Teenage days are the golden days of one’s life. We don’t only change physically, but emotionally and psychologically, too. It is a phase when we make mistakes, a lot of them. But these mistakes make us what we are today. I was no different.
Finally, I had left Kashmir. And I knew that I will regret this goodbye.
The flight was calm and peaceful. I was admiring some of the best scenic views from the window, wondering that why hadn’t I seen that before! I had flown through that way millions of times then why on this time of my life when I was leaving the place, my eyes were finding the view more enticing.
I didn’t realize and we were about to land. Delhi, as lively as always. People and people, everywhere. I was about to stay there for some time. And that feeling was not good. The very next day I went for admissions. Even after having good academics record, I knew that I won’t get admission in the 12th standards. So, I decided to repeat 11th. The admissions were about to close, but I was lucky to get enrolled.
The classes started on the very next day. I was still not over Kashmir. I went to my classroom. It wasn’t odd for me to feel new in a group of people who already knew each other for a long time. I took my seat and waited for someone’s company.
I saw another new student, Adeel. With one look, I got to know that he didn’t have high self-esteem. He had a fair complexion. He looked weak to some extent. He didn’t talk much. At the corner, he sat, took out a novel from his bag and started reading it. He was a hosteller too. So, I knew I will see him around. On the other corner of the class was the girl group. The esteemed class. They didn’t care about others. They only spoke with each other. At the back, it was all silent. I knew what my place was. The hostellers sat there so, did I.
I sat next to a girl. She was a hosteller so, I didn’t have other options. Her name was Uri. Her face lining was designed, perfectly. She was soft-spoken. A small flower in her hair made her look even prettier. So, I guess I was lucky. I sat there, quietly, until she spoke up.
“You don’t speak at all!”
I said, “No, not much!”
She introduced herself and I did the same.
She was a wonderful girl. A national-level swimmer. A person, we could not take our eyes off. She was a living example of the girls who were as pretty as heaven and yet don’t know it. That day was long. I just wanted to go to the hostel and lie down.
As soon as my classes got over, I rushed to my room. And guess what? Who was my roommate? That silent novel reader from my class. I knew I would sleep well No noise. No chit chats.
2 months passed by. I had made friends. Uri and Adeel. The class was not new anymore. But now our life was about to take a turn. Uri came up to me suddenly and said,
“I think I like Adeel.”
I was not expecting that. I didn’t know what to say. She shushed me.
“He is so cute. He speaks so nicely. I can hear his voice all day. He is a kind-hearted person. I really like him”
“OKAY!”, I sighed, “I will tell him.”
“NO! Don’t you dare! Let him see it for himself.”
But I decided otherwise. I was a more good friend of Adeel.
I went back to the hostel and saw Adeel. He was continuously staring at the sky outside with a big grin on his face.
I stood close to him and said, “Do you know…”
He said, “Yup! I have found the love of my life. I love her so much bro.”
And before I could say anything, all I heard was, “NADIA”
Nadia was one of our classmates. She was from Ladakh. She was a shy girl. She didn’t talk much either.
“Bhai, kya ladki hai yar. Her eyes, her smile, her hair, her nose. I love her bro.”
I knew that I can’t tell him then. It would have been weird.
The next day I went to the class. All I saw in class was Uri staring at Adeel and Adeel holding her gaze at Nadia. Nadia was unaware of everything. I don’t know why, but this situation was giving me goosebumps.
Usually, after the final bell, I and Adeel used to walk along with Uri till her bus and then go back to the hostel. But that day Adeel didn’t come along. He went with Nadia. And I could see the pain in Uri’s eyes. She was sad more than jealous. I asked her,
“You really like him? Or is it just an attraction?”
“Idiot, I like him very much. It’s not just an attraction. I adore him. I love watching him and I love listening to him. Can’t you see? I am totally into him.”
“Then, why don’t you tell him?”
“Don’t you see? He likes Nadia. It’s clear. Look at him. Why isn’t he here?”
I was taken aback. How did she know?
She continued, “Dude, I like him so, I know.”
There was a five-minute silent walk.
Breaking the silence, she said, “Look just don’t say anything to him. Okay? It will sadden him. All this. Please. Just do me one favour. Anyhow, just find out whether Nadia likes him too or not.” Can you do that?”
After then, I tried all my tricks and found out that Nadia was already committed. So, I told this to Uri but didn’t see the happiness in her eyes. She said,
“This won’t affect him. He won’t see otherwise.”
I had fallen in love before, but this was different. What was this? She knew Adeel more than Adeel knew himself. She loved him but never wanted to say. And he was mad about a girl who was in a relationship with someone else.
That night I decided to tell Adeel.
“Dude it’s good that you like Nadia, but she is already committed bro.”
“Then why are you still stalking her?”
“I don’t know… I don’t know what I am doing. I wake up every day, thinking about this. I am confused, bro. Sometimes, I feel Uri behaves in a strange way. The way she looks at me I just can’t take it. I think she likes me. But then I look at Nadia and forget everything. I like Uri too. In fact, I like her more.”
“What! Then, why are you so obsessed with Nadia? Why don’t you tell Uri this?” “Jibran. I can’t. I just can’t. What is the future? Today, I tell her then, we will get together. But what next? Huh?
“Jibran, I am leaving Delhi, forever. I can’t just say I love you and then, walk away. She deserves better.”
I was awestruck! He said he is leaving Delhi.
With a confusing voice, I asked, “Why?”
“My family is going through some financial crises. My dad is retired and my mom had to resign, suddenly, due to some problem. I can’t study here bro. I got to go to them. They need me. Once I am there my uncle will find a cheap school and he will sponsor my education.”
I was short of words.
“Jibran, I know now that Uri likes me, but I guess it’s too late. I guess, I waited too long for someone else, for Nadia, for something that was never mine. I looked for stars so hard that I forgot to see the moon. Now I am leaving and I can’t confess my feelings to Uri. She will get upset. I can’t live with this guilt.”
I asked him, “So, when are you planning to tell her?”
“Once I get on the train. I will call both of you. If I tell her now, then, she won’t be able to give her exams properly.”
That day was a normal one until that call happened. Two minutes were just general talks and then I just said, “Adeel. I guess it’s time.”
Uri had no idea of what was about to happen. And in a few minutes, he told everything. There was a deep silence. I could hear the sobbing. Adeel apologized to Uri and hung the call.
I stayed there on the call. Uri was continuously crying.
That was the last time she spoke to Adeel. We never saw him again. It was like he just vanished. Uri tried finding him on Facebook, WhatsApp. But he was nowhere to be found.
I know, this story doesn’t make sense. No head. No tail.
All I want to say is that it’s easy to put ourselves in the boxes and stay quiet. We think that just by speaking up, we will hurt ourselves and others too. Love, hatred, anguish, and frustration are just a part of life. Just like Adeel was a part of my life. A side of mine, who knew everything, but still not speaking up was the priority. I knew where my heart was, but still, My other hidden side was not ready to confess.
We choose to keep a few things within ourselves. We think that this way we will remain strong, unknown to the fact that it makes us weak. It makes us hollow and it leaves a permanent scar. The pain may subside, but the mark won’t.
Even I chose to remain quiet. Every day, I wake up and think what would have been these days if I just had allowed myself to take out everything, how happy Adeel and Uri must have been!
That day, I didn’t just lose a friend, I lost a part of me. In fact, we all lost a part of us. It changed us all. I don’t know whether that Adeel is still alive in me or not. What I know is that if he is still hidden somewhere inside me, he too must be waking up, thinking the same thing, every day.
Whatever happens, never make this mistake. Speak up. Say whatever u got to say. All our lives we are taught how to handle emergency situations. Fire, earthquake, even terror attacks, but what we are never taught is how to react when we have something inside, craving just for one chance, to come out.