NEAR TANK NO. 4
SALT LAKE, KOLKATA
‘Now tell me, what were you saying?’ asked the boy rapidly climbing the stairs with nervous energy. His attention towards the girl, who was ardently trying to catch up with him from behind, was undisturbed though. They were climbing the stairs of Sharada Heights; a five storey apartment. By the time they reached the third floor, both of them were soaking wet.
‘Just like a river has different names as it traverses different territories,’ the girl said climbing the stairs. The boy was ahead of her but she was breathing harder than him. ‘Our love too shall have different names as our life traverses different births. But the essence, the nature, the taste of love shall remain the same,’ she continued.
They continued to climb the stairs.
It was around midnight. No moon, no stars. Only black clouds. There was heavy rain, though, with an interlude of lightening and thunder. There was no one on the streets. Everyone everywhere seemed to be fast asleep. And just
when everything seemed like a prelude to an impending doom, the old door of the terrace of Sharada Heights opened with a creaking sound. The sound lingered in the air for
The girl, dressed in a blue top and cropped trousers, and the boy, wearing a white T-shirt tucked beneath a pair of black jeans, peeped out from the half-open door. The sound of heavy rain hit their ears. They slowly stepped out on the wet terrace.
The moment they stepped out in the open, the rhythmic beating of the raindrops on the floor muted all other sounds. The sky seemed to relentlessly kiss the earth—just the way lovers kiss when they meet each other after a long time or for the last time. Does the sky and earth, the girl wondered, gossip about spring, summer, and winter through raindrops?
The girl and the boy, grasping each other’s hands more firmly as the rains drenched them, stood still. For the world, perhaps, it would have been just another abrupt shower that year, but for them it was the first rain of confession in eras that was drenching them. There are certain relationships which don’t necessarily start when two people meet. Even their first meeting has the vibe of an unexplained continuation. The girl and the boy were in one such relationship even from the time they were not in a relationship.
Standing under the rain, together, they finally understood how much they loved each other. It wasn’t that they didn’t realize it before, but the journey from a ‘gut feeling’ to a ‘concrete knowing’ happened at that instant. They kept looking into each other’s eyes. The rain by then had polished off their appearance, transforming them from stones into glistening diamonds that emanated an alluring desire for the other. Desire gives love its wings—they understood.
The boy took her to the edge of the terrace. He stood up on the cemented barricade that fenced the terrace, and then pulled up the girl beside him. She was visibly scared. The boy feigned his fear better. They were standing on the edge facing each other. The girl didn’t let go of his hand even for a second. They stood so close to each other that they could feel their breaths on each other’s skin. Their breaths, by caressing their skin, soon gave birth to a feeling in them whose wail drew their heart’s attention. The latter asked the feeling what it was seeking. A kiss; the feeling told the heart. The latter was instantly alert because a kiss was the heart’s only way to share its deepest secret with the soul. Should the kiss happen, the heart will have to bare open all its secrets, in all its nudity.
The boy brought his hand to the girl’s inquisitive face and tucked a strand of her wet hair behind her ear. He then cupped her face gently with both his hands. For her, it was like a giant dream within the tiny capsule of reality. For him, it was a certain reality inside an uncertain drop of a dream.
A few raindrops trickled down her forehead. The boy interrupted one raindrop with the tip of his tongue. When a promise and a prayer come together, a commitment is created. She was the promise, he was the prayer, and the unprecedented feeling their kiss triggered within them was the commitment.
Why this commitment? her mind asked her heart. This commitment is an assurance, her heart answered the mind.
‘That I’ll choose him in whatever form, and whenever, he presents himself in front of me. It’s not because our choice will claim we are the best for each other. But just like a student passing out from a school knows the basic of everything, we would be the basic of each other.’
The boy sucked hard on her lips. The girl felt nothing
for some time after which she opened her eyes to realize
her deepest core had evolved. An irreversible ritual had
taken place in her heart. With this new self, now, she
sucked his lips. Did his heart undergo a similar ritual too? she wondered. Soon the two tongues prattled amidst the torrential rainfall.
The fear the girl had felt after climbing up the cemented barricade had now been conquered. Trust, after all, rinses a heart of almost every fear, eventually. Hope takes care of whatever residual.
Their lips parted. Nothing will be able to wash his imprints off her now, she knew. As their eyes met again, she wondered whether she really existed or had she been a mere fragment of his imagination all these years? Could it be that she was leading a life of death till now? And when he happened to her, life happened?
The boy, in an indescribable trance, sat down by the cemented barricade. He pulled the girl’s hand as an invitation to come and sit close to him—and she did. The outside was chaotic, the inside calm. In that calmness she could hear her heartbeats loud and clear. The beats seemed to have graduated from mere sounds to a language through which she was translating what the boy had penned on her heart with the ink of love.
A minute passed by. They kept exchanging furtive glances gravid with romance. As the hypnotizing moment was busy making a space within their hearts which both would visit every time a separation beckoned, the boy leaned sideways and kissed her on the cheek. She gave him a half-nervous, half-shy smile. She leaned a little more towards him and they kissed again. Only this time the kiss made them slowly swing between life and death, love and despair, destiny and coincidence, choice and consequence, decadence and redemption, forgiveness and revenge, light and darkness, sexuality and spirituality, blame and guilt, consciousness and subconsciousness, instinct and experience, fame and oblivion, future and…
The kiss broke. They sat by the edge of the terrace for some more time; hand in hand. Finally, they both stood up.
‘I had to tell you this…’ said the boy as they stood facing the other. ‘I love you because that’s my best bet to mean something to you. My love for you is only a means to an end. And the end is I want to mean something to you.’
The girl couldn’t hold back her tears. Crying is the heart’s way of embracing pain. And love.
‘I don’t know how long this separation of death will be, but until life gives us a chance to meet again, my soul shall be burning,’ she said with tears rolling down her cheeks. In the rain, however, the tears lost their distinction.
The boy’s body was shaking from an inner catharsis.
‘Just promise me one thing,’ the girl said, locking her fingers with the boy’s.
‘What?’ The boy held her hand tight.
‘Even if death touches us, you shall always remember me as yours?’
The boy nodded.
It was time to carry out their plan.
To get to his heart, she seduced his mind.
What will you do if one day a svelte and sexy girl comes up to you and says she is your ex ? And the only thing you know about her is that you don’t know anything about her.
Neel, an aspiring author, meets Nivrita at the Jaipur Literary Festival. Though Nivrita says she is his ex, he remembers nothing and yet everything about her seems to lure him to unravel the mystery she personifies. The more he is drawn to her, the more Neel feels guilty because he is already in a steady relationship with Titiksha, the love of his life.
When Nivrita makes a tempting offer to Neel, which he accepts for his own good, his life slowly begins to spiral out of control while Titiksha starts turning into a stranger until Neel realizes there’s much more than his eyes can see and mind can recollect.
Novoneel Chakraborty, bestselling author of A Thing Beyond Forever, That Kiss In the Rain and How About a Sin Tonight? brings forth yet another poignant story, twisted in essence. EX will make you drop your jaws wide open.
About the author
Novoneel Chakraborty’s books have touched thousands of souls across India. He is a full time author, screenwriter and a blogger.
You can pre-order your copy here: http://bit.ly/1bvQXzv