Chapter 1: Flaring Hope (Page: 01)
Chapter 2: The Voice of Heart (Page: 14)
Chapter 3: Accidental to Natural (Page: 40)
Chapter 4: Love Tussle (Page: 63)
Chapter 5: The Past and The Future (Page 82)
Chapter 6: Stolen Moments (Page 91)
Chapter 7: Beginning of a Family (Page 100)
Chapter 8: Lines of Destiny (Page 104)
Hi Friends - Here is a new TS from me. This is a standalonestory, with no relation to the story track in the show. Hope you enjoy theread.
Chapter 1: FlaringHope
The afternoon was pleasant, and cotton candy vendors outsideRajshri cinema did a roaring business. People poured in like bees over afragrant flower, and the huge life size posters of Salman Khan received manyadoring sighs. The ticket counter was overcrowded, as men and women equallystruggled. Another man with black shades on, walked inconspicuously amid thecrowd with a small bundle of papers stuck in between his fingers, as he keptmuttering something.
"Naina, mujhe toh yakeen nahi ho raha ke hum wapas yahaanaaye hai", Preeti, a girl dressed in multicolored skirt, with green topexclaimed.
A girl dressed in blue jeans and pink v-necked top, withher long hair tied in a ponytail grinned, and spread her arms as if rejoicingthe weather, "ek baar toh banta hai yaar."
Another girl who was wearing jeans and orange shirt,sighed, "bol toh aise rahi hai jaise maano aaj ke baad kabhi yahan aayegi hinahi."
Naina grinned at her friend and shrugged, "kaun jaane kismetme kya likha hai kal. Soch na, aisa ladka mila jo bilkul movies nahi dekhta ho,toh mera kya hoga?"
Swati patted her arm, "toh tu mana bhi toh kar sakti hai."
Preeti chuckled, "hamare gharwalo ko jaanti hai fir bhiaisa bol rahi hai? Kal se Naina ko dekhne ladke wale aane lagenge. Iska matlabjaanti hai na? Taiji toh isko bahar bhi nahi nikalne degi. Aur unn logo kelaaye hue saare rishte me, mujhe pura yakeen hai ke ek ladka bhi aisa nahi hogajo movies dekhta ho."
Naina's lips curved downward for a moment, as shecontemplated her future. Preeti and Swati noticed this and tickled her, tryingto cheer her up. Swati hugged her friend, "tu dekh lena. Tujhko Salman se bhi zyadahandsome ladka milega."
Naina smiled, "woh toh hone se raha. Salman se zyadahandsome aur koi ho hi nahi sakta. Achcha chalo ab andar, warna picture shuruho jayegi."
Naina Agarwal, 22, a studious girl from a reputed collegein Ahmedabad, and currently working as a teacher in a school had agreed to meetprospective grooms for her wedding from tomorrow. She considered today as thelast day of her freedom, and hence had wanted to spend it with her best friendSwati, and her sister Preeti. It was her luck that just today a new movie of herfavorite hero, Salman Khan, had released and she had planned to see it with herfriends. Armed with advance booked tickets, the three girls joined the fastmoving haphazard queue of people going inside.
As the three girls entered inside, a whizzing black carcame to a halt outside the theater and two boys descended from it, jumping andcalling to the third one. A man descended from the driver's side, and strokedhis fingers through his hair. He shed his black suit jacket, throwing it insidethe car, and opened one more button on his shirt. A boyish grin lighted up hisface as he saw the antics of his friends.
Locking the car, he rotated his shoulders once, "itnakudo mat dono. Dekhkar koi maanega nahi ke office me kaam karte ho."
One of the boys frowned, "kya yaar Sameer. Subah se tohoffice me the. Ab toh naam japna chod. Movie dekhne ke liye waise bhi tu subah8 baje se kaam karva raha hai."
Sameer laughed, "Munna... yaad hai na. Nanu kehte hai kekaam sabse pehle. Nautanki jitni karni thi college me kar li."
The third friend struck a thoughtful pose, "hmmm... iskamatlab Sameer tu movie me maze nahi karega? Aur andar kisi ladki pe line nahimaarega?"
Sameer punched his friend playfully, "chup kar Pandit...main kaam ke saath maze kar sakta hun. Aur movies dekhna toh kabhi nahichodunga. Lekin haan... ab kisi pe line nahi maar sakta."
As they queued up for tickets, Munna frowned, "tu baataise kar raha hai maano kal hi shaadi kar lega. Isse pehle bhi toh ladkiya dekhchuka hai tu nanaji ke kehne pe."
Sameer looked thoughtful, "haan dekha hai, par woh sab mazak-mastime dekha. Serious nahi tha. Par ab Nanu se waada kiya hai ke jaldi settle hojaunga."
"Bhaiya abhi wale show ki teen ticket dena, balcony ki",Pandit asked.
The man at the ticket counter shook his head, "sorry saabji...ticket toh saare bik gaye. Ab sirf kal ki tickets hai."
The three friends were horrified. Sameer Maheshwari, theheir of Maheshwari industries, was a movie freak, and his two childhood friendsMunna and Pandit always accompanied him to see every movie. This was a ritualthey diligently followed since last ten years, from the time Sameer had permissionto go to theatres alone. Earlier it was a practice for them to see every newmovie in first show. As they had grown up and joined office, the first show hadto be sacrificed, but still they would make time to see on the first day. Itseemed that today luck was not with them.
Sameer however was not one to give up; he looked aroundand spotted the man in black shades meandering through the crowd. He grinnedand muttered, "ticket toh leke rahunga. Chalo yaaro."
After a bit of negotiation, they had three tickets boughtin black, and happily proceeded inside. Pandit enquired, "Sameer... tu keh raha thake nanaji se waada kiya hai. Iska matlab jis ladki se woh kahenge usse shaadi karlega?"
Sameer glanced around at the rows inside the semi-darktheatre, "nahi re. Ladki ko dekhuga, usse baat karunga. Achchi lagi toh hi baataage badhayenge. Nanu meri marzi ke khilaf kabhi kisiko pasand nahi karengemere liye."
They reached their seats, and settled down, excited tosee the movie. Engrossed in their own world they didn't spot the three girlssitting beside them, and the girls also chattered away not paying attention asthe empty seats beside them filled. Few moments later, the lights turned off,plunging them in darkness, and Sameer heard a voice beside him, "shsh... chup karPreeti. Mere Salman ki movie shuru ho rahi hai."
Sameer chuckled to himself, and thought, 'mera Salmantoh aise bol rahi hai jaise maano uska honewala pati ho.'
After the popular ad of Vicco Vajradanti, the beginningcredits started to roll on the screen. A few people hooted and whistled. After anaction-packed start, finally the heartthrob of millions appeared on the screen,and quite a lot of dreamy sighs could be heard in the theatre.
Naina spoke up in an adoring dreamy tone, "haaye... MeraSalman toh iss pure duniya me sabse handsome hai."
Sameer frowned at this Salman obsession, and turned tolook at the girl sitting next to him. He could see she was wearing a pink top,that hugged her curves a little too well for his comfort, but he couldn't seeher face as she was turned away from him talking to the girl sitting next toher. He shifted his eyes back to the screen, to see Salman clad in extra tightred t-shirt and wondered what exactly did girls like in him. He hated suchextravagant multicolored colored shirts and t-shirts, and more than that hehated colored pants.
He shuddered at the thought of wearing such clothes, 'patanahi aaj kal ki ladkiyo ko kya kya pasand aata hai. Kaash kal jisse milne jaaraha hun woh aisi naa ho.'
As confusion of Prem and Raja ensued on-screen, Sameerforgot all thoughts of work and the impending visit to see a prospective bridetomorrow. He started to enjoy every moment of the movie, and laughed heartily,often joking with his friends. The cheerful tune of "tan tana tan tan tan tara"sounded throughout the theatre, and people hooted. Sameer got into the hang ofit, and curved his finger inserting them in his mouth, and whistled loudly.
Naina jerked on hearing the loud whistle beside her, andturned with the intention to give the boy a piece of her mind. At the sametime, when she jerked, her hand brushed against Sameer's and he shuddered,turning to look at the girl next to him. Time seemed to stop as their eyes met,the sounds of the song, whistles and jeers faded away, and a tingle ofawareness ran down their bodies.
Naina's expression suddenly softened, her heart pickingup pace, and she thought, 'maine toh abhi abhi kaha tha ke Salman duniya mesabse zyada handsome hai. Par yeh toh... yeh toh Salman se bhi zyada handsomehai.'
Sameer's eyes widened slightly, his pupils dilating; hisheart gave one loud thud and then started to beat in a slow heavy rhythm, 'wow...yeh toh pink me Karishma se bhi zyada kaatil lag rahi hai.'
Munna hooted and his hand bumped against Sameer's back,and Preeti clasped Naina's hand in her eagerness, thus breaking theunintentional eye lock. The sounds of music and loud claps began to sound again;Sameer and Naina shook themselves and turned towards the screen. What wasthat? They both thought about the sudden sensations that had erupted withinthem, but neither dared to turn and look to reconfirm their reactions. Instead theyboth tried to focus on the screen, and as minutes ticked by, they relaxedpushing the incident to the back of their minds labelling it as an unimportant anomaly.
Naina had just begun to enjoy the movie earnestly again,when another song came up. She started praying inwardly that he shouldn't whistleagain, but to her utmost surprise he suddenly stood up and started dancing withhis friends. How can anyone behave like this in a theatre? Her eyes followeddown his back, noticing the neat white shirt, tucked in black trousers. She wassure he was wearing formal shoes as well, even though she couldn't see them. Hewas well dressed, and that meant he belonged to a good family, so how could he dancelike this... like... like... a tapori... Yes, that's what the three boys were doing,dancing like the tapori Salman Khan in the movie.
Swati giggled at the antics of the boys, and Preetiglared, "pata nahi kahan se aise awara ladke aa jaate hai."
The next few moments passed in a blur for all of them. Munnasuddenly bumped into Sameer who stumbled, sprawling backwards in his seat, hisarms splayed and accidentally one of his arm landed around Naina's shoulder. Hestilled, his entire body pulsing with awareness of how silky her hair feltunder his forearm, how tiny her frame was that his one hand could wrap soeasily around her. She had frozen in shock too, her lips parted, eyes rounded,and Sameer's gaze fixed on her features as he registered the soft curve of hercheeks, the lushness of her lips. He couldn't see the color of her eyes, butthey called to him on some level, making him feel as if he was connected toher.
Naina sat shocked with the weight of his arm around hershoulder, and his gaze fixed on her. She too found herself helpless to react inany way other than looking at his face. His hair looked silky, and was long atthe front, a few locks falling on his forehead. Unknown to her, her fingerstrembled slightly, as if fighting the itch to reach up and set those locksright. His eyes were dark, and something burned behind his pupils, somethingthat evoked a similar burning sensation within her. In the dim ever-changing lightfalling on his face from the big screen, she could see he had a shadow ofstubble, but that darkness failed to hide his chiseled jawline. His mouthsuddenly parted slightly as he breathed out, and her gaze shifted to his lips -perfect, that was the only word that came to her mind, even as she wondered howshe knew his lips were perfect when she hadn't ever seen any other man's lipsever. As he breathed again, her gaze dropped even further and she noticed hehad two buttons undone on his shirt, the slight peek she got of his skin wasenough to accelerate her heartbeats.
Suddenly, his hand was lifted and thrown away from Naina,much to the disappointment of both, which they successfully hid. Preeti haddone that, and was now glaring at Sameer, "yeh kya badtameezi hai. Dur rahomeri behen se, samjhe tum?"
Sameer didn't know why but he was irked at thisinterference, "itna hi badtameez hun toh tumhari behen khud bhi mujhe dur karsakti hai."
"Woh tum jaise awara gire hue ladko ke muh nahi lagti",Preeti flared at the nerve of the unknown boy.
Pandit laughed and leaned forward, "iska matlab tum lagtiho?"
Swati gripped Preeti's shoulders and pulled back, "chodna yaar. Hum movie dekhne aaye hai, jhagda karne nahi."
Munna placed his forearm on the seat partition, andtilted his head, "chalo, teeno me se ek ladki toh khubsurat honeke saath saath samajhdaarbhi hai."
Preeti shrugged off Swati's hand, still glaring atSameer. He narrowed his eyes, challenging her to say something else. His eyesshifted to Naina for a moment, who still looked surprised by whatever hadhappened and was still staring at him. His gaze softened, as he saw her face,and he muttered an apology explaining that he didn't do it on purpose. Nainanodded, averting her eyes from his face. Preeti was still fuming, so sheoffered Naina to exchange seats, "Naina, tujhe wahan problem hai toh idhar aajaa. Wahan main bethti hun."
Sameer pretended to pay attention to the movie, butsilently mumbled under his breath, "don't go... don't go..."
Naina cleared her throat, "jaane de na Preeti. Kuch nahihua, main theek hun. Movie dekhte hai araam se."
As they all focused on the movie, Sameer let out a breathof relief, not understanding why he wanted her to keep sitting beside him.Naina bit the corner of her lip, failing to understand why she didn't want tomove from there.
The lights turned onn as the words "interval" bloomed onthe screen in big bold letters. People got up from their seats, again forming abeeline this time towards the exit to buy some snacks or use the washroom. Thegirls left from one side of the aisle, and the boys from other, Sameer andNaina turned once to look at each other, but as soon as their eyes met theyhastily turned forward slightly embarrassed at having been caught staring.However, at that moment both of them failed to register that they were caughtonly because the other person had also turned to look.
After a quick trip to washroom, the girls bought creamrolls and bottles of mangola for themselves. As they left to go back inside, theboys sauntered over and bought cream rolls and campa cola. The movie started,and all of them resolutely paid attention to the screen. Naina giggled as bothPrem and Raja used their twin status to turn every situation in their favor. Ifshe suddenly found the on-screen Salman Khan less appealing than before, shechose to ignore it, rather than attributing the cause to a certain boy sittingnext to her. Sameer also determinedly focused on the screen, ignoring thesudden impulsive urges to turn his head, and shift his concentration fromKarishma to a certain incredibly alluring girl sitting next to him.
Feeling thirsty, she kept her half-eaten cream-rollcarefully on the partition, and knelt to pick up the bottle of mangola. Sameeralso knelt after a moment to take his bottle of campa cola, but frowned as hishand found nothing. Puzzled he looked here and there, and suddenly spotted thegirl next to him fusing her lips to his bottle and taking a sip, her gaze fixedon the screen.
He smirked, leaning forward, he slowly whispered, "ekbaar puch toh leti peene se pehle."
Meanwhile, Naina had realized that she wasn't drinkingmangola, and on hearing his whisper so close to her she sucked in a huge amountof cold drink and coughed and sputtered. Preeti thumped her back, admonishingher to drink slowly, without shifting her attention from the movie. Nainastared horrified at Sameer, and he chuckled at her state, his eyes darting tothe glistening drops of cola on her lips and chin. He pulled out hishandkerchief, and offered it to her, taking the bottle away from her hands. Sheshook her head, unable to say anything.
He frowned, "le lo. Warna top pe nishaan pad jayenge colddrink ke, fir ghar pe kya bologi", he gently explained somehow sure that thistrip to theatre was not known at her home. Naina hesitated for a few momentsmore, but he patiently waited for her to accept, so she extended her hand andquickly took the kerchief taking care not to touch him. Sameer smiled, andpicked up his cream-roll, turning in his seat and focusing on the movie, notwanting to embarrass her more.
She carefully wiped her mouth, and her top, hoping thatshe didn't miss any stray drop. When she turned to thank him and return hiskerchief, her mouth fell open in surprise as he was munching away on hercream-roll. Slightly annoyed, she poked his arm, angrily hissing, "yeh achchahai... maine galti se tumhari cold-drink pee li toh tum mera cream-roll kha loge."
He looked at her, confused, "kya? Yeh mera cream-rollhai."
She shook her head, and patted the partition, "mera hai. Maineyahan rakha tha."
He frowned, "maine bhi rakha tha."
"Uss side rakha hoga tumne", she suggested.
He sighed, "dekho... yeh mera hi hai, aur maine yahin rakhatha. Lekin isse pehle ke tumhari behen hume baate karte dekhle aur fir jhagde,main uss side bhi dikha deta hun tumko."
He leaned back on his seat as much as he could, so shecould see past him, on the other side, and said, "dekha..." He trailed off, as hesaw a half-eaten cream-roll over there. He glanced up to see Munna and Panditdevouring the last bite of theirs, so that meant... this was his... and the one hewas eating... was hers... Oh shit. He turned to look at her to find her looking athim with an "I-told-you-so" expression.
"Ah... sorry", he started to hand over her cream-roll back,but then hesitated realizing that he had almost finished it. Having a suddenmoment of brainwave, he picked up his own half-eaten cream-roll and offered itto her, "tum yeh kha lo... tumhara wala toh khatam hone aaya hai."
She looked horrified, "kya? Main yeh nahi kha sakti...jhootha hai."
He looked incredulously at her, as if he didn't understandwhat was the issue, "toh usme kya hua? Main toh Munna, Pandit ka jhootha khaleta hun. Abhi bahar nahi jaa sakta warna tumhare liye naya laa deta. Bhuka rehnese achcha hai, yahi kha lo na."
She glared at him, "nahi kha sakti... jhootha khane sepyaar badhta hai."
He coughed once, staring at her in surprise, while sheclapped a hand over her mouth as she realized what she blurted. The expressionin his eyes changed from surprise to something different, and he leaned towardsher, flirtatiously whispering, "hamara pyaar toh mere cold drink aur tumharecream-roll se hi badh gaya hai. Ab yeh wala meetha khake celebrate kar letehai."
She gasped at his audacity, and folded her arms, turningto look at the movie and still fuming. He chuckled and gleefully munched on thecream-rolls in his hand, polishing off both of them. She kept glancing at himfrom the corner of her eyes, and when he licked his fingers cheekily, shemuttered, "bhukkad."
He grinned, and replied, "suna maine."
The rest of the movie passed in peace, or so it seemed. Nainakept glancing at Sameer whenever he shifted, or talked to his friends. Hehelplessly looked at her whenever she gasped or flinched seeing the fightingsequences on screen.
Finally when the end credits started to roll, they got upto leave, and this time the boys didn't turn the other way, rather they made abeeline behind the girls. As they reached the end of the row, Swati and Preetichattered non-stop and merged with the crowd, but Naina stopped as a burly manpushed past her. She stood, trying to catch a glimpse of the others, unable tofind an opening to enter the swiftly moving bunch of people. Suddenly, she feltsomeone shift behind her, and a strong forearm shot out from beside her,grasping the back of the chair on the opposite row, effectively forming abarricade.
"Chalo", Sameer whispered near her ear, and her heartthudded at his gesture as she made her way out finally. All throughout the wayto the exit, she could feel his presence behind her, and she didn't know why itwas so reassuring.
Preeti and Swati were looking for her, and rushed up toher in relief as soon as they saw her exit. Naina smiled, but Preeti wasglaring at Sameer who had exited behind her, and she pulled a face. Not beingone to be left behind, Sameer also stuck his tongue out at her, and Nainagiggled. He glanced at Naina once, and smiled, waving to her.
Naina kept looking at his retreating back, as he threwone arm around each of his friends and the trio made their way out. She didn't knowwho he was, but it seemed as if he was a part of her life, an elemental feelingthat refused to diminish. A soft smile adorned her face constantly as she wenthome in auto. What was his name? His friend had called him... What was it... yes...Sameer. She whispered the name, feeling the newness and yet an inherentfamiliarity.
Sameer smiled to himself while driving home, thinking howmuch he had enjoyed sparring with that girl in theater. She was beautiful, hethought, recalling her features and how she looked in pink. It was the firsttime he had genuinely flirted with a girl. In college he had been often taggedas the flirt, and eligible bachelor, but all his flirting had been limited toharmless territory. Given the reputation of his family name, and Nanu's beliefin him, he had refrained from forming any alliances with any girl that he couldn'tmaintain. Plus he had never felt interested in those girls who batted theireyelashes at him because he was handsome and rich. The girl, what was her namenow... oh yes... Naina... how could he forget? Naina... He tested the name, as if savoringthe texture of the syllables. She didn't know him, but there had been a certainspark between them, that he longed to explore. Maybe he could look her up, it wouldn'tbe difficult to find her, he thought. If nothing, then he could land up in allthe shows of the next Salman movie. He chuckled at her obsession of Salman, andat his own sudden obsession of finding her.
The world of dreams, beautiful and pleasurable, washowever short-lived. All hopes and the newness of the uncertainty crashed asthey reached home and their respective family members talked about the meetingnext day.
Sameer went to the terrace at night, and took in severaldeep breaths, his hand clutching the parapet as he cursed himself for flirtingwith an unknown girl, when he had just promised his Nanu that he would settledown. He was meeting a girl tomorrow, for God's sake. How had he let himself bedistracted?
Naina kept the white handkerchief - that she hadforgotten to return - in her secret bag. This bag contained a picture of snowymountains, a journal of stories, and valentine heart that she had bought forherself, and now this handkerchief - all unfulfilled dreams. How had she let herselfbe in this situation?
Lying on their beds, they both looked at the moon outsidetheir windows, wondering what tomorrow would bring, praying to let this nightbe the longest because for once they felt that the sunrise would only snub theflaring hope their hearts had experienced today.
Please do let me know your thoughts...Edited by MSK04 - 2019-07-20T14:34:28Z
Topic started by MSK04
Last replied by shelly_nair