She worshiped him with remnants of her broken soul, and he continued to be ravaged by his own soul.
Her broken heart continued to image him, and yet his heart continued to ache.
He was the essence of her best dreams and her worst nightmares, but he was faraway from her reach in reality.
She was sure that if ‘true love’ indeed existed, her love for him would qualify to be one. But what did they say about ‘true love’?
Unconditional. Eternal. Tragic.
She was sure that her love encompassed the latter two virtues but, unconditional?
Conditions always apply, don’t they?
At the altar of his love, she was ready to burn herself if it meant having him for herself. And yet, sometimes just love was not enough.
Will the conditions tear apart the foundation of their eternal and tragic love?
Will he finally succeed in fighting away the demons of his past?
“Kisne Kaha Ki Mohabbat Sukoon Hai? Mohabbat Tho Uss Zehreeli Nashe Ka Naam Jispe Na Jaane Kitne Zindagiyan Qurbaan Hui. Woh Nasha Jiski Agar Ek Dafa Lat Lag Gayi Tho Samjho Suli Pe Bhi Bhool Na Paoge. Mohabbat Ke Dastaan Tho Khoon Aur Ashq Ke Lakeeron Se Aur Umeed Ke Panno Pe Arz Hai. Taqdeer Rehm Kare Tho Ishq Dawa Hai Aur Daga Kare Tho, Dard Bhi Woh Hai. Lekin Bade Badkismat Hai Woh Jinko Nasseb Nahi Hai Yeh Jazba. Kyunki Ishq Ke Khatir Marna Bhi Jeene Ka Doosra Naam Hai!”
Love, from every word of her monologue, seemed to resonate in the ones hearing it. Her eyes held a potent swirl of agony and amour in mix that seemed to tug at the strings of hearts of the onlookers. With tears stinging in her doe-like eyes and the slight twitching of her chapped lips along with her trembling form and flushed cheeks, she had managed to paint the picture of a broken angel with sheer perfection.
A huge round of applause reverberated in her ears as she drank in the sight of the entire set giving her a standing ovation for her astounding performance. Years ago, it would have made a blanket of goosebumps envelope her and her heart would have hammered against her ribcage with excitement but over the years, it was just nonchalance that she felt.
“What a shot, Ashna! You improvised the dialogues amazingly! You could really try your luck as a dialogue writer someday,” praised the Director, still clapping for her stellar performance.
Ashna Khanna just smiled at him, without uttering a word. How could she tell that the unsaid words over the past few years had escaped her mouth? How could she reveal that the entire world would listen to her words with bated breaths except the one the words were intended for?
Success had indeed bestowed its favors upon her in everything except the one thing that she had craved. Her picture-perfect story of a self-made woman had one shortcoming which haunted her in every passing moment which she struggled hide from the world which was eager to unravel her personal life.
She made her way to her green room as the much appreciated shot was the last shot for the day. She received several words of appreciation and an applause that seemed to follow her but that did not seem to fill her heart. The recognition she waited for, the attention she sought and the love she was desperate for, after all, was missing. How would contentment fill her heart when it was already filled with agony?
Her greenroom was filled with his pictures, of their pictures, of their happy pictures. They seemed like the poster couple for a match made in heaven - a handsome, suave and smart businessman with the top actress of the industry. Yet, there was so much amiss, so much unsaid, so much unheard and so much lost.
“Stop punishing yourself, Ashna. I cannot see you tossing away your life in this manner. Why do you want to inch closer to your death by drowning yourself in alcohol as if it is water?” reprimanded her manager and her best friend Suman Sinha.
“How does it matter anyways, darling? Akhir Ishq Ke Khatir Marna Bhi Jeene Ka Doosra Naam Hai,” she mused, grabbing the glass filled with wine as she caressed his photo with a fiery passion that seemed to burn her along, but she could not care less.
At the altar of his love, she was ready to burn herself if it meant having him for herself. And yet, sometimes love is not enough.
He was brought out of his reverie by the incessant yelling of his secretary who seemed to have lost her professionalism suddenly.
“Yes, Sunita?” he drawled, hoping that it was something important for which he had been pulled out of his thoughts.
“Sir, one of our managers, Vijay, recently got engaged and he wishes to invite you to his impending wedding along with his fiancee. Shall I send him in?” she questioned, knowing that her boss absolutely despised being disturbed.
“Okay. Send them in,” he replied, sighing deeply and straightening himself up to receive one of his most loyal employees. He had not realized the passing of time as he immersed himself in retrospection. The hazy visions of the past and the bittersweet memories still managed to incite myriads of emotions but the one which predominated was the guilt for losing the track of time.
He heard the curt knocks at the door of his magnificent cabin and he immediately responded affirmatively as he stood to receive the couple.
“Good morning, Sir! This is my fiancee, Siya Sharma,” introduced Vijay, the manager towards the woman standing by his left side.
“Vijay always speaks highly of you, Sir. It’s really great to meet you finally,” added Siya, accepting the formal handshake offered to her.
“Aniket, please. It’s great to meet you too,” replied Aniket, smiling formally at the couple. “is it an arranged marriage or a loved one?” he asked, curiosity and courtesy compelling him.
“It’s a love marriage, Sir. We live in the same apartment complex and she works in the same building, so frequent meets happened and it progressed to love,” answered Vijay, smiling warmly at Siya, who was grinning widely and blushing at his answer.
“You look amazing together!” said Aniket Agarwal, unable to string a better sentence together as a reply.
“I am aware that you do not like to waste time, so, here’s the invitation to our wedding, Sir. I really hope that you will be able to attend, along with Ma’am. I would love to meet her, I am a big fan of hers,” chirped Siya, her admiration for her idol clearly gleaming in her eyes, too lost to realize the mask slipping away from Aniket’s face.
“I will surely try. I am sure that your fiance would have told you about our hectic schedule. I hope that doesn’t hinder your marital life and you have an amazing life ahead!” wished Aniket, accepting the invitation, his smile quivering slightly.
“Hope we didn’t disturb you, Sir. We will get going now. I really hope that Ma’am and you will be able to attend the wedding,” expressed Vijay, ignorant to the twitching at the edged of his lips as he nodded slightly at them.
His heart ached to see his manager relishing the excited giggles of his fiancee at the prospect of meeting her idol and the obvious love that seemed to resonate between them. Some love stories seemed so simple and serene; he wondered if his story was an exception or the ones that he otherwise saw were the exceptions. He shut his eyes tightly as he reminisced his own love story which seemed to snatch away every bit of his peace.
His manager seemed to be over the moon with his upcoming wedding, as if he had conquered the world, and there he was, defeated and lost, despite being one of the top upcoming entrepreneurs. Funny, how love seemed to make one’s life complete despite having nothing and yet deprive one of everything when the tide turned against them.
Translation : Who said that love is a solace? Love is that lethal addiction which had snatched innumerable lives; such addiction that one touch, and it will haunt you till your last breath. Stories of love are often written with the lines driven by one’s blood and tears and etched onto the pages of hope. And when destiny decides to be merciful, love is indeed the remedy of every pain but, if destiny decides betray you, love is the pain. Very unfortunate are those who haven’t experienced this emotion because it is one such that dying for love is another name of living itself.