We had been friends for a while now, Nikhil and I. We had met through a common friend and had been hanging out on and off - with a group of our friends and otherwise.
I was really fond of him and thought he was a great, fun guy. I was always entertained when he was around and I definitely wanted him to be a friend! But taking it any further with him was just something I thought was impossible. He, on the other hand, wanted something else from the very beginning. And he was crystal clear about that.
The first time we had met was at our common friend Ria’s house. I was looking for her house when I saw her standing outside with some guy, waving at me. That guy was of course Nikhil. Most of the evening after that for me went by in just talking to him. It felt like we were old friends catching up after a long time. No one, not even us ourselves could have said that it was the first time we had ever met. There was just a sense of ease between the two of us. And somehow, so much to talk about!
I felt like I had just made a great new friend. Nikhil, however, thought he had just met a potential girlfriend! He called me the very next day and asked me to come with him for this concert he had tickets for. I, trying not to give him the wrong impression at all about how I felt, quickly made an excuse and politely declined.
We met soon after, though. And I started hanging out with Ria, him and some of their other friends quite often. We would meet at least once a week and it was always amazingly fun! But he didn’t give up on asking me out. Although he did it very subtly now. A random movie plan here and a coffee plan there. And though I tried to get out of it most times because I knew he didn’t mean to ask me out as just a friend, one day I just could not get myself to say no!
And so, I went with him for a play to the Indian Habitat Centre in Delhi. It was perhaps the first time it was just him and I, in a sense. And although we sat there together watching the play as just friends, I suddenly found myself wishing that he would reach over and grab my hand. But he didn’t. So I sat quietly and told myself to concentrate and watch the play!
He asked afterwards if I would like to get some coffee and I said yes. But by now I had forgotten once again that I had ever wanted to hold his hand and thought of him as Nikhil, my friend. Coffee soon turned into dinner because we couldn’t seem to stop talking. We were having an endless discussion about everything under the sun! We finally decided it was time to go home around midnight and he offered to drop me back. So I sat in his car and off we went.
There was a strange silence for a minute or two. And for some very odd reason I felt like I knew what he was going to say. So before he could say anything at all, I jumped in and said “I love you as a friend, but I’m not looking for a relationship right now. I’m just not in that place.” He looked over, smiled just slightly and said “Okay.” That was it. I didn’t know what to think. Had I spoken completely out of context? Oh god, what had I done! It was too late to take my words back and we were pulling up near my house by now. So we said good night and he left.
I didn’t hear from him for almost a week after. I was super anxious as to why he hadn’t called or even messaged. I missed him and I couldn’t stop wishing that he would just call! Even when I was out and doing other things, I was distracted. I couldn’t stop thinking about him and why he hadn’t called. I wasn’t sure if I should have called him because I felt like I might have upset him. And so I just waited and hoped that he would call soon!
After exactly eight days, my phone rang on the other side of the room and I prayed while walking over to answer it that it was him this time. The name flashed: “Nikhil the clown”. Never in my life did I think that a name flashing on my phone could make me feel as happy and joyous as it did in that moment. I had butterflies in my stomach and although I had no idea why he was calling or what he was going to say, I was just beyond excited.
I didn’t tell him for a few months after we starting dating that I loved him, but I knew even before I picked up the phone that day that I was in love. We’ve been together for almost two years now, but little does he know that the moment I actually realized that I loved him was WAY before I finally told him!
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