My best friend taught me that real love does exist in this world. This is her story.
We have been together since we were five years old. Growing up, everyone called us two peas in a pod, as we were never apart for more than a few hours. She belonged to an orthodox Jat Sikh and was the only child while I was the youngest of four siblings.
It was she who taught me the meaning of unconditional sisterly love and care.
We shared every little secret with each other and I knew her in and out. She was the prettiest girl in our class in school as well as college while I was the geeky tomboyish kind. Boys would go crazy over her even when she was in her casual PJs.
There was a sparkle in her eye and every time she laughed, the cute dimples in her chubby cheeks made hearts skip a beat.
She never took any romantic proposals seriously until Ajith joined our college in the middle of the second year. He was a transfer student from another state. Standing tall at 6'2", he was perfect in everything be it sports, academics or dancing. When he sang, it was not only the girls but also the boys who became his fans.
Every guy in the college wanted to be like him and every girl dreamed of becoming his better half.
But he did not believe in love. He belonged to a Malayalee Brahmin family with strict family values.
He valued his family over everything else until he met Romil.
They met for the first time in our college canteen. Romil was carrying two plates of samosas and a third plate that was full of chutney. She was rushing towards our table with her hands full when suddenly, she lost her balance and the entire plate of chutney landed on Ajith's crisp white shirt! Everything was still for about 30 seconds; she didn't dare to move.
Slowly, Ajith got up from his chair and stared at her face for about 20 seconds. Then he left without saying a word. I rushed towards Romil and asked her why hadn't she apologize to him. But she didn’t utter a word for the next few minutes.
I had to shake her out of her weird motionless state, and she said the most unimaginable thing to me; she was in love with Ajith.
We didn't talk about him again till we saw him prepping for the Inter-College Youth Festival. He was filling in for his best friend who had fractured his leg. Ajith wanted to focus on his studies, but he was forced to participate since he was the best option in our batch.
Romil and I went to the auditorium to watch the students practice. He was on stage with a delicate-looking petite girl who had difficulty keeping up with his moves. He was a pro at dancing but his partner wasn’t.
The training coach was aware that Ajith's dancing prowess could land our college the first prize in the dancing competition. Without wasting another minute, he announced an opening for the lead female dancer.
I prodded Romil to give it a shot, but she would lose her marbles every time she saw Ajith. So, I decided to play cupid.
The next day, I gave her name to the coach and bragged about her dancing skills in front of everyone. Till date, she has no idea of how it happened! But little did I know that the coach would ask Ajith to cajole Romil to pair up with him for the salsa competition. He was waiting for her outside the college and asked if she could talk to him for two minutes.
The second their eyes met, she became this weird person who could not say anything or even move an inch.
I had to say yes on behalf of her. He took her aside and spoke to her for a few minutes. By the time he left, Romil was shaking. She was totally crazy about him. When I asked her what was special about him, she said it was his eyes.
His eyes could look into her and understand what she was thinking. When their eyes meet, she felt that she belonged to him.
I thought that she’d gone completely crazy and told her that he must think the same! But she did not care. She had said yes to him for the dance. And that’s how it started.
They had to practice every day for the next 15 days after college hours. I would wait for her, so we could go back home together. Slowly, she started getting her confidence back.
When she was in his arms, she would forget about the whole world and pretend that it was just the two of them.
I could not tell if Ajith had also fallen for her beauty and her kind and enthusiastic spirit like the rest of the college. But rumours about them being a love-struck teenage couple had been brewing since they started practising together. But our hero acted oblivious to the rumours.
One day, I had to go home early while Romil and Ajith were still practising. The weather was bad and it started raining heavily. Romil asked Ajith if they could practice in the rain. Ajith was taken aback by her request but he obliged. They came outside and started dancing.
Once she started moving, Ajith could not take his eyes off her.
He was in a trance, as he watched her dance. She danced alone for more than 2-3 minutes, and he just stood there, watching her dance. He had never seen such childlike innocence in anyone's eyes.
He had always thought that she was pretty ever since he saw her in the canteen but that day, he knew that there was no other girl like her.
Ajith did not miss the sparkle in her eyes and the cute dimples in her cheeks. Then both of them looked into each other’s eyes and without even thinking, he kissed her. They became the most popular couple in our college.
The guy who did not believe in love was head over heels in love with her.
He wanted to get married to her as soon as they graduated. She happily agreed. She told her parents on the last day of the last semester.
But her father who was a retired army officer wanted his only daughter to marry a Jat Sikh army man. He was rigid and warned her to break all ties with Ajith or give up on her own family. Ajith was also in a similar situation.
His family refused to accept a Punjabi girl as their daughter-in-law.
However, both them were not ready to let go of each other. They realized that they had to do something that would make their parents understand that love is above everything else.
But they also loved their families dearly and did not want to go against their wishes.
Ajith, who had never defied his parents, agreed to marry the girl of their choice if they could guarantee him that the girl would love him as much as Romil did. His parents scoffed at his behaviour and told him that such unrealistic love existed only in Bollywood movies.
But he believed in his love. Both of them were struggling to convince their families when one day, Ajith met with a dreadful accident.
A truck crushed both his legs, and they had to be amputated, or he would have died of sepsis.
He lost both his legs. Romil did not leave his bedside for a single day for almost 3 months.
Seeing her devotion towards their son, his parents melted.
They agreed to the marriage on the condition that her family agrees too. But Romil's father was still adamant. She threatened to kill herself and wailed in front of her father, helplessly asking him who would care for Ajith if she died.
Her family finally understood their daughter’s love and agreed to the marriage.
They have been married for more than a year now and have a beautiful baby boy named Dulquer (After Romil's favourite mallu superstar). She works with a leading software company in Bangalore while Ajith is trying to master the use of his prosthetic legs. They are happy as ever and I wish them health and happiness forever.