It was 4 am in the morning and Shweta got up with a start. She did not know what woke her up but she knew that she would not sleep so easily again. She took her phone to browse Facebook. She saw that one of her school friends with whom she had not spoken to for eight years was getting married. She immediately ‘liked’ her picture. She always wondered what if she texted her on chat once. What if she asked, ‘Hey just out of curiosity let’s meet.’ But she simply ‘liked’ the picture.
She got up from her bed and stood at the balcony looking at the city lights. She thought about her break-up which happened a year ago. She took out her phone and browsed endlessly her ex-boyfriend’s photo. Nights like these had passed many months. Looking at photos, reading news, reading WhatsApp messages but somehow she never cried. Her dad passed away four months ago and yet she never cried much. She thought of the school poem sometimes – home they brought her warrior dead. She wondered if she would ever cry again. She saw pictures of her college friends – some successful, some married and some pregnant. Shweta had many friends but every time she switched on Facebook she thought that there are so many people she is not in touch with but she would have liked to know them mores. Thankfully it was Saturday tomorrow so it was fine if she browsed a little more.
It was Saturday, 3 pm . Shweta sat in her balcony with her phone. She read her Twitter updates, laughed at some jokes. She saw one of her school friends, Radhika, messaged her – Hello. She quickly messaged – Hello, How are you? The only relationship Shweta shared with her was that of ‘likes’. They chatted for an hour and decided to meet for coffee in the afternoon.
Shweta was apprehensive about meeting her. They were best of friends for three years in school. She had even got her a painting when she had travelled to Sikkim with her parents.
“Hey”, called Radhika.
“Hi!” Shweta smiled. Radhika, sat down in front of her and ordered a latte.
“How come you pinged me?”, asked Shweta.
“I don’t know. I saw you online and remembered our dance routine for annual function and now that I am a professional dancer thought of just checking.”
It had been twelve years since they had spoken. ‘A lot must have changed’, thought Shweta.
“So, you are a professional dancer? I saw your photos of Comicon in the States. You are lucky”, said Shweta.
“You still read?” asked Radhika
“Yeah, I picked up this book, a thriller –Pilgrim. Seems interesting.”
“I am reading Rumi currently,” answered Radhika. “You must read.”
“Not in the mood for love”, Shweta smiled.
“How did it happen?” asked Radhika. Shweta knew what she meant. She never updated her status on Facebook but anyone who scouts the social network, can connect the dots.
“Same old story – grew apart”, said Shweta.
“Its’s better than being cheated”, laughed Radhika –a disdainful laugh with touch of melancholy.
They spoke for two hours. They spoke like women who had just woken up from childhood.
When Shweta was about to leave, Radhika asked abruptly, “I am going to London two months from now, you want to join? Platform 9 ¾… Remember?
“You remember that!” Said Shweta surprised.
Shweta walked back home. She thought about the time when Radhika and she would go to drawing class and discuss Harry Potter. Her father would come to pick her up. While going back home there used to be a cheap Kulfi shop where they would eat Kulfi together. She thought of London and if she would meet her childhood there. She thought of many things and suddenly she took out her phone and called her ex. It was one of those involuntary moments when you know what you are doing something but you don’t know why you are doing it.
He answered, ‘Happy anniversary’. Shweta was shocked. It was the day when they had kissed for the first time.
“You remember?” she asked.
“I remember everything”, he answered. Shweta disconnected the phone stood in the balcony. Tears rolled down and she sat down looking at the vast city. She took out her father’s photo and cried. She cried helplessly and she knew that nothing would fill that hollow part of her heart. While the world updated its new status, shared comments and likes, she sobbed in her balcony. She fell asleep on the balcony floor crying, the world forgotten and locked up in her phone.