Part 5 26/06/2018
Shaurya search all around the Manali with the photograph asking for Mehak but his search was futile. But he didn’t give up. He went back to his hotel tired and rested on the bed. Frustration, anger, disappointment all built up in him as he can’t find her. He rubbed his palm on his forehead to ease the mild headache he is having. He decided to go to bed early so he can start his day early tomorrow. He change his clothes into his nightwear and switch off the lights and close his eyes to get some sleep.
In the meantime Mehak was feeling uneasy she can’t sleep and she gets up and slowly head to the kitchen to get some water. She drank the water and the moonlight drifted in through window, and she stared in confusion. It reminded her the moment she shared with Shaurya. She wished the past don’t haunts her like this and it will fade away soon from her memory the more she try to forget but more the memory propped in her mind. Tears rolled down from her eyes and she wished in her heart that he should be happy as always as she is not the right life partner for him and he should be able to move on in his life. She blamed herself for being unlucky and burden to all, her thoughts were distracted when Adi woke up to go toilet and saw her alone at kitchen, he called her di, what are you doing at such late night? Mehak quickly wipe her eyes off and show him the water cup she is holding saying she is drinking water, going to bed soon, he move to his room and Mehak went to her bed.
Kunal was busy going outdoor and mountain sites for taking photographs. Adi wants to follow him so Anu ask Mehak to accompany them. On the way Adi and Kunal chatted along the way. As they reached the point for taking some shots, Kunal helped Adi how to take perfect shots of scenery. Mehak just looked at them and she decided to walk around for a while. She found a place and sat down seeing the valley and admiring the greens. It was indeed a refreshing view and she takes a deep breath in and out the valley breeze. As she was admiring the nature, Adi calls her and she turns to look at him, he took her shot. She made a funny grumpy face at him and asked him to delete her photo but Adi runs around avoiding her, he hides behind Kunal and saying I won’t delete I need to show mamma and dadi. Please didi, please. Kunal stops Mehak and said let him show the picture he taken to others at home and he will delete that after that, Mehak was not okay but she has to agree for Adi’s sake.
In the same valley but from the other site, Shaurya was standing seeing the valley and the beautiful vista calm his soul. He felt good to be there, he rested his arms on his waist and see mountains covered with rug of trees in green and yellow. The aroma of the valley was great smell to his nostrils. He walks around seeing the scene before proceeding to search for Mehak.
As it was a weekend, Mehak went back to Gurdwara for her sewag. She was busy rolling the roti when someone asked if anyone can prepare the prasad as its going to finish and the usual person to prepare this is not here, Anu asked her whtr she can prepare this and Mehak nodded. She quickly started to prepare the ingredients for the kada prasad. She prayed and asked for blessings so it will turn out fine, is been ages since she prepared that prasad. She lit up the fire for the large pot and started to prepare the prasad. She keep stirring them and another sewag came to assist her as well. Within short span of time Mehak manage to cook the prasad and tasted them it was nice and she scoop them into another container to be distributed at the front area. She proceed to assist others at the kitchen and Anu asked her to get some vegetables at market and leave early. Shaurya came to the same Gurdwara again for praying and as he finished praying and wants to leave a sewag came there and offered him the prasad, he refused but the sewag ask him to have it as it’s a blessing to have prasad and one shouldn’t leave empty. He took the sweet morsel and place it gently inside his mouth. As it hits his taste bud, something strike in him, the taste, the flavor it reminded him of someone and he had tasted the same food before. His eyes glistened and he was slightly shaken he recognize it, it was the same prasad fed by his Mehak during the Mata Ki Chowki. He remembers them now, he came out from his trance and he immediately looks around for the guy who distributed for the prasad. He found him and asked him and asked him in stammering voice Bhai Saab this prasad who did this prasad Bhai. The person was kind of feeling weird why is he asking for the one who prepared this as this was not asked in usual days. He asked why are you asking who prepare this prasad. Shaurya ask I need to know Bhai, I need to see the person who did this prasad. Without choice that sewag brings Shaurya to the kitchen to show him who prepared the prasad. When they reached the kitchen, sewag pointed to the lady who standing near a pot with hair covered her back was facing Shaurya. Shaurya with much hesitation took his each steps forward to see that person, he prayed deep in his heart that it should be his Mehak, as he reached right behind her , he shakily hold on to her shoulder and that person turn to face Shaurya, she asked Haan Ji , need any help? Shaurya’s voice stuttered as it is not his Mehak but someone else. He asked her did you prepare the prasad just now, she replied yes sir Ji I am the one who prepare prasad here, he asked her are you sure it was you who prepared the prasad, just then Baba came there and said why what happen , any problem in this Gurdwara she is the one prepare the prasad. Shaurya disappointed he apologized to them and he left the Gurdwara.
He strolled down the busy market street wiping his tears away, every single thing reminds him of Mehak to him. He was questioning himself couldn’t be he can be wrong, the memory of Mehak etched in his every cells from his taste buds, his sensory his brains and all, how can they cheat that the prasad was not done by Mehak, he was so sure and the memory how he forcefully take the prasad in her hand and place it in his mouth as he tasted the prasad and her fingers as well. As he wiped his eyes away he saw something familiar. He walked quickly towards the figure. It was Mehak buying groceries with Adi and she walked fast as Adi asking her to come soon so she have to rush. Shaurya screams Mehak but the market was busy and chaotic his voice didn’t reach her. He quickly rush to the shop where he saw her and sees around to catch the glimpse of her but he failed as well. Suddenly a thought came to him he went to that vegetable seller and show her photo from his mobile, Bhai just now did this girl came here, the seller look at the picture closely and said looks like it only, but I am not sure. Shaurya thanked him and smiled as he knows she is here, he is closer to her.
Next day was usual for Mehak she finished her work at cafe and walking back home alone, as she was passing the quiet alley she notice something a man with hood walking far away, she took large steps to keep her distance. Another elder man passed by her , as he reached the man with hood , the guy asked for some direction and she heard the voice of that person, the voice of the person which gives her the meaning of love, who she misses a lot at times and who knows her pain well than any other creature on earth, it was Shaurya who was asking for direction to the elder man, her tears already streaming off from her eyes , she quickly started to run and she was running she bump into someone and fell on the ground started crying heavily. It was Kunal she bump into. He and Adi on their way to get Mehak home, he quickly helped her carry her bag which on the floor and offered her hand to get up and he saw her crying and asked Pikachu what happened? Why are you crying? She wiped her eyes and said I want to go home, she leave from there immediately.
The trio reached home, Adi tells all that Mehak cried because we went late and she got scared of walking alone mamma. Anu looked at Mehak and asked are you alright Meera? Mehak nodded and Anu asked her to rest first. Soon it was dinner time, Mehak lowered her head and plays with her food, she have no appetite, her mind keep going back to what she heard a moment a go. Is it Shaurya is he here looking for her or he is just here coincidentally. Anu interrupted her and asked her to eat first, Mehak continue to eat. She gets up from table and tell them she is tired and want to sleep. Anu asked her to take rest and clearly from her face can be seen she is not okay. Mehak went to her room and rested on the bed, many memories which she wants to let go keep haunting in her mind. She silently prayed to Matarani to show her the right way and ease the pain. Soon she slept. Outside Anu asked Kunal did he said anything but he replied he haven’t said anything to her as he wants to talk to her tomorrow before she goes to cafe. Anu nodded and send him off.
Morning Mehak wakes up and she told herself it must be some sort of illusion or she must be tired and she heard that voice, he couldn’t be here at Manali and decided to go to work. She left home and was leaving the house and Kunal came there he asked her whtr she is free or not as he wants to speak to her about something important. Mehak as she don’t understand what he wants to talk said okay and both started to walk together and reached an open area Kunal was struggling to put his words into proper sentence, and time was running, Mehak became impatient and asked him you always can talk without a break why today you are stammering, quickly spill it I am late to work now. Kunal takes a deep breath and came stand in front of Mehak and said Meera Ji I think I have fallen for you, I want to ask your hand for marriage and be my life partner. I am an orphan and don’t have family and all so I asked this myself. Mehak was shocked hearing this and moved few steps back. She was still in shock and couldn’t register of what she heard. She asked him to repeat again and he repeat that I like you and want to marry you Meera. I know this is not the way of proposing I need ring and all but now I can’t afford to get one trust me I really like you that’s why I came back to ask for your hand in the marriage. You can take your time I am not rushing you I know about your parents death and it have left a deep wound in you, so I want to be your life partner in order to wipe off the pains and wounds and give you immense happiness. He finished his points. Mehak stand silently for a moment than she asked Kunal Ji if this is one of your jokes I would say it’s very bad to crack fun on this matter on others. This is not funny. Kunal assured that he is very serious and he also did talk about this to Anu di, she knows about this and she wanted to talk to you about this but I insist that I will talk to you about it myself. Mehak scrunched her nose and said Kunal Ji I don’t need time to reply you, my answer is NO. I am sorry I am not able to marry you. Please find someone suitable for you and please be happy with her. Kunal came forward and asked why Meera are you afraid that I am not able to provide you happiness and comfort, Mehak stopped him, Kunal Ji it’s not about you. It’s about me, I am not blessed with marriage, family and all these. They are not meant for me, I am unlucky person and my answer will remain the same, I don’t want marriage in my life. She joined her palms in front and bend her head down please don’t force me and if you coming home on this idea please don’t there are some things in my life which you don’t know and I am still not sure about them as well.
She left quickly from there, she walked wiping her tears away and reached the cafe. She did few mistakes here and there as Kailash bhaiya reprimanded her. She puts her personal thoughts away and concentrated on the kitchen. Evening she walks back home and she saw the familiar figure it was like Shaurya, she started to walk fast and again bump into Kunal. He asked her to watch her steps and he peeped behind her and asked what happen Pikachu why are you rushing like this, is someone disturbing you? She shakes her head in nervous and he said leave it to me, let me go and break his bones. Mehak pulled him aside and said there was nothing I just saw a street dog now I am late I want to go home. She left him there and rushed home. When she reached home, Anu was waiting for her, she asked Mehak why is she looking pale is she alright? Mehak assured her she is fine just tired as today so much work. She knows about the Kunal matter but she want to give Mehak her own space to decide. Anu, her mother in law and Adi wants to go to the nearest temple at the rural village as they have some special prayers that day, they asked whtr Mehak wants to follow or not, Mehak declined saying she is tired and she wants to rest, they let her at home and heads to the temple.
Mehak rested on the bed thinking about all been happening around her, she heard Shaurya’s voice, then she saw similar figure of Shaurya and today Kunal proposing her. She wiped the tears as she heard the doorbell sound, she gets up and went to open them, she saw Kunal was waiting outside, she asked yes Kunal Ji anything, he said he wants to meet Anu di, she replied Anu di and all went to the nearest temple for prayers, no one at home he thanked and left from there. She close the door and went to kitchen to get something for her to eat. Again the doorbell rings, she went to open the door and saw Kunal again, she asked what happen why you are here again? He asked I am hungry Pikachu is there any food here, she lost her patience and said Kunal Ji this is not cafe I work to prepare food whenever you want, since all went out there is nothing to eat. I am sorry please find food outside she didn’t let him to speak and close the door again. As she was nearing to kitchen the doorbell rings again now her anger risen up and she have lost her patience, she opens the door, and folded her hands above her head and bend her head down she didn’t see who was it as she was screaming Kunal Ji don’t you understand when I said nicely please for God Sake don’t bother me, and please leave from here. Anything please come back when Anu di is back home, she stands like that for sometimes. But the figure in front of her didn’t budge. But it called her name, Mehak……
That moment, Mehak freezed her feet can’t stand she felt as if the globe is spinning too fast she gasped for her breath as she lifted her head and see the person in front of her. She gripped the door handle tightly so she don’t fell down. She can’t believe of what is in front of her still as she choked, her eyes welled and her vision blurred slightly.
It was Shaurya who have been walking around the town and he found her when she was in the market buying something for the cafe on that day. He smiled victoriously he wants to stand in front of her and see her reaction but he wants to see what is she been doing so far. So once he saw chottu coming out from the cafe and he gently bribed him and asked details about Mehak, Her name was not Mehak but Meera he smiled as she used her mom’s name and been hiding herself from him. He notice that she has lost some weight, she no longer lets her hair loose but plait them up also she only wears pale colors like white. His heart aches seeing her in white as she is his wife she who colored his life is wearing white as if she is widow. She looked pale at all times maybe due to the weather and she hardly takes care of herself. She don’t speak much to anyone and hardly smile. His heart ached more seeing her magical smile is gone and it was all because of him.
He stands there in front of the house looking deep down in her eyes, it speaks all the pain and sufferings that she went thru, their moment were interrupted when Kunal came again calling her Pikachu, I am back. He came to stand next to Shaurya , Mehak quickly wiped her tears away and went in, Kunal looked at Shaurya and asked sir who are you by the way, I am Kunal I am journalist photographer from Mumbai, Shaurya not in the mood of getting to know him, he stands there as Kunal asked him to come inside. He asked Shaurya to sit at the living area. Mehak was at the kitchen, lost confused and didn’t know what to do. Kunal keep calling her Pikachu, I am hungry I am sorry if you allow me let me prepare some simple food shops are closed for the festivals early today that’s why I came back. Pikachu why you are not saying anything. Shaurya was irritated hearing his voice and as he keep calling her Pikachu and nicknames, he wonders who is this guy and why is he being close to his Mehak. Just then Anu and others came home. They saw Kunal and Shaurya at living area. Anu greeted them and she also wished Mr Khanna wow it’s a surprise you are here? Mehak’s felt her abdomen twisted, she don’t know what is happening here, Shaurya greets her and said I was sightseeing here Mrs Anuradha since you said you are living around here I got to know your home and came to visit you as well. Anu notice Mehak is not there and called Meera, please come here, she walked slowly to the living area where Shaurya is staring at her, and Kunal is busy playing with Adi. This is Mr Shaurya Khanna very famous and hardworking business man from Delhi, He came to visit our school today and give handsome amount of donation for improvising our library and other facilities. I told him that we stay here and he came here now, Mr Khanna she is my cousin sister from village she don’t talk much Shaurya smirked and she asked whtr they had dinner or not, Kunal loudly said di I am hungry I will die in this Manali weather. Shaurya replied I am also yet to eat as well. Anu asked them to wait and she went to kitchen with Mehak to fix dinner for all.