**Summer Love: OS Contest Voting**

Posted: 6 years ago

Thank you to everyone who has sent in their entries! If your entry is missing, please let me know ASAP, though I highly doubt it.


*No advertising of your story may be permitted! That will result in the disqualification of your entry.

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*You may only vote for 2 entries. Any comments containing votes for less or more 2 entries will not be counted.

*Do not 'reserve'. Post only when you want to vote! All votes will be counted right away so DO NOT EDIT ONCE POSTED.

*The last day to vote is, May 20, 2014

Good luck!

Edited by Angel-Jot. - 6 years ago
43 Likes this
Posted: 6 years ago

Maya found herself slowly coming to a natural pause upon her journey to across the golden sands to silently breathe in a savoured lungful of the refreshing sea air of Goa's infamous shores. Succumbing to her innate romantic desires she felt her soft chocolate eyes involuntarily closing against the onslaught of sensations assailing her escapist senses.

Over the horizon, the blazing sun was slowly coming to rest after another glorious summer's day and the gentle rays tenderly kissed her milky white skin whilst a playful breeze chose that very moment of serenity to dance around her slender frame. With a certain elegant grace intrinsically gifted to her through her classically trained dancing bones, she ran a soft hand though her long silky tresses as she tamed the wayward strands behind her small ears. An involuntary smile crept onto Maya's rosy lips as she wriggled her toes slightly and exulted in the foreign sensation of the soft grains of sand tickling the soles of her fair skinned feet.

A small frown marred her innocently beautiful features as she slowly opened her eyes and soulfully wished farewell to the blazing ball of fire in the sky before looking down to observe the golden sand. To really observe it... she slowly tilted her head to one side as a symbolic thought began flittering through the labyrinths of her mind causing a bittersweet chuckle to escape her lips...


Ayaan took another small swig of beer from his now half empty bottle as he amusedly observed the petite young woman before him. He had been perched upon a rock just behind her, previously observing the serene sunset as he allowed his racing senses to surrender to the peace of the surrounding ocean, yet something about the enigma of a woman before him caused him to pause in the midst of his now frivolous activity to observe her instead; this mysterious creature seemed much more interesting. Much, much more interesting...


"Has something amusing caught your attention sweetheart?"

Maya frowned softly as she bemusedly looked behind her to see a kind looking stranger observing her keenly through his twinkling caramel eyes. He was handsome and in this there was no doubt; there was something about his piercing gaze, his lean yet muscular frame and his aristocratic features which caused her heart to stall for a few moments before ferociously kicking to life again.

It was with a small smile of wonderment lining her pink lips that she indulgently replied to his earnest questioning...

"Time... It is so strange, don't you think?"

Ayaan took another swig of his beer before setting his long legs into motion as he stood up to lazily approach the mystery woman with calculated measures of his footsteps. Upon closer inspection he realised that she really was charismatically beautiful. He had never been a man to harbour many romantic notions of life, but this woman really was a rare beauty, this much his experienced twenty eight year old eyes could decipher in a heartbeat. Intrigued by her thought process he found a small amused smirk lining his lips as he observed her chocolate eyes closely before replying;

"Feeling philosophical sweetheart?"


A spontaneous girlish giggle left Maya's lips as she considered the handsome stranger's statement and how true it actually was...

 Maya smilingly perused his mesmerising caramel orbs, and quickly realised that he was observing her with an air of amusement and probably, quite rightly, deciding that she was certifiably crazy. With a broad childish grin gracing her lips Maya realised that for once she really didn't give two hoots as to whatever his opinions may be. She instead found herself wholeheartedly savouring the liberation of thoughts the holiday was so kindly gifting her as she willingly released all of her bashful inhibitions and continued to indulge in her minds gypsy thoughts with the handsome spectator...


"As I was saying... time. It is strange. Don't you think? Like the grains of this sand it slips so easily through our fingers... when we are children we feel that time is a concept of eternity, that we have all the time the world has to offer our young innocent souls... time to do whatever our hearts desire... yet... yet... reality of adulthood is quite different to our naive thoughts isn't it? Nobody prepares us for responsibilities, reality, the harsh truths of... life, and most importantly just how short a precious lifetime is... a lifetime is never really long enough is it? Time... nobody ever told me just how much I should treasure it..."


Ayaan observed the stranger's glazed eyes and found his chest strangely constricting with grief, as he suddenly realised with cold hearted clarity just what the strange aura shrouding her was; it was not simply one of enigmatic beauty, it was one of purely tortured, pained grief. And suddenly it became quite imperative to learn more about her, she was an enigma he wanted, no needed to solve.

With his minds hazed senses reflecting upon her words he found his voice calmly responding to her sorrow with his own innate sense of optimism...


"Life... I think that it is exactly what we make of it. Time is also exactly what we make of it, and sometimes it is not about living a lifetime in a day, but rather savouring the small moments that make a lifetime, however long or short it may be..."

Maya smiled thoughtfully at the handsome man's words before nodding in acceptance to his proffered comfort before she smilingly met his calm eyes and shyly replied...

"Will you help me? Will you help me savour some moments of my little lifetime? I will be here in Goa for just one week; could you help me... live?"

Ayaan smiled at her shy countenance and all too willingly replied;

"I will be in Goa for another five days too, and every day whilst I am here I have made it a point to try something new, tomorrow I am going to go scuba diving... do you want to come with me?"

Maya smiled with glee and eagerly nodded her head in assent as she placed her dainty fair hand forward almost childishly in her enthusiasm as she excitedly replied;

"I would love to, thank you so much! My name is Maya, what is yours?"

With a satisfied smirk on his lips Ayaan met her small soft hand with his large tanned one and smiled to himself at the perfect fit as he softly replied;

"Ayaan... would you honour me with your dear company for dinner Maya?"

Maya smiled and nodded shyly before following Ayaan's lead, her romantic heart excitedly fantasising of the many fantastical possibilities littered in the beauty of the days which lay ahead of them in this stolen blissful week...


It was Maya's final day in Goa, her chocolate eyes glittered with euphoria as she greeted her final evening in this stolen utopia with a small shy smile dancing on her lips as excitement tingled through her dancing bones.

Sat by the mirror dressed in a beautiful sunny yellow dress for the evening, she brushed her luscious long hair with a sense of desolate wistfulness in her expressive chocolate orbs. As she placed the brush upon the vanity table she allowed her dainty fingers to mindlessly play with the long silken strands; savouring the feel, rejoicing in the much valued ornament of a woman's beauty as she desperately banked the memory for a saddened future.

Yet a small smile involuntarily crept upon her lips as she recalled how Ayaan had complimented her long hair and told her that she should leave it loose more often. With a small red blush now tainting her cheeks at the memory of those caramel orbs, Maya began to apply some kohl to her chocolate eyes and a little lip gloss onto her rosy lips. This was her last night in Goa, and the final night with Ayaan, she wanted to make this memory as beautiful as possible for the man who had stolen her sleep, and possibly even something more...

True to his word Ayaan had taught her what it meant to truly live life. In these five days they had been scuba diving, paragliding, abseiling, the list really was endless. Yet above the exhilaration of sports, Maya's young heart was restless in giddy excitement for other, many more beautiful reasons too...

During this escapist holiday; Maya had almost physically felt herself lose not only her bashful inhibitions but also her heart to the caramel orbed stranger. For reasons unknown to her; Ayaan had made it a personal point to make each day more memorable, more joyous, more perfect than the last. The days were flawless in their beauty thanks to the wonderful man guiding her through it all...

Maya smiled helplessly as when promised at 7o' clock a suave looking Ayaan gently knocked upon her hotel room door, ready to receive her for the night. Closing her eyes and praying for a blissful night ahead she impatiently made her way to the door and opened it with a breathless smile to greet her caramel orbed stranger...


Ayaan stood transfixed to his spot as an enchantingly beautiful Maya came into view. This week he had somehow silently understood that beneath her ever-present warm smile lay a world of pain, and for reasons he was yet to fully understand he was determined to chase away the sorrow from those beautiful eyes and truly make this holiday for the petite, enigmatic beauty one to remember with an exquisite smile for a lifetime...

Allowing his brain to finally rest his wildly beating heart it was with a drawling husky voice that Ayaan broke into the silence to reverently whisper...

"You look utterly beautiful Maya..."

Maya smiled shyly and felt her cheeks colour crimson as she readily accepted the support of his proffered hand, silently afraid that those piercing caramel orbs may just bring her to her fragile knees if she didn't. Stepping closer to him, she closed the room door behind her before silently whispering to the collar of his shirt;

"Thank you Ayaan."

With amusement clouding his senses and desire for the charming woman dancing in his orbs, he raised her hand to his lips to softly lay a tender kiss at the back of her fair hand. When she helplessly gasped and finally met his eyes, Ayaan felt a satisfactory smirk lining his lips as he warmly whispered;

"Ready to go sweetheart?"

With words truly failing her, she smiled once again and slowly nodded her head with captivating grace; as Ayaan softly entwined her fingers with his own he began to slowly lead them both towards the beach for their final night in Goa...


Maya felt all semblance of sanity and senses flee from her disbelieving mind as she came to understand the beauty before her. Ayaan had led her to the very same beach where they had met four nights ago and he had blissfully recreated heaven; a red tent erected from yards upon yards of soft chiffon material housed a wonderful array of aromatic food and wonderful ambient music. Candles of the purist shade of white were strewn as far as her eyes could see, the magical glow adding an ethereal quality to her surroundings.

As Maya's glittering eyes stood mesmerised by the beauty before her, a nervous Ayaan gently began caressing soothing circles upon the inside of her palm with the pad of his bronze thumb as he lovingly led her to sit upon a seat as he began lifting the many lids to the mouth-watering delicacies before them. Maya felt a lone tear escape her chocolate orbs as she gratefully met Ayaan's questioning gaze with gratitude lining her eyes and smile. Ayaan simply smiled reassuringly as they both began to indulge in the feast before them, a companionable silence engulfing the serenity of the mystical air around them...


It was a while later when Ayaan silently implored a contemplative Maya for her hand for a dance, as they stood up he embraced her close and almost possessively encased her in his strong arms... after a long moment, it was Maya who broke into the magical silence as they softly swayed to the music around them...

"This week has been so blissfully beautiful Ayaan... thank you... for the beautiful gift of this week, thank you so much Ayaan... thank you."

Ayaan silently held Maya closer as he placed multiple loving kisses in her soft hair. Lost in the moment, he was simply content to savour this stolen time with the beautiful woman who perfectly fit into the protective embrace of his arms...


Ayaan tightly held onto Maya's hand as they neared her hotel room, after a beautiful date together he felt loathe to let this night end without the promise of something more, something more permanent than this stolen week... as they slowly came to stand outside her room, Ayaan gently held both of her petite hands in his own strong ones as he met her smiling eyes with sorrowful ones. Yet before he could utter one pained syllable, he found his charismatic beauty disentangling her hands from his and bridging the small gap between their bodies as she rushed into his arms and held him close. Ayaan quickly reciprocated her efforts as he moulded her soft curves into himself and held her tightly, for what he feared was the last time, and for the life of him, he didn't want to let this precious girl go, not now, not yet...

"Ayaan... could you promise me something... Please?"

Ayaan softly caressed her hair with one hand as he squeezed her waist with his other to silently indicate that he was indeed listening, mentally bracing himself for whatever her heart desired...

"Can you promise to never meet me again? We had such a beautifully perfect week, please let's not stain its beauty... please promise me that this is alvida for us... please?"

Ayaan slowly pulled back to meet her tortured eyes with his own pained caramel orbs. He didn't understand why this was so important to her, yet he silently decided to allow her this solitary wish... some things really were best left to be a beautiful dream...

Tangling his long tanned fingers into her hair, he slowly guided his lips towards hers; entwining them for their first and last kiss. A kiss to speak the words he could not... words of a silent promise, words of longing, and words of sorrow... maybe even words of love... yet above all it was a kiss to say alvida meri jaan... alvida...

Amar, if I met you on the streets today, I would probably walk right past and not recognize you. It has been so many years, and life took so many turns, even memories have faded. I do not know what you look like now, and I don't even have a picture of what you used to look like all those years ago; when I knew you, and days were like summer, warm and radiant. The only thing I did have was a tiny group picture with you. But sometimes I feel like laughing at my fate, Amar. I lost my phone the year we graduated, and with that I lost the only tangible thing I had that reminded me of you. All that I have now are a few memories that still stand out amidst a cloud of fog. You are still that bright-faced sixteen year old I loved, and loved so much that sometimes I want to pull you out of those memories, all flesh and blood, and hold you, and touch you, and just feel your breath and know that you are alive. Oh Amar, it frightens me to know that someday I might just walk you by and not recognize you.

The first time I saw you, Amar, it was in that cramped school auditorium, that warm and uncomfortable April morning. That was my first day at my new school, my first assembly, and I was so nervous. After the welcome address by Ma'am Suman, the anchor announced your name and you walked up the stage. Ma'am had said something about starting the year with Ma Saraswati's blessings. I think you wore a white kurta that day. Or perhaps it was orange? I don't quite remember. But I do so distinctly remember the music of the flute. Raag Bhairav. Raag Bhairav is my favourite raag, Amar. When you took that ordinary wood instrument in your hand and started playing, oh Amar, I so remember that music. It was ecstasy. It was the most beautiful piece I ever heard in my whole life. With that flawless rendition of Jaago mohan pyaare, I was transported to another land, where the only thing that existed was your music. You could have been Saraswati right there, that day. I saw divinity radiating from your body, that day. The standing ovation that followed your performance, I was probably the only one not standing. I was so numb. And I fell in love with you. And I fell in love with your music. Some days, Amar, I want time to reverse so that I can hear you play that exquisite piece of music just once more.

After the assembly, I realized that I was in your section. We were in the same class.

"Hi!" I said, the minute I met you in class. I had decided I was going to speak to you.

"Hi," you said, smiling. "Are you a new student?"

I managed to nod. I was already weak in the knees. "My...er...my name is...er... Ritika," I said.

"Hi Ritika," you said. "I am Amar. If you need any help around this place, let me know. The campus can get confusing at times, even for oldies. Don't hesitate to ask."

At that point, my heart was beating at a rapid rate and I was almost shaking in my school shoes.

"Uh... Thank you, Amar. You were...umm...your flute recital was...umm...very...very good."

You smiled then, the smile that made my day every time I met you.

"Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it."

I wanted to tell you that I did not just enjoy it. It took my breath away, that performance.  But I couldn't. I wish I had told you then. At that moment, the initial burst of courage left me forever. Never again, in the next two years, did I find the courage to tell you how magical you were with music. That, perhaps, was my biggest mistake.

Oh Amar, what a fool I was. And what a coward I was. In the two years that followed till the day we sat for our last board exam, we studied the same lectures, attended the same classes, sat together at times, and shared tiffin during recess. But I never let you know that all that time, my heart fluttered every time it heard your voice, like it could recognize a loving companion. Every time my eyes met yours, adrenaline coursed through every fibre of my body. I wonder how you never saw, never realized. But I was so good at hiding. Oh, why was I so good at hiding? I spent so much energy into not giving away any visible sign of any of the emotions I felt so strongly. I wonder had I not spent so much energy hiding things from you, if things could have been different? But I was so scared, Amar. I never knew what you felt for me, and I was so afraid to confront it.

But Amar, in spite of everything, those two years were the summer years of my life. And the memories I gained from those two years, those are the only memories I have now from my entire school life. After we passed out, life went on, but summer never was so warm and radiant, nor spring so bright. On the day of our farewell ceremony, when you graced that stage for the last time, and played a light contemporary piece, that was the last time I ever heard you play. After that performance, I saw you talking to and laughing with Srishti, and I knew then that my feelings were to never be returned. I saw in your eyes, that day, a part of what I had always felt in my own. I realized with a striking blow, that my feelings were never to be returned. It was the worst day of my life, and also the best, because you looked so breath-taking in that suit. And I remember your laugh. It was the most beautiful laugh I was ever to see, even if that laugh wasn't with me. Nor was the smile for me. I could not even grudge Srishti.

Oh Amar, life moved on, and I never saw you again. I lost contact with everybody from school. Facebook did not exist then, you know? And now, I would not be able to recognize you on Facebook. Life moved on, and happily, for the most part. I got married and I now have two beautiful children. I know so many wonderful people in my life, but I do not have another Amar. Sometimes, I fear I am being unfaithful to the man who loves me so much. But Amar, I miss you. You were my first love, and my last. I love my husband, don't get me wrong. But it's different. The love I craved, the love I knew, it was only with you, and always with you.

Some days, it tears me apart. I want to be faithful to the people I love and I want to live in the present. My mind won't let me and it's just frustrating. Some days, I am enveloped by defeat. But on some days, Amar, when I am not so guilt-stricken and I allow myself to listen to my heart, I see you. It is a hot and uncomfortable April morning. The auditorium is dingy, dusty and smelly. You are wearing that white kurta. Or perhaps it is orange. But there's no audience. There's just you and me. There's just you playing Jaago mohan pyaare, and I am your only audience. I close my eyes. I feel warm and radiant. It's like summer. Bright, beautiful and eternal.


Aahna drove the car slowly on the deserted road, cursing viciously each time the vehicle lurched. Then as a curve brought an abandoned, dilapidated hut into sight, she smiled, feeling absurdly happy. Aahna caught herself quickly. It was not happiness that made her smile on seeing the known landmark after ages. Just relief that she had reached the outskirts of the village and didn't have to keep driving on this terrible route.


There was nothing to be happy about. She was returning after four months to issue a final ultimatum to her husband - the social-service obsessed Dr Nachiket.


Bracing herself for the confrontation, Aahna parked the air-conditioned car near the hut, and put off the ignition. She picked up the fashionable handbag lying on the passenger seat. She took her sunglasses from a side-pocket of the bag and put them on, dropped the car keys inside, and disembarked from the vehicle.


The heat instantly hugged her tight, as did the sweet freshness of the air and the lovely fragrance of ripe mangoes. Achingly sweet memories threatened to overwhelm her, and she had to fight their pull.


The roads were thankfully empty as she quickly marched past big and small dwellings. But then that was why she had chosen to visit at this hour. Most people would be in slumber mode at this time, and she wouldn't bump into acquaintances. She especially didn't want to meet the warm-hearted, simple women who had pampered her like a princess because she was the doctor's bride.


Aahna was perspiring by the time she reached the rusting gate of an old-fashioned but pretty house. She felt a sharp pang as she opened the gate and strode through the tidy courtyard towards the entrance. A big, ugly lock greeted her. Naturally, Nachiket was at the clinic on Sunday as well, working tirelessly and not bothering about his own health.  Aahna extricated a bunch of keys from her bag with suddenly trembling fingers. 


In the untidy living room, everything was so wonderfully familiar that she nearly smiled again.


Aahana closed the doors, switched on the fan and walked to the couch. She sat down primly on the cleanest spot. She removed the sunglasses and kept them in the bag. Then she plucked out a tissue and mopped her sweaty face and neck with it. 


 She had left this house on a cold day, sick of being sidelined by his utter dedication towards serving the rest of humanity. For two months, he'd phoned regularly and even arrived at her parent's home numerous times to reason with her. But she'd been too angry to listen. On his last visit, he had tiredly kept the keys to their house on the table, giving her the freedom to return whenever she chose. Then his visits and calls had gradually reduced in number. He'd not even attempted to contact her for three days now.


Aahna decided she would wait for two hours at the most for him to return from that ratty clinic. Four hours maximum. If he didn't arrive within that time, she would leave him a note, stating her position. If he did arrive, she would tell him directly that she was done making adjustments for him and burying herself in this stupid village. He had to make a choice between slaving his life away for others and spending a comfortable life with her in the city. Given that both of them came from rich families, she didn't see why they had to live such a simple life. She wanted to live luxuriously like her friends. She wanted to go for outings with her husband more frequently, and enjoy vacations in foreign countries.


But more than any of that, she wanted Nachiket to spend more time with her. She wanted him to show his love in more ways than the soft I love you' that he sometimes whispered in her ears just before they drifted into sleep.


Aahna blinked quickly to douse the prickling sensation in her eyes. While waiting for the moment to pass, she looked at the television set that was covered with a nice layer of dust. He had bought the TV only for her. Along with the fridge, washing machine, air conditioner and generator. He had been happy and satisfied without any of those items until their arranged marriage two years ago. 


With her modern, aggressive nature, Aahna's family hadn't expected her to like Nachiket. But something about the intelligent, soft-mannered and earnest young man had captivated her.  He had told her honestly that he intended to settle in the countryside and serve the rural population. But she had still thought it was a passing whim and he would grow out of the idea soon. She had understood much later that his work was his passion, Aahna thought with an increasing heaviness in her chest.


Sighing, she kept her bag aside and stood up and walked to the large window near the television set. One side of it was shut. She slid back the bolt and pushed it open.


Aahna gazed out of the window sombrely. She could almost see the heat undulating in waves, though some respite was provided by the large, lush trees that were aplenty in the village. She could also smell the fruits being dried on the rooftops of neighbouring houses and see the gleaming trident on top of the nearby temple, which she'd often visited with offerings of flowers and fruits.  She'd done a bit of gardening to make the yard look lush and pretty. Some of the flowering plants were in full bloom at the moment.


Aahna turned away from the window and walked to the kitchen that was adjacent to living room. She discarded the used tissue in the wastebasket underneath the sink before daring to study the condition of the area. The platform was almost bare apart from a kettle and a bowl of curd. She checked the contents of the fridge. Milk and bread were the only two occupants, and probably featured regularly on his dinner menu. After spending gruelling hours at work, Nachiket wouldn't have had the time or energy to take care of his diet.


Disturbed, she closed the refrigerator and leaned against it, looking around the kitchen broodingly. The window in this room opened to the back of the house. On summer days like this one, she often sat with Nachiket in the backyard until late at night, drinking tea or coffee, chatting on serious and fun topics with equal enthusiasm, laughing like little children. 

Aahna spun from the view and walked slowly out of the kitchen.

She possibly could have kept herself busy here if she wanted. On several occasions, Nachiket had suggested that she take up initiatives to educate the villagers. But the idea had not appealed to her particularly, and so she'd ended up sitting idle at home. At times, when he would be busy all weekend or on weekdays when he returned at midnight, frustration and boredom would drive her mad.


Their last fight had happened on one such day.


Aahna moved towards the bedroom and stood at its entrance.  This was the place where they'd spent some of their most precious moments. It looked just as shabby as the living room but at least the bedsheet appeared to be fresh. She strolled to the bed and seated herself near the pillows, thinking about the day she'd left.


They hadn't really fought...because a fight implied unpleasantness from all parties involved. That was never the case with her and Nachiket. She had screamed and said the most terrible things about him. He had listened calmly and tried to soothe her down like usual, reassuring her that he loved her deeply.


It would have been very easy for her to believe him.


Especially if she remembered the weekends that he was free, and the weekdays when there weren't too many patients in the clinic and no emergency visits to other villages. Those were the days that made everything worthwhile. 


For the outside world, he was a brilliant doctor, caring and committed. With her, he was a doting and sensitive husband.


Aahna stroked the soft sheet tenderly. How many heavenly, sensuous hours she'd spent in his arms...


He wasn't good at expressing his emotions through words, but he was frequently doing silly things like bringing her a posse of wild flowers on his way back from work...cooking elaborate, and charred, meals on the weekends to give her a break...or fussing over her and pandering to all her wishes when she was ill or just in a bad mood...


She'd made fun of his clumsy efforts to please her, while feeling giddy with love on the inside. She adored him...almost worshipped him..


He was her passion. And always would be.


Wiping tears away, Aahna rose to her feet. She tied her long, wavy hair into a strict knot and pulled up the sleeves of her pink shirt. 


She could finish cleaning at least two rooms by four o clock, when the provision shops would reopen. Then she would go shopping and restock all the containers in the kitchen. If she worked fast, a hot meal would be ready for Nachiket by the time he returned...

"If it is so hot in April, then how it will be in May?" With that worrying thought, I pulled out the handkerchief from my trouser pocket and wiped the sweat that has formed behind my neck before stuffing the kerchief in between my neck and collar of my shirt. The two things that don't go hand in hand are summer and formals.

Controlling my rising fury, I fisted my hands and cursed my Project Manager with all bad words known to the mankind in my mind. He changed my shift timing from general shift to morning shift (6-2am) for the entire month.  More than getting up early, the thing I hate the most in this shift is the ten minutes walk from my office to the bus stop under scorching sun. Today is just the second day of the month and my head spins if I think about the month ahead. What a way to take revenge on people working under you?!?

By the way, I am Siddarth from Chennai; a place which is hot throughout the year and hotter during summer.

I knew I had crossed half of my distance when I heard lot of chattering sound. The noise was from the Women's college which is on my way. The entrance of the college was bustling with young girls and their voices. "Exam time!" I thought bitterly. Thank god that I am done with all these exams. As I walked past the college, yellow colour caught my eyes.
Mangoes are the only thing which I love about summer. Smiling to myself, I walked towards the pushcart topped with juicy, ripe, yummy and lovely Mangoes. Excitement ran throughout my system with the mere thought of tasting first mangoes of this season.
"Anna, oru kilo kodunga!" I requested the vendor for one KG mangoes in local Tamil language. The vendor gestured me to wait pointing towards the people who stood surrounding the pushcart. I looked at the two middle aged ladies on the opposite side. They were checking every mango as if they were made of gold. I heaved a sigh realising that it's going to take more time than I thought and began to pick good mangoes from the heap.


"Are you serious? You are saying NO to these yummy mangoes because you believe that they cause pimples?!?" A girl voice from my right side reached my ears. I smiled to myself still concentrating at the mangoes in my hand. Most of the teen age girls in Chennai believe that mangoes causes acne. Last year my sister and mom fought over this topic. My sister was forced to eat mangoes and next day she did get a big pimple.
To nullify my curiosity, I did Google search about connection between mangoes and pimples. If you have hot temperature body then eating sugary fruits like mangoes will increase sugar level and causes break out. But it depends on your body condition. So you cannot blame mangoes for your pimples. Anyway I won't give up eating mangoes even if that means I have to end up with hundreds of pimples on my face.
"I cannot give up eating mangoes even if that means I have to end up with hundreds of pimples on my face." My eyes widened and hands froze hearing the girl's comment.
"I am getting engaged after our exams. What if..." The second girl's voice was pleading.
"Are you telling me that your fianc will stop the engagement just because you got a pimple? Then you should not marry him. You should marry a person who will love you with your pimples!"
"It's not that. I don't want to look ugly on my engagement." The second one whispered in an irritated tone.
With a great difficulty, I stopped myself from looking up and embarrassing the girls for their loud and girly talk in public. I rolled my eyes to the two women and men on the other side. They didn't seem to pay any attention to the conversation. Either they must be really engrossed in selecting mangoes or they didn't understand the girl's high Anglo-Indian accent.                    
"Who told you that pimples make you less beautiful?" The Anglo-Indian girl asked furiously and I had to bite my inner lip to stop myself from laughing. "Let's ask this guy. Mr.!"
"Excuse me, Mr." It took me a minute to understand that she was referring to me. I looked up to meet hazel eyes. "Do pimples make girls less beautiful?" She asked me looking into my eyes.
"UH?" was the only sound I managed to make in response.
"You are not getting it. Look at my face!" I did as I was ordered. She had hazel eyes, sharp nose, flat chin and slightly chubby cheeks. She was beautiful. She kept her finger on her cheeks which were pink due to sun. "If a pimple comes here, will it make me less beautiful?" Her hazel eyes were sparkling with innocence.
"No!" I replied honestly. Nothing in the world can make a girl with stunning pair of hazels look less beautiful. With a victorious grin, she turned to her friend who was elbowing her to stop embarrassing. "And will you love me less if I have a pimple?" She turned to me again and asked in one breath.
"What?!?" Her friend and I both shouted in unison.
"I mean will you love your wife less if she has a pimple?" The Anglo-Indian girl corrected herself.


I was about to shake my head but her angry friend pulled her away, scolding her in hissed tone and walked away. It must be how to behave with stranger's advice!' I thought and paid for my mangoes. That night whenever I closed my eyes, all I saw was pair of hazel eyes. I had instant liking for this girl.
Next day when I crossed the college, I searched for her but she was not there. Every day my eyes used to search for her on its accord. On the fourth day, I saw her, standing at the same place sans her friend. The mere sight of her made my heart to flutter. I wanted to know more about her. So I thought of trying my luck with her today.
I stood next to her and stared at the mangoes blankly not knowing what to do and how to start a conversation. "So you didn't get pimples?" Pimples were the first thing which came to my mind seeing her. She looked up at me with a horrified expression on her hazel eyes and then diverted her gaze back to the mangoes without uttering a word after recognising me.
I kicked myself for the horrible start. "Where is your friend?" I asked trying to be casual.  
"She...She don't have exam today!" The girl stammered nervously not meeting my eyes. She behaved like typical Indian girl who met a stranger which is completely opposite to what she did on other day.
I wanted to start the conversation again and thought about some common topic which will not scare her. I thought of asking her out for coffee but then decided against it. "It's so hot today!" I commented adjusting my shirt's collar. She nodded with her concentration on the money she handed to the vendor. "How about having an ice cream?" I suggested tentatively as she turned to leave.
She looked at me in surprise. Her eyes; steady and confident. I guessed that she might have recovered from the shock or might have deduced me as harmless or may be useless. "Some other time!" She replied. Nervousness was still evident in her voice. She turned and disappeared as fast as she could.
"Hard luck!" I said to myself feeling little dejected. I didn't see her for next three days. But on the fourth day, I saw her, standing with her back to the pushcart and freshly bought mangoes in her hand. After last encounter, I had a bad feeling that she will never talk to me even if we meet in future.  So I decided to ignore her and walk away.
It seemed like she was searching for someone. She looked around frantically when our eyes collided. It held other for a minute but she abruptly turned breaking our eye lock. She began to inspect the mangoes on the cart with full concentration as if her whole life depends on it. Pink colour began to shade her cheeks and this time it was not due to sun but due to the effects of being caught.
My heart began to accelerate as I walked to the pushcart full of mangoes with my eyes only on the hazel girl. "Hi!" I almost whispered because my throat went dry suddenly. She replied me with a smile; a genuine one. Not understanding why my heart is beating like it will break my ribcage or why my mind seems to be blank, I had no other option except to buy time.
I started to pick mangoes and to my surprise, she changed mangoes which I selected with better quality ones. I paid and turned to leave with my mind ordering to ask her out but throat not co-operating with it. "Today also it is so hot!" I managed to say and she agreed. Well anyone will agree to it because it was damn hot.
"How about an ice cream?" I gave her a nervous smile. She pouted a little in response and then shook her head. All of a sudden I felt like a fool to imagine things. I nodded and was about to leave when I heard her voice. "I get sore throat if I eat ice creams. How about drinking a tender coconut?"
My jaw dropped down in astonishment. She began to speak with me normally like she did it on our first meet. Her name is Jenny and is doing her bachelor's degree. She has two more exams with three days study holiday for each exam. I told her about my education and job. We talked about our liking after her next exam. We didn't have any common interest except our undying love for mangoes.
On her last exam, she suggested that we will have ice cream instead of tender coconut as she doesn't have to fear about sore throat with her exams over. Why do her exams have to end so soon? I mean, I have to work in this morning shift for ten more days. I had started loving this shift and my walk from office to bus stop only because of her. Now what I will do?


I don't want to lose her. In twenty four years of my life, she is the only girl who made my heart beat faster. I watched her as she dug into her mango ice cream with childlike eagerness. My heart jumped with enthusiasm. I wanted to see her face every day.  
"Jenny, we drank tender coconut together. Today we ate ice cream. How about a coffee? This weekend?"
She stopped eating and glared at me. "Are you asking me out for a date?"
"No...I mean, Yes...what's wrong?" I asked worriedly while she continued to glare at me. I shifted uncomfortably under her scrutinizing gaze. After studying me for a couple of minutes, she spoke. "I am not a coffee person." She paused for a couple of minutes. "But if you promise me to buy a milkshake, then I am okay with it." I let the breath out which I was holding while she burst into laughter muttering something like crazy or stupid under her breath. I didn't mind. She agreed for the date and that's what matters to me.
So, here, we are on our eleventh coffee, err.., milkshake date just in span of forty days. Summer is going to end and so is the mango season. But the sad thing is her vacation is going to end. She is going to join her office next week. Our work places are at two different corners of the city and we have different shift timing.
From next week, it's going to be difficult for us even to meet. In this one and half month, I have realised that she is the girl for me. The week when she went to visit her cousin was the most difficult phase of my life. Her presence had become like oxygen to my lungs. We still have a very long way to go but I know she is the one and I am not going to lose her at any cost.  I felt like if I don't do anything today then this will be our last meet.
"So you have stopped eating mangoes?" I asked her.
"What? No. I just ate one full mango before coming here!"
"Then why are you not getting any pimples?"  During her visit to her cousin's house, she had gotten huge pimples as the result of eating tonnes of unripe mangoes just in two days.
"You want me to get pimples?" She said in unbelievable tone with widened eyes.

I nodded silently.

"Why?" She looked curious.

"So that I can say that I love you with all these pimples on your face!" I said as a matter of fact even though my legs had turned into jelly and my hands have become shaky. 

Her jaw dropped down and her widened eyes widened more.

"Sir, what do you like to order?" I looked at the waiter in horror. "Two milkshakes!" I shouted irritated with the fact that he had disturbed at such a crucial time and turned back to Jenny to keep the momentum.

 "What flavour would you like to have sir?" I fisted my fingers in anger.



We both yelled in unison and then looked at each other in awe. She giggled and I smiled as I saw the acknowledgement in her eyes to what I have said.

She loves me.

And that's how our love story started with mangoes and pimples! 

*Bang* She banged the washroom door hard and came out wearing a robe. I looked at her from head to toe admiring her curves which were hidden inside the robe. *Beep* made a sound on my laptop screen and I turned my attention to my work. She sighed loud enough for me to hear. I couldn't dare to look up at her.

We both had come out on a vacation to escape the scorching Delhi heat. But since the time we were here I was stuck up with some office work. We had spent two long days in this hotel room; me doing work and she sulking.

I sighed and continued to work. "Get your butt out of this room. I had warned you not to get your working material here. But no, you love your laptop more than you love me. Why did you even marry me you could have married this freaking shit!" She started blabbering. "I am trying to finish it off early so that we get to spend some quality time" I said. "Quality time!" She huffed and moved towards the private pool adjacent to our room.

A transparent glass door separated the two areas. She went out and removed her robe eyeing me from the corner of her eye. There she stood wearing a two piece bikini looking hot as ever. Her perfect curves at the right place urged a sensation in me to bring her right in my arms and explore her.

'Go get her' said a voice inside me. I tried to shift my focus from my hot wife back to my work. 'Are you freaking kidding me? You come on a vacation with your amazingly hot wife and make a stupid presentation while she gets a dip in the pool all alone. You got to be insane to let this happen!' The voice snapped at me. The next moment I slammed my laptop shut and shoved it into my bag swearing not to touch it until we go back home. I change into my swim pants and head out to the pool. There she was swimming in the cool water.

I descend down the steps and moved towards her. She had a smirk playing on her luscious lips indicating her win to get me out here. I went close to her but she escaped far away showing me her tongue. "So you wanna play right. Let the game begin!" I smirk at her.

After a lot of tries I finally catch hold of her. She pulled a satin cloth from the edge of the pool and tied it over my eyes blocking my vision. She came close to me and placed a feathery kiss on my lips. This act led in the production of adrenaline. Then she started ridiculously arousing me just by planting passionate kisses in all accessible places. I could almost hear the national anthem playing in my south and feel it standing up in attention.

Without wasting a second I pulled off the satin cloth from my eyes and started kissing her wildly. I slowly picked her up from her waist without breaking the kiss and started moving towards the bedroom. She locked her legs behind my back while her hands played in my hair. I reached the bed and placed her down on it. I laid on top of her and started giving wet kisses and love bites from her shoulder to the crook of her neck. The moans escaping her mouth aroused me more.

She pulled me by my hair and turned me. Now she was on top of me. 'Darn I love her feisty side!' She gave wet kisses and love bites all over my upper body. By now the adrenaline levels had reached the highest peak. I turned her over and started placing kisses from her neck down to her cleavage. I untied the knot on the upper part of her two piece to reveal her perfect peaks. I grabbed them one by hand while the other by my mouth and caressed them. She dig her nails in my back feeling the pleasure. I felt no pain as I was drowned deep in the pool of desires. I moved down slowly reaching her navel and bit her. She gasped out of pain. I licked the spot to soothe her. I removed the small piece of clothing from our bodies and covered us with a sheet. I entered in her and she let out a loud gasp feeling the pain and pleasure. I locked my lips with hers trying to soothe away the pain. We moved slowly and gently in rhythm.

We both were lying on the bed with her head rested on my chest. I had a feeling of contentment of making love to her after about a month. But every time we expressed our love it felt the first time. I placed a kiss on her head and she looked up at me. "I love you" she said and kissed me. Her eyes spoke to me how much she missed cuddling with me. I line of guilt appeared on my forehead and I promised myself to never give more importance to my work than her. "I love you too" I said and pulled her into another session of love making.

I was sitting on the shore reading my upcoming book, which was about to get published very soon.

It was a long journey from an innocent girl to the woman I am now. No more a naive Beth what I used to be, but Miss Elizabeth Hackings, the very popular upcoming romantic author.


I adjusted my glasses over my nose and glanced over my two little princesses who were busy making sand castle few feet away from me. The summer sun kissed their dark curly hair and I smiled. They looked just like their father I thought mesmerized. An unwanted pain stabbed my heart and suddenly I felt a tug in my belly. I have left this feeling behind I thought but the stark reality was I still think of the man whom I loved the most and wanted to be together forever.  He was not only the man I loved but also the man who did not think twice before crushing my fairy tale dream and showed me the true life. What he wanted was only my body my heart. How easy it was for him to step on my heart and walk away saying "I don't do love. All I wanted was you in my bed. You have destroyed the beautiful mutual thing that we had and now I don't wish to stay with you anymore. Love, affection, emotions and children, did not I make it absolutely clear before you came to me that I stay mills away from commitment? We are over", he told me and left me lone on the bed. I cried hours after he left smelling his cologne that lingered on the bed sheet.


With a jolt I realized I have never forgotten him.

Rapheal an arrogant millionaire with whom, I fell in love. 7 years back during summer I came to Seychells with my collage troop. During that I met him. One morning we all were swimming in the summer ocean and I happened to collide with this man. It was love at first sight for me. When I looked at him I went gaga over him. He was a man to die for, perfect physic, and brilliant tan with his mesmerizing green eyes. His hair used to curl against his nape I remember. While in the sea before I could make out what was happening he kissed me full on my lips and I melted in his arms, hopelessly clinging to him holding his bare shoulders. That evening we secretly had dinner and he took me to his villa. It was all new for me, the man, then the wine, and everything that happened between us. That summer he had made me complete in all senses, and made me a woman who was thoroughly loved. He took my virginity and given me the ultimate pleasure. I loved the way he cared afterwards whispering sweet nothing to ease my pain. His voice used to send shiver down my spine. He told me how lucky he felt for being my first and that he would never forget me. I thought he too loved me. All we did was to be in each other's arms and make love for the rest of the time I had. The night before my departure I felt my love for him the moment he filled me totally I almost cried out of emotions and held him in my arms never to let him go. That was the moment he gifted me with the two most precious bundle of joy, Emerald and Sapphire, unknowingly.


Once again glancing at my kids watching them smile my eyes pricked with motherly tears. We made such beautiful daughters Rapheal, I wish you were there with me to hold them when they were born and kissed my forehead after 8 hours of labour. They were identical twins except their eyes. Emerald got her eye colour from her father that was lighter shade of green and Sapphire had the darkest blue like mine.


Then I suddenly realized that I was crying. How stupid of me I thought, still crying over the man who never reciprocated my feelings. Probably it was a bad decision to come to Seychelles once again with the kids. But I really wanted them to visit the place where they were conceived to show them the places where their mother came to know about love and the place where she has given her love, her soul to their father. She wanted them to be like her, loving, caring not like their father who was arrogant and rude. But secretly I hoped that I meet him.


I was lost in my thoughts when I heard...


"Beth!" a dark sensual voice called me. I knew the tone. How can I forget that seductive tone which drove me crazy every time he whispered in my ears during our most intimate moment?


I turned my head to see him standing right beside my lounger. Panic gripped me and I stood up. The man still had that effect on me. He was wearing a light blue suit with crisp white shirt and he still looked the same. His thick hair was cropped in a business cut and those curls which I used to play with were now gone. He looked every bit of Greek God. That's when I realized I was still that stupid Beth who was hopelessly in love with the father of my two kids.


I tensed immediately and looked straight in his eyes. He was frowning but there was some softness in his face that I had recognized.


"We meet again", I heard him saying with a known smile, the smile that conveyed our moment together in Seychelles that summer. He did not have to spell it out for me. I was shocked to notice that till today I had that ability to read him.


I wondered how could I go wrong about his feelings towards me. How could I think he loved me and why am I still thinking he has some feelings for me right now? When he made it very clear that he doesn't do love. Why I always thought that he secretly loved me and was in denial?


I saw him dismiss his two men who were escorting him then turned towards me to look at me. No he did not look at me, I realized he was looking at my children...erm...our children with a frown. My heart missed a beat when...


"Mommy!" I heard my kids calling me then suddenly they wrapped their arms around my legs holding me tightly seeing the stranger right in front of them. I saw his eyes wash over his daughters and then suddenly he threw his questioning glance towards me. Any blind person can tell that he fathered them. No matter how much I wanted to deny but the fact remained. He had every right to know about his own daughters and then I heard him asking me "Are they mine Beth?"...


I did not know what to answer. Should I lie or should I tell him the truth. As a father he had full right to know about his children. If I could I would have contacted him but I did not have the luxury to come back to Seychelles and tell him about it. And then I had Ema and Saph with me. I couldn't leave them and come. I secretly hoped that I met him this time and was almost lost the hope when I couldn't see him when my departure was near.


"Are the kids...(he chocked)...mine Beth?" he enquired politely not dropping his gaze from them...Did I hear a slight quiver in his voice? I wondered and with a lot of guts I replied taking along breath, "Yes they are ours Raph".


I saw him exhale his breath as if he was just waiting for this moment and this answer. Then he suddenly collapsed on the sand and pulled my children in his embrace. "Oh Ele" I heard him saying before he hid his face hugging his own children smell their baby perfume. "They are my children...mine only mine". I did not have any strength to reply him back after what he did to me. But seeing the broken man in front of my eyes my stupid heart went to him.


His tears had no bound and he was not ashamed of shading his tears in front of three females. He kissed each of them and then looked at me. "Oh Ele I missed you so much". He gave his hand to me and then tugged me too making me sit on the sand along with them. He held my chin and pecked my lips very lightly before brushing the tears from my cheeks with his thumb pad. "I am so sorry" he hugged me then and cried bitterly. "I did not know then what I had lost until you were no where near me. I tried to search you, but I did not know where are you from and what was your good name".


I hugged him back and told him "all we did was to..." I blushed in his arms remembering how busy we were that we did not have time to know each other.


"Make love to each other" he completed my sentence. I could make out he was smiling even though I wasn't looking at him. "Oh Ele I was stupid once but now I am not going to leave you. You and my daughters will be with me forever. But before that I have to apologize to you properly". He moved back to see my face and then cupped it.


"Ele please forgive me. I was a total idiot. If you want to hit me you may but don't leave me now. I have already missed a lot and I have so much to make up. Please give me another chance to show you that I am a changed man, that your love has changed me".


Emarld the who was more shy between the two came and hugged me while Sapphire went towards Rapheal and questioned him "Are you our father?"


I saw him look down unable to answer them. I knew he was waiting for my approval and could see that in his eyes.


I hugged back Emarald and told Sapphire that "yes he is your father".


Very suspiciously I saw Sapphire walk towards him then tiptoed and looped her lanky arms around his neck. I could sense his chest was about to burst out in happiness when his daughter hugged him. He held his daughter in his warmth and cradled her lovingly.


Sapphire called her younger sister "come Ema, he is a nice man and he is our father. Just like Mr Jack who is the father of Jinne and Jonny. But our father is taller then their father". Sapphire turned towards her father and asked "would you come with us to London after our summer vacation is over? Jonny teases us a lot and we want you to punish him. Now his father cannot to anything because you are taller and stronger than him".


Rapheal looked at me unable to understand what were they saying. "Jinee and Jonny read in same school as Ema and Saph. You know how boys tease girls. Nothing serious you know.


Rapheal looked at Saph lovingly and told her "from now onwards no one is going to harm my babies and if anybody harms them you dad is not going to leave them I promise".


"You are the best Dad in the whole world", I saw Sapphire kiss her father on his cheeks.


I looked at Ema then who was still sitting on my lap blushing thoroughly. "Won't you go and meet your dad Ema?" I asked her cuddling in my lap. But she turned her face and hid against me.


"She is a little shy so I think we need to give her a little time. Once she gets accustomed I am sure she will be the one to jump on you".


"And what about you Ele? Would you come to me?" he questioned me with a lot of hope.


"My world is here, where can I go?" stupid tears ...

Running along the soft grass covered earth, she took pleasure from the soothing coolness it provided to her bare feet. Her yellow dupatta sometimes flayed in the wind and at other moments brushed the ground that   intermittently glowed as if the sunlight streaming in through the tiny spaces amidst the leafy cloud,  had been taken in a fistful and then scattered.  Owing to the thick foliage of trees, the land remained in the pleasing shadows,   while the leaves and fruits took the gifts that the sunshine offered.

 Slowing down , she padded along until she reached her favourite mango tree. Why she had fondness for this particular one, there was no rhyme or reason for that. Maybe it was because of it being quite a distance away from her home, that was situated along on one side of the periphery of this mango grove. A good walk in to the grove, this tree had often provided her the respite from the world outside. To escape her mothers' scolding's, her school homework or just because the place had caught her fancy as a child, she used to always make a run for it.

 And then there was the added goodness of the yellow delight. More than that, raw mangoes were her favourite. While most of the tree's fruits were plucked and buried in heaps of grains for them to get ripened  by the heat, her father had known to just leave this one for her, she smiled recalling the memories of her climbing up on these trees and collecting the fruits to take them to her mother and pester her to make pickles.

 Year's passed, time changed. But not her routine of coming here every other day. Even when she was in a muddled state of mind about getting married while her parent's were sure of the alliance, it was here she had come off to. Not that she got her answers by reflecting here. The confusion, the natural apprehensions that came along with getting married  had ebbed away while she met Amar a few times after  her engagement. All it did was to settle down all her fraying thoughts about the expectations, the upcoming responsibilities, her own dreams to a peaceful calm. 

And right now too as her heart fluttered uncontrollably, she couldn't think of any other place to come to. Two months ago, when Amar had tied the knot with her, she knew she liked him. And was sure she'll experience her first stirrings of love with him only. Though, the chance to walk on that path came few and far in between, even in this short span of couple of months that had passed by. He used to work in another metropolitan city. And though he had tried hard, availing another home to bring her to it had taken more time than they had thought.

 So it was decided, that whatever more time it required, she would stay back in their hometown at his house. Amar had left just a few days after their wedding. While he always asked after her , whenever he called and  then talked to her too, there was always a palpable distance. But today it was different. When he had told , early in the morning today, that their new flats' formalities are done with and there are no more glitches remaining, she had witnessed a longing , an anticipation like never before.

"I am coming in two days to take you, Kriti." 

His words resounded again as they had been since he had uttered them. As if he was just besides her, whispering them in her ears. The image her thoughts created, halted her palm which was lightly grazing the bark of the tree and she brought it over to her chest to feel her heart beating in that rhythm again when he had actually said that. Smiling , she looked up at the small, green raw mangoes. Shaking her head, she took hold of both the ends of her dupatta and tied them around her waist.

 Within a couple of minutes, one could find Kriti perched up on one of the branches, busy plucking the mangoes with her dexterous nimble fingers and dropping them on the ground to collect  later after descending from the tree, the thoughts of her soon to return husband and the equally delightful recipe of mango pickle that she wanted to make for him , swirling in her mind.


His tanned arms moved and their muscles flexed as he  held the tensed string in place, occasionally jerking it while the morning air around was rife with the loud cheers of the kids who considered him no less than a hero for being able to fly the kite so expertly. Standing on the terrace of the house, the small gathering was dedicatedly focussed upon cutting short the journey of another kite, when the man who held the reins of the kite war in his hands was called up on by his mother in an enthusiastic voice. " Amar!". And no sooner had he turned his head, getting distracted that their own colourful kite s' string snapped and it glided down smoothly, never to be found again by them, amidst the disappointed cries. While Amar laughed and shrugged, his little follower's laughed along. 

Walking over to his mother who sat down at one of the cots placed on the terrace, his face lit up at the sight of the glass she held in her hands. " Will you consider sitting with your mother for some time? Neither have you done that since you returned nor have you taken rest. Just took a bath and came up here!". In return, he just placed a quick kiss on her cheek and took the glass from her. "I so miss this mango lassi there, Ma." She smiled and stroked his hair while he drank it. 

A few moments later Kriti came up carrying a utensil in her hands. Noticing her, her mother in law innocently said to Amar, " I know my dear child. Who  would be there to make this or to know all that you like otherwise. Only your mother." And she turned and smiled at her. 

Amusedly brushing away her words as the general  mother in law trait, Kriti smiled back at her. While  she moved to the other side of the big terrace, she  turned back to find Amar looking at her. Her steps turning shy and hesitant, she reached the other cot. Standing by its sides,  she properly took hold of the ladle that she had brought along , and turned the contents of the utensils a few times to thoroughly mix them. 

"What are you doing, Kriti?".  At her mother in laws' call, she turned her head towards her , still stirring. Enthusiastically she replied,"Hadn't I gone to Bauji s' mango grove a few days back? I had picked up raw mangoes then. These are now cut and salted. I have been keeping them in the sunlight everyday since then. Today I will make pickles." 

"Great! Then we all are waiting for it." , Ma said.  "But too bad Amar wouldn't have them. You should have prepared something for him too na." She complained. At Kriti s' confused expression , she laughingly explained," Arey Amar doesn't like pickles. You didn't know? Ofcourse. But then its alright. You both have hardly stayed together to know such likes or d.." , her sentence was left incomplete as  Amar cut in between, " Ma, can you please bring me another one of this?" He pointed to his emptied glass. " One doesn't seem to be enough for me." As her attention was diverted to her sons' request, she happily made her hasty exit to prepare more of his favourite lassi

With a fallen expression, Kriti turned back to the task at hand, all the while aware of Amar s' steady gaze on her as he lazily walked towards her with a slight knowing smile playing on his lips. She rose her head to gaze upto his shirt covered chest and gave a small smile , averting her eyes again, not meeting his own which now held a tender expression. Turning , she kept the bowl on the cot and covered it. Softly, she spoke, " You don't like it because of the spices? I'll keep it light. Will you taste it then?". On receiving no response from him, she turned to look at him, only to put a temporary halt on  her all other thought's. Sure, she had spent quite some time with him before marriage. But there was something about standing in this house now, as his wife especially when she wanted to tell him about the little bit of lassi that was smeared at the corner of his lips.

 Mentally chiding herself for this sudden bout of shyness that she was feeling, she tucked a few strands of her hair behind her ear. Looking back up at him, she found his gaze still resting on her, the wind having tousled his hair too. And involuntarily drawn to him, she rose her hand to his lips, lightly wiping away the remnants of the drink ,  from both the corners. The moment didn't last for long as a low pitched childish voice called out," Amar Uncle!" making her quickly move her hand back. His niece came running upto him, barely saving the liquid in the glass that she held from spilling out. Amar took the glass of lassi that his mother had sent from the energetic  child and looked back at Kriti who ruffled the girls' unruly curls and glancing back once at him, walked away.


She had just taken another fistful of small, cut mango pieces to cover them in the oily spice mixture when a pair of strong arms encircled her waist from behind and her  gasp of surprise got muffled as her breathing hitched when Amar buried his face in her hair, inhaling and then sighing, contented. 

After their marriage, Amar had been considerate to give her the time and space to adjust to his proximity. To the idea of intimacy of their relationship. Though they still hadn't taken things further, she was  comfortable with his sometimes affectionate, at other times teasing touches. Infact when he was away, she used to blush all the way thinking how much she craved for it.

But this was the first time when he had touched her so possessively and if the goosebumps that had erupted all over her arms, the light shiver that ran up her spine and her rapidly beating heart were anything to go by, then she liked it.

" I have missed you. Haven't been able to steal even a few  minutes alone with you since morning." He  spoke softly near her ears, the timber of his voice caressing her heart. She turned her head a little to look at him and smiled even as his own eyes remained closed. "Someone will come." she reminded. " Uh huh. Everyone is taking an afternoon nap. That's what every person in this family has been doing everyday at this time, ever since I have known." As she lightly chuckled, he opened his eyes to look at her hands. " They look good." He pointed towards the pickle. Feeling her heart drop again, she moved her gaze back to the bowls. " If I had known , I would have made something else. Do you like galka?" she turned her face to him again before he caught hold of her right hand, her finger's covered with spices. Bringing it near his lips, he  flicked his tongue over the tip of her forefinger even as she gulped, her gaze  fixated at what he did. And it wasn't long before he took  it in his mouth to lick away the spices. Her heart seemed to have stopped for a millisecond before it started its familiar rhythm again whenever Amar was  concerned. Moving his head back a little, he let out a satisfied light moan. Looking into her unblinking eyes, he bent his head again to drop a lingering kiss at side of her throat as she closed her eyes and  breathed deeply, feeling lightheaded. 

Turning her around, he waited for her to look up at him and when she did , he said, " I might have just started liking these mango pickles." With another smile of his , he turned to walk out of the kitchen in to the courtyard that was warm with the afternoon glow of the Sun not unlike her own heart where the warmth had snugly curled owing to her husband. Corner's of her lips lifted slightly, as she visibly beamed at the half done pickles and quickly got  back to cover the remaining of the mango pieces with the spices.

Dear diary,

Today I didn't miss you like I always do. Nah, I'm lying. I did miss you but a little less. Well that's because I met someone. I'll tell you what exactly happened.

Like the past ten days at camp, I woke up early and completed my daily chores. Last night my team had won a game so it was the other team's duty to cook breakfast. So I was lazing around in my tent reading '2 States' for the umpteenth time now. I was so damn engrossed in reading about Krish's hassle in Mylapore that I didn't even notice the upcoming disaster which had already started coming towards me.

I heard Nupur calling out my name frantically and so I kept the book aside. I looked up and was rooted to see that a stove had fallen near the entrance and my tent had lit up. I had no clue what to do and how to get out. I heard everyone shouting for me to get out as fast as possible. I looked left, right and then back at the growing fire; no there was no way of me getting out except me diving through the fire, like the action heroes in movies. The thought was quite intriguing but this was reality.

I saw the camp instructor using the fire extinguisher but that orange thingie was of no use; my tent was flaming. The shopkeeper had told me that this fabric was resistant to fire and now he was gonna get a nice firing when I returned back. But wait 'How will I return back if I don't get out?' The thought struck me and I went numb, until I heard a screeching noise from behind me.

I turned behind and saw a guy had cut through the tent and come inside. 'Why didn't I think of that?' I scanned him from his shoes to his face and the moment I saw his face I kept staring at him. He came forward and caught my hand while I was shamelessly looking at him. He shook me holding my shoulders and brought me back to my senses. 'My my! Mr. Hottie had come to the rescue!'

"Let's go!" he said and turned to leave. But I jerked his hands off. He looked at me baffled at my reaction. I gathered up my belongings and started to stuff in my bag-pack. "Have you totally lost your mind?" He screamed at me. I know he was right, but dude just chill out. "Listen let me pack it. I still have to spend fifteen more days here. And if I don't have my clothes it'll be impossible. So please." I warned him. "You are complete nuts!" "Hey that's my nickname obviously spelt N-A-T-S and not with U" I said keeping my books inside. "What was I thinking when I decided to come in!" he said slapping his hand on his forehead. "Trying to be a hero I guess" I snapped rolling my tongue inside my mouth. "I'm sorry that I thought of helping you. This is the biggest blunder I have ever done!" 'Boy! He was angry now.' "Okay listen I'm sorry. But don't you agree that I need these things?" I asked him pointing at by bag-pack. "Can we chit-chat after getting out?" He said blankly to me and I bit my tongue.

We both turned to leave when we saw that the fire had reached the torn end too. The oxygen which came in when he tore the tent led the fire to grow even more. "Because of your..." He was about to snap at me but stopped seeing my condition. I was standing there like a statue. He came near me and encircled me by my waist and caught my hand in his other hand. I held his hand tightly probably digging my nails in his flesh.

"I'm right by your side. Don't panic. We'll get out." He said assuring me. "I don't wanna die" I said digging my nails further. "I promise you won't." He said looking straight in my eyes. I don't know how but he did give me courage. We saw a tiny space between the flames and decided to go out from there. He wrapped us both with a blanket and we moved towards the exit. I was shivering hysterically so he just stopped and picked me up in his arms and walked out like a hero.

"See I told you, you won't die" he said placing me down once we were out. Nupur came to me and hugged me tightly. "Hey umm.." I called him and wondered what was Mr. Hottie's name. "Raj" he extended his hand to me. "Natasha. Thanks a lot for coming in and helping. I don't think I would be alive if it wasn't for you." I thanked him genuinely. He smiled and left. After walking a few steps he stopped and turned around "Wanna join for breakfast?" He asked. Nupur gave me a slight push asking me to go. "Yeah sure" I went ahead.

We had our breakfast, lunch and also dinner together. He was by my side the whole day helping me get out of the little trauma I had faced. Out of the guilt of behaving a bit rudely with him when he himself had come to help me, I must have apologized and also thanked him over a hundred times, I mean it. All he said was, "If you consider me as something, anything it can be, a friend or a foe, you won't thank or apologize to me."

I am awestruck by his persona. He doesn't need to put up an act to be polite. From day one of camp I'm probably watching him, he has been kind throughout and this selfless help he did today has kindled some feelings in me for him which are more than friendship for sure.

I had read once, 'For love to happen only one moment is enough!' and I feel this was my moment. I have fallen for Mr. Hottie, but have no clue about his feelings. Hoping to find them soon. I still have half a month and besides he stays just five blocks away!

Dreaming about Mr. Hottie,


"See that guy with the white shirt there facing his back to you? I dare you to go and say I Love You to him'", Zara grinned, earning a glare from Shreya. After much whining, Shreya walked towards the guy with the white shirt, well, admiring him from behind. A hot sunny day, a chocolate ice-cream melting in her hands, an adorable white shirt guy standing some yards away and a dare to complete. Seemed like she was going to have an adventure! As she walked closer to the guy, she groaned because she recognized him as her first-huge-crush'. She looked back at her friends laughing their asses off. After shooting a death glare at them for giving her a stupid dare, she gulped down her nervousness and made her way towards the white shirt guy, which now had a name - Rohan.

Muttering a "Jai Mata Di" to herself, she tapped on his shoulder and he turned diverting his attention from his sister to her, holding a chocolate ice-cream in his hand. "Hey?" He gave her a warm pleasant smile, one of the many reasons why she loved him...eh...liked him. "Rohan, I Love You!" She closed her eyes and spat those words out. She tried saying those words coldly, so that he would get the hint of a dare but the words came out right from the heart. "I Love you, too" And suddenly everything felt like a dream. She opened her eyes only to find a smiling and well...blushing Rohan in front of her. She could feel the blood of her body gush to her cheeks making them appear a bright shade of crimson. And she had to admit, that he looked way too adorable for words when he blushed. Not all guys look adorable blushing, do they?

But getting back to the Earth, she touched his cheek if he was really was standing in front of her. And oh yes, she did poke his dimple on the left cheek. "Ouch! That hurt", He said sarcastically.

"Uh, nothing. It was a dare, so I hope no offence done?" She stuttered while he smirked.

"That was a dare, but it expressed your feelings for me. Didn't it?" He smirked as he came closer.

The people passing by had no time to witness the conversation between them, because they had chances to burn under the Sun and melt right there.

She looked at his black jet hair with a small shade of brown glistening under the Sun, and his brown hazel eyeballs gazing intently at her. She didn't know the reason of her pink cheeks - Too much of blood flowing because of the Sun or R-O-H-A-N.

"Uh..." She stammered and felt the ice-cream cone fall down from her hands to the dusted pavement.

"Okay, so keeping up the tradition. Being a guy, I'll confess first. And being a girl, you accept it. Clich, right?" He winked.

"Shreya, I love you. I have been loving you since the 9th standard but I was too shy to let it out. Every year I gather up some guts and now I think I have enough of them to confess. Yeah, it's not the perfect confession a girl needs with roses around and a cool breeze flowing, but still Shreya. I only have a chocolate ice-cream and hot air to give you. And..oh. I can tell you that will be the worst confession ever. Keyword- EVER! And..." He whispered and spoke in a rather alarming way.

"And I love you, Mr. Sood" Shreya screeched making all the people smile at the young couple.

While Rohan's 8 year old sister and Shreya's friends remained silent spectators

"You won't forget me after you have got your girl friend, will you Bhai?" His sister asked him, just ruining their we-are-a-couple-now' romance.

Edited by Angel-Jot. - 6 years ago
26 Likes this
Posted: 6 years ago

Tossing in your bed trying to go back to sleep in hot summer morning is the toughest thing to do. Sighing I stretched my arms feeling the empty bed around me. I frowned when I didn't find him while I kicked the sheets off from my legs. Ugh I can't bear this heat and where is he now? Groaning I got out off my bed and walked up to my balcony. I rubbed my eyes yawning when I spotted the most beautiful and perfectly carved creature in the entire universe. All my sleepiness and foul mood jump out of the window when my eyes fell on his shirtless toned back. The droplets of sweat was trickling down his back disappearing in the waistband of his sweat pants that hung low on his waist. He moved his muscular arms to move his hands in his wet hairs. I bet my mouth is open while I drool over him and by now my saliva must be falling on the ground. He bends down a little moving his hand lovingly on his baby, my Sautan. I huffed at the sight of his baby and stomping my feet I rushed out of the bedroom to the driveway.

I walked out of the house fuming by now and when I got close enough to his shirtless body all the angry chain of thoughts were broken again. I inhaled deeply controlling my hormones which were screaming for me to jump on him right here right now. My eyes roamed from his wet hairs to his back to his... well I couldn't control so I ended up picking the sponge that was soapy and rubbed it on his back. Expecting a jerk due to the sudden touch I just earned a shiver smirking at the effect I rubbed further on his back. I let the sponge fall and moved my soapy hands on his back enjoying the feel of his skin under my palms. I went up a little closer to him and getting on my tip toes I blew small air on his ear. Within a second I was pinned to his baby making me squeal at the sudden movement. He smirked at me and I raise my eyebrow "what? I wasn't allowed to touch your baby and now I am pinned on it. For what?" he shook his head letting the drops of water from his hair fall on my face. "Well you are being punished for teasing a man at work." "A man at work? Washing his beloved car no I mean baby leaving his love of life all alone in the hot scorching morning" I said while pouting. He took my lips in his as a reply and started teasing my lips by biting and sucking on it. I moaned at his teasing forgetting every complaint I had. I gasped when he pressed his excited buddy on my stomach earning a chuckle from him. Taking the opportunity his tongue entered my mouth as he owns it and started exploring like he was doing it for the first time. I did the same and we ended up in a very passionate hot kiss. He broke the kiss to let me breath while he showered me with hot open mouth kisses on my neck, shoulders and then behind my ears.

He took a step back giving me his evil smirk which only means naughtiness and only naughtiness. I was about to run back in the house but before I could move I felt something wet on my inner thigh. I looked down to see the same sponge I left was now in his hands and now he was soaping my inner thighs one by one. I let him touch me while I put my head back on his beloved car's metal enjoying the feel. I felt him pulling my shirt a little where he started kissing me bending down still moving the sponge on my thighs. I moaned in pleasure which only encouraged him and he squeezes my thighs. I started feeling weak so I clutched his shoulders as if he understood me he lifted me from my thighs and placed me on his bonnet. I did a mental dance when he ignored his baby and was now giving me his undivided attention. He moved his sponge up to my arms then back to my thighs. He got on top me pressing me between him and the bonnet while taking my mouth in his again. His kiss this time was more demanding and passionate making me feel hot. And trust me this hotness was better than the sun's heat. I couldn't take it anymore I wanted more and more but he was busy teasing me. Well I have to do something myself thinking that I slid down from the bonnet bringing him with me.

I giggled at his shocked and confused expression when we almost landed on the floor. I pushed him slightly and walked away from him swaying my hips a little extra making him groan in frustration. I bended down popping my hips towards him making sure he isn't expecting anything and is distracted by seducing move. I picked the water hose up and faced it towards him drowning him with water and laughing at his stunned face. "You shouldn't have done this my love" saying that he lunged at me and I squeaked at his sudden attack. He snatched away the hose from my hands and it was my turn to be soaked. I huffed at him and before I can react he had held me in his arms tightly not painfully though licking the water from my shoulders and neck. I was again lost by his touch I moaned while hugging him back by his waist. The sudden whistle sound brought us back to reality. I hid my face in his bare chest while he hugged me possessively and lifted me up in a flash making me squeak again. He almost ran in the house and then to our bedroom and then bathroom.

He panted heavily after placing me back on the bathroom tiles and I laughed at him standing there shivering in cold. He looked at me up and down and I shivered again out of excitement. The love, passion, need and want all emotions were evident in his dark orbs. I licked my lips in anticipation and soon I was pinned on the bathroom wall and was being kissed with urgency. I also started kissing his chest licking the drops of water from it. He paused letting me kiss him too. After a few seconds I jumped gasping at the sudden ripping sound. I stepped away from him to see my shirt's ripped pieces were in his hands. I glared at him and he just smirked at me pulling me in his arms and taking my lips in a gentle slow and sensuous kiss. Small kiss turned into passionate one and then we got lost in each other. We were then indulged in lots of dirty things pleasuring and loving each other.

I smiled at the thought of our 1st wild and exciting summer romance as husband and wife. I was gazing out from the balcony seeing the similar hot day of summer when I felt hot breath on my neck followed by two arms around my stomach and rough lips on my neck. "No jumping at the sudden touch?" he asked somewhat similar question that I had in mind that day in his husky tone. I shook my head and said "like you I can feel you around me too." I said turning around, tip toeing and giving him a quick peck. He held me in place by keeping his one hand wrapped around my waist and other on the back of my head. He gave me a long passionate kiss just like that day bringing more memories in my mind. I turned around when he broke the kiss looking at my sautan I said "your baby has got old just like us." He clicked his tongue and said "I have only one baby and that is you. And she is as hot as before" saying that he cupped my breast in his huge hand and gave it a quick squeeze making me gasp. I slapped his hand away earning a chuckle from him. "You will never change. See your age and you are still acting like 21. Grow up." I said and walked out of the bedroom leaving him surprised as always.

Suddenly I was being pulled out my own house I looked at the person dragging me and it was none other than my husband. I gave him a questioning look which he ignored it and brought me to his old car aka baby. He picked the sponge and started walking towards me. NO FUDGING WAY! I turned around and was about to run back inside but he held me from behind and then placed the sponge on my front neck and then squeezed the sponge letting the soapy water fall on my clothes wetting them in the process. I shivered at the touch of cold water on the hot day. He started giving me wet kisses while rubbing the sponge on my exposed body like neck and arms. I moaned at his sensuous touch while he pressed his exciting buddy behind me making me hot and needy. I turned around blushing earning a smirk from him. I was about to wrap my arms around his neck when I stopped at the sound of whistle. He groaned muttering something along the lines of not again'. I giggle as he turned me quickly so my back was facing pushing me inside the house while walking behind me hiding his exciting buddy. We rushed inside the house while I was rofling clutching my sides and he was glaring at me.

We went in our bedroom and he closed the door turning around giving me devilish look. I gulped audibly knowing what to come I tried locking myself in the bathroom but he ended up trapping me in with him all alone. "Time to show you that I am no less than 21 year old" winking at me he gripped my wrist pulling me into his chest. He circled his arms around my waist while I did the same around his neck. He kissed me passionately while I did the same moving my fingers in his hairs. He bit me lips earning a moan and an opportunity to enter his tongue again in my mouth. After our long passionate kiss we took our love making to our bed. We spend hours in bed reliving our beautiful hot memories of hot summer days of youth.

||~The End~||

Why in God's name did people get married in the summer, Krishika winced as the hot air blistered her soft white skin! She made her way out of the huge shamiana (wedding tent) and picked up her lehenga and crossed the garden towards the sprawling bungalow.

She would not have attended the May wedding if it had not been the marriage of her dear friend Anshu. From the first day of college she and Anshu had become the best of friends and today was her mehendi. The groom, Rohit, was settled in Australia and was the only son of a family friend. He was a nice looking boy and a true gentleman. But not the type I would marry, she grimaced.

She grinned to herself. And what is your type Ms. Krishika Sahai, she asked herself! Someone who would sweep me off my feet, someone I would fall crazily in love with, someone who would love me with equal passion, she thought dreamily, glancing at the mehendi on her hand.

The house was empty as all the women were out in the shamiana applying mehendi. Only the caterers were busy preparing lunch in the kitchen. She climbed up the stairs to Sunita aunty, Anshu's mother's room, her heels clicking on the marble staircase.

She opened Sunita aunty's drawer with the key she had given her and took out the rare red diamond set gingerly. It was the family heirloom which aunty wanted to show to her relatives and friends.

It was so hot! She decided to splash some cold water on her face. She put the jewellery box on the bed and walked up to the bathroom door and pushed it open. She stopped dead in her tracks!

A tall lean man had emerged naked from the shower and was in the process of tying a white bath towel around his waist !

For a second, Krishika stood gaping at the man, her throat dry! He had strong broad shoulders  and she could see the muscles rippling on his back as he shook the droplets off his hair!

Suddenly she found her voice.

"Thief! Thief! Help!" she shrieked.

The man turned, his handsome face bearing the look of great astonishment! He strode across to her and was about to say something when she screamed again. The man immediately clamped his big palm on her mouth and encircled her dainty waist drawing her flush against him! She struggled to get free but he was too powerful!

"Are you stupid or what, girl?" he growled, his brown eyes flashing, "Why would a thief take bath in a house instead of looting it?

Krishika gulped! He was right. But who was he? As if he had heard her silent question he growled,

"I am Aaryan, Anshu's brother, just arrived from the United States. Will this do? Or shall I give you more information to convince you I am not a thief ?!" his eyes held a tinge of amusement.

Anshu's elder brother! She had seen his picture. He had long hair and a beard. But this man in front of her had a slight stubble on a strong jaw. His nose was long and sharp and his wavy hair was cropped short. His eyes were glittering and his lips were curled in amusement. Her heart skipped a beat as she gazed at him.

"Do you like what you see?" he smirked at her, and removed his hand from her mouth but did not slacken his hold on her waist.

She became aware of his hard muscles pressing into her body and a tremor ran down her spine. She pushed him away, her face red, "Wha...What do you mean?"

"I mean do you find me attractive? Most females do, you know." He was now smiling charmingly at her, enjoying her embarrassment.

Her heart leaped in her throat. "No, no...," she croaked, "I don't do what most females do!"

"Yes I can see that," he said thoughtfully, "You are different."

Was that a compliment, she thought, blinking hard. Why did she hope it was!

"And what might be your name, beautiful?"

Now that was a compliment! She couldn't help blushing under his direct gaze.

"K...K...Krish..." she stammered and lost her voice midway.

He raised an eyebrow, his eyes danced, he bowed his head and said in a husky drawl, "Kiss?"

Krishika's heart skipped a beat and raced madly at his flirtatious look! OMG! What's happening to me?

"And now will you leave or do you want me to dress in your presence?!" he smirked at her.

"No thanks! I have seen enough of you!" she retorted and stamping her foot walked out of the washroom.

His throaty laughter followed her.


"What took you so long Krishika? Did you have any problem in finding the jewellery box, dear girl?" Sunita Rathore smiled at Krishika.

"No, no problem aunty. Here it is." She said handing the box to her.

"Awww! Its beautiful," one of the women  pounced on the box and opened it in a jiffy.

"Hey sweet girl," the woman beckoned her. " Please wear the necklace and show us. No point asking Anshu. She is already wearing too much jewellery." And before she could protest Krishika found herself donning the family heirloom.

"Hayye! Its gorgeous" the women cooed. "Will you give this to Anshu?"

"No, Aaryan and Anshu's father made a duplicate one for Anshu before he died," Sunita Rathore sighed. " I will give her that one.The one Krishika is wearing, is the original one, to be passed down from generation to generation. So I have kept it for Aaryan's wife."

That was funny! She was wearing the heirloom meant for his wife!

Sunita aunty was carrying on about her beloved son.

"He has arrived from the U.S, at last. I hope he comes back home permanently now that the branch of Rathore company he set up in the U.S. is doing roaring business. High time he got married! "

"There he is!" one of the women remarked seeing Aryan approaching them. "You will live a hundred years, son!We were just talking about your marriage. These ornaments are for your wife."

Krishika cursed herself for lifting her eyelashes, for he was looking straight at her.

 "Beautiful..." he whispered softly. Krishika's face turned crimson and she looked away.

Thankfully for her, Anshu called out to him, "Bhaiya, come and see my mehendi !" and he moved away.

Krishika quickly took off the ornaments and fled to the kitchen on the pretext of asking the caterers to lay out the lunch.

She was in the kitchen talking to the caterers when Aryan entered and made a beeline for the refrigerator, opening it wide and scratching his head.

He must be hungry after the long flight she thought and blurted out, "Do you want to eat something? They are just laying the lunch. But I can prepare something for you if you want."

He turned slowly and drawled, "It's nice to know you are so worried about me!"

Before she could open her mouth to protest, he said in a sugary voice, "You have already given me a grand reception. I don't want to trouble you anymore."

She knew he was laughing at silently at her and exasperated with his irritating behavior she walked out of the kitchen and made her way into the dining hall to switch on the air conditioners.

A few minutes later one of the catering boys brought her a glass of nimbu pani (lemonade).

"Oh thank you just what I needed to keep me hydrated," she said gleefully.

"Aaryan sir is great! The kitchen had become a furnace and we were sweating  profusely, so he made this drink for all of us! Imagine!" The boy grinned and rushed back to the kitchen.

"That's really nice of him," she said aloud, sipping the drink.

He spoke up behind her, his eyes glinting in amusement, "Are you complimenting me? "

She swivelled around. "No. Why should I?" she said defensively.

He shrugged his shoulders, made a grumpy face like the heroes of old black and white  movies and walked away.

What superb acting, she gritted her teeth!

She remembered then that she should have thanked him for the lemonade but he just seemed to rub her the wrong way!


The sangeet cermony  was in full swing and she had just finished her second dance number when she saw him again.

He had just walked in, looking deadly in a light grey suit.  He caught her looking at him and raised his eyebrows. She promptly made a face at him and turned away, closing her eyes to shut him away.

"Are you trying to picture me without clothes again?" his voice sounded behind her.

She turned about immediately. "How dare you!" she opened her eyes, flashing daggers at him

He immediately lifted both his hands in mock surrender, and teasing her said, "Has anyone told you how beautiful you look when angry?" He asked her in all seriousness.

 Before Krishika could retort Anshu's voice sounded above the din, "Bhaiya! Where did you meet my dear friend, Krishika?"

"I met her in the washroom, Anshu!" He said, looking at Krishika admiringly. She had let her hair loose and was looking lovely in a simple mauve coloured saree with gold trimmings.

Anshu, lifted her gorgeous pink and gold lehenga,  and doubled with laughter.

"Really bhaiya you are too much! It is not that hot that you have to meet people in washrooms!"

Krishika tried not to blush and excused herself for her next dance item, dragging Anshu in tow.



The next morning Krishika was hurrying towards the tent with a silver utensil full of haldi for the haldi ceremony when she bumped into a beautiful female.

"Oh my God, you spoilt Sunita aunty's saree!" the woman wailed looking down at her stained  white saree.

 "I am sorry, I didn't mean too..." Krishika apologized.

Hearing the commotion, Sunita aunty came running.

"It's alright Ronita, it was just an accident. I will give you another saree. You go to my room, I am coming!" she pacified the girl.

"Aunty I am sorry...," Krishika began, wringing her hands nervously.

Sunita patted Krishika's back and whispered confidentially, "Actually you throwing haldi at Ronita is a good sign! Maybe this time Aaryan will agree to marry her! She is his very good friend and business associate after all!"

What! Krishika almost died of shock! Her heart sank... into oblivion... He was marrying this girl...

She deliberately avoided him and his girlfriend during the haldi ceremony. She spent the rest of the day with Anshu in the beauty parlour, helping her to dress up for the wedding.

"Is something wrong Krishika? You have been looking quite down all day." Anshu asked her while returning home from the salon.

"No, nothing," Krishika lied. Then smiling said, "Maybe the thought of losing a friend is taking its toll on me...I will miss you in college!"

Anshu giggled.  "Not as much as Princy! Wait till he finds out I got married during the summer vacations," she said referring to their draconian Principal. The two girls high-fived  and guffawed.

As soon as she stepped out of the car, she saw him standing at the gate, looking so striking in an embroidered prussian blue kurta-pyjama. Her heart lurched. Damn him!

While he helped his sister out of the car, she ran inside the house to avoid him.

But he caught up with her as she was climbing the stairs to her room.

"Why are you avoiding me? What have I done?" he held her by the elbow and jerked her towards him, his furious eyes, boring down into hers.

"Leave me alone!" she hissed at him, pushing him away.

She saw Sunita aunty gesturing at her from the corner of her eye and was relieved to get away from him.

Sunita drew her aside and requested,  "Krishika will you please check if the flower decorators have done up Anshu and Rohit's room properly?"

"Yes Aunty," Krishika murmured listlessly.


The room was lit with hundreds of scented candles. The intoxicating smell of roses and rajanigandhas filled the room. The flowers formed a beautiful  mesh around the huge bed with its silken white sheets. The newly weds would spend their first wedding night here. Their suhaag raat

Soon there will be another marriage in this house, she thought. His! A lump formed in her throat. Her head  throbbed. She wanted to go far far away from this place!

"I think we need to talk," a familiar husky voice stated from the doorway.  Krishika touched her palm to her temple. She felt giddy.

She would have crashed to the floor if a strong pair of arms hadn't broken her fall.

He lifted her up in his arms easilyand placed her on the red rose petals on the white sheets.

 "Aaryan, we must go. The wedding must have started," she whispered shakily.

 He ignored her appeal and demanded to know, "Krishika...what's wrong with you? Shall I call the doctor?"

She saw him bending over her , the flickering candles highlighting the concern in his dark eyes.

And suddenly she could not hold back the tears anymore. They fell  shamelessly down her cheeks.

Aaryan turned ashen.

"My love...what is it, please tell me?" he pleaded in a distressed tone, stroking  her hair.

Did he just call her "my love"!  She gathered courage. "R..Ronita?" she questioned him between silent sobs.

"Ronita?!" he sounded amazed. "What about her? I can't understand...," he said confused.

And then suddenly as realization dawned upon him, he said in a soft voice, " Ronita is a good friend and nothing more. You know my mother. She is always trying to fix a match for me!"

Then he asked her gently, a little hopefully, his gaze penetrating her very being.

" Were you jealous of Ronita, Kiss?"

"No, why should I be?" she retorted sullenly, wiping her tears, lifting her chin.

"Yes you shouldn't. Because in two days flat I have fallen madly in love with a girl who barged into my bathroom ..."

Krishika looked at him incredulously! He loved her! Did he mean that!

Aaryan cupped her face and said in wry humour, "Kiss, I know this is madness. But Darling, you can't have a name like that and not be kissed, you know."

She giggled, her stomach knotted in anticipation of her first kiss.

"Its getting hot in here, Aaryan," she whispered.

"Maybe we should take a cold shower!"Aaryan winked at her as his lips swooped down to claim hers in a passionate kiss, sealing their love for all times to come.

-------------The End---------------


Everything about today is perfect,just like how I had dreamed my wedding day to be.The sun is warming up the air while drying the morning dew,a few fluffy white clouds in the sky and the sounds of the birds singing in the pines provided a perfect setting for my wedding.But,why does it feel something important is missing?

Why are my insides uneasy?Why do I feel like something is not right?Getting married to John was all I had wanted.All I had dreamt about.But,today when my dream was about to become a reality why am I not feeling good?John was my high school crush.From the day I saw him I was totally smitten by him.I was a fresher while John was in his final year of college.And,with him turning out to be my boss I was totally elated.He is rich,sophisticated and well polished.He likes thinks to be in perfect order,and after a few months of working with him,I figured out he dint like me loud,bubbly,carefree nature.He likes me to behave like a sophisticated girl.So,I changed.I turned myself into this sweet polished girl whom he would appreciate.One final day,he proposed me and I agreed.Wasnt this what I always wanted?

'Its time for your makeup',my sisters voice chimned in.

Sighing,I settled myself on the chair in front of the dressing table,letting my sister work on my face.

'Alisha you sure you want to get married to john?',my sister queried.

Was I sure?Ofcourse I had to be.Dint I?Today is my wedding day,and I had to be a fool to not be sure of the person whom I was getting married to.'Why do you ask?'

She just shrugged in response.'I always though you would end up with your best friend Eli'.

Eli.My lips twitched.He was the same age as me.He was 24.He had a towering height and personality.With his chiseled jaw and striking features he would make everyone s head turn in his direction.I always use to roll my eyes with the way girls used to get attracted to him like a magnet.But,I couldn't really blame him.With his killer looks and being stinky rich with humble attitude he was the most eligible bachelor in town.We hung out together all the time,he was my best friend.I dint have to pretend with him.I could just be me.My family adored him,and we are inseperable.
He was my partner in crime,my best friend.Even without us telling we understood eachorther perfectly.

My sisters deliberate coughing bought me back to reality.'He s my best friend'


I rolled my eyes heavenwards.'For the last time sis me and Eli don't love eachorther.I love john and Eli too loves someone else'

'Yeah right.I know for sure Eli loves you'

Huffing in annoyance,I snapped'what makes you think that?'

She gave me a smile which dint reach her eyes.'I can tell when I see love.When I glance into Eli s eyes I can see nothing but unconditional love for you'

My heart skipped a beat.'Thats ridiculous.I know he doesn't love me.He would have told me if he did.And,I don't love him'

She snorted,adding to my already rising temper.Why does she have to come up with such concepts.

'If you don't love him why did you throw a drink at Tanya s face last month when she was trying to get close to Eli'

Why did I do that?I don't know.I am usually this calm person,but that day I don't know what got into me.I just dint like Tanya literally throwing herself at Eli and trying to snatch him away from me.'We'll he was clearly uncomfartable with Tanya clinging to him,so I just helped my best friend',I defended myself.

'Will you please stop lying.Infact,you never use to let any girl get close to Eli.And,why can't you just admit the fact that you were jealous'.

'I was not jealous!'

'Yes you were jealous Alisha'

Ugh!What is my sisters problem?Why can't she give it a rest?I decided I would not get distracted,and try to concentrate on becoming happy.Why am I not happy?

My sister proceeded to my hair,after finishing with my makeup.'its not too late to change your mind',she hinted.

Sighing,I complained'Not again!'

'Look Alisha.Your my small baby sister.I want you to be happy.Are you really happy with john.Do you feel complete with him?'

Honestly,I felt nervous whenever I was around john.I am just too scared and conscious of my behaviour around him.I don't want to do anything that would offend him.So,I kept my mouth shut and spoke only when asked a question.I was a different person when I was around him.'What kind of a question is that?'

'Why don't you get it?You and john are not meant to be.I can never find the twinkle in your eyes when your around John'

'O stop it sis.This is real life.we both are grown up individuals.We don't need to laugh and pass loving glances to eachorther just to show that we are in love'

She shook her head in disapproval.'I just want you to realise your true feelings.I just hope it won't be too late',she added,handing me my wedding gown.

My heart started to hammer loudly against my chest.Why am I feeling so restless.I need him.I need Eli around me to calm my nerves.Grabbing my cel,I was about to dial his number when my sister interrupted.

'Whom are you calling?'


Her lips twitched.'why?'

'I ll be more calm when he s around me'

'Tel me one thing.Do you feel butterflies in your stomach when john is near you,do you feel like the happiest girl in earth when he compliments you?',inquired my sister.

'Not again sis'

She sighed in defeat,walking towards the door.'i ll send Eli if I find him down'

I nodded,quickly changing into my wedding gown.My eyes fell on my engagement ring.My mind replayed the scene when I broke the news of my engagement to Eli.It was two days ago.

I was in my room when he barged in.

'I need to tell you something',he sounded excited and nervous at the same time.

'I have to tell you something as well'

'No Alisha.Let me tell you first.I always wanted to tell you this...but I dint have the courage in me.I was afraid of your answer'

'What is Eli?'

'I-actually-you-I',he stammered.

'You know what forget it.Listen to me first.I am getting married to John',I blurted.

He froze.

This was not the reaction I was expecting.Placing my hands on his shoulders,I shook him.'Eli tel me isint it the best news ever?'



'I thought you use to blabber about john only to irritate me.You really love john?'

'Yeah obviously!'

'Oh.Um,okay.Congragulations.ListenAlisha,I really have to go'

'No wait.you were about to tell me something right?'

'Yeah I was about to tel you that I too love some girl'

My heart clenched for some unknown reason.'really,who is it?'

'You don't really know her.She is someone from work.'

That's wierd.'so your gonna tell that girl your feelings?'

'No.I found out she loved someone else'

'You know what,she is definetly an idiot to not love you'

He just mumbled an apology and left from my place mumbling an excuse about some urgent work.

The click oft he door bought me out of my musing.Finally Eli had come.Turning around I glance at him,my smile fading midway.


'Were you expecting someone else?',he purred.

'Um,no.What are you doing here?',I inquired,trying to sound cheerful.

He paced towards me.'you look beautiful!'

Now he complimented me,why am I not feeling elated?'Thanks'

He was just a few inches away from me,I could feel his hooded gaze rest on my lips.An uneasy feeling burned through my body.I felt his thumb trail my lower lip causing my whole body to tense.My first instinct was to crate a huge distance between us.He tilted his head bending down to claim my lips.My eyes widened,registering his actions.He is going to kiss me.His eyes were closed,his lips parted.No!I can't kiss him.It just doesn't feel right.I turned my face to my left.'i can't!'

His eyes drifted open,blinking a few times.'oh.um,I totally understand.Your ancient in your way of thinking.You want to kiss only your husband'

No.its not like that.I dont kiss him,not because I had some old ancient notion.I just couldn't bring myself to kiss him.It felt wrong.But,what's wrong with me?He is going to be my husband,why am I still confused.Isint this what I always wanted?'I ...actually..',

'Dont worry abt it Hun.i ll be waiting for you downstairs',he added before leaving the room.

Why did I stop him from kissing me?Why don't I feel those butterflies in my stomach?Where had those treacherous butterflies disappeared?Those butterflies which were fluttering in my stomach when Eli and I were about to kiss.Our Almost kiss.My mind replayed that incident.I felt like the memory was right here with me,living and breathing and taking my air.

It was a month ago,when things were normal.john hadn't proposed and it was the party where I had thrown a drink at Tanya s face.

'Will you please stop laughing?',I asked getting irritated with every passing second.

'You should have seen Tanya s face Alisha when you threw a drink at her face',he said in between his fits of laughter.

'Whats wrong with that Tanya?She couldn't keep her hAnds off you'

He bit his lips,making an effort to stiffly his laughter.'let's forget about the whole incident.Lets dance'

'Dance?',I asked.

He shook his head,leading me to the dance floor.

They was soft music being played in the background.He pulled me closer,our bodies swaying to the music.I don't know why but I had this insane urge to caress his face.The light had dimmed.We were so close to eachorther that I could feel the heat and strength of him.I was feeling something else.Something new,tingly and something nice.I let my fingers feel his slightly stubble jaw,my fingers grazing into his skin.

'You are so handsome',the words left my lips without my knowledge.

He leaned into my touch,closing his eyes as if relishing my touch.When his eyes drifted open I gasped looking at his searing gaze.

I could feel something change in the air between us.He trailed the back of his hand along my cheek.His thumb drew along my cheek stroking my lower lip.My lower body clenched in a delicious way and my butterflies were fluttering in anticipation.I was stupid enough to pucker my lips and wait.I felt his minty breath against my cheeks.I wanted nothing but to taste those manly lips.

The shrill sound of his phone broke our trance.My eyes flew open.I saw him blinking his eyes,running a shaky hand through his hair.what was I thinking?What is wrong with me?Why did I want Eli to kiss me?

He excused himself,attending the call.We later acted as if that almost kiss had not taken place.


His voice bought me back to the present.Eli stood in front of me.

'Where were you?I was feeling so restless why dint you come before?'

His lips curved into a smile which dint reach his eyes.'you need to learn to live without me.I won't always be there with you'

A huge lump had formed in my throat,my heart constricting at his words.'I can never live without you.we have always been together since childhood'

He winced,a flash of pain shot through his face,but he was quick to mask it.'I am leaving to New York.I just came to tel you bye'


'I need to go'

'no!you can't go',I argued.

He cupped my cheeks.'Lets not discuss me.Today is your big day.Are you happy?'

Am I happy?NO!I am not at all happy.

'Tsk.How silly of me.Ofcouse you would be happy after all you love John'

My mind was numb.

'Never change.And always stay happy.Your happiness means the world to me.And,never forget I will always be there for you',he said.

I could feel tears pooling in my eyes.The rest of the ceremony went in a blur.My father placed my hand in john s hand and the minister started chanting.

All the memories of Eli and me came rushing to my mind.The time we laughed,the time we cried.Every single memory.Hid words kept replaying in my mind.I should be happy on my wedding day.But,I am not.

Now I know why I am not happy.I don't love john.He was only my infatuation.I had groomed myself so much to his liking that I had lost my real self when I was around him.And,I was never really happy or truly content when I was around john.

The minister cleared his throat,it was my turn to say the binding words.

My eyes were searching for Eli.He smied but even his smile looked pAined.He started to retreat away.With his every step I felt a part of me was slipping away.But,gazing into his eyes I came to know one thing.How could I have been do stupid to not see it earlier.He loves me!

Now everything became clear.Now I know inspite of everything being perfect why it felt imperfect.

'I don't!',I said loud and clearly.

Ignoring the various gasp and murmurs of the guest,I proceeded towards the place where Eli was going.

John caught my wrist'What are you saying?'

Yanking the ring out of my finger,I handed to him.'i don't love you'

'But I love you',he stated

'No you don't.if u loved me u never would have tried to change me.even if we get married I can never be happy with you.Sooner it later I v ll get suffocated.I just have to go.Please understand'


I ignored him,running towards the direction where Eli left.i felt a rush of adreline spike through my body.My eyes could register the misty eyes and happy faces of my family.'ho get him',yelled my sister.

I nodded,getting rid of my heels and rushing towards Eli.

I could spot his back.'eli',I screamed.

He stilled for a second but managed to turn behind.i ran towards him,enveloping my arms around him.

'What are you doing here?'

Stepping back,I whispered'I love you'

His eyes grew wild,a hint of small smile kissing his lips.his smile grew wider,his eyes becoming misty with every passing second.

'Stupid!idiot!fool!why dint you stop me earlier.wait a minute do u love me?',I mumbled

He cupped my cheeks,smashing his manly lips with mine.He kissed me with so much passion I thought I was going to explode.I responded to him with equal fervour.

Breaking the kiss,with our forhead still touching he said'I love u .i have always loved you.It hasonly been you.I dint stop you because I thought u loved john.i can never come between you and ur happiness.I hve always loved you Alisha'

He wrapped his arms around me,taking me into a his warm embrace.And,in that moment I felt complete.This summer would always be special to me,not only had I realised my feeling for Eli,we had also confessed to eachorther.I found my true soulmate.Eli.My best friend.My life.

I hate summers.

It is my least favorite season of all seasons.


The scorching heat, the sticky sweat, the glaring sun and the killing humidity that the City of Joy Kolkata has to offer at that time of the year. Not a fan. Not even by a long shot.


The good thing about summers however, eating ice-creams. Loads and loads of it. That too daily. Without my mom going paranoid that her only off-spring will catch death due to a slice of heaven that is part ice- part cream.



Oh, by the way, I am Sneha Deb and this is my story of the summer when I had just gotten promoted to Class 11th. It was my summer breaks and after years of spending, what was theoretically supposed to my two months of blissful vacations, shuttling reluctantly between Science and Math's tuition classes, this year I was finally free of them. I was officially an Arts student now. Thank God for small mercies. And Indian education system too while I am at it.



My family was not going anywhere on vacation courtesy my parents job in private sector, and my two best friends were out of city for whole summer. So after waking up late and watching all the TV I wanted through the day, I added gearing up my darling scooty in the evenings and driving up to my favorite ice-cream parlor to my routine. For the sole purpose of satiating my daily craving for Vanilla-Butterscotch-Sundae that was a specialty there.  But I stumbled upon something else there too. Or someone, I should say. That was where I met Kian Roy for the first time in my life. An ice cream junkie like myself, he happened to visit the ice-cream parlor almost regularly. And coincidentally at the same time of the day too. We started smiling and waving at each other. Exchanged our names as well. 



But our big breakthrough came when one day I decided to get a little adventurous and ordered Double Chocolate Chip Sundae, which I had written off long back as weird and had instinctively stayed away from it since then. They call them instincts for a reason I realized that day when I got sick and started throwing up like a fire-truck later in the night. Turns out my body really hates chocolate. That made me wonder what kindda girl am I? Chocolate intolerance? Is it not THE sacred binge of female population around the globe? But anyways, I got over  the disappointment in my femininity quickly and went back for my daily dose of goodness after three days of sick-break. That was the first time when Kian approached me and struck a real conversation. He was worried about my absence. So sweet, isn't it? I also got to know that he had been after owner-aunty at the parlor to give me a call. She did not have my number though.



He SO liked me.  And I liked him back. Needless to say, that was friendship calling to us on the top of its lungs.



The fact that he was 9 and I was 16 did not deter us in the slightest. He loved Pokemon. I loved Pokemon. He hated brinjal. I hated brinjal. He was a fan of Hritik Roshan. I was Hritik Roshan's shameless virtual stalker. His favorite color was red. Mine was in the same color family, orange. He loved to talk but had no one at home to talk to. Ditto. And as if that was not enough, our favorite ice-cream flavor was same too.



So basically what I wanted to say is, we clicked. Big time. We started timing our meetings. He lived nearby and walked to the parlor and I drove there. We even selected a particular table in the parlor for ourselves which the owner aunty was only too happy to reserve for her regular loyal and cute customer duo. Though I had to concede that the proud shorty was way cuter than me. Not that I was going to tell him that. He already had way too much attitude for a nine year old. And why not, he was the cute boy with a cuter dimpled smile that could stop any girl's heart. I was sure he will become a rotten handsome heartbreaker someday. But for now, I just wanted to pinch his chubby cheeks and bundle him up in a blanket and carry him to my home forever. I never did that though, before you ask. I don't have kidnapping tendencies, thank you. But all said and done, sweet adorable Kian became an integral part of my life in mere three weeks.




'Sorry buddy I am late' I huffed puffed my way to our table one evening.


Kian glared at me.


'My mom has an off today and no matter how hard I tried, she would just not let me get out of our mother-daughter bonding time' I explained.


'Oh. Okay' he mumbled.


'What?' I wondered aloud. 'No "My time is precious. I hate tardiness. I am so uptight that I'll give you a long lecture in my grandfather-isque vocabulary about arriving on time" today' I grinned.


He smiled weakly in response.


Something was wrong. Kian Roy was never short of smart ass comebacks and patronization. And here I was giving him a wide opening by actually apologizing.


'What happened Kian? Is something wrong? I know I should have been here half an hour back. It won't happen again' I looked at him.


He shrugged. A little too nonchalantly.


'Kian. Tell me. What's the matter?' I nudged.


'You should have spent time with your mommy' he said in a small voice.


'Of course not. I meet you just for an hour or so in the whole day. Where is my mommy going? She stays with me' I assured him.


'You can never be sure' he replied.


My brows furrowed.


'I also thought my mommy will always stay with me. But she didn't. She died. It can happen to you too, you know' he added.


I was instantly robbed of speech. What does one say to a 9 year old at such a revelation? Kian always told me that except for maids and servants there was no one at his house. I always assumed that he was rich and his parents did not have time for him. I never in my wildest dream thought that he is motherless. I gulped the lump in my throat. 'What happened to her?'




'Oh Kian' I could not help but rush to his side and hug him for all my worth. I knew nothing I say will be proper in this situation. Hell, I don't even know what to say right now. I can never understand what he felt. And I hoped I never have to either. But my heart broke for this child who always kept such a brave face and a smile on his lips. I cried.


'I am fine. Don't hug me in public. I am a big boy, not a baby' he wriggled out my hold, shooting daggers at me. And turning a bright shade of pink.


I smiled tearily. He was really something. I vowed to take care of him to the best of my abilities.





It was a few days after that incident, that I got to know another trivia about Kian that rendered me tongue tied. Again. Just like any other day, I happily sauntered into the cold haven of the parlor hoping to find Kian at our usual place.  Oh, he was there. What I wasn't bargained for was the person sitting with him.


Soham Roy. My ultimate crush. And that of every other girl at my school for that matter. One year my senior and the head boy of our school. Good looks, good manners, excellent academics, God-like stature among us Crest View High School students and a-dimpled-smile-to-kill-for, all rolled in one. What is he doing here? With Kian?


Before my train of shocked thoughts could venture further, Kian squealed 'Sneha Di. We were waiting for you'.


We? I walked to the table cautiously.


'Sneha di, this is Soham dada, my brother' Kian introduced.


My eyes widened. Kian Roy. Soham Roy. Roy Roy. Of course. And now that I looked up close and personal, they did look like two people who shared a DNA. Of all the Roys in Kolkata, these two had to be related. Really?


Soham stood up and extended his hand. 'Nice to meet you Sneha. I've heard a lot about you' he smiled.


Since my tongue had promptly knotted itself inside my mouth, I dumbly looked at him for a while, gingerly shook his hand and then dropped it as if it scathed me or something.


Smooth Sneha, real smooth.


Hey, don't judge me. I am a confident girl normally. It is just that I never thought that a day would come when Soham Roy will glance in my direction, let alone talk to me or shake my hand. We belong to two different strata's of my school. Him the out-going head-boy of school, meaning student extraordinaire and me, a nobody somewhere down the school hierarchy. Way down. Also I was recovering from the fact that Kian never mentioned having an elder brother, let alone a hot one. I narrowed my eyes at the little munchkin.


But by then Soham had taken a seat and started speaking 'I just wanted to meet the girl my brother has made friends with and has taken such a liking to'.


Makes sense'I understand. If he would have been my kid brother I would have been worried about his safety with a stranger too' I managed to reply. Without stammering, mind you.


'It is not that. Oh well, a little of that too. But you see, the owner of this parlor knows my family personally. That is the reason why we let Kian come here alone all the time. She would have told us had anything been suspicious. But more than that I wanted to meet the person who has made Kian so happy. I just came two days back from my summer Sports Camp and the little guy here hasn't stopped talking about you since then. He generally does not make friends. Keeps to himself most of the time. You must be special to have him excited about meeting you every day' he clarified. 'What I don't get is how come he forgot to mention that you are so pretty' he added with a grin.


I blushed. Did Soham Roy just pay me a compliment?


'Kian, you never told me you have a brother' I questioned, trying to divert the spot light away from my humble self.


He shrugged. 'When girls come to know that I am Soham dada's brother, they smother me with kisses and cheek-pinches and treats to get his number. Or any information about him. I hate that. What if you would have done the same? You go to same school as him and I know you have a crush on him. He is the prince charming head boy of your school you were telling me about that day, right?' the little devil said smugly.


Oh God, please let the floor open up and devour me whole. Like right now.


Soham looked amused. 'You go to my school?'


I nodded, not looking at him.


'Why haven't I seen you there then?' he inquired.


We have a big school and a large number of students? And I am not some popular queen-bee of school that everyone would know of? 'I am a junior' I said instead.


'OH. Okay'.


We all sat in silence for a while. And I was quite hopeful that the prime-time of my embarrassment is over.


But apparently Soham had other ideas. 'You have a crush on me?' he asked, his eyes crinkling.


Dear lord, about that floor opening up and devouring me. Now would be a very good time too.


'N..no' I stammered.


'And what was that... prince charming, was it?' he continued regardless.


I beg you God. The floor, remember? Please.


As I squirmed pink faced, both the brothers burst out laughing merrily. At my bloody expense.


Thank you so much for your help God. We're going to have a talk about it. Soon.


Soham sobered up in a little while and apologized for his audaciousness. I forgave him graciously. Don't get me wrong, I would have held this grudge to my grave had he not been so cute and hot and sweet and well... him. Even when he committed the blasphemy of saying that he did not like ice-creams, my star-struck mind was more than willing to make concessions for him. The fact that he sweetly insisted on buying me mine also helped. All in all, my day couldn't have gotten better. And I couldn't wait to go home and call my friends and tell them about this meeting. I knew they would scream their lungs out in excitement. And feel jealous too. We were all comrades in crushing over the great Soham Roy. And it was me who got to sit and talk personally with him. How many girls at my school can boast of that? Ha? Then I got to eat ice cream with him, which not to forget, he bought for me. And last but not the least, I was his family friend now in a way, through Kian.


However awkward, my once in a lifetime ice-cream date was lovely. YES, it was date. Please don't burst my bubble.


And just like it had started, the date ended. Abruptly. Soham got a call and he bade us goodbye and left. But I got over the disappointment fast with a shrug. It was not like I had any real chance with Soham anyways.  But I definitely had an account to settle with someone for ratting me out. I turned back to my ice-cream buddy and grinned evilly.


'You are so dead Kian' I told him and proceeded to tickle him till he couldn't breathe out of laughter.


That was 12 summers ago. Some happy memories I have of that time. It was one of the most beautiful summer of my life.


This summer however, my craving for ice-cream has reached to new levels. And right now, my husband dearest is in kitchen preparing Double Chocolate Chip Brownie Sundae with extra Chocolate Sauce for me. I know I know, you must be wondering, me and chocolate? But being 7 months pregnant has its own side effects. I can swim in chocolate these days. Not exactly swim in my condition, but you get what I mean, right?


'Sweetheart, your ice-cream' I heard the love of my life say.


'Thank youuu. I love you, I love you, I love you' I sang.


Sight of my two favorite things together, ice-cream and Soham, lit me up.


'I know baby. I love you too' Soham chuckled, sitting beside me and draping his arm around my shoulder. 'When did Kian say he will be back? Should I call him?' he asked.


'Leave him alone Soham. It is his best-friend's party. As it is he does not go out often. Let my baby enjoy' I scolded him.


'Hey, I was just asking. It's not like he will come back home unless YOU ask him to' he raised his hands in surrender and switched on the TV. 'Spoilt him rotten' he said under his breath and softly pulled me closer to himself. 

'Hey, I heard that'. 

'You were meant to' he grinned. 

After trying to glower at him and failing miserably like always, I sighed and snuggled to his side. And when he lovingly kissed my temple, I sighed some more in contentment and diverted my attention to my beloved ice-cream bowl.

Ice-cream, that I know has the power to change lives. It changed mine. I met Kian because of it. And then Soham. 

You see, Soham never stopped accompanying Kian to the ice-cream parlor after that day. Truly speaking, while I was baffled at his sudden fandom for ice-creams, I made my peace with it and moved on. Not that there was much to read into it anyways. Crest View High's distinguished head-boy Soham Roy wouldn't possibly come there daily to see me, now would he? What can I say? I am slow in these matters. But later, with Soham's relentless hints, I finally caught on.  

And rest as they say, is history.

Who knew the season I hated so much will bring such happiness in my life. My friends still gush about my fairy-tale summer. And I couldn't agree more!

Excerpt from my life!!

21st April, 2014 [Monday]

Udaipur [Rajasthan]

Early Morning

I woke up with a lovely smile on my face. A buzzing sound broke my thought process. "Good Morning Sweetie pie" said the message. I blushed as soon as I read it. Another message popped up saying "Stop blushing love and get up. Don't forget to meet me in the evening. I'll be waiting. Love: Ansh." I woke up hurriedly and started with the daily chores. The hot summer day passed on. I was extremely excited to meet him. He said he had planned something for me and I couldn't wait to see it. Finally the most awaited evening arrived. I was waiting for him. The doorbell rang increasing my heartbeat. I checked myself again and rushed to the door. I opened it and saw the handsome hunk standing there with his killer smile. I felt the crimson color adoring my cheeks. He smirked and said "You look beautiful baby." I blushed and thanked him. "Let's go! We will get late otherwise" he said and we left my house. He was a perfect gentleman. He opened the door and I sat in. We drove off. I was continuously speaking and he kept smiling at my antics. We reached the place in an hour. I was surprised to see his car standing in front of his house. "Why are we here?" I asked. "You'll get to know that soon sweetheart" was the reply I got. We came out of the car and we walked inside the mansion. He took me to his terrace. I was in awe seeing the lovely terrace. He told me to wait. He vanished while I explored the place. He came back with a covered tray in his hand. I was confused at his actions.

Me: What is in there?
Ansh: Wait baby!

He removed the cover and I witnessed a jar with mango shake and two glasses. I looked at him still confused. Ansh filled the glasses and came up to me. I took one of them. He quietly held my hand and took me to the edge of the terrace.

Ansh: I wanted to spend the whole day like this but I had some commitments. I am sorry.
Me: It is okay [I smiled]
Ansh: By the way tell me how is the mango shake? I tried my best!
Me: You made this? [Surprised] [He nodded] It's lovely. This is refreshing after a hot day. Thank you! Ansh: I thought you'll be tired so I made this. It is our first Mango Shake Date'.
[I giggled]: Mango Shake Date!' Only you could think this.
Ansh: You know what! I love you baby!
Me: Aww I love you too!

We hugged each other and stayed there for some time. The lovely Mango Shake Date' made my day. All thanks to the Ansh' of my life.

Lots of love,


"Shhh..." I said without turning around.

Silence met me back and I continued to walk forward, sort of running, and soon the laughter resumed.

I turned behind my shoulders and met a pair of dark brown eyes that were bright with mischief and amusement.

"Shhh...we can't be caught. If we are caught we are going to be in trouble again." I lectured.

She nodded and she mimicked as if she was zipping her lips and she placed her hands firmly back in mine and I gave a brief smile before I turned back in trying to run towards the fence.

I gripped the edge of the fence that was broken, carefully peeling the metal away.

"Hurry...go...be careful, make sure your hair doesn't get caught, like what happened last time." I said.

She nodded and she got on all fours, carefully scuttling along the dirt and grass, and crawled on the other side of the wired fence.

"Be careful." She whispered back.

I carefully held the wires and crawled on the other side trying my best to make sure that the ends of the metal didn't catch on my skin.

I made it through and she outstretched her hand towards me and began to smile.

I smiled back, grabbed her hand, and I began to run, this time laughing, not afraid of being heard.

"Hurry up Neema...hurry up!" I yelled behind her.

She continued and once again her childish laughter could be heard and we continued for a while until we reached the stream.

By the time we were done, we were both heaving out of breath and both slumped over on the grass in exhaustion, side by side from one another.

She looked over at me and smiled, causing dimples to show on her chubby cheeks.

I stared at her and could feel my heart start to beat faster, especially the way her hair was splayed out on the grass, and how the dimming sun was shining against her skin.

I blushed and looked away and we stood in silence as the sounds of the water from the stream, the birds chirping happily, insects, and other calming sounds of nature.

"I have to go back by the end of today." I said and slowly twisted my head to look at her and saw the smile she had on her face was wiped away into sadness.

It was close to the end of summer break and soon I had to resume school once again.

I didn't live in this small town where Neema lived and only came to visit and help grandma and grandpa every summer.

It started two years back when I was seven and although I complained for the most part that I had to leave the city and away from my friends, I was able to meet Neema during the first time I came here.

Since then we were inseparable and during the large part we would always sneak out before dusk to catch a glimpse of the sun setting, fish, playing around, or to just escape doing chores.

 "I know." She said softly.

"I will come back...I promise?" I said staring at her.

She stared back at me and stuck out her small hand, extending out her picky finger.

"You are not lying? Last time you didn't come for almost over six months. I missed you. Who else is going to go fishing with me, who is else is going to play tag with me, who else is going to ride bikes with me as well?" she said with a pout.

"There is no way I will lie. I promise." I said smiling even more and gripped her picky against mine, wrapping it together, and bringing our thumbs forward touching it against one another to seal our promise.

She smiled even more, causing her eyes to crinkle.

Then she suddenly bolted up, releasing her hands and she stared down at me.

"Come on! Are we are going fishing or no?" she said as a challenge.

"Don't get mad if you can't catch anything like last time." I said.

She gasped and her mouth dropped open into an "O" shape and it was obvious she was probably blushing.

"That was last time...but things are going to change this time around." She said and she got up and raced off before I could.

"HEY!!!! THAT IS NOT FAIR!!!!" I said while laughing and quickly getting up to chase after her.

She was laughing and she rolled up the ends of her pants, ran her fingers through her thick heavy coils of hair and trying to pull it away from her face.

She entered the water and bent down, poking her hands through the water, trying to find something.

I laughed and I continued her motions and soon joined her in the water.

I tried to catch a fish just as well but it seemed every time I tried to catch something it would slip through my fingers.

I grunted in frustration and the same could be heard from Neema as well.

We continued for over an hour or so until we grew tired and soon I could feel the coldness of water splashing at me.

I looked up and saw Neema bent down, picking her hands back and forth through the water towards my direction causing water to splash on me.

I smiled and met her right back and began to use my feet to kick water, causing water to splash on her torso, neck, face, and some parts of her hair.

She squealed and we continued to splash one another with water until we were both tired and soon dragged ourselves near the bank of the stream and slowly made our way to the other side by the field of yellow daffodils.

We lay back on the ground until the sun in the distance was a faint small gleam and glow of light amidst purple, orange, and blue array of clouds.

We sat there against the deeming glow, staring at the sky, hands linked, and silently wishing and praying that the hold on the day will extend longer, not seeping until another day where I had to disappear back to the normalcy of my life in the city.

We continued to stare and I could feel that Neema was feeling the same as her small hands pressed even firmly around mine but didn't say anything.

We continued to sit there until the globe of light finally nestled behind the clouds and the entire area was coated in darkness and small haze of the moon that was starting to peek out.

"We should head back, they are probably looking for us." I said softly while turning to Neema.

She nodded her head slowly and yawned, rubbing her hands against her eyelids, before she linked her hands in mine again.

I smiled and we began walking through the slush of water, to the other side, then crawled back under the fence.

By the time we were done slowly making our way to the lows of porch lights that were scattered on various houses, Neema began trailing behind me.

"Are you okay?" I asked while looking back in concern.

She shook her head, causing her hair to whip across her face from her movements.

I sighed and stopped.

I removed our hands that were together, kneeled down on one knee and patted at my back.

"Hop on." I said looking at her and staring at my back.

She looked at me.

"But you might be tired..." she said.

"I'm not...now hop on." I said giving her a soft smile.

She nodded and she wrapped her arms around my neck, hopped herself on my back, and I lifted her legs securely by my sides and slowly raised myself back up and began walking again.

Soon I could feel her hair against my neck and soon the soft snores of her sleeping could be heard and I smiled to myself as I carried her back home.


(Two years later...During the middle of July...)

I placed my hands on my desk, slowly lifting myself out of my chair as I tried to correct the antenna on my radio.

"Good Evening! Welcome to the Love Hour on 67.8 WoXL Jams, the very best radio station around the local and city area."

I leaned back once the static went away and her clear voice was heard.

I gripped my hands together hoping, hoping, hoping that she finally got my letter and was going to read it during the love hour.

It's been two years since Eli last visited and he was always here by the end of May. I sent him letters but it seemed as if they always went unanswered.

Last summer he sent a letter saying he was caught in summer school and was impossible for him to come during the summer but hopefully could come during this summer.

But that never happened.

Worse yet, there was no letters, no call, no emails, no contact, nothing whatsoever.

So in a brief grim of hoped, I wished that he would hear the letter I sent in.

I waited and she continued to read various letters and it was close to 2:00 A.M on my alarm clock and the love hour was ending and I lost hope that my letter would make it.

"We have one last love letter during this love hour and it's by someone who has been very committed in making sure her letter gets sent in."

I popped my head up from my desk and stared at the radio, with a bated breath, heart pumping out of my chest, and I could feel my heart swell in expectation.

"Her name is Neema, she is 11 years old, and she wrote this towards a very special friend of hers who she is currently missing and wonder if he was okay.

I scooted even closer to the radio and I was completely in disbelief but was waiting for her to read my letter.

"Her letter is towards this special person and I will read it. Dear Eli, it's been a long time since I have seen your face. It's been two summers since we used to run off from our parents' home and visit our secret place. We used to fish and have so much fun playing that we would get tired by the time we have to walk home. Every time my mother would bake cookies or brownies I would always sneak it for you when you were busy trying to help out at your grandmother's shop. Or whenever I was in time out you would sneak in and always give me candy and stay and talk with me until I could go outside. I don't know if you are hearing this, I don't know if you will listen to this but I miss you. I really, really, really, really miss you and just wish you would come back. Please come back soon. Sincerely Neema."

"Wow, I hope whoever this Eli is, please sincerely answer Miss Neema's letter. It seems that she truly loves you and wants for you to come back so please if you are listening to this broadcast please answer her letter. Now everyone this has been the last letter for the evening and the love hour is coming to a close so everyone good night and remember peace and love."

I folded my hands together said a quick prayer and opened my eyes, smiling inside and from the very depths of my soul.

Hopefully Eli finally heard my message and would answer and hopefully might come back.


(Two weeks later...)


I looked up from my book that I was reading and saw my mom in front of me, carrying my sister that was screaming and crying.

"Yes mama?" I asked quickly placing my book down and drawing my little sister into my embrace to calm her down.

My mother loosened her hold and I took her in my embrace and slowly cooed, making soft voices and noises to calm her down and she still was crying but her screams were quieted.

"You remember Mrs. Johnson next door, your friend Eli's grandmother?" my mother said.

I lifted my head upwards and looked at my mother.

"Yes." I said.

She gave a faint smile.

"Well since he has stopped coming during the summers, she needs some help around the shop and I was hoping by tomorrow that you will help her." My mother said and she eyed my sister that finally quieted down and her tears finally stopped.

"Do she know what happened to Eli?!" I said excitedly which caused my sister to start to make small wailing and whining noises but thankfully didn't turn into a full blown cries and screams.

My mother looked at me softly with sympathy and she patted my head softly.

"I'm sorry dear. She didn't say anything about him. But she needs some help around the store especially since Mr. Johnson dislocated his hip and back early January."  My mother said.

"Okay." I said while nodding.

The following three weeks, aside from the looming effects of summer almost being over, I was spending majority of my time helping out in Eli's grandmother store, mostly with the basics in sweeping the floor, restocking goods, and helping around with the cash register and selling as well.

She didn't hear any word from Eli either and soon I could feel my hope begin to deflate and start to truly believe that he did forget about me and wasn't ever coming back again...

Udaipur [Rajasthan]

May 2014

Another memory passed my mind as I flipped the pages of my Diary. It was a hot summer morning. The sun shining brightly, birds chirping, and a mild breeze blowing. I walked to the balcony to start afresh. I heard my cell phone ringing and rushed inside to take the call.  I saw His' number flashing. I could feel butterflies dancing in my stomach. It was a very new feeling. I picked up and heard a lively voice from the other end saying Good Morning Ale.' I wished him back with a chirpy voice. He asked me if I could meet him. I was taken aback for a second or two. Composing myself I agreed. I could feel the smile playing on his lips. I too smiled. Further he informed me that he will come to pick me up. We were NOT dating!' We were Just Good Friends' if I had to put it that way. I went inside excitedly dreaming about the places he would take me to. The moment came when he arrived at my place. It was around 4pm. The heat outside was too much. I did a few touch ups and we left! He was or rather is and always will be my best friend. He was the one with whom I could share anything and everything. One on whom I could rely on, a trust worthy person. I had some unknown' feelings for him. I could not register what those feelings were. He drove to the beach. I was happily surprised seeing the place. I had always imagined me walking on the sand with no one around. We walked and walked and walked. The atmosphere was too quiet and serene. None of us spoke a word. We spoke merely through our eyes. The scene was just too perfect. "Thank you" he said breaking the silence. I made a confused expression and he continued "for coming with me." I smiled genuinely at him and he returned it back. Silence prevailed in the atmosphere. I felt his hand holing mine. I felt butterflies in my stomach. He held my hand tight and spoke "It has been four years since I have feelings' for you. This nature of yours made me fall for you. I have always loved spending time with you. You chirpy nature always leaves me in awe. I have loved the cutely weird you. I would love to see this weird you for the rest of my life. So Miss. Ale will you allow me to hold your hand like this always? Will you give me the right to clear all the tears from your beautiful face? Will you give me the pride of calling you mine? Will you accept me as your boyfriend and your future husband? I promise to keep forever and ever." He ended and looked at me with hope in his eyes. My eyes were full with fresh tears. All I could do was nod with teary eyes. He was elated. All he did was hug me as tight as possible! I could feel him crying and asked him the reason behind it. He broke the hug saying they were happy tears and he was lucky to have me in his life. I was staring at him lovingly. I hugged him again assuring him that I too was lucky and obliged to have him. We hugged for like eternity. He broke off and was staring at me continuously. I was blushing furiously. I was too hungry and told him the same. He smiled saying "My cutely weird baby, let's go." We stood up and started walking. He slipped his hand into mine. Shivers ran down my spine with his mere touch. He smiled exactly reading my mind. I wondered how our hands perfectly fitted. We walked to the roadside stalls nearby [as I love street food] and had the delicious Gol gappas.' I asked him if we could have ice - cream. He very obediently nodded and we walked to the ice cream parlor. I was busy having the ice cream while all his did was stare and stare. He giggled at me. I looked at him confused. He leaned in cleared the ice cream from my nose. I smiled sheepishly. The eating session was over. We decided to go back home. He drove me to the house. We reached and he made a sad yet adorable face. I was Aww-ing at his face. I came out of the car and so did he. I hugged him while he was happily surprised. He broke the hug and leaned in...

I could feel a hand wiping the tears off my face. It was him.' "You know that I don't like tears in your eyes, then why were you crying?" He questioned me with care in his voice. I told him that I was reading my diary which made my eyes moist. He said "I won't let anyone, not even your diary to bring tears to your beautiful eyes." I smiled at him while he placed a kiss on my forehead." I kept my diary and moved out thinking about the words I had read somewhere.

" He's not perfect. You aren't either, and the two of you will never be perfect... But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can.  ...He isn't going to quote poetry, he's not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don't hurt him, don't change him, and don't expect for more than he can give. Don't analyze... Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he's not there... Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don't exist, but there's always one guy that is perfect for you."

He was not perfect. He understood me the way no one did, held my hand, kissed my forehead, and was with me whether I needed or not, read my eyes, my silence. He was the best thing that could ever happen to me. He was just too perfect! Just like the "Lovely Summer Day" 

"The End"

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Posted: 6 years ago

As I turned to find the source of the sound, my eyes found drops of water trickling down the window sill in perfect rhythm. I suddenly found myself following the movement of one particular drop which caught my attention, forgetting momentarily about the design I was working on.

I'd always found the rain alluring and for no fault of my own, my brain seemed to think it was the perfect time to recollect the best times of the twenty one years I've graced this planet. The beauty of the rains had always solaced me.

I was too enthralled by the droplet to notice the rainbow forming right outside but when I did finally notice it, I fell in love. I'd always been enraptured by the beauty of rainbows. The institution of all different colors coming together as one form and vice versa has always marveled me. The rainbows reminded me of something else too, something that took place in my life three years back.

I'd turned eighteen a few months ago and I was going on a trip with some of my friends to Goa. It was summer and the scorching heat along with the heavy traffic in Mumbai was the cause of high blood pressures for many a people. We had decided that Goa would be the perfect holiday spot during this season unlike hill stations which have quite a few restrictions.

Why did the rainbow remind me, you ask? It was there that I met that person who made me fall in love with them and in the process, with him too.

 "Carl Durham," he introduced himself. My friend had arranged a blind date for me as get out, have fun' measure. At first, I strongly believed it was a bad idea but by the end of the date, I concluded that whatever happened was for the best.

There was nothing extravagant about the date; it was a simple dinner and then a walk on the beach. His words though left a deep impact on me.


"Rainbows-," he began as he saw the patterns in the restaurant "are simply a manifestation created by nature to show the different kinds of people on the Earth."

"What do you mean?" I asked him, intrigued by his conclusion.

"Violet- A color which is always mistaken, signifying people who try to help but are misunderstood.
Indigo- For the poorest of the poor, it's a plant, for the poor, it's a plant and company, for the rich, it's a plant, company and color; this shows people who are different in front of different people.
Blue- It is believed to be the color of water when it is not. People who are often treated as someone they are not.
Green- Leaves need it to make food, and indirectly important for our food too. It shows people who are important to someone's life.
Yellow- The color of the sun, the reason for survival of humans, shows the millions of people who are important for the survival of humans.
Orange- The setting sun, showing the end of the day and the new beginning, the positive and negative people of the world are all there.
Red- The color of love which is necessary for everyone, it signifies every person on the earth who has someone to love them."

"That's. Deep," I told him.

As we had dinner, his serious side got lighter and I soon discovered he was very witty and jovial too.

"You know, I haven't enjoyed this much since my eleventh grade. What with the scare of boards, I've never gone out. I'm glad I went for this date," I told him as were leaving the restaurant.

"Let's make this date even more special," he told me and took me to one of the beaches in Goa.

"Have you ever tried forming angels on the sand?" he asked me to which I nodded negatively.

"You haven't?" he asked me, shocked the prospect. He suddenly pulled me down and made me move my arms and legs back and forth.

"How does it feel?" he asked me again after some time.

"It's very soft I guess," I told him and us both started laughing in sync.


"You liked the first date that much?" he asked me when I called him, his voice clearly stating that he was teasing me.

"Oh yes, and I've fallen in love with you too," I told him in the same tone, almost about to laugh.

"I've fallen in love with you too," he told me, this time, his voice was dead serious. Suddenly, he started laughing at the other end and I hit myself on the head for thinking that he truly had fallen in love with her.

"So, The Ritz at 5?" he asked me to which I replied with a yes'.


"Have you been to the bird sanctuary yet?" he asked me.

"No, I didn't even know there was one in Goa," I asked him, surprised that I hadn't gained this piece of information earlier.

"Let's go," he told me, leading me to the car. I got in and he sped away, seeming to be in a hurry to get there for some reason. As we were driving there, I looked out of the window and began admiring the forests we passed by. After about half an hour, we reached the sanctuary.

Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary' the entrance read in big, bold letters. As we entered, I found the place not very well maintained yet very beautiful. I asked him, "Why exactly have you brought me here?"

"There's a beautiful place here, come along," he told me and led me to the ticket counter. He mumbled something which was inaudible to me but I saw him take out a thousand rupee note and was about to stop him when he strictly said no'.

He took me to a lake nearby and said something to the man standing at the entrance, showing him the pink piece of paper, fondly known as a ticket.

"900 rupees, are you freaking kidding me Carl?" I asked him in shock as I managed to read the price on the ticket.

I tried to get out of the place but too late, Carl had already picked me up and was carrying me into the boat. I could hear someone whispering, "How cute. He's carrying her to pacify her. Young love is always good to see."  Unknowingly, I blushed at their statement and got distracted for a minute. Since I stopped putting up a fight briefly, Carl seized the opportunity and got me into the boat and the boat sped off.

"What the heck? You spent 900 rupees for a boat ride? Are you all kinds of stupid?" I asked him. No, I wasn't a feminist but I had my limits too. I was against reckless spending of any kind and I couldn't see why Carl would pay 900 rupees for a boat ride which could be so much cheaper.

"Charlene, it's not about the money or the ride, it's about the destination and about the serenity and tranquility of being in a quiet place instead of being in a boat bustling with activity. Being alone or secluded doesn't always mean you're a recluse or a lonely person, it can also mean that you are someone who enjoys being with yourself. That in itself is positive," he told me, his face showing emotions I've never seen before. You could see he was very passionate about what he was saying.

"See the water. It's so untouched and pure. You can drink as much as you want and nothing will happen to you. It's untouched. The parts surrounded by people at all times are the parts which are dirty. Now you see what I mean. Everything around us has something related to our lifestyle, our choices and us. You just have to look closer," he said, now looking straight into my eyes.

It was magnetic. Even that was putting it lightly. I tried and tried as long as I was conscious to look away but I couldn't take my eyes off him. Suddenly, his jet black hair looked perfectly silky and his face looked no less than a Greek God's and I was starting to find him irresistible. I was fine until an hour ago but suddenly, it was like I was a completely different person. Rather, he was.

"Have you ever wondered where the phrase Tall, Dark and Handsome' came from? Look at the mangroves," he said, turning my head slowly towards the right, "those tree there are tall, they're dark and they're handsome, well they offer handsome money, that's for sure. Even the smallest of phrases are from nature."

After that, I looked around and saw nature as it really is. It was raw and unpolished, just the way it was meant to be. Every small thing was beautiful, be it the reflection of the trees or the small ripples.

"I turned to look at the other side to find Carl staring at me. I questioned him to which he just shrugged. In five minutes, we were back to the dock and out of the sanctuary.


It's my turn today.'

I sent the text and waited for him to reply. He always was late when he replied. He was not technologically challenged, he just never seemed to have his mobile around, and hence I was surprised when I received the reply almost instantaneously.

Okay. Meet you at 3.'

And that was that.

I'd already decided where I was going to take him. He had helped with a new outlook about my surroundings and life; I was going to help him with something too.

"Where are we going?" he asked me as I took charge of his car and drove down to the place I had discovered.

Goa Central Library' was where I halted. When I'd been in his house, I noticed that there were hardly any books there. When I asked him about it, he simply told me he didn't like reading much.

"A library, really Charlene?" he asked me. "Yes, really Carl," I told him in the same tone and ushered him in.

"You told me about how nature is a manifestation of human behavior and humans themselves; I'll tell you how to momentarily forget all your troubles. I'll tell you about books. It is a way of expressing and controlling emotions all over the world. The author's express themselves, while the readers find themselves so into the book that they forget their own problems and stop stressing. Have you ever inhaled the fragrance of a book? It's heavenly, especially of the very new and the very old ones. After you open it, the feel of the paper on your skin, especially the old novels is wonderful. And as you go on, every word, be it in any font looks more ethereal than the world's most beautiful woman or handsome man. And then we read. Oh the joy of reading a book, be it the first time or hundredth. That's the beauty of a good book. It never gets too old. Your best friend till you die, it will never shun you and will always be there, whenever you need it to be. When you read, you become the character. You experience what the character experiences. You cry with him, you laugh with him, you curse him and you sympathize with him. What more do you from life? Isn't a book sufficient? Take this book for example," I said, picking up Great Expectations from one of the shelves, "Charles Dickens is one of the greatest writers because he wrote about the problems in the country, he gave hope to the common man and also expressed his thoughts. J. K. Rowling, author of Harry Potter. I doubt there's any kid who hasn't heard of Harry Potter. She made people believe in magic, not sorcery, magic. The magic of love, unity and above all, friendship was showcased to the world. I could pick up tons of books from here, but it would take too much time. Try reading a novel with your whole heart. After you're done, you'll feel refreshed, even if the ending is sad. That is the magic behind these books," I told him, feeling refreshed all of a sudden. Books tend to give rise to my patriotic emotions. As I looked up at him, his cheeks seemed moist.

"I've always loved books," he told me, "I just didn't know you were this passionate about them."

"Why did you tear up then?" I asked him.

"It's good to see someone care as much as you do," he told me with a smile which did not quite reach his eyes.


"I think I've fallen for you," we both told each other, a day before I was supposed to leave. I don't know why I said it. I just did. I don't know what made me fall in love with me in these two weeks. His passion or his wit, his craziness or his ability to comprehend any situation with a calm mind, I don't know. But I did know it was love. Not because I saw him everywhere or old romantic Hindi songs played in my mind, but because I craved to be with him, even his silence had a feeling of companionship in it.


It was later that I realized when and why I fell in love with him. It was the rainbows which made me fall for him. Sure, the love wasn't as strong the first day, but as time passed, the love only grew. Weeks passed, months passed, our relationship faded, but the love was still there.

The break up though, did not hurt me. I didn't know whether it was my faith in love or my faith in our relationship, I seemed to have no disappointment whatsoever when the relationship managed to reach breaking point.

Maybe it was the books, or enjoying every little thing in life as he taught me. Sure, it was hard at times but I got through, safe and sound.

He might not know but that one boat trip changed my perspective of life. No, I hadn't abandoned my social life but I learned one thing which was very important, I learned to love myself.


I headed out of my house to enjoy the rain a little. The streets were empty as of now, and there was no trace of any pools nearby so I stepped out to feel the drops. Since it was drizzling, I kept my umbrella near the entrance and counted the drops falling on my palm.

As I lifted my face up to swallow some drops of the water, I saw a familiar figure near the baker's.

As I walked towards him, I noticed that he was staring at the patterns on the sign and on the glass. The baker was obsessed with rainbows, so everything surrounded it.

As he saw me, he took off his glasses and gave me a wide smile.

"Still chasing rainbows are we?" I said.

He pulled me into a hug and we stayed there, under the rainbow.


This girl is going to drive me crazy.

I glanced at myself in the mirror after my shave.'I will stay away from her',I chant.This has been my daily routine from the past one week.Since,I learned she would be coming here to attend zareena,her best friend s wedding I kept chanting those six words to drill the sentence into my mind.If I managed to stay away from her,things would just be fine.

But,it is better said than done.How v ll I stay away from her?How will I manage to stay away from her innocence.From her angelic smile.How can I manage to stay away from the pair of coffee coloured eyes which had nothing but love for me.How can I stay away from her thick brown curls which I had dreamt of lacing my fingers with.How can I stay away from her from her milky white body which screamed to be touched and worshipped.And,those pink juicy lips...STOP.

Taking a deep breath I run a shaky hand through my hair.'I will stay away from her',I repeat once again,hoping fervently that I could follow my own decision.I have to,atleast for her sake.

At 26,I have everything in my life.A successful business umpire,looks that made girls melt at my feet,power,strength,everything.Everything but not her.Just not the girl whom I loved,desired and craved for.How could I have her?How could I get a taste of the forbidden?Dint I promise her father to protect her from all evil.Then how can I get close to her?I am not good for her.I could easily crush her like a flower.

Saira is my only breath of fresh air.Its only her who had managed to break the barriers which I had created around my heart.Our first meeting is still fresh in my mind.

Saira s father had bought me to his home after that horrible incident.I was around twelve years old and saira was ten.I was sitting in the backyard,trying to subside my sobs.

'Hi',a sweet shaky voice caught my attention.

I glanced up,A fair girl wearing a pink frock was staring at me,her eyes displaying friendliness and sympathy.I dint need anyone s sympathy!

I glared at her,trying to scare her off.'go away!'

She blinked,but paid no heed of my warning,instead she had the nerve to sit beside me.I ignored her.

'Why are you crying?'

'What the...I said leave me Alone'

'You too don't have a mother just like me',she concluded.

My eyes softened a bit,but I remained mum.Lately I had started acting rude with everybody.That was my only way to deal with my pain.

'I don't want to talk to you.Leave me alone'

She started laughing.I watched her flabbergasted.

'You know I had just become like you.After my mothers death I too started screaming and shouting at everyone,but later my father told me my mother would be unhappy finding out that I had turned a bad girl.So I became a good girl to keep my mother happy'

'If your mother is dead she won't know anything about you',I stated.

She hit her forhead,bending towards me and whispered'No Buddhu.Dint you know my mother became a star.She can watch me'

I instantly decided she is a stupid girl who lives in her own fairy tale.

'So I am Saira.Whats your name?'

I dint know why I told her,maybe because having her around me made me feel a tad bit better.'I am Abhiraj'

'So friends',she extended her hand.

I ignored her,walking away.But,she dint leave me alone.Not until I had accepted her friendship.

Soon we had become great friends.Great friends as in she would tel me her entire day s activities and I would listen to her.My lips twitched listening to her antics and I would speak more than a sentence with her.Though not much.Atleast she was the closest person to me.And,how much ever I liked to deny, I had started enjoying her company.

Years flew by,and I started noticing changes in her behaviour.I was 17,and she 15.She started taking care of her looks and would smile more than necessary.She use to even blush at many occasions,making my insides squeeze.Lately,I started having dreams about her.And,these dreams were not something I should be proud of.I would kiss her,and do a lot of orther things which I was not supposed to do.So I started avoiding her.That was the best way to keep my head clear.The more time I would spend with this girl,the more she would mess with my brain.The best way to keep a clear head was to stay as far away from her as possible.And,it never did help.Infact it only added fuel to my dreams.And every morning I woke up with a dull ace.


My eyes blinked,my mind snapping back to the present hearing someone calling me.Sighing,I proceeded towards the source of sound.

Saira s father was the head of this village in Lucknow.He did a lot if illegal things.But he was in a true sense my saviour.Without him,I would have been a nobody.He had not only given me space in his own house but had treated me like his own son.Looking at mine and Saira s bonding he had bestowed the responsibility of His daughter upon me and had told me to protect her from all evil.

I tried doing my job,while maintaining my distance.Clearly affected by my rudeness Saira left this village and went abroad for higher studies.Tommorow she would return for her best friend s wedding.

The next day,I was clad in a silky grey suit and my eyes were searching those pair of coffe coloured eyes.I knew she had already returned home the previous night.I was twisting and turning in bed the entire night.It took all my self control not to go and meet her.

I loved summers,it reminded me off the fun me and Saira use to have.The best thing about summers is the fun and laughter it brings about.the times we played volleyball,the music,just relaxing under the shade of the umbrella or the quiet smiles we use to pass to each orther,all the memories rushed to my mind.Today,it was another bright sunny day with light sunny breeze.The air around me changed.And,I knew she was near me.My eyes drifted to the staircase,and there she stood.Her coffee coloured eyes were twinkling with happiness,her feautures were more refined.Last I saw her was on her 18 th birthday.The girlish features had left face giving way to a bold woman who knocked the breath out of me.Damn!She looked even more mesmerising.My eyes drifted to her body.Her red gown hugged her in the right places,highlighting her curves.The big slit in her gown revealed her milky bear never ending legs

Crap!Just the sight of her did different things to my body.I shifted uncomfartably,trying to accommodate the changes in my body.Its time for another cold shower!

My eyes scanned her body and drifted back to her face.Our eyes met.She gasped slightly.My heart started hammering against my chest.Her love for me was still evident in her eyes.But,she soon masked it her face turning expressionless,her eyes cold. I knew she was still hurt.But,I had to hurt her that day.I had to drive her away from me.It was for her own good.The memory of our last fight came rushing to my mind.

She had turned 18.A big party had been thrown and everyone had been invited.She was standing at the far end of the room,sulking.I still hadn't wished her.Well,last night I had jumped into her room and had managed to wish her sleeping form.But,it's not like she was aware of it .And,I would never tel her that.I felt everyone s lustful gaze on her body.Cursing under my breath,I proceeded towards her.Why does she have to wear such revealing clothes?

She snapped her head,beaming at me'Have you come to wish me Abhi'

'Stop calling me Abhi.My name is Abhiraj'

She rolled her eyes.

'What the hell are you wearing?',I hissed looking at her top and mini skirt.

'Abhi this is the latest fashion.How do I look?'

Sexy.'well I think it's looks ridiculous'

Her face fell,she pouted ,my eyes drifting to her pink plump lips which I wanted to kiss senseless.

'All these bunch of idiots present at the party can't keep their eyes off you.Go and change',i asserted.

'Are you jealous?'

I fixed her with a glare.

Grabbing her by her elbow I led her to her room.'Wear something decent'

I turned around to leave,when she clutched my hand in hers.'Arent you going to wish me on my birthday?'

Turning around,I said'Happy birthday.Happy?Now leave me?'

I was about to leave when she said 'Why Abhi?Why do you keep running away from me?Why do you ignore me'

I just simply stared at her.

'It hurts Abhi.You always push me away from you.You hardly talk to me.Why do you keep ignoring me?'

She stepped forward,cupping my face with her palms.'i love you Abhi'

My heart skipped a beat.She was very close to my face.Tilting her chin up and puckering her lips she whispered'Kiss me Abhi'

I love her.I love her so much.My eyes dropped to her pink lips which were trembling with anticipation,her eyes closed.I want to kiss her.I dipped my head.Our lips were inches apart.I could feel her cool minty breath against my cheeks,could hear our loud heartbeats.I just had to claim her lips.No!She deseves better than me.She can do better.She can get married to a guy who can give her roses and happiness whereas I could only give her thorns and pain.

Stepping back I said'I don't even like you'

She paled.'Abhi...'

'You can never be my choice.I ignore you because I can't even bear to spend a few minutes in your company.'

'Abhi I know your lying'

'Stop living in your own fairy tale.I just dont like you',I added padding towards the door.

'Fine.then I am leaving to U.S today'

My feet halted in their tracks.No!She can't just leave me.

'I am going far away from you',she whispered.

I guess this is for the best.Atleast if she would be far away from me I could not hurt her.And,it's better if she goes away from me.Atleast,she would not hate me after learning my truth.

I left without casting a glance backwards,and that day itself she went away from me.

The giggle of a bunch of girl snapped me back to reality.After all these years she stood in front of me looking as beautiful as ever.But,why is she not acknowledging my presence?Is she trying to ignore me?My heart tugged.In all these years she never ignored me.From the time we first met,she always clung to me.My rude behaviour never seemed to bother her.She always was besides me doing something or the orther to irritate me or get my attention.Look at me.Look at me dammit!

She kept her eyes fixed on her friends face.Anger burned through me.Why is she ignoring me?Why am I getting so worked up?Isnit this always what I wanted?I always wanted her to ignore me and leave me alone,but today when she is doing just that why does it feel ...bad?

Look at me dammit.I kept my eyes fixed on her face,hoping desperately she would look at me,even for a milli second.Sighing,I glanced at the dance floor.All the couples were swaying to the music.Its then I saw him.

Shane.Why was he looking at my Saira .I instantly decided I hated him.He was young,handsome and rich.But why can't he keep his eyes to himself?Keeping his eyes fixed on my Saira he started advancing towards her with a predatory smile on his face.He stopped in front of her,flashing his 32.He said something to her which made her laugh.So now she is laughing with orther stupid people but she can't even care to glance in my direction.
He had extended his hand forward,and she look unsure for a moment.Later he said something to which she smiled and gave her hand in his.He led her towards the dance floor.Great!She can dance with some stupid moron but can't even talk to me for a moment.

There was very little gap between them both,and I could see Saira was clearly uncomfartable.His fingers travelled on her bare back.Anger burned through my veins.How dare he touch her.How dare she let him touch her.My feet led me towards them.Its time I remind her whom she belongs too.

My hands grabbed her elbow.'abhi!',she gasped.

I started leading her outside.

'Hey we were dancing',protested Shane.

I am going to kill him if he says anything else.Turning around I glared at him.'stay away',I hissed.

He stepped back.I don't know what he saw in my face but he dint argue further.Good for him.

I led her to the orther room.We could still hear the music but no one was here,providing me with the privacy I needed.

She was still struggling under my hold.'Leave me Abhi!'

I left her,my eyes never leaving her face.My chest was heaving up and down and I was making a conscious effort to control my anger.

'I was dancing ,you had no right to ...'

Placing my hands on her back I pulled her towards me.Her soft bosoms collided with my rock hard chest,a gasp escaping her lips.

'You wanted to dance?Then dance with me',I hissed.

'Leave me Abhi'


She stopped protesting,our eyes meeting.I could see a myrid of emotions in her eyes.


'Why you ignoring me',I could no longer hold my hurt.I just can't stand her ignorance.

'Isint it what you always wanted?',she snapped.

Yes!But when she was finally doing it it hurt like hell.I wanted her attention,her love.

'Why the hell were you dancing with that jerk'

She bit her lower lip.I knew she always does it when she is scared by my anger.I tried to lessen my anger,but just the sight of her in any man s arms made me see red.

Her hands were now resting on my chest.'How does it matter to you',she whispered.

It sure as hell matters.I just can't see her with anyone.I could read her eyes.Her eyes were filled with hope.Was she expecting me to confess my feelings?

'It-it matters.Your fathers reputation would be tarnished when people find his daughter dancing with anyone and everyone and behaving indecently'

The hope vanished replacing anger.Her coffee coloured eyes where shooting daggers at me.'You know what I v ll just behave how ever I want.I v ll dance with anyone and everyone,and not only dance I v ll screw some random guy',she spat,turning around to leave the room.

I caught her elbow,pulling her back to me,my nails biting into her her shoulders.

She winced.'leave me Abhi!Your hurting me'

'What did u say',I hissed.

'How does it matter to you.Remeber you don't even like me'

'It does matter.You are mine.Only MINE'

She stared at me for a long moment.'What is your problem Abhi.Why can't u just tell me what you want.You don't allow me to get close to you,and when I take a step back it bothers you.What exactly do you want?'

I want you.I wanted to scream at her face.How can I allow her close to me.I am not good enough for her.But,at the same time I can't stand her indifference.I just can't see her with any orther guy.

'I don't know what I want'

She exhaled loudly,shaking her head in disapproval.'I am just fed up of this.You know what you can never accept your feelings.Think about how you actually feel til then I ll be dancing with Shane.

Thats it!Its time she is reminded to whom she really belongs.Gripping her neck I pulled her closer,smashing my many lips with her soft ones.She gasped ,stilling at first.My lips ravished on her lips ,my tongue stroking her ,challenging her.Her fingers were laced on my hair,tugging it,her lips moving against mine.

Allowing her a moment to breathe,with our foreheads still touching eachorther I confessed'I love you.I love you dammit!'

A tear escaped her eye.Why is she crying?'Saira?'

'I love you Abhi.So much.I have waited for you for so long to say those three magical words'

She wrapped her arms,hugging me tightly.I love her.But,I can't be so selfish.She deserves someone much better than me.She deserves the best.

Placing my hand on her shoulders I created some space between us.'I can't!'

Her eyes displayed confusion'What happened?'

'I mean u shouldn't love me.I am not worthy of your love.And,you deserve the best,not me'

She exhaled loudly'Why don't you let me decide who is best for me.I love you Abhi and now I know you love me too.I am not going to let U drift us apart'

'Saira please I am not good enough for you'


I have to tell her everything.Maybe after hearing everything she would herself decide to leave me.

'Do you Remember the day when we first met'

She looked surprised by my statement but she nodded a head,a smile forming on her lips.

'You always wanted to know why I was crying right?Well,I was crying because my uncle had slid the throats of my parents and had managed to make it look like it was not a planned murder but a result if the riots which were taking place in the country.'

Her face was pale,her eyes looked pain,she squeezed my hand looking at me.I knew she was trying to comfort me looking at the pain in my eyes.

'My uncle had tried to kill me as well but I had managed to escape.He wanted the property which my parents owned.That day your father found me and bought be to his home.I know you are aware of your fathers activities.He does a lot of illegal things but I don't really care.Because,he was there for me when I needs him the most.I knew one thing I had to take revenge ,and your father helped me.A few years later when there was another riot in the country I took advantage of the situation and killed my uncle with my own bear hands.Your father cleaned all the evidence leaving me spotless and clean'

She still remained quiet,so I added'Now tell me Saira even after knowing I am a murderer even after knowing that the person standing in front of you is a monster would you still love me?Would you still like to spend the rest of your life with me?'

She smiled.'I already knew that you had killed you uncle'

My heat tugged.She knew it?'what?'

'I had overheard your and dad s conversation years ago.'

'You knew it even when the first time you confessed your feelings for me',I asked flabbergasted

'Yes I knew it.Your uncle was a tyrant,he had killed many people,looted and had done more worst deeds.By killing him you probably saved more lives'

'No Saira.I knew the law was ineffective with him.But even if the law could punish him I would have stilled killed him with my own hands.And,you have to see me clearly.I am not your Prince Charming.I am a criminal who could easily crush you and hurt you.

'I don't care what you did.What matters is what you have become.In these years you have managed to become a successful business man.I know your not involved with any illegal stuffs.I know your sincere honest and loving.And,I know your not a man of words and I can live with that.The fact that you love is enough for me to spend my entire life with you'

Why does she love so much.'Are you sure you still love me Saira?'

She rolled her eyes,getting down to her knees.What is she doing?

'Mr abhiraj I know this is the orther way around,but you leave me with no orther option,and besides this is summer.Few years back I had met you one summer evening.And here I am proposing you years later on another summer evening.I love you from the bottom of my heart will you do the honor of marrying me?'

My fingers reached her shoulders,lifting her up.'i love you Saira',I took her into a bone crushing hug.

She hugged me back,but stepped behind glancing at me.'you don't want to get married to me?You still dint answer my question',she poked her index finger in my chest.

I chuckled.'What makes you think I am not going to get married to you.We are getting married this summer!'

Her eyes widened with hapiness'Really?'

'Yes!',I answered dragging her downstairs.

'Where are you taking me?'

'To tell this news to your father'

'He will be delighted.He loves you like his own son'

Beaming,I asked'Would you mind getting mArried today itself?'

'Well Mr impatient Abhi you gotto wait.Maybe in a week or so'

Ugh.'I can't wait you have you in my bed'

She giggled.'well you v ll have to wait.Because I want to have a proper wedding with all rituals'

'Why do girls have to be so emotional all the time'

'Dont you want a proper wedding?',she queried.

'I just want you to be officially mine and in my bed'

'Boys can only think about one thing',she chided.

'Well it's not our fault if you girls are this beautiful and tempting'


'I am not lying.You have tortured me for several nights.Remember I had started to stay away from you?'

Her face fell.'yeah!You use to feel bored in my company'

'No you stupid girl.I use to stay away from you because I couldn't keep my hands to myself.Everytime I use to see u I only wanted to kiss you senselessly and make you mine'

Her cheeks were adorned with a beautiful red color.Oh my god I just want her now.She looks do besutiful when she blushes.

Cupping her cheeks,I bent down to claim her lips again.Her teeth tug my Lower lip,she moans our tongues dancing to the rythm of our passion.

Breaking the kiss,I whisper 'I love you Saira'

My fingers start exploring her body.She giggles,slapping my hand away,sticking her tongue out at my protest.'abhi till the wedding I want you to stay away from me'

I couldn't stifle the throaty laugh which escaped my lips.'well staying away from you never works.Last time I kept chanting that I ended up confessing my love to you,now if I keep chanting that I can only guess I would claim you even before you become my wife'

'I love you mr desperate Abhi'

'I love you more my tempting angel'

She giggled,the sound of her laugher bringing a smile on my face.The birds sang happily in the pines,the sunlight spread its warmth and Hapiness in our life,while the slight sunny wind caressed our faces conveying its Hapiness that this summer it had witnessed our love story.


And those are all the entries!
25 Likes this
Posted: 6 years ago
Okay everyone, great stories. Good Luck !
My vote goes to
1. The Summer Dare
2. Just Best Friends?
0 Likes this
Posted: 6 years ago
one hot summer 
love is unconditional 
0 Likes this
Posted: 6 years ago
I loved..
Big smile
Edited by Sanju... - 6 years ago
0 Likes this
Posted: 6 years ago
Okay it was a delight that coincidently the entries are up on an off day, Sunday! So I had a good time today reading and relaxing.
I have read/skimmed through all and have zeroed in on ones which I liked in the first instance itself.
My votes -
1. Summer Mist.
Aahna was so real. A journey from 'I' to 'us' was very natural, she knew what she longed for and she didn't give up as much as she was on the verge of it. Its not like there was some realization that she shouldn't leave. Its just that it felt when she had stopped the car, stepped in the home, she knew she was back here to stay. The ending left me very happy.
2. It Happened One Summer.
Chick- flik-y. Enjoyed reading it.
So, yes, I had to blabber alongwith voting.
May the best one wins!
0 Likes this

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