This short story became SPIXer (Most popular story) on 29 Nov 2014 and won INR 500
Every love story is unexpected. Love is an odd feeling. Only this one could be the cause of so many contrary feelings at a time; pain, happiness, bliss & insecurity.
She was sitting on a wooden bench under a full bloomed royal poinciana tree (Gulmohor tree); folding her knees, keeping her chin above them, hugging them tightly, staring at nothing specifically on the ground, remembering an unexpected love story. It was her own story. She was in deep thought but nobody knows she had lost her every power to think except about one person, her life, only love, only dream, her everything. She had realized it long before but now it’s too late. She had lost him, forever.
“You’re no longer married to each other. The court hereby grants you divorce’ Still the judge’s announcement was ringing into her ears. Now it is official, she is no longer Sweata Arun Roy. She had turned into Sweata Sengupta again.
He was the blue eyed boy of his family and friends; only heir to kolkata-based ‘AR Industries’. He was the most desirable, the prince charming to every girl in the city; quite regular in page-3 for his high profile affairs. As per the game played by his fate, now he had to come to get the final verdict of his divorce case. Outside the court, especially at the front gate, hawking & ever enthusiastic media was waiting for him. So he decided to leave from the backyard. For this reason only, he had denied his mourning mother and grand-mother to come along with him in the morning. Now onwards he had to live alone, especially without her; forever.
It was his last day as the husband of Sweata Roy; most venerated, beautiful, adorable, innocent, actually the best girl he ever met. Throughout the whole procedure inside the court, like a thirsty man for century, he had observed her from the corner of his eyes. He was terribly missing that blood red vermillion at the partition of her hair, white & red bangles around her porcelain white slender hands. Verdict had already come; she was no longer belonged to him. He had lost every right over her. Suddenly he felt great difficulty to breathe; she always loved Soham and hated him, always. She deserved the best, all the happiness in this world. He couldn’t force her to live with him, only for his sake. Thinking about her happiness, for the first time on that day, he smiled although that didn’t reach to ears/eyes. Unknowingly, staring at the red gulmohor flowers at the farthest corner of the court, he started approaching towards that.
At that moment, Soham Saha was the most confused soul on this earth. He was never been in such dilemma, even after Arun eloped & forcefully married to Sweata or continuously bullied or blackmailed him to marry his psycho sister, Aruna. But last few months’ experience has made him confused like hell. He couldn’t able to decide whether he should be happy or not. Sweata was his one and only love. But only because of his negligence and stupidity, that innocent and beautiful soul had to suffer a lot for almost one year. Yes, it was true that all misunderstandings between him & Arun had already been resolved. And now after this divorce, he could marry his lady love. This time no one like Arun Roy could dare to snatch his Sweata. But even after this favorable situation, he wasn’t feeling good at all.
Soham took a deep breath & thought again. Fact was that he couldn’t wait anymore to get her back. Just few days back, when her father, Mr. Malin Sengupta came to his home with their marriage proposal, both his familyand he himself readily accepted that proposal. Their ever anxious family also fixed the date after 2 months. Soham was the happiest soul then but now from the bottom of his heart, he had begun to feel Sweata’s aloofness towards him. She stopped behaving charmingly around him like she used to before. Probably she wasn’t happy like she used to. She had changed a lot, extremely stand-offish with all her surroundings.
He wandered his eyes in search of her and again thought; maybe these one year of high voltage drama had left a grave impact on her innocent mind. She needed times to come back in her old self. Instantly Soham decided to give her few more times to readapt with the changing situations. Later both of them can sit together and make plans about their future. Spotting her under a gulmohor tree immediately Soham moved towards her, they had to avoid all the media glares at that moment, should left the premises.
Approx 1 year back,
22 years old, a blooming Kathak dancer, Sweata Sengupta was well aware of all the male attentions for her exquisite outer beauty. But she always avoided such attractions and remained single till date. Her only dream was her dance and family’s happiness.
One day, after her performance, when she was busy in wiping her makeup at her dressing room, suddenly a boy came with a king size bouquet of beautiful red roses. It was from someone called Soham Saha. At first she ignored but her breath got hitched when her eyes fall on the note, few lines from ‘Unending love of Rabindra Nath Tagore’.
“Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you
The love of all man’s days both past and forever:
Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life.”
For the first time, she received a poetic note like that. She found that gesture very interesting and kept the note.
But after that day, end of her each performance, she started to receive such bouquets of red roses with new notes, sometimes those also bore few original lines. But she always failed to get a glimpse of the actual sender. With the passing months, it turned into her habit to wait for those bouquets after any performance and slowly she began to feel a desperate urge to meet that man who loved her dance as well as such a poetic by heart.
“Sweata, Are you busy? I need to talk to you. I mean, it’s urgent”.
“Yes baba. I am not busy, especially not for you. Never. Tell me? Anything serious? ” She loved her foster parents very much. She can do anything for them.
“We receive a marriage proposal for you. They are really well known, aristocrat and rich family. They are really good people”
Immediately Sweat’s face fall and for the first time she felt a pinch within her heart. She knew very well that without seeing him, she had already started feeling some divine connections. Although it wasn’t love, surely she began to like him more with each passing day. But the age of her dismay wasn’t very long as she heard her father,
“Actually I have already met the boy. He is extremely well behaved man and within his 28 years, has become a successful business man. His name is Soham Saha. They, themselves came with the proposal. I know, there are hell & heaven difference between our statuses. But they are really fond of you; especially your dance. They don’t have any problem with you dance, even after marriage.”
God knows only, how she stopped herself from jumping in joy. But somehow composing herself, she nodded her head in affirmation and spoke in extremely low voice,
“As you wish, baba. I have nothing to say against your choice.”
With her thudding heart when Sweata looked up to see that very person sitting in front of her. Automatically their eyes and left her speechless. She couldn’t believe her luck. He was the man whom every girl wants to have as their own, extremely handsome and according to her baba, well behaved too. She smiled softly and nodded in positive when he asked her opinion silently with his hypnotizing eyes.
Shyam placed his hand on her cold ones. They were in a private cabin of a plush restaurant, sitting on a sofa, side by side, to talk privately for the first time after their sudden hush-hush engagement.
“Sweata, Sorry, of asking you so late. But….Are you okay with this proposal? Are you happy with me? Is there anyone…” Soham asked hesitantly. Before he could finish, Sweata nodded in affirmation and spoke softly.
“Pl…Please. If there was anyone, I would have told you already. Actually I called you yesterday for some other reasons. I wanted to ask you something.”
Their eyes met again.
“Tell me, What do you want to know?”
“Why didn’t you meet me before? Umm. You were sending me those roses, but you never came to meet me…”
Soham smiled and without any hesitation held her chin within his thumb and index finger.
“Sweata, I know you may found it bit cliché. But it’s true that I fell in love when I first saw you dancing. That night I realized that you are too precious to me. I can’t roam with a girl like you. And I decided to test myself for few more days whether it was a mere infatuation from my side or love. And when I realized my love for you, immediately I sent this proposal. I want to have you in my life, forever.”
Sweata suddenly started feeling goose bumps each & every portion of her body. She blushed profusely but refused to look directly at his eyes.
“Is it okay, if we fixed a date after one month? I…I can’t live without you anymore.”
Sweata didn’t reply. Soham then moved few inches towards her. Snaking his left arm around her petite waist, pulling her almost into his lap, he bent his head, kept his lips near her left ear. At first he smelled her flowery fragrance then spoke huskily,
“Then, it’s final. You will be mine, entirely mine…after one month.”
She nodded in positive & smiled hesitantly. Their closeness was playing havoc within her virgin body. She never had been so close to any man. At first Soham brushed his lips on her cheek, but then seeing her shiver in anticipation, he readily understood that such intimacy was new to her. It gave him the immense pleasure. Brushing his fingers over her lush hair, and giving a peck on her already rosy cheek he spoke,
“We will do much more, after our marriage.” He winked at her and Sweata instantly fall in love with her Soham.
“Get a room guys. This is a public place.” Soham chided his best friend Arun & his current girlfriend Ananya. When he entered, they were busy in kissing each other like there was no tomorrow. As usual Ananya was in utmost revealing clothe which Soham disliked most. He always abhorred such girls who are physically clingy. He loved his extremely spoiled friend but hate his choices and his way of living.
“Ohh…here comes the best guy in this world, Soham Saha”. Living Ananya’s mouth abruptly, Arun yelled in joy.
“Stop it Arun. Ananya please leave us alone for some times.”
She hesitated first but left when Arun gestured her to leave. After she left, Soham added, “You know very well that I don’t like the presence of such girls. Shame on you. At least don’t spoil her image, she is …
“Hey… hey ..…Please Soham don’t start those age old lectures. After all, we are in a pub. She’s my girlfriend not yours. I never lay my eyes on your….”
Raising his hands up in the air, like surrendering, Arun said,
“Sorry..bro… tell me…why the good boy is here? With me?”
“I was trying your phone for last few days. But as usual it was busy or switched off or maybe you were deliberately avoiding me. So I had to come here, Actually I have a good news to share with you, Arun I am already engaged and getting married within one months.
“What the!!!!! With whom? That middle class …dancer…”
“Stop it! Don’t use such languages. There’s no use to talk to you…You are drunk. You know it will affect you diabetes. Yet…” Soham rebuked his friend and tried to leave.
“Sorry Bro. Sorry… Please. So you are getting married with your dream girl.”
Soham smiled immediately & said,
“Yes. She’s my princess. Her name is Sweata. We got engaged when you were in Greece, for your so called business trip.” He rolled his eyes and added, “You may not remember, but I told you then. I can’t live without her. So, without informing anyone, unofficially we got engaged in front of our family. I am planning to throw a bigger party before our marriage”.
“Congrtaz yaar!.. … You once told me… She dances like nymph…Then I have to inform ma & Aruna. They will be so happy for you.”
“Ohh… Arun! Thanks bro.…”
Without any preamble, Arun pulled Soham into a bear hug.
2 days later,
Entirely disheveled Arun entered into Soham’s cabin & reaching up to him, he held his collars with murderous rage,
“How dare you? How dare you going to marry someone else?”
“What? Arun!…Have you gone mad? What …what happened?.”.At fist Soham thought he was playing any prank with her.
Instead of replying him, Arun slapped his friend hard.
“You have to marry Aruna, Now. She loves you and your scumbag dog, you ditched her.”
“What! No… Have you lost your mind?” This time Soham pushed Arun back. Holding his collar, he shouted back,
“I never love Aruna… I have already told her….. Long before; even day before yesterday, when we had a huge argument on this issue. I love Sweata.I always do. I will marry her. She is my life… My everything…”
“No you can’t ditch my sister for a middle class girl, a mere dancer. You have no idea, how many beds she had already warmed before you…”
“Arun!” Soham slapped him hard and added,
“Get Out!!! Go to hell with you psycho sister… Arun… Go to hell… I won’t marry her…Tell her to warm others beds not mine….. I am not interested……”
In reflex, instantly Arun punched him hard at his face. But wiping his blood from the corner of his mouth, Soham smiled at him wickedly.
“Arun, It’s so sad that once I considered you as my best friend. But that never gave you the authority to force me. I was never interested in your sister. It’s not my fault that she loves me. I don’t love her. I love Sweata & I will marry her.”
“Don’t you dare to hurt Aruna.”
“I can’t help it. I love Sweata & will marry her. It’s final”
Arun was breathing hard like a caged tiger. Throwing all the land phones on the floor, pointing his index finger towards Soham, he roared,
“You have to pay for this” & left immediately.
At that night, around 11pm, Soham received a call from hysterically sobbing Malin Gupta and got to know that Arun has forcefully married with Sweata and already took her to ‘Roy Villa’. Next moment, that receiver fell from his hand with a thud and broke into pieces just like his heart.
“Sweata, we should leave.”
“Huh…” Sweata blankly stared at the source of that known voice.
“Umm…Actually everyone has left. Uncle aunty, my…parents…. Only we two are left.”
“Oh!” Sweata tried to stand on her feet, but her head began to spin. Before she could fall on the ground, Soham rushed to her and gathered her within his arms.
“Sweata, are you okay? What…what happened?”
“I…I am fine….I just…”
“Ohh…You should take rest. It was quite a hectic day.” Soham again made her sit on that bench and he, himself sat on his knees, just in front of her. Holding her knuckles within his, he asked softly,
“Sweata, are okay? Tell me, what’s bothering you? Please.”
Sweata nodded her head in negative but tears started flowing down through her cheeks.
“Please Sweata, You know very well, my first priority is yours happiness. Tell me, what happened? I will solve that. Did anyone tell anything?”
Still Sweata remained silent. Soham was turning impatient with each passing second. He asked again, “What’s bothering you? Media?…. Or…..Anyone? …”
Then, little hesitantly he took that very name that was main reason for their every distress. “Ummmm…Arun?
Sweata snapped at him with utter disbelief. Ignoring her every resistance, her tears flew abandon. Although her eyes were following the movements of his lips but her ear, brains ceased to function anymore. She might be staring at Soham but her mind began to travel back on those days when Arun verged into her life like a devastating yet the most wonderful storm ever.
One year before,
In that evening, Sweata was returning bit late from her dance school, ‘Dhrupad’. She was about to open the gate of her house, when a car just halted just few feet away from her, with a dangerous screech. In reflex she yelled back at the driver. But her mouth remained wide opened seeing a handsome, heavily drunk driver emerged from the car & began to shout roughly at her; as if he own her.
“Shut up. Shut your f****** mouth.”
At first, Sweata was taken aback a bit. Then composing herself, she replied back,
“who the hell you are? Which idiot gave you the license?”
“Hey, girl don’t you dare to mess with me. No one ever dared to mess with Arun.”
“I dare… Mr. whatever….. Myself, Sweata Sengupta. Who you are? Have you ever learnt any basic etiquette?”
Arun stared hard at her hard in complete disbelief. His eyes were completely blood red. Silently cursing Soham one more time, again he spoke rudely,
“Ohh…My my…So you are that Sweata? Okay! I forget. Yes, you can do that…Actually, You have already done that. You have dared to cross my path.”
Without any hesitation, suddenly he caught her arms tightly. Then digging his nails on her soft porcelain like skin, he uttered menacingly,
“Now, it’s time for rectify your faults. Call off your marriage with Soham. You can’t marry him.”
Sweata went terribly shocked and scared. Nobody had ever misbehaved with her. To save her dear life, she started shouting,
“Ba….Baba, please, save me.…. He’s hurting me.”
But her act added fuel into Arun’s burning rage. He further gathered her petite figure from the waist so that she almost became pasted on his broad chest. Eventually he also screamed back in jeopardy,
There was something into his voice that Sweata instantly became silent yet struggled hard with all her might. She was trembling like a prey caught into a trap. Tears were falling abandon. She moved her face in side to avoid his heated gaze.
“Sweata, what happened?’ Malin came out hurriedly but the immediate scene in front his eyes made him worried more.
‘Hey, who are you. Leave her. Leave my daughter.”
Continue holding her tightly with one hand, Arun raised his other hand to stop Malin and unabashedly declared,
‘She’s going call off her marriage. Now.”
“Whaat!…Hey, who are you? She isn’t going to do anything. Bitiya, come here.”
Malin extended out his hand for Sweata. This time Arun released her and Sweata sprinted hurriedly only to land into her father’s arms. She was so scared that she resumed to brawl her heart out. After few seconds, Shashi spoke firmly,
“Look, We don’t even know you. You might have bearing wrong idea about us. But my girl is innocent. Her wedding is already fixed with Soham Saha…..”
“She can’t marry him. I mean it.”
“What are telling? Are you insane?”
“Yes I am. I can’t let that b****rd to have fun when my…..Never.”
“Look beta. If you have problems with him, go & solve. My daughter is innocent.”
“No, She isn’t. A girl like her always does this, trapping a rich boy and forced him to marry her. I am damn sure she tried many but that idiot fell pray under her trap.”
Sweata was angry beyond her own limit. She had heard enough. Without giving a single thought, leaving her father’s arm, she went to Arun’s side and pointed her finger towards him.
“How dare you? I am not going to do anything you want. Do you understand? I love Soham. That’s all. We are going to marry soon.”
“You bloody W****. How…..”
But before Arun could say any words, Sweata slapped him, without realizing that would the last pin on the grave of her and Soham’s relation. Unknowingly with that slap, She concomitantly sealed her fate with the mighty Arun, forever. Immediately he caught her hand in a death grip. Then despite of her father’s struggle, he almost dragged her to the car and pushed her inside. Sweata started struggling, screaming & hitting like anything while Arun ordered the driver to go any nearby Kali temple.
On the way, he ordered his PA, Jeet to arrange everything. After reaching to there, once again Arun dragged Sweata like a ragged doll. In front of the idol of Devi maiya, pandit ji immediately started chanting the auspicious mantras for 7 vows. All through, Sweata protested, pleaded, cursed, cried, but like a monster Arun ignored everything. At the end of the rituals, he roughly put the vermillion on her hair partition. Like a fast forwarded movie Sweata turned into Mrs. Arun Roy within half an hour.
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