The Epilogue: The Lunch Box Journal
All things come to an end.
While this is not the end, but perhaps can be called as a new beginning.
Can’t believe that I am writing the finale. Well, it had been a long overdue and I, for one wanted to see this through.
Story so far:
The next day Srestha met Aryan in the office cab. She was taking the cab for a few days since her head wasn’t straight and she had way too much to think about. It was then he came to light of a lot of things that had happened and was completely unaware of that. And one judgmental comment of Akhil wasn’t taken pleasantly by Akhil.
Apparently, Akhil was angry at Aryan for taking Srestha to the coffee shop. He was even more furious at him since he didn’t tell him after he had done that. Aryan had no idea about all this, while he had no reason to tell about what he was doing in his time. And maybe he would have told Akhil about the coffee thing as well had Akhil accepted and agreed on him having feelings for her or even pursuing after her seriously. He was being so coy about it as if it was so casual and that they were friends. He was also the one who had insisted on asking her to the coffee at one point and that she would even come along. She was cool that way, Akhil had told the group, but he didn’t want to invite her to their free coffee hangout bash. But then again, he could have just asked him about that, but he kept that to himself and was internally angry at Aryan. But then the comment of his about them two revealed the kind of person Akhil really one. “You two guys going to the coffee shop was a cheap thing to do”. Well, jealousy was one thing but that was taking a bit too far. While Srestha tried to do her best to help with the concussion that his mind was having about his opinion being cheap and not two friends meeting for coffee. While Aryan was contemplating over the new found face of Akhil, he went back in time to the times they went to the coffee shops and every single time had one thing in common. Free Coffees. Someone only went to the coffee shop just because that someone was offered a coffee for free. Meanwhile, the same someone was passing such “cheap” remarks.
Aryan found himself losing friends over something he didn’t even know how he got himself in. Meanwhile, he too didn’t want to talk to someone who had no boundaries around trust and would say anything just because he was jealous or angry or both. And Srestha had sort of lost the trust in him because again of his actions were not justified. But the feeling that she had for him sometimes overpowered her. He had been meaning to talk to her for a while. And so was she. He now missed her even more, now that he was too far to reach. While his texts were answered once in a while and if at all his calls were picked, he wouldn’t let her put the phone down. Perhaps, what he had was real, his feelings for her. But then again, he had feelings for Likhita, who might not have any idea about him contacting her again from there. Else she would put an end to it all in a jiffy. Or maybe perhaps Akhil was sharing everything with her as usual like he had all the time before and maybe she was unable to stop him from contacting her. But Akhil still had a couple of things up his sleeves, as always.
While a new year began with a bad start for Aryan, he thought it couldn’t get any worse because the worst that was to happen had happened. But he was wrong, bit time. While he was dealing with things of his own, something came to light when he and Srestha met for a photo shoot. Akhil wasn’t over Srestha and he seemed to have feeling for her. While he was travelling overseas, he had taken a couple of things along with him, like his birthday and farewell gift that she(Srestha) gave and a couple other things that were shared with him by her. He was treasuring them as a great memory that he had had and was lookng forward to continue when he returns back. He had shown them to her to suggest that he likes her so much that he even took things to remind him of her. And then again he confessed his interest in her and how he missed her and all the jazz. But Srestha wasn’t too forthcoming however she was smitten by the fact that he still carried her things along with him because of the trust that he had broken. But he wanted her to forget everything that had happened and apologized for the same and promised never to let it happen again, ever and hoped that the things went back to the way they were. So, to satisfy his ego and his desire for her, he made a deal. That he will be in a one-sided love affair with her, and she should continue to consider him as a friend like earlier and he would do anything that he wanted to do and she shouldn’t say anything to him. Aryan listened to this bizarrely stupid deal of Akhil and what shook him more was the deal was accepted by the other. It was perhaps a compromise or the best in the circumstantial situation that they were in. Either way, Aryan didn’t want to do anything more about him, since he already had a new found hatred for him. And this was just another tipping point again to hate him a little more.
A week after that, while Aryan was wishing Gautham on his birthday, who was celebrating along with Sameer and Akhil, Aryan came to know about another scheme of Akhil. While Akhil was talking daily with Likhita who seemed to be sacrificing(cherishing) her time to talk to him at odd hours to get the much-needed status update and well, to be closer to him all the time via phone, Akhil was making deals with another girl about his one-sided love affair. But Aryan thought that it was the end of it, but like always Akhil had something or the other up his sleeve, and this time again it involved another girl. And that was it. He was holding too many straws in one hand and it wasn’t such a good thing either. Aryan didn’t want to preach about Akhil’s tactics that he was carefully and secretly saving up his sleeves to Gautham since he realized that it was the kind of person that Akhil really was, who manipulated, got things his way, made promises he couldn’t keep, made deals with people and their emotions and all the while had his share of fun. While there was a lot going on with him, one day he had to cross a few lines to get his jealousy out.
The Photoshoot that had happened at the beginning of the year was for Srestha as she wanted a photo of her with her bike. One of the photos taken that day were available on social media. And Akhil in one of the stalking escapades of his love interest deal, he was furious at Aryan. So, he did his best to show his jealousy off by posting the photo on the group. He found the older photos which were taken at the Airport and then he scrolled a little more to find the photo of Aryan and Srestha together at that coffee shop a million years ago. He found them all and shared them looking for an explanation for all that. Aryan had a bad day that day having known that his project had come to a halt and that his Visa was in process of getting stopped, he didn’t find a need to satisfy Akhil’s ego. He could smell the burning from the other side of the planet but still, he didn’t have to explain anything to anyone, especially not to the untrustworthy, deal-making, egomaniac named Akhil. But then again, answers were forced upon so he left a sarcastic reply. But that didn’t earn any points in his favor. Apparently, Aryan was very smug about the whole Srestha thing and was being a complete asshole about it. He didn’t realize that the other people in the group would also doubt Aryan after all the years they had spent with him. No one really knows anyone, after all. And Akhil seemed to still have his doubts and his anger towards Aryan was now manifold. Having said that Aryan wasn’t straightforward in his answers. He was taking a dig at everyone who had tried to do the same earlier. That and improper answers were the reasons for causing the instability. Aryan was now a black sheep. Gautham was still reeling for answers from Sameera and Siri, since he didn’t quite understand what Aryan actually replied to Akhil and Sameer.
The conclusions were made, assumptions were highlighted, egos were hurt and people stopped talking. Perhaps, it is the work, like we all know it to be or just the blatant hatred for the other.
Life continued to move on..
All this while, Madhav’s project was liquidated and put on an interim hold. This meant that Aryan was in big trouble. Aryan received another blow back, as if what was already happening wasn’t enough. Though recovering from it might seem like a whole new ball game, Neil is in between things and uncertain what his future holds for now. The whole account that they had been working for over the years is coming to an end.
Akhil will eventually find his life partner, or may be partners, but with the approval of the almighty stars and their alignment. Prayers are with Akhil for his speedy recovery and the things to finally fall in place for him. Having said that he is obviously a “lucky” guy, things are bound to turn around for him, without a doubt. Either way, prayers for him.
Neil is still sinking in the whole marriage thing and the aftermath of marriage, also called as formalities doesn’t seem to end. And down the lane, he might eventually join the gang over the seas and perhaps they would be creating a new lunch group. The Whatsapp group is almost on it’s way. Wait, according to new sources, it already exists.
Srestha has apparently moved on and Akhil might be a closed chapter for her. But then again, the book still has a lot many empty pages to start new chapters, which she had already started.
Sameera had also joined the same club of overseas bandwagon and she too would be joining the whole gang over there.
Siri is amidst playing badminton and is also in talks to join the, but still there is a little of time before that can put it in motion. Once it is in motion, it will be fast process and she too would be gang, pretty soon.
Gautham will eventually marry the new love of his life, Deeksha. Their plans might still be uncertain, but if a hard guess were to be made, they would be settling where Gautham is currently adjusting his home in the neighborhood of Sameer.
Sameer is enjoying his new found work and cherishing his moments with his family. While the most of the Lunch Box Group is in the close proximity, perhaps plans for new trips are underway, this time along with families.
Madhav is playing with his son and having the time of his life. However baby steps and completely new territory for him, he is learning along the way. Things were turning pretty well for Madhav as he would be be travelling to join Sameer, Gautham and Akhil in a short while.
Perhaps, the perfect union and the beginning of a new chapter.
Amidst all these new beginnings, renowned hopes and that one closed chapter no one wants to talk about,
and wishing each and everyone
a great time ahead with ample opportunities