It was 5 in the evening. The time of the day when Girish and Riya usually meet at the beach. This time too they were both present. Girish was sitting by the side of the boat. And Riya was playing in the water. With another guy. The guy, her parents married her off to, after she broke up with Girish 2 months back.
Girish remembered the day vividly. It was the same place. She cried her eyes out and said it was impossible to marry him without her family’s consent. And her family did not accept him. No..that’s a lie. They weren’t able to accept his caste.
That’s all history now. Two months have passed. Riya got married to someone else. A someone who belonged to the same caste as her. But Girish never seem to get over her. Every day, at 5pm, he came to the beach. He sits in the same spot where they used to share senseless stories over the sound of waves. Sitting quietly by the side of the bluish-brown boat, he kept replaying every single memory of her, of “them” as a couple. And today after 2 months he saw her.
Girish didn’t know Riya got married this fast. This was the first time he was seeing her with her hubby. “She looks happy”, thought Girish with a pang of jealousy. Riya was running towards the waves with her husband close behind her heels trying to catch her. Sounds of their laughter cut through the waves and he closed his ears. His head was spinning..a mix of emotions went through him. He was depressed, furious, jealous, joyous all at the same time. He loved seeing her after so long a time. But his heart pined for her. His mind ached to say a hello to her. “She is married”, he reminded himself, “and happily married at that”, he thought with growing resentment. He hated that he still loved her when she seemed to have moved on easily.
Girish was busy staring at Riya that he hadn’t noticed the old man who was silently appraising him.
“Did you love her, young man?”, asked the old man breaking the silence.
Girish whirled his head around to the sound of the voice. “You gave me a start! I didn’t notice you there..”, he said.
“I know. You seem to have eyes for only one person. So I ask again, did you love her?”, the old man asked with sincere eyes.
Girish heaved a sigh. “Yes..unfortunately yes. We loved each other, or so I thought, for 3 years. She wasn’t able to convince her parents and she broke up with me. I pleaded her to run away with me, but nope..she was adamant to get married with her parents permission! So..so..after a while she ended things with us..and..and looks like she’s with another guy now. Arghhh.” said Girish his eyes piercing knives at the two of them playing in water.
“Hmm. So that’s that. Do you hate her now? ” the old man asked sharply.
Girish brooded. “Nooo. I don’t. I..I don’t hate her. But..I simply detest to see her laughing and playing happily without thinking about me! That’s it. That’s the truth. You may think I am evil incarnated, but I HATE to see her being so happy with no care in the world!! Whereas..whereas..I am..I am…oh my God, she never even repents a day for breaking up with me!! I bet she never even thinks about me for even a second!! She..oh, she is the evil one!! God, what have I done! Why did I fall in love with her!!”, Girish was hysterical. His eyes were raging red and tears were flowing non-stop on his cheeks.
The old man was listening to all this silently. “Would it make you happy if she is miserable and cries all the time? Is that what you want?”, he asked slowly.
“Honestly, I don’t know. I thought after I was gone from her life, she wouldn’t…”, Girish hesitated.
“….Wouldn’t marry another person..You thought she will remain a spinster thinking about you, repenting her decision to break up with you. Is that what you wanted to say?”, the old man finished the sentence for him.
Girish nodded his head in silent agreement..his eyes followed Riya who now sat near the water eating snacks with her husband.
“Well..This is reality son. You have to accept it. And why should she not marry another person? She deserves to be happy. It is quite easy to fall in love with anyone if you set your mind to it. If one love ends, that doesn’t mean life has to end for everyone..”, said the old man.
Girish was staring at Riya. She was saying something in her husband’s ears and they were laughing together. “I can’t believe this..after all that we have been through. We always sat by this boat and spoke for hours together..and now she’s forgot everything! After all that “I” have done for her..for “our” love!! How can she forget me so easily so fast and be with him as if nothing has happened?”, he sobbed uncontrollably.
The old man remained silent.
“Girls are always like that!! They can easily change their mind!! We are the foolish ones, loving them till the end and believing that they will love us till the end as well! Fools, yes, stupid fools we are!!”, Girish was angry now.
“Don’t say that! Do you want her to commit suicide? Is that what you want?”, asked the old man abruptly.
Girish was a little shocked at the old man’s brusqueness. “I don’t know. I thought after I left from her life, she wouldn’t be able to think of anyone else. I thought.. I thought she would always think about me..I..I don’t know..I don’t know what I thought..oh what have I done..”, Girish put his head on his knees and closed his eyes.
“I know. You never thought. You never thought before committing suicide, young man. When you took your life for love, you never thought about others. You only thought you couldn’t live without her. You never thought she could move on easily. If only you had the vision to see that it is so easy to love another person. After all love is a feeling triggered by memories. Maybe she wouldn’t have lived with you, but her memories would have. You would have made beautiful new memories just like what she is doing now..and slowly the old memories would have faded away..a few might remain but you would have loved those as well as the new memories..IF only you had not committed suicide..”, the old man was spoke softly.
“Aarggh!! I don’t want to see this..her.. anymore. I want to go back to our world..oh.I shouldn’t have committed suicide for her!! How I wish I could be happy with someone..just like she is with someone else!”, Girish’s voice was filled with anguish.
“Hmmm..uhhh..you know, you could talk to my daughter. She is just like you, she left her life as she failed a subject in college. She never thought marks never mattered in life..to anyone. She never thought that news of her suicide would give me a heart attack and follow her soon after she died..”, the old man heaved a deep sigh.
“That’s the problem with you youngsters..you never think about others. Always thinking about yourself! Do you know what the saddest words in English language are?..”IF ONLY”. IF ONLY, you thought about tons of others who cared for you and would be affected by your death, you wouldn’t commit suicide. IF ONLY you knew that it is so easy to fall in love the second time, you wouldn’t take your life away. IF ONLY you knew your death would shatter your parents but never affect your lover in the way you wanted, you wouldn’t commit suicide. IF ONLY you knew marks don’t decide your future..If only..if only.”, the old man eyes watered.
Girish remained mute.
The old man continued, “So..do you want to say hello to my daughter? Get up..when we get back to our world I’ll introduce you to her. Try to see if you can get her to talk. Er…I think both of you will be happy together..”.
Girish smiled with embarrassment. But without his knowledge his curiosity was piqued. “Mm..what’s your daughter’s name uncle”, he inquired as they both disappeared into the world they came from.
And on this world, Riya and her husband walked side by side on the sand towards their car. While walking by the boat, she stopped for a minute to rest at the same spot Girish sat earlier. Getting up, she touched the boat softly, then hugged her husband and walked towards the car, laughing hard at a joke he said.