The sunlight blazed into the room as Meera could not help waking up. After an entire week of lazing around and committing all possible abacharams her grandma would have frowned upon, her mom noticed that Meera seemed to be on the phone quite often, and not too cheerful. Even her visit to her engineering college seemed to get her down. She always had an inkling that her daughter was in a relationship, which was confirmed the previous night when Meera told her everything. In all probability, he could not have been smart, together person. At least, not a lot. She never seemed comfortable talking about him. But, then again, Meera was not the kind to go to anyone for advice, even her parents, and any advice given unsolicited would be met with a polite but firm indifference. Maybe Meera would finally start opening up to her and they could be closer than they were.
Meera got up from the bed, and went straight to her laptop. Of course, there was no Wi-Fi at home, so she had hooked up an Ethernet cable. The net was still too slow though. Orkut opened while she brushed her teeth. She was not particularly the web-social networking type per se, but lately she found herself checking her scraps with an uncanny sense of longing. Ah ha! There was a scrap from him. It was another general stab at humor, but she could sense that he was trying. It was fun to see guys manufacture friendships out of thin air. So…he was longing to be home huh. “Big deal, who asked you to wait till December, you should have come now na!” She blushed slightly as the next page loaded ever so slowly, and saw her latest scrap on his profile.
The Times of India website on the other firefox tab was full of sensationalist crap, but had an easy-to-read layout. She started reading the editorial while her email toolbar beeped. A return scrap from him. Good god! Does this guy sleep next to his laptop? It must be 2:30am in Maryland right now!
Another day, another fight. This time, he was accusing her of falling for someone else. Preposterous! Well, not quite, maybe there was some truth there, but surely it wasn’t the cause of the souring of the relationship. The converse, however, could have been true.
King’s circle was as busy as she knew it; crossing the roads depending on the signal was as dangerous as before. There was always one spoilt brat who drove rashly. Seven eleven softy was creamier than ever (was that even possible) and the familiar Xerox wallah remembered her after almost a year! Yet, nothing was getting her mood up. She was not the self-pity kind, just someone who went into a self-protective cocoon when bad times hit, to achieve mental clarity more so than anything else. Taking the train home was as annoying and sweaty as usual.
Days passed slowly but their accumulation was going to hit her like a truck.
The truth about relationships (as she knew it) was that they all started out hot and heavy, then settled into slow progress and then reached a plateau. The next course from an evolutionary perspective was decline, and it took constant effort from both parties to help maintain that plateau. She had read this kinda stuff, and her ever-cynical psyche had come up with the idea of choosing stability over spontaneity. Settling into a relationship with a good friend with no obvious flaws seemed like the most pragmatic idea. She had spent many a time scoffing at friends who actually did the whole dating ritual. Why would someone willfully expose themelves to heartbreak? People in general are a mix of strong and weak moments. Idealizing a person was nothing but a shortcut to the inevitable disappointment when you find out that they weren’t everything you expected them to be.
Now however, she wanted to believe in the existence of a real, fulfilling relationship. She could, of course, be wrong this time. Surely, being practical was the sanest course of life to take.
“Vaa maa, polaam…check-inukkku time aayiduchhu!”
Two and a half months, gone in a flash. Baltimore was beckoning. New semester, same old friends, new house, new roommates, plus one guy who seemed seriously interesting and minus an annoying and emotionally depleting relationship. She walked inside the airport after the cursory hugs (including a teary one from her brother) thanking god for the increased security measures which did not allow anyone except the passenger to enter. Who wants a protracted goodbye! She felt a qualified optimism, and knew things would be fine.
Even if nothing worked out, it was still a pretty good life she had.
(PS: If this ending seems abrupt, forgive me. – Liberal)