Gone to a dreamland

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In the middle of the flight, Kiara woke up to go to the washroom. When she returned, she was too lazy to push her way into the middle seat. And with Rishaan readily offering to shift seats, the seating arrangement changed. With 20 minutes still remai...

In the middle of the flight, Kiara woke up to go to the washroom. When she returned, she was too lazy to push her way into the middle seat. And with Rishaan readily offering to shift seats, the seating arrangement changed. With 20 minutes still remaining for the flight to land, a sleep starved Kiara took another power nap, this time holding Rishaan's right hand more firmly. Rishaan's other hand, though, nervously moved to touch Diya's. Her heart skipped a beat. Diya pulled her hand away. But a defiant Rishaan held her wrist again, this time firmly and more reassuringly. The changing behavioral dynamics between the three perhaps gave out a foreboding of what was to come in Goa.

 

When the flight landed at the Dabolim Airport, Rishaan felt uncanny...his excitement seemed replaced by an unknown fear that he found very difficult to decipher.

A car was waiting for them outside the airport. Rishaan sat on the front seat while Kiara and Diya sat at the back. Kiara kept on talking about the things to do while Rishaan and Diya say quietly. Rishaan was looking at Diya through the rear-view mirror while she avoided his gaze.

Diya was beautiful. What attracted him most to her were her eyes. She had beautiful twinkling black eyes. She wasn’t drop dead gorgeous like Kiara. She was simple and pure. Her hair reached till her waist. They reached the hotel in twenty minutes.

Kiara and Diya took one room while Rishaan took another. Kiara promised to meet Rishaan in the evening and gave him a peck on his cheeks. Rishaan nodded and helped the girls with their luggage. Kiara went inside but Diya was stopped by Rishaan who caught her wrist. She struggled to free her hand but Rishaan only tightened his hold.

“What?” asked Diya.

“We need to talk.” Rishaan said.

“No, we don’t. Please leave my hand. You’re hurting me.” Diya said.

“Please Diya. Meet me in the evening.” Rishaan pleaded and left her hand.

Diya went in and slammed the door. Rishaan went to his own room. He took a shower and sat down on the chair trying to figure out why Kiara had planned this trip so suddenly.

Last afternoon, Rishaan received a call from Kiara who asked him to come for a three day trip to Goa. Rishaan tried to refuse but she wouldn’t listen. So he said yes. Moreover, Diya was coming too so he assumed that he would get to talk to her.

Kiara had fallen asleep. Diya was pacing the room. She wondered if she should meet Rishaan. She knew it wasn’t his fault but she just had to blame somebody and Rishaan was the best person. Her thought wandered back to the moment when her life became a chaos.

A week ago, Diya was sitting in Barista, waiting for Rishaan but to her surprise, it was Kiara who turned up.

“Kiara…” Diya was interrupted by Kiara.

“Oh Diya, I’m so happy, I just cannot tell you. I still can’t believe this is happening. I’m speechless. It all happened so fast, I couldn’t tell you.”

“What happened?” Diya laughed. She had never seen Kiara this happy for months.

“I’m getting married….to Rishaan.” She yelped.

Diya’s laughter seized. She got out of the Café and called Rishaan. But he never picked up.

Diya was interrupted in her thoughts when she got a sharp headache. She decided to take rest for a few hours. And no, she would not meet Rishaan. She fell asleep as soon as her head touched the pillow.

                                                                          **************

It was nearly 6 PM when Rishaan changed his clothes and knocked on the door of the girls’ room. It took exactly 5 minutes for the door to open and Rishaan came face to face with a panic-stricken Diya.

“What happened?” asked Rishaan.

“Kiara…she is gone.” Diya whispered.

“Gone? Where?” asked Rishaan.

Diya took his hands and led him in. She fetched a handwritten note from the table. It was written in a beautiful cursive writing which Rishaan identified as Kiara’s.

“I fell asleep and when I got up, Kiara wasn’t there. Even her luggage wasn’t there. I found this lying on the table.” She handed him the note.

“I’m going to a dreamland. You have exactly 24 hours to find me but if you fail, you shall never see me again.”

Rishaan read the note five times. He couldn’t believe it. Kiara was gone.

“Oh, this is entirely my fault.” Diya sat on the bed with her head hung down.

“No, it’s not. Don’t blame yourself Diya. You know Kiara, this is all her fault. This is getting out of hand. When will she stop playing these stupid pranks? She needs to know that we’re not there to handle her quirks.”

“No, you do not understand Rishaan. She knows about us. She read my diary.” Diya said and her mind drifted to the events of the previous morning.

Diya returned home after dropping her brother to school. She was surprised to find Kiara sitting on her bed crying. She was confused at first but understood when she saw her diary in Kiara’s hand. She remembered her last diary entry.

“28th November 2015,

Rishaan and Kiara are getting married next year. All this while I thought, Rishaan loved me. He still claims too but doesn’t know what is happening. Apparently, he has no choice. He needs to marry her because he pities her and fears that she might kill herself. Kiara suffers from unipolar disorder so her parents give her whatever she wants. This time they gave her Rishaan. They promised to make Rishaan the CEO of their company if he agrees to marry Kiara. What Kiara needs is treatment and they do not understand that they are only making it worse. Kiara is nothing but a rich, spoilt brat. She knew about my feelings for Rishaan, if not our relationship but still she did this. Damn her.”

“I’m so sorry Kiara. I was angry when I wrote this.” Diya apologized.

“No, it’s okay. I know I’m a bad friend. I completely disregarded your feelings and acted on my selfish interest.” Kiara said.

“No Kiara…”

“Don’t worry about it.” Kiara wiped her tears and went ahead to hug her. “Everything will be alright.”

“I’ll stay away from him.” Diya promised.

“We’re going to Goa tomorrow. I need to make it up to you. I’ll fix everything.” Kiara said.

“What?”

“Just don’t say no.” Kiara smiled.

Diya knew how eccentric Kiara could be. This was nothing unusual. But Kiara taking her diary entry so lightly surprised her. Reluctantly, Diya said yes.

“Damn!” It was all Rishaan could say. Diya now, sobbing uncontrollably, placed her head on Rishaan’s chest. He held her tight as she wept. The feel of her in his arms was overwhelming.

“Should we inform her parents or the police?” asked Diya.

“No. Her parents are already very worried for her. We don’t want to give them any more tension. Let’s wait for she might come back, and as for the police, they won’t take the case before 24 hours.” Rishaan said.

“She planned this, didn’t she?” asked Diya firmly.

“I don’t know.”

“But what should we do now? Even her mobile is switched off.” asked Diya.

“I’ll go and look for her. You stay here, in case she decides to come back.” Rishaan said.

Diya nodded. Rishaan kissed her forehead and went away. Diya lay down on the bed sobbing. The trip was a nightmare. Rishaan came back after a few hours with no luck. Diya couldn’t eat or sleep that night. Rishaan promised her that they would go looking for her the next day.

                                                                               ************

Next morning, Rishaan went down to the garden to find Diya sitting on a bench. He sat down beside her and took her hand in his. Diya looked at him but did not move.

“I know this is not the best time to talk. But I need to tell you something. I love you and I really do not want to marry Kiara. In fact, I was going to break this marriage during this trip. I had decided to talk to Kiara. I do not want to be trapped in a loveless marriage to become a CEO. I can become one, with my own potentials.” Rishaan said.

“Butterfly Beach.” Diya’s face suddenly lit up.

“What?” asked Rishaan.

“She is at the Butterfly beach. ‘I am going to a dreamland.’ She often called that beach as a dreamland. She had gone there as a child and found it as beautiful as a dream.” Diya said. “It’s only an hour from here. Let’s go.”

Rishaan had been hoping for some reaction from Diya but he could not find any. So, he followed her. He didn’t quite mind if Kiara was never found. She was responsible for all the chaos in his life. He hired a car to drop them off at the Angoda beach. From there, he hired a ferry to drop them to Butterfly beach.

Diya got off the ferry and started running around calling Kiara. She might have been angry but she cared about her. Kiara was like a sister to her. As she looked, she spotted a woman in front of a small shackle, wearing a pink floral dress with her hair tied in a high knot. She was Kiara.

Diya was almost ecstatic as she saw her and ran straight to her with Rishaan following her.

“Kiara!” exclaimed Diya.

“You found me!” Kiara said as the girls hugged each other.

“You scared us Kiara.” Rishaan said.

“It was all my fault. I drove you to this point. I am so sorry.” Diya said.

“Don’t blame yourself Diya. I came here because I wanted to. It was my plan all along. That note was just for fun. I would have called you myself if didn’t come here.” Kiara said

“This prank of yours almost scared me to death.” Diya said.

“Sorry. Your diary was a big eye opener for me. The things you wrote were true. I am spoilt but you know what? I am so tired of people talking to me like a baby and doing what I told them. I want to prove myself. I want to earn something and work hard for it. So, I have decided to go to Mumbai and take up a job.” Kiara said.

“Oh, that is great! Have you told your parents? They will be so happy.” Diya said

“They are. I’ll leave for Mumbai tomorrow. My aunt managed to get me an internship in one of the companies and also arranged for a good therapist. I’m thankful to you Diya, though I am upset you never told me about your relationship. Rishaan, you could’ve told me at least… Forget it! This place has amazing crabs, let’s try them.” Kiara said and goes on to order the crab.

“So… did you hear anything I told you in the morning?” asked Rishaan.

“Yes.”

“So, now the marriage is off. Would you…” asked Rishaan.

“I don’t know Rishaan. You’ve broken my trust. I don’t know if I’ll be able to trust you again.” Diya said.

“I’ll make you trust me again. Don’t worry.” Rishaan smiled.

Diya smiled and goes to join Kiara. Rishaan holds her hand. But only this time, she doesn’t struggle.

 

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