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It was a rainy evening. The bookshop was crowded with people buzzing about the new bestselling book, Pyaar Unconditional. The thundering clouds framed the archangels in the Old Delhi architecture. People began to flock around to find shelter from the pitiless torrent.
The bookshop smelled of mould and paper and dusty vanilla mixed with the damp of the storm. It was a small cozy bookshop, inharmonious with the Delhi skyline.
An old man, fragile, walked meekly into the bookshop. The little bell rang conceitedly above the door as he pushed open inside. Everyone stood up to greet him, he was the author of this wonderful story. The door shut heavily behind him, and the sounds of the growling winds muted slightly.
The rain speckled windows of the book shop stood strong between the fanatics and the onslaught of rain, while the thunder clapped distantly. It was such a lovely feeling.
Everyone sat down quietly, as the old man took to his seat on the center of the book reading corner. The Pyaar Unconditional series was already a thrill among the youngsters, and this time it was a bigger hit than usual. It was after all written about the most talked couple of the town.
The old man begins his story in the Summer of 1985.
A young lady, in her mid 20s’, is suffering from severe labour pain. The woman’s husband is in the front. The doctor’s try to help her deliver the baby safely. A very tense situation. The soldier was busy trying to guard his country while the woman was dying in pain. Finally the baby did come into the world, but as she breathed her first, her parents breathed their last, thus tagging the child “Unlucky”. Her relatives were not ready to accept her, hence the doctors decided to put her up in adoption centers. Years went by, but none was interested in adopting the girl, saying she brought ill luck. The adoption center used to send the kids to school, so that they could learn until adoption. The girl tops in all classes and as years pass by, she grows into a lovely, young talented woman. Studying in an all girl’s school, made her very introvert and shy in nature.
The old man looks at his fellow reader friends and comments on the fact that how his story is too mainstream. But one of them commented that he has always been writing mainstream stories mixed with suspense.. And today everyone died to know what and how this girl’s story do justice to the title.
The old man smiled ear to ear. Little drops of tears formed in the corner of his eyes as he removed his glasses. He sighs and continues on his story.
It was the year 2003, the girl, now an undergraduate in the Nutrition department of Delhi University, dressed herself in bright yellow kurti paired with white salwar. She wore pretty yellow bangles, red lipstick on her soft lips, and black kohl in her dark big blackish brown eyes. She flutters them and flies a kiss to herself in the mirror. She had grown up to spread love around. All the hatred she received, she transformed them into little cones of love for every person she meets and for own herself. She walked out of the orphanage in her flat shoes and walked towards the front of her lane.
“Rickshaw!!” she called out loudly to an empty rickshaw that pulled across the road in front of her. The driver drives up towards her and she hopped on to it.
“Didi, It will be raining today, Did you not take an umbrella with you??”
“I read somewhere that, Every fairytale happens in the rain! And you know where you have got to drop me.”
The driver rolls his eyes and shakes his head thinking, mad girl!
The driver had dropped her to her college quite frequently, and hence most people thought that she had permanently hired him for this.
As the driver predicted rain, it did begin to rain, all of a sudden, while they were stuck in the busy Delhi traffic, the girl puts her hands outwards to feel the rain.
Behind her rickshaw was a BMW, a handsome young boy looks out mesmerized by those pair of hands with yellow bangles, that popped out of the colorful rickshaw. He quickly pulls out his Canon camera and snaps a picture of these lovely pair of hands, that had caught his attention among all other important stuffs. The flash from the camera alerts the girl. She turns behind and lifts the cover from the hood of the rickshaw and peeps out, the boy snaps another picture, her those red alluring lips made her a subject of admiration for him. He could not just miss taking her shots. The girl turns away shocked.
“Insolent boy!! I feel like slapping him.. Taking photos without permission..if it wasn’t the rain, then today he would– uff!! Vai please pull the rickshaw forward please!!”
“Didi, it is Delhi traffic! Where would I go?? There are already many vehicles in front of me..”
The girl sits impatiently and prays silently to help her out of this messy situation, while the boy wondered what must the girl be thinking of him. Was she scared about what had happened?? Thoughts kept brewing in both their minds. And soon, her prayers were answered, the vehicles began to move. The car crosses her rickshaw, the boy looks out from his car and snaps one more of her picture.
“I should not have done so!” he thought, biting his lips.
As her rickshaw pulled up towards her college, she hopped down and payed him the fare. Everyone turns their face away seeing her, while she walked silently and lonely, with her head down.
She had no friends at all, as all who wished to be, drifted away as their parents thought it as a bad omen to have her as a friend.
She quickly ran up the stairs of her college and sat on her single desk, made specially for her. She rolls her hands over the desk, where it was carved boldly “SONAKSHI-THE UNLUCKY ONE”. Those words burst her into tears. She rushes out towards the washroom and cries hard. With the bells ringing, she tries to remind herself, she is LOVABLE. She rubs her tears and washes her face. Glancing one last time into the mirror, she runs back into her class.
The teacher,Mrs.Keira, was a young woman who has a good rapport with the high class society students in her class, begins their class, avoiding Sonakshis’ absence.
“Miss Sentimental Sonakshi!! Could you please put your concentration in your lessons rather than your table inscription??”
“By the way, Students! There is a good news for you all! The head of Dixit Telecommunications is here with her son, her Son is probably getting into your class! And guess what he is a billionaire bachelor, no girlfriends.. All those hooked and unhooked can try out your luck!! He is also accompanied by his friend!”
The whole class begins to buzz around about this new Hero, as the bell rings and opens into a new class. The teacher, Mrs.Malini, was middle-aged lady. She never differentiated between any of her students and loved them all equally. The whole class stood with their mouths wide open and eyes stuck on the door, Mrs.Malini looks on surprised and finally notices two handsome young man at the door. She calls them inside and they introduce them to be the new comers. Devrath Dixit and Jatin Karmakar respectively. Sonakshi looked on shocked on seeing Devrath as he was the one in the car. She quickly puts her hands under the table and looks away from them both.
Mrs. Malini calls her out and requests her to help the two with all they had missed out as she their class topper. The air smelled of Jealousy and envy as Mrs.Malini made Jatin and Devrath sit next to Sonakshi.
Sonakshis’ heart pounded as Devrath sat down beside her, while Devrath was all in glee seeing the yellow bangled lady right next to him. Mrs.Malini had fixed their places as she was their batch teacher, much to everyone’s annoyance including Mrs.Keira for she detested Sonakshi more than her bitterest enemy.
Everyone in the class was busy on maligning Sonakshis’ reputation, but their plots always went in vain as Devrath would get mesmerized with her even with all her flaws. Jatin was an introvert guy and had maintained a distance with all in the class except Sonakshi. Sonakshi was his only female friend he would talk to comfortably as she had helped him out through his initial days at college. But Devrath was very playful in nature. He had made many friends over the months, but yet none was to him what Sonakshi was. Sonakshi held a special place in his heart. Yet he could not befriend her as much as Jatin did. Sonakshi gradually developed feelings for Jatin but her heart was still upset about what Devrath had done.
Devrath was anxious to know why Sonakshi avoided him. He wondered if she had taken that incident to heart. He decides to apologise to her if that would make make her happy.
The next day, he writes sorry over a paper and rehearses his lines to tell her. He wanted to have her as his partner for the prom. But as he walked towards the classroom he notices, Jatin proposing Sonakshi. Disheartened he runs away from their and cries heartily in the washroom. Jatin was his friend, so he thought he could do this sacrifice for him. Therefore, he tears the paper and throws it into the basket in the corridor. Sonakshi and Jatin walks out smiling and bumps into Devrath. Devrath just avoids the two and proposes to Natasha, the second female topper in the class. Sonakshi looks on upset. She did not realise why, how and when, Devrath entered her heart, and she wondered why on earth was she even upset? She shakes her thoughts of her head and walks through the corridor aimlessly, hitting the basket. The papers fall out of it, revealing the sorry poster that Devrath had made. Sonakshi picks up the papers and wonders why Devrath made this poster and did not apologise? Did he mistook her situation with Jatin?? She rushes with hope towards Devrath but was shocked on seeing him kissing Natasha. Broken-hearted and dejected she leaves the college.
Months pass by, Devrath and Sonakshi keeps avoiding each other. Sonakshi had build up feelings for Devrath in her heart. But the thought of her being ‘unlucky’ always restricted her from expressing her feelings. While on the other hand Devrath always wondered why Sonakshi never came with Jatin in the Prom? But the thoughts of Jatin loving Sonakshi prevented him from patching up with her.
Both began to help each other silently, and with exams nearing, Sonakshi and Jatin paired up studied in the library much to Devraths’ annoyance. Sonakshi would indirectly send notes for Devrath through Jatin. Jatin had noticed her love and concern for Devrath over the months. One fine day,
“Why don’t you both talk to each other??”
“Please Jatin, I don’t want to talk about it!” answered both. Both stare into each other for a while and leaves with Jatin left wondering.
Mrs. Rebecca was the most strict teacher in their college. As Mrs. Keira took leave for a few days, she began to take their classes. She asks them all to do an assignment on Health and Nutrition as part of their practical exams. That day was the last day to submit. Devrath had forgotten all about his assignment and was tensed about it. Sonakshi notices his tension. She pulls out her assignment and sticks a paper over her name. She writes “Devrath Dixit” on that paper and smiles. She slides the assignment copy into his bag without him noticing. Later when Mrs. Rebecca enters class and asks everyone to put forward their assignment copy, Devrath was shocked seeing an assignment copy inside his bag. He looked towards Natasha, while she smiled. He breathed a sigh. Mrs. Rebecca shouts if there is anyone who did not bring the assignment. Sonakshi stands up silently. Jatin looked on surprised as they both made the assignment together. Mrs. Rebecca shouts at Sonakshi and hits on her hands mercilessly, to the point that it began to bleed. Her pretty yellow bangles broke and fell of her hands.Devrath looks away, while the whole class looks on happily. But she kept quiet and cried silently. Jatin notices Sonakshis’ assignment with Devrath. He just nods his head upset.
Such things kept happening more often than ever, and almost every teacher began to get frustrated with Sonakshi. Mrs.Malini wondered what happened to Sonakshi. But Sonakshi did not wish to answer her. She just cried. Mrs.Malini knew there was a huge reason behind it as she had full trust on Sonakshi.
Soon, the final exams appeared. Everyone got busier with their studies. On the exam day, Sonakshi had her seat next to Devrath as they were seated according to their registration number. Devrath had not learnt most of his chapters and hence resorted to copying. He noticed Sonakshi writing peacefully. Sonakshi notices him trying to look into Jatin’s paper. She whispers answers to him. Devrath happily writes. But the cheats that Devrath had brought with him, accidentally falls out. The teacher-in-charge was about to scold when Sonakshi stands up and says it was her who had brought the cheats. Devrath stared at her in horror. He was guilty on seeing her being rusticated from college for no reason. That was the last that he had seen of Sonakshi. He kept wondering why did she do this big sacrifice for him, when she showed him only hatred.
Years flew by, Devrath became the head of Dixit Telecommunications, and he was also the top Nutritionist in the country. Still a bachelor, girls tried to woo him, but in vain. For all that Devrath thought of was that day when Sonakshi took the blame upon her. Devrath had lost contact of Jatin too after that exam, as Jatin blamed him for Sonakshis’ miserable life.
Devrath had as well understood, that it was Sonakshi who time and again saved him from all troubles, without him knowing. An upset Devrath drives angrily through the outskirts of the city and ends up meeting with an accident.
The ambulance siren could be heard distantly. People gathered around and some helped him into the ambulance. He was driven towards the nearest hospital. It was none other than Mrs. Malinis’ hospital. Life had brought back Devrath to face his past, as he noticed those same yellow bangled hands faintly, before getting unconscious. Sonakshi, now a married woman, looked at a heavily bleeding Devrath sadly. Tears welled up in her eyes and prayers escaped her lips. She still loved Devrath as much as she did years ago. Jatin walks up behind her, and puts his hands upon her shoulder, while she buries her face in his chest and wails loudly. Jatin tries to console her. As soon as Devrath was shifted from the operation theater to a room, Sonakshi goes towards the hospital kitchen and cooks delicious, nutritious meal for Devrath. She hands the tray to the nurse and herself stands outside his room, glancing at him through the window. Devrath had noticed her standing outside but the red vermilion on her hair split brought tears in his eyes. He pretended to not look or know. He quietly relishes on the soup. Jatin walks towards Devraths’ cabin and shuts the door. He sits beside Devrath and tells him everything Sonakshi had done for him and how she was heartbroken knowing that he never bothered about her. Devrath replied coldly that he thought Jatin loved Sonakshi. Jatin looks on surprised and replies he never loved Sonakshi more than a friend. Devrath was shocked by his revelations. He wished to talk to Sonakshi one last time before he could leave her on her own way. Jatin calls Sonakshi inside and leaves the two alone for a while.
Sonakshi looks at Devrath, her vividly sad eyes twinkling with water. Devrath looks at her lovingly,
“Please call me Dev, once!” says a teary eyed Devrath.
“Whatever.. Why did not you apologise that day?? I saw your poster..–” she pulls out a packet from her bag, and revealing the fact that she had always been carrying his “sorry” with her.
Devrath looks on tearful. “Y–you kept this with yourself?? All these years??” he questions with his sorrowful eyes wide open.
Sonakshi nods. Devrath holds her hands, and then pulls away seeing her vermillion and mangalsutra. “I wanted to know why?? Sonakshi,why??”
“To be honest, I did not like you in the beginning, but then I could stop myself from thinking about you.. And I believed my writer friend that fairy tales began in rain…I was the “unlucky” , yet you unknowingly clicked my pictures.. I was angry, but this anger was only from mind not from heart, somewhere my heart blushed thinking about you.. And then you must have mistook my relation with Jatin, but he was nothing more than a friend, he was just rehearsing his lines for the drama club, we were in fact waiting for you, that day.. But.. What ever, when I found your sorry poster all torn inside the bin, I realised you mistook the situation, but I was too late.. You were so close to Natasha..” (Sonakshi sniffed as she spoke, her words broke into tears… as she continued..) “ I thought you loved her.. And then I was ‘the unlucky one’. So it was obvious.. But I could not resist my heart from caring for you.. Even today.. After getting rusticated from college, Mrs. Malini brought me up from orphanage and got me a job in her hospital, for she got to know the truth of the situation. She made me appear for exams 5 years later.. Jatin and I met shortly after my exams.. He could see clearly that I still loved you.. I told him, I was getting pressures to get married, so to look out for you.. But he said he had no connection but he would try to find you out.. We eventually ended up getting married but trust me, we lived more like roommates rather than husband wife.. He never touched me, He always told me that I was always Devs’ Sona.. Years passed by, we tried to find you out, but in vain.. But–”
“But look at the irony of life, I am meeting you after 20 whole years, Sonakshi..” Dev let out a sigh.
Both looked into each other, and turned away as the doctor stepped inside to treat Devrath.
The old man closes his book. He sighs and says,
“The climax is for you to read..”
He smiles and walks out of the bookshop, as the little bell rattled for the second time since the evening, into the growling cobbled streets of Delhi.
He walks up towards a hospital around the corner, panting heavily, he walked up the stairs, reminiscing how Jatin told him to take care of Sonakshi as he is suffering from brain tumor, Devrath knew it was an act of pretence, but Jatin requested him to keep it as a secret between them, as he wanted to give Sonakshi all the happiness in the world. He reminisces the incident that followed soon after Jatin left, how a gang of dacoits broke into the hospital and tried to kill him, but how Sonakshi came in between and took the bullets on her. He cries sitting down on the stairs.
“I wish I knew everything earlier, during our college times.. You were never the “Unlucky” one, It was I who was, and is unlucky..”
He walks towards a corridor, sign board above showed “Alzheimer’s Patients”. The nurse looks at him surprised,
“Sir! You came again??”
The old man nods and walks inside a room, where a fragile old lady slept peacefully, denying to know him every time she saw him.
“Why do keep visiting her, when she does not even recognize you?? It has been 35 years!! Are you–”
“She does not know me.. But I do know who she is.. And what her importance is in my life..”
The old man dorns the old lady in a red shawl and carries her in his arms, that were still strong enough to carry his love. He takes the seven vows of wedding while circumambulating around the fire and puts red sindoor on her forehead, and mangalsutra around her neck.
The nurse looked on and says, “this marriage happens every day for the past 35 years.. And everyone is cordially invited. This is what is true love!! Wish I too find my true love somewhere sometime, in some rainy season.”
Just then a boy comes rushing towards her all wet. “Excuse me!! Miss.. Could I have a towel to dry my hairs??”
The nurse looked on and then at the sky.. “Thank you Lord.. For answering my prayers..” she winked.