Everyone ecstatically danced with their classmates. They never thought they would have the same fun they had twenty years ago. Times have changed. People have transformed. Yet, the children in them remained the same. They realized it when they met their college friends in a reunion after twenty years.
“Thanks to the social media, we have met today in this awesome reunion. This is so much fun. It reminds me of those glorious days. I feel as though we are reliving those moments. I wish I could start it all over again,” said Radhika to her friend Preethi.
Preethi said,”Almost everyone made it to the reunion. It is just the first hour and we feel as thought we have said farewell to each other just yesterday. And, did Deepika come?”
Radhika said,”Check with Santosh. I’m sure he should know.”
Preethi laughed aloud and said, “After their divorce, she left the country with her parents. There are rumors that she got married again and is leading a happy life. But, look at Santosh. He is so lovelorn. It is just like the college days before he proposed his love to Deepika. They seemed to be so much in love, I could not believe when I heard that they split after two years of their marriage.”
Radhika said, “It’s just life. We cannot guess anything. Hey, there! Deepika has come. Now, it is going to be awkward for Santosh. Let us see how they feel with each other.”
Deepika walked into the party and avoided looking at Santosh.
While everyone danced to the old songs of their youth, Santosh wanted one chance to talk to Deepika and tell her how much he regrets his decisions. But, Deepika kept avoiding him throughout the party.
As the hours passed, people could see the gloom on Santosh’s face become more and more obvious. He wanted to leave the party because he could not stay in the same room without talking to her. But, he stayed because he was not sure when he would get a chance to see her again. He hasn’t seen her after their divorce seventeen years ago.
Santosh expressed his love to Deepika during college days and she readily accepted. Unlike other parents of their generation, their parents welcomed their decision. An year after college, Santosh and Deepika got married and invited all their college friends. It was a grand wedding.
Life was a pleasant ride during the first year of their marriage. Santosh felt on top of the world, always. Things started changing slowly during the course of the second year. Santosh and Deepika started bickering for small things and it became a regular affair. They had a son, Karthik in the second year.
Santosh did not take care of Deepika during the course of her pregnancy. He was too busy in starting his business and did not get time to take care of her. He appointed people to take care of her. He also invited her parents to stay with them so that she did not feel alone. But, Deepika did not want anybody else other than Santosh to be with her when she was pregnant. But, destiny had other plans.
Santosh had to face many odds in his business. He chose not to share his workplace troubles with Deepika as she was pregnant and he did not want to cause any stress to her. There was a time when some competitor company tried to sabotage their entire production unit. Santosh had to work hard over the weekend to safeguard his company. It took a lot of efforts to set up the company and make it successful. Santosh could not help that all these things happened when his wife was pregnant.
Meanwhile, Deepika thought that Santosh was reckless and started hating him for not coming home during weekends, too. She wondered if there was someone else in his life. All these doubts and assumptions added to their regular tiffs.
Three months after the birth of the son, Santosh and Deepika had a huge fight. They both got angry on each other and used all the words that they never intended to. The impact of their fight was so much that they both decided to take a divorce. Neither of them wanted to stop for a moment and look back at their foolish and hasty decision. They parted ways. Deepika left the country with her son, Karthik.
Santosh never got to see his son. Though it troubled him to some extent, he missed Deepika more than anything.
Over the course of years, Santosh’s business grew by leaps and bounds and he became very successful.But, he never got married again because he blamed himself for his divorce. He wished he could control his anger that evening. He did not get a chance to talk with Deepika gain. He had everything in his life except love and family.
Deepika went to the middle east on her father’s insistence. Her father assumed that the distance would make her miss Santosh and he expected them to get back together sooner or later. But, Deepika never talked about Santosh. She started her own business in Dubai and made sure it flourished within a short span of time. Whenever her father talked about starting operations in India, she would brush the topic away saying she never wanted to go back to India again.
Deepika never agreed to marry again either. She used to say she was happy with her son, Karthik. Whenever Karthik asked about his father, she would say that he left them and went away.
Nobody other Deepika knew of her daily ritual before going to sleep. She would go through her marriage album. She would kiss Santosh’s pics and say sorry to him. She did it every night. After a few years, Karthik saw it from behind the door. The next day, he took the album to his grandfather and asked him about his father. His grandfather could not say anything to the young boy.
Santosh wished he could undo some of his actions. He hated the idea of coming to this reunion party. After much thought and apprehension, he decided to leave the party.
As Santosh slyly tried to sneak away, Radhika stopped him. She said, “I had a word with Deepika. She did not marry again. From her mobile, I took the photos of your son. Here they are.”
Santosh said, “I have been tracking both of them on social media. I have his pics all over my house. He has grown so much. I feel so sad I could not be a part of his life. I am a hopeless father. I ruined my life, her life, and my son’s life.”
Santosh wiped the tears of his face. He continued, “I’m sorry I’m ruining your party too. Go and enjoy.”
Radhika said, “I brought up the topic. If you remember it right, I played a significant role in your love story. Now, I say the same thing I told you twenty years ago. You listened to me then. Listen to me now. Go and talk to her. Be a man.”
Santosh laughed and said, “Thanks for the joke. It worked then. You were great. But, I ruined things to such an extent that nothing can be done.”
After Radhika’s insistence, Santosh tried to talk to Deepika. He walked towards her twice. But Deepika moved away and feigned ignorance. Santosh finally gave up his efforts and walked out of the party. Radhika felt bad she could not be of much help.
Santosh walked to his car. He told his chauffeur that he wanted to walk for a while along the beach. He asked his chauffeur to drive home. He would walk as it was very near.
Santosh walked along the beach alone while listening to some music. He started crying to himself. Tears started rolling down his eyes. He could not stop himself from crying. He cried so much, he fumbled on a stone and was about to fall.
Someone from behind caught hold of him. The voice said, “Be careful, sir.”
Santosh looked around and recognized the face of his son. He was overwhelmed. He wanted to hug his son tightly and cry. But, he decided to act normal. He did not say anything.
Karthik, in his adolescent voice, said, “Can I walk with you sir, please?”
Santosh realized that his son knew who he was. He said, “Don’t call me sir. Call me Dad.”
Karthik cried and hugged his father. Santosh felt like the happiest man in the world. He did not want to let go off his son. For a moment, he thought he would fight in the court of law, if necessary to get his rights to meet his son. But, again, he thought he would not want to fight again and ruin everything the way he did seventeen years ago.
Santosh and Karthik walked along. They had an awkward silence between as they both did not what to speak.
A car came from behind and stopped right in front of them. Deepika got down the car and said, “Where did you go? I told you to sit in the car. For a moment, I got so frightened.”
Karthik replied, “I loved this beach. I thought I’ll walk along. I told the driver. I’m not a kid anymore.”
Deepika realized that the man beside him was Santosh. She felt embarrassed for not realizing it earlier. All three of them exchanged looks and did not say anything.
The driver did not know what was happening. He parked the car behind them.
Karthik said, “Talk to him, already. I saw it. You say sorry to his photo everyday. Say it now, please.”
To their surprise, Santosh said, “I’m sorry Deepika.”
Deepika came forward and hugged him. Karthik smiled and went and sat in the car.
All three of them drove together to a happy life.
Deepika and Santosh later came to know from Radhika that it was Karthik who organized the reunion party to reunite his parents.