Sunday, March 16, 2014

Further and Closer

“Karan, don’t worry sweetheart, you’ll be fine. The doctors are here and they won’t let anything happen to you,” Aashna said as tears fell down her cheeks.

I could hear someone speaking to me, but it was all a blur. There was a weird haze around me which blurred everything except her. There she was. My fairy, my angel sent by the Lord to protect me. Tears glistened on her cheeks and I tried wiping them away, but my hands felt as though they were made of lead.

“I’m sorry, I couldn’t keep my promise,” I strained in a feeble voice.

“Karan, it’s all right. Nothing’s going to happen to you.”

“I’m sorry Aash…Aashna. Tell our…our Sunain that I love her very much, and that I will miss her.”

“You tell her yourself you idiot. You’re coming home with me in an hour, understood? And yes, I’m angry with you, especially for breaking that promise you’d made me,” said Aashna, feigning anger, as she broke down and clutched my hand closely to her heart.

“Please be normal Karan, please…I beg you,” she went on as a steady flow of tears began falling down my cheeks. The approaching darkness was just punctuated by her words, which gave way to a new light at the center, and I remembered the promise I had made to her.

“You are such a moron Karan! I didn’t expect this from you! Not at all!”

The shrieks echoed in my ears as I stood in front of the mirror. There in the backdrop stood my ready rucksack all set to travel to Delhi. Freshly out of engineering school, I was looking forward to my first job, and here I was on the eve of the day it all came together. Trying to compose myself, I slumped onto the sofa, and breathed out loud.

“She doesn’t want me near her, but I can’t manage to stay from her. When I asked her that day after the placements, she just shouted back at me and told me to get away. I wasn’t worth she said,” I mumbled to myself and swore rather badly while my hand punched the sofa hard.

“She doesn’t want you near her Karan, so just let her be. Concentrate on your job and don’t think about her at all. She just craves the attention you give her. No, she chose London ‘cause my initial plan was to go there. Then due to that fight we had, I chose Delhi…Karan, she’s just your best friend. You’ll get another one just like her soon. Now get your bag and start moving.

“She stood by you in your worse and now that things are good, you are running away from her. You seriously are the best friend anyone would want. She always cares for you and doesn’t allow anything to happen to you as well, but still there are the fights,” I kept mumbling in my head, trying to figure a way out.

“Son, are you ready to leave? The car’s running, and I think if you delay yourself for even a minute, your mom’s going to come marching up the stairs.”

“Yeah dad, I’m just coming in a minute,” I said, looking up with a watery smile.

“Any trouble?”

“No, I’m doing great.”

“By the way, is Aashna coming to see you at the airport? Where did she get placed?”

“Huh, what? Uhm no, she isn’t coming. She’s got placed in London, and I think her flight leaves at the same time as mine.”

“You’ll aren’t meeting today, are you?”


“We’re early enough. I’ll have your mother call Aashna up to tell her that you’re coming to meet her now. The domestic terminal isn’t far from the international one, so we’ll make it to your flight in time.”

“Dad, we’ll get late. I’ll call her up later from the plane.”

“What’s up with you two? Problems?”

“Kinda yes. We’ll be back to normal soon. Our fights don’t last long.”

“This fight’s going to take you both miles apart, literally. And she’s a good girl son, don’t ever lose her.”

Turning to leave, he went on, “She fights with you just because she cares. And I know you feel the same for her. Just don’t let her go.”

“She doesn’t love me dad. I asked her already.”

“Asking is very different from proposing. There’s a small red box in my bedside drawer. Just get it for me, will you? I’m heading down and telling your mother to make the call, come fast.”

“Thanks dad, I’ll just be a minute.”

With a look in the mirror, I muttered to myself, “You love her Karan, and now you need to get her.”

Hitching the rucksack on my back, I walked out of the room and ran to grab the box my dad had told me to fetch. Rushing into to the waiting car, I panted, “Sorry for the delay.”

“It’s fine Karan. Anyways I think it’s the last time you’re going to be late. Aashna will surely bash you up if do such a thing in the future,” my mother said with a twinkle in her eye.

“Mom, there’s nothing between us. And I reckon she would bash me up if she heard you say that as well.”

“Oh, you’ll have already reached that stage! Great!”

I kept quiet and just looked up at the stars high above, as my stomach groaned with the uncommon mixture of nervousness and happiness.

“Which Airline is she going by?”

“She’s going by British Airways.”

“We had gone by Etihad, hadn’t we?” I still remember the food and the wonderful seating.”

“We’d gone by British Airways itself mum. I was the one who recommended British Airways to Aashna. British Airways has always been the best in this business, so I didn’t think of anything else.”

“I don’t care what they have done. I just noticed that you have been doing all her planning work too. Does she know to cook? Now I get it, that friend who cooked for you there was Aashna! Oh my God! Why didn’t I see it before!”

I just glared at my mother as she laughed happily from the front seat.

As we reached the airport, I spotted her waiting alone at the entrance, her eyes surfing the crowd for a familiar face. I got down from the car without waiting for it to halt and ran to her, unable to hold on for a single extra moment.

“Hi Karan. What are you doing here? You haven’t forgotten you have a flight, have you?”

“I wanted to tell you something so I came. I guess I’ll make it in time to the airport if you don’t have anything to reply to me.”

“Talk fast; I have to clear security in 10 minutes.”

Taking her to a side, I began.

“I am extremely sorry for turning up here like this. This is impromptu, so I really don’t know how to go on. And I haven’t done something like this ever so I don’t have any experience as well.”

“Karan! Fast!”

“I love you very much and I want to marry you, so will you do it,” I asked at a pace comparable to that of a fired rifle round.

“I am going to hit you on the head unless you talk sense within the next 10 seconds.”

“This is what the world has come to. And if Rahul Gandhi keeps on talking his women empowerment stuff anymore, the world will soon be devoid of men and the jails will be filled with women. I just want to tell you before you go that I will follow you everywhere you go to make sure that you are happy and fine. I will never leave your hand and I will be with you wherever may you be.”

“So you’ve asked for a transfer to London even before attending a single day at office?”

“Are you crazy? I just made a promise to stay as close as I can to you, and to accompany you as far as you go. I just proposed to you like that and you are…”

“I told you that day, didn’t I?”

“That day was that day Aashna. And at that time I wasn’t sure myself. But now, I am. I am ready to stand with you forever, and I will follow you everywhere, with or without your consent.”

“You have seriously gone mad. And by the way, I thought you would have said this differently considering I have told you all that I want from life.”

“I have a ring as well; I didn’t forget that at least. Well, my dad reminded me. And I’m not doing that knee thing at any cost. Meeting my future in-laws in dirty clothes seems so weird. I’ll propose like that later on if you want.”

“You really sure you want to hitch me? I’m really troublesome, and what about our fights?”

“We’ll manage somehow; that’s what we have done for so many years. Now stop playing with me, just go and sit in the car with my mum and dad. I’ll cancel our tickets and come.”

“Karan, our jobs! We can’t lose them already!”

“You don’t need to work till the wedding at least. After that it’s your choice. I hadn’t liked the offer I’d got anyways. I’ll just go about completing that book I started. If that works, then maybe you won’t need to work at all.”

“Don’t tell me that you’re going to manage the house and also the cooking part. God knows how I’ll survive with that food you make.”

“It’s not that horrible, is it?”

Aashna just looked at me with the hint of a laugh in her eyes.

“Don’t tell anyone about the promise I made to you, especially mom. I don’t want anyone to know about it.”

“I still can’t believe you said that, you know? Can you say it once again?”

“I’ll follow you everywhere you go, just to stay close with you.”

The scene slipped out of focus and the darkness returned. The light was hazier than before, but now there was the sound of siren playing in the background. With humungous effort, I forced my eyes open and looking at my wife, my love, I tried to apologize.

In reply, she just said, “I’m coming with you wherever you go. You made me a promise on that day, and now I’m telling you this. I love you Karan, I always will.”

2 years later

“Bye Sunain dear, come soon.”

“Bye dad.”

There she smiled at me, from the picture which hung on the wall. Aashna. Her whole life had gone in caring for me and in helping me achieve my dreams, and I hadn’t been able to do anything for her, ever. Even when I had been a centimeter away from death with my heart almost destroyed, she had helped. Again and again, she kept doing it for me, and that smile of hers never left its place.

She wasn’t far from me now, she was really close, very close, and I would stop living only when she did. She was now my heart, and literally.

This entry is written for the ‘Go further to get closer’ contest by British Airways in association with You can book tickets and view their exclusive offers by visiting their official site (

This is the story of Sumeet and Chetna who got closer by going further, with the help of British Airways.

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