only a few people possess with while the rest of us are left wishing for it.
But, I must admit there was a certain sort of charm that drew me towards her. Talking to her was like walking out of a room devoid of darkness into a lush green orchard having a lovely tinge of yellow. She was in her late 20’s. As I was just 22-23, a 6-year difference ate-up the possibility of a relationship extremely unlikely. Her face had a pale, but rosy bliss which made her look innocent, and at times, even vulnerable. She was bespectacled and so was I.
I have always had this habit of having at 1:30 every day, but in order to get some glimpses of her, I used to barge into the office’s cafeteria at 12 in the afternoon as she ate. She was always occupied with either work or people (well, that is what I felt). During our calls with the client, she used to do the bulk of the talking and I used to chip-in with those minor hmms and ‘haan’ (yes). She called me a kiddo and I called her an aunty.
For an introvert like me, her friendship was a refreshing change. For me, it was a leap into the unknown. Her presence instilled a sense of optimism into me. I must admit she made me break those shackles of silence and hesitation that had engulfed me. Work kept coming and going, but her presence was all pervasive.
Yes, there was an invisible force that kept pulling me towards her, I must confess. The bond forged between us wasn’t unbreakable. It scattered like broken shards of glass. I remember the day I told her I was about to resign. The words sounded like a thunderclap to her. It’s not that she had reciprocated, and neither did I tell her about what I felt. It was just that she wasn’t expecting me to resign.
When I went to the office in order to complete the exit formalities, both of us didn’t get a chance to talk. Our eyes met, but we didn’t speak. I wanted to speak, I wanted to tell her that her absence is bound to create a void, a void I won’t be able to bear, an emptiness that’ll break me into pieces, inch after inch. I believe both of us wanted to speak before parting ways, yet the words never escaped our lips.
I couldn’t really tell whether or not it was love, but I can tell you one thing. Her friendship was one of those priceless gems I’d never be able to get my hands onto ever again.