“Long ago in some small kingdom, ruled a king. He was shrewd but kind, at the same time. No one could escape his eyes, not even the poor farmers, who barely made 2 meals a day. But his public was happy, nevertheless. He never did any injustice to anyone. And he was thus far, known for that. “
Grandma had started the story. It had been hardly 10 minutes and little Nikita was sound asleep. Dreaming of kings, queens, palace her eyes had shut down into the peace of the world where she could go without anyone saying a word to her.
Little time ago, life had not been as tough on Nikita as it had become now. Her eyes searched for her mother but rarely could find her. Sometimes she could look outside the windows and look up the sky in the dark nights. Her grandma used to say, God kept an eye over us. Oh ya, she was afraid of God. She used to pray to Him for the goodness and well-being of her mother, wherever she was.
Poor Nikita, she didn’t know her mother and father had some other plans for her.
Sometimes she could feel their presence though. She asked her grandma time and again about her parents, but didn’t get the answers he longed to make her satisfied.
Nikita was a 5 year old girl who lived with her old grandma and her uncle and aunty. She didn’t know how the time flew away. She didn’t seem to have lived her childhood. She was cheerful, joyous and grew up to become a lovely girl. Now and then some of her relatives would drop by, see her, show their sympathy but didn’t ever care to love her. Love, yeah that was the thing missing from her life. Apart from her grandma, she never ever sought or in fact got love from anyone. Not even from her brothers and her uncle and aunty. But seldom did she complain! That was her determination to live her life the way God had gifted her.
She grew up among those thorns and bushes. She became beautiful day by day. And yet more mature. Sometimes even her grandma was amazed by her maturity. She was an intelligent girl and knew how to shape up her life. Her life was perfect and she was happy. All she wanted was her grandma, her stories, her school, her friends and her mirror. But fate has a cruel way to smile at you when you think your life is perfect.
“Grandma wake up!! Its 7 am!! I will be late for my school..!! ”
It wasn’t a regular thing. Usually her grandma used to wake up way earlier than her, prepare her lunch and her dress before waking her up. But today the school bus was honking outside, sun was scorching on her to go to school, but here she was waking up her grandma.
“Grandma, the bus is outside and I have not yet dressed up!!! “
Tears were almost into her eyes. Funny tears! They even didn’t know when and for what reason they should come out. Grandma was not even moving. Nikita kept shrugging her but in vain.
“Aunty, grandma is not waking up. I don’t know what is wrong with her.”
A chill went down her spine. What could possibly be wrong? She called her husband and the three of them went upstairs. Grandma was sleeping peacefully with a smile on her face. They called the doctor.
“Sorry, she is no more. “
The doctor’s words left Nikita struck like statue. She couldn’t feel herself moving. She was standing there so still. Her lullabies seemed to hovering over her head. And she was yet standing there. The prince, the stars, the castles all seemed to keep crossing her mind. What was her world after the lady she saw all the time she grew up. She didn’t know the answers.
Nikita didn’t eat or drink for a whole week. Her grandma was a great loss to her. Her grandma was everything to her. She was her mom, her dad, her family and her God. Everything!! She meant everything to her. She promised to see her become a doctor or an engineer. She promised to dress up her like a princess to meet her dream prince. And now she was gone, gone forever. Tears had dried up but the pain didn’t. Every day she woke up by herself to see an empty bed in front of her, dressed up herself, crying all the way through, came back to school, just to get locked in her room, no one to speak or share her day. She felt so alone that sometimes she looked up those skies without the clouds and stare at one those million stars. She was alone.
“You look like a princess. “
Snehal was sitting beside her in her room while she was dressing up for the wedding party of their cousin, Shreyansh that night. She was 19 now. Usually it was her grandma who used to dress her up. But, here she was sitting in front of her mirror, putting her kajal, her mom’s earrings and the necklace. Yeah, she looked like a princess. She imagined her grandma looking at her.
She and Snehal got into the car. She was very happy today. She looked outside the window, felt the evening breeze. She didn’t know why she was so happy. They reached the wedding hall. She met rest of her family whom she had never ever seen in her whole life. But here she was, a stranger in that crowd. She was apprehensive, but she decided to hide her nervousness. It was the first time she had seen so many of her family members at a single place.
The wedding began. She loved the wedding tune always. She always fantasised about her wedding. Well, no one else would. There were kids, people of her age, old persons and other people. She looked her and there, about the different activities going on, kids running across the place, old men talking to each other, women laughing. She felt out of place, so she went to the terrace to get some fresh air.
It was dark here. It was a marriage here and yet someone had forgotten to put on the lights. She had bumped into something, or someone.
“I am extremely sorry. Are you OK?”
“Yeah I am alright. Sorry I didn’t see you.”
“Even I didn’t. I am extremely sorry!! “
Someone turned on the lights. A young boy, of 21 years of age was standing in front of her. She was so nervous that her hands were shivering. Sweat was all over her face. She didn’t know how to look into his face. Somehow she wanted to talk to him, at the same time she wanted to run away from there. She had never ever talked to a guy in her whole life.
“Nikita di, are you there?”
It was Snehal. God, you seemed to be so generous sometimes. Nikita had a lucky escape.
“Yeah, I am coming. “
She went downstairs, the guy standing there. He was so awestricken by her beauty that he was unable to speak anything. He didn’t even dare to ask her name, but God was with him. Nikita, at least I got her name! All he had left with him was her name.
He went downstairs.
The marriage was going on and meanwhile the dinner was being given. Nikita and Snehal were busy choosing their favourite food. It was a grand marriage. There were different food items of almost all cuisines. They settled down at a table to eat.
“Excuse me! Can I sit here? It seems that all the rest of the tables are filled up. “
Nikita looked up. Fate didn’t seem to favour her today, it seemed. It was the same guy. She couldn’t eat without looking at him, it seemed. Something strong attracted her to that guy.
Nikita was taken aback by Snehal’s voice.
“Why were you smiling like a stupid?”
Yeah, she was smiling like a stupid, all the time, looking at that guy. They had their dinner and got up. The wedding was almost done. The bride and the groom were standing up to take the feras. Nikita could stand the crowd. She went outside.
“Hey, sorry I didn’t catch your name that time.”
The guy was standing next to her, smiling. The guy didn’t know why he was following her. Nikita’s lips were trembling.
“Yeah, you did.”
“I didn’t catch your name by your voice, though.”
And Nikita smiled. She hadn’t felt this good from a long time.
“It’s Nikita. And can I know yours?”
And Nikita smiled again. She didn’t know why she kept smiling like a stupid. But she didn’t care.
“Are you from the groom’s side?”
“Yeah, he is my cousin.”
“I am Shreyansh’s friend.”
And they kept on talking for like hours.
“Nikita di, aunty is calling us. We are going back.”
“Ok, I am coming.”
She didn’t want to go. She felt like she had known this guy from the time she had never known.
“Sorry, I will have to go.”
“No problem, carry on. See you then!”
“Ok then see you. “
Dumbo how will you see me!! At least ask my number!!
“Ok, Goodnight. “
But he didn’t. She was getting back to her car.
“Hey can I have your email-id?”
Nikita felt like laughing her stomach out.
“Yeah sure, it’s email@example.com .”
At least he asked my email-id!
She was so happy now. Maybe she got to know why she was so happy.
“Ok I will mail you. “
“Good Night Aditya. “
In the car she was smiling all the time. The breeze felt stronger.
“D, who was that guy?”
“He was Shreyansh’s friend.”
“Did you know him?”
“No re. Why?”
“It’s because, I have never seen you talking to a guy.”
“Sometimes, you don’t expect things to happen to you.”