Love is like life, where you don't find smooth roads, where you don't achieve goals so easily. You have to struggle for it, but when you don't stop living you life, why should one stop loving someone?
Sameer came again at night as he had promised, bringing along a bottle of vodka with him.
'Did you give it a serious thought?' Sameer asked as he handed me a shot of vodka.
'Ya, I did. I know Riya was not wrong. She loved me and wanted to marry me. It was she who convinced me to get married secretly. But then situations changed and suddenly she was forced to change her decisions. There must have been some kind of external pressure on her that made her leave her home and shift somewhere else. Otherwise she would have definitely told me,' I said gulping the drink down in one shot.
G.o.d alone knew how much I loved her, how much she meant to me. If I am in such deep pain, what must be her condition?
You loved me more than I could imagine. Remember those sweet ice creams? I now understand why they tasted so good. It was just eating it with you that made them taste sweet. Now that you are gone, their sweetness has gone too.
Sameer got up and went to my table to bring the bottle of vodka.
'What kind of a diary is this?' he asked me.
'Nothing, just forget about it. Leave it be,' I said.
He didn't listen to me and opened the diary. I was in no mood to get up and steal it from him. I let him read it. After some time I went to sleep drugged by the alcohol. The next morning when I got up, Sameer was there to greet me at the breakfast table.
'I read your diary. You write well. All your memories a.s.sociated with Riya-from the day you first met her to the day she mysteriously disappeared,' he said.
I kept quiet and just sipped the tea. I was still hungover. He continued speaking.
'You should try to get this diary published by changing the name of the protagonist. I am telling you this because if your book is published and Riya reads it, then she might come back to you. But again, that is just my opinion,' he said.
'Crazy, f.u.c.king crazy you are. I think you have a hangover. Kindly go home and sleep. You need rest. You are just uttering c.r.a.p right now. I ignored the useless topic. I told him to leave and shut the door. When I shut the door, I thought to myself, Was it good enough to be published? Errr... I stand nowhere. Forget it! I again thought about it and opened my diary. I read a few pages of it.
f.u.c.k, no! Forget it!
Today we are not together, today we are living our own lives; but does that mean that we have stopped loving each other? Absolutely not. You're a very special soul in my life and you will always continue to be. I love you with all my being and I accept that we are now travelling down different paths in our lives, but my love for you will always remain constant and our past will be relived in my dreams. Though our roads are different, our paths may cross and maybe someday in the future, our roads will meet and we will travel down the same path once again, until then my sweet love ... In my heart is where you always reside.
Love is pain. Love is pure. Love is sacrifice!.
Log har manzil ko mushkil samajhte hai,
Maine har mushkil ko manzil samjha hai,
Log dil ko dard samajhte hai,
Maine dard ko dil samjha hai....
When you love someone, you love that person as a whole-you love them for both their strengths and their weaknesses... I did nothing different. Somewhere Riya still belongs to me, and even if today we are not together, she still happens to be my love.
If you believe in love, you should never curse your love for not being with you today. Rise in love, and make them proud of you for loving them.
What happened next?
After a few months, I completed writing my ma.n.u.script. I called everyone to inform them that I had finally completed my story. I never thought I would do that. I still couldn't believe it. Mohit, Sonam, and Sameer were equally shocked when they read it. We searched for some publishers in Mumbai but absolutely no one entertained me. Forget about reading the script, they never even gave me a second glance. I was rejected by most of the big publishing houses in Mumbai just because I didn't have a G.o.dfather.
I wanted my Riya back; I wanted to prove myself to her. I sent my script to one of the finest publishing houses in India. To my surprise, they sent me a mail within a month saying that my script was under consideration.
Mohit and Sameer were on cloud nine when I told them we have moved one step closer towards Riya. One step closer in search of Riya. Finally, after some days when I opened my mail, I had a mail from the very same publisher in my inbox.
f.u.c.k... This is unbelievable! I shouted like a little kid who had been given his dream toy in his hands.
I called Mohit up and told him that there was a big surprise waiting for him in his mailbox, I called Sameer and Sonam too.
They saw their mails and everyone jumped with excitement. I was in my room when I called my parents in the room. I showed them the cover page on my PC.
'You are drunk? You didn't get anyone else to fool around. Do your work,' my Mom replied.
'Mom, I am serious. This is the cover page of my novel, Few Things Left Unsaid. Trust me!' I convinced her.
She did not believe me until she heard me talking with the publishers. She hugged me and congratulated me on my achievement. But my real reason for writing the novel still remains the same after all these years. I am still in search of Riya...
Riya, I don't know where you are today. But wherever you are, I know you miss me more than I do. I know you still love me. Riya, you had told me once that you wanted me to achieve something extraordinary in life and make you feel proud of me. Well, I think you will be very proud of me today.
July 13, 2011. It was the launch day of my debut novel. Mumbai was once again under a terrorist attack. There had been three bomb blasts within a span of thirty minutes, with the first one just one minute before my launch at seven in the evening. The launch was very successful and the high sales made my book a national bestseller within a month of its release. I still found no sign of you. I still waited for that one last phone call from you. I remember being called for an on-air interview on Radio Mirchi 98.3 FM, Mumbai studio.
'Aditya, is this your true love story? You have mentioned in the book that it's your true story,' the RJ had asked me on air.
'Absolutely! Everyone falls in love at least once in his or her life. Everyone has memories. I decided to pen them down and make them eternal.'
'What inspired you to pen down your own story?' The RJ asked one more question.
'Riya! Who else could it be? I don't know where she is today. I hope wherever she is, she is reading my novel and who knows, maybe she is listening to this interview as well.'
'That's the spirit! A 22-year-old guy wrote his love story for all to read. Such an act needs courage and Mumbai appreciates it. You have described and explored Mumbai in Few Things Left Unsaid. I loved it. It's hot,' the RJ said and we finished our interview.
The interview became such a big hit that I was flooded with congratulatory calls. But the call I wanted to receive the most never came.
My book became a national bestseller within a few months of its release. Everything seemed like a dream come true.
I got a call from Mohit. He told me that I had been invited to the Ahmedabad film festival as a special guest.
'You must be kidding! Why would they call me?' I asked him.
'Dude, I told the organizers about your novel. One of them even read it and said that he was inspired by it.'
I packed my bags and reached Ahmedabad-the place where Riya and I had vacationed together. But this time, I was all alone with just my memories for company. When I reached Ahmedabad, I was flooded with fans asking for autographs. The majority of my fans, I noticed, were girls. I thanked my fans for their love and support. I moved towards one of my friend's home when a guy approached me.
'Dude, you have set a wrong example for true lovers. You should have waited for Riya. You shouldn't have written the novel.'
I smiled and replied, 'I am sorry to have hurt your feelings. But you see, I didn't have any option and I went with what my heart told me to do. But if that seemed to have offended you, then I am really sorry.'
'No dude, I respect you. Your courage and selfbelief is worth appreciating. However, for those who need to move on in their life, you would set a bad example. They would do something similar to this. Don't you think so?'
'I have never stopped anyone from moving ahead in life and will never do so. Even I have moved on. Loving someone and waiting for someone to come back in your life doesn't mean you should forget about others around you. If your love is true, that person will ultimately come back to you. But in the meantime, you should not stop living your life. You should instead live for them and do whatever you want in your life thinking of them in your heart. Love is not about two people being together for their entire life. It's about the sacrifices you make for each other, knowing you can't be with them for your entire life. But still you hope for it.'
He hugged me and and thanked me for giving him a fuller perspective on it. I reached the film festival event. By the end of the event, I got up from my seat and turned to move towards the exit. There I saw a beautiful girl who resembled Riya in every sense. Her black eyeliner, her fair skin, her tiny nose, and her perfect jaw line-my G.o.d, she looked so much like Riya!.. She looked at me. She was wearing a long skirt with a black top over it. Her skin glowed in the spotlight of the stage. She kept staring at me while I tried to look the other way.
'Let's move. Our car is waiting outside,' Mohit said while another friend waited backstage.
Mohit looked at me and saw me looking at her. He looked at her when her eyes were still searching for me. We didn't speak a word. We didn't say anything to each other. I moved down the stage. I walked towards the exit. I turned to see that her eyes were still on me. I smiled.
She resembled Riya. However, she wasn't Riya. From somewhere, from some corner of the world I wished I could see Riya for once. She still holds a special place in my heart. I love you. I love you, Riya.
A person lost in love can win anything in this world. Just because he has nothing to lose. He will only rise now!
Maybe it's just an act. Maybe you still do think of me often, in stealing moments, or at night when you can't fall asleep; wondering if I am wondering too.
If it were not for you, my love, this book would not have been written. I am still searching for you.
First, let me thank the ma.s.ses of India who turned my first novel, Few Things Left Unsaid (2011), into a bestseller within three months of its release. This acknowledgement itself would not have been written if it were not for the love of these people. I owe my success to them.
Thank you, my readers, for all the support. You all mean a lot to me. (But only those who liked it!) I had thanked a few people in my first book and would like to thank them again just because they did nothing! These include Rohan, Clera, Pratiksha, Tushar, Viraj, and Suhas Sonawane. The last time I thanked them (which was in my previous book), the book worked.
Also a big thank you to Saurabh, Amit, Mrunmayee, Sunita, Mom, Dad, and my sister, Shweta Nagarkar, for their humble support through it all, even when I used to get hyper at times. I love you all.
Thank you to my grandparents, Divakar Palimkar and Sulbha Palimkar, for your constant support.
I would also like to make a few special mentions: Shalini for being the warmest reader, Diksha for the sweet girl in her, Ananya Kapoor and Karan Bajaj for their support, Prashant and Zankrut for all the promotions, and Abhinay, Shruti, Ananya, Kasturi, Roshni, Nidhi, Nikita, Snehanka, and Nithesh for being so loyal to me throughout my journey.
Thanks to all my loyal Facebook fans for your constant support and feedback.
I would like to thank the electronic media and print media who extended support to my work through their network. Special thanks to RJ Jeeturaaj and the entire Radio Mirchi team in Mumbai for all their love. I would also like to thank Prakash Bal Joshi and Soumitra Pote for the first ever article on me in print media. I am overwhelmed by their support.
How can I forget to thank that one special person without which the book would not have been written in the first place? Many thanks, my love, for giving me the strength I need and for making me believe that I can achieve anything. I don't know if we will ever cross paths in the future, but for now, I just want to thank you for all the love through the years we were together and for all the memories that were born out of it.
Thank you also to all the editors and the publicity team at Random House India for keeping faith in me and for all the patience and love. They were with me whenever I needed (which was once in every few hours).
Lastly, thanks to Milee Ashwarya and Gurveen Chadha from Random House India for putting up with all my crazy antics. You both rock!
I am extremely sorry if I have missed a few names, but each and every one of you holds a special place in my heart.
A Note on the Author.
Sudeep Nagarkar is the bestselling author of Few Things Left Unsaid.
He has a degree in Electronics Engineering from Mumbai. His books are inspired from real-life incidents. He never dreamed of becoming an author, but turned into one for his love. Apart from writing, Sudeep is a music enthusiast and loves to spend time with his friends. He resides in Mumbai.