March 12, 2009

Over a cuppa coffee

Pre-script: All names mentioned are fictitious. Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely co-incidental.

“Here’s a steaming cuppa Neha’s special espresso sir…” I announced as I entered Sandy’s cabin. It was 4’o clock, time for our coffee break at work. We used to sit in adjacent cabins. Dark, unsweetened espresso coffee, the stock markets, and writing were a few of the threads that bound us.

“And who’s that chick?” I exclaimed, on seeing a sweet girl’s photograph rather than the usual Raghu (of Roadies fame) on his desktop.

“That’s Bhondu…” he said without taking his eyes off the computer, “my Bhondu…”

“What… Bhondu?!?!?!” the weirdness of the name struck me.

“Yeah, Bhondu… Kajal… my girl…” Sandeep blushed.

“Oooooooohhhhhh…. Bhondu… and what does she call you? Dhondu ?!?!?!?” I retorted.

“Naah… I’m Golu…” he replied, amused.

“Sandy’s so much better…” I said.

“Yeah, but try telling that to my mother… she’s the one who nicknamed me Golu…” he defended.

“Come to think of it, Golu is better than Bhonduuuuuu…” I burst out laughing.

“Yeah right, that was my reaction too when I first heard it, but try telling that to her mother…” he replied.

“Thank God my mother never gave me a weird nickname! But dude, how come you never mentioned her in 8 months?” I asked. “Tell me about her… now,” I demanded.

“I can vividly recall our first meeting… we met in the train. Mum and I were on our way back from a wedding in Trichur… and she was also with her mum. Her mum called her Bhondu… and I couldn’t hold my laughter… but then, soon, it was my turn to be laughed at… my mum entered and addressed me as Goluuuuu… you should have seen her giggle at that… that smile… oh… that very moment, I was floored! Then we talked throughout the journey; I came to know that she stayed pretty close by… and before we knew it, we’d fallen in love…” Sandy got nostalgic.

“Aww… that’s so sweet… and then?” now, I was getting interested.

“We were both in college, albeit different ones. Phone calls, dates, movies… it was beautiful… She was very easy to win over... very specifically, pink roses, Cadbury’s dairy milk chocolates, teddies, and small trinkets… Our regular hangout was this shack on the beach, mainly because that was the only thing I could afford! She loved the chaat there… she used to tell the vendor to make it extra tangy and then, while eating, she’d lick the chutney off her fingers…” he reminisced, as I let out an Eeeewwwwww!

“And then,” I asked.

“Time flew by, and we graduated. I decided to do a post-grad degree from the US. She was happy but clearly upset. I remember her call as I was about to board my flight. She was afraid that in one year, I’d forget her and fall for some blonde chick in the US,” he chuckled, “Crazy girl! Then I pacified her… one year? I wouldn’t trade her for anyone in one lifetime!!!” he said.

“Wow… you are one crazy romantic at heart dude!” I exclaimed, “And then you came back... and???” I asked.

“A few months after I was back, she called me to say she was going to the US for a year. Now, it was my turn to feel insecure. I realized how she must’ve felt when I was going away. It would be killing… but then, she pacified me.”

“Hehehehe… tasted your own medicine huh?” I teased, “You guys never fought and made up? Seems like you were always agreeing to what she said, you romantic fool…”

“No, not at all. We fought like crazy. In fact, just this weekend, we had a huge fight over how she’d not called me or spoken to me online in weeks. She said, she’d been busy… as if I don’t know how it is like, in the US. I didn’t budge… and I banged the phone as well…”

“So, how many years with her?” I was getting excited about it.

“Seven years…” he sighed.

“Wow… seven years… that’s huge!” I remarked. “So, when are you inviting me for you wedding?” I teased him.

“Wedding, eh? There’s a slight problem…” he said, his voice ominously low.

“Arey yaar, no religion problem there… caste-waste aajkal kaun dekhta hai… and jab miya biwi raazi, toh kya karenge paaji? Chat mangni te pat byaah ho jaaye… I think it’s high time you guys got married… you are totally made for each other… and mad for each other!!!” I was on fire.

“I can’t marry her,” he said, “because she’s no more,” he said, looking at me, smiling, tears welling up in his eyes.

I could not believe my ears! “BBuutttt, how… where…” I stammered.

“I hung up on her this weekend… little did I know that it would be our last conversation… the next day, I got a call from her parents informing me that she’d succumbed to cancer of the pancreas, a disease that she’d been diagnosed with when I was in the US. She’d never told me about it, lest it worry me and distract me from my studies. In fact, she was in the US for treatment. And I shouted at her for not calling me and speaking to me… Worse still, I didn’t even apologize… and before I knew it, she’d left me… forever…” Sandy was wailing now.

On impulse, I hugged Sandy. Oh, the pain… a lump formed in my throat. I didn’t realize when tears started to flow from my eyes… I didn’t know what to say, what to do.

“How could you be so unfair God?” I silently asked, my eyes staring at the ceiling.

“Life is like that Nehu… unjust, unfair, but we’ve gotta live it… and move on,” Sandy replied, as though he’d heard my question.

“You know Nehu…” Sandy sobbed, “she may be gone, but her presence lingers. My Bhondu will always be here… in her Golu’s heart… and if you ever love someone, don’t wait for the next day or next moment to say it or apologize… coz you’ll never know when life takes him or her away…”

“A lesson learnt, but at what cost… a lifetime of pain?” I thought, as we hugged each other, crying, sharing the sorrow. Life, at times, was indeed unfair… and we, mere mortals, helpless.

My journey back home that evening was slightly different. I would usually switch off my mobile phone and go off to sleep on my way in the train. That day, the first thing I did on my journey back home was to call up my family members and my boyfriend and say three simple words: I love you.

PS: Apologies for the sad ending. Had to retain the names of the characters because it's a series. Apolgies for that as well. It's pretty much a true story... happened to one of my friends. This is dedicated to him. So all of you out there, say the three magical words to your loved ones as many times as possible. Doesn't cost anything! :)


  1. oh what a tragic end...but a lovely story...i wonder if it can be picked up from here and continued..
    brought tears to my eyes :(

  2. really sad end.. but we still wait for such things to make us realize of the importance of today, of people we love, of things that matter .. phew ! silly humans .. loved reading it neha .. kudos :)

  3. nehaaa..i loved it sooo much...but so sad!! :(
    loved the eternal n true love b/w them...loved the thoughts...loved it all...
    n also loved the reminded me of the movie "if only.." carried the same msg of conveying love before its too was such a touching movie...cried watchin that..

    too gud neha! :)

  4. hmm good one but u knw u made it wonder but its beautiful.....true love naa....and yeah i cud imagine sandy doing that although this is a fiction hehe

  5. ohh.!! That was so sad..!!:)

    really made a good read Neha..!! I mean i could feel the pain.. :)


  6. I love sad endings but not in this case tho :(

  7. @ Gulshan

    Apologies yet again for making it sad. If it brought tears to your eyes, I am glad, because it was intended to do so.

    If you think it can be picked up and continued from here, I'll think of a plot. You are welcome too!!!

    This is a true story with little bits of fiction thrown in. As I have mentioned, it's unfair to have such a sad ending. But then, life's unfair dear!

    Cheers! :)

  8. @ Pretty

    Thanx dear! Am extremely happy that you liked reading it despite the sad end. I was contemplating about changing the ending, but decided against it.

    I wish life always gave us happy endings! Alas, the wish remains...

    Cheers! :)

  9. @ Pinks

    Thanks for loving it despite the sadness! To tell you the truth, I had tears in my eyes as I was writing this's just somethign that touches me everytime I think about that episode.

    Hint: Go say the three magical words before it's too late! ;)

  10. @ Ste

    True love isn't always about sad endings dude! Unfortunately, in this case it is.

    And I am sorry but I didn't get what you were saying about Sandy (Dumb me)!! Care to clarify?

    Cheers! ;)

  11. @ Arjun

    I'd thought I'd be beaten up for the sad ending. If you felt the pain reading it, imagine the pain the person must've undergone living this entire episode.

    Love hurts... but then, there's no love without hurt!


  12. @ Nan

    Did you not like this ending because it was too sad and harsh, or did you not like it because it wasn't narrated well?

    IF it's the former reason, then I am sorry. I would have taken away the pain and emotion from it had I changed the end.

    If, however, you think the narration failed, please do give me pointers on improving it.

    Glad you at least read it! :)

  13. Awwww....its so sad...

    But I loved the way its written.. The message it gives is Beautiful..
    we do tend to overlook such little things and keep waiting fr the right time to Express our love without realizing that whenever we would do it--The time would become write on its own..and after all..they say.The Sooner the better...:)
    Well done girl..

  14. nice write neha, the plot was simple but beautifully constructed and very meaningfull was the underlying message. We take things for granted and realise too late. But life isnt so easy, sad endings or no, its about living it :)

  15. @ Charzz

    Thanx a zillion! And well said... the time when we confess is the right time... and the sooner, the better...

    But here's the irony of it all...
    despite this post, I, myself, am still waiting, mustering up courage to confess my love for someone. :) Guess that's what life is... a big ironY! ;)

    Please pray for me!

  16. @ Kings

    I am glad you liked the plot. I was not sure of the dialogue... I tried to keep it as simple as possible.. Glad my efforts paid off!

    And yeah, life's all about living it... moving on.. sorrow or no sorrow!

    Cheers to life! :)

  17. Neha, I am in tears.. :(

    Sandeep told me to read this one, but WL was not opening. He told me you took up the golu-bhondu series and I took it alright it'd be a light read like all the other parts of this one.
    But oh my god! it was so intense..
    heart rendering.. I got so involved for a moment.. that i did get all teary.. :)

    I will go give mom a tight hug - one person i love the most! :)

  18. awww that was a sad story..

    but really loved it.. hnnm sometimes it doesnt hurt to tell someone.. how much u mean to them.. so true.. u never know what life or future has got instored for u..

    that was brilliant..

  19. @ Pink Orchid

    Extremely sorry for moving you to tears! If it helps, I can give you a nice hug!

    Sandeep's very disappointed with me for having made it so sad. I guess this was one thing no one expected!

    Anyway,I am glad you liked it and even happier becoz u will go n hug ur mum now! :) We all could do with some hugs you know! ;)

  20. @ Ani

    Thanx Ani... the response has been overwhelming! I thought I'd be battered for having done something so tragic to the lovable couple! Thankfully, only Sandeep bashed me up.. on the phone!

    Am glad you liked it... I pormise to come up with happier stuff the next time! :)

  21. @ Neha..
    If thats the case thn I wud say..

    Cmon baby..Dont wait anymre..Go fr the kill.. Express your love n m sure u wud suceed..
    Best f luck..

  22. @ Charzz

    Thnxx!!! That adds up to the courage that I am mustering up... But still not enuff for me to go and take the plunge! Will do it... someday... soon... :)

    And when I do, you'll be the irst one to know... promise!

  23. Somebody get me tissues please..... ouhh my streaming soul..... Its such a genuine and lovely read Neha...... And so much on the lines I believe in.....

    LOVELY !

  24. @ Ilashree

    Touched!! This post was intended to make the readers cry, and if I could achieve it, I consider myself successful. I am glad I could strike a connect with you through this post. Do keep pouring in your comments... this is what a writer's greatest reward is!

    BTW, I haven't come across you on WL... new here?

    If not, then apologies!!

    Cheers!! :)

  25. Yup, I know, am a writer myself.....

    And yup, me knew here..... actually, Prats ( Pratibha) told me about this writer's lounge, its a nice one..... I want to join it, but I can't get a clue of how to get started, any help?????

  26. @ Ilashree

    Just leave your e-mail ID in the shoutbox. One of the admin guyz will send you an invite and then, you can become a member.

    Welcome aboard (in advance)!


  27. Neha,

    I just loved true! All of us need such wake up calls!




  28. neha... that was really touching man... though u have already shared this story with me... reading it had an altogether different impact... beautifully put into words... loved it!!

  29. @ Aarthi

    Thanx dear! Now go say those three beautiful words to the ones you love!

    Am glad you liked it!



  30. @ Mona

    Thanx a lot darling! Praise always means so much more when it comes from you!


  31. Extremely Tears filled Heart Touching Post!!

  32. 2 years left after these words were scribbled. today it made my eyes wet! emotions have a beauty and it becomes magical with words! thnx Neha


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