How Can I Forget My First Love – Story - Part VIII Manila decided to meet Fardeen, the decisions were not in her control, just following her inner voice, a woman with strong head had started listening to her heart. She did not ponder much, but definitely took time to deck herself up for the grand meet. She had to teach Tony a lesson too. Fardeen was helplessly waiting outside Sterling theatre. She was very happy to see him and a bit shy too. She has never interacted with him like Farhan, she still calls him, ”Sir”. “Do you like to eat Chaats? He asked her politely. She nodded in the affirmative. They went to Vithal Behlpuri House closeby. She called in for a Dahi Puri and he called for Sev Puri. He opened a gift wrap and she was taken by surprise, it was a ladies wrist watch. “It’s for you, my gift on your confirmation, so that I get to see you more in office and for sure”. “Sir, why do you spend so much on me?” “Coz, I take you as my friend, yes, I am sorry, that I did not speak to you much about myself as in office we get very few pleasantries to exchange, but, I had no intention of hiding anything from you. You are upset about it right”. Her eyes met his with confidence this time. “I like your company and you are the real spectrum in office, you have made the office so lively, you have also bridged the gap of boss and his colleagues. I agree, I am not so friendly with others coz they have no conversation skills, with you we can talk on various topics, you are so well read, good listener, good company, good friend and you will be a good wife too, your that boyfriend, what’s his name… hm….. can’t recollect, is very lucky”, Manila realized that her feelings are one sided, she thanked her stars for not goofing up the issue. He has taken her as a good friend and oh!! What act she had put up.. tears in her eyes.. she felt ashamed of herself… Lord, thank you very much for that call on his mobile, else, it would have been very embarrassing.. she sealed her emotions. “I had no chance for love marriage, back from States after completing my education join hands with Dad who was a shrewd business man. He left us in a span of six months. In Six months, I picked up the threads from him. Farhan is a better business man than me, where money is concerned”, She had to agree with that, he never fished out any gift for her. “Mom wanted me to get married and this was the first girl I had seen for marriage, I agreed coz my wife has no airs of being affluent and she is a very good cook”, The last sentence punched Manila on her nose. “We enjoyed our honey moon at Australia, a beautiful place, a must see; have you ever been abroad?” ‘No”, “You must have also made plans of your honey moon with your love. Does he discuss something like this or is he a dumbo?” “He was saying Simla, Darjeeling, hill stations”, “mmm…. He seems to be a man of taste”. They started discussing each others love and Manila completely forgot she was in love, May be infatuation. “Are you happy with your increment and your job profile, tell me if you are not, I can help you.” “Sir thanks a ton for considering for two raise in short span of time. Your staff is also good except for… “, “What happened, tell me, do not hide.. “, “Forget it Sir,” “Manila, I am sitting here with you as a friend and please be free to discuss. I always give you an opportunity, but, you fail to grab it”, he pulled her nose. “Sir, since how long Tony is with you?” “Tony is an efficient staff, he is with us for past six years or may be more, any problem he creates”, Manila had decided to finish him off today. His mean comments were no more tolerable. She poured her heart out to Fardeen. He was shocked, “How come none of the girls came and complained to me? It’s not fair of him to behave so shabbily in office. Do not worry; you will know when he has curled his tail”. She was happy to have convinced her boss about Tony’s behaviour. She was not lying nor was she exaggerating. Manila did not want to discuss about her friendliness with Farhan. She left it untouched. Manila spent four years of her life in the same office. Now she was Dy. Manager – Marketing and Sales. Fardeen and Farhaan had let her leave office an hour early for a year so that she can successfully complete her MBA. She thanked her stars for having such nice boss. Later Tony was never heard only seen. “Manila, I am calling from ‘Seth Group of Companies’, we are looking out for a dynamic Manager for Marketing and Sales. Your profile is very impressive, if you are interested, we can have a lunch meeting tomorrow at ‘Copper Chimneys’. Opportunity was interesting and tempting too, she has to go, whether to tell her boss about it or …… she was in a dilemma. She finally decided to speak to Farhaan, “Seth Group of Companies is a much larger company than ours, if you get to join hands with them, your career is made, I would definitely like you to attend the interview. Do not worry, I will not discuss with Fardeen till you want me to”, Farhaan and herself had become pals by now. She kissed him on his forehead and went for the meeting. The job profile was very interesting and there was much growth factor attached to the opportunity. She was interviewed by Director – Marketing and HR. They were pleased with her and the offer was open to her. The package offered was very tempting. She agreed to the offer and walked back home recollecting her first day of interview with Fardeen. She had traveled very far and with poise. Indeed, she was lucky to have them as a boss. She called up Farhaan and told him that the offer is tempting. The next day she sat with Farhaan for a long time and discussed the opportunity. He wanted her to take it up, she had already made up her mind, but did not want them to know. She put forth her resignation letter. Fardeen was taken by shock. She explained to him about the good break she is getting in her career, finally it was decided that she would bid good bye to this job in 20 days. She had instructed the HR Manager to adjust the leave notice with her Privilege Leave. There was serious man hunt going on in the office to replace Manila. Farhaan spent all his time sitting in her cabin, whilst Fardeen looked lost for words. Farhaan had even thrown a party for her. He had come with his fiancé. On her last working day, Fardeen again requested her to meet up with him at Delhi Durbar. They were sitting opposite to each other. There was barely any conversation between them. “You will not answer my calls any more, will not talk to me, busy life, what say”. Fardeen broke the silence. “I will”, “What happened to your boyfriend of the last four years? Why is he not marrying you? Is he doing something on your expense? Manila, tell me something about him.” Manila was no more demure; she had matured with age and was a more confident female today. “I never had a boyfriend, now do not tell me that was not your wife, Vanessa had confirmed with me that she is your spouse”, “Whatt!! You cooked up stories and why were you leading a lonely life”, “Sir, I do not fall in love so easily, my friends are all married today, love marriage you can say, they keep teasing me, work, work, and no love, makes Manila rich and healthy”, “But, you did fall in love once”, “How do you know that?” “Just touch me and say, you have fallen in love once and that’s true or false?” Manila never expected the conversation to lead to her private life. “Sir, why are we discussing all this?” “Coz, you do not have a boy friend and you were fooling me. Touch me and say, you never fell in love”. He pulled her hand and placed it on his chest, “Touch me and say”, Fardeen always had a way in her heart and it will remain that way forever. She looked at him with moist eyes. “Manila, your problem is you gulp your feelings, at least today, I want you to tell me.” She could hardly see him through her wet eyes. He wiped her tears and continued, “Every time I give you an opportunity to speak, you are lost for words. Then you ponder and set those beautiful eyes on fire, they are not meant for tears but to convey the feelings of heart, don’t you know that”. He pulled her chin up, “Manila, I love you very much. When I went to Australia with my wife, I missed you a lot, Must have written so many sms and have deleted. Must have dialed your number so many times but have cancelled before the ring, I was not knowing where I am leading to. My wife was carrying our first baby and that saved my marriage. I just bottled my feelings for you but still… “, He wiped her tears once again, she could see his eyes turning misty, “ I called you out on that day to tell you my feelings, but later realized what future would I give you, the moment I reveal my feelings for you we would be lovers and lovers forever. Keeping me in mind, you will not marry anybody and I will be having my fun at home and with you too. I will not be doing justice to you nor my wife. I wanted to call her quits only if she was not carrying my baby. Manila, we are actually made for each other but we have to wait to be with each other. It was just four months of my marriage when I first saw you, wish you had walked four months early and I know you love me. I also know Farhaan tried all his tricks with you, but, you kept him as a friend. I also know about your movie trip with him, Subash had seen you in the theatre. I never asked you coz I was confident, he could be a friend to you or your brother – in – law, but not your lover. I wanted you to get married and settle happily. You may hate me a lot, Mans, for being silent with my love, as age progesses you will always remember me for not spoiling your life. True love never dies and our love was true. Today, I am happy that you are going as it may give you a chance to mingle with people, may be you would meet your life partner; sad to let you go too”, “Fardeen, at least once you should have said, you love me”, “No, it takes four words to let the heart string loose but no words can heal its wounds”, “Wish you all the best, you have my contacts, can call me any time, I will be there for you, I love you and will always love you, won’t you say something”, “Love you Fardeen, Love you very much”, As she was about to leave, he gave her a gift wrap. This is for you, go home and see what it is. She hired a cab and the night seemed endlessly. She opened the wrap, it contained his photograph signed by him “Love You Mans and forever” with date and a gold necklace. He was correct, if he had told her that he loved her, she would not be where she is today and she would be an emotional wreck… Today the future is waiting with open arms, she just has to embrace it. Her fiancé kissed her on her neck, “Sweets what are you doing standing at the window, you look lost my love, just confirmed the dates with the Brahmin, our wedding would be on 14th February”, She smiled back at him and hid her face on his chest whispering to herself, “How can I forget my first love? Impossible for me and now fate has sealed it with, 14th February – Fardeen’s birthday”. THE END.......... Dear friends, Thanks for having so much of patience to sit through the VIII posts. Hope you all enjoyed reading the story. Shanthi, thanks a ton, for being the first one to hit the post. Waiting for your response.