Niyati was at that stage of life where she really prayed to God that her name would work and her fate would change. But nothing was happening as per the plans. Because of the lockdown, she not only had lost her job but also the love of her life. Until three months back, she was so happy, there was a man in her life who understood her, she had a job that she loved, everything was under control. But suddenly Naitik, her ex-boyfriend got married to someone else arranged by his family, and he without any fight gave in to his mother’s wishes.
Did the past year when they had been together meaning nothing to him? She had stood by his side like a rock when his father died along with the turbulent divorce that he had been going through. His wife cheated on him with some other person and he was still prepared to take her back for the sake of their children, but she did not agree. It was a long battle for custody which he fought for his son and daughter but lost. She had been there with him through the entire time, yet he left her for someone else when the time came for commitment. Mumma’s boy, yes that is what he had been.
Niyati had worked with Natasha in the same office and was one of her close friends cum confidante. The brewing romance between Natasha and Ashish had motivated her also to look out for love at the age of forty. She had given up on romance by now but somewhere that hope was still there. So when Naitik had sent her a message on Facebook, she wasn’t that reluctant to reply back.
Initially, it never occurred to Niyati to ask Naitik that he had found her on Facebook, and later when she realized it was too late as she had fallen hopelessly in love with him. The long-distance relationship was perfect for her as she was so busy with her job and maintaining a stable relationship had always been difficult for her. They both had busy work schedules and thus enjoyed their nightly rendezvous overcall. They made a lot of plans to meet during the entire year but because of his work and family problems somehow the time was never right. Also, Naitik always emphasized one thing that it he wanted a smart and beautiful wife. Niyati never felt confident about her looks. She was smart but because of her height, she always felt that she lacked in that department.
But they would talk every night but because of her skepticism about her looks she could never get herself to have a video chat with him. Whenever she would see Natasha fighting with Ashish, she really considered herself blessed to have found Naitik who so understood and never fought with her and thanked God that they were in separate cities. She didn’t have any place for more emotional dramas in her life.
She still remembered how broken he was when his father had suddenly passed away. He never really had any close friends or support system. He would call me any time of the day and would talk to me about him. Also since he didn’t want me there personally because he thought it would be odd to meet for the first time like this, yet he would ask me to make certain arrangements for his relatives that I could online. I know it’s shameful to say, but his father’s death bought us close. He’s about to be ex-wife instead of being present there and if didn’t want to be present, ensured more mental trauma to him from her side during that time as well. She would still call him to increase more demands for her alimony.
She was getting sick of her behavior so she asked him to send me all his papers so that they could consult certain good lawyers here in Delhi on his behalf. I gave him whatever feedback I would receive which helped him at least get out of the relationship mess-free. He obviously lost the custody of his children but at least he was now free. I asked him again to come down to meet him, but he said it wouldn’t like nice introducing me to his family so soon after his father’s death and recent divorce. I agreed with him in this respect.
Even though my friends and parents kept pointing out repeatedly how he was avoiding meeting me, yet I only wanted to see the positives. He knew that he had won me over.
She still shuddered about the thought of that night which turned out to be their last night of conversation exactly after one year of knowing each other. She got delayed in the office, not because of some official work rather as they completed their targets early that month, so to celebrate the occasion they had gone out to a pub.
She told Naitik that she would call him a little later that night as she was out with her colleagues. Later that night when she called him, he was already enraged as he did not approve of her staying so long with her colleagues. It wasn’t something that was expected from his future wife. Niyati was bewildered by his thinking. She was born and bought up in an open-minded atmosphere and such thinking was out of syllabus for her. It was the first time that they had fought and she didn’t know how to react. In order to make things right, she by default dialed the video call which he accepted.
They chatted for a while and then he ended the video call abruptly and said that he had to sleep. She was taken aback with such behavior as he was a late sleeper. Never in the entire year has he slept so early. Niyati now was more apprehensive about her looks, she was sure that it was because of her looks that he wasn’t interested in chatting with her on video. The next day when she tried to reach him, his phone wasn’t reachable. Then she tried to contact him again for holi but his phone was not available. She was then genuinely worried about him. Suddenly when the lockdown was announced, Niyati thought it was a blessing in disguise as she can now call him anytime and spend a long time to make him understand herself.
It wasn’t until a week after during lockdown was she able to get hold of him. He had blocked her on all social media sites.
One day as she was just going to sit down for her daily prayer, Naitik’s number flashed on her phone’s display. Hurriedly she took that call and said, ‘hi’. He pleasantly replied, ‘Hi Niyati, how are you?’
‘I am fine now that I have heard from you. I have been worried sick about you? Where did you disappear suddenly?’ she asked.
‘Well Niyati, I would first apologize to have to make you worried sick about me. It was inappropriate of me to have disappeared on you like that. But I just needed time to think about everything, where we were heading, what we wanted and I am sure you must have needed it to’ replied Niyati.
Niyati wanted to ask what he wanted to think about? What made him so unsure about us? But she remained calm and just replied that ‘I understand’.
‘Anyways Niyati I have something important to share with you. I am getting married again. My mother found a girl and she introduced us, we liked each other instantly. She is all that I was looking for in a wife and she can keep me happy.
Niyati was spellbound, no words came out of her mouth. She was surprised and wanted to shout at him but it wouldn’t have helped. So she just asked then what were they?
He said, ‘Hmm.. My mother had been pestering me to meet that girl for a while now, and I had just been avoiding her because I wanted to see how things were going with you. That night I realized you are not what I want for marriage, we are good friends. I would always appreciate how you helped me when my father passed away or other aspects, but somehow I never considered you more than a friend. You take care and whenever you need me I am always there for you, but we don’t have a future together, we are very different.’
He never gave me an opportunity to comment back, he just disconnected my call and when I tried to call him back, I realized he had blocked me. I was blocked from all aspects of his life, there was no way I could contact him. I somehow got myself to finish my prayers and did nothing else that day apart from crying. No one at my home knew what I was going through, but I had to tell them and face the music as well. My friends and parents had already warned me against him as they were unsure of how he got my contact details. At that moment I was just devastated.
I never got a chance for closure, I never got a chance to say what I wanted to. This was the reason I realized why I had initially closed my heart. All along I was aware that this might happen to me, but still, he pursued me until he became my habit. It’s true we never confessed our love for each other, but what we had shared was beyond that. Does caring, protecting doesn’t have any meaning in any relationship? Are looks sufficient?
Niyati was torn and she just wanted to engross herself more into work so that she could leave all this behind her. But God had other plans and another fatality struck again. She never even had enough chance to get over her broken heart, when she received a mail from the office that they were letting go off of half of the staff and she and Natasha were among the ones being let go off. At that moment, she didn’t know what hurt more. She had given her entire life to that job and company and in one moment it was all gone.
She didn’t want to blame her boss as she understood the circumstances herself, these were difficult and challenging times both mentally and financially. She had enough saved up for herself so she wasn’t worried about her immediate present but she was now definitely worried about her future.
She knew she would have to call Natasha and listen to her vent out her feelings, but right now she was not in the mood for any drama and just shut down her phone. She wanted to think and think hard not only about Naitik, but also about her future.
How alone and vulnerable Naitik had felt at that moment, but thank god for a friend like Natasha, who makes you overcome any situation however hard or difficult. Apparently, a switched off phone works up an impatient girl like Natasha, who came running to her house. God only knew how she came during the lockdown, sometimes I feel that nothing is impossible when we are together. Anyways she came barging in at that time and straight away said, ‘are you crazy? Who shuts off their phone at such time, you know how worried I was for you?’ and hugged me.
Natasha was like a small sister and she comforted me that day like one. When I started to cry she asked me, ‘what are you crying over? Your job? We can think of something, don’t worry’.
‘Natasha, You don’t understand how difficult it is for me to establish myself again especially at my age. I want to do something permanent now. I don’t want to repeat my past mistakes and end up doing the job for some time and looking forward to re-establish myself. It’s not difficult to find a job, but it’s just, that I liked and enjoyed my previous job.
She studied me seriously and then finally replied, ‘Then why don’t we start something of our own? I know these are turbulent times, the market is unpredictable, it is difficult for already established businesses to survive so it will be kind of impossible for us, but we can do something minor right now and take a big leap once the market stabilizes. We can take guidance from Naitik as well, he is into business, he can surely guide us.’
As soon as I heard Naitik’s name, tears started to flow out of my eyes. It was enough to make Tasha understand that something bad has happened. She hugged me again and I told her what had happened. She just said, ‘I told you from the beginning that he wasn’t right for you and he appeared shady too. Anyways I never liked him, so thank god he is gone.’
I looked at her and asked her kindly, ‘Will he call me on my birthday?’
Natasha laughed and said, ‘actually it’s a very accurate point, if he calls you for your birthday that means he had feelings for you and still respects you. But if he fails to call then it’s time for you to move on as he is already getting married to someone else and it wouldn’t look nice to cry over a married man.’
But Natasha’s honest and optimistic approach made me also positive and we ended up starting a recruitment firm. The time was right as many people were getting laid off, but there were many firms who had openings and people right now we’re looking forward to any sort of job. So we started building our database and contacting previously known clients and no Naitik did not call me on my birthday.
Naitik, whenever I still think of him I still expect him to call me. I still believe that he might come back to me. I want to ask him what went wrong actually and cried.