A friend suggested I rewrite the story from the antagonist's POV and I did. Please review.
|Gaurav was having the time of his life at Sunshine Bar with his friends and it seemed to him like it had been ages since he had fun. He thought about his ex-girlfriend and the message he had received from her an hour ago. He shouldn't be saying so but it did come to him as a relief. He had been expecting her to throw tantrums and emotionally blackmail him back into the relation but surprisingly all he got was a message saying, "I am done too! " Yes, he had broken with her over a message but what else could he do? She wasn't the easiest person to deal with. Agreed that she was beautiful, in fact, hot and intelligent to boot it, but her feminist ideologies were way beyond Gaurav's capacity to deal with. He thought of the first time he had met her.
Call it destiny or fate or anything you might but to Gaurav, it seemed like a scene from one of the Bollywood movies. He was late rushing to work and had an important client meeting he was hoping he could make on time though he had asked his junior to cover for him. Somehow, he always preferred to do things himself and couldn't trust others easily. He was engrossed in what he would say when he met the client, imagining how the demo would go and how happy his boss would be when he won the million dollar deal that he didn't see the girl on the bicycle coming straight towards his car before it was too late. He braked his car making the tires screech, yet, he ended up hitting the girl. He rushed out to see if she was alright but found that she had fainted and her bicycle had the front wheel bent into a grotesque shape. He immediately called an ambulance and followed the ambulance and the girl to the hospital. He did what he could and hoped that the wheel of the bicycle was not an indication of the extent of the injuries of the girl. It worried him to no end that he had been so careless and had hit a girl. In all his driving experience, he had never been this preoccupied. He waited in the waiting room until the doctors and nurses were done with the examination and as soon as the nurse signaled, he went in to see her. Since the nurse did not indicate any major injury or need for any signatures on forms for surgery/scan/test, he was rest assured it was not a serious accident. However, he steeled himself for a thorough scolding for his rash driving as he went in to see the girl. But, the moment their eyes met, he fell in love with her, at least that's what he thought, love at first sight. It sounded pretty romantic and soothed his romantic sensibilities and he let it be. The girl, Sharmee, was a beauty to behold with a slim-build, beautiful topaz green eyes, so deep they seemed to have a story of their own to share and silky hair strands that fell across her face as soon as she pushed them back as if even they couldn't resist the urge to touch her velvety skin. Not that Gaurav wasn't good looking with one of the most perfectly chiseled faces on earth and a day old beard that added to his rugged look. In fact, it made him look like he was the devil incarnate. Dark brown eyes and black hair that looked dark brown, when the light from
the window filtered through it, added to his charm. He had a physique that could put any model
to shame but he did not an ounce of vanity in him for he believed that he had gotten lucky with genes and had not contributed much to his looks himself and hence, couldn't take much credit. And, before he could follow his train of thought, he heard the nurse cough behind him and he realized that he had been staring at Sharmee all this time. Embarrassed, he just apologized to Sharmee for the accident and waited for her to lash back at him for his carelessness. To his surprise, it never came. She thanked him for his timely help instead and apologized for her own part in the accident. And, out of the blue, she asked him out for coffee. Gaurav was shocked at first but soon realized that the attraction was mutual and decided to give it a shot. And, one thing led to another and soon he thought it was time for them to test their relation and take it to the next level.
He broached the idea of moving in together to Sharmee excitedly one day thinking she would be thrilled too but instead her cold and non-committal reaction came as a shock to him. Gaurav thought that may be she was having a bad day at work and decided to give the idea rest. Later that day, they were to have dinner with one of his friends who was throwing a small party on his marriage anniversary and he thought that might cheer Sharmee up. They had a delicious meal and every one was cheerful and full of conversation and Gaurav thought the day was finally turning out better than his expectations. But, just before dessert, Sharmee asked Manasi about her work and even before Manasi could answer, he laughed and said women were the foundations of happy families and without their looking-after, neither husband nor kids could manage and hence, they needn't find work outside. It was foolish to do so. The moment the words were out of his mouth, he noticed the change in Shamee's mood and he regretted his out-spoken mouth. Manasi, knowing Gaurav since ages, just laughed it off. She knew he didn't mean any insult, only his choice of words could have been better but he was who he was and she didn't take other people's opinion seriously. But, Sharmee wasn't so. She sulked through the meal and said little more. And, once they were outside, she just exploded with her feminist ideologies and how she thought the comment was demeaning and how women also had rights to choose what they wanted to do with their lives. Gaurav had never objected to Sharmee or any other women's working choices. Its just that he thought they need not. He had seen the amount of work his mom did and the pains she took to raise them and thought that without her, his family wouldn't be so happy and successful as they were today. And, he thought all girls were special when it came to this and hence, gifted. But, it seemed Sharmee misunderstood him and with the way she had been all day, he didn't want to drag the fight. He thought things would work out with time. But, only time could tell.
Then one day, Gaurav's mom decided to surprise him and came home over the weekend. He hadn't seen her in a long time and was elated. And he forgot the plan he had made to spend the day with Sharmee and as a result to inform her about mom. Sharmee, thinking about spending a romantic day with her boyfriend, came home in an ultra-short modern dress, looking sultry and pretty much a siren. She was surprised to see Gaurav's mom but kept maintaining a confident and polite demeanor and chatted with her. However, disaster was round the corner. Outspokenness seemed to be in the family's genes and his mom was no exception. She pretty much indicated that Sharmee's choice of dress was inappropriate, especially when in company of unmarried male friends. And, Sharmee lost it. She, also born to be outspoken irrespective of circumstances, refused to back down and told his mom that her choice of dress was not her concern. Gaurav was shocked but he could not support Sharmee and disrespect the woman who had sacrificed her entire life to raise him. He expected Sharmee to at least acknowledge the age and make light of the comment and show some respect but instead, she just walked out making a lame excuse of having to be somewhere else for an appointment. He didn't expect this from Sharmee and decided to discuss it with her soon. He indicated to her on a few occasions that he would prefer a more modest dress than what she was wearing currently and that he could help her choose when she shopped for clothes. But, she never acquiesced. He gave up after a time.
He loved her genuinely and dreamt of marrying her and had told her so on multiple occasions but she never seemed to take it seriously. Or she was having second thoughts. He wondered why. If anything, he thought he should be the one having second thoughts. He had given the relation his best. He had gone out of his way on many occasions to make her feel special and their time together to be very romantic and all he got in return was skepticism. He wondered if it really was worth his efforts but having been raised a gentleman, he was not going to spend time with a female and then ditch her just for being a skeptic. He was better than that. But, Sharmee's behavior did bother him. He decided to give it some more time. And, he thought moving in together was the best way to understand if they were really compatible. So, one beautiful winter evening, he took Sharmee to a fine dining place that had recently opened near her house. The place not only had great food but also had an old world charm to it with its big fireplace and many customers complimented the owners on such a great ambiance that reminded them of lovely winter holidays spent in front of the fireplace with their near and dear ones. Gaurav thought that such an ambiance would act as a great background when he proposed again to Sharmee to move in with him. But, Sharmee wasn't thinking that. She simply wasn't ready to move in just yet. She was hesitant. Seeing the discussion not going forward as he expected, Gaurav tried to push it towards the direction he wanted, saying “Oh come on Sharmee. This is very common
these days. It will give us more time with each other and to understand each other. We can do
lots of things together like eat, watch movies, hang out with friends at home. You can also cook for me. It will almost be like we are married but without actually being. We can also do other fun
things that married couples do, you know what I mean right?” He thought the idea of acting like a married couple without being so might sway her eventually into marrying him but she totally exploded on hearing it. She accused him of trying to just lay her and not thinking anything beyond that and how she was constantly made to feel inferior on account of her being a female and a modern dresser at that and so on and so forth including on the instance of his mom's visit and many others. And, from there it all went downhill, with both of them finding faults with each other and soon the evening reeked of the ‘doomsday air’. It seemed like the mini-World War III would never end but Gaurav couldn't take this anymore. He was afraid that if he listened to these accusations and all the feminist nonsense that she was spouting, he might just loose his cool and end up doing something regrettable like slapping her and being a gentleman, he wasn't going to allow that. He decided to walk out on her knowing that Sharmee was more than capable of paying the bill and he didn't want to drag the fight over the bill too. He was on the verge of losing his temper before a woman in a public setting and that was something he hadn't done, like ever and he didn't intend to now. He just walked out into the cool air outside and continued walking for God knows how long before realizing that his car was still in the hotel parking lot and he couldn't do without it the next day as he had an early morning client meeting to go to. He went back to the hotel and picked his car and went home but just couldn't sleep. His mind was full of the accusations and bashing that Sharmee had hurled at him and he just couldn't seem to come to terms with them. He wondered where he had gone wrong. He was genuinely trying to make the relationship work but if this is how she felt about him, then there was not much to hold on to in the relation. Mutual respect and understanding was paramount in a healthy relationship without which it was doomed for failure and it seemed to be missing here. He cared about Sharmee and did his best by her but, at some point, they had drifted apart, if not as couples, at least emotionally and he had not realized that Sharmee was hurt and this relation was beyond saving . It seemed to him that the best thing he could do now was to let Sharmee go and find a life that she deserved, someone who would understand her as she was. His thoughts kept circling around the same lines and after three long days, he had to bring himself to break it to her. He didn't want another scene like that night at the hotel and hence, decided to just break up over an SMS. Ruthless or rude as it might sound, he didn't know what else he could do to make it easier. The relation was just not meant to be. It was an 'Illusion of Love' and it would be infinitely better if both of them realized it and moved on.