All beautiful things are worth taking pain for.
I have always found that love is overrated. No I am not a cynic, rather a realist. I have been in and out of relationships and I have witnessed the love fade away. That being said I have also witnessed the so called eternal love stories where they are in deep and blind love, they get married and live happily ever after. But adjustments do form an important part of a ‘healthy’ and long lasting relationship.
I also think that love cannot be among equals. Either one has to love down while the other loves up. If equals do fall for each other their equality may become the issue of conflicts arising from most unexpected of the situations. This loving up & down creates two categories. The ‘good enough’ and the ‘can’t be better’.
Nisa and Avik fell in love in their college days. They were the perfect example of the borrowed concept of high school sweethearts. Although they were jealousy inducing couple and seemed perfect and were popular among their peers, their friends had a tingling feeling whenever they encountered them hand-in-hand. This was probably because Nisa is dark-skinned and Avik is milky-white, Nisa was an average student while Avik was comparatively intellectually élite. In India where fairness is a measure of beauty and beauty is a measure of love, these kind of relationships are rare. It is rare to see a dark-skinned woman with a ‘fair & handsome’ man. We have been brought up in a society where men are stereotyped as tall, dark, handsome while women have to be fair. Nisa and Avik broke norms. Moral of the story is that according to clichéd beauty concepts Avik is ‘better’ than Nisa and that probably disturbed their friends at some level. But it was impossible to discuss these issues forget about voicing them. They were both engineers, belonged to modern society, wore branded attires and were going to work in an IT giant. Talking ‘trash’ did not suit them.
Nisa was a beautiful woman. She was big bosomed lady and had equally attractive waist line. She knew that she is a head turner which was enhanced by her unquestionable dressing sense. She was perky and could easily make friends. She was soft and used to cry for no reason. Her friends adored her, both men and women. She loved splurging, shopping and smiling. Apart from the fact that everyone knew she was already taken which she voiced with pride, she always acted innocent which made it very difficult for guys hitting on her. But men will be men and she has received her fair share of attention, love-letters and gawking.
Avik was a one of those guys who looked ruggedly handsome in carefully careless scanty beard. He was fair, tall and muscular. His rimless glasses made him even more irresistible. But he was above and beyond looking good. He was intelligent and he was one of the top performers in Nisa’s college. He will truly make you believe that ‘God is unfair’. Avik has also received his ‘fair’ share of attention, love-letters and gawking.
Both Nisa and Avik got placed from campus in Intellitech Consultancy Services, the biggest ITES Company in India and that is where they met Nikhil. Nikhil was a jovial chap. He always maintained a balance between his studies and fun. He paid due attention to his female colleagues but when it came to studies or work he was more than serious. He knew that he was not a brainiac and always tried to compensate it with his hard work and sheer dedication. He had a good sense of humour and easily became friends with Avik and Nisa.
Avik was careerist and within few weeks into their training he started teaching a whole batch of new joinees on the request of his beautiful HR. Company is a totally different ball game when compared to college. Nisa may have enjoyed her popularity because of her big bosom and bigger heart, but at Intellitech the number of girls around increased threefold. They came from all the corners of India in all sizes, shapes and moods and that meant an increased competition and increased sense of insecurity for Nisa. But Nisa was a smart girl and she made a lot of friends, apart from Nikhil. Her insecurity was also diminished by the apathy of Avik towards girls.
After training Avik got a high profile project due to his performance during the training. Both Nisa and Nikhil were benched. Those days were dreamy for Nisa as she got regular salary as pocket money which she spent on more dresses and more. Nikhil got frustrated in those days listening to constant chatter of Nisa. Luckily after about three months they got the same project and same work profile. Nikhil was a guy and he knew the importance of a career. Quickly he assumed a lot of responsibilities and became a dependable employee in the project. Nisa with her laid-back attitude tried to cope up with the corporate life venting out her frustration due to work pressure though frequent exhibition of tears. Nikhil was always there as a friend to wipe them and provide comfort. He considered it as an added responsibility given that his friend Avik was always busy.
The chemistry between Nikhil and Nisa was very much visible to other colleagues in the project and they started teasing them. ‘You are lucky bloke that she is your friend.’ ‘At least introduce us once, we will take care of the rest.’ Nikhil enjoyed the attention as it provided a much-needed relief from the work pressure and answered them with a stupid smile. ‘She is just a friend’, which added more fuel to the fire.
‘You have a thing for him, isn’t it?’ Her boss once said, in front of Nikhil. Nikhil smiled stupidly and tried to ignore her. Nisa was smart and innocent. ‘O, Stop you. Don’t spread or believe these rumours. He is just like my brother.’ Nisa said casually pointing at Nikhil. This really irritated Nikhil. He hated girls who called him like-brother. ‘Don’t ever do that. Don’t ever call me your brother. I am not your brother and I have no intention of being one. I have a sister and she is more than enough. It is like you have a feeling for me and you want to shadow it with a pseudo-relationship tag. “Brother” is an invisible chastity belt for girls. Don’t you worry. Avik is my good friend and I will never hit on you.’
‘Okay, Okay you love birds. Stop fighting. Go to your cubicles and start work now’, their boss stopped the whole thing before it went out of hand. In the meantime Avik was learning and growing really fast in the organisation, but in IT services companies, however big they may be, stagnation dawned as quickly as you learn. Avik switched companies along with city. He got a lucrative offer from Mango Inc., a California-based tech product company. He shifted his base to Bengaluru, the city to be.
Nisa cried again. This time her boss also consoled her along with Nikhil. ‘Stop crying all the time. He will be fine and you can visit him once a month. I will sanction your leave. Now stop your sob.’ But she didn’t and Nikhil was confused this time. ‘What will be the correct and best way to make her stop crying,’ he thought. Her boss tried again. ‘Okay tell me what do you want to be in life?’ ‘I wanted to be an actress.’ Nikhil smiled and thought she would have made a beautiful and successful one. ‘But I can’t, because I am dark. So now I want to be a housewife. I want to marry Avik soon and want to spend money, a lot,’ she said with muffed voice trying desperately to breathe, sob and talk, all at once. ‘But now there is even more distance between us.’
After Avik left the city life became busy for all of them. Nikhil and Nisa found less time to talk to each other. Office colleagues got bored of teasing them once they sensed the futility of their venture and Nisa’s commitment. Nisa also cried less and dropped tears only in case of serious issues like periods, dandruff, unsolvable bug and bad lunch. ‘You are becoming mature’, teased Nikhil at their daily meet during lunch. She smiled and ate silently.
Nisa has not cried for a long long time, may be weeks. One day, out of the blue the tears reappeared. ‘What happened this time? Did they put extra salt in the sambhar?’ asked Nikhil to cheer her up. She didn’t say anything.
‘O, come on now. Stop crying and speak up’
‘My parents want me to marry’
‘So? Ask Avik to marry you. What is the problem here?’
‘He doesn’t want to marry this soon.’
‘Tell your parents to wait a little then.’
‘I don’t want to wait. I don’t know if I am good enough for him. What if he finds a new one?’
‘If you love him you have to trust him. You have to wait.’ She kept mum.
‘You love him, right?’ She didn’t speak a word. ‘Tell me.’
‘I don’t know.’
This made Nikhil muddled and bold. ‘Then why are you stuck with him? You are beautiful. You can get a lot of guys.’
‘That guy can’t be better than him’
P.S. All characters are fictitious and there is no damn doubt about it.