SWASAN OS – A HELPING HAND
Heyy, Anjali here 🙂 🙂
Hope you like this one-shot
Swara sighed in relief as the bus stopped. It was really cold outside and she just wanted to be able to get out of the cold.
Swara (cheerfully greeting the bus driver) : Good Morning Gopal Kaka! How are you?
Gopal : Hello bitiya! How come you are still coming by bus?
Swara (surprised) : Why are you telling that, Kaka? Don’t you want me to come?
Gopal : No, That’s not the case. Don’t forget, I saw you on TV. Swara Bose wins the lottery. I was so happy when I saw that. You deserve it, MY child.
Swara nodded in realization. She had recently won the grand prize in the lottery, which meant that from now on she would receive Rs 30,000 every week for life and an initial amount of Rs 2,00,000.
Swara (laughing) : Thank you Kaka! But, Just because I won, it doesn’t mean I’ll waste 150Rs on a cab fare when I can easily take this bus. Besides, I’m used to talking to you and this bus stops right outside.
Gopal (smiling) : Come in now bitiya! It’s really cold here. I’m just glad that I’ll see your pretty face everyday. Go and sit beti, There are lots of people at the next stop.
Swara nodded and removed her scarf. She went to the back of the bus and took a seat next to a guy, who looked to be around her age.
She looked at the passenger next to her curiously. Swara couldn’t remain quiet for long. She was a social butterfly and was very friendly. She looked at the man with some doubt.
Normally, she would have already spoken to him, but he was searching his backpack with supreme concentration and she didn’t want to disturb him. She shrugged and amused herself by watching the antics of the people outside.
Soon, the guy began mumbling and Swara could not stand it. She had to talk.
Swara (politely) : Excuse me?
The man turned towards her and glared at her furiously for a moment before turning to his bag again.
Man (curtly) : What?
Swara was taken aback but still prodded on. She was not one to get discouraged by animosity.
Swara : Are you okay? Is there something wrong?
He seemed surprised by her question but did not answer. Instead, he continued to search his bag.
Swara : Hello?
Man (grumbling) : Yes, Something is wrong. No, I am not okay.
Swara turned her head and saw that he was fingering his wallet in the bag.
Swara : Money problems?
The man finally gave up searching, pushed his wallet to the bottom of the bag and gave his full attention to her.
Man (demanding) : What’s wrong with you? You don’t go nosing around people’s lives.
Swara (quietly) : I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to prod. (at his incredulous look) Well, I mentioned it only because you seem miserable.
The man sighed and let the bag drop down to the floor, by his feet .
Man (downcast eyes) : That’s because I am.
Swara tried to be quiet and let this handsome man ( Yes, she had noticed) be on his own. But soon, she couldn’t bear the silence.
Swara : Hey, Don’t worry. You know what, Sometimes it helps to confide in a stranger. You can tell me about it…. If you want, Of course.
When the man turned towards her again, there was faint amusement lining his lips and his hazel eyes were less sad.
Man : Are you some sort of doctor or shrink?
Swara (smiling) : To tell the truth, Yes. I have a major in psychology and now am interning under a psychologist.
Man (smiling, happy that he had actually been right) : That’s great! So…. How long until your stop?
Swara (laughing) : You looking to get rid of me?
Man (chuckling) : Not at all. Maybe at first, But now…..
Swara : Well, thank you for changing your opinion. I’m honoured.
Man : So, How long until your stop?
Swara (looking outside the window and facing the man again) : This is 3rd Cross Street… So 3 more stops. Near the Freeway. What about you?
He shifted his eyes and muttered softly.
Man : The last stop.
Swara (acknowledging the statement) : The last stop is the airport. You’re flying somewhere? Or are you picking someone up?
Man : Um…. No! Vaise, Do you know how much a plane ticket to Mumbai costs?
Swara wanted to counter his question with another one, but when she saw just how interested he was in her question, she thought about it and answered.
Swara : From Mangalore? At least Rs 4500.
Man (groaning and his shoulders slumping) : That’s just crap.
Swara : You could take a train or bus to Bangalore and then take another train to Mumbai.
Man : NO!
Swara (taken aback) : I’m sorry?
Man : I don’t like trains. And I need to get to Mumbai very fast. Like… I need to get there quickly… like yesterday fast.
Swara : So why can’t you?
Man : My dad kicked me out.
Swara : Why?
Man (tapping his fingers on the window rail) : He didn’t want me to pursue my dream. He wanted me to join his construction business. But I refused.
Swara : You did?
Man : Yes!
Swara : Why?
Man : I have other goals.
Swara : Which would be?
Man : I’m sorry?
Swara : Your goals.. What are they?
He blushed slightly.
Man : If you really want to know.. My goal is to become an actor. Hopefully an excellent one.
Swara (smiling) : Why are you blushing? That is a very good goal to achieve. There’s nothing wrong with it.
The man shrugged helplessly.
Man : It is a dream. IT has to be. It’s impossible to become big in Bollywood. How am I supposed to compete with the Khans and Kapoors of the industry? I will just have to go back home. Anyways, I don’t have enough money. I don’t have enough for food, lodging and the plane ticket.
Swara (gently) : Obviously, You didn’t think things through.
Man : I wasn’t supposed to leave now. My plan was to earn enough money and then go. But my dad….. My dad took me by surprise, and kicked me out.
Swara (sympathetically) : Ouch! That’s rough.
She began thinking about all the possibilities this man had.
Swara : What are you going to do now?
Man : I guess I’ll go back home. Join Papa’s construction business. Make money. At least then, My younger brother can fulfill his dream. (smiling at the memory of his brother) He wants to be a pilot.
Swara (smiling as well) : How old is he?
Man : 16. Just about to begin his life.
Swara nodded and then saw that she was nearing her stop.
Swara : I have to get down in 5 minutes.
Man : Well, It was nice to meet you. And thanks for listening to my sob story.
He kicked his bag helplessly and Swara made a decision. She took out a chequebook and a pen.
Swara : What’s your name?
The guy who had been looking outside the window looked at her surprised. Then his eyes fell on the chequebook and he blanched.
Man : You know… This is really not necessary… I…
Swara (ignoring him) : Your name, please?
Seeing that he was reluctant, she leaned over, bent down and took out his wallet from the bag. She saw his driver’s license.
Swara : Sanskaar Mehra! Nice name.
She quickly scribbled down his name and the amount and tried to give it to him. But his hands wouldn’t budge.
Swara (quietly) : You don’t have to feel bad about taking this. Today, I have helped someone and done my good deed for the day. I will never regret it.
Sanskaar’s hands reached for the cheque but he didn’t look at it.
Sanskaar : How do you know I’m not a fraud?
Swara (chuckling) : Well, If you are one, You should definitely consider acting. You will be excellent. And if you aren’t, Then As I said, I would have done a good deed. Everyone deserves a chance.
She got up and collected her things. She began moving forward to get down.
Swara : All the best, Sanskaar Mehra! I will go and see your movies and will buy DVDs as well.
She smiled one last time at him and got down from the bus. Only then did Sanskaar look down at his cheque.
Sanskaar : Swara Bose…..
Then he looked at the amount.
Sanskaar (incredulously) : Rs 75,000? A cheque for Rs 75,000? Swara Bose… Swara!
He turned the cheque over and saw that she had written a note.
A helping hand is all a person needs sometimes. I’m glad to be yours. I hope your dream gets fulfilled.
2 YEARS LATER
Swara entered the theatre with her friends to see a film The first mainstream film of the new heartthrob Sanskaar Mehra.
Lasya, Her close co-worker and friend stood up from her seat and waved Swara over. Once Swara reached her seat, Lasya began speaking.
Lasya : You won’t believe the croud here tonight. People were trying to take the seats that we had booked. But even if they had spilt some drinks or water on the seats, I would have sat down. Soggy or not, Sanskaar Mehra is too hot to walk out on.
Swara (laughing) : Remember, You have a husband. And here he is. Hey Ansh!
Ansh (coming over and pecking Lasya on the cheek) : Hey Swara! How are you?
Swara : I’m fine. (teasing) Just asking your wife to control her inappropriate desires for Sanskaar.
Ansh (groaning) : Don’t start. Lasya has been going on non-stop about the man.
Their other friend, Sadhna joined them and sat on Swara’s right.
Sadhna : Well, Can you blame her? Sanskaar is such a hottie. If I ever had a chance, I would certainly… you know?
Ansh (teasing) : No.. I don’t know. What do you mean Sadhna ji?
Sadhna : Arre! Why am I ashamed. I’ll just tell it out loud. I would certainly jump his bones if I could.
Swara snorted and her mind went to the day she had met him. She had certainly noticed how attractive he was that day, but had not registered it in her brain. She smiled as she realized that she had been too focused on his emotional turmoil that she saw his nature and not the surface. Sanskaar had often come to her mind since then.
Now, At age 24, She could empathize as to why everyone wanted to be with a heartthrob like him.
Lasya : Do you think he will win a filmfare award?
Swara (incredulously) : The movie hasn’t even started. What the hell are you talking about?
Lasya (dreamily) : Well, There should be a category for hottest actor…
Sadhna (crossly) : Ssshhh… The movie is starting. Quiet down, all of you!
2 hours later, Swara was nearly in tears as she came out of the crowded theatre. She was so proud of Sanskaar. He was a true actor. The emotions, the expressions, his phonetics, Everything had come out perfectly.
Swara (thinking) : I definitely did the right thing that day. His intensity… God.. why did I feel that all the lines he was saying, he was saying it to me?
Sadhna shook her.
Sadhna : Swara? You fine?
Swara (clearing her head) : Of course. Look, there’s Rishi.
Rishi was Sadhna’s fiance. He saw them and came walking in their direction.
Ansh : You sure you okay, Swara?
Swara : Yeah, I am. Just a bit overwhelmed, perhaps.
Lasya (shrieking) : By Sanskaar’s hotness?
Swara (laughing) : No! Just amazed by his prowess in acting. He was very good, Wasn’t he?
Sadhna : Good? He was excellent. He was.. Well, I was just too busy drooling over him to think of anything else..
Swara (rolling her eyes) : You guys have got to get a life… Actually, You already do have a life. You (pointing at Lasya) with Ansh here, And you Sadhna, with this man here. Hey Rishi!
Rishi (laughing) : Hey Swara! (giving a kiss on Sadhna’s temple) So, How was the movie?
Lasya and Sadhna (together) : SANSKAAR IS SOOOO HOT!
Rishi raised an eyebrow and looked at Sadhna.
Rishi : Do I have competition, Janu?
Lasya (dreamily) : I wonder where he was all these years.
Swara coughed and shifted slightly. She had never told anyone about helping him with the money. She had thought of telling, but in the end, could not bring herself to. Sanskaar was her secret. It made her feel close to him. But she didn’t understand why she wanted this feeling.
Swara turned to the others who were talking wedding details for Rishi and Sadhna. She waved goodbye and promised to meet them soon. Swara walked the 2 blocks to the bus stop and came into the bus in the nick of time.
Gopal Kaka : Swara beti! You here? So late?
Swara (trying to catch her breath) : Ek… (huff) min.. (huff)ute Kaka!
Gopal : Bitiya! Pehle andar aajao. Come inside.
Swara : Ji Kaka! I had just come for a movie. That’s why I’m so late.
Gopal : Accha! Which movie?
Swara : Sanskaar Mehra’s movie : The new one…
Gopal : Oh, The hindi one na? My wife’s been asking me to take her for it. Was it good?
Swara : It was. Sanskaar is a terrific actor. (chuckling) You know what Kaka, my friends are in love with him.
Gopal (laughing) : I know. My daughter is also halfway in love with him. She goes on and on about him. Accha bitiya, I can again see people in the next stop. So go and sit somewhere before you lose a seat.
Swara smiled and nodded. She moved to the back and sat down in the same seat where she met Sanskaar, 2 years ago. She closed her eyes and thought back to the moment where she had met him and smiled nostalgically. Her one helping hand had made him achieve his dream.
Suddenly she heard a rustling sound and opened her eyes. But she saw no one. She turned to the seat next to her and found a note taped to the seat. Puzzled she took it in her hands and read it.
YOUR HELPING HAND CHANGED MY LIFE
Shocked, Swara searched around the bus but found no one. There were three ladies, a few gentlemen, a man covered in a hoodie and five children in the front. But there was no sign of anyone else.
Swara (wonderingly) : Sanskaar? Were you here?
She got off and walked home in a trance. Was Sanskaar here in Mangalore again? Did he want to meet her? The note definitely proved that he remembered her but did he want to know her?
As Swara got into bed that night, She had made up her mind. She must be a fool. The note was meant for someone else, not her. It proved nothing. Sanskaar probably didn’t remember her anymore.
2 DAYS LATER
Swara was waiting for the bus. It had been another cold day and she had a basketful of apples to take home. A patient and friend of hers had given them to her today in the clinic.
As soon as the bus came, She thankfully got in and greeted Gopal Kaka as usual.
Gopal : Bitiya! I’ll talk to you later. Now you go and sit.
Swara started walking towards her seat but suddenly the bus jerked and three apples fell down.
Swara (dismayed) : Oh no! I had better get them before they get bruised.
She picked up one of the apples and bent down to pick the other but before that, a man with a hoodie had picked them up and gave it to her. His face was covered and Swara could not see him clearly in the bus.
Man : Here you go.
Swara (gratefully) : Thank you.
Man : No problem Swara!
Swara (suspiciously) : Swara? How do you know my name?
Man : You’re questioning me? I was only trying to provide a helping hand for you.
Swara was stunned to hear the phrase again.
Swara (warily) : Who… Who are you?
The man raised his head and gently removed his hoodie but even before Swara could see his face clearly, she knew who it was. His hazel eyes gave him away.
Swara (delighted) : Sanskaar?
Sanskaar immediately placed a finger on her mouth and looked around to see if anyone had heard. He was in the clear.
Sanskaar : Hello Swara!
Swara : What are you doing here, in this bus?
Sanskaar (sheepishly) : I have been waiting for you to get on. For the past week, I have been going forth and back in this bus hoping to see you.
Swara stared at him surprised. She remembered the day of the movie and the note.
Swara (gasped) : You! You did write the note.
Sanskaar (smiling) : I did.
Swara : Why didn’t you reveal yourself earlier? Why didn’t you tell me that day? I know you were there. Same hoodie…
Sanskaar (sheepishly) : I… I was going to… But in the last moment, I lost my nerve.
Swara wanted to ask why he lost his nerve but she didn’t. It seemed too important a question to ask.
Swara : So… What if I had changed my bus?
Sanskaar (shrugging) : I would have hired a private investigator to find you.
Swara (blushing a little) : Why go to such hard lengths to find me?
Sanskaar (countering) : Why go to such hard lengths to give me your hard earned money?
Swara (muttering) : It wasn’t hard earned. All I did was win a lottery.
Sanskaar : I know about that.
Swara (surprised) : You do?
Sanskaar : Yes! I had to make sure you could afford to give me this. Only then did I cash the cheque.
Swara : Did it help you? Did you need more?
Sanskaar : I didn’t need more Swara! What you gave me was priceless. But why?
Swara : Why not? I had Rs 2,00,000 and was going to get Rs 30,000 every week. I didn’t need that much money. And….. And the pleasure I got from helping you… There was nothing like it.
Sanskaar (smiling) : Why didn’t you tell anyone about it?
Swara : Excuse me?
Sanskaar : The news, The media.. The internet.. Why didn’t you tell anyone about it? It would have made you rich.. and famous.
Swara (glaring) : I am rich. I might be richer than you right now. So why would I tell anyone?
Sanskaar (pleading) : Please don’t get mad. It’s.. It’s just… My dad came to me 3 weeks ago and welcomed me back into the family. He told me to put the money in our joint account and that… That I should stay there in Mumbai and sign more contracts.
Swara (quietly placing a hand on his) : He wants the money. I… I don’t. It was good meeting you Sanskaar! I’m really glad you are doing very well. I… I am selfishly pleased when I saw how successful you are. I am so pleased that I.. I helped you acheive your dream. But other than a smile and a successful career, I don’t want any monetary support. Well, I think I should go .
Sanskaar (placing his hand on top of hers) : Wait! One minute.
He took out a cheque and handed it over to her.
Swara (protesting) : I told you Sanskaar… I don’t want it.
Sanskaar (begging) : Just take a look please?
Unable to refuse, She opened the cheque and read it. Under name, It was written MY HELPING HAND. Under amount, It was written DINNER? And under signature, it was written WITH A MAN WHO ACHIEVED HIS DREAM BECAUSE OF YOU… JUST YOU!
Swara (quietly) : What is this?
Sanskaar (pulling her towards him) : Swara! I have not been able to get you out of my head. I thought it was just because you saved me… Some sort of hero worship? But… I couldn’t leave this thought… I couldn’t leave the thought that you and I could be something else.. Something more?
Swara : So…
Sanskaar (pleading) : So, Will you cash in this cheque? Will you go out with me? Will you consider us?
Swara (smiling, putting her arms around him) : YES, I think I will.
3 YEARS LATER
Swara and Sanskaar had been married for 3 months now. Their wedding and their relationship had been the talk of the film industry and the media. Whenever they were asked about how they met… Sanskaar smiled and would always answer the same way.
” A lottery and a helping hand. That’s all it took to achieve the dream (looking at Swara) .. Just a helping hand.
Role of Lasya : Tridha Chaudhry
Role of Ansh : Harshad Arora
Role of Sadhna : Erica Fernandes
Role of Rishi : Shaheer Sheikh
My third OS… I’m really surprised I wrote another one. I somehow think that I spoilt this story but hopefully you still like it.
I will post MMAI by day after. Sorry for the delay 🙁
I will be posting it as Raglak also for Ananya.
This is a story that I took based on an idea by Ananya. It’s a very usual plot that I took. Thnxx for reading it 🙂