It was the first year of our long distance relationship. We both used to live in Delhi but I had moved to Mumbai for my post-graduate diploma while he was still in Delhi, finishing up his last year of engineering college. Initially, things were fine. The distance didn’t seem to be much of an issue for either of us. We used to talk on the phone or Skype once a week and we managed to stay in touch with each other.
It was after a few months, when things started to become hectic for both of us. I had very rigorous days in college starting from the morning till the evening and he was having a tough time trying to figure what his next step would be. In between all this, the number of calls reduced and skyping just disappeared. We’d message but even then we would end up fighting simply because he wasn’t free when I was and I wasn’t free when he was.
It was around my birthday in October that the pang of longing finally hit me hard. This was the first time in four years that he would not be around for my birthday and that really made me sad. So one night I asked him why he couldn’t just take a train and come for my birthday weekend. He used to live in the college hostel anyway so it wasn’t like he would have to lie to his parents about anything, he could just come and nobody would even need to find out. ‘I can’t. You know I can’t.’ was his reply, ‘Why not? It’s my birthday, I will pay for half the tickets if money is an issue.’ I told him, ‘Money isn’t the issue. I am just really busy and I don’t want to miss out on my classes.’ he replied. Of course, this made me angry but there was nothing I could do without turning it into a fight and I didn’t want to do that. So I decided to ignore it and hung up the call after a while.
After that we didn’t talk for a couple of days, mostly because I was sulking but also because he didn’t try. The whole distance issue was getting to us and I could see it. So, after a lot of discussion with my friends, I decided that I would go back to Delhi on my birthday weekend and spend it with him. I went home and quickly booked my tickets and I was so excited, I could hardly wait to surprise my long distance boyfriend!
I was planning a multitude of things to do, how I would go and meet him outside his hostel, where we would stay, what we would do, so many ideas were storming in my mind. It was only a day before I was supposed to leave that I thought I should probably talk to one of his friends to make sure I can give him my surprise properly.
I called up his hostel-mate, the only one I actually knew, and told him about my plan, asked him to keep it a secret and told him to make sure my boyfriend stays in his room around the time that I would reach. He sounded weirdly hesitant about it and replied only in quiet murmurs to my elaborate plans. It was after almost a few hours of talking to him that I got a call from my boyfriend ‘Did you call up my friend?’ he asked, ‘What? Well, yeah, I wanted to ask him something.’ ‘Are you planning to come to Delhi?’ he asked, I was furious at his friend for ruining my plan, what was this immature behaviour? ‘Well…’ I started speaking, ‘Listen, I told you I am really busy. I know it’s your birthday but I have been there every year, it won’t make a difference if I am not around for one year, we’re both mature beings, right?’ I was shocked to hear him say this! My eyes filled up with tears and I hung up the call.
My face had turned red and in a fit of rage, I cancelled my tickets, switched off my phone and locked myself up in the room, crying. I had no idea when I stopped crying or when I went to sleep. All I remember is waking up to someone ringing the bell of my house a lot of times. I got out of bed, my eyes felt like someone had taken a hammer and hit both of them really hard and went out to open the door. I planned to shout at my roommate for forgetting to take her keys again but I was shocked to find my boyfriend standing outside the house when I opened the door.
‘Surprise!’ he said with a cheeky grin. I stared at him for a full minute before realizing what was happening and punching him hard on the arm! He hugged me tight, apologizing for the way he behaved last night and explaining how his friend had called him right before he was about to take a train to Mumbai and he had to be rude so that I don’t get on that flight and end up in Delhi. I laughed and kissed him hard.
This whole surprise chaos did end up with a lot of money wasted but hey, at least I got my birthday wish!
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