It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that…

Roshni was looking stunning in the gorgeous peacock work styled designer lehenga. As she was hesitantly trying to adjust her dupatta to cover her head, one could notice her flower studded braids. It made her look like a princess. Her peach colored lips were complimenting the lehenga. Although she had no jewelry worn, she looked like a bride. “I have reached where are you? Please come soon”, as Roshni was answering the phone, all the eyes were glaring at her. In all the hustle bustle at the bus-stop Roshni could feel everyone gawking at her. She would frequently adjust her dupatta and wipe her tears, also trying to avoid eye contact with people around.

There was a sigh of relief on her tensed face when she saw that he had finally arrived. She immediately ran towards him. After stepping out of his car, he was thrilled to see Roshni standing in front of him. He was overwhelmed by her beauty. In spite of all the smudged and swollen eyes, he was lost in them. “You still look so beautiful”, his conscious mind claimed. Also, he wanted to tell her that, but his hurt heart did not obey it. Both were looking uncomfortably at each other. “Thank you for coming, Rajeev. Let’s go now, the look of these people is killing me.” pleaded Roshni, breaking the moment of awkwardness.

“Hello sir, after a long time…”, welcomed the manager of restro pausing his eyes at Roshni. “Hello mam, please have a seat.”, he continued with a startled look. Without making eye contact Roshni went towards her favorite table in the restro. “I know your order sir, you go have a seat.” said the manager. Rajeev then sat in front of Roshni. She was sobbing and wiping her tears, while Rajeev was busy going through WhatsApp messages.

With a heavy voice,  Roshni thanked him, “Thanks for answering my call and coming here. I thought you would never pick up my phone”. “You might not answer my 34 calls, but I am not like you. There is a difference you know.  And,  I thought at least on the day of your wedding you are inviting me. So I answered.” said Rajeev in a harsh tone. He then continued surfing on his phone. Roshni took a deep breath and questioned, “At the bus stop you were quiet, in the car you were quiet and now also. Don’t you have anything to ask?”. “All my questions were answered when you left me for that rich guy of your caste.” he glowered at her. “I broke the marriage with that rich guy, Rajeev…” she could not utter a word as she was sobbing more. Rajeev with his don’t care expression looked at his phone.

“Your order sir, cold coffee for the lady and hot coffee for you. Thank you.”, served the waiter with a smile.

“I am sorry, Rajeev, I had no option that time. That was the best thing I could do for you”. “Ya right! secretly saying yes for marriage with some rich guy and then not answering my calls”. He was furious now. “You didn’t even bother to ask me how I was? What would I do further? You are a selfish girl, you know that?”, he lashed out at her. “Say whatever you want, throw out all the grudge you have for me. But I can explain everything, Rajeev”. Rajeev gave an ignorant look and started having his hot coffee.

Roshni felt sorry and was looking deeply at Rajeev. She was all prepared for his contempt behavior. She knew it was hard to pacify the person she loved the most. She remembered that day when she agreed to her father’s decision. “You know na, mom was already ill with high fever. That day, for the first time I saw tears in my dad’s eyes. I was the reason for it. He was convinced that you are a good person, but he would not agree because you belonged to lower caste. Believe me Rajeev”, she held his hand, looked in his eyes and resumed, “I tried enough. That was the day when I felt like a loser. I had lost everything. I thought to myself, what is the purpose of my life if I can’t give my parents their happiness? I always wanted to make them proud of me. Head held high…I had surrendered, I was ready to sacrifice for them”. She lightly pressed his hand and stressed, “I was ready to sacrifice my life…for my life, Rajeev”. “Great then, you are an ideal daughter.”, his resentment towards her was obvious. Roshni was remorseful. “I obviously thought of you and I thought our separation was the only way. So, I messaged Rohit conveying that I will marry that rich guy and not you. You, who is of lower caste with the low salary. I only know hard it was to use such words for you. I wanted you to hate me so that you could forget me.” Now Rajeev gave a believing look to her. “But now I am here and this time, I won’t give up on you.”, she sounded determined.

“That family dad chose for me asked for a luxurious marriage. I was against it, but my dad agreed to it. Today they broke limits of horrible mentality. According to them, the band baajawala was not as per their standard, so that ill-mannered family offended all of us. My dad was shocked. He could not believe, how can such a upper caste, high profile and well-educated family put such accusations on us? He looked at me in guilt. His eyes were in shame. I could not abide this. I instantly broke the marriage. I don’t want to be part of your rich and poor mentality family, I screamed. It’s not your fault dad, don’t be shameful. I consoled my father. You were right dear, he said smiling at me. I immediately grabbed my phone and called you, Rajeev.” Roshni began to whimper covering her face with her hands.

Rajeev for a fact knew, that she would never show disregard for him and if she did it, there had to be a strong reason for it. He trusted her. His hatred feelings had now softened. He slowly moved his chair towards her, removed her hands from her face and held her face in his hands. Both gazed into each other’s eyes.

“I missed you..!! I will never let you go now”, Rajeev gasped.

“I am sorry, it’s not that I never cared for you, it’s just that I love you so much that…”

“I know”, Rajeev affirmed and hugged her.

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