The Proposal

Sometimes the most beautiful love stories end, before they even begin...
but then the love still remains and that’s where the real beauty lies.

It was the 14th of February, 6pm. He didn’t want to be late. He had waited long enough for this day to come in his life. The 14th of feb is a special day for all lovers . It is a day when you make your loved ones feel special, show them how much they mean to you, how much you care for them. More importantly tell them what you feel about them.
For Shankar it was all the more special, this day had come in his life 36 years after it should actually have!
As Shankar dressed up for the occasion, he looked at the mirror. White shirt ( her favorite colour), Dark Brown pants…Neat casuals , yes the hair was a bit of salt and pepper but the heart was young. It still had the same beat ( 140 beats per min!), the same excitement and yes the same longing for her,as it had 36 years ago!
It was the third day of junior college. As Shankar sat in his class with his new found friends, he got a sense that this life is fun. No more uniforms, check ups for cut-nails or hair. No more compulsory attendance, yes the picture of freedom was coming true.The biology professor was drawing the heart and explaining its functions. Shankar and his friends were making plans for catching the latest movie release that night. After all who would be interested in such a boring lesson. Who wants to know what sound the heart makes, which vein goes where and what not. Suddenly there was a sound…”May I come in Sir?” and there she was...red shirt , black jeans, beautiful earrings, light brown eyes….wow!!. Add to that a pretty face and fair skin, suddenly the Lub-Dub sound of the heart was making sense. Shankar swore he could hear his,even without a stethoscope!!!
“How come you are late?"...the prof asked. Arey….at least be happy that she has come , who attends your class anyways …Shankar thought!. “ Sorry sir came the polite reply, being my first day it took a time for me to reach college…won’t happen again”, she said with an expression with those brown eyes that took his breath away.
The lecture continued. As she sat in the first bench, taking down notes…Shankar just couldn’t take his eyes of her. He thought … If there was love at first sight…it had to be this! As the professor continued about the human pulse beating at a normal rate of 72 per min…Shankar thought the theory was wrong…his was at 140!!!
In the next few days he learnt that her name was Aditi . A week after that he saw her at his station. She was waiting for the train to get home. Should I go and introduce myself…hmm….how can i? I am with my friends,what will they think..These were some of the thoughts that crossed his mind. Suddenly she turned back, their eyes met , she smiled and he smiled back.The entire night he couldn’t stop thinking of this incident and he slept with a smile on his face remembering her in his dreams …Yes he was in love!
As the day passed the glances grew fonder. She used to look at him and he used to look back every now and then during the classroom sessions. There was this sweet smile of appreciation from her side whenever he gave the answers asked during the lecture. Everytime he used to give an answer he used to look at her after he had finished .The smile and the shy expression in her eyes used to mean the world to him rather than the professor’s acknowledgement. He knew he had made an impression!
“Why don’t you go and talk to her?”… “Abe kitne sharmayega?!!”…. “Itna sochega toh uske pota poti paida ho jayenge”…were some of the encouraging and polite comments that his friends used to make at him!. Idiots.. he thought, what do they know about love…I mean how can I just go and approach her …and what will I tell her when all I do is get lost in those beautiful brown eyes!
The months passed but the love didn’t . He still rejoiced in her glances - at the canteen, in the class, wherever and whenever she saw him. Why dosen’t she come instead and talk. Is it that a guy always takes the first step?. I don’t think she is interested , else she would have talked to me by now! .Kya karun? can’t just let this feeling be. Have to say it atleast have to start talking with her,  been more than a year now! His mind threw complex questions like these all the time.
It was the 14th of February ,the second and the last year of junior college. Shankar decided that today was the day he was going to say that she was special for him ,that she meant the world for him and that he would wait for her till she said yes!
He woke up early shaved, took 30 minutes to get dressed. On his way out he could sense the surprise in his mom’s eyes, maybe the excitement ,the impulsiveness was showing.. Calm down! He said to himself. “Bye Mom...could be a little late , we have a movie plan” he said , knowing that every bit of it was false. He actually thought that in case she said yes he would go out for a dinner with her and spend the evening.
Wow how wonderful the thought was!
The roses that usually came for Rs 5/- were Rs 20 today!. It didn’t matter,just didn't matter. He bought a small bouquet ,a nice card and hid it in his big bag, lest any of his friends would suspect what he was upto!
He waited and waited at the station,but she didn’t come. Maybe she has reached college, he thought. She wasn’t there too. Infact the entire day passed and she never turned up in college. What could be wrong?...is she unwell…whats the problem…various thoughts crossed his mind. “Hey Shankar.! We are going out for the latest release Dil toh pagal hai…wanna come?” “No yar…i can’t….. i mean…..i want to but i can’t….have guests at home”!!!
His mom was surprised…. “What happened you look so upset, is everything alright?”… “ Ya mom the idiots!!….they ….they cancelled the plan, had thought it would work out, but nothing happened…bad luck”. “Shankar!, its just a movie..we could go, will tell your dad!” . “ No mom have lost the interest...actually a bit tired too. Lemme take some rest”.His mind was in pieces….where was Aditi?..why hadn’t she turned up?
He kept the roses in a vase. The card was still there….will give it to her tomorrow….yes will celebrate my valentines day tomorrow…he thought.
The next day as he entered class, he saw that the entire class had surrounded Aditi . She was blushing, smiling. There was a guy next to her…ya it was Yash . They apparently were in the same group and good friends too. The next thing he learn’t was that Yash had proposed to Aditi the day before. He had visited her building early morning , waited for her to come down her house and proposed to her then and there.
The worst part…she had said yes!
He just left in a hurry. As he left he looked back, yes she saw him leave .But now how did that matter. He entered his room, tears swelled up in his eyes, he didn’t know why?. He felt pain in his heart…probably the first time ever. He looked at those roses. He threw them apart. The thorns pricked his hand, but the pain in his heart was greater!!

He glanced at the card and gave it a tug ……

But how could she do this to him…what had he done to merit this!!! Why didn’t she understand that he loved her?...That night he couldn’t have his food, couldn’t sleep either.
I will never talk to her…never look at her…let her go to hell…were the thoughts that crossed his mind.
The next day she saw him in the corridor…she gave a smile..he ignored her!.

A tear suddenly came down Shankar’s eye as he saw himself in the mirror. How immature was i at that time...what was her fault…I hadn’t even talked to her..how would she know! The clock struck 7…Shit where am I lost…I don’t want to be late not today not again!! He rushed to his car ...and drove to the place where she was meeting him.

Their reunion was kinda strange and not the way Shankar had imagnied . In fact after that incident in the corridor he just didn’t want to meet her again.The exams came, results gor declared and college suddenly got over. Shankar took up law, years passed by and by now he had become a successful lawyer. He had a roaring practice and a happy family. But then as luck would have it, he lost his wife a couple of years back. His son now assisted him in his practice. His son was married ,happy and had a loving wife. Shankar was happy for him. Raising a motherless son was never easy and he was happy he could do it.

It was an unusual day in office. Right from the morning they has not seen one client and it was closing time. “Dad , I might as well go home today, will go for dinner with my wife…u also wanna join?”…his son asked . “ No son… you enjoy..i prefer some rest”. “ “Ok dad , take care. Bye,”.His son had recently moved into his new home with his wife. Shankar was happy for both of them as they saw their dreams realizing together. But he knew at the end of the day he was alone!
There was a knock on his cabin. “Sir there is a client and she wants to meet you, have told her that the office is shutting down for the day but she refuses to listen. Says that she has a serious problem.”. “Ok! Send her in.The door opened and the voice came….“ Sorry sir for being late but then had to meet you.” Shankar remembered that voice….he looked up startled…it was her...Aditi!!!
“Hi!....i hope you remember me…guess we were in same college.”she said . “ Ya ya …sit down please …what brings you here?”he asked. Shankar learn’t that Aditi and Yash had got married 3 years later but then that’s when she realized her mistake.Yash was addicted to gambling, something that he never told Aditi. He used to spend money on it like crazy. Even from her salary. When she resisted he used to beat her up.
“So why didn’t you leave him then?”…Shankar asked, “ I couldn’t , had a daughter . Initially he used to indulge in it once a while. We used to argue but it never got worse . It was when my daughter turned 5 that he really started getting addicted to gambling. That’s when he stated abusing me too when I resisted.”.. He lost his job, the family burden was on me. Had to bring my daughter up, didn’t want to separate.., thinking of the impact it will have on my child’s future.”….. “So why now?.. Shankar asked… “ Because I can’t take it anymore. Was in fact waiting for this day… my daughter got married last month, but my condition continues to worsen.. he is even addicted to drinking now and the abuses haven’t stopped…tears swelled in her eyes!...can’t take it any more…please help me”.
“How did you find me?”…..he asked, “Just heard of you as a famous lawyer from a friend. And when I saw you today i recollected that you were in my college . Good to see that you have done well for yourself”.
He helped her file the divorce papers. The hearings stated in court. As the days passed the interactions between them grew strong. “How about a cup of coffee? he asked her one day after the day’s hearing. She looked at him with surprise and said, “Yes Sure.”.with a smile and Shankar thought…this is what he should have said a couple of years back!!
The coffee helped them bond over as they recollected their college days. The days passed and Shankar helped her win the case. She now was free. “Thank you..This means a lot to me..i know a lot of years in my life are gone because of my wrong decision but then atleast I can enjoy and relax in the remaining part of it…all thanks to you. How can I ever repay you?”.“What have you decided for the future…Shankar asked?”. Well…my daughter is in the US, am catching a flight tomorrow.Shankar asked “Hmm….so how about dinner? Maybe it’s the last time we can catch up, I know you have to pack and all…but then….…
“ YES, came the reply…why do you talk so much…my god “ she asked. “Can’t help it….am a lawyer”!!! he said. The laughter that followed just catapulted him back to his college days. Man he still loved her. But then this time there was a difference... he was going to tell it and as fate would have it was Valentines!!
The traffic was smooth. He reached the place in time. Maybe destiny is with me he thought .There she was… sitting by the lakeside . He had booked this lake house for the evening. After all this was his proposal, the proposal for his first love!
The evening passed , they chatted , laughed and cried at memories. And then he suddenly held her hand and said into those beautiful brown eyes …“ I love you ,… always have all this years. Never realized it before or probably didn’t have the courage to tell it. ..I don’t know whether what am doing now is right or wrong but then…I just know that its true…and its true that I love you!!
He then gave her the card that he had made for her 36 years back.…yes that day he had stopped…the card had her name and there was no way he could tear it!
Looking back today he had realized the reason ….it was because he knew he loved her…loved her with all his heart ….loved her for what she was…loved her just unconditionally!  He had preserved it all this time, like the way his heart had preserved her love.She looked at him with tears in her eyes…. “ Why didn’t you say this that time?”..why…she just collapsed in his arms. He looked at those eyes, the tears in them made them all the more beautiful. He held her tight and gave her a kiss with all his love!. The evening just got more colourful!
The next day he went to see her off at the airport. Their hearts were content. The last evening was probably the best in their lives.As she left for the departure she gave him a hug and said, “ I love you and shall till i die…but for now have to get back to my daughter, she is expecting me. Will stay in touch. You too take care and don’t forget to stay in touch. Shall come back soon. Bye!!!

As Shankar watched her plane take off he thought…

Sometimes the most beautiful love stories end, before they even begin...
...but then the love still remains and that’s where the real beauty lies!

Comments

Megha said…
Hmm... Interesting... Seems to be 'right from the heart' types!

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