”Yes, I will definitely be there in 20 min”, I said when you called me again to attend your birthday party. Put through a lot of strain to feel cool and casual in your presence, that too in case you had noticed me! You will never know that I had tried every dress in my wardrobe, before I remembered that once you had told me that your favorite color was pink and that girls looked cool in pink. But my pink anarkali dress had a stain at the bottom, and I couldn’t take the risk of letting it show. Well, not that it was the first time that I was meeting you, but off late I started to feel very nervous and weird in your presence, as if I really do not match up. But I try, nonetheless!
After spraying the perfume, I realize that I might have been late already. I walk hurriedly the distance towards your house. A lot of things go in my mind – how do I greet you, what do I talk about, will you notice me, comment that I looked good (even if you didn’t mean it)..
I hear the sounds of a lot of guests and activity as I reach your home. The sandals outside the door oozed wealth and height of fashion, the first hint I got as to what the party was going to be!!
And then I saw you!! How astonishing you looked in that maroon sherwani! ‘Hello Preeti, I am happy that you could make it’, you said. Your voice sounded very hollow and devoid of emotion to me.
Then I saw your mother and said ‘”Hello aunty!”
”Hi Preeti”, her face remaining impassive. It was as if she could penetrate my heart and guess what I felt for her son, and didn’t approve of it!
“Go and join Sanjay’s friends there”, your mother said. I slowly make my way towards a group of girls – your friends obviously. How elegant, beautiful, and rich they all looked. I felt as if even the house maid was better dressed than I was. As soon as I sat among them, they all were staring at me, or rather I felt so. I started feeling nervous. Until then, I couldn’t recall one friendly gaze or word-not even yours! I spotted your friend, Aarti among the group and said, ”Hi Aarti, I didn’t know that you were coming”. Immediately a few of the girls started laughing. Aarti, laughed too, along with others, rolled her kohl-made eyes and said, ‘”How can Sanjay have his birthday party without me?”
That kind of sent a chill down my spine. I didn’t speak to anybody else after that nor did anybody bother about me. You seemed to be too occupied with all your other guests, talking and joking. And when you joined us, you immediately sat beside Aarti-you guys looked way too close for ‘just friends’ that you told me about. You forgot me as if I didn’t exist! What happened to the Sanjay that I knew, full of humor, natural, and who liked me?
Although I had been in your house for many times, I felt as if I was in a new place! Inside I was just dying with a thousand thoughts, each wanting my attention at once! Why did Aarti slap your hand in response to what you said? Did you say something romantic? Is Aarti just your friend or more than a friend? Do you still like me, or did you even like me before or said things just casually? And most importantly, why is your behavior to me so forced, cold, and emotionless today? Why isn’t anybody else talking to me today?
The lump inside my throat was forcing outside..
More than liking you, the worst thing would have been to make it obvious to everybody. I didn’t want that to happen.
Then suddenly, out of the blue a thought stuck me, the truth of the situation..
I DIDN’T BELONG THERE
I excused myself before I could show my tears and make a complete fool of myself, and left the party.