Café

“Even our 2 minutes Maggie takes 10 minutes to prepare. #trustIssues”

“Now that’s a serious trust issue.” Pranav spoke to himself while going through a post on his facebook timeline. It was already 1:30 in the night and he knew that in next few hours he has to leave for airport to receive his parents. But there was battle going on between his mind and body. His body needed some rest after an exhausting day but the mind kept it awake.

Pranav, a 23 year old student and a businessman. Businessman? How? Well apart from being a student, he also had a Café. It was all his effort that in a short span of 3 years, his café got a reputable status in the city. From college going youngsters to cute couples to business officials with clients, everyone from every age group made his café a cool hotspot to hang out. Earlier when he told his idea of running a coffee shop to his parents, they opposed him. Especially his father as he had another plans for him. But when he saw his dedication towards his ambition and the day by day progress of his café he appreciated his decision. But his journey from being an average youth with no future plans to one of the youngest business man in the city was not a piece of cake. It’s not a story of his business upbringing. It’s his story of making himself a better person. A story of broken relationship. A story of altered trust. A story of true friends.

4 Years Ago:

“Pranav. Pranav. Wake up son. Don’t you have to go to college? Wake up beta otherwise I’ll call you papa.” It was Pranav’s mother calling him.
“I am mom.” Pranav woke up thinking how rapidly the weekend went. After getting ready he went to the dining hall where he confronted his father, a government official at a high post. “And here comes the Prince. Welcome highness. Hope your night went well.” Said his father taunting him.
“Good morning Pa.”
“hmm Good morning. Do you ever think what you will do if you keep waking up this late?” said his father scolding him mildly.
“I’m going mom.” Pranav told his mother.
“Son your breakfast.” said his mother coming out of the kitchen. But he was already gone.
Pranav always tried to not to be in a conversation with his father in the morning as he always had a single topic, ‘CAREER’.

“Caught again?” said his classmate and brother from another mother, Nipun.

“Absolutely bro. Just tell me the relation between career and duration you sleep at night. What’s the logic behind?” asked Pranav.
“Well, ask your dad.” Nipun said and laughed.
“Why not !” Pranav replied and laughed too. “Still 10 minutes remaining for first lecture. Let’s go and eat something. I skipped my breakfast to skip father’s red chili sauce meal.” he added.
“Agh. My boy is hungry. Ok. Let’s go.” replied Nipun.

………………………….

“Such a boring day brother. Feels like it took a month to end this day.” Complained Pranav after the college.
“Seriously bro. And the history lecture, so boring. I slept twice in 40 minutes.” Said Nipun.
“Me thrice.” Said Pranav and both laughed.

There was an utter silence while driving home. “Still thinking about it?” Nipun asked.
“Hmm? No. No. I’m tired a little bit.” Pranav said.

“No matter how much you hide. I know you’re lying brother.” Nipun spoke to himself.

And actually Pranav was into an another world thinking about everything he went through in past one and a half years.

 

1.5 Years Ago:

 

“Happy Birthday to you

Happy Birthday to you

Happy Birthday to dear Nikita.

Happy Birthday to you.”

The restaurant was at its full blast and it was carried up by Nikita’s friends. After all it was their most adorable friend’s birthday. It was little awkward for Pranav to be there as he barely knew any of Nikita’s friend. But because she insisted, Pranav had to come. Friendship between Nikita and him was not so old, but just in 3 months they developed a bond between each other like they’ve known each other for years. They both met at a social gathering at one of their mutual friend Kenith. As she was the best friend of both, they were introduced to each other much quicker than anyone. It took a while to Pranav to initiate a conversation. But then they started talking to each other every day. Their nights were all dedicated to their endless conversation. And in-between this duration Pranav proposed Nikita. Meanwhile she declined his proposal, they kept talking.

“Pranav, I want to be friends right now. I never thought of you in that way. You’re a nice guy. But I don’t want to be in a relationship right now. I hope you’ll understand.” Nikita texted Pranav the day he proposed him.

“Hmmm. It’s okay. Good Night Nikita. Take care.” Pranav replied back.
“Pranav listen. I’m sorry. But I hope you’ll understand” Nikita said.
“Hey Nikita. Why are you feeling sorry? I know and even I don’t want to take it so fast. It’s ok. Chill. J” Pranav replied. “Actually I’m bit tired today. So feeling sleepy.” He added.
“Ok. J You’re a nice guy. Ok then, good night, sweet dreams. J.” Nikita said.
“Good Night Nikita. J” Pranav said.
But that night, he barely slept.

Their conversation kept on going after that incident until one day Pranav got a text from Nikita which chilled his bones severally.
“Don’t text me or try to contact me from now on. Sorry but I don’t want to talk to you anymore.”

It was very surprising for him to get such a message from her. It’s been like a week they didn’t had any conversation and suddenly this message. It was like a mini heart attack for him.
“What happened? Is everything ok?” Pranav asked.
“Everything is ok. Just don’t text me. I just don’t want to talk anymore.” Nikita replied.

“Why? At least tell me the reason.” Pranav messaged her and many more like this. But she made her decision so she didn’t texted back.
Since that day, Pranav didn’t have any message or call from her.
“Pranav. Pranav. Dude where are you?” Nipun shaked Pranav and he came from his flashback. “Your home brother. We reached your home.”

“Ah. Thanks brother.” Pranav said and stepped out of the car.
“Bro you’re ok?” Nipun asked.
“I am bro. don’t take tension. I’m absolutely fine.” Pranav said convincing Nipun.

“Ok. Take care. Bye.”

“You too bro. See you.” Pranav said.

 

“She’s a bitch brother.” Kenith said to Pranav. “She does this every time. Believe me. I know her from past two years and trust me she is just like this. Playing with others emotions is her trait. I don’t remember whether she had been friend with anyone more than 4 months.” She added.

“But Kenith I never felt like this. We had a great time together.” Pranav said.
“I’ve seen her bro. She is just like this. If you meet her two days later she will act like you both have never met. She will treat you like you’re an absolute stranger.” Kenith said.
With every word Pranav felt like he was ripping apart. He never trusted anyone as Kenith. That’s why when she said all this, he somehow believed her at some extent.

For Pranav it was hard to believe. That’s why after a while he tried to contact Nikita again but I was of no use. She read his messages but never responds. Despite of all his efforts, he was facing disappointments every time. With every failure his patience raised a bar above and Kenith’s words were proved right to him.
One day Pranav messaged Nikita.
“Dear Nikita,

I know we are not talking. I don’t know what my fault is. All I know is that I had friend. A good friend. And one day suddenly that good friend started acting weird. You know you were like my favorite novel which I used to read every night. But you always considered me as a new toy you bought with a great compassion. But with every passing day that compassion was lowering down. And one good day it was placed into to the cupboard and never took out. Please tell me what I have done which made you let down.”

With a hope, he sent the message to her and slept thinking about its consequence.
Next day when he woke up, he checked his phone first. The message was not delivered yet. He checked his phone in every 10 minute. While in his lecture he checked again and saw that she read her message. His heart started beating fast. But when he didn’t received any reply from her in 30 minutes he realized that his one more effort gone wasted.
The same night while waiting for her reply, his patience lost its control.
“I got it. Now I realize. You treated me as your part of interest. It was all like a new DTH connection with 1 month subscription free. You enjoyed all the channels for the first month and then just disconnected it. I’ve never seen a girl like you. Friendship with you was my life’s biggest mistake.” Pranav messaged Nikita. Maybe for the last time.

While trying to sleep, Pranav went into the flashback again. He didn’t realize when he slept but that day he woke up early morning.
It took time for Pranav to forget everything. The only concern for him was the night when there was absolute dark and nothing to do.
“How’s the free soul?J” Pranav got a message one night.
“OMG Jazz. Is that you? Where have you been girl?” Pranav replied.
It was Jazz a.k.a Jasleen, Pranav’s old friend. Pranav and Jasleen knew each other from form their school time and one of his closest friends.
“Been bit busy these days. College – C.A. Coaching. I don’t have any free time until 8:30 in evening.” Jasleen said.
“Such a hectic schedule yaar.” Pranav replied back.

“Seriously yaar. Leave that. Say what’s going on these days. All well?” Jasleen asked.
“Nothing dear. Just enjoying my exile from humanity.” Pranav said.

“Exile from humanity. That’s deep and you sound like shit. Tell me what happened?” Jasleen showed her concern.
However Pranav declined about Jasleen’s fact but when she insisted he told everything happened with him in last 1.5years.
“That’s weird. How can someone just act like this?” Jasleen said.
“Don’t know yaar. But forget it. I’m over it.” Pranav said.

“Hmm.” Jasleen sighed. “Pranav listen to me.”
“Yes”
“I have a doubt.” Jasleen said.
“Doubt? About what?” Pranav asked.
“Let me tell you something Pranav.” Said Jasleen.
“Yes. Say.”
“Pranav do you remember about Kenith and her boyfriend during our school time?” Jasleen asked.
“Yes I remember. But they had their breakup after sometime.” Pranav said.
“Do you know why?” Jasleen said.

“No.” Said Pranav. “Why? Is there something?”
“Trust issues. You don’t know what she did to me. You know she was dating two guys at that time and when her boyfriend came to know about this, she lied him that the other guy is into me and she was just helping him.” Jasleen told Pranav.
“What? Seriously she did this? I can’t believe it.” Pranav said surprisingly.

“Believe it or not Pranav. But this is the truth. You don’t know how much I hate that girl.” Jasleen said.
Pranav was just typing but he recalled the time when he told Kenith about Nikita and his differences and what she said about her.
“Maybe Jasleen, You’re right. You know when I told Kenith about Nikita and me she looked quite disturbed. And when I told her about the incident she said a lot of things about her and…….” Pranav said.
“And? “Jasleen asked.
“And I think that she did the same with her.”Pranav said.
“You mean to say she manipulated her?” Jasleen said.
“Maybe yes. I think the way she presented her in front of me, maybe she did the same in front of her.” Pranav said.
“Actually I think the same.” Jasleen said.
“But there’s a doubt. What If it’s all my imagination and nothing else?” Pranav expressed his concern.
“Maybe this can be. But Dude you need to clear out things with Nikita if there is any.” Jasleen said.
“Never thought of this yaar. If my doubt about Kenith is true then I said a lot of things yaar. I’m seriously feeling guilty yaar.” Pranav said.
“Pranav, Pranav, listen to me. You need to clear out things.” Jasleen said.
“But how Jazz? I didn’t have any contact with Nikita in last 1.5 years. And she ignores me on the other hand.” Pranav said.
“That is a big problem. But if you want, I can help you.” Jasleen said.
“Help me? How?” Pranav asked.

“Well for your kind information Mr. Pranav, the girl Nikita you are talking about, is my tuition mate.” Jasleen said.
“What?” Pranav said surprisingly. “Seriously she is your tuition mate Jazz?”
“Yes she is. And also she is my good friend. That’s why I said that maybe somewhere there is some kind of misunderstanding between you two.” Jasleen said.
“Oh god. Please Jazz help me. I want to clear things out. Please help me.” Pranav said.
“Ok Ok. I will.” Jasleen said.

Two days later Pranav got a call from Jasleen asking to meet her at a café. He agreed. In next 30 minutes he was outside the café and called Jasleen.
“I’m sitting inside. Come in.” Jasleen answered.
“Ok.”
Pranav stepped inside and saw Jasleen. There was someone else with her. It was Nikita. They both were surprised by each other’s presence.
“Pranav meet Nikita. Nikita meet Pranav.” Jasleen introduced them.
“Hi Nikita.” Pranav said moving his hand further towards Nikita.

“Hello.” Nikita replied ignoring his hand.
“Sit Pranav.” Jasleen said. “I’m getting a call. Excuse me for a moment.” She said and left.
There was an utter silence between both of them.
“Why did you come here?” Nikita asked after few minutes.

“What do you mean? Jasleen called me to come.” Pranav answered.
“Don’t make a fool of me. What do you think I don’t know why are you here?” Nikita said aggressively. “Listen. I don’t want to talk to you. Understand?”
“Nikita listen to me once. I’m sorry whatever I said. I’m sorry to hurt you. I’m sorry for everything. I didn’t mean those. I was angry.” Pranav apologized.
“Oh. You were angry hah. What should I do then? Make a dish out of it? Don’t you understand? I’m not interested in having a conversation with you.” Nikita said angrily.
Pranav sat there, stunned at Nikita’s behavior, heartbroken. He left the café and ignored Jasleen’s call while walking out.
He never felt this kind of pain. Not even when Nikita told him to not to be in contact earlier. He didn’t ate that day, confined himself into his own grief, he kept his room locked the whole day.
That night he received a text from Jasleen.
“I told her everything and showed her our messages of that day. And guess what? You were right. She was manipulated by Kenith.”
“It’s over Jasleen. Its over.” Pranav said after few minutes.
“Are you mad? Dude she wants to talk to you. She was feeling guilty for her behavior and you are here saying its over.” Said Jasleen.

“Good Night Jasleen.” Pranav said and locked his phone. ……………………………………….

 

After that day Pranav and Nikita never met again. Jasleen rather told him what happened that day after he left sometime later. But Pranav never bothered to reinitiate their relationship.

During this mean time he made his mind to never look back and make a fresh start. With the help of his friend Nipun, he started his own business and made a reputable name in the city.
Present day:

While sitting in his café, busy with his bill books, Pranav saw someone sitting on one of the table. It may sound quite weird but he took the writing pad, wore the apron and walked towards the table, looked into those pair of well known eyes and asked, “May I have your order miss.”