A friend of mine read this story and the first thing she asked was ‘You saw that chic flick last night, didn’t you?’  Well this story was inspired by a movie but not the one she was talking about. I honestly don’t remember the name of that stupid movie but its the usual chic flick where best friends become lovers and get married. 
Friendship NEVER turns into love. C’mon people! Friendship is not like a caterpillar to be turned into a butterfly such as love. The story might seem to cliche. But the note I have tried to convey through the story is something I haven’t seen much around in movies or books. So enjoy reading!

“Is that all?” a young man around his early twenties asked as he kept down a heavy looking cardboard box. He is not exactly the charmer a girl would fall for, but he is a little hunky and his manly features are indeed enough to charm a girl.
“I think that’s the last of it Prem!” a young woman of a similar age said falling down on the couch which still had a brown paper wrapped around it. Neeraja and Prem have been friends for almost 10 years now.
Currently Prem was helping Neeraja move into her new apartment which was right opposite to his own studio apartment. Their friendship was always mistaken by everyone around them including Prem’s parents and Neeraja’s father. She had lost her mother while she was still a baby and never knew what mother’s love is. And Prem, he is just the independent guy who never gives a damn for his family and moved out of his home when he started college. Though his parents still supported him by sending him money every month, he never used that money. His part time job at a BPO centre pays well for him to take care of tuition fees as well as other requirements.
In short he is the free living, cool guy who is fun to hang out with.
Neeraja on the other hand is the exact opposite of Prem. She could be the college beauty if she just showed everyone how beautiful she is. But she always chose to braid that long silky hair and wear clothes that were a little big for her petite body. Her speciality is her eyes. Anyone who looks right into those eyes will get lost in those beautiful deep red eyes. Her eyes were of dark maroon shade that could be easily mistaken for brown. And yet she chooses to hide those beautiful sparkling gems under a dull thick framed spectacle. She has a lot of talents which ranges from cooking to dancing to architecture. She is the perfect working wife, who is totally organised and is never late for anything. She is all a man could ever wish for.
Except there is one problem! She never believed in love. ‘Why?’ a lot of people ask her. But she just shrugs it off saying that it is not her kind of thing to fall in love or love some man and bear his babies. Many tried to talk her out of it. By ‘it’ I mean her decision to stay as a spinster. There was one person who never spoke about this topic to her.
Her father…..
He was a man of few words, but his selection of words was so good that it never failed to make an impact on others. Their father-daughter relationship was probably and is still a strange one. They never said that they love each other or even spent much time doing things a father and daughter does. They never had fun like the other families. Yet they both understood each other very well. Sundaram never questioned his daughter like the usual fathers when she came back home late, or when she comes home with a guy (which always happens to be Prem).
There was this one time he asked her about her relationship with the boy for which she answered ‘We are just friends…’
After that he never asked her about it until his last day. He recently passed away leaving all his earnings to his only daughter. She sold off their house and rented this apartment in hopes that she could start her own construction company soon.
Neeraja was the girl who had learnt to build a wall around her at a very young age. She herself didn’t know the reason as to why she had built a wall…
Prem was the only one who was able to walk right through those invisible barriers and till date he is the only one who truly knows the real Neeraja.
They both may claim that they had been friends for a long time. But in reality Prem had fallen for Neeraja the minute he saw her in his class during school. He had denied it until they finished school thinking that it was just an attraction. But then his feelings got strong when they went to separate colleges and had lesser time to spend together. Still they were able to keep their relationship as strong as it used to be in school.
He never told her about his feelings. Two reasons; one was that he was afraid that he will lose her friendship as well; two was that he was afraid of rejection. To summarise, he is a coward and is afraid to tell her how he feels though it hurt him a lot.
It hurt him when he saw her going on a date with her classmate. It hurt him when he saw her trying to find the love she needs in that guy while he was standing right beside her. It hurt him even more when she turned up at his doorstep one night crying because she was too hurt from her attempts at trying to find love. What hurt him the most was when she decided that she will never get married or even try to acknowledge the love she might probably get from Mr.Right….
But he was this sturdy guy who didn’t want to show his weaknesses to her. He was always there to comfort her. She didn’t cry much in front of her relatives when her father died. He was the only one privileged enough to see her tears and he never tried to wipe them away. He wanted her to cry out all she wants, so that she will run out of tears. But to his disappointment, the tears never stopped.
It killed him to see her cry. He hated himself for not being able to protect her from the heart ache.
Days went by and they both continued with their lives. She worked as an architect in a famous construction company and he ran a small bookstore cum coffee shop with the help of his college friend.
Life was good until Prem got that wretched letter one fine morning. His dream was to become a dancer and start his own dance school. But for that he needed to attend a famous dance academy that produced the world’s fine dancers. He had finally gotten the letter of acceptance at the academy. But that meant he has to leave this place for good and god knows when he will return. This academy made sure that aspiring dancers had a job at hand by the end of their course and mostly this placement was at some abroad country.
Of course he had to go for it and pursue his dreams. But what will happen to his friend/ secret love Neeraja? Thoughts tormented him as he prepared to leave. Neeraja was a little sad, but her happiness was just more in quantity that it masked the sadness. Two more months left for his departure and they decided to make the best of these two months.
Though these two practically grew up together, not even his finger tips would have touched her in these 10 years. Not even while comforting her did he take advantage of her vulnerability… Any other guy would have done that, but not Prem.
Soon it was the day. Just the two friends left for the airport in silence. None spoke a single word until the final call for security check was heard.
‘Take care Prem… Call me as soon as you get settled there and stay in touch….’ she said with a small smile adorning her face.
She wasn’t wearing her specs today and he was glad about it. He never liked that thing from the start. He looked into her eyes one more time. The same sparkle that had made him fall head over heels for the angle was there.
With suddenly formed determination he pulled her into a hug. This was the first them they have had physical contact at all. They both stood there savouring the other’s presence. He wanted to remember everything about her. Her eyes, her hair, her smell, her smile, her everything….
‘I love you Neeraja…. Someday I will come for you with a ring….’ he whispered in her ear. Breaking the embrace, he yelled a bye and ran off towards the security check.
For the first time in her life she let her tears roll down in a public place. For the first time in her life he was not there to see her glistening tears. Had he been there, he would have noticed that they were not tears of sadness but tears of happiness.
That was when she realised that what they had was never friendship. It had been pure, unadulterated love from the beginning…. They had failed to see it….
Friendship never turns into love. It is love that has been mistaken for friendship and they realise that it is love at a later stage….
No one relationship can ever change into another in this world…. A friend will always be a friend and a lover will always be a lover.

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