So, there it is. There isn’t any grand conclusion or happy ending. Why did I go to the trouble of writing it out? So that I remember my mistakes and learn from them, and hopefully, some of you do too.
Oh well, that’s not true. What would you learn from anyway? I did the best I could, tried to make friends, have a romance… If I were to do it all over again, I’m not sure what I would do different.
Of all the guys I have ever liked, Raghav is the one I liked best, the only one about whom I still sometimes wonder, “What if…?” Yet I don’t regret refusing him: he’s very good, but he’s not right for me.
Well, I have to admit that’s true. I don’t think he’s good enough for me. I want someone who is more sure of what he wants. (I hope, now that he’s married to Sonali, he won’t change his mind again…) I want someone who wants more from life than the usual things: security, comfort, wife, kids, a nice home and a fancy car… I want someone whom I can talk to every day and never get bored, whom I can finally tell everything I think about… like the fact that there are two voices in my head that constantly talk and bicker.
I want to overwhelmingly want to be with someone, someone who makes time stand still when I am with him… I want to fall in love. In spite of all my romances, I don’t think I ever have.
“Or you might wake up one day and discover you were in love with one of them… maybe Raghav,” says Mandakini.
“I don’t think so. And shut up, will you? I’m trying to concentrate on something here.”
Raghav and I barely talk any more. We have so little in common. I am somewhat glad that he and Sonali have settled in Bangalore. If they lived in Delhi, as they had planned, I couldn’t have avoided meeting them and it would have been… boring.
I see Vikram in office sometimes. The other day I bumped into him in the cafeteria and he gave me a large smile, said ‘Hi!’ and walked away.
I am still not sure why he behaved like he did. I suppose he realised he was falling for – what’s her name, Mitali? – and decided to stop seeing me. I suppose he did it so abruptly so that she wouldn’t suspect anything. I would have thought much better of him if he had had the honesty to tell me. I wouldn’t have minded much: I wasn’t in love with him either. I suppose he assumed I wouldn’t talk about what happened between us out of fear of ruining my reputation. Well, I haven’t. The office isn’t liberal enough for me to feel comfortable about the story getting out.
I have remained in touch with Suryakant. We email each other often. He recommends books, and I tell him what I’m currently reading. It’s partly his tutelage and partly my sensitivity to what he would think that I’ve been moving away from romance novels to more serious fare. I’ve learned that helps me too. The less I think and read about romance the better. The less I expect it, the less it’ll bother me that I don’t have any in my life. I still hope I’ll fall in love some day. If I don’t—well, I won’t waste my time waiting for it.
Kim and I are good friends now. We often go out on Friday or Saturday nights: Kim and her boyfriend Shane, Nitin from the office, and a couple of friends of Kim and Shane. We go drinking and dancing or try out fancy new restaurants. I don’t spend all my weekends sitting in my apartment and waiting for the phone to ring anymore.
I’m planning to go to Singapore next month—with my mom. It’s her fifty-fifth birthday treat from me. Neither of us have ever been abroad and we’re both very excited: we giggle on the phone like teenage girls.
Ma is going to retire in a couple of years: she is thinking of buying a house in Guwahati and settling down there, somewhere near Rupa Mahi. I keep telling her to come and live with me, but as of now she has not agreed. We’ll see.
Now that I’ve got the promotion and a raise to go with it, I’ve been saving money to spend on things I want. Apart from that trip to Singapore, I’m planning to buy a used car in a few months. And then maybe save for a flat. I’m not sure about that yet, because I’m not sure how long I’ll live in Gurgaon. I figure I’m too young to settle down in one place.
There is so much to see and do. I have no wish to tie myself down.