When you meet someone special in your life, they turn your life upside down. But for Neil his world changed completely, he was in a new world! A guy living his normal life with a perfect job, his own house, numerous friends and a happy family, unexpectedly found himself in a new place with a girl he met just an hour ago. How can anyone get from the cushioned seat of theatre to the backseat of a moving car!
Frightened Neil was sweating on the backseat of the car. He asked Aarju in muffled voice, “Where are we? Why is that girl running behind our car?” Aarju took a glance from the side mirror and replied, “Which girl? There is no one behind the car.” When Neil turned back, the girl was vanished.
Neil’s head was blown by thousands of questions; he was biting his nails. He looked out from the window and tried to recognise the place, but he was clueless. He checked his pockets for the phone, but it wasn’t there. Oblivious Neil had only one way to get rid of the all the questions running in his mind, that was Aarju. In Shivered voice, Neil asked Aarju, “How did we get in this car? Where are we going? Where is my phone…?”
Before he could ask any more, Aarju stopped the car with a jerk and turned back with a wicked smile. “Relax, Neil. I knew you will ask so many things. Do you remember we are on a date? So now we are heading to my favourite restaurant.” Neil gave her a tough look and asked, “But first you tell me, how did I get in this car?” Aarju got jumbled when Neil asked the same question again, she laughed loudly and said, “You got unconscious while watching the movie, so I got you in my car with the help of some people. Now you look perfectly fine.” She started the car while explaining it; she just tried to cover up somehow. To divert his mind, she said, “Why do you need a phone, when I am here with you now!”
Neil was confused with her reply; he could not remember what happened to him at the theatre. Aarju continued her chattering, “So we are going to my childhood’s favourite restaurant. It is out of the city but worth going there. I know you will love the food there.” Neil didn’t reply to her bubbling talk, he just sat back soullessly.
After 90 mins of drive, they arrived at the restaurant. While walking towards the restaurant Aarju said, “I don’t want anyone to see us together, that’s why I have already reserved the corner table.” Neil simply smiled at her. Aarju ordered the food even without looking at the menu as she was familiar with the restaurant. One of the waiters was staring at them; Neil asked Aarju if she knew him. Aarju denied and asked the waiter, “Why the hell are you staring?” He just nodded his head and went away.
After finishing the food, they were heading back to the city. They had heavy dinner and were little tired. Aarju turned on the radio and played retro songs. The road was empty with a cool breeze, soft music; the vibe was just perfect for them. Aarju with a bright smile on her face said, “After a long time I had a great time with someone, I am glad that we met. What about you, Neil? Hope I didn’t trouble you.”
Neil smiled gently and said, “Ya, I also had a good time with you…” Aarju looked at him while he was describing the evening. She got lost in his talk. Her attention got diverted from the drive. Very next moment she banged the car onto the divider and car flipped over the road, there was no movement in the car. Aarju’s head was bleeding; she was unable to move her legs. The blood was rolling down on her face, but she tried to find Neil. After few minutes she heard siren of an ambulance, and she got unconscious.
Next morning when she regained consciousness, she was lying on a hospital’s bed. In that hospital room, her tired mother was sleeping on the couch, and her worried father was talking to the doctor. Aarju’s head was banded and her legs were plastered, she got many cuts and bruises on her body. She called her mother with a lot of efforts. Her mother woke up quickly and went towards her bed. Her mother held her hand and started crying. Aarju in a lifeless voice asked her mother, “Stop crying, I am okay. And where is Neil? Is he okay? Is his family here?”
Her mother wiped her tears and went to her father who was still talking with the doctor. They came near Aarju and started looking at each other. Annoyed Aarju asked them, “Why are you not telling me? Where is he? How is he?” Her father took a long breath and said, “What shall we tell? Who is Neil? You were alone in the car.”
“What are you saying? He was there in my car; he was with me all the time. We went to my favourite restaurant and were coming back home from there. Before that, we went for a movie. We were so happy together and then this happened. You need to find him,” Aarju started freaking out. The doctor asked her to calm down and not to be stressed out.
Aarju’s parents were damn sure that nobody was with her when she was in the car. They confirmed with the restaurant that she came alone. Even the waiter told them she was sitting alone on the corner table and was talking to herself. She ordered food for two and had it all by herself. Further they went to the theatre where Aarju said she went for movie. The stall guy told them that the theatre was shut down a few years ago. Aarju came alone, went inside the theatre for half an hour. When she came out, she pretended to carry something in her hands; she put that on the backseat of the car and left in a hurry.
Aarju’s parents inspected her phone if anyone by the name Neil, but no such name in her friend list or contact list. Surprisingly, they found one app, NOT a dating app. The ‘Fake Chat’ app which was showing chats between Aarju and Neil. Her parents were shocked when they went through the chats.
Apparently, Aarju established a false world with Neil in her mind. She created fake chats between them for a month. In her world, Neil was a person with perfect lifestyle, who wanted to date her. She mocked up drama in their relation with ups and downs like any other couple. After a month, the madness went to another level, and she pretended to have a date with him. She was satisfied and cheerful in her fake world.
Though Aarju was happy, it wasn’t right for her. Her parents were super tensed; they deleted that app and cleared her phone. They told Aarju that they lost Neil in the accident so that she could erase him from her mind.
When people are unhappy, unsatisfied in their real world, they start living in an imaginary world which gives them joy and excitement.
“No visible symptoms, no runny nose,
just a head full of darkness.
No fever or rash no fractures or sprains,
just a longing for something unable to explain.”