As narrated by Zoheb :
I had come with the intention of talking to him politely…I never intended to hit him so I ended up shocking myself when I punched him! It’s as though my fist had a mind of its own because when my gaze fell upon this whole romantic set up, I lost every ounce of rational thinking that I possessed.
Nemo: (losing his balance) how dare you hit me!!!!
And almost immediately, he stood up and punched me in my face.
Me: (almost losing my balance too and punching him again) Aara is with ME and YOU know that! How can you do this Nemo????
Nemo: (pushing me and shouting) she’s not your wife!!!
Me: (grabbing him by his collar) that doesn’t justify your actions!
Nemo: (breaking free and pushing me again) does it hurt Zoheb??? Does it??? Well atleast now you know how I feel!!
And Nemo vented out whatever anger he had inside him…
Nemo: (pointing his finger at me) YOU…you had to come in between! Aara and I have been together for our entire lives who the hell do you think you are?? How long do we know you for?? From the second that you came into our lives everything has been messed up! I’m sick and tired of you being around!
I didn’t reply…I just looked at him worriedly. This was his moment of truth, this is what was really in his heart.
Nemo: (looking away) I love her. .I always have. .I messed up I know that but I just wanted to tell her before it became too late and I lose her forever. ..maybe my way was wrong but my intentions aren’t. ..
Me: (dusting the sand off my arm) you know her for so many years Nemo way before I came don’t you think you’re being unreasonable?
Nemo: (exhaling) you won’t understand…you couldn’t possibly understand…because you don’t know what it feels like to be with someone your whole life, and have them right in front of you and then….and then suddenly they are just being pulled away, snatched out of your life…you would never know Zoheb! It feels as though my life is slowly being sucked out of me…
Nobody should ever have to find themselves in this kind of a situation. From either side. Life is not just defined by the choices that we make, but also by the people we become by making those choices. What he did wasn’t totally wrong but he shouldn’t have laid out this whole setup because even Aara would have been shocked. I guess circumstances makes a person desperate and in desperation, people do the unimaginable. I didn’t want to see this look of desperation on his face, I didn’t want to see Nemo standing on the edge, even though he somewhat betrayed my trust too by all this…but I guess we don’t always have the right answer for everything.
Me: (sitting down) Nemo…sit down
Nemo looked at me in disbelief for a good few seconds before he sat across me and looked down.
Me: You and me…we have very similar family backgrounds but…I didn’t have an Aara when I was growing up. Now that I do, I cant imagine losing her and you’re right, how long do I know you all for? It’s a whole different scenario here…you aren’t just afraid of losing your best friend, you’re afraid of losing your love…(sighing) I don’t know bro…it’s a tough call
Me: (continuing) I am genuinely sorry for punching you though….I never intended to do that
Nemo: (with a small side smile) I’m sorry too…for punching you back….and ( the smile disappearing from his face) that you had to see all of this. I just wanted Aara to know and I just wanted her to decide.. Fair enough, I could have told her long ago, but I put her through too much. I was always afraid of losing her if I told her and I always held myself back but after today….after she took me down our memory lane, my heart tells me that somewhere inside (pausing and looking at me…and then looking away), Aara still loves me. And maybe, with a little bit of luck and a little bit of hope she would give me a second chance…(holding his head)that’s all that I want
I didn’t say anything. What do I say anyway? On one side is the woman that I love and on the other is her life’s best friend who’s in love with her and then….there’s me…the one who unknowingly came between them.
Nemo: (hesitating) can we…not tell Aara about this (pointing to his jaw and then at my eye)
Nemo: (starting to explain himself as I listened silently) I was going to tell her that night…I came to her flat to tell her but she wasn’t there. She was with you..the night of Riza’s first task. I tried many times after that, but I couldn’t go through with it…I’m sure that you know what happened with me when I (pausing for a few seconds) went through that phase in my life…even though it’s done and dusted, that’s the only thing that ever held me back (taking a deep breath in) it’s…it’s not that I hate you I guess it’s because you’re with her and I’m sorry because you are a nice guy, infact you’re way better than me and it’s no wonder that Aara likes you
Me: (trying to take it all in ) so basically…if Aara and I hadn’t gone to Aunty Rukaya’s house that night…you would have told her
Nemo: (shrugging his shoulders) I feel like such an idiot right now..everything is just going wrong. I don’t expect you to understand and I don’t expect you to…I don’t know…(breathing out) it’s not that I feel as though I need Aara because I’ve always needed her or because I’m used to her…but because my every breath depends on her bro…you and I we’ve never exactly got along the way Riza and Arshad do with you..perhaps if things were different…we would have been good friends…(laughing through his teary eyes) Riza and Arshad would approve of you and Aara anyway…I’m just the right kind of wrong I guess
I was two years older than Nemo and both of us even though we had come from similar family backgrounds…our journey through life so far has been different. We have tasted sorrow differently, we have been let down differently, we have seen the different hardships of life differently. But the only thing we had in common was a face that stood out in the crowd…a smile that had the power to light up a room…the only thing that we had in common was Aara….
Me: I always had this feeling that you had “something” for her…but you never acted upon it and I thought that perhaps I’m wrong…a part of me cant believe that I’m sitting here with you talking about Aara in this way and a part of me really does feel your pain
Nemo : I can’t live my life without her knowing that I love her…I’m not that strong that I could live with that
Me: (swallowing hard) Aara was once in love with you wasn’t she…
Nemo: (nodding his head) at a time when I was too blind to see it…
And Nemo told me about their childhood, their teen years, his struggle, her determination to get him back onto his feet again. The strange thing was, that I knew all of this because I heard it from her before and well, they always spoke about their childhood memories…but it was different coming from Nemo. The way in which his eyes lit up as he remembered the past…the way in which he spoke about her. Coming from Nemo changed my perspective…this is a guy who cannot stand me, ever since I became a part of their group, Nemo has many times openly displayed his dislike towards me. But today I see a different Nemo…a different side of him that he doesn’t show to everyone. Today I see a man struggling…fighting a battle within himself…battling to come to terms with the words “I should have’’ and the only person who, at this point, could do anything for him..was me.
Life is simple…it’s our feelings and emotions that make it harder for us to choose, to think and to act. The attachment, the bond, the relationship that we share with the one whose name is written across our hearts plays a big part in everything that we do.
I drifted back to earlier on that evening when I stood next to Aara and watched her slip into a blanket of peaceful sleep as she held onto my hand…” Whatever I do, is always and only because I love you’
And I was instantly reminded of a quote that I had memorized a few years ago and even though I don’t understand Urdu much, I had made it a point to learn this one in depth. ..
”Itni shiddat se maine tumhe paane ki koshish ki hai … ki har zarre ne mujhe tumse milane ki saazish ki hai
Kehthe hai ke agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaaho tho poore kaaynaath thumhe use milaane ki koshish mein lagja thi hai…”
Shiddat…a word from the dictionaries of one of the world’s most beautiful languages. Used to describe the intensity of something.
Metaphorically, it means that the universe has the capacity to fulfil everyone’s dreams and desires, one must simply want it with such fierce intensity that it compels the universe to give in.
I further understood that, as a Muslim, Allah has given us the ability to achieve what we want and the ability to decipher right from wrong. The world is big enough for everyone, and if things are done the right way then very little stops you from reaching what you wish for.
All I ever wanted in my life was to meet her…to meet the one who was created for me, to finally have my own little world, my own little happiness.
But the problem with that, was that He wanted that too…and the strings of both of our hearts were tied to the same girl.
Aara has already been through enough. It is said that when a man loves a woman, she becomes his weakness and when a woman loves a man he becomes her strength.
Sitting on this beach, with an unlikely friend…listening to him speak his heart out…made things clearer…made my heart break more and more…as I made a silent dua to my Rabb to help me, help him and help her…find the easiest way out of this.
Birds make great sky circles of their freedom. How do they do that? They fall. And falling, they are given wings…