This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan. To read from the beginning, click here.
The flight from Srinagar lands at the capital of India. The flight is a direct flight to Chennai. Swami stays back in the flight as others get down after waving him goodbye. ‘I’ll see you all in Rajkot!’ he mentions as the gang proceeds to leave the Airbus.
They enter the arrivals section of the airport. Indian classical music soothes the atmosphere. Arpit hugs Ruhi tightly, ‘I love you a lot! Abhi and I are going to Pune to meet Latika and get things right. I’ll call you once I reach Mumbai. I’ve figured out what I want to do.’ ‘Whatever it is, I’ll support you. Call me on how things go! Abhinav, all the best! Bring Latika back!!’ Abhinav smiles back at Ruhi. With these words and a promise to meet again, Ruhi turns around and starts walking towards the conveyor belt to collect her luggage along with Divyah, Kanishka and Pawan.
Arpit, Abhinav, Niket and Swami proceed to the waiting area of the departure section. Niket calls up Latika to take her address under the pretext of sending her an invite to his engagement. She mentions she won’t be coming but Niket keeps pleading; she finally parts with her address. Latika wonders who all would be coming for the engagement – would Abhinav make it? That would definitely be a no as Niket also has lost touch with him; he won’t be flying from Berlin to attend an engagement. She gets back to work as these thoughts continue to run in the background.
Arpit is pretty tensed, he paces up and down the hall, asking Abhinav to think what he is going to tell Latika. Abhinav is comparatively relaxed, he knows what he is going to tell her; but he is uncertain about whether she would want to listen to all this after four years. She did her MBA in finance from ISB, Mohali. She’s had sufficient time and opportunities to meet new people and move on.
As Arpit settles down on the chair, Madhu tries to say something, but he is cut by the announcement. Boarding for flight to Bangalore begins. ‘It’s nothing that can’t wait. I’ll see you guys at Rajkot! Bon voyage!!,’ Madhu lifts his handbag and proceeds towards gate 3A. He breathes deeply; he was so close this time. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be. He’ll try again in Rajkot. Niket and Arpit look at each other – they wonder what did he have to say which had to wait for Rajkot.
After an hour, boarding begins for flight bound to Ahmedabad. Arpit hugs Niket and thanks him for helping clearing the misunderstandings. ‘Had it not been for you meeting Latika, I wouldn’t have been able to resolve my differences with Abhinav.’ ‘That’s why I always ask you to listen to me!!’ An array of swear words follow. They all laugh on it remembering their canteen days. Niket proceeds ahead. He has to board a bus from Ahmedabad to Rajkot later.
‘I want to thank you for doing this.’ Abhinav speaks as he sifts through the newspaper. ‘For what? I was the one who led you two to separate.’ ‘Yes, but the decision of separation was mine; I wasn’t fine with putting love over friendship. I still ain’t. You opened up a new possibility for me – I had never thought I’d be able to get back to Latika without hurting you.’
Arpit weighed those words, ‘I feel so ungrateful for having doubted our friendship when you have placed it even above your own feelings. Had I been in your place, I wouldn’t have stopped being with Latika if we both loved each other.’ ‘But I am with Latika, though not in physicality, you’ll understand this as time passes and your bond with Ruhi strengthens.’
“Good afternoon passengers. This is the pre-boarding announcement for flight 75D to Pune. We are now inviting those passengers with small children, and any passengers requiring special assistance, to begin boarding at this time. Please have your boarding pass and identification ready. Regular boarding will begin in approximately ten minutes time. Thank you.”
They proceed towards Gate 2, excited and vulnerable.
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