"Aur eii hai Delhi ka sabse famous chauraha - Gandhi chowk", Choubey's secretary blurted in his characteristic North Indian fashion. Anurag Basu turned his face away and took a deep breath. This was where he was - at crossroads.
"Prerna! Tere naam ki do chitthiyan aayin hai", Veena called her out. Swiftly tapping down the staircase, Prerna jogged across the hallway to collect them.
She bolted the door of her room and excitedly opened the first one.
Miss Prerna Sharma,
We are pleased to inform you that you've been selected for the post of Marketing Executive at the MUMBAI branch of our company.
Kindly mail us back the acknowledgement receipt (attached) with your due signature.
Prerna made a face. Mumbai branch? No, she couldn't leave the city. Ofcourse, Anurag would never let her relocate. Infact, he himself would want to shift the Basu Publications Head Office and she would have to convince him not to do so.
She giggled, thinking about all the faces he'd make.
She flung the offer letter and opened the next one.
It was from Anurag.
She was a bit surprised. Maybe a love letter?
She quickly tore the seal and carefully removed the handwritten paper.
Ah, finally. I'm able to talk to you. Last few days have been crazy. Crazy enough to let my head spin with all sorts of thoughts.
I might be far far away by the time you get this letter. Yes, far. Quite literally and unbelievably.
It wasn't long ago than we took those promises of love. Ah, what fantasy.
But life isn't fair, is it? Baba is in coma. Basu Publications in severe debt. Basically everything that isn't alright.
Prerna's heart raced up. She picked up her phone with trembling hands and dialled his number.
No, don't call me up. I won't pick up. Maybe I don't have the guts to face you nor the heart to hear your dejection.
As a move to save our company and Dad's promises, I'm marrying someone else. A rich lady perhaps who can shell out money, enough to solve my problems. And yours too.
Prerna was shocked enough to be rendered totally speechless. She kept reading on.
Baba told me you and your family is my responsibility. Even if he wouldn't have, I've always taken you to be my responsibility. And I couldn't have failed you or my own self. I know, you would say let's figure out something but I can't. Can't this time. And maybe our love isn't reason enough to let my own family go astray on the streets. Yes, I sound like a defeated pessimist but everyone has weaknesses and you know mine. Can't let Maa face another shift of problems for a lifetime.
And I also know I've been deciding for both of us all this while. But I've little choice. Oh, for the word choice.
So here's it - I am choosing to safeguard my business and our families. I know it hurts but let me remind you, you're the strongest person I know. You'll face it all.
What of that job? Did you get it?
Having said this, I assure you that my heart, soul and self will forever remain yours only. No matter what compromises I make, I'll always be yours. You're my first and last love.
Prerna wiped away the tears rolling against her cheeks. Yes, life was unfair and it'll always be. One had to move on and take decisions. She opened the drawer and fetched a pen. She picked up the letter lying down on the floor.
With shaking, unwilling hands, Prerna signed the Mumbai offer letter. Her lone tear blotted the dotted lines.
I know you'd be strong enough to look after everyone. I guess Shivani can manage work and family here whilst you earn in Mumbai.
She scanned the copy and pressed the send button.
Always remember, I'd be forever there with you, if not in flesh and blood, but always in good spirit and memories.
Prerna closed her eyes and felt a tap on her shoulder. He caressed her face and kissed her forehead.
And here's my Credit card for you. No, don't lock it right away. If not me but this would always stand by you.
Prerna shook a vehement no initially but then decided to keep it in her safe.
For the first time ever, I do pity my luck and life.
Love you, with all my heart.
- Your Economist and boring Padhaaku.
He had made his choice and she had to make hers.
"Anurag!", Komolika greeted him as he got out of the car. He was at one of the most lavish and extravagant hotels of Delhi, for his engagement party. Since Choubey's political party was largely located in Delhi, they'd decided to keep a pre wedding function there.
She extended her hand to grab his.
He carefully put his palms in the coat pocket and marched ahead, without looking at her even once.
As he looked at his side, he felt Prerna walking along with him, hand in hand, strong and beautiful.