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Mridula was just out of the bathroom, after a hurried shower. Clad in a towel she was rushing towards her bed. Maa had neatly laid out the clothes she would wear that day for office. The cab would reach home on the dot of time and as per company policies would not wait for her, if she was late.

Hurriedly wearing her clothes she can hear Maa screaming from the kitchen in her usual tone of voice,"That bitch is barking again. Mridu go and give some milk to it. Its hungry." Half listening to Maa, Mridula pretty lost in her world, somehow manages to mumble,"Yes Maa". She dresses pretty hurriedly and goes to pick the white, plastic bowl that Maa would keep outside the gate for feeding stray dogs of the locality. She pours some warm milk into it and keeps the bowl in its usual place. Within a minute or two she finds "Shadu", the white bitch licking the bowl empty. Its been six months now that she lost Diwakar again. Diwakar was the only man that she could ever love with all her heart and all her soul. She couldn't remember the exact date when she had fallen for Diwakar, it seems to her an eternity now. She had grown up with him. She met him when she was sixteen, maybe then?

They were in the same college together. She, Diwakar, Abhi and Kokila were childhood friends and had known each other from their school days. It had taken Mridula years to declare her love to Diwakar, who had readily accepted the same and had taken her under his fold. Why? She often wonders even now. She was pretty, was that the reason? She was convent up bred too. Did Diwakar just want to flaunt her publicly, was that it? However they had broken up within a year. Diwakar couldn't marry her. His mother was against the alliance. They belonged to different communities. Their break up was unusual too. Mridula still remembers the day. He was shouting at her because she had dared to ask him why couldn't he come and meet her the previous Sunday. He told her in clear terms that he won't leave anybody in his life for this relationship, he would rather let go of her instead. He was shouting at her in front of his friend and one of hers. He had made a public spectacle of her just because she loved him like crazy. It was then. Over the years the tremendous pain of losing him slowly subsided although his memory never left her even once.

Diwakar and his memories had just shifted to a back burner. There were a host of other issues with which Mridula had to battle. Baba died two years back. He had suffered a massive stroke while in office. The doctors pronounced him 'brought dead' as-soon-as his colleagues took him to the hospital. He had saved enough though for the three of them to lead a decent life. Even the single storeyed house was in Maa's name but the trouble was that, finances weren't enough and Tukun was still studying. Tukun her baby brother was in college. His best education and a much better future were her priority. So although many alliances would come for her, she kept working and did not leave her job for marriage. Seven months back Kokila had created a WhatsApp group and without Mridula's consent had added her to the same, Abhi too. Within two days while going through her WhatsApp, Mridula finds a message from Kokila in the group, "Mridula welcome Diwakar". Just the very mention of that name uprooted her. That name and the person associated with it who she's struggled to her wits end to put on the back burner of her life, was staring her in the face. She was clueless as to how she should react, now there was nowhere to hide. Then his comments started on the posts of Abhi and Kokila. She would read his comments umpteen times. That way she felt connected to him.

As days pass by a turmoil keeps growing within Mridula. She wanted to talk to him again, communicate with him, know all about whatever he did in all the years that they were apart. Mustering enough courage and letting go of all her pride and self respect she sends a message to him on his personal account. It was then, that the saga of their romance starts again, second time round. Diwakar again takes her back into his fold. He goes over the top professing his love for her. He tells her that he has learnt his lesson and that he has missed her rotten. The icing on the cake was when Diwakar asked her to marry him. Mridula was on cloud nine. All her dreams were coming to fruition. She had never been happier. Specially after Baba died a pall of gloom had descended upon the Basu household. She told Maa about it, who was both ecstatic and ready. She wanted to see her Mridu settle down in life with someone she loved. Mridula's happiness was short lived though. Kokila who had also met Diwakar after many years, goes to meet him one fine day on the pretext of catching up with him. What was funny though, was that, she started to give minute to minute updates of her rendezvous with Diwakar on the WhatsApp group which she had created. She posted pictures of the two together, glued to each other, calling him with endearing names such as "darling" and the likes. They went on a dinner date, what all they did and what he gifted her later was all there in the group with pictures and comments.

Mridula couldn't really understand what was going on, in Kokila's mind. She knew that Kokila was aware of her feelings for Diwakar, then why? Since their childhood Kokila had been very vindictive towards her. Mridula knew that Kokila was not much of a looker and neither bright academically but both these were Mridula's forte. Not one to be presumptive she sticks to Kokila right from their childhood only to meet this situation now. Mridula loses her cool and in a fit of rage says a lot of resentful and mean things to both of them. Kokila on her part adds fuel to fire and corrupts Diwakar's mind against Mridula.

Diwakar never for once asks Mridula why is she angry and why did she react the way she did? On the other hand he completely blames Mridula for the fiasco. Even Abhi, he too sides with Kokila. Nobody could see the web that Kokila had spun around all of them. Mridula in her utter fear of losing Diwakar for the second time inadvertently steps into the web of deceit spun by Kokila. It was all over again. Sleepless, teary nights and utter gloomy days followed. Mridula cried herself to sleep every night. Everyday she prayed that Diwakar would see the truth and come back. He never came back. Mridula felt so dead. She was filled with self pity and an all consuming anger and hatred for Kokila but nothing could bring Diwakar back.

Now, Kokila's closeness to Diwakar after that fateful event hurt and distressed her further. The cab's horn brought her out of her reverie. She rushes towards the gate and can again hear Maa say,"Oh that bitch again! Mridu shona did you feed her. I had asked you too. She's barking again". Mridula steps out of the house now, one look at the cab driver and she knows that he's not too pleased, she is one whole minute late. She quickly replies back ,"Yes Maa" and steps into the cab. The cab speeds away. Inside the cab Mridula oblivious to the world, starts checking her WhatsApp messages. Kokila's messages have inundated her account. She kept saying that she was sorry and that Mridula has misunderstood her. All her explanation could never bring Diwakar back. Without reading Kokila's messages completely, Mridula deletes them all. She dozes off. The office was still an hour away and the traffic was heavy.

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