love story

A Bridge between two Balconies

bridge

        The month of february is coming to an end, Now it’s eight o’clock. This time it was cold after many years in the cold season, but now the cold is coming down. Abhijeet comes to the balcony due to the electricity being cut and looks at the sky, lighting a cigarette. Abhijeet a 22-year-old young (wearing a T-shirt and a lower) bends over to look from one side of the street to the other. Today the moon is quite bright. Holi festival is also near to come .

     Abhijeet Came to live in this locality a week ago. Abhijeet Belongs to a good middle class family. Abhijeet’s Father Om Prakash Singh is in the rank of inspector in a government department. Abhijeet’s father also said that you should stay the same, soon you  can shift to see a better place. Abhijeet’s aunt also lives in this city, but it is better to live in any area than to stay with her. Anyway, living with relatives of new generation children is not less than being in a jail.

        Abhijeet still looking at the street, because ever since he came to this locality, he has come in the balcony for the first time today. Only then, he leaves four houses and looks at the fifth house. The 20-25 year old house, which has not been painted in last 7-8 years. He sees a cute girl in the balcony of the house. Age of the girl must have been nearly 21–22 years . Due to no electricity, Abhijit see the girl in a pink cotton suit wiping the sweat of the forehead in white light of the moon. A girl who has a freshness and glow on her face, as if someone has just got wet in the rain.

      Abhijeet thinks  ( Maybe had come after cooking ). That girl’s eye turns to Abhijeet.  Abhijeet quickly throwing cigarettes, tries to get a sense of his face that due to the cut electricity, he is upset and accidentally his eyes have gone towards that girl. She goes inside her house but Abhijeet stands in the balcony for a long time in her thoughts. Then the electricity get back and he gets shocked and realizes that the coolness has increased. Abhijeet also goes to his room.

     Abhijeet Is a promising boy. He has always got good grades in studies. Abhijeet Has been interested in the field of construction since childhood. Abhijeet is always thrilled to see beautiful buildings, bridges, and other construction around the world. Even after Abhijit got a good all india rank last year, did not take admission because he dreamed for IIT. Abhijeet believes that this time, he will pass IIT due to support and motivation of parents.

       Today Abhijeet wakes up in the morning and opens the window of his room, which he had not opened since the shift. Restless all day Abhijeet, The view was going on that balcony but even after evening, Abhijeet did not see that girl once. Now the discomfort of Abhijeet was increasing. He thinks about that girl repeatedly and wants to see her once again. Abhijeet have seen many times from the evening on the balcony. Its cooking time but Abhijeet didn’t see that girl . Abhijeet thinks that the electricity also did not cut today. Abhijeet  lit his cigarette, comes to the balcony, ends the cigarette and goes inside.

      Today is the day of Holika Dahan. Every year Abhijeet used to go to his house on Holi. His mother also called him  but this time Abhijeet doesn’t want to leave any shortcoming in his studies, that’s why he stayed here on Holi. It’s morning, Abhijeet watch the clock, it is not even 12 o’clock. Abhijeet comes to the balcony once again but that balcony of old house is still closed. Abhijeet  (It seems that some relatives must have come to that house and that girl also came with them and must have gone now). Abhijeet sees, a group of small and elder children is gathered in the street with red, green, blue, yellow flags and jhalars with a rousing noise. All are busy preparing for Holi with the enthusiasm of childishness. In front of this crowd, Abhijeet eyes on Guptaji’s shop in the last house of the street, which is full of customers all day and it is natural to be crowded at the time of festival. The balcony girl is seen at Guptaji’s shop. She is buying groceries wearing light yellow colored cotton suit, the same freshness and glow on the face.

Abhijeet rapidly wearing his sleepers, runs towards the Guptaji’s shop. Abhijeet arrives at the shop.

Gupta ji- Riya, please take your groceries, total 470 rupees (Abhijeet looking at Riya ) Abhijeet, your cigarette has not arrived .

Riya gives money to gupta ji and looks towards Abhijeet ( as a thief is caught stealing )

Abhijit- I came here to buy some other thing.

Gupta Ji- (returning the money to Riya ) Ever since in the neighborhood, you have buy only cigarettes from my shop, so I thought that you must have come to get them. Tell what you want to purchase ?

Abhijeet ( Riya left the shop) – Uncle, there is a lot of gathering , I will back later. Having said this Abhijeet quickly rushes towards Riya.

Abhijeet- Hi, I am Abhijeet and you ?

Riya  looks at Abhijeet ( like he knows but still asking ) – My name is Riya. You have come to the locality recently.

Abhijeet looks at Riya ( like she knows but still asking ) – Yes.

Riya- Well… you were smoking cigarettes on the balcony that day. Don’t smoke. Smoking is injurious to health.

Abhijeet- Will quit now. Parents don’t know about this, no one else has stopped till today.

In this conversation both reach at Riya’s home. Riya gives a smile and left . Abhijeet goes crazy after that smile. For the first time he realize a joy and newness in his life.

Color
Holi Festival,Image Credit- Anshu A

      Today is the day of Holi festival . Today all the streets and lanes are filled with red, green, purple colors and scattered gulal. Most of the people of the locality are celebrating the festival of Holi. Riya is also playing Holi with other girls and aunts. Abhijeet also have a desire to play Holi with Riya but do not dare. There is not much time left even in the IIT entrance exams . Still then Abhijeet goes down to the crowd and puts gulal on her cheeks. But Riya puts all the colors on Abhijeet and he smiles, thinks that coming here was successful.

      Slowly It has been a month since Abhijeet came to this locality. It has been known from the information collected that Riya is from an educated family. Which has parents and two brothers in which Riya is the youngest in the house. His father’s name is Ramesh Sharma, who has just retired from his job. Both brothers are in private job and earn well. But Riya is yet to get her sister-in-law because the family members think that her brothers get married after her wedding.

      Abhijeet has often been looking for an excuse to meet Riya. Ever buy something at Guptaji’s shop, Sometimes in the balcony, things would happen in gestures, sometimes elsewhere. One day at Guptaji’s shop –

Gupataji – Riya, give me your grocery list, i will deliver at home.

Guptaji- ( from Abhijeet ) what   do you want?

Abhijeet – Please give me a good writing pen.

Guptaji- Take, price of this is Rs 20. You have not bought cigarettes since I brought.

Abhijeet- Cigarette….  I quit smoking.  Smoking Is injurious to health.

Abhijeet sees Riya. She smiles and walks away from there. Abhijeet gets along with her.

Abhijeet- Can i get your mobile number ?

Riya- I do not have mobile. You can take contact no. of my home.

Abhijeet- Why?

Riya- Never needed, there is no permission of mobile in college and coaching and at home there is mobile.

Abhijeet- Strange even today, no one has a mobile. Have you not need for personal.

Riya – Where do i get so much time after studying and housework. But why do you want my number ?

Abhijeet- Ever needed and want to talk .

Riya- I am your neighbor. You can come and meet when needed.

Abhijeet makes sense Riya’s teasing to him.

     One day by chance Abhijeet and Riya meets and gets a chance to talk more. Riya was returning after giving her graduation paper and Abhijeet had gone for shopping . On the way, the two meet at the stationery shop

Abhijeet- I have been wanting to meet you for many days but meeting you is like meeting God.

Riya (laughs) – It’s not even. You had to tell me, I meet to you somehow. Tell me why you wanted to meet.

Abhijeet- I wanted to tell you something for several days.

Riya- tell me.

Abhijeet- How to say  …………………….. The thing is that i like you.

Riya- Yes I know, everyone who knows me likes me.

Abhijeet Silence for a while – I like the other type, like a boy likes a girl.

Riya (angry) – what?  Abhijeet I considered you a good boy. I did not expect this. No value of my friendship.

Abhijeet- Forgive me all. I just said, made a mistake.

Riya- You are educated, will you speak anything ? (Abhijeet gets face down, then Riya starts laughing loud)

Riya- I already know, otherwise no one quit smoking after someone’s request. They both look at each other and smile.  

Riya after a while- Abhijeet i know you will qualify IIT. then what will you do after that.

Abhijeet- I will complete IIT in  next four years. After that I will do such constructions that after seeing them people will think who and how to make it. See, one day I will make such a bridge, that will be between your and my balcony and when you will want , you will come to my balcony and when I shall want , I shall come to your balcony.

Riya (laughing) – Then I will eagerly wait that you make that bridge quickly.

Abhijeet – How soon I will do it, yet it will take 5 years.

Riya- I have no time for five years to see your bridge. My family is searching a groom for me.  They will do my marriage as soon as my graduation is over.

Abhijeet – Yes I know.  ( Abhijeet’s compulsion and helplessness seems in his eyes) Riya, can’t you wait for my bridge?

Riya- I can wait all my life but my conditions will not wait .

Abhijeet- Can i talk to your family regarding this.

Riya- Is your situation such that you will be able to talk my family ?

Abhijeet took a deep breath.

Couple
Image Credit - Etienne Boulnger

     In these things, slowly, three months passed. Many untold questions are keep going in the mind of Riya and Abhijeet, which answers are nowhere. Abhijeet qualifies the IIT entrance exam, now he has to shift to his hostel in his college town. Riya’s graduation is complete and her wedding date has been fixed. The groom is an engineer in the same city and works in a good company. Riya’s family is busy with Riya’s wedding preparations. All belongings of Abhijeet are shifted. After saying goodbye to his landlord,  Abhijeet goes to Riya’s house for last meet.

Sharma ji- Come son Abhijeet. Very happy to know that your IIT exam has qualified. Now you have to go for admission, when will you have to go ?

Abhijeet-  Uncle, I am leaving today so thought I should meet your family and also congratulate Riya.

Sharma ji- Yes son, it is good. It was also good that after Riya’s graduation, a good marriage proposal was found. The groom is an engineer in a good company. Riya is inside with her mother , will you come in the wedding or not?

Abhijeet- I will not be able to come. It is not possible to come back immediately after joining college.

Abhijeet Goes in and sees Riya. Both of them look at each other and give a fake smile. Riya has a lot of questions in her eyes and Abhijeet has a lots of helpless in her eyes.

Abhijeet- Many many congratulations. I have to leave now I have a train in 1 hour. I will not be able to come to the wedding. Please  take, it’s your gift.

Riya would have taken the gift. Riya- this is my mobile no. you were asking for. See, this is my new mobile, my fiance have gifted. Luckily an engineer was destined for me but …..

Abhijeet- Your mobile no. What is the use of it for me now? I have enough memories of you.

Both have no words for a while, then Riya’s mother arrives.  

Aunt-  Son, Eat sweet.

Abhijeet- Aunt, I will leave now, I am getting late.

Riya gives a letter to Abhijeet. This is for you, take care, bye.

Abhijeet leaves for railway station.

Riya opens her wedding gift, holding a sample of a bridge. ( There are two houses, in which a bridge is built between the balconies and a boy stands in a balcony. ) Riya tears up in her eyes.

Riya’s mother – What kind of wedding gift is this ?   A bridge between two houses.

Abhijeet sits on his berth in his train. His eyes repeatedly go to that letter but he is not able to dare to open the letter. To end his anxiety Abhijeet opens letter. The letter is very small in which only two lines are written.

Engineer Sir,

              Congratulations for IIT. After completing your IIT, you should build a bridge so that once someone crosses the other side, will not be able to return to this side.

Abhijeet Folds the letter and puts it in her purse with Riya’s photo.

metro
Image Credit-Pat Whelen

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