I wasn’t ready to go to abroad for studies, let alone get into a field I wasn’t interested in. But mom did not budge, she was hell-bent on sending me away as soon as my results were out. Mrs. Anam Khan had her plans laid out to get me graduated from New York University (NYU) Business School. She figured I would land up on Wall Street as her rich ladies club children did, but little did she know I had other plans. I always wished to be an architect and if rumours were true NYU allowed students to graduate in two fields. My mom didn’t need to know. But Nish knew my love for architecture, I had planned to surprise her of my NYU expedition, once the results were out. Nish was my high school sweetheart, there was no one I could possibly imagine spending the rest of my life with. But I had to be worthy of her first, that was the plan. Results were out and I did well. Mom offered to take me at Nish’s with a box of sweets, that was a first. I reckoned she hated Nish, mainly for our social status inequality and secondly because she was a Hindu. But I wasn’t complaining, I couldn’t be happier. What I didn’t anticipate was my mom’s evil plans which I came to know years later from Nachi. I still can’t forget the shimmering pearls on Nishka’s green dress, almost teasing me while glittering at their best. Mom had orchestrated to have my world shattered, she bribed one of my friends to enact a scene from a college drama at Nish’s. Mom made me believe Nish was getting engaged behind my back. The timing was impeccable, my mother was way smarter than I imagined, I have to give her that. I dropped the sweet box at Nish’s door and drove straight to the airport, mom assured my bags would follow a couple of days later.
“You lying rat, how dare you drag Nachi into this”, Nishka spoke almost choking on her tears, “Get the hell out!” , she concluded digging her face into her palms.
Ruhan scribbled his mobile number onto a sticky note at Nishka’s desk and left quietly.
An hour later Nishka took off from her office to see her comma induced brother at the hospital. Nachiket had lost a majority of Nishka’s savings into a real estate scam and decided to end his life to escape the guilt gripping him every single day. Nishka requested a meeting Nachiket’s closest friends Satvik, Disha, Jeet and Divya that night to discuss Ruhan’s encounter and seek advise on her next move.
“Di, this is ridiculous. What does he want now?”, Satvik queried rubbishing the thought of Nishka seeing Ruhan again.
“Don’t be silly Satvik, he doesn’t want anything from Di. Nachi asked him to do this”, Divya reasoned.
“I will take you”, Jeet declared firmly.
“Easy J, don’t make it this obvious”, Disha whispered to Jeet.
“I am sure Nachi wouldn’t want you to go alone”, Jeet attempted not to sound jealous. Nishka nodded and walked away to call Ruhan.
The trio looked at Jeet with disapproval of his actions. Everyone including Nachiket wanted Nishka to settle down with Jeet but she wasn’t ready to open her heart out to anyone, let alone her brother’s closest friend Jeet. Nishka knew of his feelings but always advised him to move on, she only saw a friend in him.
Jeet picked up Nishka the next day at 8 pm sharp. She looked beautiful as she always did, Jeet reckoned. He dropped her off at the restaurant where she was to meet Ruhan. Jeet picked her up exactly an hour later. Nishka was impressed at Jeet’s punctuality, she failed to understand why she felt so safe with in his presence. She wasn’t sure what was between her Jeet, but there was an unnamed relation both had developed over the years. Nishka requested Jeet to take her to the hospital to see Nachiket to which the latter obliged. Nishka’s face was calm throughout the drive, Jeet on the other hand was restless. His urge to know what happened between Nishka and Ruhan would only be answered inside the ICU.
“You were right Nachi, I did want closure”, Nishka spoke softly standing next to her brother’s bed.
“I am still here Nishka”, Jeet assured standing a couple of feet away, being the gentleman he always was.
“I know J, I just need some more time if that’s okay with you”, she replied as she saw her brothers pulse rate dropping. Nishka’s heart sank, it all made sense now. Nachi wanted closure too, to end his sufferings and go into a world beyond.
Nishka and Jeet married a year later on Nachiket’s birthday.
For years to follow the couple celebrated their anniversary remembering the existence of their relationship was only due to the birth of a loving bond from beyond.