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You can read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 here.

Dear Meghna,

I don’t know how to begin. All through my life, romances have always been restricted to books. This is the first time I am ever writing to a girl. And this girl is not some mortal person; she is a special angel who has been sent by God just for me. The moment I heard your laughter that day at Crossword, I knew you were the one. Don’t ask me why or how because I cannot explain it. This feeling is pretty new to me and I don’t know what to make of it.

I just met you for an hour yesterday but the butterflies in my stomach are refusing to perish even after a full twenty four hours. Sometimes, I wonder if I’ve gone back in time living my adolescent stages crushing on a girl who I’d met for a while. But, at most other times, my heart tells me ‘she’s your soul mate, don’t let her go’. I am somewhere stuck between a sane mind and a beating heart.

I’ve been thinking about what emotions you are going through. I wish there’s a transmitter which can show me what you are thinking. I wonder if you realize that your eyes (those emerald magnets.. sigh!) betray what your lips are saying. Or, is it my fascination for you that is betraying me? With so many emotions running through me, I don’t think I can continue being here. By the time you get this letter, I’d be in the confines of my range caressing my first love. Hah. I am talking about my rifle.

I am going to give my beating heart some more time; a month or so may be. May be, my emotions might settle down by then. But I really doubt it will. I don’t think I will ever be able to forget the curled edges of your hair or that sweet singing voice of yours. Never in this mortal life, at least. I am crossing my fingers (and toes) hoping beyond hopes that you have the same feelings for me. I am sure those eyes of yours would never lie.

I will be thinking about you (and only you!) until the next time I meet you.

All my love,
Arun

Meghna read through the letter; once, twice, at least a dozen times that day. The letter kept flashing through her even while she was reading out her stories to kids. May be like Amma says, he’s the man. I am able to feel it, right? I am sure this is not how I felt when Pranav told me what he had in his mind. There’s something different with my feelings for Arun and I can’t figure out what it is. The good thing is that he is as confused as I am right now. Really, thank God for that. I am going to give it some time too.

She ordered her beating heart to slow down. She tried hard to behave normally but day in and day out, it was his face (and that smile in particular) that kept haunting her. She refused to believe that a man she spent a coffee with could have so much impact on her. Slowly, she realized that Pranav’s memories were fading away from her mind. It was being replaced by that smile that she’d die for. With every passing day, she realized that the intensity to call Arun’s number and speak to him was only increasing. She was getting a feeling that she was ready for another relationship.

She was in Delhi for a book event when she decided enough was enough. This hide and seek game was taking them nowhere. She pulled out her phone and messaged him.

Today, it’s exactly two months since we met the first time. Am in Delhi and would love to catch up with you, if you wish. Meg.

—————

On the way to the gate, Arun’s phone beeped. He pulled it out, flashed his smile and did his trade mark fist-pump. He didn’t realize that he was in the midst of a buzzing airport crowd. He embarrassedly put his phone back in its place when he found dozens of eyes prying him. Right then, he heard the boarding announcement forΒ all passengers heading to Delhi. And, he dutifully obliged.

————–

Meghna was sitting in the podium with two other sports writers talking about ‘books and sports’. She’d expected a call soon after her message; worst case, at least a message in return. But it was threeΒ hours and thirty minutes, and there’s been nothing as if the phone was dead. So was her heart, dead. I’ll be thinking of you and only you. Hah. What false promises. He must’ve even forgotten me. How long did we meet for? Sixty minutes, after all. I was foolish enough to think he’d be thinking of me. Really, I am a fool.

‘Ms. Ramesh, why do you think there’re not many children’s books on sport?’ She came back to her senses. This is a question for me!

‘There are a few books, Aarthi. But they are all on cricket. The thing is people from other sports are rarely recognized leave alone writing books on them. That too, kid’s books!’

Aarthi smiled. ‘I am sure you are talking about your brother Manav!’

She tried to smile too. ‘Yes. But my observation is not just restricted to my brother. I’ve seen so many other sportspeople being sidelined too’.

‘Like?’

She took a deep breath. She didn’t want to talk about him. But now she had no choice. ‘Once I was in a mall when I met shooter Arunjeet Atwal. In the thousand odd people in the entire mall, I was the only one who recognized him. Let’s leave the fact that I recognized him because my brother Manav had spoken a lot of times to me about him.’ She chuckled. So did the crowd. ‘I was taken aback that day. Such a genius he is and not one person knows him! This wouldn’t have happened if he were a cricketer, isn’t it?’

Meghna could see that Aarthi was nodding but there was some confusion going around. She turned to see that someone from the audience had gotten hold of the mike. This was the face of someone she knew. That deep voice…

‘Ma’am.. You recognized me in the mall where there were a thousand people. But, here in the audience of two hundred, you choose to ignore me?’ His voice was teasing her. She flushed. The colour in her face changed. The audience roared with laughter with a few of them trying to get to where Arun was. Aarthi was looking at her and gesturing her to answer his question.

‘I… I am sorry… sir. I didn’t realize you could be here in a literature fest. Also, I was preoccupied with something else.’ She smiled and continued with her discussion with Aarthi. She was fervently praying that the mike would not pick up the sound of her heart beat and relay it to her audience.

——-

Half an hour later, she was standing outside, signing a few books and taking some selfies with the kids. She was looking at every corner around her but he was nowhere to be seen. She was sure he’d be around but then her mind was not working too well. Was he avoiding her? May be, ‘cos she’d failed to recognize him? Or may be, ‘cos she took a jibe at him while answering?

Too many silly thoughts were haunting her but her hand was busy signing and hugging the kids. When her phone beeped.

I told you. I would be thinking of you and only you! Now, Miss Famous Author, can you finish your signing work quickly so that we can catch up a bit?

Her face turned red. Where was he? Her eyes kept searching for him in every nook and corner. Her emerald green eyes finally met with his’ from behind the pillar.

At that moment, Arun was sure that he was seeing the angel sent by God for him. While Arun’s calm smile assured Meghna that she could totally trust him with about anything in the world. They were destined for each other; there were just no two ways about it.

This was a story which could have only one ending ‘…and they lived happily together ever after!’

[The end]

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