She was passing through the known streets of the market trying to make her way through the middle of the chaos of vendors, vehicles & people. She had not visited this crowded market in 8 years now. In fact, she had not been to Bareilly for last 8 years. But now that Kuhu was getting married, she had no choice but to come back to the town she left promising herself never to come back again.

Mausi had given her very specific instructions, “Get a pretty golden zari studded red dupatta for Kuhu. It has to be used for her Phere ceremony.”

“Yours was very pretty didi, I remember. Please get something similar. Oh! Sorry Diya didi, I did not mean it that ways. Please smile didi.”

Diya was happy for Kuhu. She was her little cousin sister who she loved like her little baby, but coming back to Bareilly had brought back a lot of emotions today. After they parted ways, Diya and Abhishek had never met again. She never tried to contact him or look at any of his social media profiles to know what was going on in his life. Neither did she care if he had ever tried to contact her or to know how she was. The bitterness with which things had ended between the two was still there in Diya’s heart. She was still not able to forgive Abhishek & was not sure if she ever will be able to.

She was trying to save her new sandals from the mud & walking on the edge of the road when suddenly she heard someone call her name. She looked around to see who it was. She was in sheer disbelief when she saw Abhishek & his younger brother standing right behind her. Abhishek had a smile on his face when he saw Diya’s face. She couldn’t believe that what she had been avoiding all these years had finally happened. Why?

“Hi Saurav. How are you?” she asked his younger brother.

“I am fine Diya Bhabhi. How about you? Are you here for Kuhu’s wedding?”

“Yes. How do you know? Are you in touch with her?” Diya was surprised as well as a little scared. She did not want Abhishek or any of his family members to be there. It would make things way more awkward for her.

Saurav looked at Abhishek, and after a while said “No Bhabhi. None of us would be coming. I and Kuhu work in same company. That’s how I know.”

She felt a little relieved.

While she was talking to Saurav, Diya felt Abhishek’s gaze fixed on her. Not in a romantic way, not in a creepy way, but Abhishek was constantly looking at her. She did not know what was going through his mind. She did not want to know either. She did not want to feel any emotion for him.

“How have you been Diya?” he finally broke the silence.

“Ummmmm. Happy.” She sarcastically responded.

“Good to know. You take care and I hope you remain happy.” He said with a smile. All the ‘I don’t feel any emotion for him’ melted away in a jiffy. He gently touched her shoulder.  It’s that when she notices the watch on his wrist.

The same wristwatch she had gifted him on their 3rd wedding anniversary that he did not like much initially, but still always wore & flaunted in front of everyone, probably just to make her feel good. 14 years later, he still was holding onto and wearing that watch.