“So…. What now?” Sona’s eyes penetrated his brown orbs.
“Sona… Listen to me patiently. I understand that you are irritated by our constant meetings. I also get it that you are unable to recall your past. But as a friend, I believe that I have the responsibility to explain myself and let you know about your past. I don’t think it’s fair for me to hide important details. You may think whatever you want about me……but that won’t stop me from doing my job.” Dev spoke while Sona rolled her eyes in dismay.
She was not just frustrated but also angry at Dev. Even after so many warnings, he called her again to prove her something that she was not going to buy.
“You said you wanted to show me something?” she snapped and Dev just shook his head with dismay. After all he said, he could not believe that she was focused on only one thing.
He did not understand one thing. Was she not interested in getting her memory back? He thought that people with amnesia would often try to recollect their past. But why was she so different? His thoughts nagged him at the back of his mind.
“Excuse me! I don’t have all day…” she waved her hands infront of his face, making him snap back from his thoughts.
“Umm…. I just thought that I could share these photos with you.” Dev took out a bunch full of photos and placed it in the middle of the table. Placing his fingers on top of it, he pushed it towards her side.
“W-what’s this?” he sensed the uneasiness in her voice.
“These were the photos taken while we dated. It’s quite confidential and whatever happened in these pictures is only known by both of us. No one else” Dev spoke quietly.
Now she understood why he called her there. He was going to show her the pictures to prove that they were not only dating, but their relationship was more than just the normal ‘girlfriend-boyfriend’. She took the pictures in her shaky hands and forced her eyes to look at them.
Her cheeks felt like they were on fire. How could she? Her heart restricted her to take another breath and eyes refused to move from the first picture. It was a beautiful picture of them taken infront of a garden, where Sona was holding Dev by his shoulders while he held her closely to himself by her waist.
The second picture was a much intimate one. It had them kissing while the focus of the picture was her fingers bearing a ring. Her eyes widened. Did he propose to her? The hell?
She kept staring at the picture with a myriad of emotions. It was her own reflection in the picture. Same eyes, same nose, same face, same smile and same body. But there was a huge difference her eyes could gather now.
The Sona in the picture had soft, innocent eyes unlike her. There was something in the way she held Dev, as if she was going to lose him if she left his hold. She was carefree, kind, shy, generous and soft-hearted. There was so much of love flowing in her eyes that Sona had to stop herself from feeling jealous over the girl in the picture.
In fact, she felt like she was the complete opposite of that Sonakshi in those images…. She was bold, independent, had her own personal craze and obsessions. She could never imagine herself madly being in love with a guy and depending on him all her life. It sounded as crazy as it seemed.
She was not that girl. She could never become the girl in the picture.
She noticed that she was dressed modestly in every frame she could identify. There was a story behind every image… and there were lots of pictures taken at the garden that Dev brought her two days ago.
“Why are you showing me all of these?” she asked bitterly, facing him.
Dev was stunned to see the exact opposite reaction from her. He expected her to be shocked and ask him the reason behind some pictures. He even expected her to become emotional or overwhelmed.
But no. Instead of questioning him, she was angry that he revealed her these pictures.
“Why? What’s wrong in showing them to you? After all, you were involved with me! Look until the last few pictures, will you?” he reprimanded.
Sona quickly browsed through all the pictures. Her heart halted when she took the second last picture. Her iris widened when she saw the image of herself wrapped in a bathrobe, sitting on top of Dev’s lap in what seemed like a beach house. Her mind stopped thinking and she felt like bile was rising up her throat.
The photo was more intimate than what she could have ever imagined. It was…..so personal. She felt naked………and abused.
“W-what’s all these? I ju-just……. don’t understand what you want.” She scoffed and looked away from him with bewilderment.
Dev could understand her trauma. She was least expecting this and from what he could decipher, she must be going through some serious self-loathing. But that was not why he was here for. He just wanted to reveal some things and without these photos, she would never trust him.
The Sona who loved him immensely would trust him even without hearing him out. But she was so different…. She had changed so much in those two years that now, he had to keep proving himself to her.
“I just wanted to know some important details, Sona. Please…….and I want you to cooperate with me.” He asked calmly. When he saw her eyes directing towards his side, he saw a huge storm in them.
He felt pity at what the girl was going through. He felt sad for her. He wished he could hug her and tell her that she was okay. But she neglected his touch. She was repulsed by his presence.
“What do you want to know?” she asked, slowly looking at him. That soft voice of hers’ gave him the confidence to proceed.
“Actually….. I know that this might come as a huge shock for you. I don’t know what happened after you went to Paris. But the time you were here, lots of things happened. When I say lots of things, I really mean it.” He emphasised, making Sona feel nervous.
“Sona….. we fell in love because of the compatibility in our personality. Our thoughts always matched and we could always connect deeply to each other. You said that you came here to start a business. While you stayed with your aunt in the east, I was taking care of my sick grandmother in my cottage which is twenty minutes away from your place. During that time, you will always come down to the beach area and that’s how we got to know each other.” He breathed in deeply before continuing.
“But that’s not all. While we were dating, we had lots of arguments and misunderstandings like regular couples. And most of them was about…..” he hesitated to continue.
“About what?” Sona’s brows furrowed.
“It was about your father………. And our live-in relationship.” He placed his elbows on the table and brushed his hair nervously.
Sona inhaled a sharp breath. She was shocked that he actually mentioned about a live-in relationship. If her father had known about that, then he would have definitely burnt her alive.
“Yes…I know. Your father would never allow that and you had told me about it multiple times. It was not really a live-in relationship. You were still staying at your aunt’s house most of the time…. But we were engaged in a sexual relationship.” He took a deep breath, trying his best to not make it sound vulgar. Sona gasped, her jaws almost touching the ground.
“You had warned me about your father back then. During our relationship, everything that ever came out from your mouth was ‘father’. Father this, father that….father, father, father. You were scared that your father would harm me if he knew about our relationship. You were just terrified of him for whatever reasons. I tried asking you, but you never answered me.” He said, angrily looking down at the table.
Reminiscing those days, made him feel so helpless. He wished he could have turned back times and asked her why.
“Because my father is such.” Sona answered. Her eyes were like a stone, frozen in one place as she reminded herself of the type of person her father was.
“Yes Dev. You wanted answers right…. I will tell you.” She straightened her dress and sat upright. Looking at him she started saying her part of explanation.
“If you are really curious, then let me enlighten you that my father is one of the world’s top fifty richest men. He is very powerful, influential and narrow minded. If he decides to make a poor guy rich, he will do it in a second. And if he decides to ruin a person’s future, he will also finish it in a second.” She spoke, her voice void of any emotions.
Dev was shocked to hear her say these things. He knew her father was a powerful man….but he did not expect him to be as evil as how she explained him to be. Sona looked up at his astonished eyes.
“Did….. I ever tell you about my family? The other members of my family?” she asked with baited breath. Her hands slightly shivered when she spoke.
Dev’s eyes dulled in sadness.
“I have asked you many times….but you always refused to tell me. You said you will only tell me when I get to meet your family face to face.”
Sona sighed and clenched her eyes. She felt so depressed to be even having this conversation right now. But today, it was necessary to let him know and bring him into light. He had all the rights to know about her family. So that at least now, he would leave her alone.
She believed that she should take the responsibility of correcting the mistake she had done in her past.
“I have a father, step-mother and one brother. My mother died when we were very young, so my dad got married again. My brother is from my second mother. I did not share a good relationship with anyone in my family after my mother. My dad was so busy with his work that he had barely any time to spend with me. He always had me escorted everywhere I go. I wasn’t allowed to have guy friends or even mingle with middle class people. I had no freedom when I was in Paris, which was why I chose to come to Delhi to live with my aunt, I guess.”
“I loved simplicity and simple life. I loved helping the poor and having many friends. I found so many friends of mine talking about their guy friends proudly. I also had a wish to mingle around like them…but it would never happen if I stayed in Paris. My father would home-arrest me if he knew that I was in a relationship.” She spoke emotionlessly.
Dev was paranoid.
“Why would he do that to his own daughter?”
“Because money matters to him more than relationships” she answered with a sad chuckle.
“…. And I have a feeling, that’s the reason I started loving you too. I hated high-profiled lifestyle last time for so many reasons. Maybe I did not tell you all this back then because I feared that you would leave me if I had told so. But now, I am not afraid because I don’t love you. Losing you doesn’t mean anything to me. And I have changed for good. I have become a person my father always wanted me to become. Independent, bold and strong.” She said with an arrogant look.
Dev was horrified to see that quick change in her attitude. When she was speaking about her life in Paris, he saw her eyes softening and look of longing in them. But when she came back from the trance, he noticed her orbs hardening with no remorse or guilt.
He just saw the human side of her a while ago. But he realised that she preferred to be the other person than being the human. It was her preference. She was not being forced to act rude. She was knowingly being insolent.
“Is that what you have always wanted to be?” he asked and she just shrugged.
“I don’t know whether this is what I want. But this is the best for me.” She declared, placing her legs on top of the other.
“But I want to know what happened after you left? I want to know what happened in Paris before your accident!” he huffed, mentally feeling exhausted.
“Come on Dev. I explained to you what kind of a man my dad is…. Are you still asking me what happened? Do you think I will recall what happened back then? Most likely, he would have rejected you and forced me to stay there. That’s what would have happened!” she yelled.
“No. I don’t believe that Sona. Because you-”
“The hell with your damn believes. I don’t care what you believe Dev, because at the end of the day no one knows what happened. Unless you want to call my father and ask him yourself.” She shoved him her phone.
Dev felt rage filling up his heart. How could she act so detached? Didn’t the photos or his explanations make her feel any different? Didn’t she think about him even once?
“So, is this is how you are going to behave to me?”
“Like you are oblivious of how hurt I am going to feel? I am trying my best, aren’t I?” he asked in a weak voice.
Sona rolled her eyes and stared at him like he was mad. “Look Dev…. I am sorry, okay. I am sorry that I forgot you. I am sorry that we could not make it together…. I can feel your hurt but I can’t relate with you because I do not love you right now!” she slammed the table, taking Dev aback by shock.
That was such a huge jump for him to see her like that. He hated how she behaved and demeaned him infront of public places. He felt his heart being brutally smashed under her feet. She was being cruel… It was okay if she did not recall their memories together, but she was making herself look bad in his eyes.
She was trying to make him hate her. He did not want to hate his Sonakshi. She was his first love…His everything.
She had his entire heart…and now removing her from there would make him lifeless.
“But there’s something more important I need to tell!” he pleaded.
“No! I don’t want to hear anymore bullshit from you. Is that understood? Or I will be forced to call the cops.” She pointed her fingers and him and stormed off without listening to what he had to say.
Dev clenched his fists hardy and murmured his silent prayers. Patience… patience was what he desperately needed at that time. He wanted to stay cool and think with a clear mind. He closed his eyes shut and suddenly saw the image of Sona infront of him. His heart leaped out of his chest as the image took all his breath away.
She looked so real that he did not want that dream to ever end. Her expressions were so serene and calm. She was nothing like how she looked a minute ago. She had softness in her eyes and her features brimmed with love.
“Hey Dev… Do you think I would have left you alone if you had forgotten me?”
Dev’s eyes jolted open like he was electrocuted.
He knew that it was not real, but why did her words affect him so much? Yes, she was true… she would have never given up on him if he had lost his memories. Maybe he would have reacted the same way as her if he had gone through such a traumatic incident. He realised that he should never judge a book by it’s cover.
Feeling dejected, he gathered the photos in his hands and carefully placed it back on his bag. But as he placed it in, one particular picture slipped away and fell from his fingers.
It was a picture of him sitting on the floor with Sona on his lap. She had completely straddled him and pasted her right cheek with his left.
If only Sona recalled this beautiful day……. She wouldn’t have thrown the pictures like a toxic acid.
Sona walked across the road and saw a huge crowd gathering around a man and woman. She turned around and saw how the teenagers were laughing at a guy sitting and clearing a mess made in the road. When she walked over and saw what happened, she froze.
Dev was taking care of his sick grandmother who happened to have fits in the middle of the road. She was so sick that she had vomited in the middle of the road. But that did not faze Dev. He bent down and wiped his grandmother’s mouth. He did not care about the people murmuring and laughing around him.
He washed the vomit with a bottle of water before carrying his grandmother in his arms.
The teenage guys around booed and shouted profanities for messing up the place. Sona who happened to witness that, walked up to Dev instantly. She felt so bad for him as she knew how difficult it was for him to be going through this process everyday.
“Dev….” Sona’s touch burnt him. He slapped her hands away and walked away from her as fast as he could. He was so humiliated and he did not want her to witness that. Sona gasped and took her hands to herself.
She understood that his pride was hurt. She didn’t disturb him by walking behind but saw his retreating back, slouched in defeat as he carried his grandmother in his arms back home.
Sona felt her heart swelling with pride. She felt like giving him a hug and telling that everything was okay. She felt so ashamed of the society. They only knew how to bully the vulnerable people. She turned around and saw the young boys there.
Shooting them a disgusted look, she just spat at them at a disgusted tone.
“One day you guys will turn old and at that time…..no one, I repeat. No one will come and carry you to their house like him. That guy is thousand times better than you BOYS. Because he just proved that he’s a real man! One who is real to his loved ones and not irresponsible fools who take money from parents and not help them back.” She spoke and walked back furiously.
She knew that lecturing them won’t make a difference because humanity has to be born with a person from birth. It doesn’t miraculously comes by people’s lectures or advices
It was almost evening seven, when she went to his house. He had finished cleaning it and was resting in the living room. His house was a small cottage that conveniently accommodated two of them.
When Dev saw her stepping inside his house, he felt his emotions all over the place. He did not feel like talking to her.
“If you had come to talk about what happened in the morning, then you can leave.” He said dejectedly, making her feel gloomy.
“No Sona. I don’t want your pity. I know what you are thinking and-”
“How do you know what I am thinking? Did I say I pity you? No! And I don’t think any bad of you either….” She scooted closer and kneeled down next to him.
“Please allow me near you Dev. I want to help you….” She said from the bottom of her heart. But Dev felt so guilty and ashamed.
“I don’t need anyone’s help. I am fine by myself and I can’t depend on someone forever.”
“But I -”
“I LOVE YOU DEVV” she shrieked.
“I don’t care. You won’t….. wait what?” his eyes widened and he saw her face being totally serious. She was being serious and there was no sign of any pranks.
“I said… I love you.” She gulped nervously, looking at his suspicious look.
“B-but why?” he was speechless for the first time.
“I love you Dev. From the bottom of my heart. Not because I pity you or any cooked-up thoughts you have. I love you because I trust you with all my life. I have seen your worse and I have seen how you treat your loved ones. Even after being so sick, you never gave up on your grandmother. In fact I envy her a lot…..because not many people are gifted to have a grandson like you. I trust you a lot because I know that even if I am sick one day, you wouldn’t give up on me.” She cupped his face gently in her palms and felt her own tears rolling down her cheeks.
“But I come with a lot of baggage Sona.”
“So do I..... I come with lots of baggage too and I have never seen you complaining.” She smiled at him. Dev swallowed his saliva.
How could someone be this good? He could never believe his heart for showing him someone like Sona. She felt like a dream who was too good to be true. She was so selfless and caring.
“Do you love me?” she asked, blinking her thick, teary lashes.
“How can I not love someone who whispers me hope when my entire world is upside down?” he asked, bringing his hands and covering her palms on his cheeks.
Sona’s eyes widened and he noticed the surprise look on her face. He chuckled loudly. Did she think that he was going to reject her?
“You said…..yes?” she asked doubtfully and Dev smiled wholeheartedly.
That moment, he knew it. She was the one who was meant for him. He did not know much about her except for her job and aunt. But he did not care. She was in front of him and he had studied her heart for the past few months. He loved her and accepted her for who she was.
Dev pulled her into a hug and they sat like that for a good five minutes.
Who said proposal had to be done by a guy? Girls can propose too. And who said that it has to be special? It can always happen in a small cottage with both people shattered in a kneeling position.
And that’s how exactly they confessed their feelings for each other.
And that moment was just so special for the both of them.
“Dev…..when the time comes and you feel like giving up on me…. Don’t leave me alone, okay?” she whispered against his hair with tears in her eyes. Her hug tightened and Dev held her even closer.
“If I ever find a reason to give up, I will remind myself of why I ever chose you in the first place! And when I recall that, giving up my life would look easier.”