The celebrity visit disrupted the peace and serenity of the joggers park. A film celebrity gets more attention than any other celebrity.
Aakash is a celebrated film star with too many blockbusters in his account. He has been one of the most successful film stars of this decade. Despite his sudden success and fame, he is known for his humility and down-to-earth attitude.
Aakash visited this park in the wee hours of morning to meet his ex girl friend. When people started thronging around him for a quick picture with him, he asked them all to be excused. He came to this corner of the joggers park where a girl sat on the bench everyday in the morning waiting for someone.
Shirin always liked the park. She knew that all her hopes were shattered in this park one morning eight years ago. Despite all the loneliness and misfortune, she loved this park because of the solitude this corner bench offered her every morning. She made some good friends in the park. Some veterans would jog every morning and greet her. Some of them would sit for a few minutes before continuing their walking or jogging.
Aakash came to the park to meet her. He sat beside her. His bodyguards stood at a distance and stopped everyone else from entering this corner.
Aakash did not utter a single word.
Shirin looked at him. He could not guess if she was pleasantly surprised or if she gave up on him completely. He always found it difficult to understand what was there on her mind.
Shirin broke the silence. She said, “Eight years. It took you eight years to gather some courage to come for me. Or, did you just come to say hi? Whatever? I think our story ended the day you decided not to turn up and made me wait for six hours on this bench.”
Aakash decided to remain silent and let her continue speaking out her thoughts. He wanted to apologize with his silence as he knew no amount of apologies would ever make up for what he did to her eight years ago.
Shirin could not control her grief. She started crying. She said, “I did not know what to do. I never expected that from you. I was waiting here with my bag. My parents found me in the afternoon here. My father never forgave me for what I did that day. Many rumors spread in the colony and people thought something was terribly wrong with him. And, I am extremely frightened to trust anyone any more. I find it difficult to get into any relationship after what you have done to me. My parents tried to force me into marriage many times. But, I could not convince myself away from you. Whenever I see your films, I wonder if it is worth it thinking about you and waiting for you.”
Nine years ago, Shirin and Aakash met at a wedding celebration and fell in love with each other. They had a great time together for one full year. Finally, they decided to take their love to the next stage. Aakash went and spoke to Shirin’s father. As expected, Shirin’s father did not approve their love and he was not ready to get them married. More than the religious barriers, her father rejected Aakash because he had no career. He wasting the most productive years of his youth waiting for opportunities in modeling or movies. Shirin’s father was frightened Aakash would never be successful. After realizing that they would never get their parents consent, they decided to run away. Aakash and Shirin decided to meet in the park one find morning and run away from there, together. Shirin came at the appointed time and waited for him. Aakash never turned up.
Aakash said, “I know I don’t even deserve to talk with you. I know I committed the most unpardonable sin. I don’t want to tell you what happened then or why I did that. No reason would ever justify my actions until the reason mentions the death of someone. But, there is no such reason. So, I can only apologize. But, over the years, I have changed. I have realized and learnt so many things. I never fell in love with anyone else, again. May be, it is the guilt or it is the fact that I never stopped loving you. I know it is foolish for me to ask this. But, let me try. I want you in my life. Will you marry me?”
Shirin smiled sarcastically and said, “Is it some publicity gimmick? Does it have something to do with your next film? I’m pretty sure it must be a film related to some love story and you want to gain public attention by telling people you got back with your first love. And, then, once the film is release and becomes a blockbuster, you will abandon me, the way you did last time.”
Aakash said, “I knew it. You have not changed a bit. My celebrity status, I realized long ago, would be more of a hindrance for our relationship. You have always given importance to love and relationships over money and fame. Tell me now. I will always go your way. What should I do? I will do anything to prove that I have changed and deserve your love again. I need you. I’m ready to do anything for you.”
Shirin grinned again. She could not believe his audacity. Without hesitation, she said, “Will you be ready to give up your film career? Donate all your money to charity. Will you be able to start life afresh with me in a discrete location? Can you even think of doing something drastic to that extent for me and for my love?”
Aakash did not expect this from her. Deep down somewhere, he knew that she would never forgive him and would come up with some extreme ideas such as this.
After thinking for a few moments, Aakash, “You are, definitely, the most important thing in my life. But, my career is not just about me right now. There are many things riding on me. It is not a decision that I can take saying that love is blind. There are people who have invested money in my work. And, there are many who are waiting as I have made some promises. People also have some expectations. I got into this career to make money; I wouldn’t deny that. But, as time progressed I understood the importance of entertainment. I act as a service to the people. I make sure all my movies provide ample entertainment to the people. There are many people who get a respite in their lives whenever they watch my movies. I cannot stop that altogether. I was born for a purpose and I’m sure I’m living up to it now.”
Shirin listented intently and said, “That’s a good way of putting it across. Regardless, how did I expect anything else from you? You have always been the practical, money-minded person. Just so you know, with your life style, attitude, and thought patterns, it would be better to search for another star and get married to her. It does not make sense for us to rethink about our relationship.”
Shirin got up without waiting for his response and walked away silently.
She reached home. Her father called her to his room and said, “How did the meeting go? What did he talk to you? Why did you walk away like that? The media is reporting it in various odd ways. If he really wants to get back to you, think about it. I have no qualms, whatsoever.”
Shirin said, “Just because he is rich and famous now, you are ready for my wedding with him. Why did you not believe me nine years ago when I said I believed in his talent. There were times when he did not trust his own skill. I encouraged him and told him that he would become a superstar. And, as far as our relationship is concerned, he chose his career over me. So, we are done. There is nothing between us anymore.”
Her father said, “You waited for him all these years. You speak about him in your sleep even now, though you avoid his topic during day time. When you came to know that he is successful, your hopes rekindled again. But, it took so long for him to come. But, look at his track record. He has never been linked up with any of the heroines. He has a clean record and he always talked about his first love in the interviews. And, the media now knows who it is. In a way, he made you famous too, now. He chose to do it. So, think about his love. Give it a second chance.”
Fearing the shutterbugs, Shirin did not step out of the house for three days. On the fourth day, she stepped out of the house and drove all the way to his studio.
She met him in the studio where he was shooting for his movie. When Aakash noticed her, he stopped his work and ran towards her.
She said, “I’ve come here to tell you that we are not ready for marriage yet. I want to go out with you again to check if we are compatible. You can also tell me if you think we are not compatible after a few days, weeks, or months.”
Aakash felt happy and thought he was the luckiest man in the world.