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And I Thought I Lost You

two-short-stories

And I thought I lost you


It was five in the morning and Ram was still awake. The whole world was
blessed to enjoy what he desperately wanted to experience, but couldn’t. He
could not sleep. Sleep and peace of mind was successfully eluding him for a
long time now. He tried everything (as usual), from counting numbers, to reading
books, to watching a movie on his laptop, to flipping through the boring
channels on TV. Nothing seemed to work, unfortunately. He was still awake.
Ram lay on his queen size bed and in spite of promising himself of not smoking
any more, lit his 15th cigarette of the day. Or was it the 16th? He had lost the
count. Took a few long puffs and watched his bedroom getting filled with smoke
and its usual pungent burnt smell. He again remembered what his mother used to
say when she used to get angry with him. Those lines “Ram...You were, are and
will be a FAILURE” were haunting him and he was not able to wipe it out of his
memory box. It seemed as if the delete button had suddenly stopped functioning
or vanished out of his system and those particular lines were continuously
running on a loop. All he knew was that he had scooped down to the level where
no man or very few would have gone.
Several thoughts, all negative, suddenly started running in his mind. He felt
so dejected and unwanted that he even thought of ending his life. Suddenly his
chain of thoughts was broken by a sound. It was his cell phone ringing. This
untimely call made him feel uneasy and nostalgic at the same time. Not very
long ago, he thought, there used to be a time when he was the most wanted
person in his so called professional and personal circle. He used to get calls at
odd hours and he was the Mr. Dependable for his business partners and friends.
But things changed and those people who were a part of his life were not even
acquaintances any more. Now they became strangers and rarely felt the need of
calling him.
Now the only calls he gets are from the telesales people but he never
complained as he was happy that at least some one was calling him and there
was someone to talk to. But today Ram chose to ignore the call, but the
persistent caller went on calling. Ram reluctantly gave up and picked his blackberry to see who was so desperate to talk to him at around five in the morning.

The name and number flashing on his cell brought mixed emotions in him.
One side he was happy to get the call from this particular number and on the
other hand he was not sure about the purpose of the call. It was the love of his
life calling him. He quickly answered back hoping against hope that things
might become normal again and there might be some chance of reconciliation.
But his happiness was short-lived. Ratna was in no mood of romance and did not
entertain any thoughts of any kind of reconciliation between her and Ram. She
started her conversation with “Please do not think of sweet taking me through
things. I hope you know why I have called you”.
It had been almost a year since they had separated. Their daughter, Ramya
was with Ratna. “How is Ramya?” He asked. Ratna asked mockingly “do you
still remember that you have a daughter?” Even before Ram could answer he
heard a click and the line got disconnected. Ratna’s number started flashing on
his mobile again. He was confused as to why she was calling him again as her
purpose of mocking him was over already. He did not want her to feel that she
was being ignored so he answered the phone immediately and the first thing he
heard was a sobbing from the other side. He didn’t understand whether he should
ask her as to why she was crying or try to console her. He chose to hear her out
before saying anything. The last thing he wanted was another fight between
them. “Why are you disconnecting my call? I know that you do not like talking
to me but I called you to remind you that today is our daughter’s birthday and if
you call her she will feel good” and before Ram could say anything she cut the
call. Ram gave a wry smile and went on to sit on his favorite arm chair. The arm
chair was one of the very few things which he loved. “If only she knew how
much I love listening to her” he thought.
Sitting on the arm chair with his laptop on he started viewing the photos that
were the only witness of his happy days. Going through the photos, he came
across an old photo in which he was riding his cycle. Looking at it made him
forget all his problems and sorrows and made him laugh again. Those photos
made him go down the memory lane to when he was a handsome smart young
lad. In his childhood days, Ram used to be an epitome of gregarious happy go
lucky care free kid who was an average student but with sharp brains. Never
cared for academics and always interested in drama, sports and other
extracurricular activities. He was just opposite to his elder brother, Suresh, who
was more inclined towards books and academics. Suresh always used to top his
class and was the blue eyed boy of the house. Everybody wanted their child to be

like Suresh. Ram was the black sheep of the family. His mother was always
concerned about his future. Suresh had his trophies and certificates to show for
his intelligence whereas Ram had nothing but his street smart attitude and
fighting ability to back him up.
These thoughts came as a blessing to him as he dozed off to sleep at last.
But alas, the blessing didn’t last for long. A shrieking noise woke him up. It
was his alarm clock which he had kept to be woken, in case he did manage to get
some timely sleep. It was six thirty in the morning and Ram was again awake.
Reluctantly he woke up from his arm chair and managed to drag himself towards
the kitchen to prepare some much needed coffee. While drinking coffee he again
drifted to his past thinking about his so called good old days. His life was going
normally with no earth shattering events happening till he passed his high
school. Things were business as usual for him. His elder brother was growing
from strength to strength and was in one of the highly rated B schools of India
and his parents were very proud of him and his achievements. Ram was in his
12th standard and was in that part of his life where he had to decide whether he
wanted to take science (which he hated) or commerce (which he never
understood). He wanted to take arts as he always wanted to do drama and
theatre. Being from an orthodox family he had to take either science or
commerce only as there was no scope for a third option. Ram obviously thought
of choosing commerce stream and was working on going the route of being in
that field.
That is when the first lightening struck in his life. That incident was still
fresh in his memory as if it happened as recently as yesterday. That is what
changed the whole course of his life. He was coming back home after meeting
his friends when he saw his neighbors in his house and his parents having a
worried face. As soon as he entered his house, the first thing that his father told
Ram, stuck him like an arrow. His fathers told him “get lost, get out of my
house. You are not my son anymore”. Not knowing what happened and what
transpired in to his father saying so, Ram was just standing at the door steps,
totally perplexed. His neighbors’ son was the first one to talk. According to him,
Ram bullied him and forced him to give him 10,000 Rs and that is why he was
forced to steal the money from his house. Without being asked for any
explanation Ram was kicked out of the house. When he had woken up that day
he had a family and a house. And now he was on street with nowhere to go and
no one to fall back on. That is when he first said to himself “I lost it, but, all is
well”.
Life was a big struggle for him from that time onwards. First things first, he

had to make sure that he had a place to live and money to survive. That is when
he remembered his friend talking about his father wanting someone to work for
in his hotel. Getting job to survive was much easier than he thought and by the
evening he had a job in his hand and had managed to get a place in a dorm near
the hotel. Life had suddenly changed for Ram. Now his priorities had changed.
Now he had to worry about his daily bread, instead of worrying about which
stream to pursue in order to build his career. All he knew that he was wronged
and he was down, but he was not out.
He started his professional life as a server in his friend’s hotel. His friend’s
father agreed to Ram working in the evening so that he could continue with his
studies. But life had different plans for him. The so called ordeal for him was not
over. The next day at school Ram got his second bad news. He was suspended
from school as his father had called and told them that he is not going to finance
for Ram’s studies. “Two in two days, hundred percent strike rate for bad luck” is
what Ram thought in his mind.
Being the optimistic kind he was, he thought that it is a blessing in disguise
as he will be able to work morning and evening and will be able to earn a bit
more than he had thought of.
From Ram, Mr. Agarwal’s younger son, suddenly he became Ram the server.
He congratulated himself for his situation and gave a pat on his back. Now he
was the so called self made man. Life was going on smoothly. Ram did manage
to start saving a bit of money and was able to get a small decent house for rent.
He got promoted from being a server in the hotel to the front desk manager of
the hotel. He was able to afford a decent living, but still it was more of pay check
to pay check living. Two years had passed away and there was no efforts from
his family to search for Ram. He understood that he is not a part of his family
anymore. Ram had resigned to his fate and was happy working in the hotel and
had prepared himself to a life of a struggle.
Life is full of incidents, some good and some bad and we need to go through
them whether we like it or not. Ram’s life, it seemed, was over dozed with
incidents and he somehow seem to have no control over them and their
outcomes. But for change this incident was a real life changing event for Ram. It
was a normal working day which had started early in the morning for him. As
usual he was busy managing the proceedings of the hotel and making sure that
all the customers are kept happy. That is when he saw Pawan (his school time
friend) in the hotel. At first Ram had the urge to go and talk to him, but then
thought against it. He didn’t want to create an embarrassment for Pawan. He was
dressed well and was with a girl, probably his girl friend. So Ram just continued

with his work. Suddenly someone called out “Ram. Are you Ram?” Ram turned
around to his amazement, it was Pawn. Ram was both happy and sad at the same
time. Happy that his friend still remembered him and sad that he had to meet him
in this situation. After exchanging pleasantries Pawan asked him, “So do you
own this hotel?” Ram hesitated a bit but then said “No I work here as a front
desk manager”. When asked, Pawan said he was into stock market. And his wife
name was Sapna. “Sapna Ram is my best friend from school but after that we
parted as I went to another school and could not keep in touch with him” Ram
was happy that Pawan didn’t mention the reason for their parting, although he
knew what had happened. He shared pleasantries with Sapna.
Then the most unexpected happened. Pawan gave Ram his business card and
said “Call me when you are free my friend; we have a lot of catching up to do”.
Ram was awestruck. He was thinking “did he say that to me or am I dreaming?”
Took a few minutes and then took the card. Pawan went in his new Honda Civic
and then the day passed by as usual with nothing major happening in the rest of
the day. At night Ram saw the business card and all that he thought was, “is he
serious? Maybe...maybe not”.
There is a saying that when god closes a door for man he opens another
somewhere. Maybe this was the door which god had opened for him. Or was it
just an eye wash? “Come back to the ground Ram” he told himself, pinched his
left hand and then went to sleep. The next few months went as usual. Ram
became busy with his normal work. He used to see the business card every night,
but never had the guts to call his friend.
It was the month of June and the work in the hotel was going smoothly. The
hotel business had prospered quiet well and the owner did recognize Ram’s
contribution towards its growth and made him the manager of the hotel. Ram
was happy with the slow but steady growth of his professional life. He knew that
in this way he will not be able to achieve a lot in his life. With his educational
background and limited means he could only expect a miracle to happen in order
to change things drastically for himself. He knew that miracles happen in
movies, not in real life. But he had no reasons to complain. He was proud of his
professional achievements.
But sometimes miracles do happen to ordinary people in real life too. And
that is known as a life changing event. And that did happen. That one phone call,
changed his life entirely. It was a Sunday morning and Ram was busy going
through the routines of the early morning rituals, when he got a call. Its too early
to get a call for an order from customer, thought Ram, but picked up the call.
The caller called up and asked for Ram, which was strange for Ram, because his

customers never ask for him instead just give the orders and keep the phone. It
was Pawan on the other end. After confirming that it was Ram, the first thing
Pawan asked is “Can you come to my house now?” Ram was surprised “what?”
he asked. Pawan again repeated what he said earlier “Can you come to my house
now?”. Ram stuttered a bit but said “yes. But why?” Pawan said “I will tell it all
to you when we meet. I am sending my car to pick you up. Be ready in ten
minutes. Please.” Before Ram could say anything the line got dead. Ram just had
time to call his boss and ask for a leave, which was not difficult as he had not
taken a day’s off since he had joined. Even before he came out, the car was there
waiting for him to be picked up. The chauffer asked him whether he was ram,
and Ram started his journey towards professional success.
It was like a totally new world for Ram, the journey from his locality, which
was more of a lower middle/middle class locality to a posh locality. He had
almost forgotten that there was a world which was much better off than the one
in which he lived. As he entered the dust and pot holes free roads, he was
amazed to see the houses along the road side. He was not able to judge the best
one among them.
All of them were huge. Suddenly a thought crossed his mind. Have I done
the right thing by coming here? What if he has called me to humiliate me? What
if he asks me about my past? These strange questions started revolving around
his mind and he almost had the urge to ask the driver to stop the car so that he
can go back. By the time he could make up him mind to get down the driver got
a call. He just said yes sir three times and then increased the speed of the car.
In a few minutes they reached a house which was no less than a palace. The
driver pressed a button somewhere in his car and the gigantic gate opened on its
own. It was like those Indian movies where the Hero’s father is very rich. Ram
thought he might be dreaming and to confirm he pinched himself. The pain
confirmed that it was not a dream. He noticed a stark difference between the
standard and class of his friend and him. Even his servant quarter was bigger
than his one bed room apartment and the servants and the drivers wore better
dresses than him. As he entered the house Pawan came down running and the
first thing he asked was “so busy that you could not give me a call?” Ram was
searching for an excuse, but before he could say something, Pawan said “better
late than never my friend, better late than never” and dragged him to his private
study. The study had all the modern facilities a man could have thought of. Ram
was awestruck by the decoration of the room. As soon as they entered the room,
Pawan did something which Ram never thought he would do. Pawan gave him a
big hug and asked “all this happened and you never ever thought of contacting

me? And you told me that we were friends, best friends” he could hear Pawan
crying.
After a few minutes he took him to his kitchen where Pawan’s wife was busy
instructing her cook about today’s menu. Pawan said to his wife “look who has
got the time to come to our house at last” Sapna turned around and with a natural
smile said “I didn’t know what you would like to have for lunch, that’s why I
have made what I like, I hope u like it too”. Ram felt as if he was a part of the
family already. Never felt alienated. Pawan told his wife that he is going to his
study with Ram and that they would want special tea only. And no one should be
disturbing them for the next 4 hours. “Point noted my lord” said Sapna with a
smile. Once inside the study, Pawan closed the door and asked “How has life
been treating you since that dreaded incident?” The only thing Ram could say
was “All is well”. Pawan then updated him about what happened from the time
they parted up to when they met in the hotel. It seemed that Pawan had taken the
right career path and had excelled in his career. “Have you thought of what you
are planning to do about your life?” asked Pawan. Ram could only say “I have
no ideas at present, with my given status”. “Can you give me 2 years of your
life? I have plans for you. I am sorry, I have plans for us” said Pawan. Ram was
confused and could not understand as to what Pawan meant when he said that.
He asked again “Ram can you give me two years of your life?” After a few
minutes “Yes, but why?” “Because the sky is so high and I want you to reach the
skies” and then gave a smile. Ram was still confused. “Can you clarify?” “Sure”
said Pawan. “I have known you from the time we started going to school. I know
you’re potential. I want to make sure that you use your potential to grow high in
life, my friend, you deserve it”.
Ram was still confused and wanted to know what his friend was planning for
him. So he asked “what do you want me to do?” “First thing first I want you to
resign from the hotel”. Ram was shocked “What?” Have you gone crazy? Resign
and do what? “My dear friend you have forgotten that I have no back up if I
resign from that work”. “Yes you have a back up. And that is me.” “You are
going to resign from this job and then apply for your 12th exams.” “And where
will I stay? Who will pay for my lodging and food and my studies?” “I cannot
afford to come to street. This is not a movie Pawan where I can become a stud
overnight by reading under the flood lights.” Pawan said “agreed”. Then he took
him to a room near the study. It was a big room with all the facilities of a modern
bedroom. It also had a study attached to it.
Pawan asked “does this suffice for your lodging facilities? I don’t know
whether it is as good as your apartment but will you feel convenient here?” Ram

was totally confused now. He didn’t know what is happening and what his
friend’s plans are. Ram just said “explain. Please” Pawan said “I want you to
concentrate on your professional expansion for just two year. Work with me
closely for two years and you will see the difference.”
“I understand that part” said Ram. “But what do I need to do in these two
years?”. Pawan again smiled and said “trust me. That’s it” Ram was very
confused now. He wanted to know Pawan’s plans and know it now. But his
friend had different plans. He drank the tea that was sent for him and Ram. After
having the tea, Pawan asked ram to tell about all that happened after he left
school. Ram was a bit hesitant, as he didn’t want to remember those days again,
but on his friend’s request he went ahead and told all that happened. All the
while the only thing Ram was thinking about was, what Pawan had planned for
him and why? When his narration was over, Pawan asked him “you want to
know what my plans are for you. Right! I know you do.” Ram nodded in
affirmation. “I want you to complete your 12th exams and then apply for a 12
weeks program on share market”. “After that I want you to work with me as my
partner for the next two years. By that time you would have know the intricacies
of the business and then you can stand on your own feet. I know what you are
thinking now. Why do I want to do that?”. “It is because I owe you a lot for what
I am today”. “Apart from the stock market business I have a real estate
business”. “My first share was from the 200 Rs that you had leant me in school”.
“I want to repay you by making sure that you stand in this business and take over
this business from me”. Ram was at loss of words. After a few minutes he said
“Sapna...” “Sapna what?” asked Pawan. “Did you ask Sapna about it? “Did you
discuss with her about your plans?” Pawan smiled and then went out of the
room.
After 5 minutes he was back with Sapna and both of them were smiling. “I
wanted my brother to stay with me” was all she said. Ram was a bit hesitant and
did not understand what he should say. Should he thank them for what they are
doing or should he say that he cannot accept this favor from them as it is against
his principles. In the end he said “I need time to think”. At that Sapna said “sure.
You can think it over while having lunch and then you two can go to your
apartment and get all your things and settle things in the hotel too. What do you
say Pawan?” “That’s a wonderful idea” he said. But Ram thought he wanted
more time, things were changing faster than he thought. Sapna dragged him and
Pawan to the lunch table and they all started having their lunch. The lunch was
very tasty. It was simple but rich. He enjoyed home food after a very long time.
After lunch, they sat on the sofa and Sapna asked “hope you liked the lunch.”

Ram could not hold back his tears any more. He had never been treated so
royally in years. Pawan got up and hugged him again and said “Dear friend. You
are not alone anymore. You have a family. We are your family.” Ram could only
say “Thank you”. For the next few hours they talked about every different
subject that they could think of. Ram was waiting for them to take out the topic
again, but they never did. By 5 in the evening Ram was getting ready to go back
to his normal life. That is when Pawan said something that surprised Ram. He
said “good so you have decided to get all your things here and stay with us.
Sapna you want to join me in helping Ram pack his things?” Even before Pawan
could finish his sentence, Sapna said “What are you waiting for? I am all ready
and excited”. Their excitement was so contagious that Ram could not say
anything else but “Thanks for all your favor”. They didn’t reply as if they never
heard it. He again repeated a bit louder “Thanks for your favor but...” Pawan
turned and said “I thought you were doing us a favor by accepting my offer” and
Ram could not say anything else after that.
It was a different world all together, where he lived and he didn’t want
Pawan and Sapna to come to his apartment. But he didn’t see them flinching one
bit while they were helping him with the packing of whatever Ram had. In fact
they were much more excited than Ram was. Once they packed everything,
Pawan called his house owner to say that Ram was vacating his flat. The house
owner said that he cannot do that without one month prior notice, If so then he
will keep 5,000 Rs. (half of the deposit).
Ram was shocked and asked Pawan to negotiate and get a bit more than half.
Instead Pawan told the house owner to keep the whole of the deposit money and
that they needed nothing back. The house owner was more than happy when he
heard that. Next it was time for them to go and meet the owner of the hotel
where Ram worked. They went straight to his house and Pawan did the talking.
After a few minutes the owner called Ram inside a room and just said one thing
to him “I will miss you a lot, but I am very happy for you. Please keep this as a
token of appreciation” and gave Ram an envelope. When he opened it, there
were 50,000 Rs in it. When Ram asked why, the owner said “something to start
your new life with. May god bless you my son”.
While in the car, Ram told his friend that his owner gave him 50,000 Rs as a
token of appreciation for what he had done for him. Pawan smiled and said “let’s
celebrate your new life” and they straight away went to Chola Sheraton. Before
entering the hotel Sapna told something to Pawan and they turned their car to a
shopping complex nearby. Ram did not understand anything. Pawan said “You
have 50k with you. Will you not buy a suite for me and a dress for Sapna?” Ram

didn’t know what to say excepting “Yes”, because what they were doing for him
was much more than what they were asking from him.
They went inside the shopping complex and Sapna and Pawan became busy
in selecting dresses. After a few hours they came to Ram with a few dresses and
asked him to check them out. He did not ask anything and checked them out. He
was surprised to know that he was looking great in those dresses. After checking
those out they went to the checking counter and the bill actually shocked Ram.
He only hand 50,000 and the bill was way more than his budget. Sapna took out
a card from her purse and paid the bill. Ram was perplexed “Why so much for
me? And you people didn’t buy anything. Remember I was supposed to...” He
asked. No answer from either of them. Then they chose a dress for the evening
for Ram and asked him to go and change. He just did as he was told. After that
they went to Chola Sheraton again.
This time while entering the hotel he saw a board that said “dress code
formal” and then he saw Sapna. He could not say anything and he just went
inside quietly. Pawan and Sapna had already booked a place for them so they
didn’t have any problems in getting a place to sit. Once seated they ordered for
starters and for dinner. Seeing Ram being so quiet, Pawan asked “What
happened? Did we forget something?” Ram said “No, I am just thinking, what
good deeds have I done to be your friend?” Pawan smiled and pressed Ram’s
hand and said “can we ask the same question to you?”
After a sumptuous dinner they reached home. Ram was still not believing
that whatever was happening to him was true and not a dream. They went inside
and Sapna was too excited and wanted to set up Ram’s room that evening itself.
But Pawan had different plans. He asked Ram to take rest as it was a very long
day for him. They would start the decoration of the room the next day early
morning. Sapna could take charge of that as the men had to go out for some
work. Sapna reluctantly agreed to it. Both Pawan and Sapna bid Ram good night
and went to their bed room.
When he was all alone in his room Ram started thinking about what
happened today. He was both excited and nervous. He was excited about the
sudden change in his life but nervous about the way it happened. It happened too
quickly for his comfort. The new ambience and the soft bed, which he was not
used to for a long time now was also not helping his cause to go to sleep. He
spent the whole night laying on the soft cushioned bed with the silk bed sheet
over it. He was just thinking the roller coaster ride his life had gone through in
the last couple of years. From a cozy family to streets to again to a comfortable
home. It just seemed like a Bollywood movie theme. At last at around midnight

his tired eyes could not cope up with his anxiety and he fell asleep.
It was 9 in the morning when he woke up. First time in so many years there
was no alarm clock to wake him up. Instead he woke up after a good long sleep.
When he woke up he was engulfed with a sense of guilt. Never did he have the
luxury of waking up according to his will. He sheepishly came out of the room
and saw Pawan busy with his files and Sapna reading the morning news paper.
Both of them saw him and said in almost an unison “Good Morning...Slept
well?” Ram gave a sheepish grin and said “Sorry...Am I too late?” Pawan was
the one to reply “never too late my friend...you deserved this sleep for a long
time now. Hope you slept well”.
The breakfast was ready. It consisted of a glass of fresh lemonade, some
fruits and a few sandwiches. He had his breakfast with Pawan and Sapna and
then asked “now what?” Seeing Ram’s enthusiasm, Pawan said “that’s the Ram I
know and that’s the Ram I want”. Then he explained the plan of action for the
day. Pawan and Ram were supposed to go to the university to fill up the form for
the 12th final exams and enquire about the procedures about it and Sapna was
supposed to decorate and arrange Ram’s room while they were away. So, as
planned Ram and Pawan started for the university to know about the formalities
that need to be completed in order to give the 12th exams. After doing some
enquiry they understood that there were two ways in which Ram could get his
12th course completed. One is get registered for regular courses and the second
was through distant education for which he will just need to go to the exam
center at the time of exam.
Ram was both confused and excited. He was excited that he could at least
now continue his studies and was confused whether he will be able to do it after
so many years of gap. Pawan looked at Ram, and understood his situation. He
said “Ram, if you cannot do it for yourself, do it for Sapna and me. Please”. That
was the deciding and changing point for Ram. He had decided that he cannot let
Pawan and Sapna down. He had to prove that he is worth the faith that they have
on him. After getting the prospectus, books and exam form, they left the
university.
Ram’s new life started in a steady fashion. His daily routine was not getting
up and getting ready to go to the hotel. Instead he had a plan chalked out for
getting prepared for his exams. He had 6 months in his hands to prepare for his
exams. In the beginning it was difficult for him to concentrate in studies and he
would end up sleeping on the chair. He was not able to concentrate at all in
studies. One precious month passed away with Ram not being able to progress at
all. That is when he decided that he should confess to his friend about his

problem and ask him to reconsider his plans.
It was a Friday evening when he planned to talk to Sapna and Pawan about
his problems in concentration. They were having tea in their rose garden
enjoying the evening wind when Ram took out this topic. He thought that they
would react severely and would be disappointed by Ram’s casual approach
towards his own future and would give him a big lecture. But he thought it was
better to confess early rather than fail and stand near them as a culprit. So he
started. They listened to him very patiently and didn’t cut him in between. They
were busy enjoying their tea and were very calm while Ram was telling about
the problems that he was facing. After talking about fifteen minutes Ram said
“well, then?”
He was looking at Pawan and Sapna to react or say something but to the
contrary they just kept quiet. Then Pawan said “your tea has gone cold, let me
order another cup of tea. I know you like it hot”. Ram was totally confused. He
didn’t know the reason for this reaction from them. He was waiting for them to
say something. Instead they kept quiet. Pawan ordered for another tea which
came almost instantly.
Ram had his tea impatiently and then asked “So guys, what do you have to
say to my problem?”
There was still no answer. Instead the topic suddenly changed. It changed
from Ram’s future to weekend planning. Suddenly Sapna came up with an idea
of going for a long drive and camping for the weekend. Pawan was excited and
started making plans.
Ram got more and more confused with their reaction and finally said “guys, I
told you people just now that I am not studying at all and I fear that I might not
pass the exams. Are you not worried about it? Your money might go down the
drains.”
That is when Pawan saw Ram and said “we were waiting for you to tell this
to us long before. We know that you are not able to concentrate at all. We know
that it is not easy to do what you are doing. It takes time. And that is at premium
for us. We are not at all in any kind of hurry. Remember I asked you to give me
two years of your life to me? I know that you will need some time. That is why I
calculated extra time for your studies and asked for two years.”
Sapna added “We are not worried about you at all. Instead we know that you
will make it happen. So stop thinking about your studies. Weekend has started.
Friday evening to Sunday evening no talk about work or studies. Its play time,
its time to enjoy life.” Ram internally thanked god for giving him such good
friends and promised god that he will do whatever it takes to clear the exams in

the first attempt.
The weekend long drive was a great fun. They drove the whole night and
came up to a secluded place near the hills and camped for two days. Ram
enjoyed each and every minute of the weekend. He was rejuvenated and more
determined to prove his worth. While going back, he made a promise to himself
“I will not let them down. Never”.
Monday was a new beginning for him. Not from outside. From outside he
had changed already. His inner change which is the most important came
Monday morning. He was a recharged person. He started giving his 100% to his
studies and studied for his friends (Pawan and Sapna) and suddenly he saw that
he started enjoying his studies. It was no more a boring routine which he had to
drag himself to do. He understood his subjects and was able to concentrate more
and more.
He would study 15 to 16 hours a day on the weekdays and on weekends he
used to enjoy with Pawan and Sapna. He was transforming from both inside and
outside. His confidence level and attitude changed and he was becoming the
person Sapna and Pawan wanted him to become.
Ram passed his exams in flying colors. He came home and shared his
success with his family (Pawan and Sapna were no more his friends. He had
become a part of the family) and they celebrated their first stepping stone
towards a successful life. It was more of a success for Pawan and Sapna than for
Ram, because it was them who had seen this dream of seeing him come up in
life. It was Pawan and Sapna who had believed in Ram’s abilities.
With his certificate in his hands, Ram asked Pawan “next what?” And Pawan
said “Enjoy your first success. We will discuss our next step soon”.
Ram had experienced so many rude shocks in his life that he was more used
to shocks than surprises. But the sudden change in his life was slowly making
him look forward to surprises as he had started feeling that his good days have
come at last. But at the same time he was always prepared mentally to go back to
his old days as he could never trust his luck which could take a sudden U turn at
any point of time.
It was Sunday morning and instead of being the usual slow paced day it was
unusually very hectic. Pawan was busy talking to someone on the phone about
booking flight ticket and Sapna was busy with a pen and a paper in her hand.
After freshening up Ram came and sat near Sapna to see what was it that had
made these two so busy on a Sunday morning. But Sapna got up from then and
went straight to the kitchen to search for something. It was as if both Pawan and
Sapna had forgotten that Ram was there with them. He was bemused with their

business and enjoyed seeing their activities while he had his morning tea and
breakfast.
Once Pawan was through with his phone call he sat near Ram and starting
having tea. Ram saw him inquisitively and instead of saying anything Pawn just
smiled and continued enjoying his tea. It was as if he was waiting for the
appropriate time tell something and that time had not yet come. Ram knew that
he will have to wait patiently if he wanted to hear what Pawan had to say.
At last that time came along with Sapna. Sapna came with a glass of lime
juice in her hand looking exhausted but had that lovely smile of hers. As soon as
she sat near Pawan she saw him as if to ask whether he has already told
everything to Ram. When have I disobeyed your orders? Pawan asked her then
said do you want to give him the good news or can i do the honors? Ram was
totally confused and was looking both of them. Then Sapna stood up and went to
her bedroom and came out with a laptop bag some documents and new
blackberry handset. Sat near Ram and said “here is your laptop, phone and
admission papers. You are going to BSE for your 12 weeks course. Classes start
from next week and you need to complete your joining formalities by this week.
Your flight ticket is ready and you are going to Bombay tomorrow morning.”
Ram was speechless. He didn’t know what to say. He looked at both of them
for a few minutes and closed his eyes for a few minutes. Seeing him close his
eyes Pawan told Sapna “didn’t I tell you, he didn’t like blackberry, we should
have bought the I phone instead.” Ram could not take it anymore. He opened his
eyes and hugged both of them and said “I loved it all, the blackberry, the dell
laptop and everything else. What I am thinking is how will I ever be able to pay
you people back?”
Pawan said very coolly “Simple, stay with us forever” and Sapna was
nodding her head in agreement to what Pawan said. “I want to live and how do
you expect me to live if I part from my life? You two are my life and I can never
think of parting from you two” replied Ram.
Ram was both excited and sad and he was clearly seeing the same feeling
inside Sapna and Pawan and they were somehow trying to hide their emotions.
This was one Sunday that all three of them didn’t want to pass and even if it
passes they wanted it to pass as slow as possible. But contrary to what they
wanted this Sunday flew even before they could spell “Sunday”.
A usually late riser Pawan was awake early morning at round 4 and Ram had
never seen him being so reckless in life. Pawan was the epitome of calmness.
But things were totally different today morning. He had checked Ram’s baggage
and papers and ticket for the tenth time till now and was very tensed for some

reason. Ram went near Pawan, held him and asked “Do you really want me to
go?” Both of them could not hold themselves anymore and hugged each other
and started crying. Sapna silently went out in the pretence of searching for
something. When she came back after 15 minutes they were normal and
excitedly talking about their future plans as business partners. “Excuse me
gentlemen” she interrupted “don’t you think that we are getting a bit late?” Both
the men looked at Sapna and said in unison “flight cancelled” Sapna was
shocked she didn’t know what to say “Then how do you expect Ram to go?” She
looked at Pawan and asked. “It’s been long since we took proper vacation, so
Pawan and I decided to go by road” replied Ram. “What about me? you two are
going without me?” asked Sapna. At which both of them looked at her and
smiled. Sapna was not understanding what their plan was. “Am I coming or
not?” she asked again. Ram came near Sapna hugged her and said “how can we
even think of going without you?”
The trip from Bangalore to Bombay was of two days. The plan was that they
will have a heavy breakfast and drive till around 6 or 7 in the evening and then
stop in motel in the highway and take rest have dinner and then start. The trip
was fun filled as usual and the three of them had lots of fun. They reached
Bombay on Wednesday morning and directly went to the apartment that had
been booked for Ram’s stay for the next three months. It was a well furnished
apartment with all the basic amenities. The three of them took some rest and
around 10 the men went to the BSE College to complete the formalities while
Sapna took care of the arrangement of the apartment. It was late afternoon by the
time the formalities got completed both Pawan and Ram were famished. They
wanted to have lunch in Taj and called Sapna to be ready so that they could pick
her up but Sapna had other ideas and asked them to come home instead.
Sapna had cooked sumptuous lunch for the three of them. She wanted Ram
to have homemade food one last time as the next three months he will be
depended on food from the hotel. In the evening they went to the famous marine
drive and had the time of their life. Here Ram saw the other side of Pawan and
Sapna. Yes they were rich and sophisticated but they were not the usual rich and
elite people who had the air of richness in tem. They had tasted success in life
but still were down to earth and enjoyed the small things in life. They had no
hesitation in playing like small kids in the beach and get drenched in the sea.
They enjoyed the bhel puri and other delicacies sold by the road side vendors
around the beach.
Time flew as they enjoyed an unplanned vacation enjoying each other’s
company and before they knew it was Friday evening and time for Pawan and

Sapna to return back to Bangalore. Ram was again all alone but this time it was
for a good cause. It was his future and he knew that 12 weeks will pass away
soon. He had a lot to achieve in these twelve and had to make the most of the
chance that he had got. Weekend went a bit slow for Ram as there was nothing to
do in particular and he planned to stay at home after a hectic vacationing with
Pawan and Sapna. Sunday night he slept early to make sure that he is all fresh
and ready the next day to start the next chapter of his life.
Suddenly there was a crashing sound which broke Ram’s sleep and he woke
to find himself sleeping in his couch. He was thinking about his past and had
again slept off. It was a blessing in disguise for Ram as it was around 11 in the
morning and he had to call his daughter to wish her on her birthday. He called
Ramya on her cell and to his surprise she picked it up on the second ring. He was
still thinking as to how he could start the conversation with his own daughter
when he heard her sweet voice from the other side. Ram somehow managed to
muster up some guts to wish his own daughter. He was feeling like a culprit for
not being with her on such an important day of her life. After wishing her he was
preparing to cut the call when his daughter asked him something for which he
had no answers. Ramya asked “Dad when are you coming back home? We are
missing you”. He could just tell her that he was missing his family too but had
no answer to his daughter’s question.
After the call got over he started rummaging through his diary to see his days
work. He was on the rebuilding phase of his life. He was looking for an angel
investor to invest on his project. He had many investors who had promised him
to start his project soon but all of them were mere words of promise. Nothing
concrete seemed to have happened in the last six months or so. His idea was
unique and was liked by everyone conceptually but when it came to finances
there was no investor who was willing to take the risk. The reason was Ram’s
financial position and his credit rating in the market. It has gone down
considerably low in the past few years. All his schemes and pet projects were
crashing and at a point of time his debts became unmanageable and he had to
declare himself bankrupt.
He had a lunch meeting with Mr. Srinivasan today and had hoped for things
to turn around for him. He looked himself in the mirror and was not shocked to
see himself with a two days stubs and unkempt hair. He knew that he could not
present his ideas to his potential investors in such a way so he carefully shaved
and had a good bath to at least look presentable. He searched through his
wardrobe and managed to take out a navy blue suite and a sky blue shirt. He
opted out of wearing a tie as he didn’t want to be dressed too formal and look

like desperate to be seeking Mr. Srinivasan investment for his project.
They were supposed to meet in Taj for a lunch and he had booked a corner
table for them. He reached Taj around ten minutes before the said time and was
surprised to see Mr. Srinivasan waiting for him in the lobby. The start looked
promising and positive but he knew that well begun was only half done for him.
He had many investors who were very interested in his project but never turned
up after the first meeting. In fact many had started to even avoid his phone calls.
Mr. Srinivasan was a middle aged person and was famous in the investors
circle. Many entrepreneurs and small time businessmen had approached him for
financial help and had grown big in their venture. He was the go to person for
people who had a unique idea but were struggling to get the required financial
help to start their own business.
They met and after sharing pleasantries went to the table that was booked for
them. They ordered a bottle champagne and discussed about the business idea
that Ram had. The discussion lasted for around three hours and Mr. Srinivasan
was a patient listener. Ram made sure to cover all the aspects of his business
model and present him the growth prospects of the company. After covering all
the points he looked at Mr. Srinivasan who had been listening to Ram patiently
all the while.
All the while Mr. Srinivasan never asked any question or interrupt Ram. Ram
knew that like other meetings this will also end up in promises of meeting soon
and not materializing in anything concrete to get investment. Mr. Srinivasan then
discussed about everything else apart from the business model.
Ram was totally was totally confused. He didn’t know whether Mr.
Srinivasan was interested in his project or was this also another failure. But he
didn’t want to annoy his potential investor to be annoyed so he continued the
discussion. After around half an hour Mr. Srinivasan stood up gave Ram his
business card and said that he will contact Ram soon.
Ram put the visiting card in his card holder and congratulated himself for
another failed meeting with the investors and started driving back home. While
driving home he came across a park which rekindled a few memories from his so
called wonderful past which were the golden period of his life. He knew that he
had no other commitments for the day and there was no one waiting for him to
reach home soon. So he planned to spend some time sitting in the park. He
parked car in the parking area and went to the same old bench where he had
spent so many hours with his wife talking sweet nothing.
He sat on the same bench and this time instead of having his better half along
with him it was just him sitting all alone. The quietness and serene atmosphere

helped him go back to the memory lane. He closed his eyes and started thinking
about the way his life had shaped up till now. Went back to the days of BSE
College where he was busy with his classes and practical’s. It was the last
semester and he was preparing for his presentation which was due in a few days
when Pawan called him. It was unusual for Pawan to call so late at night but
Ram knew that unless there was something important his friend would not be
disturbing him.
So he attended his call and was surprised to know that Pawan and Sapna
were actually outside his apartment complex waiting for him. Ram was both
excited and worried about their sudden visit. He ran down to open the gates and
invite them inside. When they reached the house Pawan asked whether there was
something in the fridge to eat as he was famished. Sapna volunteered to take
care of the preparation of food while Pawan and Ram sat in the patio to discuss
the cause of their visit.
Pawan started the discussion but talked about everything apart from the
reason for their sudden visit. Ram knew that he was waiting for Sapna to come
so he directly went to the kitchen and asked her to join them as soon as possible
as the main point of discussion would not start without her being there. She
smiled and said that she will be joining them in a few minutes.
Sapna joined Ram and Pawan with a few delicacies that she could prepare
from whatever she could find in the fridge. After having their full Pawan asked
Sapna to take out the brown envelop from her bag and show it to Ram. Sapna
handed over the brown envelop and gave a smile and asked “well what do you
think?” Ram was still confused and opened the envelop to find two sheets and
one photograph. The first sheet was an appointment letter to join Pawan’s
company as the CFO (Chief Financial Officer).
After reading the offer letter Ram saw Pawan and asked why is this formality
needed? “after completing your course you will be offered a good position in
various companies and I wanted to be the first to approach you. Hope you accept
my offer. I know that the salary is not very high and it is not up to your
expectations but I would be happy if you accept my offer.”
Ram got a pen and immediately signed the offer and gave it back to Pawan
and said “who cares how much you pay.” Then he took out the photo and the
other sheet. The sheet contained the bio data of Ratna, his future wife. He didn’t
even see it and kept it back inside. And gave back the brown envelop to Sapna.
They were surprised with this action of Ram and asked him whether he was
annoyed that they chose a girl for him without asking him his expectation of the
kind of life partner.

Ram smiled back and said “If the girl is ok to marry me then I am fine with
it. I trust you two blindly and I don’t need to see the photo or know her history”.
Pawan and Sapna were happy and they just hugged Ram. But they wanted Ram
to meet Ratna once before they proceeded further. So they planned to arrange for
a meeting between them after Ram completes his studies and comes back to
Bangalore.
Ram completed his practical exams and the results were awaited which
would be published in a few weeks. They had two options, Pawan and Sapna
stay back with Ram and wait for the results to come back and the three of them
go back to Bangalore. Or they go back to Bangalore and Ram joins them after
knowing his results. They obviously opted for the first option. The discussion
during the next few days used to circle around the one and only topic that is
Ratna. They were trying to tell Ram about all the good points related to Ratna
and how happy he would be after marrying her. Every time they asked him to see
her photo he refused with a smile.
At last the day came and the results were published. Ram emerged the
university topper and as expected got a lot of calls from various financial
institutions over the next few days with attractive offers. But he was already
employed so Ram very politely said no to all of them. Pawan asked Ram to
reconsider his decision and said if he wanted he could opt for some other
company. Hearing that Ram asked “am I not fit for the post you offered me?”
After that question Pawan never took out that topic anymore.
They drove back to Bangalore and Ram joined Pawan’s company as his
CFO. The first few months were very hectic as they were busy understanding the
model and designing the financial structure for the company, both long term and
the short term. And on the course of the work Ram in a way forgot all about
Ratna. It was not a deliberate attempt to forget her but his new role and the
responsibilities attached with the role had managed to keep him occupied.
It was a Monday morning and Ram was busy with his analytics and
presentation when he got a call from an unknown number. He chose to avoid it
as he was not in the mood to entertain calls from telesales people. The caller
tried calling him a few more times and after that the persistent caller understood
that Ram was too busy to reply back so stopped trying. Ram became engrossed
in his work and almost forgot that someone had tried calling him and when he
again got the call from the same number at around 7 in the evening he decided to
attend it and see who so desperately wanted to talk to him.
He picked up and he thought that his guess of a tele caller was right when he
heard a female voice from the other side. Even before she could complete

introducing herself Ram cut the call stating that he was not interested. Then after
a few minutes he got a message on his mobile. He ignored it and got back to his
work. He completed his work and called Pawan as usual to pick him up while
going home. While driving back home Pawan asked “So when are you two
meeting?” Ram didn’t understand his question and looked at him quizzically. So
Pawan asked the same question again “When are you and Ratna meeting?” Ram
didn’t understand and was still confused. Pawan then asked “Did Ratna call
you?” Ram said no and went on driving. That is when it struck him and asked
Pawan to check the message in his mobile. There were a lot of messages there
but there was one particular message which made Pawan laugh. It said “I am not
interested in promoting any land/property or sell credit cards to you. I am Ratna.
Want to know more about me then call me at my number.”
Pawan read the message to Ram and he was ashamed of himself for treating
Ratna in such a way. Ram told him about the whole incident and accepted his
fault. Pawan was laughing the whole time and the first thing he did as soon as he
reached home was narrate the whole incident to Sapna. She also had a hearty
laugh and then asked them to freshen up soon as she was expecting a guest for
dinner and wanted the gentlemen to look presentable near the guest. She
whispered something to Pawan in his ears and he started smiling ear to ear. Ram
was very confused but instead of asking any question he went to his room to
change. He changed and came back in his usual dress when he saw Pawan
dressed up in jeans and t-shirt and that is when he noticed Sapna too dressed up
in a semi formal fashion. So he went and changed to be dressed for the occasion,
not knowing what the occasion was.
When he reached the garden, he saw Pawan and Sapna talking with a young
woman and sharing some light moments with her. He assumed her to be their
guest of honor for the night and went to join the discussion. They shared the
pleasantries and Sapna introduced Ram to the lady. Ram had to admit that the
woman was beautiful and he was somewhat attracted to her. He dismissed his
feelings as mere attraction and reminded himself that he had already committed
to marry Ratna. Did he regret his decision after meeting the lady? He didn’t
know the answer but he didn’t want to disappoint Pawan and Sapna so he made
up his mind not to wander here and there.
On the course of dinner Ram came to know more about the lady and slowly
started getting attracted towards her. After the dinner was over Sapna suggested
that Ram should drop her home. Although Ram was a bit reluctant in doing so,
but he agreed to it and while driving her back home he asked her name. Her
reply stunned him. “Are you sure you want to know my name?” He didn’t press

on it anymore and the whole drive was more of a conversation here and there
and he dropped her home and came back. As soon as he reached home he saw
that Pawan and Sapna had slept off so he chose not to disturb them. And as he
was preparing to complete some work he got another message on his mobile. It
was from Ratna. “How was your day? Hope you had a great day. Message me
when you are free”. Ram thought of replying back to her in the most formal way
and said that he was sorry for whatever happened earlier in the day and he
wanted to apologize. She asked whether he was free tomorrow and if they could
meet tomorrow for lunch. At first he was reluctant but then he agreed to meet
her. They agreed to meet at 2 in the afternoon in Pizza Corner as she loved Pizza.
The place for meeting was not formal so he decided to wear business casuals and
got ready to go to the place of rendezvous directly from the office. Morning went
exceptionally slow and Ram was frequently looking at his watch to see whether
it was time to make a move. At last it was 1:30 in the afternoon and he started.
The pizza corner was only 10 minutes from his office building but he didn’t want
to be late so he started around half an hour early.
He reached the place twenty minutes early but was waiting at a distance as
he didn’t want to look as if he was desperately waiting to meet her. That is when
he got a call from Sapna. He first thought of ignoring the call in the pretext of
being busy but then he received the call. But even before he could answer back
the call got cut. He was in two minds whether to call her back immediately or
call her after having lunch with Ratna. That is when he saw a message from
Sapna. It said “Make sure you buy a bouquet before you meet Ratna”. He smiled
and replied back “Thanks”. He went and bought a bouquet and stood outside
Pizza Corner when he was surprised to see the same lady who had come to
dinner to their house last night.
Ram thought of having a quick chat with her before meeting with Ratna. So
he went up to her and said Hi when she immediately asked is this bouquet for
me? Ram didn’t know what to say and could not say no to a beautiful lady so he
presented the bouquet to her. And just as he was turning to leave she said “I
thought we were going to have lunch together.” Ram said “I wish we could as I
was waiting for someone else. Maybe next time.” That is when she said “I am
Ratna”. Ram could not believe his luck.
Ram and Ratna had lunch together and after paying the bill Ram thought of
taking a chance of asking Ratna to meet again in the evening. But he could not
muster the guts to do so and thought of taking it easy and not rush through. Ram
went back to office and tried to concentrate on his work but it was becoming
difficult to concentrate as he was constantly thinking of the events that occurred

that afternoon. At around 5 in the evening he sent a message to Ratna “Are you
there?” He was expecting an immediate reply from her side but when he did not
see any reply from her for a long time he thought that he is riding his luck too far
and decided to complete his pending work. Slowly as he started working on his
quarterly sales and revenue forecast he got submerged in his work and forgot
that it was past ten. He planned to call it a day and knew that Pawan would have
gone home till now so he instead of calling him, Ram directly went to his car
and drove back home.
When he reached home he shared the events of the afternoon with Pawan
and Sapna who were actually waiting for him. They were happy that Ram liked
Ratna and was eager to know her better. That is when Ram remembered that he
had messaged Ratna in the evening and had not got any reply from her. He
checked his mobile and found 7 missed calls and 3 messages. Out of the 7
missed calls 5 were from unknown numbers and he thought that it was too late to
call them back. Out of the rest of the two one was from Pawan and he knew that
Pawan would have tried to reach him to pick him up while starting from the
office. The last one was from Sapna which would have been to know whether he
is going to be late tonight. No calls from Ratna. He was a bit sad and started
going through his messages and all the three messages were from his investors
asking about the next meeting.
He was a bit disappointed when he didn’t see any call or message from
Ratna. He saw the time and it was around ten thirty at night. He thought of trying
his luck by giving a missed call to Ratna. If she was awake she would call him
back or else he will call her again tomorrow morning. To his surprise Ratna
picked up the call in the first ring and he didn’t get the time to cut the call. Ram
had not expected her to pick the call so he was at loss of words when he heard
her at the other side. Not knowing what to say he kind of blabbered stating that
he unknowingly called her and was not having the intention to disturb her and
was again sorry. Ratna laughed and said it is ok and said goodnight. Ram wanted
to talk with her so he mustered some guts and asked her if she had no problems
then is it ok if they talked for a while.
Ratna laughed and asked “What do you want to talk about?” He didn’t know
what he could talk about as he had never ever talked to any woman. The only
woman he had ever talked to was Sapna. He thought for a few minutes and then
asked her “how about telling something about yourself?” Ratna laughed and said
ok what is it that you want to know about me? Ram was feeling uncomfortable
with the questions as he had no clue as to what he would want to know from her.
All he knew was that he wanted to talk to Ratna and know more about her.

Sensing Ram’s discomfort Ratna said “lets meet tomorrow at Rose Garden
tomorrow at 5 PM.” And she cut the call.
Ram had never been in love before or was it mere infatuation? He didn’t
know how to propose to Ratna. He didn’t know how to take their relationship to
the next level. He even didn’t know whether there was any relationship between
them. He was very confused. He decided to talk to Sapna the next morning. It
was a very long night and sleep successfully eluded him as he was only thinking
about Ratna all the time. The next day morning Ram told Pawan that he will join
him in the office a bit late. Pawan gave a knowing smile and didn’t ask him
anything. Ram waited till Pawan left for office and then decided to talk with
Sapna. Sapna was busy with some work and was surprised to see Ram in the
house at this time of the day. Ram didn’t know how to start the topic so he began
with some clarifications that he was very confused and had no one else to go to
so he thought of talking with Sapna.
Sapna made some lemonade for both of them and they planned to sit in the
garden. Ram told her everything that had happened till now and also the plan of
meeting Ratna in the evening. After giving him a patient hearing Sapna said
“congratulations Ram, you are in love. And I am sure that Ratna has the same
feelings for you. Meet her today as planned but don’t tell her about your
feelings. For the next couple of weeks try to see whether you two are really
compatible and if you feel that she is made for you then go ahead and propose
her.” That did sound like a plan and Ram was happy that he talked with Sapna.
He knew he could always trust on his two best friends or his only family.
As planned Ram came to Rose Gardens and found Ratna waiting for him.
She was wearing a red chiffon sari and was looking gorgeous in it. Looking at
her from a distance Ram thought “Oh God I love her”.
They met and chose a place which was not very crowded as it was difficult to
get a secluded place to sit. As soon as they sat something strange happened. Ram
took Ratna’s hands and without giving any thoughts to it just blabbered “Will
you marry me”. Ratna was not expecting him to move so fast so she was
bemused to hear it. So Ram said it again “I love you a lot, Will you marry me?”
Ratna just smiled and kissed his hands. The kiss said it all.
Ram’s happiness knew no bounds. He wanted to share this wonderful news
with Sapna and Pawan immediately but was not sure how to put it to Ratna. Just
as he was thinking about it Ratna said “Don’t you think Pawan and Sapna should
know that we are planning to marry? Call them and tell them that you have
something important to discuss and that you want to meet them over dinner at
some place of their liking.”

Ram tried his best to conceal his excitement when he called Pawan. He told
Pawan that he had to discuss something very important with both of them and
would want to meet both of them in Dhaba Express for dinner tonight. Pawan
had no clue about the discussion that Ram had with Sapna so he was a bit tensed
when he updated Sapna about Ram’s call. But Sapna had a clue and said that she
will be ready for him to pick her up so that they can reach for dinner in time.
When Pawan reached home he was surprised to see Sapna humming one of
her favorite songs and dressed very elegantly. She had already kept a pair of
dress for him and asked him to get ready. He asked Sapna whether he had any
idea about what was happening but she all that she said was “your guess is as
good as mine”.
They drove to Dhaba Express which was on the Bangalore Mysore road and
was a perfect spot for couples. When they entered, they saw Ram sitting on a
corner table waving at them. As soon as they joined him Sapna asked “Where is
she?” Ram smiled and said “In the rest room, will come back in a few minutes”.
By this time Pawan got the whole picture and went and hugged Ram and asked
who proposed? “Who else? But our man” Replied Sapna. Ram was smiling ear
to ear. Ratna joined them and the four of them had a hearty dinner. It looked like
a complete family now.
The job of planning the wedding and completing was handed over to Sapna
and Ratna and the ladies were more than happy to take over the responsibility.
The four of them would meet over the weekend for a dinner or a lunch and
discuss about the progress made by them. On the weekdays all four of them busy
with their work. The men were busy building up the business and the women
were busy doing the shopping and completing the tasks related to the wedding.
At last the day came and Ram and Ratna got married. Their wedding gift from
Sapna and Pawan was a one month holiday trip to Switzerland.
Slowly Ram settled down in the new role of a husband and life has taken a
sudden change with more responsibilities and a lot of fun. One evening when he
reached home from office for dinner he saw Ratna a bit tensed and Pawan and
Sapna having an argument in their room. He asked Ratna whether he knew what
had happened and she just didn’t open her mouth. She just started crying and
went to her room. It seemed as if all hell broke loose in their wonderful family.
He thought of asking Pawan and Sapna as to what was the issue but stopped
short as he didn’t want to annoy them. He knew that he owed them a lot in his
life and if there was a problem he had to wait for them to come and tell him. As
soon as they saw Ram they told him to call Ratna and come to their room. Ram
called Ratna who was still crying and both of them went to Pawan and Sapna’s

room.
As soon as they went Pawan handed a set of keys to Ram and said “you are
moving to your new home next month” and was smiling. Ram saw Sapna and
Ratna. Both of them were visibly upset. Ram took the keys with a smile and
went out of the room. Pawan was happy that Ram saw the positive side of it but
both Ratna and Sapna were shocked at Ram’s behavior. When Ratna went to
their room she saw that Ram had already slept.
Ram woke up early next morning and went to office without having his
breakfast as he had a few important meetings with some clients. He was busy the
whole day and could not talk to Ratna or Sapna who tried calling him several
times during the day. There were several missed calls and voice message from
both of them and he heard all of them when he was driving back home at around
midnight. It was a long day for Ram so he went to sleep. Everyone was confused
with Ram’s behavior and didn’t know what he was up to. He would go to office
early every day and come late at night and not talk to anyone in the house. This
went on for the whole week. The weekend came and the whole family was
gathered in the garden table for discussing their weekend plans. Ratna and Sapna
were not very enthusiastic about the weekend plan but they didn’t want to upset
the men so participated in the discussion.
Suddenly Ram spoke out “Regarding the move next month”. All the three
looked at him quizzically as to why did Ram take out this topic. “We are ready to
move but there is one condition, give me all that I own in this house and I will
go with Ratna to the new house.” No one expected to see this side of Ram. Ratna
was scolding Ram for asking his share in the house and Pawan and Sapna were
shocked looking at him. At last Pawan asked him what all he wanted. Ram took
out a sheet and said that he had listed all the items in the legal documents and if
Pawan is ok with it he can sign it and then they can part. Pawan opened up the
sheet and passed it over to Sapna. She read it and could not stop laughing.
Pawan stood up and hugged Ram and said “I am sorry for what I did. This will
never happen again.” All this while Ratna was waiting for someone to update her
about what was happening and Sapna just passed on the paper to her. She opened
it up and it read “I want Ratna’s brother (Pawan) and my sister (Sapna) to come
with me. They are mine. Give them to me and I will happily leave this house.”
Ratna jumped with joy and hugged her husband. Pawan took back the keys from
Ram and they again started discussing about their weekend plans.
Life was going normal and Pawan and Ram and increased their business
substantially well. The key to their success was Pawan’s innovative ideas and
Ram’s meticulous planning. Ratna and Sapna had also started a small interior

decoration boutique of their won and were busy in their own small way.
It was a Tuesday morning and Ram saw a call on his cell. It was Pawan
calling him. It was unusual for Pawan to call him on his mobile in the morning
as they usually would talk on the intercom while they were in the office. He was
surprised to know that Pawan was not in the office. He picked up the call and
heard Pawan saying that he was taking Sapna to the hospital. Ram asked
worriedly whether everything was ok and is Ratna with them and should he join
too. Pawan was more excited than worried and said that there is nothing to worry
and he will update Ram very soon and cut the call. Ram called Ratna
immediately and she didn’t pick the call so he was worried but he decided to
wait for someone to call him back.
It was around half an hour and he got no calls from the house when he
suddenly heard someone blowing a whistle and he woke up from the sleep and
found the police waking him up. It was closing time for the park and Ram had to
go. He walked back to his car and started driving back home. He looked at his
watch at it was around 10 at night. He was feeling hungry so he drove to the
nearest Taco Bell and packed something for him to eat. He drove back home
slowly as he had no one waiting for him or expecting him back home. He
reached home by midnight and sat in his arm chair. He was tired but not sleepy.
He had his dinner made some coffee and sat back in his office room with his
laptop to do some work. He did a bit of research on some more perspective
investors but was not very positive of getting a response from them.
Ram had seen bad days in his life so he was no stranger to struggles but this
was something more than that. It was as if life had come to a standstill. There
were no avenues which seemed to be open for him and time was running by. He
knew that if he had to take some decision soon and he only had a couple of
months to get started with his new project. If the window of opportunity was lost
then he had to resort to some other options as he would not be able to financially
sustain himself. The practical side of Ram had almost given up but he had a hope
somewhere that things will turn around for him and he might be down now but
all is not lost. He still had the capacity to bounce back. So he didn’t want to
leave any stone unturned and try all possible ways to get that one investor to
invest on his project.
After doing the homework on the potential investors and sending the mail to
them he planned to do the most difficult activity of his life, that is get some most
wanted uninterrupted sleep. He knew it would be a futile attempt to go to bed so
he sat on his armchair and started thinking about his past again. It was the past,
which could be called as his only asset that was still with him and was an

integral part of his life.
Sitting in his armchair he tried to recollect the memories of the past where he
had left in the famous Rose Garden. He went back to the call which had
disturbed him for a few minutes as there was no update for a long time from his
family regarding the cause of going to the hospital. Ram was tensed about the
whole situation and was waiting for an update when suddenly he heard his
mobile ring and this time it was Ratna. He frantically picked up the call and just
blasted at her for not answering back when he had called earlier. Ratna heard
him went out his anger and then said very calmly “Sapna is pregnant”. Ram
couldn’t believe what he heard. There was an addition to their family. That was
the biggest news and he had to call Pawan and Sapna to congratulate them. So he
told Ratna that he will call Pawan and Sapna and congratulate them.
He immediately called Pawan and didn’t get any response so he tried calling
Sapna’s mobile but there was no response from her side too. He understood that
they needed some private moment so he thought of calling them later. The
excitement was killing Ram and he could not concentrate on his work. So he
decided to call it a day and rushed back home. While going back he made sure
that he bought some sweet for the new parents. When he reached home he found
that Ratna was all alone and Pawan and Sapna and not yet reached.
Ram and Ratna were eagerly waiting for the new parents to come when Ram
got a call from Pawan. He answered back eagerly asking him when are they
planning to come back when he heard a stranger’s voice from the other end. That
person enquired whether it was Ram and asked him to come to Ramanujam
hospital soon and cut the call. Ram could not understand anything and when he
called back the phone was dead.
Ram and Ratna rushed to the hospital where he was greeted by a doctor who
was actually waiting for him. He told Ram that he had called him and he wanted
him to identify the two people in the emergency room. Ram could barely hold
himself and hoping against hope he went to the emergency to find Pawan and
Sapna covered with blood and lying down still. Ram could not believe what he
was seeing. He had talked to Pawan just a few hours before and now he was not
with him anymore. The doctor consoled him and said that it was a hit and run
case and the person involved was under the influence of drugs.
It seemed like the end of the world for him and Ratna and they felt a big void
in their life. They could not believe that the two most important people of their
lives were not with them any more. Their life changed totally. They were living
because they had to live but there was no particular reason for them to be living
their life. They were just going through the grind of life.

Time is a big healer and if it gives you immense sadness then it also plays as
a leveler and gives happiness to compensate for the losses given. Slowly time
passed and they started living a normal life. Ram was busy building the business
empire and Ratna was busy with her boutique. And with time they had a
daughter, Ramya.
Things were going smoothly and Ram was busy building his business
empire. Ratna was scared at the speed with which he was doing acquisitions and
had warned him several times to slow down. But Ram was in no mood to slow
down. In the process of tasting success one after the other he forgot the basics on
which he had started his professional life. As it happens, he got acquainted to a
few people who had a personal motive for being close to Ram and would
encourage him and praise him on each and every act of his. Those made Ram
feel like the king of the world and in the process made some deals which turned
out to be the reasons for his doom. He started losing all the money he had
invested in the new ventures and he had to sell off all his property.
Ratna took over the charge of running the family with the money that she got
from her boutique. She always thought that Ram will learn from his mistakes
and rectify his errors. But the losses hurt his ego and he was bent on proving that
his plans were right. In order to do so he took loans from the market and
invested in those ventures to revive them but things went from bad to worse. The
losses made Ram irritated and he started venting his anger on Ratna.
And when things went out of hand she decided to move on. It was affecting
her and their daughter’s life and she could see that very clearly. She knew that
she could not let Ram’s obsession towards his business and lack of interest was
actually snatching Ramya’s childhood. And as a responsible mother she could
not afford Ramya not to have a normal childhood. So she knew that it is high
time that she put her foot down and decided to move on. Not for her not for her
husband but for her daughter who deserved a normal childhood. Ratna parted
from Ram and she took their daughter Ramya along with her. It was around five
years since they parted and Ram was a lonely man in spite of having a family.
Ram decided to call Ramya to wish her on her birthday. When he called her,
Ramya asked in her sweet baby voice “where is my present?” “What do you
want?” asked Ram. “Meet me and I will tell you” she said and gave the phone
back to her mother. Ratna asked him to meet him in Rose Garden sharp at 6 in
the evening. This was the same garden where he had first met the love of his life.
He reached there at around 5:45 and saw Ratna sitting there with Ramya. She
was still looking as beautiful as she was when he had first met her. He was
admiring her beauty for a few seconds and suddenly he had a second thought

about going back and not meeting. But then he mustered the guts and went to the
bench where both Ramya and Ratna were sitting.
Seeing Ram come there before time Ratna was speechless. She did not know
what to say. She got up to go and Ramya caught her hand said “Mom you
promised”. Ratna had no choice but to stay. Ramya held Ram’s hands and made
him sit next to her and hugged her father tight. Then she held both their hand and
said “this is my birthday present.” Ratna was still shocked but Ram said “it is not
possible anymore Ramya”.
That is when he first heard Ratna speak. All she asked was “Why not?” He
could not believe what he just heard. He looked at Ratna and she repeated it
again “why not? Why is it not possible?” “You still want to try being a
successful businessman and sacrifice your family?” “You still want to prove that
you are a winner?” “that is why it is not possible?” “Tell me, why it is not
possible?” and she started crying. She cried for a couple of minutes and said “We
both need you”. Ram was quiet, he hugged Ratna and Ramya tightly and said “I
love you two too and I need you two”. “You two were always there waiting for
me, and I thought that I lost you”.

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