Ardent Love13 mins 490 13 mins 490
It was 7a.m, as usual Pritam put on her favourite radio channel. This was her regular ritual since the past 4years, keeping her in high spirits & pleasant mood all throughout her train journey to her G.S Medical college. Pritam was a melodious singer herself, thoroughly enjoyed listening to the old Hindi film songs played by her most favourite RJ Prem. RJ Prem seemed to be very mature, knowledgeable, with in-depth research on whatever theme/subject he chose for his every morning show. He spoke very spontaneously, responsibly, respectfully, sensitively using warm & courteous words, praises for every guest that he invited to on his show thereby sending positive vibes towards the start of the day. RJ Prem's baritone voice, coupled with some melodious music, news, weather, traffic updates used to keep his listeners engaged & enthralled all throughout.
Pritam was a young & beautiful babe, quite different from the youngsters of her age - calm, polite, very humble, a bit reserved with all her conversations to the point but sharing a very good rapport with all concerned. Quite sensitive by nature, she had a world of her own, her ambitions, her dreams, her thoughts all cuddled up in a cocoon with no entry to even closest friends, though her close confidante were her parents & her God Shiva.
Pritam was in that tender age where infatuations were very natural. She had not seen this young RJ but used to like his baritone voice, his thoughts, his understanding & accommodating nature while interacting with his celebrity guests. This was a one-way communication everyday, thus after 4 years of habitual listening to RJ Prem, Pritam had started considering him her close friend & had developed a lot of affection in the process. She had completed her education in medicine now & was on a look out for a promising career ahead. Most of her collegemates had boyfriends, used to enjoy their life. If anyone asked Pritam about her boyfriend, RJ Prem used to flash before her, she used to shy away.
This was a strange love story, Pritam had not even seen Prem, didn't know his age, background but was madly involved without Prem even knowing about her. Now this was sheer madness but then as they say 'Love is blind'. Out of curiosity, she started browsing Google to find out more about her secret beloved. She got to know that Prem was a highly qualified Engineer by profession, RJing was his passion, he was tall, dark & handsome. Pritam was quite pleased to know all this - fulfilling all her expectations of an ideal mate.
Now the big question was how to reach him, convey her feelings. A very good opportunity came in form of Ganeshotav. RJ Prem announced that he will shift his studio to Lalbaugcha Raja for all 10days - an opportunity for all Ganesh devotees to seek his blessings & meet RJ Prem on their way back. Pritam was thrilled to know this but with her soft & restrained approach didn't dare to personally go & meet Prem. Instead she decided to open a twitter account by a different name (surprisingly didn’t have any social media accounts, unlike her friends who spent most of their time on it).
Pritam started writing to Prem on twitter by a nickname Pranita. Prem used to respond to every listener's tweet, thus he responded to Pranita too. Pritam was in awe on receiving a response from Prem. Now instead of a tweet, she started using DM (direct messaging), praising his shows, slowly talking about self, her interests, confiding her dreams, at times sharing her worries. Prem's twitter account, especially DM service had become a confession box for Pritam - like a Christian confiding his happiness/sorrows to father in a church. At times, she used to receive a delayed response from Prem under the pretext that he rarely checks his DMs, at times no responses, disheartening, disappointing Pritam. This was a very unusual love story, one sided because Pritam/Pranita had never disclosed her true feelings to Prem.
In the meantime, Dr. Pritam had completed her MBBS. Her parents wanted to know whether she aspired for further studies or wanted to settle down in a marriage. It was a tight spot for Pritam - on one hand, she was deeply involved, without Prem being even aware, besides there were gossips of Prem being in a relationship with his business partner, Angelina. Being brilliant in studies, Pritam decided to stay away from marriage proposals & opt for M.D, this would also divert her attention from her mate-less love story.
With her complete focus on medicine, Dr. Pritam soon specialized as a Cardiologist. She started receiving several offers from renowned Hospitals on joining them. Basis her performance & scholarship, she chose to go to U.S for further specialization. This served twin purpose - to stay away from marriage proposed by her parents, enhance her career prospects & to completely wipe off her feelings for Prem.
Days & months passed by. Pritam was too good in her profession, highly knowledgeable & dedicated, very soon established her own hospital in U.S. Being a part of a noble profession, highly qualified & effective as a Surgeon, she was quite a renowned name amongst Americans.
Dr. Pritam stayed in a lavish bungalow with a beautifully maintained garden all around. Listening to melodious music, singing during Indian community celebrations was still her passion. It did remind her of RJ Prem but then as you age & with passage of time, the intensity of those feelings reduces.
Many a times, destiny has something in store for us. One day, there was breaking news flashing on every television channel. U.S first lady had suffered some heart ailment. White House doctors, heart specialists rushed to her aid. They were able to restore her consciousness but unable to identify the root cause of this ailment despite series of tests & reports. There was a deep concern that this ailment might relapse & could prove fatal this time. Dr. Pritam was eager to visit White House, diagnose the case & propose an appropriate solution. But then, she was an Indian, normally Americans treat Indians as sandy niggers. Though she had full faith in her capabilities, due to her soft & restrained approach, was unsure whether she should even approach them. But then Dr. Albert Wright, a very famous American Gynaecologist who was a close friend of Dr. Pritam recommended her name to White House officials.
Pritam studied this case meticulously, referred all her reports, spent many nights referring her earlier prescribed books on Cardiology, consulted her seniors & finally diagnosed the ailment. Now the next important step was prescribing the apt medication/surgery. This being a high profile case had to be handled very carefully, one wrong judgement & Pritam's career was at stake. But with her firm belief in self, she recommended an open heart surgery, the same was conducted successfully, much to the relief of her parents back home. The first lady was absolutely fine & then there was no looking back for Dr. Pritam.
It was a moment of pride for every Indian back home since Pritam was the first Indian to diagnose this complicated case. Her name was flashing everywhere - in U.S & in India, every media was eager to interview Dr. Pritam & one amongst them was RJ Prem. He was in U.S for business purpose (he was primarily a businessman & RJing was his passion). He expressed his desire to meet & interview Dr. Pritam in U.S. Pritam’s happiness knew no bounds – ‘man hi man me laddoo phut rahe the’ though she could not express it openly, being a world famous Cardiac surgeon now!!
RJ Prem was to visit her at her bungalow at 6 p.m. Well-furnished living room was further decorated with colourful flower vases & blooming fresh flowers, an exotic air freshener & soothing, relaxing music. Romance was all around. Pritam was looking gorgeous – slim & petite, with lovely branded black trousers, light pink shirt, black blazer, light make-up to suit the occasion & her elite profession. The door bell rang, Pritam’s heart started thumping loudly. A tall & handsome gentleman, well dressed in light blue shirt, black trousers & blazer arrived. He was carrying a beautiful bouquet. Introduced himself as RJ Prem, with a lot of respect gently handed over the bouquet to Dr. Pritam. In his usual style & kind words, was full of praises for Pritam’s undaunted success, for making India proud. Pritam loved all the attention of her beloved. After extending a warm welcome to Prem, she accompanied him to the living room. Prem liked, appreciated the overall décor. The house maid served a mix of sweet & spicy dishes, both Indian & American – chocolate cake, some Indian mithai, chicken patties & corn cutlets, pizza followed by coffee. Prem tasted & relished every dish much to the delight of Pritam. Both of them cozied up in a corner for the interview. Pritam was otherwise quite a shy person, not very media friendly. But she considered this as her only opportunity to impress her secret lover, sounded quite confident, stylish & appealing all throughout the conversation. Prem had a good sense of humour, that used to lighten up a smile on the already pink & glowing face of Pritam. At such times, Prem quickly captured the lovely Pritam in his smart phone. Prem had this knack of summarizing the conversation towards the end. During this piece, he described Pritam as a very intelligent, soft-spoken lady but a hard-core professional with amazing looks & thoughts, in a nutshell beauty cum brains, an Indian highly respected & adored by the American doctors’ community, charismatic persona that we all are proud of. Pritam profusely thanked Prem for all his kind words & the praises. The appreciation coming from her beloved gave her a high that even a vodka fails to do.
The interview lasted for around one & half hours. After the conversation, Pritam requested Prem to have dinner with her, however, he excused himself for the same. Then she insisted on a glass of wine or chilled beer at least to which he readily agreed. Both of them made themselves comfortable in the garden. Pritam made it a point to mention here that she never missed RJ Prem’s show in India & how she enjoyed his style, liked his honest voice & was a big fan. Prem was amazed to know this. But then Pritam decided to stop at this point. This was their first meeting, that too an official one, it wouldn’t have been appropriate as a Cardiac surgeon to confess her crush, love for him. Prem talked about his manufacturing plant in Mumbai, how he balances his time between his business & the radio channel. Pritam did not dare to ask about his personal life, she didn’t want to lose him so early after this meeting. What if he mentioned about having a wife & a kid. Prem thanked Pritam for all the kind courtesy & a wonderful interview, which he promised would go on air this weekend. With heavy heart, Pritam bid adieu to Prem with a promise to keep in touch both in India & during his visits to U.S.
Pritam was a celebrity herself after this super achievement, flooded with congratulatory messages, calls. But after her dinner, as Pritam lay down on her bed, she couldn’t help pondering over her meeting with Prem this evening:
"I didn’t think I would ever fall in love again. I know that everyone says that after a heartbreak, but the difference is that I’m not heartbroken, I’m not cynical, or pessimistic, or sad. I’m just someone who once felt something bigger than anything else I’d ever felt and when I lost it, I honestly believed I would never have that again. But... I was 22 then and life is long. And I’m feeling things right now that I haven’t in a long, long time."
Pritam was 35 now. At this age, almost everyone is well settled. Even she was well placed professionally but had intentionally ignored her personal life. It isn’t easy to forget your first love. Now that destiny had brought Prem so close to her, Pritam was hopeful of having him as her life partner in near future. However, she didn’t have answers to 2 important questions – Whether Prem is already married & if not, also whether he would like/accept Pritam as his life partner. Pritam was a strong believer of affirmations, visualizations, she practiced them regularly. She was also a firm devotee of God Shiva, used to meditate for peace of mind.
Again Pritam got engrossed in her daily routine – surgeries & patients, many more now from U.S & abroad too after her success story. There was no time for self. It was only during skype calls with family that she at times became emotional & homesick. On one such occasion, an invite flashed on her skype id. It was a pleasant surprise for Pritam - it was none other than Prem. He went on to narrate how her interview was a big success back home & he received loads of fan mails for himself & Pritam. Pritam was glad to hear that. The frequency of these skype calls gradually increased. Initially the tone & language of Prem was very professional, restricted to the celebrity discussions on his shows or Pritam’s difficult cases, medical advancement in general both in India & U.S. Gradually they started discussing their common interests – music & travel world-wide. The tone was now much friendlier than before. Prem used to visit U.S, once in 6months for his business ventures. He made it a point to visit or at least call Pritam during such visits. Months & years passed by, this friendship grew stronger day by day. They started confiding their professional issues, if any, mutually worked out amicable solutions to overcome them, thus the comfort level increased.
One day Pritam noticed that Prem was not online for many days. She was worried. Called up Prem with the only hope that his wife does not answer this call. There was a female voice at the other end but it seemed like an old lady. It was Prem’s mother, she seemed quite disturbed, soon Prem picked up the line. He informed Pritam that his Dad was suffering from some heart ailment, which doctors were unable to diagnose, his Dad was not ready to travel abroad for any medication, hence he was quite concerned. Pritam took the next available flight to Mumbai, rushed to Prem’s residence in Juhu. She realized that Prem’s dad was suffering from the same ailment as the first lady, immediately started her medication. His condition stabilized, the gloomy environment soon transformed into a merrier one. Prem introduced Pritam to his mother. Now Pritam was a bit scared that the next person that she would meet could be Prem’s wife & kids but no one came around. Later she got to know from his mother that Prem had married Angelina but in a very short span she expired due to severe heartache, since then Prem too was a lonely soul. This was quite an unfortunate incident but Pritam heaved a sigh of relief, after all she had also waited this long, around 15+ yrs for her sweetheart.
Prem seemed highly obliged that Pritam came down all the way from U.S just for his dad, he thanked Pritam immensely, mentioned that he would never be able to compensate Pritam’s kind gesture. Without a second thought, Pritam held Prem’s hands firmly & confessed that she was madly in love with him – since her teens. Now this was a pleasant surprise & shock for Prem. He had liked Pritam right from their first meeting but professionally she was quite successful, he wasn't sure if he was a right match for her. But he was definitely attracted to her, hence had approached her over skype for friendship. But with her honest confession that she had a terrible crush on him right since her early age, hence had stayed away from marriage, he couldn’t help hugging her tightly. After all, both of them had found a lovable, compatible life partner in each other at the age of 40 & 45.
There was a grand reception in Mumbai with celebrities from Bollywood, business world & medical fraternity from India & U.S, much to the happiness & contentment of both the parents & this lovely couple lived happily ever after. All is well that ends well. Also, true love always ensures that destiny is in its favour!!!