Mumbai is always awake!….Thinking this he bids a goodbye to his regular driver.

“It’s not just a phrase but a reality”. Every time Abeer comes to Mumbai he has the same feel.

After attending the seminar he had a late night flight to Banglore. He too lived in Cosmopolitan but still, Mumbai is different.

Abeer Roy, successful entrepreneur whose success stories are being read by many young startup dreamers.

At the age of 48, though he doesn’t look like, standing tall at 5.11′ with an impressive personality, Abeer success has given a unique charisma to him. He is known to be a punctual perfectionist and a hard taskmaster. Although, people close to him vouch for his compassion too!

He was standing in the check-in queue when he saw her.

Same height, voice, and wavy manes.Wearing white, her favorite and his too.

“Is she really there? ”

“It’s been years since we talked last. I guess 9-10 years!”

Thoughts were pouring in and out. The queue was moving ahead but Abeer’s eyes were waiting for her to turn.

He just can’t shout and call “Radhika”!!

Although he used to do this only, some years back. But things changed.

“She was my best friend, and first love too.”

A smile just played on his lips. “Childhood love! Life has so much to teach!!”

“We grew up together. Learned so many things from each other but somehow life took turns up and down and …”

“Excuse me, Sir, would you prefer window seat?” The lady at the desk said and it put a sudden break in the chain of thoughts.

“Hmmm? Oh yes, Window seat please.”

He took his boarding pass and turned around towards her, but she was gone!

“Oh God Not again. Where has she gone? ”

He tried to locate her but in vain.

His flight still has some time.

“Shall I call her? What if she is not here. Why should I call? She never did, and what if she is at her home? I never asked her to stop talking, it was just a….”

Flight number l503 is delayed by 2 hrs due to bad weather condition. Inconvenience is regretted.

Great !! Mumbai weather!

Abeer said to himself and was a bit happy too “Good I got few more hours to see whether it’s my Radhika or not?”

“My Radhika??”

He remembers the days when they both were struggling in their careers although being from an affluent family gave an edge to Abeer, he was supportive of Radhika’s dreams of her own business as well as her passion for social causes too.

Work takes a toll on health and relationship too and they both were young to handle life’s pressure.Radhika was always very vocal about her feelings and wanted a commitment soon and may be Abeer was not ready for it and one day he said during arguments that don’t try to use me and my name for your career!!

Radhika was quiet. The girl who won the debates was not equipped with a single argument on this allegation. Slowly she created distance and one day just vanished.

Abeer regretted and tried to search too, but he had to go to the US for business expansion and life just passed so fast that Radhika was lost although she was always in his memories.

He searched and the search came to an end in the college reunion, ten years back. She was there, but they could not talk.As soon as Abeer came Radhika left stating her early flight timings. She has a son now. Abeer was happy to hear that.

He got her number but never called.They were in common chat groups but never messaged each other.Busy in their lives, they were walking individual paths, but today Abeer didn’t want to loose this chance.

She is my best friend and I guess a lot of time has passed now we can start fresh at least.

With these thoughts, Abeer was roaming in custom free shops, and suddenly he could see that lady.

In a coffee shop with a book, she has to be my Radhika, coffee, and book, in times of Kindle!!

He entered the cafe, and a closer look was sufficient to bring back all those laughter giggles hugs and cries!!

She is still beautiful, ageing gracefully. He took two coffee in his hand.

“Can I sit here?”

“Ya, sure.” she said without looking up.

“Coffee for you.Extra strong, less sweet”.

She looked up.

He saw the green eyes after 18 years and they still had some kind of magic, which he was not sure of.

“Hi”

There was silence among the hustle bustle of the airport which only these two could feel.

“Hello” Radhika could speak after composing herself as she relived past 18 years again in a jiffy.

“So finally we meet. After 18 years I guess.”

“Yes,18 years 3 months and few days”, she said in a stern voice which sounded more like a covering for the turmoil going inside her and Abeer could feel it.

He wanted to make things light.

He wanted to talk to his best friend.

He wanted to bring their friendship back.

He wanted to say sorry.

“So, your flight too got delayed?”

She took a sip of coffee.”Hmmm”

“I follow your work.Your NGO too.”

“Thankyou”

“You were always creative, but I guess words become more of your expression?”

“Yes”

The monosyllables from once chatterbox were making Abeer realize the distance between them.

Radhika was not even looking at him, slowly sipping coffee her eyes were showing expression of varied range.

“She still could not fake her emotions”, thought Abeer.

“So You are here for work?” asked Abeer.

“No, my son studies here”, she stated matter of factly.

“Great! and you? I mean where your hubby works?”

Radhika kept the coffee mug down and the first time looked into Abeer’s eyes.

“I am not married Abeer”, she said.

It was a statement which made Abeer, perplexed.

“You have a son, right?”

“So??To have a baby it is not important to be married.Right?”

Abeer was confused and before he could say anything Radhika interrupted,

“Hold your horses, before you categorize my character!He is adopted, but he is mine.”

“I am sorry Radhika, Please…”

Before Abeer could say anything else Radhika’s phone buzzed,

“Hey, Abeer, what’s up handsome.”

“________________________”

“Oh please, don’t make me feel like I am a vulnerable woman.I traveled all my life alone!!” She said laughingly.

“___________________________”

“Abeer! !Betu please don’t forget I am your mom.Don’t do this role reversal. I can take care of myself.You go and have dinner before your mess is closed.Will call you once I reach.”

“____________________________”

“Love you too.”

She put the phone down and Abeer was more so confused.

“What???” Asked Radhika.

“Your son’s name is….”.

“Abeer , Abeer Sharma”, she said

“I hope I don’t have to pay a royalty? Or you have patented the name?”

“Why only this name Radhika?” Abeer was disturbed by the sudden revelation.

She took a heavy sigh and looked into his eyes”I Loved you Abeer. My life needed Abeer, but I could not rumble my self-esteem for love sake. Love has no place for fear and doubts.Your one sentence made me away from you.But what to do. Dil hi toh hai, Zidd thi Abeer chahiye. So got him.And now every day I can say I love you Abeer.”

Abeer and Radhika sat there for few more minutes without a single word spoken.

Who was at mistake? Whose fault was it? This all was meaningless.

Radhika’s flight was announced.She took her bag and went to the departure gate.

Abeer saw her going. Once again, she is going without saying goodbye!

He ran after her and shouted “Radhika!!”

She stopped.

“Radhika, I have a daughter.Very beautiful and talented.Guess her name??”

Tears started rolling down her green eyes.

She barely smiled and said,”Give my love to your Radhika.”

They looked into each other eyes, smiled and turned around to their individual paths.

Abeer with his Radhika.
Radhika with her Abeer……. Dil hi to hai!!