It took nearly eight years for her to realize his love. She traveled from New York to Mumbai to meet him. She wanted to get into his arms. She decided to end her sojourn of solitude forever.
Eight years ago, they were madly in love with each other. Ashutosh wanted to pursue a career in filmmaking. But, Heera wanted him to get into software engineering as he was too good in programming. During the final semester, they fought many times over this topic and he was obstinate about his career choices.
“You need to choose now. If you want me, you have to give up the dream of becoming a film director. You have to apply for the software job immediately. Your dreams will not feed you. It will take years for you to earn as a filmmaker. And the competition can be really political and ruin all your chances,” said Heera.
Ashutosh was clear in his choices. “Let’s assume I did that. I gave up my dreams. I took up a job in a software company. And, then, we get married. But, will I be happy. Never. I will start hating you for asking me to choose between you and my dream career path. I will not be able to live with you. I will definitely leave looking for my dream career. It’s definitely going to happen. Why ruin your life then? I’d better call it quits now and go with my career choice,” replied Ashutosh.
He walked away without saying anything more or listening to her, towards his dream.
It took eight years for her to realize that she had been foolish. She regretted the fact that she did not have a passion like him and never thought like about life and career. Though she worked for a software company and worked in a high profile job, she never enjoyed her work. Like everyone else, she hated the week days. She always waited for the weekends.
One day, she came across something on Television. She noticed that Ashutosh is now a celebrated filmmaker in India. She also came to know that he was still single, just like her. She felt guilty for ruining their relationship.
Finally, Heera decided to get back to him. She thought she should apologize to him for her foolishness.
After landing in one of the top hotels in Mumbai, she initially thought she would give a surprise visit to him at his workplace. However, to her dismay, she suffered from cold and fever on the designated day. She decided to wait for one more day until she felt better.
Though she was feeling better the next day, she did not have the energy to travel all the way to the studios to meet him. So, she gave up the idea of giving him a surprise visit. Instead, she called him on his cell phone.
“Hey Ashu,” Heera said. It was followed by silence.
Ashutosh jumped with joy. “Heera. Is it you?” was all that he could say.
They both missed each other badly all these years. So, all they had was tears to share on the phone. They could feel each other on the phone.
She said, “I’m sorry. Will you take me back? I gave up my high profile job in New York as I wanted to be with you. Please take me back. I missed you all these years. It took so long for me to know my mistake.”
Ashutosh could not believe what he heard. He said, “What are you saying? I cannot believe my luck. Today is the happiest day in my life. I do not need anything more. I will have you and my dream career. It is the dream life I wanted always. And, you never say sorry to me. I love you and will always love you and can understand what you have been through then. I know it can be difficult to marry a rebel. I was a rebel and will always be a rebel. I’m glad you have become a rebel too. Where are you? I want to see you now.”
Heera replied, “I’m at this hotel near the beach. I wanted to come, meet you and surprise you. But, I was down with fever yesterday. Can you please come over and take me? I feel better now. But, I will be my best when I see you. After all these years, I can’t wait to see you.”
Ashutosh said, “My studio is just an hour drive from there. I will start immediately. You are the most important thing in my life. Everything else can wait. I’m coming.”
Heera waited anxiously for Ashutosh to come and knock the door. She imagined all the wonderful days in the near future. She could not believe her luck. She was enamored by his level of understanding and his broad-minded approach to life.
After nearly an hour, she heard someone knock her room door. She felt extremely happy. She decided to hug him as soon as he stepped inside.
She opened the door.
An old man was at the door with three small kids.
The old man said, “Help, please. Help, lease. There are some terrorists in the ground floor. They are shooting and killing people. They killed my son and my daughter-in-law. Can you please take of my grand kids? I have to go and search for my wife. She is out there.”
Heera heard more gunshots during the conversation and she was horrified at the sudden turn of events. She agreed to the old man’s request and took the two kids inside.
She was immediately worried about Ahsutosh. She picked up the phone to call him. The phone was not working. When she tried to use her mobile, all the lines were busy. She was not able to reach him. She wanted to call him once and ask him not to come to this hotel until this terror attack his over. The gunshots continued.
After a few minutes, Heera heard someone knock the door. Unlike earlier, these knocks were violent and she could hear threats from outside. She immediately took the kids and hid inside the bathroom. The terrorists stopped knocking the door. They fired through the doors. They broke the door and came inside. They did not, however, try to search for people in the bathroom. The room appeared to be clean and none of the appliances were turned on. They assumed that the room must have been vacant. They fled away from the room. For a moment, Heera felt glad she could save the kids and herself. They heard more gunshots in neighboring rooms and people crying and shouting.
The gunshots and the violence continued for at least three more hours. The kids started crying. She assured them that everything is going to be fine.
After some time, cops came to the room and found the three of them in the room.
The cops informed her that the hostage has ended and the terrorists have been arrested and many people have been killed.
Heera tried calling Ashutosh on his phone. It started ringing. But, he did not take the call. She was worried about him.
Heera went downstairs with the kids. As they reached the ground floor, she saw many people in a pool of blood. The scene was so gory that she could not control herself. She kept the kids close to her. They spotted their grandparents. They were shot and dead. Heera cried along with the kids. A lady constable came forward to assuage the kids.
Meanwhile, some doubt started lingering in Heera’s mind. She left the kids with the constable and went looking around.
To her horror, she saw Ashutosh on the ground. He was shot in the head. She kneeled down, looked at him, and started crying violently. She could not control herself.
I killed him by calling him to come here. She thought. She felt like the end of her world. All her dreams got shattered. She hugged his dead body tightly and cried inconsolably.
A senior police officer came to help her. He said, “Please control yourself. And be proud of this man. He fought with them and saved many people before being shot by the terrorists. He was the one who sent us a message first as the lines were busy. He was tactical in his approach. Without the knowledge, he helped many people go out of the hotel to safety. But, he was shot finally. We could not save him. We are sorry. He is a hero. He saved the lives of at least twenty people. We all know him. He is a famous award-winning film director. He proved to be a noble soul by saving so many lives. You must feel proud about him.”
The second episode of their love story ended even before it started.