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Mano and Antariksh were great friends. Their friendship was such that there was nothing happening in one 's life which the other was not aware of. When Mano had a problem with her father, it was Antariksh who helped her; if Mano decided to have pizza, she made sure she bought one for him too.
Antariksh was in love with his co-worker, Daisy, and the first person he told about his love was Mano. Who could understand him better than his dear friend Mano? She was overjoyed and wished him all the happiness possible. Antariksh was supposed to marry in July, last year, but it was postponed due to a sudden crisis in his family. During this time, he was also somewhat unsure of Daisy's feelings for him. Perhaps the family problems were affecting her friend, Mano thought, and advised him to spend more time with Daisy. This seemed to help as Antariksh declared one day that things were smooth between them again.
Antariksh married Daisy in November. Mano was there, the happiest guest. As she looked at the resplendent bridegroom, their eyes met and his reflected the happiness that was there in her. Antariksh's best friend was there for him, at the happiest moment of his life.
As the months passed, Mano, however, could feel that Antariksh was moving away from her. He would not call and sometimes not respond when she did. At first she thought he was busy settling down in his new-found happiness but was hurt nevertheless. But as always, she gave him the benefit of the doubt and was there for him on 31 January, his birthday. She had taken the trouble to choose a present which he would like, as well as bring his favourite cake.
The next day was her birthday and she had expected at least a phone-call. It did not come and something snapped inside her as finally, she faced the truth: he did not care for her feelings any more.
Was Daisy feeling threatened?
Had Antariksh fallen in love with Mano and feeling guilty, was steeling himself against her?
Did Mano expect too much from him?
Mano, however, got a priceless present on her birthday; she gave it to herself: the realisation that sometimes, it is better to move on. She wished Antariksh and Daisy the very best and finally let go of him.
Last week, I ran into Mano. She looks happier than she did in February and said she is at peace with herself. Learning to invest in herself, she practises yoga and has become a vegetarian. Mano and Antariksh have not spoken to each other in months, but this does not affect her any longer.