Story by Shaily Kapil Kalra

School friends : Madhav, Manasi and Narang grew up together with different goals in mind. They lived close to each other, studied together, the bond between them grew stronger and stronger as time passed.

Narang was the most ambitous amongst the three and during the early days of college shifted to Canada and planned to stay there. Madhav and Manasi continued their studies in same city. Their dreams were not as big as Narang’s. They missed him a lot, especially on occasions like birthdays and festivals. Every year Narang came over to visit his best friends. Time passed, Life was going easy, and all were happy in their own space, in their own way.  

As time flew, love grew between Manasi and Madhav. One fine day, as Madhav and Manasi were walking on the beach they decided to settle down and planned to get married. Everything was going just right, just perfect, just as it was percieved.

Finally the day of engagement came, and to surprise of both his best friends, Narang came on the eve of the day of celebration. Guests starting coming, but their was no sign of Madhav and his family. Manasi tried contacting them but all efforts were in vain as neither Madhav nor his family members were picking up the phone.

As Narang entered her room, he noticed that all things were decorated just the way, they were during the school days. He momentarily went down memory lane and remembered his childhood. “Nothing has changed Manasi”. She turned around and said “Hi Narang”. She was not expecting Narang, it was a surprise. Narang looked at Manasi and said,” you look so beautiful in this attire.” Manasi was wearing pink colour lace gown, the veil due to wind was uncovering her face and her beautiful black curly hair made her look prettier. 

It was nearing midnight when finally Madhav’s family responded.

It was Madhav’s father, in trembling voice he told Manasi to come to the hospital. The news was bad. Madhav had met with an accident while coming for the engagement ceremony. She rushed to the hospital where the doctors informed that Madhav’s chances of survival were negligible. She held her poise and entered the room. The room was dark and gloomy. The only light entering the room was coming from the balcony. Madhav was holding her hand, and said, “Manasi, I’m sorry I could not keep my promise but…. “. His grip loosened as he breathed his last. He was no more….. Gone. 

Manasi in her engagement attire, tears rolling down her cheeks, looked at Madhav and slowly left the room. 

Time passed, but nothing changed, Manasi felt suffocated. It was becoming harder to normalize Manasi . Narang took a decision to move her out of the emotional mess.  

Everyday Manasi went to beach, and cried remembering those days that she spent with Madhav. One day Narang accompanied her. He said, “Manasi it’s been two years, since Madhav left us. It’s hard for all of us. Life is never same, it has many colours. The life teaches us many lessons and we have to move on.” He paused, looked at her and proposed, with a rose in his hand. Manasi listened to him very carefully, looked at the gazing sky, it was the time of sunset, she cleared her throat and said, “it’s time to go back home, parents must be waiting for me. “ she took the rose, and walked.

Narang sat on the beach, and watched her go. Her footprints were still visible on the muddy sand.

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