She was sitting near the window seat in the train listening to the songs in her I-pod when she heard some people laughing. She turned her head and saw two friends sitting and guffawing at their funny tales. Some old ladies were looking at the friends in disgust as in our society it’s morally bad for a girl to befriend a boy but here a boy and girl were doing hi-fives and laughing with each other in public.
She smiled at herself closed her eyes and tried to get back to what her I-pod was playing. Unfortunately she could not do that now. Instead her mind wandered through a whole lot of memories and she went back almost 15 years in her life.
Jia was sitting on her bed reading a book when she saw Dev standing by her door with tears in his eyes.
“She broke up with me, Jia,” he spoke and fell down on the bed beside her.
Jia closed her book and gave her full attention to Dev. “What happened?” she asked softly.
“I don’t know. She just said we shouldn’t be together anymore.”
Jia looked at him with scepticism. “I swear I don’t know. And this time I’m sure I haven’t done anything stupid either.”
“Oh c’mon Dev. Misha is such a mature girl. She won’t just ask to end everything without any reason.”
Dev laid down on Jia’s lap and said with a melancholic voice, “Please talk to her and find out what’s the matter. Please.” Jia sighed and picked up her phone.
Jia’s sister Neha entered the room and seeing Dev in such a state asked, “Oh my! What happened to you?”
“Nothing,” Jia said, “His girlfriend broke up with him.”
“Oh that’s sad. You should console her instead of talking to someone else on the phone,” Neha said to console Dev.
“Shush!” Jia said as soon as she heard Misha answering the phone. “Misha? Hi, it’s me Jia. I need to talk to you about Dev.”
Dev kept listening to what Jia was talking but after a while he sat upright on the bed and winked at Neha who was still standing there waiting to listen to the whole story.
After a few minutes of I knows, I will talk to him about that, and you are right, Jia finally disconnected the phone with a cheerful ‘bye’.
She smiled at Dev and said, “You can call her at night and be extra nice. Everything’s gonna be fine.”
Dev jumped out of bed with a new found energy and grabbed his phone. “What if I call her now?”
“Control your emotions, Dev. She will be fine by the night. Let her cool down first.”
Dev was too happy, “Oh I love you, Jia. What would I do without you?”
“Nothing,” replied Neha and everyone laughed.
The train stopped abruptly and Jia came back to her senses. There was a commotion going on at the railway tracks. Some kind of a political propaganda, Jia thought. Why do politicians waste other peoples’ time and money? What do they get out of endangering innocent people’s lives? There are some questions Jia could never get the answer for. Like, what had happened to Dev at his wedding? Why wasn’t he like his old self?
Dev was Jia’s friend when they were 8 years old and they grew up together being the best of friends. They shared their secrets with each other, they have told each other about their heart breaks, their crushes, and their ambitions. When was the time when they started to grow apart from each other? They each had their separate life partners with them and they were happy for each other then why did they decide to leave their friendship? Whatever happened to the ‘friends forever’ quote they often said?
Perhaps sometimes God has His own ways of taking up things. Maybe they were meant to be apart. But all those memories of togetherness and fun they had together could never get wiped off from Jia’s mind forever. She still thought about Dev whenever she saw friends talking and enjoying each other’s company. She could not forget how they used to chat all night long without fearing what the other would think about their weird imagination.
The train chugged and soon it gained momentum. Jia, feeling fidgety, stared out of the window into the fields and the unlimited sky and tried again to listen to the songs. Misha was a nice girl, why would she ask Dev not to talk to Jia? And if it wasn’t Misha why would Dev stop calling her on her birthdays without any reason?
They distanced from one another without knowing the real reason. Jia never asked and Dev never explained. But Jia always wanted to know if friendship could become so meaningless that people would stay apart for years and did not even once care to call the other person. She had called and tried to talk to Dev several times like the old days but he was a changed man now.
The train again slowed down but this time Jia saw that it was her destination. She picked up her bags and went towards the exit. Her mind was full of questions about friendship and loyalty. And she was not able to figure out anything right now. Everything was in a haze and she could not clearly see what was ahead of her.
The train finally stopped and she jumped out onto the platform. She started to walk towards the exit gates when she heard someone calling her from behind. She turned and saw Vivan, her husband, walking towards her. He was accompanied by their daughter and son on both sides. She could see those twinkling eyes full of love for her. She immediately knew there were no ‘forevers’ in life but there would always be true love and loyalty ahead of her waiting for her to get off the train and return to them.
The kids hugged their mother and kissed her again and again. “Oh, I missed you all so much,” Jia said kissing both the kids. She stood up and saw Vivan smiling at her.
“I missed you too,” Vivan said lovingly and hugged her. Jia did not let go of her husband for a few seconds. “Is everything alright, Jia?” Vivan asked worriedly.
“Of course,” replied Jia and began walking home with them.