“ ‘Single’ or ‘In a Relationship’ its complicated either way…”

Sitting on the window seat of the train taking him to New Delhi, he tried to find some answers by constantly looking in and out of the train. Despite the number of passengers travelling in the train, he seemed all alone by himself. He had never travelled like that before, without anyone accompanying him to a different city. Being alone in a different city wasn’t a problem for him, rather he felt free for a while. The only thing that troubled him was being alone in general.

Karan was a working guy is his early twenties. He worked as a part-time designer and a freelance writer. His part-time work paid for his own pocket and his parents were happy that at least he was doing something. Most of his work was indoors based so his parents encouraged him in participating in activities that would make him breathe the fresh air outside. He then would also participate in various conferences and help in hosting various events in the town. He had a girlfriend but it wasn’t working so they broke up and hence, he was single since a few months. Ever since the break up, he had refrained from going out and participating in any event. His parents heard about the conference in New Delhi and forced him to go for it.

Karan had already made plans with a friend, Simrit, who he was supposed to meet when he reached New Delhi. She was one of his dear friends, who Karan had known since school days and whom he could trust. He had timed his journey before and told Simrit to meet him at 5. Well, thanks to the never-on-time Indian Railways, Karan reached New Delhi at 5:40 and it would take him twenty more minutes to reach the designated place to meet Simrit. They sit in a café discussing everything from travelling to after how long they had met to relationship statuses. Simrit tells Karan about her rough patch in her relationship and says that seeing him was the only thing that brought smile to her face in the last two weeks. They only met for about an hour but Simrit’s words stayed with Karan.

Karan had a rough patch when he had broken up and Simrit was always in contact with him helping him through. Now that she needed someone, Karan felt helpless about it, not knowing what to do. Karan had been single but always liked the feeling of being in a relationship. He would often have long conversations with Simrit about how depressing his life had seemed ever since he was single. After that meeting in the café, Karan’s thoughts seemed to change. He couldn’t sleep almost the whole night. He kept thinking of helping Simrit somehow. It was about 4 am in the morning that he realized about his conference at 9 in the morning. He slept then and still managed to wake up at 6. Around 7, his mom called him to wake him up and remind him not to get late. Even though he would never wake up before 10 at home, he was always responsible when he was away from home.

That whole day he was busy and tired. He got free late in the evening and hoped for a nice meal. He found a good restaurant and sat on a corner table. While he waited for his food, he called up Simrit to ask how she had been. While talking to her, he thought of something that would cheer her up and asked her to meet him for dinner the next day. She agreed but said that she’ll have to leave soon cause Delhi is not quite safe at night. He told her not to worry that he’d come to her and ensure that she’s home safe.

The next day was even longer and more tiring than the previous one yet Karan was willing to go to other end of Delhi to meet Simrit. Karan was dressed like he worked in one of the cubicles in one of the business firms with an office bag in one of his hands. Simrit laughed when she saw him. Karan didn’t mind it, he was happy that she looked happy. Simrit suggested him a few restaurants and Karan picked the one that would ease both their moods. They ordered a few beers and snacks. Karan knew Simrit drank but she was not good when it came to handling her booze. Before the drinks came, Karan opened up his bag and took out a chocolate and gave it to Simrit saying that it was for the times she got sad and there was no one to make her smile. She smiled and was about to say something when the waiter interrupted. The drinks and the snacks left no place for the main course so they left early.

There were no cabs around so they started walking towards her house. Karan had had most of her drinks so he knew she could handle herself. While walking she says, “The waiter had interrupted me earlier. I was going to say that no one had made me feel so special in a long time now.” Karan wraps his arm around her and says that there is no one in the world who should makes you feel any less. Simrit is smiling and Karan can almost see a few tears in her eyes. Simrit tells Karan that she wants to sit a while so they go sit on a bench in the park next to them. Karan and Simrit would often joke about some romantic encounters over the phone so Simrit jokingly asks him if he would not take her advantage now that she’s drunk. He jokes back saying that he doesn’t need to get her drunk to take her advantage. They both start laughing and all of a sudden, Simrit hugs Karan and starts crying. In a cracked voice, Simrit asks him that why does her boyfriend not care about her like he does. He holds her and kisses on her forehead and says, “People only care when something makes them happy, and for me, you always make me happy. He might not see you like he used to but for you, if he doesn’t make you happy, you should stop caring either.” Hearing this, she hugs him even more tightly. He wipes her tears saying it would be a waste of such a perfect evening if she ends it by crying. He walks her to her apartment and ensures she’s perfectly safe.

He walks to the main road and finds himself a cab to take him back to his hotel. On the entire ride home, he keeps wondering one thing, “ ‘Single’ or ‘In a Relationship’ its complicated either way…”


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