Cold winter rains splash outside in Delhi, the glass is covered with fog, marking the area of warmth and cold very clearly. Inside the Barista I and Ashish are trying to make sense of the chaos that has brought us together. I look outside...people huddled in groups to defy cold or rush to their cars to escape the cold winds which can chill you to bones. It has been cold and wet winter in Delhi and yet seeing Ashish in front of me for a reason which we both are trying to justify filled me with warmth. He has been my friend for almost 9 years.
We met at NIIT in 1998. I was a girl from St. Mary's School...convent school only for girls. He was from St. Paul’s School...convent school for boys. The simple Hi's and Hello's followed into the knowledge that he is also in the same college where I was studying. Rather he was in the same class as me. It filled me with so much relief that here is a guy from same school of thoughts as I am...in those days, which school one belonged to was as important as one's caste. The meetings in NIIT expanded to meetings in college. We formed a group of like minded people. The class rooms shifted from college to Fatehsagar. I found KANVAS - that was the name we gave to our group. It was really like a canvas where different people filled my life with different colors of life. I found new meaning to life...I found comfort of friendship in Ashish. Then, like different breeds of birds gathered together in a lake for winters fly to their homes in summer...we like those flocks of birds flew away to different cities to find our dreams. I went to Mumbai and Ashish went to Pune.
We met at go-karting ground in Hiranandani in Mumbai in 2003. We were not in touch for 2 years. We both got busy with our lives. That evening when the slight drizzle filled the empty space between me and Ashish, we caught back on life that we weren’t together. The past, where we were best friends...brought us together again. It was new beginning for us again. A pack of popcorn followed by a coffee...followed by star gazing watching the stars of sky coming down to city of Mumbai when we saw lights turning night into day. It was kind of symbolic for me. I had found the most cherished person back in my life. We started meeting once a while. The meeting from Hiranandani followed into meetings with friends on Marine Drive and going together for plays and going for treks. With him the conversation flowed even if we both were not talking. Then, I came to know he is shifting Bangalore. Time to fly again. I remember the treat in Pizza hut and sitting with Udaipur friends after that in another restaurant. My past and present where leaving me again and I had let it slip out of my hand like sand. Ashish from Bangalore went to USA and we lost touch again.
We met at Cafe Coffee Day at Hiranandani in 2006. Ashish just got back from USA. I had just got through Accenture. I was fed up of meeting guys from Shaadi.com. He was a regular visitor of Shaadi.com. We discussed the pains of getting married to unknown and the beautiful dreams of being in marriage. We talked of our past which we both cherished like sweetest dream. We talked of our present which was making us look like adults refusing to grow up. But at the same time we both had changed a lot. We both had seen so much in life that the facts and practicality stared us point blank at our face. However much we refused, life was forcing us to grow up and take notice of things that were shaping around us like the expectations of our parents to see us married...like the loneliness that enveloped us because slowly all our friends were settling into married life...like people leaving us and we couldn’t do anything about it. Yet again I started looking forward to meeting him and he again formed a part of my life. Then, once again he left for USA.
We met at Pizza hut at Hiranandani. I met him after meeting a shaadi.com guy. While talking to the guy I realized that he is again from the same lot. At the age of 31, he was wondering whether to get married or not. He was planning to go to USA and not sure when he would be coming back again. I was standing and talking to him but hardly paying attention to him. All this while, I was looking forward to meet Ashish who was standing right in front of me noticing the irritation on my face. When I met Ashish that day, I looked at him and I realized, I wanted to spend my life with someone like him…then again, why not him? That day while sitting in pizza hut I suddenly felt conscious of him as a guy whom I would love to spend my whole life with. I saw him as a person beyond just as a friend. I saw in him what I was looking for in every guy. I finally realized that I wanted to give him and me a chance. I wanted to know if he was also looking for someone like me. The meeting that day followed into a mail, where I proposed to him.
We met at Barista in Delhi in Feb 2007, on a cold and rainy afternoon. Rest is then a history...On 23rd April 2007, I got engaged to Ashish. It was the most wonderful feeling. Its not about getting married, its not about long phone calls, its not about learning to cook for him, its not about the smiles on the face of my parents and sister and my friends. It’s about knowing that the person whom I'll get married to knows me like he knows his shadow. Its about the love in his eyes for me...its about sharing same interests while being equally different...its about knowing that I’ll be walking the shores of my life while holding hands of my best friend and being in love with him...its about knowing that with Ashish I can be what I am without changing too much about myself and its about all those unsaid feelings that are still finding ways in our lives together.
At times, when I look back, I laugh at my own life and feel amazed at how it brought me to Ashish. My life has been like a game which we used to play as kids in birthday parties. There is a parcel passed around in circle. When the music stops, one layer of packing comes off and the holder gets a small gift. The process is repeated until the all the layers come off and the last person gets the biggest and brightest gift. At various instances of life, I got a small gift, a small hint of what is going to come, only to start the game all over again. The last gift in the parcel game is always what you expect the least yet it always manages to make you happy and thrilled. That gift for me which my life had in store for me was - Ashish.
THE question never seems to fade away. The answer to the question - So, when am I getting married...27th Jan 2008. :-) Everyone’s Invited - Kritika & Ashish