“Here, have some water.” Riddhima said and gave Sahitya some water filled in the bottle cup. Sahitya drank the water slowly as Riddhima paced up the car a bit.
“You know you shouldn’t be driving. You are still not eligible.” Sahitya said in a soft tone.
“So, you want to drive.” Riddhima said grinning at him. Sahitya looked at her and grimaced. He hated driving on the hills. He felt too scared to drive down the mountains. Riddhima, of course, knew that.
“I don’t understand why I have to go with you. If you are old enough to drive, you are old enough to take care of yourself and roam around alone.” Sahitya said.
“Oh come on! You know why you are coming. I want my friends to meet you. Shreya has been asking about you and I want to give a face to the persona I am talking about before they start thinking I am imagining things.” Riddhima said in a single breath.
“What have you been telling your friends?” He asked angrily.
“The truth!” Riddhima said unabashedly.
“That I am a sixty-four year old man who is chaperoning you because you are a sixteen year old girl.” Sahitya said hopefully.
“Yeah. And that the hens in our house have laid golden eggs and we are soon going to be the richest couple in the world.”
“We are not a couple.”
“It has been months, Sahi. I think it is time you accept that we are in a relationship.”
“You are an idiot. Just because you stay with me doesn’t mean anything. I… We… Nothing has happened between us.” Sahitya said while looking away.
“Nothing is a strong word Sahi. And nothing has happened because I don’t want you to go to jail just because I could not control myself for 2 years.” Riddhima said and stuck her tongue at Sahitya.
“You think I am that kind of a person. I have no control. You live with me because I am an old man who is kind to you. Nothing more.”
“Of course Sahi. Now, be more kind and close the cap of the bottle. And wipe of the water baby.” Riddhima said and wiped a few drops from Sahitya’s lips. Then she went ahead and licked her finger.
“Yummy.” Riddhima said much to the disdain of Sahitya. He did not understand how he was stuck in this situation.
It was a few months ago when he met Riddhima for the first time. A sixteen year old girl, she was peppy and full of dreams, ideas and plans. Her biggest plan was to meet Sahitya, a writer she adored and wanted to take autograph and a photograph with. Sahitya met with her in a party organised by her friend’s father. The party continued till 2 am in the morning. Sahitya and Riddhima talked till 6 am in the morning. It was almost 15 years since Sahitya had seen the sun in the morning without a wink of sleep and he could not believe that he had the time of his life. Riddhima was the girl he would have fallen for as a 16 year old boy. Riddhima was the girl, he would have fallen for as a 25 year old man. Riddhima was the girl, he would have fallen for as a 45 year old middle-aged elderly. Riddhima was the girl, he fell for at the age of 64.
That day, he came back to his house in Shimla. He had to get away from the girl who stole his heart. Next day, Riddhima was at the front of his door, with her bags. Sahitya called her parents immediately and for some reason, they let her make her own decision. Sahitya tried to explain them the gravity of the situation but all he heard from Riddhima’s mother was –
“You will find out why we accept her decision.”
It has been months and Sahitya knows why — because Riddhima doesn’t take no for an answer. In that 16 year old body is a soul that is older and wiser than what Sahitya will ever be. He has never been happier than in the past one year but each day, he fears that Riddhima would realise the absurdity of the situation and leave him.
Everyday, he tries to push her away before he gets too attached. Everyday, he looses the battle a little bit. He did love Riddhima!
And he was scared shitless about what is going to happen after two years.
Note: I wrote this story a few years ago. Since then, I come back to this story to see if I can make it better. One day, I hope to write this story perfectly – to expand on how Sahitya and Riddhima met, why they gravitate towards each other, and where do they go from here – in the hope of understanding love a bit better, understanding relationships a bit better. Till then, I will keep trying, writing and rewriting this story.