It's Not Right...but It's Okay(5)

By: Anuj Tiwari

Someone from the crowd asks, ‘What do you think about Indian families and their opinions about love and arranged marriage?’

Arjun smiles and remembers the discussion he had last night with his family. He answers after taking some time. ‘I’m looking for the answer myself. I am a victim of the same type of family.’

Everyone starts laughing.

He doesn’t take much time getting comfortable with the audience and soon everyone is listening to him with rapt attention. Even the host is giggling standing near him.

‘You have a good sense of humour,’ the host mutters into Arjun’s ears as he takes another sip before requesting for the last question of the session.

‘Credit goes to my family,’ he says with a funny expression.

Both of them laugh. Arjun realizes that he has answered almost every question well, barring a few.

‘Last question, Arjun,’ someone says from the back. ‘What do you think about true love in today’s world? Does it really exist or is it just a term which is used in books and never found in hearts.’

Arjun follows the voice in order to find who has asked this question. At the extreme end he spots the face and smiles before answering her question.

She gets up and repeats her question.

‘Hi, this is Anushka. Can you tell us something about the similarity between the love you have experienced in your own life and the one you write about in your books?

Arjun is surprised but does not let it appear on his face. He pretends she is an unknown face.

‘Love still exists in hearts, not in books. Books exist to make them live forever. And to answer your question specifically, there is nothing called true or fake love or book-ish love for me. It’s completely about how we feel about someone, and I believe if you love someone you love them forever. So, whatever I have experienced in life I have tried to translate it in my books. I feel lucky to be able to convey them in words. Well, I just want to say, if we have a past that we aren’t particularly proud of, it doesn’t mean that we can’t have a promising future. To those of us who have a great present, let’s cherish these moments and look forward to a wonderful future.’

The session gets over in the next few minutes and Arjun desperately looks for Anushka in the crowd.

He is reminded of the first time he met her. It was when she was gorging on a hot dog in a college cafeteria, and he had accidentally laughed at her loudly. Though he had to pay a price for it later, it was all worth it because he got a friend like her.

‘Are you looking for me, Arjun?’

He turns back and notices the wide stunning smile and the adorable dimples that have become more prominent over the last couple of years. Anushka looks beautiful. The innocent yet playful expression in her eyes; the pronounced cheekbones and her long eye lashes; her shiny long honey-coloured hair, red luscious lips, a heart-shaped face and her luminous black eyes; her understated beauty is enough to make many men go weak in their knees. Arjun smiles and gives her a hug.

‘If you have come here just for me, it is the nicest surprise anyone has ever given me. Though I doubt that you had it in mind to surprise me,’ he says.

He takes out a chocolate from the inner pocket of his blazer. He usually carries one, especially if he’s going for an event.

‘I know surprising people is not your thing. So are you going out of your way just to show that you care for me?’ He gives her the chocolate. ‘This is for you. And why don’t you start wearing blue lenses. You’s look smoking hot in them.’

‘Shut up. I look pretty anyway. By the way, since when did you start keeping chocolates in your pocket? Is there someone special in your life?’ she asks.

‘These help when people ask tough questions and I can’t answer them,’ he says, taking out a piece of chocolate and popping it into his mouth.

They both have a hearty laugh.

‘So you didn’t tell me yet. What is the reason you are in Kolkata? You were supposed to come with me, right?’

‘Yes, I am on vacations with family. I have come with my chacha and chachi. Just to spend time with my family. Moreover, I was following your updates on Facebook, so thought it would be fun to give you a surprise. I extended my stay here by one more day and have come to meet you. By the way that was a nice line you read earlier—if we have a past that we aren’t particularly proud of, it doesn’t mean that we can’t have a promising future. To those of us who have a great present, let’s cherish these moments and look forward to a wonderful future. That’s so true. You have learnt so many things from me in the last couple of years.’