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Chapter 5: Shriya Enters
‘Hieeee,’ said Shriya coming towards them. Shriya, one of the eight. The South Indian one. Anaya’s best friend once. Like a sister from another mother. But then came a storm and took away everything with it. And now they were not more than acquaintances. But they had moved on with their lives. Now a Scientist at UniBio Lab, Chicago, USA, she was happy and proud.
‘Arivuuuu!’ said Rony and hugged her. No one knew why he called her that.
‘When did you come back from the US?’
‘Last week. Work trip! Fortunately, it was here in Pune.’ She said.
‘Hi, Shriya.’ Said Nikansh and Anaya.
‘Hi.’ She replied and looked away at Rohan, ‘Hey, Rohan, how is Raghav?’
‘He’ll be fine. Doctors said he has some lung related disease but they are operating on it.’
‘Ya, don’t you guys worry. He never wronged anyone. He’ll be fine.’ She said giving a hint of a taunt to Anaya.
‘Who is this?’ She whispered to Rehaan pointing her finger towards Alia. Alia noticed.
‘Hi Shriya, I’m Alia. Raghav’s friend from his Mass Comm class.’ She said.
‘You know me?’ Shriya said, startled.
‘I know everyone. Not much, but enough to tell who’s good and who’s not,’ she said and gave Anaya a satirical look, ‘He has told me about everyone.’
‘And what did he tell you about me?’ she said and sat on the bench beside her.
‘He told me that you are one of the best sisters he has got. But he feels ashamed and guilty of how he treated you because of his love. People become blind, you know?’ She said and gave a furious stare to Nikansh.
‘Enough with the taunts Alia.’ Anaya roared and got up from her seat.
‘Look who’s talking!’ Shriya said with a laugh.
‘You-’ she said but Nikansh interjected and pulled her by her hand and calmed her down.
‘Where is Sarav? Said Rehaan.
‘He is coming tomorrow.’ Shriya replied.
‘Do you know about the diary Shriya?’ Rony asked.
‘What diary?’ she said, puzzled.
‘You had to bring it up, didn’t you?’ said Nikansh and rolled his eyes.
‘What are you guys talking about?’ Shriya said more confused than ever.
‘There is this diary Raghav wrote. It has everything since the beginning of engineering.’ Alia said.
‘Interesting.’ she said, ‘So where have we reached in the diary?’ she asked and looked around.
‘His birthday. 2014.’ Rohan said.
‘Hmm. I don’t remember much. But it’s okay. Let’s read further. Excited!’ Shriya said as she took the diary from Rony.
8 August 2014.
How could she? I mean how the hell could she? Had a fucking big fight today. It was me, Nikansh, Anaya versus Shriya and Sarav. I don’t know what’s got into her after they both got into a relationship…
The phone rang. It was Anaya, sobbing.
‘Anaya?’ he said as he noticed her soft moans, ‘Are you crying baby?’ Raghav said, concerned.
‘Shriya moved to Chennai. She didn’t even fucking tell me and she calls me her best friend. First, she hides her relationship with Sarav from me and now this.’ she said and continued crying.
‘What! She is moving to Chennai! Permanently?’ he said, dismayed.
‘Come online on Whatsapp. You’ll understand everything’ she said and cut the call.
Raghav hurried, unlocked his phone and found hundreds of texts in the Whatsapp group. There were messages from Nikansh, Anaya, Shriya, and Sarav. Anaya yelled at her for not telling her before moving. Nikansh backed her up while Sarav stood by Shriya.
Anaya: And what about your love story huh? When were you going to tell me? I should have been the first one to know about it. Where’s your best friend forever bond now? Tell me Shriya!
Shriya: Ok! First of all, I came to know that we are moving to Chennai after I reached Chennai. Second, Raghav set us up, therefore I couldn’t tell you first.
Nikansh: But how did he come to know about the feelings you had for Sarav? Obviously, you told him, that’s how he could have known.
Sarav: Can’t Raghav make her spit it out Nikansh? Can’t he make us tell him?
Raghav: But Sarav she could have told her first before getting into the relationship. I agree with what you said but what about the relationship? And Shriya I’m disappointed with you. Don’t tell me you’re never coming back!
Shriya: Look, guys, stop yelling, please. I’m telling you. It was after I got here, that I got to know about moving to Chennai. I don’t know when I’ll be back but, I will one day. I swear. And About the relationship stuff, I don’t know when it became official.
Anaya: What! Are you crazy? Just tell me if you want us to leave you. Tell us if you’re tired of us. There’s no need to make crazy stories. You didn’t know about moving to Chennai? What are you? 5?
Raghav: And about the relationship, you didn’t know when it became official! Are you fucking crazy?
Sarav: There’s no need to be rude guys.
Nikansh: Yes, there is the need of being rude. It’s the least we are doing.
And they fought like a cats and dogs. This day made a crack in their relationship. This was the day it became Nikansh, Anaya, and Raghav; and, Sarav and Shriya. How funny is it? Love. A blindfold? No. More like a pair of glasses through which everything seems right about the one you fell for and everything seems wrong about the people against that person.
…I’m not talking to her now. How could she talk to Anaya like that? How could she treat her like this? How could she make her cry like that? No! I’m not in a relationship with her, I’m just her bestie but I feel a hell lot concerned for her. I couldn’t hear her cry. YOU DID WRONG SHRIYA!
‘Don’t you feel like laughing, Anaya? DON’T YOU FUCKING FEEL LIKE LAUGHING?’ Shriya said with her pitch high above normal and continued, ‘Nothing was the same after that day. You never behaved like before, neither could I. It changed you, Anaya. It changed Raghav’s and Nikansh’s behavior towards me. It changed me too. Our friendship became a mere illusion. It seemed like it was there, but it was long dead. I don’t understand why do we have to dwell into this race of hatred, insecurities, expectations and all these little fights? And then we hate the rancor about forgetting who we are and how we loved each other.’ She couldn’t look at Anaya, not because she was afraid, but because she didn’t want her to know that she was crying for her. She thought Anaya didn’t deserve it.
‘Listen, Shriya. It was not me who told Nikansh and Raghav to behave like the way they did. It was their own bloody choice. I understand that you were hurt but how they behaved with you, it wasn’t my fault. I’m sorry for all those silly fights. I wish I could go back in the past and stop myself from making those mistakes. But I can’t. And I’m sorry.’ Anaya said with a river of tears floating down her eyes. Even she missed it. That bond with Shriya. She was the last girl best friend she had had after whom she had no one but Nikansh.
‘It’s okay Anaya. I don’t blame you for what Raghav and Nikansh did with me. They were blind. They longed for the love you gave them which was like a belt to their necks whose chains were in your hands. I understand. But at least Raghav apologized and made it up with me by buying me one good Mc Maharaja Burger.’ Shriya said with a huge smile as her mind floated in nostalgia but a tear trickled down her cheeks. Nikansh kept quiet and Shriya’s eyes turned towards him.
‘I don’t expect it from you Nikansh. I knew it. You were always there for her, and only her. We never mattered. At first, we did, but after passing out from 12th grade, it was just a fucking formality and fakeness of yours, and I get it, man! It was LOVE!’ she cried her heart out.
Alia clutched her hand and she stopped crying while Nikansh kept silent. Shriya had immediately developed a liking towards Alia when she saw her spoke her heart out and mock Alia and Nikansh since the beginning. She noticed that Alia was one independent bitch who gave no fucks about anyone.
‘Anyways, why are you both here?’ she said as she wiped out her tears, ‘After all this time why now?’ she said. Nikansh took his face up and saw straight into her.
‘You know Shriya, Everyone judged us so quickly, we never got any time to explain ourselves. We always cared about him Shriya. We did. We hated him but we did care for him. We were friends once and I valued that. It was him who ruined it.’ He said holding Anaya’s hand tightly.
‘Yeah! He ruined it, by falling in love with her. I agree with you Nikansh, he did ruin it. His mistake was to fall for a person who loved with conditions all around.’ Alia uttered.
‘Do you remember how we threatened your ex, Anaya? The one before Raghav?’ Shriya said with a smile.
‘Yes, I do.’ she said with a trip down her memory lane.
‘And do you remember how you guys threatened Raghav?’ Shriya said as her smile soon turned into a straight line.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
© 2017 Nikhil Wasnik
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.