Today Calls Tomorrow: A Love Story by Prakash Hegade

This is a sneak and peek into Aakash’s daily diary and a few excerpts. There you see a good habit of Aakash, writing daily diary. He was a good poet as well. On the way to Pune, the pen moved across the paper putting forward few mind capturing lines.
Today Calls Tomorrow: A Love Story
Today Calls Tomorrow: A Love Story by Prakash Hegade
Am stepping out of my nest, My new life I am ready to adjust! I dream to aim high, My efforts to touch sky! The one opportunity to thrive, I know it’s a strive! For life brings changes, I see it in ranges! Am ready to move, move and move! Life gives us words, we make out the lyrics. What matters is the meaning and how well it rhymes! Am ready to move, move and move! There is always a mixture of emotions when you go for something new. They are two sided and both the sides get a chill deep down. The two extreme pulls which somehow balance each other and I still don’t know if the balance is zero. One side of resistance from the environment where we have grown up and accepted it as a perfect dwelling place and other side of capacitance pulling to be part of new growing place with more responsibilities and independence. There will always be a phase of time where yesterday looks stupid and tomorrow sights the brightness in mind. We get to see this phase every moment. Laugh at ourselves for what we were yesterday and promise ourselves that I will be better tomorrow. Two: The Magic of Pune Pune, Maharashtra, India! We should know how Google Maps looks at Pune and what Wikipedia has to say about! Pune is the seventh largest metropolis in India and the second largest in the state of Maharashtra. It was known as Punyanagari in old time. It is situated 560 metres (1,837 feet) above sea level on the Deccan plateau at the right bank of the Mutha river. Pune city is the administrative headquarters of Pune district and was once the center of power of the Maratha Empire. Pune existed as a town since 847 AD. In the 18th century, Pune became the political centre of Indian subcontinent, as the seat of Peshwas who were the prime ministers of the Maratha Empire. Pune is considered the cultural capital of Maharashtra. (From Wikipedia) Leave apart the technical; Pune is a city where you fall in love the moment you step in. Aakash could feel the welcoming warmth as soon as he entered the city. The best part is, it’s the month of August and Pune is lavishly green. It is something which one can never explain in words. Have a look yourself! Rains! Chai! Pakoda! Pune! And Aakash! That was the status which got him few hundred likes and comments for the day. The magic of Pune is that there is no magic, yet it seems to be magical. The beauty, the culture, the decency and everything makes it lovable. Aakash called up his mom and updated about everything. Right from the snacks he had to his new stay place. He just looked over the bus he needs to catch to his office and visited few places around. There is still a day to relax before he joins his workplace. It was good to see all the buses having bells to signal the bus halt. Everyone had to get inside from the back side and get down from the front. It is something which you don’t see in any the other states. Standing in queue to get tickets, is something which is generally read only in books apart from Pune! Aakash was in central bus stand, got inside a crowded bus and there he saw an angel! He could not stop staring at her in bus for she was so much cute. Aakash could not take his eyes off her. The white dress she wore made her look the cutest in the world. If you think here begins the love story, Nopes! The angel was a 5 year old kid. Before the office begins, aakash learnt this first Marathi word, “Thamba”, which means “stop”, which was definitely needed to stop the shared autos which were highly used mode of transportation apart from bus service. “Thambaa!” Three: Day 01 @ Office Aakash was wide awake already and looked at his cell phone. There was still 20 minutes for alarm to sing his favorite song “lungi dance”. This is a rare event. Generally waking up 20 minutes post alarm is a trend. Well in advance, very few in life time you see! Aakash got up with excitement, brushed his teeth, twice, quick bath and spent a little more time in front of mirror than usual. First day at office and someone wanted to look really good. He had all the colors bursting and flying in his heart. Just like the colors painted to the PG he had opted to stay. In pune style “Mann me laddu phootna”. Yes, exactly. There was a light drizzle as he walked out of his PG and got into bus. Wait, something happened before he got into bus. He got a short glimpse of someone who quickly passed over him. Green long dress and mixed with white. A little less tall than him and gave him a quick chill. He was running late. “Better luck next time Aakash”, he said it to himself and jumped into the bus. He could not get her sight from the window. He believed it was that’s it all for the day and started reading his WhatsApp messages. There were a couple of ‘all the best’ wishes from his close friends. There was a message from anwesha too. Though he was near last one to be placed, he was the near first one to get the joining date. He pushed over “thank you” messages and a status update on facebook. It started at 9.00 am and never realized how it got to be 6.00 pm. The search’s, greets to new people, investigating about food court, introductions and a couple of hundred signatures. That’s it! The team manager gave a quick introduction and announced that the training started the day next. Well, 2 Tea’s and one lunch and way back home. Took a shared auto to get back home and aakash got a call from his mother asking all updates. That’s how pretty much the day ended. Well he got down from the auto and got lucky! The girl in green dress, she was there. Waiting for someone. Aakash looked at her with great curiosity though he was greatly exhausted and… and…“Nayy, not my type”, he exclaimed and walked towards PG. He had his dinner and crept into the bed. He had a little cry of missing his home and home bed. You know that happens at first! Four: First Weekend Trip The week passed like a rocket. It was Friday evening and Aakash was making plans about weekend. Off-course not alone. Over a week he had got new friends and Sumit was his current best. Somehow they jelled and glued well. They both had similar thoughts on many things. Sooner will be times when you will get an explanation on why they became best friends in a week. Or you will never need to know the reason as the story ahead will make it crystal clear. Forgot to mention, Sumit and Aakash are roommates! Considering few suggestions the plan was fixed. Lavasa city. Aakash, Sumit and 6 others. 4 bikes, 8 friends, Saturday, Early morning and The journey began to Lavasa city. A moment it rains and next it’s sunny. Breathe taking journey. The Bike ride in rain, gives a storm from inside. You become a kid when you enter Lavasa city. The swings, roller rides, slides and many others, all the 8 friends enjoyed to the core. Pulling each other down, pushing one from slide, funny pictures and the loud gags. Believe me, it’s one of the best moments of life time. There is no replacement for this in the world, even if the same team meets at same place second time. Chai, nashta done! The tired people headed back to room after taking 100 snaps. The day waiting ahead was Sunday to wash clothes and sleep. Wow! First weekend, an awesome trip and life looks so much beautiful. Aakash made an entry in his daily entry and Saturday came to a meaningful end. By the way, while washing clothes on Sunday, aakash found a kerchief in his jeans, which was definitely not his. Eww! He threw it way. Don’t expect anything else! Five: A Sunday Conversation Sunday Evening Conversation! Aakash: “Yaar, I found a kerchief while washing my jeans. Weird. I have been thinking all time along. How did it reach my pocket?” Sumit: “wait! What did you do with it?” Aakash: “what else? I threw it out” Sumit: “Arey Yaar. It was mine. I had placed it in your pocket while on bike. Forgot to tell you” Aakash: “Saale! I wasted my whole time thinking of it!” Sumit: “Bhaaaiiii!” Aakash: “okay. Leave it.” Sumit: “I need to buy a present. It’s purvi’s birthday tomorrow. Let’s go out.” Aakash: “Oh ho. What are you planning to buy? A heart???” Sumit: “Come on! You know we work in same team. And she is just my good friend. Cant I buy a gift for my good friend?” Aakash: “Then you should buy 2” Sumit: “2?? For whom is the second one? You?” Aakash: “Yeps bro.” Sumit: “whattttt??” Aakash: “It’s my birthday as well tomorrow bro” Sumit: “!!!!!” Aaaksh: “It’s okay bro. I don’t expect any gift. Finding a friend like you here itself a greatest gift for me” Sumit: “Now, will you make me cry? Rula de tune tho” Aakash: “Chup be!” Sumit: “am not buying anything for you.” Both headed out to market. Sumit purchased a greeting card and a gift after a long search. Gift was a Chinese clay model. They both finished their dinner and headed back to room. On the way purchased a small cake as well. They had a celebration at 12.oo with other PG friends. Aakash got a few birthday bumps. Sumit got busy calling Purvi. Sumit had a confused midnight event. He had birthday celebration of two of his best friends at the same moment. He was the first wisher to two people at same time, one over room and other over the phone call. And later it was a good night sleep. To Sumit. To Aakash. To Purvi. Six: The Birthday Though it was Purvi and Aakash’s birthday, Sumit felt it was his birthday. How lucky should be a friend who feels it’s his birthday, while he has his two best friend’s birthday! After the work, they all decided to meet at “Dagadusheth Ganesh Temple”. It was first time Aakash met Purvi. They both wished each other for birthday after hello – hi and walked inside the temple. Purvi walked ahead, behind was Sumit and followed by Aakash. It felt like for every step they kept there was musical beat on. They took the blessings, sat in peace for a while and moved to nearby restaurant. They ordered paratha’s and for a change, it was sumit’s treat. They had the introductory talks while dinner, however most of the times, they all were silent. Sumit and Aakash dropped Purvi and returned back to PG. Well, before moving ahead, it is right time to know a little more about each of them. Aakash: He knows his limits, And that’s the sky! He is the decent, And trust is his synonym! Sumit: The kill/dil guy, A little shy, Friendship is his life, And care is his synonym! Purvi: Joy in her face, Lively in life race, She is not the usual, And hope is her synonym! It does not matter from which part of India you are from when there is a connection of hearts which speak and shout out loud that, “You make my life Significant!” Seven: Purvi, The Purvi It’s the nick names which friends remember. At times they suit the people so much that even the real name completely goes out of picture and mind. But Purvi, was called as Purvi, for she was unique at many things. She was not much deeply concerned on how she looks. But where required, she used to clean up like there is no competitor. You can say just like Hermonie Granger did for Yule ball in ‘Goblet of Fire’. She was a good coder and always at first to take up the challenges. She was someone, where you can easily rely on. She was from a middle class family and exactly knew on how to spend the money and how well to manage a month with what she had started earning. She was traditional at office and western at DJ. She was good at sports and drama only on stage. She had realistic perspective about life and very practical with her decisions. Its generally not, you find one like Purvi at the age of 21. Say for once she had spilled water on office machine and to get it replaced she had to go to other office branch 20kms from current one. She did it on her own without any others help. But lately, it was little different. The day since she met Sumit, who had joined the same team a week later of her joining, few things had changed in her life. Not the fact that she was talking to a guy but the factor of dependency. Earlier if needed to go somewhere, she used to Google and now she had started calling Sumit. She always asked him or he always asked her for lunch/tea. They both used to have conversations all time and the level of comfort-ness increased with every talk. That comfort-ness where you even start sharing non-veg messages on whatsapp! Eight: The Seat No. 15, 16 Journeys As soon as the week starts, we start waiting for the weekend. Time rolls by so fast that weekend approaches at light speed. Relatively! Aakash noticed the uneasiness Sumit had over the week. You know what friends do when they see their friend in trouble! Create more trouble?? Yes, kind-of. A pleasant and soothing trouble possibly would be a right phrase. Though Aakash tried to talk, Sumit wasn’t expressing. He still seemed pleased and normal, though he wasn’t. It was something which only his best friend could understand that something’s not alright. To cheer him up, Aakash had planned a long trip for the weekend, with a little difference that it was a bus means of travel. Monday was a festival holiday, so essentially it was a long weekend. He got the bus pass to visit near-by famous places to Pune: Tuljapur, Akkalkot, Solapur, Shirdi and Nasik. They started the journey on Friday midnight. They visited all the famous temples in Tuljapur and Akkalkot. The best part of the journey was hunt for food, query about places, looking over maps to find which places to visit and night travel. They landed at Shirdi at midnight 3.00. That’s the right time to stand in queue to seek blessings from almighty. They prayed for good wishes and as the photography is not allowed inside the temple, they took the pictures from outside for memories! Nasik has many places to visit. They covered all the places and finally went to temple which had a lake view. They both sat together looking at the ducks for 2 hours. Neither did Aakash utter a word not Sumit. They were quite for entire 02 hours just looking at lake and ducks! That happiness is something which can’t be explained. When you have your best friend nearby, though you don’t talk anything, it still feels like you had millions of conversation. They got their dinner done at a local dhaba and started back journey to Pune. Both were happy for the splendid trip they had. Luckily they managed to get seat number 15 and 16 in every part of the journey they made and somehow it seemed an auspicious seat number to them! Nine: The Whaattt??!! Post the trip, the friendship got stronger. Aakash and Sumit had become like family. There was no partition in room which said what belonged to whom. There was one key to the room and everyday they had a perfect sync while they left the room as well as returned back. Days passed on and it was almost a month of professional life. Every now and then Aakash used to ask about Purvi and Sumit used to blush and go red. Sumit always disagreed to agree to Aakash’s expression and concluded that “She is my best friend!” However Aakash had noticed a few things and said: The other day when we had been to temple, after every incident you were looking at her. You took the prasadam and gave it her. You followed her every footstep in the temple. While having dinner, you ordered gobi paratha only after Purvi ordered gobi paratha. You text her ‘good morning’, ‘good night’ and ‘what not’ every day. Most of the times when you are having chat with her, you ignore to everything I say and nod your head. In the trip we had, you updated her every place we visited. Sometimes you even ask her what color dress she is wearing to the office. You presented her a Chinese clay model on her birthday and you have purchased similar one for yourself. You have written poems on her. And I have 51 more other such things to say. Bro, What’s the deal?? There was a long silence in the room. Meantime Aakash opened his facebook account to check his updates. He saw a status update from Anwesha which was just posted and jumped out of happiness: And at the same time, Sumit broke down and said “Purvi is already engaged!” @#$^!%@%^!@*W*! Ten: The Love Matters Aakash and Sumit were sitting in Okayama garden. They both had bunked the office for the day. They had some serious issues to be discussed and you know that as well. They had few vada pav and tea, sitting amidst green, looking at water flow and each other every now and then. Sumit broke the silence and started speaking. It’s on the first day we met she told me she was engaged. I was all so cool and happily smiling. In fact I have also met Mohit. He had stayed here for 2 days when he had come to drop Purvi to Pune and to make sure that she had settled up well. Purvi had introduced me to Mohit on second day of her office. We had been to the dam. Mohit told me to take care of her before he left. Sumit continued, you know purvi has a funny story. On the day of her engagement she eloped as it was with some other guy and on the same day she got engaged with Mohit in temple with all the friends support. They said they were in love since 8 years. I was so much happy to see them both. They have a reactive chemistry. Now both the families have agreed for their marriage. She is getting married in 6 months. Approximately. Look at me! What have I done to myself? I had thought such things happen only at movies. Never in my life had I imagined this would happen with me. I literally never knew when Purvi became part of my life. Only positive side I can see is that she will be a good friend to me for my lifetime! Aakash had wide eyes and was speechless. Literally! Like never before. There was silence for ten minutes. Aakash then said, “I only have one question to ask!” Eleven: The One Question Aakash said to sumit, its only today I understand the meaning of “complicated relationship”. It’s tangled. The most tangled web. Before I ask or say something else, I have only one question to ask, “Friend or More??” There was a silence again for ten minutes. They both were watching the magnificent beauty of Okayama garden. Sumit answered, I would be a worst friend if I propose her. May be some relationships are meant to be so. Though there will always be a small desire, I don’t want to spoil it for myself, Purvi and Mohit. If I express it, maybe we may never talk again in future. The day’s ahead look merrier to me if I don’t express my feelings and stay a good friend to her like I am now. She will definitely be happy with Mohit. Aakash interrupted, “Are you sure Mohit is not a villain guy? Then you will turn up a hero, rescue her and marry?” Sumit started laughing. I am most sure that Mohit is a much better guy for Purvi than I am. They both are dancers. They have met each other in dance class and they have ambitions of opening a “theatre for arts” in future. They are a couple with dreams and ambitions and I am proud that they are in my friend circle. Aakash exclaimed, well then there you have a solution for your problem. When you trust and respect them so much, even you don’t have rights to be sad. Be happy for them and never think anything odd again. As a friend I can’t see you in bad mood. It’s for all of us and for you. Sumit promised to be happy for everything and take this as a “most preserved” memory of his life. He then asked Aakash, you seemed to be very happy before I said about engagement. What was it? Aakash said I have been controlling myself in sharing with you this since then and started jumping out of happiness in the garden yelling “Anwesha will be in Pune”, “Anwesha will be in Pune”, Loudly! And everyone in the garden were staring at him! Twelve: The Good Old Shoes Aakash suddenly realized that he was in the park and people were watching him and he was clueless on what he was doing. They both laughed at each other and headed back home. The sun was about to set. Sumit was still pleading him to tell more about Anwesha and Aaaksh was blushing every time. He just said, “Long story bro. Some other time!” That night Aakash could not sleep well. He had a slide show of memories that were passing his thoughts. All the memories of his college life, not only because of friends but also Anwesha, who was part of it. Aakash’s slide show of thoughts will definitely bring back your memories as well. My friend’s delicious birthday bake, Forget the friend and fight for cake! Lunch time boxes pile, Stealing food is always the style! Though we don’t know class schedule, Canteen time-pass is the fuel! Desi food no one can beat, We don’t mind eating at street! We sure fight for the last bite, Slowly grab without the sight! Beach trip is mandatory, Fun there is compulsory! Aakash was in bed and very slowly; all his thoughts got converted to dreams! Thirteen: Knowing Anwesha Next day post work, both were sitting in room and “Explain me! Empty all the questions I have” said Sumit. Aakash had those special effects on his face when he started talking about Anwesha. He was looking like an ice cream topped with chocolate and cherry. He started speaking out like a non-stop train. Anwesha was a diploma student and she had joined the batch from 3rd semester. They were a month late and most of them even never used to speak. Amongst the herd, I noticed this beauty. You know the definition of “beauty” is subjective. I will explain you how her goodness made her look beautiful to me. They had horrible scores in the first exams. Anwesha was crying. And I saw her crying as I was passing by. Well then I did nothing because I could not. That is when I kind of started liking her. It was attraction at “cry sight”. One day in class when professor asked does anyone want to give a seminar, the class was quite. No one even bothered. Anwesha, stood up and said, “Sir, I would want to. I will.” Everyone started laughing. I did too. Anwesha, felt a little low and kept her head down. As usual, professor scolded at us and asked Anwesha to give her best! Seminar was a week ahead. She always used to sit in lab and work. She often used to discuss with professors. She used to be sitting alone most of the times. She always had this scary look on her face, as if she is still not accepted in class environment. She used to carry a small bag with her with few books and a Tiffin box. She always used to leave a little hair at front and most of the times used to dress in white. Gosh, I don’t know why I observed her so much! Oh snap! Fourteen: The Seminar It was the day of seminar and for everyone it was the usual day. For Anwesha, it was different. She had even updated a Facebook status saying “First seminar and hoping to do my best!”. To that there was a reply from her brother saying “You have always rocked sis!” That comment from her brother seemed funny. Anwesha was on stage and she stood still. She wasn’t speaking. Professor said “You can start Anwesha. ” She could still not speak. She started with “good morning” and her voice was shaky. There were slow murmur’s in the class. Then she slowly started up. I don’t know from where, may be from the window all the energy came up. She just picked it up. She got better with every sentence. The slide animations were beyond perfection. There was an education hunger in her eyes. Her words were sharp. None of her sentences were ambiguous. Her tone was as needed for every sentence. It was like the best presentation ever! As she stopped, she had little tears in her eyes. She still stood down to earth and there was a huge applause. Professor appreciated her efforts and also complemented “One of the best presentations seen.” That’s it! Anwesha, got many friends that day. Some people are born to bring reforms. Anwesha gave that feeling to the class as family. Since then there was lots of talks. Lots and lots. Even in class hours. She apparently became “class representative”. That evening, the comment from her brother, “You have always rocked sis!” got a hundred likes! You won’t believe, that one small step of seminar changed her life. I literally saw the meaning of “great things are often built from small actions”. Fifteen: A Step Closer to Anwesha I somehow started liking college days more than holidays only because I could see her. I still never dared to talk to her. I used to talk with every other girl in class with ease. I was always that last bench guy who did his stuff in class hours. Anwesha became class popular. She used to organize events, class trips, study like mad, party like great mad. I could see the craze and madness in her. She even started a literary club at college. She always had bright eyes. She had this charity organization she used to work on some weekends. One day, she walked to me and asked “Do you have a space in your team for project?”. It was for final year project team. Yes. The days pass very quickly. I did not know what to reply. I just said no and the team was already having four members. She smiled and said, “Let me know if I can still crash in”. I made one my friends agree to move to other team and texted Anwesha that evening, “Anwesha, we can take one more in team. Himanshu just moved out.” For Anwesha Texted back, “Oh, I just agreed to join Sahitya’s team” I was feeling the burn. I did not know the reason. I could not say it to anyone. There was nothing wrong in what had happened. Still, nothing else in life looked interesting to me. I had many deadlines ahead and I was still lying on bed and pretending to sleep. In 30 mins, there was a beep. It was text from Anwesha. “I am joining back your team. See you tomorrow”. That happiness, I can’t express. One has to only feel it . Then, we got to be a team. We did almost all other projects together. Went to paper presentations, won prizes, performed on stage, organized events, went to each other’s home, canteen, classes, everything of rest of the year, we almost did it together. I helped her for placements, she got placed. I don’t know, though I was good enough, I got it late. She was always there for me for every interview! Then we graduated and I moved here. We are still in touch. The night before graduation, I decided I will keep this as friendship, as I still did not know, if I should name it love. Sixteen: Anwesha in Pune Aakash finally completed his story. Sumit was almost asleep; he said “Bro, you have missed a nice girl”. You should have expressed what you feel. Aakash replied “I was not sure of anything. It’s a difficult decision to make. We met a few times in holidays and she had moved to her native when I came to Pune. We are still in touch though. I did not want to lose her friendship by putting all this ahead. She will be in Pune in some days. We shall meet. I will try my luck!” Sumit was snoring. A new day being and every sunrise had new hopes to Aakash. Company work was hectic too. Usual routine work on weekdays and on weekends all the 3 used to hang-out in market area. A fortnight passed and one fine day he saw Anwesha’s satus update as “Moved to Pune”. As expected, he immediately liked it. That weekend he got a call from unknown number. It was Anwesha with Pune local number. After the routine talks, Anwesha asked Aakash if he could meet her at dam on Saturday. He agreed. It was Khadakwasala dam. The same place where Purvi had introduced Mohit to Sumit. Aakash had a million thoughts running in his mind. A combination of positives and negatives. It was still Thursday and he was badly waiting for the Saturday. Every minute killed him. Every moment he had a new thought. It could be a simple meet, or she may bring her love and introduce me, what else can be? Aakash was all confused. He looked like a Chinese doll which always keeps shaking its head! Seventeen: Aakash and Anwesha It was Saturday evening and both were sitting at Khadakwasala dam looking at water and waves. Aakash felt happy that she had come alone. He asked her how she felt about Pune, her routines and other ten questions. A little later, Anwesha looked at him with eye to eye contact and said, Aakash, am here to say something. Ever since I saw you, you have been my inspiration. From the very beginning. Your coding skills have encouraged me to work hard. Only because you had given a seminar in other course, I agreed to give one. Only because you were class representative in first year, I became one. Only because you sat in last bench, I moved too. Only because you volunteered I did too. Only to see you I organized trips. Only because you are good at writing, I started the literary club. Only because your parents do a lot of charity, I started too. Only because of you I changed and got back to your project team. I got placed only because of you. I have been seeing you since the day you were staring at me when I was crying after getting the horrible test marks. God listened to my prayers. He moved me to Pune. You are my inspiration Aakash. You have made me look good. And she continued, “I…. I… I… Love you Aakash” Aakash hugged her and… Eighteen: Love Affects and Effects Aakash was on cloud nine. He had a faster heart beat. Could he neither slow his faster heart beat nor stop himself from hugging Anwesha. He said, “Anwesha, I have always been confused with this decision. I have always hesitated to express this. But today, I am all apparent. My heart and soul is ready to accept you and am no more confused. I would love to spend the rest of my life with you.” Anwesha had tears. A little. She was happy. It was that evening where everything in the world looked beautiful to both of them. Even a paper in dustbin looked great. Life had given them thousand reasons to live and celebrate the beauty. Especially when two good friends commit for life time, Nights shine, With a love line. Days glow, With a love flow. Great stuff! Anwesha continued, you know even my parents know about you and they have accepted you with zero complaints. That’s why my mother gave you all special treatment when you were home. Aakash had goose bumps and he had held Anwesha’s hands tightly as if he is never going to live. Rest of the time they both were quite and looking at each other. Though they hardly spoke, still many conversations were exchanged. Aaaksh dropped her home, and walked back to his PG. He described everything to Sumit including each and every word on what had happened and they both celebrated! Aakash could not sleep that night. Neither Anwesha. Nineteen: The Proposal It was a little different pair. They never expected each other to message regularly and update everything that happened over the day. They both used to talk everyday night for around 30 minutes. Anwesha used to speak nonstop. It was weekend and Purvi was at their room. She suggested Aakash to propose Anwesha. She explained how Mohit had proposed her in a garden. She also added, “though it is not a mandatory advice, but it will be a most cherished moment. Till today it makes me feel great when I think of that day”. Sumit was looking at Purvi when she was explaining. Aakash was excited. They all decided to call Anwesha to the garden that evening and make a moment for life time. All three went a little earlier and decorated a seat in the garden with heart shaped balloons. They had got a heart shaped cake as well. They were waiting for Anwesha to come to the garden. As she came, Sumit and Purvi got hid and Aakash went to her, held her hands and started walking her to the seat. Anwesha was all surprised and she was questioning on and on, about what’s happening. Aakash took her to the seat and asked her to sit. He was still holding her hand and could see the happiness in her eyes. Keeping his hand still firm, Aakash went down on his knees and looked at her and said, “I want a hand to hold, Until the days beyond old A heart to share, And promises of never ending care” My never with you would be only after forever. You have colored my life for I will always be a support to you; for the life time and till my last breath. Will you be the love of my life? Anwesha was all tears. She got up and knelt on her knees. She hugged him and said “yes and forever”. She kissed him on his forehead. Sumit and Purvi walked in. They hugged each other and had the cake cut. It was a dreamy moment just like it happens in movies. Out of the blue Purvi got a call! It was Mohit. He said, “My parents have been looking over our marriage dates and looks like we are getting married in 8 weeks. I am coming to Pune next week. Let’s do some shopping. And also I want to invite your friends. You should also talk in office about your resignation”. Purvi was looking so happy that her face got wide. She immediately updated her friends and asked to take leave on Thursday and Friday. It’s going to be a freaky friends weekend out! Twenty: The Five It may seem that story only has weekends. That’s because IT people go to office in the morning, work, work and work and return home back at night. There is no story there. So, everything that fits inside a week is “work”. Everything that fits inside a weekend is life, as you call it. That’s why; the first thing that is done on ever Monday is to wait for Friday! It was a fun weekend. All the 05 met on Thursday early morning. Mohit had stayed in Purvi’s room itself. They all were at fort. Only soul who was little unhappy was Sumit. They explored each and every corner of the fort. Not to find a corner like the way you are thinking. They are decent people you see! They never knew it was such a beauty. The fort which is just beside “swargate”, gave an unexpected sweetness. They sat a while. Had some gags and then moved to shopping. Purvi got a few saris with help of Anwesha and in meanwhile Aakash and Sumit helped Mohit. It was like visiting each and every shop of the market. Purvi even purchased a traditional Pune saree which had peacocks dancing on it as a memory. The violet colored one with nine peacocks. All along the shopping they were having wild gags like how they would prefer to dance at their wedding for the songs “Kombdi Palali” and “Mumbai Rickshaw-wala”. Meanwhile there was a possession going with the song “Dhagala lagli kala”. They joined and danced wild. There was no one to notice. Altogether they had massive fun. Twenty One: The Waterpark They had done with shopping and had three days left. They all decided to go to Krishnai Water Kingdom. They planned it and they were there. They enjoyed every single ride. They spent almost two hours in rain dance. Purvi and Mohit were dancing together and so with Aakash and Anwesha. The only one to be looking around was Sumit. He was completely clueless on what was going around. There were many rides in the park where two can experience together. Sumit felt like an alien. He used to take Mohit at times and Aakash at other times for such rides. They enjoyed the water waves and all the rides in the park. In summary, they had fun worth updating “Best experience of life time” They treated their tummy and headed back home. It was a happy day. The most important thing was to plan for the next day Saturday. Mumbai, it was. They got their booking done through “Neeta travels” for one day Mumbai trip. Twenty Two: Mumbai All five left pune at 5.00 in the morning. By 8.00 they were ready to start the city tour. They had the breakfast and covered all the famous places by evening. The concept of local trains, wow! The most happening city where people never stop. Life runs and so do the people. There is not time. Literally! They did some shopping and roamed around the city. By evening they reached the Aksa beach. Aksa beach is always lively. It’s a whole new life out there. They got wet completely and none of them had extra clothes. They sat on the sand watching the sunset. The chill breeze made the evening more romantic. They spent till evening, had chats all along the street. The next destination was Marine drive. They took a taxi and headed to Marine drive. They were about to reach and then suddenly, you won’t believe this, well nothing to be scared of, Purvi sneezed. Water and beach effect. Marine drive is a place with delight. Every moment at the drive looked beautiful. They decided to spend the entire night. You should know that Sumit was still the lone one. He was still happy for his friends. In fact they were pulling his legs to make a temporary one in Mumbai and all the adult things which I need not say. They had the most romantic evening ever. They were looking at water all night. It was almost about to be morning and they started back to Pune. They were back in Pune by 10.00 in the morning. Twenty Three: A Lazy Sunshine It was not easy to open the eyes. They had a tiring day the previous day. As soon as they reached they had headed back to rooms and they never knew when they got into bed. By the time they opened their eyes it was almost two in the afternoon. They just had lunch and went back to bed. Individually they all did the same at their own places. It was five in the evening and sunshine of sunset still looked lazy. Sumit was on his bed listening to manali trance in his iPod. Aakash was on call with Anwesha. Well, that was expected. In the meanwhile as Mohit had stayed in Purvi’s room itself, they both were discussing about the future plans. They had created a group in WhatsApp called “Friends and F”. Mohit texted in the group “Let’s meet at park, in an hour” Now that was the reason to all to wake up get fresh and head to park. By evening 07 they were all there. They had tea and Mohit gave invitation card to everyone. Purvi said she would be quitting her job in a month for preparations. Both the families had already given a head start. Aakash, Anwesha and Sumit were tears. They would definitely miss their friend. Life is crazy. Mentally crazy. Though it gives numerous reasons to party, it always comes with a miss. Sumit had tears and he could not stop himself. It was not going to be easy for him to give away Purvi. One can never explain how it feels to miss a friend, who is not only a friend, but more than that, but definitely less than someone whom you would commit with. Twenty Four: The Dreams Mohit explained all his plans. He said all the arrangement would be made for them from a week prior to marriage along with other friends who were coming. They all agreed to plan. Meanwhile Aakash opened the invitation and started reading. He suddenly stopped and shouted, “Manali??” Anwesha questioned back, “Manali??” Sumit was like, “Manali What??” Aakash replied, “Marriage is in Manali”. Mohit answered, “Yes. My hometown. I have checked out everything it’s around 2000kms and 32 hours journey. In fact I have left a plan as well as tickets in the other envelope. You all will have to take leave for 7 days. Purvi had demanded me to do that before I came here. She told me you were friends for life time and I witnessed it in these three days. ” Though there were many questions finally everyone agreed. Sumit then asked, “Purvi always used to speak about opening your own theatre of arts. Have you made any plans?” Mohit interrupted, “Yes, we want to start within a year after marriage. I am going to call it as Purvi’s”. We are going to train in dance and drama in the beginning. It was exciting to listen. Aakash said, “Why don’t you start now, by training us?” There was all kind of conversation of what and what not. Finally they decided to do a scene. The plan was to act a scene. They called it a “Turn”. The plot was Sumit is going to beg all and ask sorry. None of them are going to accept it. He is then going to act unconscious. That’s where the scene ends. That’s it all. Mohit and Purvi trained them with few basic suggestions. They all decided to act. The act is in next episode! Twenty Five: The Turn The day did not seem to be as per expectations. Especially for Sumit. Aakash and Anwesha were sitting together. Anwesha seemed to be sad and nervous. She was not ready to lift her head up. One could easily notice that something was not right. There was a silence. A long pause. Sumit walked to them, looked at Aakash and said, “look, am sorry Aakash! I did not mean it.” Aakash had red eyes. He got up, pushed Sumit away and walked out ferociously. Sumit sat beside Anwesha. She started crying. Sumit was trying to talk to her but was not successful. He said, “look, am sorry Anwesha! I did not mean it.“ Anwesha got up and she wanted to leave. She wanted to say something before leaving but she uttered “Never mind, Never Mind” and walked away. Purvi was standing around the corner. Sumit started moving towards Purvi. He was not able to walk. He felt like someone down was holding back his leg and pulling him down. He somehow walked at her and said, “look, am sorry Purvi! I did not mean it.” For which Purvi replied she would excuse him only if Mohit permits and if he is ready to accept everything that has happened. Sumit was ready for anything and everything. Sumit approached to Mohit, who was at other corner and said him, “look, am sorry Mohit! I did not mean it.” Mohit turned his face around and ignored him completely. Sumit was devastated. He got down on his knees and yelled loudly, “Am sorry, Am sorry” and next moment he was unconscious. Aakash ran towards Mohit and held his shirt collar. Mohit was about to hit aakash and Purvi suddenly stopped him. She nodded her head indicating no for the action. There was no loud argument and there was no violence but there was the “hatred energy” in the room. Sumit was down and remaining four where looking at each other with every feeling of ignore and hatred. That’s it all! Twenty Six: To Manali The act went well and natural. They all clapped for themselves. They headed to hotel and had dinner. Mohit had his luggage along with him. They all had aloo parathas and headed to railway station. Mohit boarded his train and headed back home. He gifted something wrapped to Purvi before the train started. There were hand waves of bye. Emotional ones. Purvi was excited to see what was inside the cover. It was her favorite novel, “P.S. I love you.” They both had watched that movie together many times. She always wanted a copy to preserve. She had one in hand. She immediately texted him back with “Love you and Miss u thissssssssssssssssssssssssss much!” People got back to work. Their mail box had many mails to be resolved. It was yet again office time and usual routines. There were no many plans ahead. They all decided to work on weekends to compensate the holidays they were going to take. Their life got routinely busy and they were enjoying it. They could even hardly meet. They used to converse all the time in their group. Mohit used to send pictures and asking those suggestions on what to pick and decide. It went on for a while. Tick, tock, tick, tock, Purvi resigned her job, got send off, all cried, and left to her hometown. Tick, tock, tick, tock, the time was near, Aaaksh, Anwesha, and Sumit packed their bags, got onto train and the journey to Manali had started! Sumit was yet again listening to Manali Trance! Twenty Seven: The Stranger It was a long journey. The journey was from Pune to Mumbai, Mumbai to Delhi and Delhi to Manali. Mohit had planned their journey so well that they just had to follow the booked tickets. The three friends were very emotional. A very not so popular thought that “You feel sad when your best friend is getting married” was evident on Aakash, Anwesha and especially on Sumit’s face. Journey till Delhi was a quite one. Aakash and Anwesha were eventful in their own world. They both had shifted to upper birth and holding hands and chatting all day. They both were listening to songs through single head phone and were glued to each other the whole time. Aakash was literally behind Anwesha all time. Sumit was usually not normal and still was quite. As they got down in Delhi and boarded train to Manali, excitement just flew in. Aakash and Purvi were at upper and lower berth at one side and Sumit was at upper berth on other side of the compartment. They started pulling each other’s legs and finally the journey started to seem lively. All the three moved near the door and were waiting for the train start. As the wheels started to move, Anwesha held her head out and started howling “Yooohoooo”. Aakash was shushing her to be quite and she did more. Anwesha got louder and louder and started laughing hard. As the train started moving, slowly the view outside turned from people to trees, mud roads to water flows, traffic sounds to bird’s chirps. They were entering the greens and the woods. As they came back to their compartment, the lower berth was occupied by someone. That someone had already slept with sheets covered from face to toes. Aakash and Anwesha got into upper berth. Sumit stared at that someone, and got to his berth. He really wanted to see that someone who was covered in bedsheet! Twenty Eight: The Wow Moment Sumit was trying to picture the view outside the window, but there was a disturbance. The thoughts that were disturbing him were; who the stranger below his berth is! Who is the one? Who is that someone? If it’s the kid, would not be alone So it’s definitely not, it’s not the one. If it’s an elder, respect from my side, And the usual ride, as it’s not the one. If it’s a he, another friend I got, Another company, though not the one. What if, what if it’s the gorgeous? Like it happens in fantasies! It could be the one, that someone! Dear lord, listen to my prayers, For let the day be one, Where I have found my someone! Sumit looked down and the seat was empty! He was curious. He started looking at both sides. He saw an elderly woman walking towards their compartment. He went “oops!”. And told himself, “Ata boy! Next time!”. In seconds, the lady moved ahead to next compartment! Behind her was another girl. She came with calm and sat down. Yes, She was that someone. Sumit went “Woww!” He could feel the sweets dancing in his heart! Twenty Nine: The Strange Stranger Sumit was staring at her constantly because he was not looking at her for the first time. He had seen her somewhere already. Don’t know where, but he was certain he had. Whenever he used to get down to see her from close or to notice her, she used to utter “kaminey” in light tone and look at him with angry red face. Aakash and Anwesha were looking at Sumit with funny faces. Sumit called Anwesha near compartment door and said, “What Anwesha? help me a little. You know I have seen her somewhere. Isn’t she pretty? Sorry, Isn’t she hot?” Anwesha was, “Isn’t It? me and Aakash were discussing the same. We felt we have seen her somewhere. Or in your terms I think we have seen a little less hot version of her somewhere. But we don’t know where!” Sumit said, “Try to talk to her… Help me a little. What kind of friend are you? In few hours we will reach Manali. Do something; please! ” Anwesha agreed after Sumit convinced her lot many times. Anwesha went near her and she suddenly turned to Anwesha and said “Excuse me! I know you have come for your friend. He is staring at me since hours. I better warn you and your friend to be in your limits” Anwesha could not take it and more over she was not the one to be quite. She shouted back, “Idiot! What do you think of yourself?” The conversation went a while and finally Sumit and Aakash had to say sorry and settle things down. The remaining journey was full of “I hate you” looks. Sumit was blaming his fortune. Though it started the way he had expected, it did not end the way it was supposed to be. Stranger was now looking horribly bad and ugly. Anwesha was flaming hot with smokes of “I will kill you”. Aakash was talking to Anwesha to calm her down. Sumit as usual, like every time did not know what to do! They reached Manali in few hours. They got down from railway station. They had to travel a few kilometers to reach Mohit’s home. They hired an auto and made some promises on the way that they would forget the train incident and enjoy the marriage occasion to full extent. As they reached the venue, they had many surprises. Purvi and her family had already come to Mohit’s place. It looked like a preparation of one big world event. As they started walking inside, Purvi and Mohit came out to welcome. Bigger and unexpected surprise was the ‘train stranger’ was also walking towards them along with Mohit and Purvi! Thirty: Know the One Sumit wanted to make sure that he was not the only one seeing it. He asked Anwesha and Aakash, “Do you see that train girl coming towards us along with Mohit and Purvi? Or am I the only one to see her everywhere? She has stick to us like a ghost!” Aakash and Anwesha both said together, “Yes, I do too! Why is she here?” She suddenly dropped down her face as they came near to each other. She had expressions just like a downside up hanging bat. Purvi and Mohit were super excited to see them, just like when a kid looks at a teddy bear. They all hugged each other and conversed about journey and took their luggage and started moving towards home. It was a huge place, just like the one covered by Great Wall of China. It looked like a palace. Mohit’s home was in like the area of 1 acre. There was a home at center surrounded by garden all over. It was a hilly area with steeps at every other place, just like the craters on the moon. It certainly did look like as if they were entering some king’s palace. Sumit, Aakash and Anwesha were looking at each other every now and then and then at the train girl. Just like when a prey looks at the predator during hunt. They were hardly concentrating on what Purvi was blabbering. The “Train Girl’ was not even ready to lift her face. She was just quite, just like the class with students of “finger on the lips”. Mohit said, a few of my other friends are already here as well. There is room arranged for all of you in guest house. Every arrangement and facility is reachable. Today evening there is special cultural program arranged, the traditional dance of Manali. It starts at 7.00 in culture hall. You all can rest and be at hall on time. The hall is to the left of your rooms. Sumit had his jaws down. Is it really a place or palace? You have a culture hall in your home? Really? Mohit went, it’s traditional. Both mom and dad have a lot inherited and they respect the culture here and may be the same runs down in my genes too. Aakash exclaimed, “Lucky you! We will be there on time!” They were just about to depart and then suddenly Purvi introduced, “By the way, meet my younger sister, Poorna!” Thirty One: The Cultural Evening Purvi Continued, “Poorna, these are my best friends and friends of my life. Meet ‘Sumit’, ‘Aakash’, and ‘Anwesha’. Taking their care and every need is your responsibility. If I receive any complaint then I won’t give you the gift I had promised.” Poorna still could not lift her face up. She had this feeling of guilt a little, more than guilt she had this feeling that they were the wrong people and it was okay to mess up with them. She somehow managed to look at them and said “Hi”. Exactly same was the situation with the other three. They somehow managed to face her and replied back “Hello”. The three got into room. There was one separate room arranged for Sumit. There was one common room for Aakash and Anwesha. They were happy. Immediately they got fresh, the bed looked like heaven and they went to sleep. They sure did not forget to put an alarm for 6.00pm so that they can be on time for the 7.00pm cultural evening. By 6.45pm they were in the hall. Mohit and Purvi introduced them to their family members. Everyone was occupying the seats slowly. The number of members in both their family was large. There was a crowd of 200+ with still 3 more days for marriage. The cultural evening had performances from two teams. There was a famous musical troop in Manali called SAPNAA. SAPNAA is a team of 6 girls, Shweta, Aishwarya, Pooja, Nivedita, Akhila and Ankita. Any family function with a performance arranged from SAPNAA team was known to be a royal one. They used to have a mixture of performances comprising of folk songs, western, group dance and everything as requested by bride and groom. Purvi and Mohit had mentioned many songs and dances to be performed for the evening. They had dedication to themselves, family and friends. There were cheers and screams as the team performed. They had the slot from 7.00 to 8.30pm and they had set the crowd to dance. Next was traditional performance from Manali – Pahari, traditional folk dance. The team was ready to perform. The crowd finally joined them and they all enjoyed the performance. It was entire family dancing with joy. The day ended with delicious food and a good night sleep. Throughout the function, Poorna was trying to hide herself from the three! Thirty Two: The Slap The next day morning, Poorna was in Sumit’s room. Sumit was still sleeping. As soon as he got up, he saw Poorna sitting on a chair and waiting for him to wake up. He was not sure if she was waiting for him. He wanted to make sure if it was not a dream as she walked towards him. Sumit was not in good enough situations to get up from his bed. As Poorna was walking towards him he said, “Poorna, am sorry. We are sorry for whatever happened. Forget them all. It was not a good time.” Poorna replied, “Yes. I came to say the same that I am sorry as well. I wish I would have not been so rude on you three. Am sorry that… I just screamed at you all. I would have done this as well that day…” Sumit was staring at her deeply. Poorna slapped him lightly and left the room. Sumit was fuming. What just happened? Did she slap me? He shouted at her back while she left the door, “I will slap you too one day!” Sumit was not able to recover what had just happened. He just rolled on the bed and hid himself in bedspread. He wanted to write a letter to devil. He wished if he was a wall. He wanted to ride a horse and go to a far far away land. He just wanted to go back home. He relaxed and did not want to make any issue at the friend’s wedding. It was Purvi’s wedding. He had to be there for her and make her every moment special. He decided to keep this as a secret to himself and got up from his bed. He got fresh and took almost 20 minutes to brush his teeth. He had many thoughts running in his mind. All of a sudden there was a loud noise coming from outside. It was like everyone out there were yelling and trying to escape from something! He could hear the screams. Just the screams and not any single other word or phrase! Thirty Three: Family Games Sumit rushed out to see what was happening and to his goodness it was family games. There was a tug of war going on between two families. Aakash and Anwesha were already there towards Purvi’s side. Sumit rushed back to his room, took a quick bath and ran out there. When he reached two wars were already over and both families had got one point each. It was the finale. Sumit ran towards Purvi’s side and saw Poorna standing nearby. He suddenly jumped towards other side and went to Mohit and said, “I got your back bro. Lets win this!”. On whistle the tug of started. There were huge screams of support and laughter’s of joy. The two families were doing their best to pull the other side down. It was looking like it was never going to end. Both the families were balancing each other with the full and pull strength. The loud music was making it more interesting. The judge, Mohit’s grandfather announced that one more minute of balance, we declare this as tie! Sumit sure did not wanted this to end as tie. It was like a revenge game to him. There were around twenty seconds left to declare a tie and Sumit put all his strength. Don’t know where it came from, that one moment and Mohit’s family started jumping out of joy. They had won. Mohit’s family had won. Due to the push strength and imbalance Purvi’s family were towards Mohit’s family. Mohit was hugging Purvi and he kissed her as well on her forehead. Also, Poorna was in Sumit’s arms. He pushed her aside and started dancing out of joy. Aakash and Anwesha hugged each other as well as it was more of fun to them than the matter of winning. The ground was next up ready for the next game. There was a small stone ball kept (like the one used in shot-put) and it was decorated with woolen art, definitely not easy to guess how much it weighed. The task was to throw it to the farthest distance with three rounds. First up were Mohit’s father and Purvi’s father. On count of three, they both used all their strength and threw it high. Oops, it was just below and beside their leg. Both. It hardly moved like 100 meters. Sumit was now sure on how much the stone ball weighed! Definitely not easy. Next up were Mohit’s best friend Umair and Purvi’s cousin brother Rahul. On three, they both threw and Umiar had got it at 200 meters and Rahul had it barely 100 meters. It was clear win for Umair. Mohit and his family were dancing for the loud music. They all hugged Umair and carried him on their shoulders. It was a dance of joy and fun. The last set was a challenging one. Purvi asked Sumit to go. Mohit immediately complained as Sumit was at their side in tug of war, he now has to participate from the same side. Not at Purvi’s side. Sumit was more than happy to agree to this. There was Aakash and Sumit against each other. Sumit clearly knew he would win. So did Aakash. He clearly knew Sumit would win. He could not beat the gym guy. And guess, what happened? Exactly the same. Sumit had it around 200 meters and Aakash had at 100 meters. More over Sumit had confidence that even had he lost with little difference, the team would have still won. Poorna was Fuming. There was second reason for Mohit’s family to rejoice. It was the second win. They all hugged each other. The sports were taken sportively. Families needed the reasons to rejoice. It was around 11.00am and the plan next was to visit the temple. Thirty Four: The Temple There were 04 buses ready to take them all along with 03 special cars. It was to take the blessings from Hidimba devi temple. It is an ancient cave temple dedicated to Hidimbi Devi, sister of Hidimba, a figure in the Indian epic Mahābhārata. The temple is surrounded by a cedar forest at the foot of the (Manali) Himālayas. It was a family tradition to take the blessings at temple. The family had arranged a pooja at the temple. They all prayed for all the good at wedding. Mohit and Purvi took blessings and so did everyone else. They all spent some time amidst the cedar trees and took a few snaps. They took a family picture of all 200 plus people gathered together. It was time to return back and finish the lunch. At evening 6.30pm, Mohit went to Purvi’s room and blind folded her. He said there is a surprise for her. All the family members and friends were waiting too. He took her to the place which was in the home premises itself. Purvi was standing in front of it and so were all others. Mohit slowly opened the blind fold and Purvi slowly opened her eyes! Thirty Five: Rise of Surprise Purvi was eager to know what the surprise was. As she slowly opened her eyes, the surrounding got calm and silent. The murmur disappeared. Felt like there was no one around. As she opened her eyes, she was right in front of a stone frame covered with red curtain. There was no one around. It was only she and Mohit. Mohit asked her to pull down the curtain from the stone frame. Purvi agreed and pulled it down. As she did there was release of white dove and pigeons and she saw the carving “PURVI’s – school of dance and arts”. Her name was carved in glitters and it was shining bright and bold. She immediately hugged Mohit and was in joy of happiness. She had tears and it was like never ending. She said, “I don’t know how to thank! We are building our dreams!”. Mohit said, “Purvi, we are not building our dreams. It is there.” He pointed to the building right ahead. There was a light decorated building standing tall and beautiful. It was decorated with flowers and lights. The sunset made it look magical. Mohit took her to the palace. It was dark inside as they stepped towards door. With every step they kept, the lights turned on. There was a middle path way in the hall with a capacity of 250 to be seated which became visible with every step they kept. Every step they kept, Life found uplift! The glowing lights, And the flowery sights, Heart almost skipped a beat, For Purvi could not believe her feet. There was a special arrangement made on stage for Purvi and Mohit. As they both walked towards the stage, the music began and the red and white balloons where dropping down on the floor in controlled pace. Out of three corners on the stage, came out singing “Shree Sisters”. Bhagyashree, Rajashree and Kavyashree were known singers in the state and they began with a love melody. The soothing melody and the chorus from 50 others made the walk of Purvi and Mohit welcoming. As they approached, Mohit took Purvi to the center of the stage and knelt down. Slowly all the relatives walked inside the hall from all the corners and doors, occupying the seats. Mohit and Purvis parents were on stage on either side. Mohit looked at Purvi and said, “How lucky I am, to be amidst all my friends and family and witness this moment. Purvi, we will not build our dreams. We will live our dreams. I want your support for every phase of my life. Will you help me live my dreams?” Purvi was tears, she held Mohit’s hands tight, knelt down too and she said “Mohit, I don’t know the fortune which brings me here, I don’t want a life of riches and luxury, I don’t want a life of complex terms, what I want is, you to be around always, what I want is your love to sink in and around me always, what I want is the love of our parents, what I want is our dance and our school” Mohit’s mother and Purvi’s mother both took one hand each of Purvi and put a bangle to her hand, one each. Mohit was hugged by both fathers. Every one clapped. Almost every one is the hall had tears. It was one witnessed moment which no one would forget in the life time. Thirty Six: The Celebration The evening had turned everyone emotional. Mohit had a new definition of happiness. Purvi cried out of happiness. Aakash, Anwesha and Sumit had experienced so many heart touching moments that they did not exactly know what was keeping them all smiles. Both the families were spreading the happiness. It was a mini world filled with a positive energy, certainly with everything to its peak. Before the day ended, most of the members of the family and close friends got onto the stage and spoke few words about family, Mohit and Purvi. There was a grand dinner arranged with the entire food specialty from the locality. The menu was too much to count and too very much even to have a taste. The dinner had a perfect ending with variety of Pan’s supplied! Just before everyone was about to return back to the room, Mohit’s father had an announcement to make. He went to the center of the dining hall and said, “From tomorrow, with two more days left for the wedding, we will have some traditional events as well as family events. Tomorrow there is going to be a food fiesta. Both the families are going to cook. The family which serves the best lunch is going to be the winner. There are more rules, which will be announced tomorrow. However, the best food will be decided by the judges. Now, we are going to decide on who will be the judges.” There was a bowl kept and everyone was asked to write their names on sheet of paper, four fold it and put it inside the bowl. Everyone did so. Mohit’s father announced that he and Purvi’s father will pick a sheet each and they will be the judges. Mohit’s father, took his turn, shuffled all the sheets, he picked one, dropped it down again, picked another, dropped it down again, picked another and announced, “The judge from my side is Sumit”. Every one clapped and Sumit was hell excited. He was dancing with fun. He went to Mohit and whispered in his ears, “Bro, we win tomorrow!” Next was Purvi’s fathers turn. He shuffled all the sheets and picked up a handful. Dropped a few back, again shuffled them and kept two. Out of two, he randomly dropped one and announced, “The second judge is, Poorna”. Poorna was jumping. You should have seen Sumit’s face when Poorna’s name was announced! Both Sumit and Poorna were called on to the stage and everyone clapped. Sumit was pushing her from his hand to stand far and so was Poorna. Sumit had decided that by any means he has to get Mohit’s family the badge. There were hugs and good night wishes marking the end of the day. Thirty Seven: The Heart Beats Nothing could have been any better or special to Purvi that night! She called Mohit, Aakash, Anwesha, Poorna, Sumit and expressed her joy. This is the night, Beyond my sight. I see my love every where, And his shower of universal care. When he is around, I fell like a little puppy, And then i go out wild like a dancing hippe. My prince charming is not the frog, i have not even waited too long. Our family with power blessings, I’m witnessing all dil-dance happenings. My friends are my support, they are my love, My family is my heart and i beat for them! My life , my love, My Mohit, Being with you is super-hit! Thirty Eight: Food Fiesta Everyone was up and ready by morning 8.00. It was the day to treat self and others exhibiting the cooking skills. The climate blew chilled wind. Everyone was packed with warm clothes. Both the families were ready to cook and were hyper excited to win the game. Sumit was all geared up to be the judge. Aakash and Anwesha had taken oath to Purvi that they would win. Poorna was still standing apart clueless on what she would do or was supposed to do. Mohit’s father announced the rules. The cooking hall had every possible ingredient decked up From each family 25 members can cook The judgment will be based on number of items as well on the taste The time would be 3 hours Both family needs to cook for 500 people The competition begins at 9.00 There was an hour remaining to plan and decide. Both the families teamed up with 25 and began with the plan. Mohits’ family decided to cook as many items as possible. Purvi’s famly decided to cook with best taste and worry least about number of dishes prepared. Sumit and Poorna were both taken to different room. They were not made known on what is being cooked at each end. Mohit’s family decided to cook the traditional dish “Dham ”. It is usually cooked during wedding ceremonies. It often includes rice, sweetened rice, curry, curd and other things. They also decided to use red rice which is locally grown. Purvi’s family decided to go with delicious masala omelette. As they were not very much aware of traditional manali dishes, they decided to go for north Indian dishes and as well cook momo’s. The music was on with loud beats and both the families enjoyed cooking. The three hours time limit passed at rocket speed. As the zeroth hour approached, dishes were arranged on the table and Sumit and Poorna were called to decide on which dishes were cooked the best. Purvi was signaling Poorna on which dishes to select. Poorna grabbed a spoon and she started tasting the dishes. She was way too hungry and irritated sitting idle in the room and looking at Sumit. She tasted all and said, “It’s time for results!” Sumit interrupted and said, “I have an idea! We have lot of food cooked here. Let’s go to charity or some organization and feed the hunger and needy! Let them decide.” Mohit’s father was impressed. He said, “Son, That’s brave. Let’s do it.” Bus was called and all food was packed in. All the family members carried the food to an old and children care center. They all together served the food. There were even physically disabled kids. Mohit and Purvi took the opportunity to feed them. They took the small kids in their arms and spoon fed them. Everyone was busy treating others and looking them smile. People at center thanked them for the good food. Everyone was so happy that they forgot it was competition and while on the return journey they were all thanking Sumit for the idea. It turned to be super overwhelming. All through the journey, Poorna was looking at Sumit with crooked eyes trying to say something! Thirty Nine: The Unusual Conversation That day afternoon post lunch Sumit went to his room to rest for a while. As he reached his room, Purvi and Poorna were already inside. As he entered the room, Purvi said in loud voice, “Poorna, ask him sorry. That’s not how you treat my friends!” Poorna had told everything about what she had done to Sumit. Sisters generally share everything. The incidents were also among the shared stories. Purvi looked at Sumit and said, “Am sorry that am fixing this late. She only told me this morning.” Sumit was like, “That’s okay, That’s okay. She is still small. I understand.” Purvi replied, “Small? Is she small? She is four years younger to us. That’s not small. That’s more like a grownup donkey, with little brains. Whatever!” Sumit started laughing. He said, “Let’s not make this an issue. It’s not something I want to be worried of. We are all excited about many other things here.” Purvi pushed Poorna to ask sorry. Poorna slowly lifted her head and said, “amm….. meee…. I ammmm….. really…… am…..” Purvi shouted, “Say it! You are doing it like a struggling fly in the food” Poorna said “I am sorry Sumit” and smiled at him. Sumit replied, “Accepted and agreed” Purvi was in hurry. She said, “You two talk a while” and left the room. Just as Purvi left, Poorna started non-stop. “What do you think Sumit? I told everything to my sister because I knew she would bring me here. Oh dude! You are such a show off!” Sumit was a lot puzzled! He said “Whattt?? Nonsense!” Poorna went “You do all things to seek attention. You are really such a show off. Am not at all sorry for what I did to you. In fact I feel sorry for your friends that I don’t know how they tolerate you. You are a total jerk. ” Sumit responded calmly, “God! These girls! Poorna, when will you get your brains? Will you ever stop bugging up my life? Just don’t look at me or talk to me!” Poorna answered “Never! I will treat you the same till the day we depart from here. I won’t leave you that easily. I will haunt you!” Sumit went crazy. He started throwing the pillows at her. Poorna rushed towards the door, grabbed the pillow Sumit was throwing at her and threw back at him. She had a perfect aim. It hit him right at head. After a small fight Poorna before leaving the room screamed, “I will haunt you Mister!” Forty: The Letter As Poorna left the room, Sumit saw a letter lying on the bed. He was questioned to see that. It was sealed in an envelope. He picked it up, opened the envelope and read it in hurry. It just said an incomplete sentence. It read, “Please Help!” Why would someone keep a letter on his bed? That’s too which reads “Please Help!”. He started the guessing game on who would it be. Would it be Aakash or Anwesha? It cannot be. If so they could have told him directly. They were thick friends. Purvi was in his room. Was it she who left the letter? Is it something she wants to share? He started feeling all the concerns about Purvi. He had mixed thoughts of all the positive and negative feelings. Why would Purvi say so? What would it be? Do I need to go and talk to her? He decided to go and talk. He rushed out of his room and started searching for Purvi. He could not find her anywhere. He searched for her in the kitchen, hall, in culture hall, almost everywhere and could not find her. With every place he moved in search of her, his worry increased. He looked tensed and he started running all over. He suddenly saw her sitting in garden along with Mohit where he was putting colors on her hand. Sumit had a sigh of relief and headed back to his room. He just cursed himself for being so weirdo. As he reached his room he saw one more letter on his bed. He rushed and opened it. It read almost the same but a complete sentence. It said, “Please Help Yourself from Being Mental – Poorna”. Sumit shut the door and shouted out loud! “Why did I even not think of this? This girl is getting me go mad. I will have to do something. God, save me from the trauma!” Forty One: Sumit and Amit Sumit was literally irritated. One reason being Poorna was very much of a torture to him. Secondly, he had high and different expectations when he had seen her first time. He had never experienced so much of irritations before from anyone else, anywhere else. He decided to clear the mess that day evening. With one more day left to marriage, there were still a hundred rituals. Purvi had her hand colorful and her friends were dancing around her. Purvi called Aakash, Anwesha, and Sumit and told them to prepare for a dance number by next two hours. She also suggested including Poorna to the group and they all happily agreed. Yeah Aakash and Anwesha did. Sumit had crooked smile. Purvi added, “There will be many dances tonight. Small teams are formed and they are all surprises. Don’t practice too much. Synchronize a little and leave the rest to fun. It’s all about dancing the heart out. I and Mohit are performing as well.” Aakash and Anwesha asked Sumit to call Poorna. Sumit thought this would be a best opportunity to talk to her and luckily she was in her room. He rushed to her room. Poorna was crying. As she saw Sumit, she started crying very loudly. Sumit had already prepared in his mind on how he is going to shout at her. As he saw her crying, he started thinking is she really crying and is this just one more of her funny acts? He was confused and said to his mind, “God, Why always ME??”. He still made up his mind and went to her and asked “What really happened now? Was it not enough of teasing? If you want to do more, here I am. Slap two or three more and stop stalking me!” Poorna started crying more loudly and she covered herself in blanket. Sumit said loudly, “Why do I always meet cry babies!?? Firstly, you tortured me. Now you cry? Instead of asking me sorry? You are so mean! Come on slap me? You may even throw me out!” Poorna, uncovered herself from blanket and said, “Go Away Amit!”. Sumit stood still and shouted back, “Whattt??”. Sumit had chills running down from his head to toe. His heart had started beating faster. He was feeling nervous. Poorna was still crying! Forty Two: The Dark Past Sumit could not believe his ears. He said “I am sorry Poorna” and ran out of the room. He rushed to Aakash and said “I am having a little headache, you carry with dance practice. I will rest a while” and started walking towards his room. In a moment, Sumit was on his bed with hands on his head. Poorna in her room was still crying. The emotions had caught her up like a dangling web. You know sometimes the world around you looks meaningless and senseless and empty and insignificant and immaterial and of no consequence! That’s how exactly Sumit was feeling about himself. He was feeling down and ashamed of himself. Never in his life had he imagined that such a day would come and stand before him and he had no answers to back himself up. The only things he had to do were ask sorry and be ready to take any kind of castigation. It was the matter of trust and promises. When the trust is broken, even after earning back, it will never be the same. He had realized why the face looked familiar to him when had seen Poorna for the first time. Not because that she was Purvi’s sister. But also he had met her before. It was like around five years ago during his irresistible teen-age. Had he even not thought in his wildest dreams he would meet this girl again. Poorna, made her mind up and came to Aakash and Anwesha. They both were trying to put some dance steps along with other friends of Purvi. They all had mixed up as one team. Poorna joined them. Flowing from her genes she was good at dancing as well. Poorna took the lead and choreographed the dance number. She picked up all the rock numbers and made it spicy enough to dance. This dance practice got Poorna closer to Anwesha. It was evening and the performances began. Team by team, groups came up one by one and danced the heart out. Every family member was dancing along and it was fun all around. Everyone enjoyed the evening and there was one huge family dance in the evening. Followed by were delicious dinner and the day out. Poorna was joyous and was smiles to her best. She enjoyed every moment to make the day for her sister. Sumit was not seen around for the whole evening. Anwesha and Poorna were sitting on the bench outside. Aakash called Sumit to query about and Sumit just answered he needed rest and will see them all the next day morning. Aakash wished Anwesha “good night” and headed back to the room. Anwesha and Poorna were sitting quite for a while. Anwesha asked, “So, tell me. What is the story?”. Poorna asked, “What story?”. Anwesha replied, “Do you think I can’t see what’s happening around? That too with my best friend? Tell me Poorna. You will feel better. ” Poorna said, “Okay. Here it is!” Forty Three: Sumit was Amit Before she could start, Poorna asked Anwesha “Why do you want to know the story from me? Why don’t you ask your best friend Sumit?” Anwesha retorted “Guys give a different perspective to the story. They self center themselves when they say it. I will hear from him definitely, but first I want to know the one from you.” Poorna knew that Anwesha totally understands her. She started, “It was around five years ago. I had just started getting to know the internet and opened my account on a social networking site. It was orkut, which is now not there anymore. But for me, my account lasted exactly for three months. I deleted it after three months. As soon as I created my account, I uploaded my photo. It was midnight around 1.00. I was too excited about my new profile. Before I could start sending request to my friends, I immediately got a friend request. It was from a guy named ‘Amit’. Without further thoughts I just accepted the request and started finding my friends. Amit immediately liked my picture and did write a scrap on my profile saying ‘Welcome to Orkut’. I was happy to meet a new guy and I juts replied ‘Thank you’. He vanished. I started finding out my other friends and joined few communities. I also checked out Amit’s profile. He had many girl friends and could not find a single guy in his account. Felt a little suspicious and still I thought not to give more thoughts to it. I used to be online most of the times as it was all new to me. After a week, Amit met me over chat. He told me he was from Delhi, nearby to place where I was. We started over usual conversation and soon it became a routine. We used to chat till late midnights most of the times. I used to sleep in my classes. We got to know everything about each other. Sometimes the chat would get dirty too. One day, he proposed me and said ‘I love you’. I was not sure on what to reply. With that unsure mind I agreed to his proposal. The chats became longer and we used to discuss all wild things at hand. My love towards him grew deeper. One day I told him we shall meet and told him the location. He agreed instantaneously. The time was to meet at 5.00pm in the lotus temple. I was there at 4.30pm. I waited and waited and waited. I was there till night 8.30.pm. The phone number he had given me was switched off. I returned home and saw his account to be deleted. His email id was Fake! I was betrayed. Not single information he gave about him was true! I was deeply carried away. It took me a lot of time to recover. I deleted my account. That Amit is this Sumit! I hope you understand what I would have been through” Anwesha promised, “I will fix this Poorna!” and she immediately went to Sumit’s room. Forty Four: Sumit as Amit Anwesha went to Sumit’s room. Poorna followed her and hid behind the door as Anwesha entered the room. Sumit was sleeping. She woke him up. Sumit went “What?? at this midnight?” Anwesha – “Sumit, I know you were not sleeping. Tell me the story. What’s it??” Sumit – “What story? What are you talking about?” Anwesha – “You think I have not seen it? The one between you and Poorna” Sumit put his head down and was speechless Anwesha – “Speak out you shameless!” Sumit started, “It was few years ago. I don’t know exactly how long. I had opened my account on Orkut and I was all excited. I was so much excited that I also created a fake account with name “Amit” and started chatting with girls around. One day around midnight 1.00 just before I could sleep I saw a profile created with name “Poorna”. I sent request and she immediately accepted. I liked her picture and slept off. She was very good looking. Then I got busy with my exams. A week later I logged in with my fake account. Poorna was on-line and I started the chat. She was from Delhi and I was thousands of kilo-meter away from her. Apart from my picture, everything else in that account was fake one. I was least bothered to chat anything as I was pretty sure I would not meet her anyways. We started over usual conversation and soon it became a routine. We used to chat till late midnights most of the times. I even bunked few classes because of late night chats. We got to know everything about each other. Sometimes the chat would get dirty too. One day, I proposed her and said ‘I love you’. I was not sure on what she would reply. Luckily she said yes. I was never serious when I said it. It was all time pass to me. The chats became longer and we used to discuss all wild and dirty things. After that we never spoke about love. It was only likes. One day she asked me to meet at lotus temple. I was sure, being so far I could not meet her. I did not even know where and what is lotus temple. I decided this is the best time to end this conversation. To be away from consequences I deleted that account and created another fake account. I was young and stupid. I forgot everything and moved on.” Anwesha slapped him. Twice. Really bad. Out of all the anger. Forty Five: The Regrets Poorna entered the room. She slapped Sumit as well and said, “You moved on Amit. I did not. You were my first love. I have cried and cried for nights. I could not say it to anyone. Not even to my sister. I only thing I did was to trust you. You ended it bad. You could have kept it real and saved the tears for me. All the information you gave was fake one. I searched and searched for you looking at all the accounts.” Poorna started crying loudly. Anwesha was consoling her. Sumit was in his worst condition. Poorna then pointed her shoulders, showed and said, “Amit, see here! I had even got a tattoo on your name. I was deeply and madly in love. I did not know how stupid I was. I wanted to show you as a surprise at our first meet. I trusted you Amit. I went through that pain to get the tattoo the day before we were supposed to meet. I was blind. I was blind. I was stupid. Every day, till today I am scared if someone looks at that tattoo and asks what was it? What would I reply to the one whom I may get married in future?” Sumit was over taken by guilt. He had never imagined that his mistake would grow so big and huge and put him in this worst condition. For him, then, it was not even a mistake. But now it was standing like a huge grown tree! It looked like it’s too late to resolve with any kind of solution. He could never take back what had happened. Anwesha looked at both of them and said, “We are here for Purvi’s marriage. Let us not bring it down. You both have to promise me that you will forget everything and behave like complete strangers. Enjoy every moment and be happy for Purvi. Once we move out from here, you both make a call and resolve the issue. Talk it out and settle. I know it’s difficult but it’s not impossible. I have planned few surprises to Purvi and it can work well only if you both join me. ” After a long silence, Anwesha took both of their hands and took their promise and they both agreed. Forty Six: The Marriage It was zero hours left for the big day. Aakash, Anwesha, Sumit and Poorna were invisible for few hours. They had planned a surprise wedding gift. It was the most expected day for Mohit and Purvi. It was the dream wedding. There were thousands of people gathered. Mohit was dressed in white and red, Waiting for Purvi, eager to wed. The eyes were searching for the sight, Thinking of all the future bright. Purvi matched the white and red, More eager was she to wed. Purvi looked like a princess, For she was going to lock her prince. The rituals banded the life together, The promises made to be forever. The blessings reached the sky, Couples were ready to fly. Purvi said to Mohit, It started with sharing my feelings, When I was “okay” for all your “yes”! You were the lyrics for all my tunes & I am the rhythm for all your beats Now I am ready to share my life And I am “yes” to all your “Okay” Mohit was no lesser in competition. He presented, The days were pleasant, now they are more. Just like the sun adding beauty to Sea shore. The days were great, now they seem fantastic, You can always pull more when life is elastic. The days seemed live, now they look lovely, Everything is ready, like for kick start newly. I have got a hundred reasons to rejoice, For my life brings a life partner. It was one lovely day! Forty Seven: The New Journey Mohit and Purvi were about to start their new journey of life. Everyone was presenting gifts as the token of love. There was also a special gift ready. Poorna, Anwesha, Sumit and Aakash had been to locality, advertised about the cultural and arts school and had got 20 admissions. They presented it to the couple. It was the best gift to start over. They thanked all the four from heart and hugged them. The school was starting next month. The day had mixed emotions all over. Purvi’s parents were happy. So were Mohit’s. Mohit and Purvi waved their hands to all and left for their honeymoon to Paris. It was a fortnight trip. Poorna packed her bags and left to her home with her parents. Before she left, Sumit went to her and said “I will see you soon” Aakash, Anwesha and Sumit started their journey pack to Pune via Delhi. On the way Sumit told everything to Aakash. They both discussed over the matter and came with best possible way of resolving the problem Sumit had created. Everyone else packed their luggage’s and started the journey back. Things were definitely not the same as they had started or supposed to be. Aakash and Anwesha were planning on their wedding date. Sumit had his own different plans. It was all starting a new journey. Forty Eight: Officially Amit It was a week after marriage. Poorna’s door bell rang and she opened the door. Sumit was standing with his parents. Sumit’s dad stepped ahead and said, Poorna, I am here with my wife and my son, “Amit”. Poorna did not know how to respond. She welcomed them inside and called her parents. They all sat together in hall. Sumit’s dad said, “I think Amit will speak the rest.” Sumit said, “Poorna, I could not think of a better way of resolving what I had done. I officially got my name changed to Amit, on certificates and all the official documents that I am responsible for. I want to be the same Amit whom you used to chat with. Give me a chance to prove myself good. I will make sure that for all the pain I gave you, I want to make it up by giving double the happiness.” Amit asked Poorna, “Will you marry me!??” Poorna’s mother and father were worried as they had no clue on what is happening. Poorna explained everything. Poorna’s dad said, “Poorna, now you are matured enough to decide the goods and not goods. We leave the decision to you. But we are still angry on you that you have got a tattoo on his name!” Poorna started laughing. She looked at Amit and his parents and her parents and said, “Tattoo is no more on your name Amit!” Amit was puzzled. Poorna slowly showed up her shoulders. She had re-tattooed the previous one by prefixing and with a little design as “Sumit”. Amit started laughing out loud. He was in tears. He said, “You were so confident that I would come back. You don’t know how much this would mean to me. It’s not easy to forgive what I have done.” Poorna had not expected that things would end in this way. She was happy with the turn life had given her. She had thought she will never be able to forgive him but the same expression had formed out as love. Amit presented her the ring and they were officially committed. He took her out and said, “Let us leave the rest to our parents” Forty Nine: Happy Endings Mohit and Purvi had happily settled. Their school got famous and as well many awards and recognition. Government was also aiding it financially. It grew out to be school with more than a thousand registrations running short courses of culture and dance. They also built a hostel and their program also had a Manali trip for registrants. Aakash and Anwesha had settled in Pune, both working in the same company. With time the love only increased with sufficient number of fights at periodic intervals. They had started a NGO to help the poor kids and they got associated with Purvi’s dance school as well, funding two poor kids in every course. Amit and Poorna had settled in Delhi. They used to fight as often as possible and in the same way love to. They both were working in different companies and had the most exciting life ever. Amit was loyal to Poorna and respected all her decisions. They had even got both of their parents to stay with them. Every year, from December 20 to 31, it was a trademark holiday for all of them. The plan was to spend those days in Goa. They had promised to follow it forever! And they did! Fifty: Acknowledgements I really felt it essential to make it part of the novel. It feels great to have completed one Novel. Writing this has always been special. It was a great stress buster and I have enjoyed writing every part of it. Literally. Writing this amidst my research works was so much of relief. My sincere “thank you” to all who have read it. It sure is a motivation to write more and better.

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