“I thought all kids with big house, lots of toys, lots of servants to look after are always happy”, she said after listening to my story.
“Its not necessary all kids with all luxuries are happy. What’s the use of such luxuries when your parents don’t have time for you”.
“Hmm, then why didn’t you try to come out of it”.
“Where would I go and I had started to believe this is the only way of life. Because I had never really seen the outer world which you showed me today”.
“I am glad I could make you happy”.
“Who all are there in your family”?
“My family, my parents and me”.
“You don’t have any siblings”?
“No, but whenever I feel like having a sister or brother, do you know what I do”?
“I just go to that orphanage run by my parents. I play with them, talk to them, eat with them. They feel so happy and thank me but the fact is they are giving me happiness by letting me play with them. Its so hard without parents, right”?
For the first time in this entire day I saw pain in Neha’s eyes.
“Hey, you became emotional again”, I said to her.
“Sorry, was just thinking about those who don’t have any family”.
“Don’t think too much. You look good when bubbly. This sad face doesn’t suit you”.
“Hmm, I know. Here back to being myself”, and she laughed.
“That’s better. Another 10 minutes and we have to get out of here”.
“The day went just like that”.
“Yes but you have given me the best memories of my life which I would never forget”.
“Anytime dude. I have also enjoyed a lot with you. So what will you be doing for tonight”?
“You said its your third anniversary right, won’t you do anything special”.
“Oh, but where’s the time now. Whole day is gone”.
“But you still have whole night dude. Don’t be such a bore”.
Neha insisted I should do something special for Sapna like taking her to dinner or something like that. Even I wanted to spend some quality time with Sapna.
“Ok, I will take her to dinner tonight. I will just call her and ask her to get ready. She will be very happy”, I said.
“Don’t be stupid dude. She will be more happy if you don’t give her a call”.
“Now what does that mean”?
“I mean give her a surprise dumbo”.
“Surprise!! You mean take her to dinner without any prior notice”?
“Are you going on any business meeting or taking your business partner so that you have to give any notice and all, its your fiancee man”.
“But what if she has other plans”.
“Just seeing you at her door, I am sure she will cancel all her plans. Mark my words she will be super happy dude”.
“Again but, just be spontaneous. You don’t have to be formal always, at least not with your loved ones”.
Neha was right. Sapna would be thrilled to see this new side of me.
“Ok, now come on. I will drop you to your place”. I said as we reached my car parked outside Sankey tank.
“No dude, I will carry on from here”.
“Neha its already late and…..”
“No issues. My house is walkable from here. You don’t worry”.
“But still, I don’t think its safe. I mean..”
“I am a brave girl man. Don’t worry about me. And you take care. It was one fun filled day for me”.
“It was for me as well. Can we be in touch”?
“You know I don’t believe in all this right. If we are destined to meet again, we will meet”.
“What if I feel like talking to you or seeing you”?
“Just close your eyes and talk to yourself. Believe me you will feel more relaxed”.
“But I will track you down Neha. Not sure when but yes I will get you”.
“Well then, good luck to you”, she kissed me and bid good bye.
Neha lived in hostel. Her hometown was Goa. I don’t know still what all had to come. Why did she had to lie about all this? When she had bid goodbye to me on that day, I had seen something unusual in her eyes. Her eyes revealed so many things she wanted to say. I know she might be having her own reasons to lie and now I wanted to know what were those reasons. In these three months she might have forgotten me but she was always in my heart. I had considered her as one of my best friend with whom I had shared all my feelings. She had opened that door of my heart which I had closed to everyone. With each progress in my search, now I was sure she was not far from me.
I went to canteen in search of Vishal, her boyfriend according to that girl. Hopefully he would know more details about her. She was becoming a mystery to me and I at any cost wanted to solve this mystery. I don’t know why I want to meet her so desperately but yes I want to meet her at least once.
“Hey Sunil!! How come you here, that too at this time”? Asked Sapna surprisingly seeing me at her doorstep.
“Well I had to cancel my meeting”.
“But, you said it was important right? Anyways come on in”.
“Yes, I will explain you everything later. I have come to take you out to dinner”.
“You have come to… what.. I mean you never decide such things without informing or…..”, she was very confused with my behaviour.
“Its our third anniversary, so I thought I will give you a surprise visit and take you to dinner”.
“Is everything fine with you Sunil”?
“Yes Sapna, now will you please get ready and come”.
I knew Sapna would be surprised to see me like this but as Neha said she was more happy than surprised. She readily agreed to come with me without making any excuses unlike me who always had one or the other reason to cancel our outings. I had planned a very well dinner and some more surprise for her.
“So where are we going”? she asked me.
“Have patience my love”.
“Wow, you are being very romantic today. What’s the matter. Bagged some big deal or what”?
“Can’t I be romantic just like that”?
“Well I have never seen you being romantic at any time though”.
“Today I have realised so many things. I have realised money is not everything. Relationships do matter a lot”.
“How come this sudden realisation”?
“Bangalore‘s traffic is never ending. Let me tell you about my day out today”.
I started to tell her everything that happened today right from the time I left the house to Chennai. How I met Neha, how my car broke down, from where we took bus, how I had to cancel my important meeting, everything. Sapna was very surprised to hear all this but was also very pleased because it had completely changed me as a person. She was happy for my changed behaviour and my approach towards our relationship.
“Wow, this place is awesome. I don’t think we have ever been here”, Sapna said as soon as we entered the restaurant.
“No, this is the first time and as it is our anniversary today, place had to be unique”.
“This is too good Sunil. I would never forget this day and why is this restaurant so empty”.
” I have booked the whole place”.
“What!!! You booked this whole restaurant!! But why”?
“Like I said, its our anniversary today and I have something special for you”.
“You still have something. I don’t know if I am able to handle anything more than this. Don’t spoil me Sunil”.
“You deserve to be pampered Sapna. I never really cared about you or your feelings. But today, don’t stop me. I want to give you all the happiness”.
I had made all the arrangements in the restaurant. Light music was playing in the background. Lights were adjusted to suit the occasion. This was the first time we were having romantic dinner, “A Real Romantic Dinner”.
“How’s all this Sapna? Do you like it”? I asked her about the arrangements I had made.
“Like it? I love it Sunil. I had seen you organising only business deals till date. But I never knew you can plan a very well romantic dinner as well”.
“I have something to tell you, just a second”.
I got up from the chair, went down on my knees, took out the ring from my pocket and facing towards her I said, “I love you Sapna. I always did and always will. I promise you I would never hurt you and try to give you all the happiness you deserve. I will be with you in thick and thin. I want to grow old with you because you are one amazing person I could ever have. Will you marry me Sapna”?
“Oh Sunil….. Of course I will, I love you too, so very much”, she accepted my proposal with tears of joy in her eyes and hugged me never to let me go. I hugged her back and kissed her. Finally after five long years of knowing each other and three long years of love, we decided to get married.
“Excuse me, Vishal”? I asked the boy sitting in canteen.
“Hi, I am Sunil”.
“Sorry, do I know you”?
“Not really. I wanted to talk to you about Neha”.
“Neha? How do you know her”?
“Well, that’s a long story. For now just know that I am her friend and I wanted some details about her”.
“Details, but you said that she is your friend”.
“Yes, I had met her only once. Can you please tell me where can I find her”.
“Why do you think I know about her”?
“I got to know that you are her boyfriend”?
“I was, not anymore. She has also left the college. I don’t have any contact with her now”.
“But you must be knowing her address or contact number”.
“She was one character. We were in a relationship but she was a total mystery to me. She never really shared anything. I really loved her but she didn’t wanted to get committed”.
Vishal told me he and Neha got into relationship during their second year. They were together only for six months. Initially it was only for fun but later Vishal really started to like her and proposed for serious commitment. But Neha never wanted anything serious and they broke off.
Vishal said Neha would never tell anything about her parents or hometown. Whenever he used to ask, she just used to brush off the matter saying she don’t want to talk about her personal life. Vishal loved Neha very much and tried to convince her for serious relationship but Neha was adamant with her decision. Vishal had last seen Neha when she had come to college to collect her TC and bid goodbye to all her friends before leaving the college.
Vishal tried to ask her contact number and address so that they can be in touch as friends but Neha didn’t give him any details but only said, “if we are destined to meet again, then we will meet”.
“Another two days, but you said you have found her college right”? Sapna was asking me over the phone.
“Yes, but the staff here cannot give her details without the permission of principal”.
“So get the permission”.
“The principal is on leave and will return after two days Sapna”.
“But Sunil, mom and dad will be coming soon. I thought you would make it by then”.
“I want to Sapna but you know this is also very important to me”.
“I understand. Ok you carry on and keep me updated”.
“I am sorry Sapna. I know its hard for you to manage there but…..”, I could sense disappointment in her voice.
“Its ok Sunil. Don’t worry, I will take care here. Love you”.
“Love you too Sapna”.
I know I was giving hard time to Sapna but finding Neha was also important to me. In two days finally I will be getting some information about her. Hope there is not another dead end.
“Good evening Sir, any luck today”? Anurag asked me as soon as I reached home.
“I found her college but still no luck with her whereabouts”.
“But they will be knowing about her address”.
“Yes they know but I have to get principal’s permission who is on leave and will be coming after 2 days”.
“Oh, another two days of waiting for you then”.
“Yes, anyways how come you here”?
“I wanted your sign on these documents Sir”.
“Oh, how long have you been waiting here”?
“Just 10 minutes Sir. If you could sign these papers”?
I signed the papers and Anurag took my leave. Another two days and hopefully I would get all my answers. I had never made a friend as close as Neha in my entire life. I could stop this search now and come back after my marriage but I want her to attend my wedding. Neha was the one because of whom I had found this happiness in my life and I wanted to share with her. I wanted to show her that I am a changed man now.
“Good morning Mr Sunil. Sorry to keep you waiting”, addressed the principal seeing me waiting in his cabin.
“Not a problem Sir but how do you know me”? I asked him with surprise as I had not yet introduced me.
“This is a silly question. You are the famous leading business tycoon”.
“Oh you do keep track of businessmen then”.
“Well only successful businessmen”, he laughed.
“Thanks for your compliment Sir”.
“So how can I help you”?
“I am here in search of one girl Neha who used to study in your college”.
“What about her”?
“I got to know she has left the college and I want to know her whereabouts. The staff here said that it can’t be given without your permission”.
“Hmm, they are right but Mr Sunil, its against our rules to hand out this confidential information about someone especially when the student has left the college”.
I started the next day with new enthusiasm. I was very happy about Sapna accepting my marriage proposal. I knew she would but I was happy about my approach towards her which had a deep impact on her. I had never seen her as happy as she was last night. For the first time I realised what I meant to her. I had a very special place in her heart. Neha was right. Making others happy would in turn make us tremendously happy and if it is for our loved ones then our happiness has no bounds. I was never excited in my life to this extent, not even when I had won an award for best businessman.
There were still lot of things I wanted to change one of which involved my attitude towards my staff. Till date I didnt had clear visualisation of my staff. Except for some important members I didn’t know anyone in person. They greet me daily but I was least bothered to greet them back. I don’t know if this was my pride of being supreme but now I wanted to change this behaviour and consider everyone equally.
“Good morning Sir”, greeted Anurag as soon as I entered my office.
“Good morning Anurag. Please see me in my cabin.
He was astonished with my pleasant behaviour.
“May I come in Sir”?
“Please come in Anurag. Have your seat”?
“I am fine Sir”.
“Please have your seat Anurag”.
“Thank you Sir. You look very different and very happy today”.
“Well I am and will be the same everyday now”.
“I didn’t understand Sir”.
“I want to call a meeting of our whole staff. I have some important things to discuss”.
“Whole staff!! This is the first time we are having some meeting like this Sir”.
“I know, now will you please arrange this meeting in one hour”.
“Straight away Sir. One more thing, that Chennai people had called to arrange a meeting”.
I asked Anurag to give those Chennai people any date they wish for. Anurag arranged a meeting of our whole staff.
“Good morning everyone. I know you all may be wondering about this meeting as this is the first time we all are gathered at one place. To ease your tension, no one is getting redundant. I guess this has eased the atmosphere now”.
They all had a small laugh among themselves.
“That’s good. Well I have few things to share with you all. I know I was never a good employer. I still don’t know many of your names here. I never cared to listen to your queries. You all have worked hard to build this empire. But I have never appreciated your work. I want to promise to all of you that things will be different now. I want to share a friendly relationship with you all. Your hard work will be very well appreciated. I have called this meeting to assure you all that everyone will be treated equally and please feel free to talk to me regarding any concerns. I hope we will make this work. Thank you one and all”.
I could see the happy faces of my staff members. I was feeling proud about my new attitude.
“That was great Sir. I had never seen this side of yours”, said Anurag once the meeting was finished.
“As I said, you will see me like this everyday now”.
“May I know the reason for this sudden change Sir”?
“Yesterday’s day out changed my whole perspective about life and its meaning Anurag. I am glad that my flight got cancelled yesterday. And I would also want to apologise for my behaviour towards you till date”.
“You are embarrassing me Sir. You don’t have to do this”.
“But I want to Anurag. You have tolerated me these many years inspite of my arrogant behaviour”.
“Please Sir, I can understand your position. Running an entire company is not a joke and people tend to become arrogant at times. I don’t have any issues with that”.
I am trusting you on this Mr Sunil and giving you her details as I am very well aware about your reputation. Hope I will not be in any problem” said the principal who after much convincing agreed to provide me the details about Neha.
“Absolutely Sir. You can mark my words. I assure you that you or your college name will never show up in any case”.
“Well in that case, I will get her details for you. She was a very bright student. She didn’t give me the exact reason for her discontinuation but then you can never understand today’s young generation you see”.
“Very true Sir. Do you know her in person”?
“Yes of course. She had come through scholarship. Only I knew about her true identity and she had requested me not to disclose about it to anyone”.
“True identity!!! What does that mean Sir”?
“Well she was an orphan and used to live in orphanage until she joined here in hostel. I have only her orphanage address but I am not sure if she still lives there. You can try your luck though”.
Orphan!!!! I couldn’t believe what I had just heard from the principal. Neha was an orphan. This was another and biggest shock for me. I now remembered why she said that her parents run an orphanage. She considered them as her own parents. I can now understand what she felt when she was asking about my family.
The principal gave me the address of her orphanage which was at the outskirts of Bangalore, about 100kms. I was now able to put everything in place now. That day she had come to collect her college leaving certificate. But where did she go after I left her. I wished she returned to her orphanage.
Her orphanage was the last hope for me now. If I couldn’t find her there then it will be the end of my search. If she has left her orphanage I am sure she would not have told them about her whereabouts as far as I know her. I decided to set off my journey to her orphanage the very next day.
“When can I talk to your parents”? I asked Sapna.
“Anytime. In fact they are very happy about the news”.
“Oh so you told them about the proposal”?
“Of course. They were pressurising me from a long time. How about this weekend”?
“I am cool with it”.
“Sunil, you are giving me word just like that. I mean don’t you have to check your appointments”?
“Other things can wait sweetheart. Talking to your parents is the first priority now”.
“Wow, I must thank that girl in person who has changed you to such an extent”.
“True, so weekend, Saturday or Sunday”?
“Saturday for dinner, is it fine”?
“Ok, no issues”.
Saturday dinner was fixed. I was going to talk to Sapna’s parents regarding our marriage. Usually these things are managed by elders but since there is no one in my family, I had to do this. Sapna’s parents were not very hard to talk to but yes I had made them wait for a long time now.
“Hello young man, how are you”? greeted Sapna’s father.
“Very well uncle, thank you. Hope I am not late”.
“You are always very punctual son. Have your seat. Ladies are in the kitchen”.
“Oh there must be some big feast then”? I gave a light laugh.
“Of course, today is the special occasion after all”.
Sapna and her mom came out of the kitchen to welcome me.
“Hello son, exactly on time”? asked her mom.
“Oh you both know him na ma. Whether its any business meeting or family dinner, he is never late”, teased Sapna.
“Do you want me to go and come back after a while then”? I asked Sapna sarcastically.
We all had a laugh at it. Sapna’s brother couldn’t make it as he was on duty. We all were well settled and it was time for me to come to the matter.
“Ok everyone, may I have your attention please”, I started to address Sapna and her parents and continued, “Uncle and Aunty you must be knowing the reason for today’s gathering. I know I have made you wait for a long time now but not anymore. I officially want to ask your daughter’s hand in marriage for myself. I am sorry I have to do this as you are very well aware that no one is there on my family. I am not saying I am the best guy but I do promise that I would try to be a best husband and look after your daughter very well. I will be with her in all the phases of life. I assure you, your daughter will be very happy with me. So uncle and aunt can I get a right to call you mom and dad from now”? I concluded my speech.
Sapna’s parents were very happy the way I approached them. They gave their blessings and assured that they will soon fix a date for wedding. Finally I was going to settle down with the love of my life. Sapna is the best companion anyone could have and I couldn’t have asked for more.
“Are you serious? I don’t believe this Sunil”!!! Sapna was shocked to hear about Neha being an orphan after I called to update her.
“Even I am under shock Sapna. None of her friends or college mates know about this except for the principal”.
“But why did she kept this a secret”.
“The principal said that she didn’t wanted anyone to sympathise her on this matter and therefore she didn’t wanted to disclose her true identity”.
“This is bizarre Sunil. I can understand how you must be feeling now”.
“She has become a total mystery now Sapna. I am just so confused”.
“Don’t stress yourself too much. Will you be going to her orphanage”?
“I am setting off tomorrow. That’s the last place I could find her. If she has left from there, then I am coming back Sapna”.
“Don’t lose hope Sunil. I am sure you will find her. Just be calm and remember one thing, I am always there for you. Don’t worry anything about here, I will take care everything. Love you dear”.
Sapna’s parents had come down. She didn’t let me know about what stress she was going through but I very well understood her plight. Another two days and her brother will also be coming down. If I coudn’t find Neha in orphanage I would be left with no other option but to return back. There is no much time left for the wedding now and I could not be selfish anymore.
Sapna was the one who had suggested me to invite Neha for our wedding. She wanted to meet her in person and thank her for all the changes she had brought in me. I just hoped that I could find her.
I called Anurag and informed him about my tomorrow’s trip.
“I will be leaving tomorrow early morning Anurag”.
“Sure Sir, will you be returning tomorrow or you are planning to stay back”.
“I am not sure yet. First let me find her. I will keep you updated”.
“Ok, hope you find her Sir. All the best”.
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