Bend in the Road

fork-in-the-road

“Where should we go? Right or Straight ahead?”.

Right took them back home, straight ahead meant another round. “Umm …”, Sana glanced at the clock on her phone while Aarush was looking at her eyes which were dark as the desert skies. The kohl bordering the eyes making them look deeper, full of dreams and ambitions. He wondered if she put it on every day or was it something she used only during festivals. “It has already been 15 minutes, but I think we can go for another round!” Somehow, you always know the answer even before you look at the time, he felt.

Vihaan was describing his recent trip to the North during their walk. “I have heard that the mountains change colors! The clear skies, apple trees, double rainbows and the birds make it heavenly”, said Aarush looking at Sana. She smiled and simply nodded. Vihaan looked puzzled since he knew Aarush had never been there, but was describing the place perfectly.

Sana started, “You know; I see your story unfold like a scroll. A clean scroll. Smooth edges, neatly tied up”. Little did she know that the ribbon tying them up was too tight and had already left a few grooves. She went on “Unfolding a fresh turn everyday …” Vihaan interrupted her speech when he started to speak about some problems at work all of a sudden. Aarush gave him a glaring look for intervening. “What?”, asked a baffled Vihaan. Aarush did this weird thing whenever he was annoyed with someone. Go back in time and think about all the amazing things that person has done for you. Check if you can nullify it with his errors. “Nothing. The epicenter knows the reason for the quakes.” Sana giggled, twitching her nose a little as she did so. She knew Aarush had been using her lines.
“How come you are quiet today? You once told me, you tend to talk a lot more when I am listening!”, asked Aarush. Even though the question had been pointed towards Sana, Vihaan answered this one saying he had anyways being doing most of the talking. Probably, the “good listener” was just thinking about something else.
Their conversations had always been incredible. The onus was on them to make each one better than the previous ones. So many memories etched on that very road they walked on. Aarush looked at the other two. She was the perfect medley of things he always wanted in a friend and Vihaan was perfect one who could help him sort out his mess. He wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world.
Time often bent its rules when they were out. It seemed to pass quicker every time. But they always managed to squeeze in some stories that were closest to them. Sometimes, people talk about things not to get sympathy or help, but just to kill its power by allowing the truth of things to hit the air.
They reached the T-point. Vihaan looked at Aarush and asked, “So. Where should we go? Right or Straight ahead?” Aarush looked around, as if he was searching for someone. He couldn’t spot Sana anywhere around. “What happened now?”, asked a perplexed Vihaan. “Nothing. I didn’t remember it was just the two of us!”. He was apparently toggling the switch between past and present all this while. He took out his phone and glanced at the time. “Let’s take a right turn.”

Rewind

 

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The Professor threw him out again. However hard he tried to convince him, he had to leave the class. For the fifth time.

The entire department bonded with each other. Courtesy, a trip to the nearby hill. Yet again!

He hugged his room partner tightly. The same way he did, when he bagged the best job offers and when he went through the toughest of times.

He did their signature greeting of twitching the eyes as soon he met his best friend. They smiled, as both of them still had their cutest picture together as their contact images.

They all sat at the divider, sipping tea. Everyone gave their daily update like they had been doing for the last 5 years. When all of them were together, they had to hit rewind.

The head of the department called out his name. It was the loudest he ever heard him speak. He would have been scared stiff on normal days. But this time, he walked straight towards him.

He had two cameras to look into. A DSLR, right in front of him and a phone camera about 500m away. He knew exactly where to look. He had been looking up to them all his life. As he walked away, he added an adjective to his list.

“CONVOCATED”

 

 

 

Inspired by – An Instagram post by Akash Tandon.

Title – Aditi Srivastava.