Good Morning Class, Today we have a new student among us, her name is Samyuktha” announced the class teacher “Samyuktha come here, introduce yourself to the class”Samyuktha a 12 year old girl, with fair complexion skin and a neatly pleated hair on either side of her head was sitting in the one corner of the class. She slowly got up from her seat. Each one of the student in class started staring at her. With all those stares, new faces, new city, new school, she was scared to death. She moved slowly to where her teacher was standing and faced the class with lowered head as if it were a punishment.

“Samyuktha introduce yourself to class. Why are you lowering your head? Stand straight up. Don’t waste the time of the class” said teacher somewhat sternly.

“My name is Samyuktha..I..I…I know no English much..i..i..” said samyuktha with a very feeble voice.
The whole class started giggling and started hush-hushing comments on Samyuktha. The teacher asked Samyuktha to go back to her seat hearing the commotion in the class and asked the class to be quite. Samyuktha almost had tears in her eyes. She was lost in her own world for the rest of the class.

During Interval she sat alone at her desk, looking at her book but not looking at the words but thinking about the world she left back in her small town, Varanasi. “Hi” said a voice. Samyuktha looked up to see a girl standing there. She was slightly dark complexioned, with a smiling face, and had hair exactly like Samyuktha’s.

“I am Prachi, your classmate. Why are you not having lunch?” said prachi.

“a..umm..i not feeling hungry much.” replied Samyuktha.

“Why not? Common I know you felt bad when the class laughed at you. Even I felt bad but don’t care about them. If you don’t eat, you will become sick. Did you bring your lunch box?” said Prachi.

Samyuktha felt a sense of relief after hearing what Prachi said and started feeling hungry too.

“Yes I brought. Will you eat with me?”asked Samyuktha..

“Yes sure. Lets go outside and eat. We will have some fresh air” said prachi and took samyuktha’s hand and went outside the class to a playground. Both sat and started eating together. They shared a bit of each others lunch too.

“so, you miss your old school..isnt it?” asked prachi.

“Yes a lot. I am from Varanasi. Daddy got transfer here. I got no admission here as my English is poor but daddy gave donation and I got admission..i will fail sure” said samyuktha sadly.

“Oh don’t be sad Samyuktha. I will help you. You will learn everything easily. Where is your house?” asked Prachi.

“In Vasant Kunj, Phase-1” said Samyuktha. “hey even I stay in same place!” said Prachi happily.

“Is it.” Said Samyuktha gladly.

“Yes, now don’t worry at all. We both can study together.” Said Prachi assuring Samyuktha.

“Hey can I call you Samyu?” asked prachi..

“Yes sure, my friends in Varanasi call me with same name. I am happy” said Samyuktha with a glitter in her eyes. Thus the friendship between Prachi and Samyuktha started in the 6th standard/grade which grew manifold during the years to come.

Samyuktha had an intelligent mind which needed some shining and polishing whereas Prachi was a creative person. Samyuktha and Prachi became best friends during their first year together itself. They were totally inseparable. Due to them, both the families of Samyuktha and Prachi too became good family friends. Samyuktha just about managed to clear her 6th grade but later with Prachi’s support she became more and more confidant. Prachi used to force Samyuktha to be a flamboyant and aggressive in school activities which boosted Samyuktha’s inner confidence. Samyuktha overcame all her inhibitions within few years. Prachi was very jovial and used to crack jokes which Samyuktha cherished. The whole class used to be jealous of their friendship. Samyuktha and Prachi both excelled with good marks in their 12th standard and both got admission in B.tech in Delhi University.

Through all these years Samyuktha became very outgoing person. She was now no more the person which she was 6years ago. She became a smart, stylish and trendy by the time she turned 18. Prachi on the other hand remained same. Prachi still doted on Samyuktha and was very possessive about her. Samyuktha started drawing lot of attention in college. Due to her looks and attitude, boys went crazy for her on the other hand Prachi was not at all approachable and she hardly cared about her looks. Samyuktha started loving the attention showered on her from her B.tech classmates. She participated in a fashion parade in College’s annual function and with that she became an instant hit through out the college. Prachi always used to pull back Samyuktha to the ground and asked her not to neglect her studies. Other than Prachi, Samyuktha started having her own circle of friends in college. When Prachi and Samyuktha were together, Samyuktha’s friends used to talk to her but didn’t give much attention to Prachi. Samyuktha did try to mingle Prachi with her other friends but Prachi didn’t show much interest. There were lot of times when Samyuktha bunked her classes and Prachi used to make a copy of notes for Samyuktha too. As Samyuktha became more and more involved in other activities of college rather than studies, Prachi became too much involved with her academics and had very few friends or one can say acquaintances other than Samyuktha. During 2nd year of B.tech, Prachi and Samyuktha started having some arguments and fights. Samyuktha wanted to enjoy the college life with fun and being naughty sometimes. Prachi on the other hand didn’t approve with Samyuktha’s thinking.

It was during 3rd year of college when Aakash, the 4th year B.tech student entered Samyuktha’s life. He was supposed to be the most handsome guy of the college. Aakash had the looks of a model with a very sexy voice due to which he used to compere most of the college shows. Aakash came in touch with Samyuktha through some common friends and instantly fell in love with her. Samyuktha, was on top of the world when she came to know about Aakash’s feelings. With Samyuktha and Aakash’s love affair going strong, Prachi distanced more and more from Samyuktha. Prachi hated Aakash to the core and blamed him for ruining the friendship between her and Samyuktha. Samyuktha who was blind in love, didn’t understand the feelings of Prachi. During 3rd and 4th year of college, Samyuktha and Prachi rarely used to spend together. Going to each others homes became almost null. Samyuktha started suspecting Prachi to be jealous of her on the other hand Prachi used to miss Samyuktha and longed for her to be like her old school friend.

One day during the 4th year of her college, Prachi was alone in her room and was crying looking at the old photos and greeting cards which she got from Samyuktha for different occasions.

“Prachi what happened? Why are you crying?” asked Prachi’s mom with worried look.

“Nothing..its just that” said Prachi trying to wipe of the tears from her cheeks.

“Kya hua beta..something wrong in college?” said Prachi’s mom

With that Prachi hugged her mom and started sobbing.

“arey arey..what is this..i never saw you crying this way..tell me what happened..did Samyuktha say something to u?” asked Prachi’s mom. Prachi’s mom observed the growing distance between Prachi and Samyuktha but she never talked about it with Prachi.

“mom..why do people change in college..why do we get old..school days used to be so good” said Prachi between her sobs.

“beta..thats life..there’s a saying “the only thing which remains constant is change”..you are not a small girl now..you should understand this..going to college, getting married, getting career, getting old..all this is part of life..you should learn to accept this..”said Prachi’s mom caressing p’s hair.

“No I will never marry in my life for sure. I cannot accept tha some outsider comes and changes other relationships in life. I will not let that happen to my life” said Prachi strongly.

Prachi’s mom chose not to argue with her at that time and hoped time will change her attitude towards life.

“Mom you know this year Samyu forgot to wish me on my birthday. Since that Aakash came into her life, nothing else is important to her. And tomorrow its her birthday and I don’t feel like wishing her either” said Prachi

“Why not..thats wrong..you should wish her..if you don’t wish her there wont be difference between you and her. May be after u wish she will realize her mistake. You should atleast give a try to revive your old friendship.” Said Prachi’s mom convincing Prachi to call Samyuktha.

When clock struck 12, Prachi decided to call Samyuktha and dialed her mobile number. Her mobile was engaged. She tried calling 3-4 times more but still her line was busy. When it was almost 12:30 A.M she thought of calling her landline but she held back fearing everybody at her home might get disturbed. Prachi knew that Samyuktha might be busy talking with Aakash and hated him more. Next day Samyu didn’t turn up at college either. After college, she went straight to Samyuktha’s house with a greeting card and a small painting which she herself did. Samyuktha was not at home as well, when confronted with her parents..

“Hey Prachi, Samyu is not with you?” asked Samyukhtha’s mom.

“uh…No..Infact I came here to wish her” said Prachi

“She said she will go with you to Aakash’s home. Aakash is leaving to US today. She said she will see him off to the airport and that you will accompany her” said samyuktha’s mother with a angry tone.

“hmm oh, actually I was late to college today..may be that’s why she went alone” said Prachi knowing that Samyuktha would have definetly not taken her along to meet Aakash and that she simply bluffed her parents. “Anyway aunty, once she comes, give her this card and gift” continued Prachi.

On the way back home Prachi felt happy that Aakash is leaving India but at the same time felt bad that she was not able to wish Samyuktha personally.

Next day in the college, Prachi was eagerly waiting for Samyuktha to come. She wanted to see how she reacted for the card and gift. As soon as Samyuktha entered the class, everybody in the class started wishing her belated birthday greetings. Many of them showered gifts to her. She greeted them all with a sad smile. Prachi guessed it must be because Aakash left to US. After that Samyuktha came to Prachi with a serious expression on her face..

“So, you must be very happy now?” said Samyuktha.

Prachi was puzzled, but then she immediately remembered that her parents might have caught her lying to them. “Samyu I had no idea about your plan yesterday” said Prachi with innocent look.

“Oh don’t be so innocent Prachi. The whole class knew I was with Aakash yesterday.

Since last 5 months you never came to my house. Suddenly you came home yesterday to spoil my day. That was your plan” accused samyuktha

Prachi was shocked with Samyuktha’s behavior and was almost in tears “No, what will I gain with this Samyu. You are my only friend. I tried calling you day before yesterday night to wish you at 12 but your line was constantly busy. Yesterday nobody informed me about your plan.”

“C’mon Prachi. I know how much you are jealous of me since I met Aakash. Prachi you should go and get some life. I never thought that you would come down to such cheap tricks. Thanks to you my parents have stopped trusting on me” said Samyuktha and left the class fuming.

Prachi stood there with tears and embarrassed with all the stares towards her in the class. The whole class saw what happened between Prachi and Samyuktha. After that incident almost everybody stopped talking to Prachi. Prachi remained aloof from everybody even outside the college. She remained to her self and kept herself busy with studies. After 6 months, college was over and since then Prachi and Samyuktha never met.

Soon after graduation Prachi started searching for jobs and almost immediately she was placed in TCS, Bangalore. Prachi didn’t knew what happened to Samyuktha and didn’t care to find out. She moved to Bangalore immediately and took an apartment all by for herself. She lived alone. In office she used to talk with others when only it was required for work. She was not friendly with anybody. She used to eat alone in the office canteen. Everybody in the office used to call her with different names like ‘sadist’, ‘psycho’,’poor thing’..etc etc. Life went on.

2 years later, one fine day early in the morning at around 7:00 AM Prachi heard the door bell. She looked at her watch and wondered who would be ringing the bell at this time. She just got up to get ready for the office. She went and opened the door to see a young man standing there with a small bowl in his hand. He was about 6 feet height with curly hair and lean figure and good features. Prachi looked at him with red face.

“Hi..umm..i am Mayank, your new neighbor” said Mayank.

“So….”said Prachi with irritation.

“I am sorry, actually I came to borrow some sugar. I moved in this apartment today morning. I have the habit of drinking tea early in the morning..so if you plz don’t mind can u plz lend some teaspoons of sugar” said mayank with pleading eyes.

“So..for your tea..you disturb other people early in the morning” said Prachi and started closing her door.

‘Plz plz plz don’t close the door..if I don’t have tea in the morning I get sick.. I tried many other doors, but only you opened it..plz ‘ pleaded Mayank once again.
Prachi closed the door on the face of Mayank and he stood there stand still for a minute and started moving to his apartment when he heard the click of the door open from his behind. He looked back to see Prachi standing there with Sugar bottle in her hand.

“Hey..thank u so much..errr…i thought..u got angry…u saved my life..u know” said mayank gladly.

“How many teaspoons do u want?” said Prachi seriously ignoring the excitement of Mayank.

“umm..oh..umm..2 spoons” said Mayank somewhat embarrassed.

Prachi took 2 teaspoons of sugar and poured it in the bowl of Mayank and without a word went back inside the home closing the door behind.

“Thank you” said Mayank to the closed door!

Prachi got ready for the office and left the home exactly at 8.45am as she used to do daily. Her day in the office went on as usual and at one instance while having tea she remembered the early morning incident. She realized she doesn’t even remember the face of the guy clearly.

Back at the home at around 8pm she heard her door bell ringing again. When she opened, she realized it’s the same morning guy standing outside.

“Now what??” said Prachi again irritated.

“Actually I bought the sugar in the afternoon…so thought of giving you back your 2 spoons of sugar which u gave me……” said Mayank with little naughtiness in his eyes.
“Whaaaat” said Prachi with disbelief.

“Here your 2 spoons of sugar” said mayank again bringing the small bowl in his hand towards her.

“Godddd..wait…here” said Prachi and closed the door. She went back inside the home to her kitchen and came back with Sugar bottle. When she opened the door, Mayank was still standing there waiting for her.

“Here now put that sugar inside this bottle” said Prachi handing over the bottle to Mayank.

Mayank pours down the sugar in the bottle.

“Ok..Anything else?” Said Prachi with an angry tone.

“Nope..thats it..thank you for lending me sugar in the morning..otherwise I would have been dead by now” grinned Mayank

“Its ok. Goodnight!” said Prachi somewhat mellowing down and closed the door.
Prachi felt amused by the behavior of Mayank and the fact that he came to return back the two spoons of sugar.

“Was he trying to impress me” thought Prachi…“Anyway good, I didn’t give him any kind of that impression..now he will never approach me again”

Next day after coming back from work, again her door bell rang. Prachi somehow suspected it must be Mayank again and she was right.

“What??” Said Prachi hardly opening the door enough.

“umm..i am sorry…umm..to disturb u again..actually I need to make an urgent call to my parents in Bombay. I don’t know why but my mobile is not activated yet. So, can I please make a call from your phone?” asked Mayank.

“Good lord..there are thousand PCO’s outside this apartment..why don’t u go and call from there?” said Prachi annoyed.

“Actually there’s only one PCO nearby and today that is closed due to ID festival..i went and enquired and the next one is 3kms from here..well it was urgent..otherwise I am sorry I wouldn’t have disturbed you” said Mayank with pleading eyes again.

“huh..wait I will bring my mobile..” said prachi and closed the door behind , again to come back with her mobile.

Mayank takes the fone and moves little far away from her. Prachi stands there for a while and then goes back inside the home, with door almost closed. After a short while she hears a knock on her door.

“Thank you so much..i cant tell you..how grateful I am today..had it been not your Mobile..i would have not known that in khichdi I need to add 3 glasses of water for 1 cup of rice..” said mayank happily

“Whaatttttt…your urgent call was about khichdi???” said Prachi somewhat angrily.

“umm..yaa…u know..i love the khichdi which my mom makes..so..anyway..here take this 10rs for the STD call” said mayank handing over a 10 rupee note to Prachi.
Prachi takes 10Rs note without a word and hopes not to create any good image of herself in front of him.

“Hey thanks a lot..for everything Prachi” said Mayank

“How do you know my name?” said Prachi with surprise.

“Well you wrote Prachi on your Mobile’s screen” smiled Mayank.

“Ok..goodnight” said Prachi and closed the door.

“There is something peculiar with this man…” thought Prachi again. Through out that day and next day Prachi kept thinking about Mayank and felt bad that he was coming again and again in her thoughts. She tried her best to remind herself that she should not fall into any kind of distractions in her life. There is no place for a man in her life.

Till next couple of days she never met Mayank but he never went out of her mind. She was angry that she was thinking about him how much ever she tried avoiding. One day again in the evening she heard her door bell. She was in kitchen cooking dinner for herself and when the door bell rang, she ran into the bathroom to comb her hair neatly and then went to open the door .

“Hi” said Mayank with his ever charming smile.

Prachi making sure that she is not pleased seeing him asked him with monotonous tone “ yes, what do u want now?”

“nothing..today I came to give you something?” said Mayank.

“well you have given me money for the call you made from my fone last time..now what?” said Prachi

“not that..today I made gajar ka halwa and it came out really well..so came here to share with you some” said Mayank bringing his hand forward from behind with a box.
Gajar ka halwa was Prachi’s favourite sweet dish but she resisted from showing any kind of positive emotion.

“see mayank..i don’t know what you think about me..but I don’t like such gestures from anybody..i hardly know you..as a neighbor I helped you ..thats all..dont expect anything else…do u understand that?..now you can leave..” said Prachi fighting back her inner emotions.

Mayank stood there like a rock for a minute .

“sorry Prachi..i don’t consider you just as a neighbor but as a friend in need..but ..but..i respect your privacy..today is my birthday…I don’t know anybody else in this city..so thought to share this halwa with the first person I came to know in this city..anyway I wont disturb you again” said Mayank and started to leave.

After hearing that its his birthday, Prachi felt a guilt pang and stopped him “hello..wait..umm..i am sorry..i didn’t know its your birthday..Happy Birthday” said Prachi loudly.

“Thank you” said Mayank turning back to look at her.

“Well, can I taste your Halwa..ofcourse if you are not mad at me” said Prachi with a smile for the first time.

Mayank was surprised to look at her beautiful smiling face for the first time and was smitten.

“Heyyy..no..not at all..” said Mayank and gave her the box he brought.

Prachi opened the box and tried some with her hand.

“ummm..it tastes great” said Prachi licking her fingers “can I keep whole of this box.”

“oh sure.. that was for you anyway..” said Mayank “I guess I should be leaving now”.

“Ok..will return the box tomorrow..by the way happy birthday again” said Prachi.

“umm..u know what..i was lying..its not my birthday” said Mayank and before Prachi could say anything, he ran back upstairs to his apartment.

Prachi stood there in disbelief but later smiled at herself thinking how easily she got fooled. She somehow didn’t feel mad at Mayank later and relished the halwa.

As usual Mayank’s magic lingered on Prachi for that day and next day. When it was time to return the box to Mayank, Prachi questioned herself whether to go or not to go to his house to return the box. Finally she decided to listen to her heart and braced herself to go to Mayank’s house.

She pressed the door bell of Mayank’s house and waited for few seconds when Mayank opened the door.

He had a big cutlery spoon in one hand and was wearing an apron.

“Hey, what a correct timing..can u plz taste my rajma curry and let me know if everything is ok?” saying this Mayank left her at the door went towards his kitchen.

Prachi was standing at the door steps unable to decide whether to go in or not. “Prachi…come in..where are you” shouted Mayank from his Kitchen.

Prachi stepped in the house and realized that this was the first time since she came to Bangalore did she stepped into anybody’s house. She noticed, the house was clean and neat, had decent furniture and she could listen some soft soothing music from the speakers somewhere. Prachi walked slowly towards the kitchen. Mayank was ready with some rajma in a small bowl and asked her to taste it.

“ummm..its nice…everything is ok…” said Prachi after tasting the Rajma

“oh good…see my mom doesn’t believe that I am good cook..i will have to make you talk to her one day…then only she might believe” said Mayank feeling satisfied.

“Ok, I will leave now” said Prachi.

“Why?..i have prepared dinner for both of us.” Said Mayank.

“What….?” Said prachi.

“Well I knew you would come home to return my box today and obviously you will come little early..and also I am sure you would not have got time to cook dinner by now” said Mayank while putting plates on the dining table.

“How were you so sure that I would come?” asked Prachi amused.

“Well I can read People’s mind..after all I am a Psychiatrist” said Mayank

“Psychiatrist!!” exclaimed Prachi.

“ya why?..cant handsome men become psychiatrists?” said Mayank naughtily.

“aha..i didn’t mean that” smiled Prachi “I don’t know if you are lying or telling truth..yesterday you were saying it was your birthday..now today you are saying you are a Psychiatrist!”

“no..seriously..i am a Psychiatrist..i don’t lie on Wednesdays..u know” said Mayank.

“uh..u r impossible..anyway what made u believe that I will have dinner with you” asked Prachi

“Well, today is my birthday..and I knew you wont be able to say no” said Mayank.

“What..plz..you think I can be fooled twice?” said Prachi

“ha ha..see I was born on 6th aug and today its 6th nov ..so its my monthly birthday” said Mayank showing her the seat to sit.

Prachi and Mayank laughed together and started having dinner together. Mayank was indeed a good cook and Prachi liked everything prepared by him..no not only the food..but she realized she liked Mayank’s charming nature.

“So, what made you come to Bangalore?” asked Prachi having her sweet dish.

“I saw that this city had lot of scope for doctors like me..so I choose this place for my practice” said Mayank.

“Scope!” exclaimed Prachi

“yeah..you see..Bangalore is a software hub for India..and hence more patients for me” said Mayank with a naughty smile again.

“aha..so you mean software engineers are mad people?..Mister..Even I am a software engineer..remember that!” said Prachi.

“Oh..is it..i never knew that beautiful gals too are becoming software engineers” said Mayank flirtingly.

Prachi wanted to reply him back and suddenly realized that Mayank was complementing her and gave him a smile.

“thanks” said Prachi blushing.

“thank god..you understood that” said Mayank with a twinkle in his eyes.

While Prachi was about to leave his house after dinner. Mayank asked “So at what time should I come for dinner tomorrow at your house?”

“what?” said prachi and stared at him questioningly.

“yeah..you are a self-respect girl right..i know you will return my dinner!!” said Mayank again with his flirting smile.

Prachi couldn’t stop smiling and said “hmmm..smart..haan..come at 8pm..dinner will be ready.”

After coming home , thoughts of Mayank and whatever they talked lingered in Prachi’s mind. She looked herself in mirror a thousand times. All her life never did any guy talked to her the way, Mayank talked. She realized she smiled and laughed so many times on that single day. Mayank did some magic on her.

Next day she was not able to concentrate in her office work too. She was too busy thinking what she should prepare for dinner and what all she need to buy to prepare food. She even tried searching some recipes on the internet.

She left office early at 5 pm and went to grocery store to buy all vegetables and groceries to prepare dinner. She decided to make Jeera rice, Palak Paneer, Cabbaga kofta, rotis, fruit salad and lassi. She finished off everything by 7:30 and cleaned the kitchen and dining hall. She realized she never cooked so fast earlier. She dressed herself in one of her best casual salwar suits and waited for him. Exactly at 8pm her door bell rang. She wanted to run and open the door but she resisted and took some time to open.

Mayank looked handsome as ever. He wore a short kurti and jeans and looked cute.
“Wow you look wonderful” said Mayank.

“Thanks. Come in.” Said Prachi blushing.

Mayank stepped into her house for first time and was soon impressed.

“You did all those paintings?” asked mayank looking at big canvas paintings in her hall.

“Hmm..yeah..i do it for my timepass” said Prachi.

“Oh man…they don’t look like timepass paintings Prachi..these are master pieces!!” said Mayank who kept gazing at those beautiful paintings.

“Oh please…I am not a trained painter..thanks anyway..come lets have dinner” said Prachi.

When Mayank saw what all she prepared, he said “sorry for giving you trouble!”

“No its fine. Cooking for one person extra is not a trouble” said Prachi while serving food in his plate.
“Don’t say that otherwise I might come everyday” said Mayank.

Prachi wanted that to happen everyday. She never felt so happy after a long time. Throughout the dinner, Mayank kept on praising her food and she got more and more attracted to Mayank’s charm. After dinner they talked for long time. Mayank kept making jokes and Prachi laughed non-stop. Prachi never realized when it was already 11:30pm.

Mayank suddenly looked at his watch and realized it was late. “Hey ..sorry..its late..i should leave..you have to get up early to the office again tomorrow” said mayank and got up to leave.

Prachi didn’t want him to leave and wanted to stop him for some more time.

“yeah..it was …it was nice having you here today” stammered Prachi.

“really?” said Mayank

“yeah…u know..i never smiled and laughed this much before Mayank. You brought something back which I lost long time ago.” Said prachi, her eyes were almost in tears.

Mayank kept looking at her for sometime.

“so where is my fees?” said mayank.

“Fees??” questioned Prachi.

“yeah for bringing back what u lost!” said Mayank.

“aha..so I am your first patient it seems…tell me whats ur fees, I will give you” said Prachi with a smile.

“ummm…lets see..umm” said mayank making a thinking gesture “how about one more dinner, this time somewhere outside”

“done” said prachi almost immediately.

“wow…that’s an improvement ..i thought you would me hit” said Mayank laughing.

And then for coming weeks they were inseparable. They met almost everyday for dinner. Mayank and Prachi were madly in love with each other but never expressed it to each other. Prachi started smiling more and more and became more communicative in office with colleagues. All her colleagues were surprised to see the change in her behavior. She even started taking care on what she was wearing and how she looked.

One day in a restaurant, Mayank seemed little restless.

“What happened to you today?” asked Prachi.

“Actually I wanted to tell you something..dont know how you will react!” confessed Mayank.

Prachi suspected that he might propose her and felt little nervous deep beneath her heart but was still waiting for this moment since long.

“Its ok Mayank..tell me…since when did u get so nervous in front of me?” said Prachi.

“hmm..its not nervousness but..i don’t want you to hate me after what I will tell you” said Mayank.

“Now…plz..dont keep me in suspense!!” requested Prachi not able to keep bear the excitement.

“Actually, few days back I read a article in a newspaper. There is going to be a painting exhibition for new talents in Mumbai. That’s going to be conducted by Tina Ambani, wife of Anil Ambani of Reliance Industries. Without your permission I sent your name and one of the photos of your painting. Today I got a reply from Tina Ambani herself and she is pleased with your painting and want that to be exhibited. I know you are going to be mad at me now but Prachi I want the whole world to know your talent” said Mayank holding one of the hands of Prachi.

Prachi listened to all with complete silence. She didn’t knew how to react. She was expecting something else. She was in love with Mayank but with what Mayank told her, she could not hold back her tears. Tears rolled over her cheeks and she couldn’t speak.

“uh..oh..sorry Prachi..i dreaded this..i didn’t want to hurt you..Your paintings were so impressive, that I felt it should not confine just within four walls of your home. I guess I should have asked you before. I am sorry again” said Mayank with guilty.

“uh..no no..dont say sorry Mayank..its just that..i never thought you cared about me so much..i never realized that you felt my paintings were worth sending to an exhibition…i..i..am surprised …but I don’t think I am worth it….i do it for my own pleasure..” said Prachi with chocking voice.

Mayank holding her hand tight “I already told you this before..your painting are master pieces and now the response from Tina Ambani herself tells you what you are worth of. Prachi you should learn to be proud of your own talent..you really don’t know what you are worth of…”

After a 2 minutes of silence. “I don’t know Mayank..how to thank you for all this…how will I be able to return the favour” said Prachi.

“The fact that you are not mad at mr after hearing this, is itself a big favor” said Mayank smiling “And the by the way, there would be competition too in that exhibition and whoever wins, will get a sum of Rs 5lakhs and a contract to do the painting of Reliance’s New office in Mumbai.”

“oh is it…that sounds interesting..i hope you wont ask 5lakhs in return of favour” said Prachi teasingly.

“ha ha..may be” said Mayank.

Mayank took care of logistics of sending Paintings to Mumbai. All 5 of her paintings were selected for exhibition. Prachi and Mayank both went to Mumbai together on the day of the opening of the exhibition. There were total of 25 paintings altogether. Prachi was nervous to talk to Tina Ambani but Mayank stood beside her and gave his support. Prachi and Mayank could notice that Prachi’s painting caught most of the attention from viewers. Prachi and Mayank spent that day in Mumbai doing shopping and sight-seeing. She couldn’t believe she was with Mayank for whole day. They were hardly in their hotel rooms and were roaming around till 2 am midnight. When they came back to their hotel, they were both tired and dozed of almost immediately in their respective rooms. They returned back to Bangalore next day by early morning flight. Exhibition was held for 2 more weeks and results were out the last day. As expected Prachi’s paintings won the first place.

Mayank was ecstatic with the news and Prachi was more pleased to see Mayank happy than winning the actual award. Calls didn’t stop pouring in Prachi’s phone that day. Her office was proud of her after hearing the news. Prachi’s parents were both surprised and felt on top of the world.

While they both were on flight to Mumbai to receive the award.. Mayank whispered in Prachi’s ears “Prachi when we will go back to Bangalore, I will ask you to return my favour”

Prachi looked surprised and said “I will be pleased”

The award ceremony went on very well. Prachi had to speak few words on the stage after receiving the award and she was very nervous about it but one look at Mayank and words flew from her mouth smoothely. She became a celebrity overnight. It was one of the memorable days ever for Prachi and now Prachi was looking forward to what Mayank would ask her after returning to Bangalore.

Mayank asked her to come home for dinner the day they returned. Prachi was on cloud 9 and she was sure that Mayank would propose her. She looked forward for the evening and got ready on time. She looked in the mirror some 100 times before making sure she looked perfect. Sharp at 8pm she went to Mayank’s home and rang the bell.

Mayank opened the door and stared at her.

“Oh my god..dont do this to me!” said Mayank.

“What did I do?” said Prachi surprised.

“You look ravishing..what if I get heartattack? I am just a psychiatrist not a cardiologist” said Mayank again with his flirting smile.

Prachi blushed and felt shy.

Mayank took her hand and made her sit on the sofa. Mayank sat on the small chair beside her still holding her hand.

Mayank stared at her for a minute and said “actually I have two things to ask from you Prachi”

“And what are those?” said Prachi, her hands going numb.

Mayank took a deep breath.

“Prachi I want you to forgive Samyu..i mean Samyuktha” said Mayank.

Prachi didn’t understand what was Mayank talking about for a second and later got shocked.

“Yes your friend Samyuktha, Prachi” said Mayank.

Prachi took back her hand which Mayank was holding and stared at him with thousand questions in her mind. Mayank looked away from her and stared behind her. Prachi didn’t understand where he was looking and turned to the direction where he was looking. Samyuktha was standing there behind her. Prachi got shocked looking at her after all these years.

“Prachi..hi…how are you?….” said Samyuktha slowly.

Prachi looked back at Mayank.. “So you knew me from before hand..and all this was one big drama?” said Prachi with anger.

“See Prachi..yes I knew you ..but all this is not a drama…don’t get me wrong…i…” said Mayank when Prachi cut him in mid-sentence and left his home in rage without looking back.

Mayank ran for her but Prachi didn’t let him in her house. She closed the doors and went to her bedroom weeping. Mayank tried calling her mobile, but she kept it off. Mayank tried knocking her door many times but she didn’t budge from her bedroom. The whole night Prachi kept reeling back to the time she met Mayank for first time, how she spent time with Mayank and felt sad that all that was a drama. He did it all for Samyuktha not because he liked her. She hated Samyuktha for coming back in her life again. Everything was so beautiful till yesterday. She ruined everything again.

She slept sobbing in her bedroom and didnt know when it was already 9am in the morning. She realized she had headache and called her office to tell she will be on leave. She noticed a letter near her main door. She knew it must be from Mayank and didn’t touch it for long but kept looking at it. After few hours passed she decided to read it. It was not from Mayank but from Samyuktha.

Dear Prachi,

I know you are still very angry with me. And I know I deserved it. Prachi I cam here all the way from US just for you. After leaving college, I soon went to US for higher studies and later married Aakash. Life was rosy for few years but I realized I lost all my friends. Even after marriage Aakash kept in touch with his old school friends but I didn’t had any genuine friends. The one genuine friend I had, I broke her heart. I wanted to get in touch with you again but was afraid of your reaction. I tried contacting your parents in delhi and they said you left Bangalore. They told me how much you have changed and distanced yourself from everybody even with your own parents. Then I realized I am the reason behind it. Prachi when I was in college I was naïve and was drawn to all attentions. I didn’t understand what was right or wrong. When I was in school, you helped me to come out of my shell and later you went into the same cocoon because of me. You don’t know how bad I felt later when I realized my mistake. I wanted to repent for everything I did and wanted to bring back that old charming Prachi.

Mayank is school friend of Aakash. I met him when i visited India last time and became good friends. When Mayank decided that he wanted to go to Bangalore for his medical practice, I told him about you. I asked him if its possible for him to get in touch with you. I took your address from your parents and luckily Mayank got a flat for rent in your apartment. Mayank kept telling me about you whenever he met you. I realized you have changed a lot and felt guilty. Mayank and I decided to tell you about me when the right time comes. Prachi, Mayank likes and respects you a lot. Being a psychiatrist he knew you are not the person you were projecting. He wanted to bring out real you and I was happy that what I couldn’t do, atleast he can do that and did that.

Prachi I am leaving to Delhi today by 5pm flight. I want to say sorry to you again in person though its ok if you don’t forgive me. And one more thing, if you want to hate me still, its ok, but don’t hate Mayank. Whatever he did was not because I asked him to do but he himself wanted it to do. I primarily wanted to be in touch with you through Mayank, nothing else. I am not sure if you will forgive me or not but I want to say Sorry for one last time.

Love
Samyu.

Prachi read that letter for 10 times and tear swelled from her eyes. At 4’o clock she decided to go to Airport. She reached airport by 4:30 and saw Samyu there. Samyu was overwhelmed with joy when she saw prachi. As Prachi came near she swung and hugged her with tears.

“I knew..i knew you would come” said Samyuktha

“How wouldn’t I ..i wanted to hear a sorry from you” said Prachi with tears.

“I am so so so so sorry Prachi..you don’t know how happy and relieved I am after all these years…” said Samyuktha.

“Me too…and…I want to say thank you!” said prachi

“Thank you?” puzzled Samyuktha

“Yeah..thank you for sending Mayank in my life” said Prachi

“I guess that was fate Prachi…I didn’t send him..but it was a co-incidence that you happened to be my friend…err…aren’t we friends”

“Yes..yes..now again don’t make me cry..cried a lot since yesterday” said prachi with a smile.

“ha ha ok ok..” said Samyuktha.

“That’s bad, you friends are having good time and forgot about me” said Mayank from behind.

Prachi looked back with surprise and became happy to see him there.

“Mayank, you wanted to ask one more thing to Prachi yesterday night right..why don’t you ask that?” said Samyuktha looking at Mayank.

“May I madam?” asked Mayank looking at Prachi.

Mayank bent down on his knees and took out a small box from his pocket.

“Will you make tea for me early in the morning everyday , will you cook dinner for me every day, listen to my bak-bak everyday, sleep with me in my bed, ….be my better half for rest of my life” said Mayank showing the ring to her.

“Yes” said Prachi smiling but with tears “ you guys are making me cry like anything”.

“I hope you will not cry for rest of your life” said Mayank and hugged Prachi.

It was time Samyuktha to leave and she once again hugged and congratulated Prachi. Then congratulated Mayank and thanked him for everything.