‘To heck with Valentine’s Day,’ Mallika thinks as she presses Aditya’s number one more time. Same announcement.
The number you are trying to reach is not reachable.…
‘No, I am not going to call him anymore.’
A big box of heart-shaped Ferrero Rocher chocolates, a red rose and a jewellery box containing a pair of diamond earrings are resting on Shruti’s(she showed these to Mallika) desk. Looks like Himanshu has spent a large portion of his salary on Shruti this Valentine’s Day. And here is Mallika, totally clueless about her boyfriend’s whereabouts. She looks away from Shruti’s desk. The gifts are pricking her eyes badly.
‘Okay……’ Mallika hangs up the call. ‘If work is that important to him, then let it be,’ she says to herself.
Mallika doesn’t believe in the concept of Valentine’s day. Still, when people around you receive gifts and go to candle-lit dinners, then mind expects surprises automatically. She looks at her watch. It’s 1:50 pm in India, that means 7:20 pm in Sydney. Aditya must have left work by now. Unless he is stuck in team meetings as usual. Workaholic Aditya often puts his mobile in flight mode during meetings. But how much time does it take for him to at least send a text saying Happy Valentine’s Day, baby?
Mallika goes back to her unfinished article on 10 Tips To Write A Good Post For Your Blog. But her mind is roaming on the other part of the globe.
She and Aditya met while doing their Masters in a prestigious college in Mumbai. They hit it off well as friends and started dating shortly. Good GPAs fetched them nice jobs in Mumbai. Everything was going well. Suddenly Aditya got a job offer from Sydney and shifted there two years back.
Thanks to Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp and sex in Mallika’s rented apartment (whenever Aditya is back in town for a short break) for making their long-distance relationship survive this far. But off late, she has noticed a change in Aditya’s behaviour. Office meetings, work trips and deadlines – Mallika often hears these excuses whenever she insists him to spend some more time on phone or video calls.
Gone are those days when Mallika wanted to hang up the call. But Aditya used to hold her back by saying, ‘Five more minutes, honey. I am feeling so lonely without you here.’ Nowadays, Aditya appears to be in a hurry. He has ample of time to party with his colleagues though.
‘You know how important it is to maintain good relationship at work,’ this is how Aditya explains his pictures from different parties in Facebook.
And Sienna? That girl from Aditya’s team always needs to lean upon him while clicking pictures. There have been moments, when Mallika thought of asking Aditya about her. But she didn’t want to be a nagging girlfriend(like her ex-boyfriend often complained). She has forced herself to believe that Aditya would never cheat on her.
Failing to concentrate anymore on work, Mallika grabs a cup of tea from the canteen. She was about to take a sip from her cup while scrolling the Facebook timeline in her phone, when a selfie almost knocked the air out of her lungs.
Sienna is standing (read: leaning) on a smiling Aditya in the airport. The post says :
Sienna White is 🙂 Feeling happy with Aditya Sen
Now she gets why Aditya’s number is unreachable for so long. This is the price Mallika pays for having so much faith in Aditya. Tears flow down Mallika’s eyes and she dials Aditya’s number.
The number you are trying to reach is not reachable…
‘Maa, why don’t you enjoy your potluck party without worrying for my dinner?’ Mallika stands in the middle of the stairs and frustratedly searches her apartment’s keys inside the bag.
‘Yes, I will try to come home this weekend,’ she says.
‘No. Tell her, you will be very busy with me this whole week,’ a voice comes from somewhere. Mallika looks up and her eyes see a six-feet tall, strikingly handsome guy with sharp features and a dimple hiding under the stubble. Aditya! He is winking at her.
‘What the…What are you doing here, Adi?’ Mallika asks astonished.
‘To give you a surprise,’ he replies. ‘And going by your look, it seems that I have succeeded…..Happy Valentine’s Day, baby.’ He spreads his arms and within seconds Mallika surrenders herself to him. They remain like this for sometime without caring that someone might see them.
‘Gosh ! I am waiting since an hour for you here. Why is your phone switched off?’
‘Look who is complaining! Do you have any idea how many times I have called you since morning? Your number was unreachable,’ Mallika says.
‘Sorry baby. Saw your missed calls. But I wanted to surprise you, so…..my flight also got delayed. Thankfully, Sienna was also travelling. Hence got some company in the airport.’
‘Sienna? Where was she going?’ Mallika wants to dig more into this character.
‘New York. To spend the Valentine’s Day with her girlfriend.’
Mallika raises her eyebrows.
‘Umm…yeah…she is gay,’ Aditya shrugs. ‘Anyway, forget her. Now don’t you want your Valentine’s Day gift?’
‘Come inside first,’ Mallika brings out the door keys with relief. Sienna is gay!
‘Before you let me into your room, can I say something?’
‘What?’ Mallika frowns.
‘See, you know a Finance guy like me has never been very good in such things. Still….Mili, I think this long-distance relationship is taking a toll on both of us. You waiting for me here and me unable to give you the attention you deserve from there. I want to put an end to this waiting-and-missing game.’
Mallika’s heart is beating drums inside. What does this mean? A break-up?
‘So, Miss. Mallika Roy,’Aditya puts his hand inside his jacket’s pocket and brings out a small box. ‘If you don’t have any objection, then will you be kind enough to allow me in your life as your beloved husband?’ He opens the box and Mallika finds a stunning diamond ring inside it. ‘Marry me, please.’
Mallika is dumbstruck. She feels short of words. Fifteen minutes ago, she didn’t know how she was going to live without Aditya. And now, as if the whole world has fallen into her lap in a moment.
‘I will marry you,’ she says shyly. ‘Only if….’
‘Only if?’ Aditya asks.
‘Only if you promise me to never let your number be unreachable again.’
Aditya laughs as he slowly slides the ring on her finger.
‘Promise, baby,’ he gives a peck on her lips. ‘I have one more thing to say.’
‘Now what?’ Mallika asks as she puts the key inside the keyhole.
‘I got a promotion.’
‘Really? That’s such a wonderful news, Adi. You are giving one surprise after another….’
Mallika opens the door and switches on the lights of her room leaving behind the insecurities and anxieties on the other end of the door.