Jaya stayed away from the limelight nowadays. From past few years, she was not giving interviews or photo shoots. Her mother who was quite aged now tried to pep up Jaya, but soon understood that she was in the state of mind, where logical reasoning seized. Jaya had just one thought in mind that before January 16 she has to finish Aditya’s incomplete dream. She had become obsessed and was working like a maniac.
Jaya was an acclaimed Bollywood actress from past 15 years, her joining the industry was a story of luck by chance, in which her mother unknowingly played a very important role. Jaya’s mother was a renowned classical dancer and was called on many opportunities to perform along with various artistes. On, one such occasion she was performing with a galaxy of talented artistes from various fields. Pt. Ramdas Joshi, Shobhana Rao, the famous actress and Bharatnatyam dancer Revati Prakash, Pt. Shashidhar Krishnan and many more such great artistes were present to mesmerize the audience with their voice and others with their dance forms. To watch such great people were present equally handsome, talented and famous people. One amongst them was Aditya Mallick, the famous star maker. Jaya was then all of 17 years old and accompanied her mother for her performance. Since Tara was a single mother, she took Jaya to all her evening shows which would get over late in the night. Hence, she would make her sit inside the green room and study. At times she would even lock the green room during her performance and kept the keys at far end of the stage and when her performance would get over she would open it. Jaya called her mother paranoid for security. Being divorced, she looked after her daughter strictly and also gave strict instructions to Amol her husband when he took her with him on vacations.
Jaya’s mother was on the stage and had forgotten to lock her in the green room. Jaya was tired of sitting alone in the room and came out to take a stroll. She came out and turned left, without thinking. The road led her to a crowd watching the performances standing outside on the huge screen put up by the organizers. She kept standing at her place, looking at the people, when somebody came in a rush from behind and accidentally pushed Jaya. Jaya fell down and a man coming hurriedly from another side was about to walk over her when he saw her and tried to stop himself from falling, but still fell down over Jaya. Jaya screamed in pain and was almost in tears. The man stood up and felt very awkward,” I am sorry beta, I didn’t see you in the dark, let’s see where are you hurt?” Aditya Mallick picked Jaya up and took her to the nearest green room. The green room was lighted and both of them could see each other well. He had made Jaya sit on a chair, but instead of looking at her wound, he kept looking at her. She told him, “I am having a sprain in my ankle, but my mother will come now and if she does not find me in the green room she will rouse the whole auditorium, so please Mr. …… can you please call one of my mother’s helpers to collect me from here?” Aditya kept looking at her. Jaya found this man very odd and snapped her fingers to bring him back from his dream world. Aditya felt goofish and nodded his head and started towards the door. When Jaya called from behind, “My mother’s name is Tara Singhal.” Hearing her mother’s name Aditya came back and told Jaya,” Oh are you? In that case I will take you to your green room, I know your mother.”
Jaya limped across the corridor, with Aditya holding Jaya with one hand. Apart from her father, no man had touched Jaya, and that touch was different, very soothing, loving, she felt little odd, she couldn’t place her feelings in any of the compartments of her heart. She just didn’t understand what was happening to her and blushed, a beet root red. Aditya helped Jaya sit in a chair and wanted to strike a conversation with her but couldn’t utter a single word. There was a long awkward silence, which Tara broke with her appearance.
Tara was surprised to see the beet red Jaya and the zapped looking Aditya staring at each other unaware of the world around them. Aditya came out of his stupor at the sound of Tara’s voice. He profusely said sorry to Tara, “Taraji I really didn’t see Jaya, I was on the phone and it was really dark, but do not worry, your daughter is so beautiful, I mean she is as beautiful as ever, I mean she is beautiful….. I am really, really sorry and he stopped and took a deep breath and then there was no stopping. Taraji, I was on the phone and on my way out, it was dark and I stumbled to find out a gloriously, delicate , waifish looking girl crying and that too , I guess because of me, but swear to god, I had not seen her and swear to god I had not seen such an amazing face before her. Tara I want her to work in my upcoming film, like god send I have found her. The call was from the girl who was supposed to work in my film. She has left for Germany due to some emergency in her family and not coming back. “Don’t say no, Taraji, I will look after her like one would look after a family.” Tara just stood quiet, holding Jaya’s arm and then she left without a word.
Aditya didn’t stop there; he kept on talking, meeting, convincing Tara how good an opportunity it is for her daughter. When she wouldn’t relent, he screamed at her to at least ask her daughter; Jaya realized what Aditya was saying was true. Tara felt guilty that she did not ask Jaya her opinion on the whole episode. But at the same time she was very confident that Jaya would not like to work with Aditya.
Jaya was so scared of her mother that she never mentioned a word about Aditya but secretly wanted her mum to say yes to him. She had always enjoyed working on stage and had worked in numerous school plays. She loved to dance just like her mother and was good at it. Proposal from Aditya was like a golden opportunity for her. But with her mother it was different; she disliked film industry and didn’t want any contact with them.
Jaya was in her room, reading about Aditya on some movie site. At Tara’s footsteps she closed the laptop and picked up a book lying nearby. As soon as Tara entered the room, Tara could almost feel the nervous energy and looked around, what she was looking around she didn’t know. She almost felt the electrifying waves floating in the air all around her, telling her that her daughter wants to work in Aditya’s film. She sat down and drank water from her daughter’s water bottle.
Aditya was on seventh heaven, he had got his lead actress. The film was a young girl’s adventure to seek some truths from her childhood and Jaya suited the role very well. The film was a block buster, breaking many of the records of previous successful films. Jaya had a torrent of offers, but Tara put her foot down and made her do only one film in a year. Jaya ones again chose an Aditya Mallick film. Aditya became Jaya’s godfather, he accompanied Jaya everywhere. Jaya would also ask Aditya about many important decisions of her career. They had a certain understanding between themselves. They avoided each other’s touch; otherwise they knew they would burn. There was lots of camaraderie between the two, but at the same time when they were just the two, they would become tongue tied. So they avoided those types of situations. Aditya was double the age of Jaya and though he was extremely attracted towards Jaya he stopped himself from thinking about her.
Aditya was recently married then, to a very tall, hot South African model and they were inseparable for a while. But the relationship did not last long. Aditya took the divorce unfazed, as if it was nothing but a break in some business deal. He started working on a new project, a very ambitious project, he ran around and managed to acquire triple the finances, than an average film. It was a science fiction and had awesome cast, fantastic sets and latest techniques of audio visuals. Of course Jaya was there, doing an important role. By then Jaya was 21 years old and Aditya was around 38-39 years old. Throughout the shooting, Aditya was on tender hooks and would blaze off at slightest of revisions in resources, property or any kind of unavailability of man or material. People were scared to go near Aditya or talk to him, as they didn’t know when he would blow his lead. Only Jaya was the person who could handle Aditya. The crew had recently named him ‘The steam engine’ , even Jaya would laugh at this name, as even she felt that Aditya sometimes behaved unreasonably with people.
After a strenuous year the film was ready, Aditya was even more tensed and did quite a lot of publicity and promoted the film in creative ways. But the film flopped, as the plot was not strong and there were many things which people did not like. The reviews were either lukewarm or bad. Aditya was crestfallen; he kept himself holed up for months. Many friends of Aditya went to talk to him but he didn’t even open the door. Jaya herself was very upset and didn’t venture out for a long time, then when she heard about Aditya she was further demoralized.
Then one day, Tara gave a launch party for a book, which she had written about the history of Bharatnatyam and kuchipudi dance form, her own dance forms. The book was beautiful and already was talked about as a milestone in the history of these two classical dances. Tara’s guru who was now 85 years old, shrimati Hira Rani Tapasvi did the book launch. After the launch, people moved around, mingling with everybody. Jaya was also moving around, when she met Dadubhai sitting in a corner, with a huge group listening to him attentively. Dadubhai was an old school director, in the batch of the likes of Hrishikesh Mukherjee. People revered him and took every word like a precious pearl. When Jaya reached them, Dadubhai all of a sudden started speaking about one of his films which had failed miserably at the box office. How he was depressed but how his parents and wife helped him overcome it. When he finished speaking, he looked at Jaya and asked, “Aur Aditya saab kahan hai?” Jaya looked around and then mumbled that, ”Unko bulaya tha, par lagta hain kuch jaroori kaam aya ho ga nahi aa paye.” Jaya was defending Aditya, as she knew why he had not come. “To koi jayega nahi unse milne, ki unko aisa kya kaam pada hain ki sabse milne nahi aa paye wo?” Jaya kept quiet, she understood what Dadubhai is trying to tell her.
She kept on thinking about it the whole night and felt guilty that she did not go to help Aditya come out his depression.
Next day early in the morning Jaya reached Aditya’s bungalow. The guard on the gate told her,”Memsaab Aditya Saab Kisi ko nahi mil rahe hain, Lekin mai aapko rokunga nahi, aap koshish kar sakti hain. So she got down from the car and asked the guard, “Koi to andar jata hoga Na? On which the guard told, “Haan. Sirf bawarji” Jaya entered with the bawarji and went to Aditya’s room, the bawarji had made tea for Aditya, as soon as Aditya opened the door an inch, Jaya busted in. Aditya shouted a lot on Jaya, but it did not matter to her. So ultimately Aditya sat on the bed with his head in his hands. He then cried for the first time ever, Jaya just sat on the chair nearby and let him cry. After he stopped crying he started talking and he talked for an hour. When Jaya went near him to soothe him, even they didn’t know when did they fell in each -other’s arms and kissed long and hard, supporting the other from the core, then long and passionate, putting all the emotions, sucking each other’s deep love. They couldn’t stop themselves from each other’s scents, smells and touch of the bodies and ones again fell down on the bed, now together, in a bundle and made passionate love. When they were spent, both of them were smiling, a content smile. Soon Aditya and Jaya got married.
Those were the most blissful years of Aditya and Jaya’s life. Aditya loved Jaya intensely and remained always around her. He even tried to keep their schedules together, avoiding going away from each other. He kept her like a queen and went with her on shopping sprees, picnics and whatever she demanded. Even she obliged to whatever he wanted and wherever he wished to go. People started giving examples of the two, how they were compatible for each other and always looked like love birds.
But, sometimes, when he would remember his film, he would go quiet. He had taken it to his heart; the movie had become his obsession, while he was making it and even now. To make him come over the movie, Jaya had made him start a new one, which had become a hit and then he had got many more projects which he had finished successfully, but the science fiction which he had named, ‘Yugantar’ would always hover at the back of his mind.
Then one day when the movie in his hand was over, he announced that he would make a sequel to ‘Yugantar.’ Jaya was shocked and fought with him, it was their first fight, but Aditya didn’t listen and just kept saying, I want Yugantar to be a movie of the millennium. He started slogging for the movie. Jaya was also one of the cast, she tried to look after him, as far as possible but Aditya looked like a man possessed, and one cloudy day, when everybody was advising him, not to take the shot, as adamant as he had become, he took this huge risk of taking a panoramic shot from a helicopter. There was a sudden gust of very strong wind which slapped the helicopter hard, the helicopter wobbled and shook, Aditya who was sitting on the edge of the helicopter lost his balance, the camera in his hand fell, his two assistants tried to hold him but the helicopter had become so shaky that they could not save Aditya. He went straight down on the mass of snow and disappeared. Jaya saw the whole event and screamed, she tried to follow Aditya’s trail in the lashing wind of the English winters. People with great difficulty stopped her from following him.
After Aditya’s funeral, Jaya had become a recluse. She stayed holed up for a long while. Quite a few years went by, Jaya went through the years as if sleep walking. Then one day when sifting through Aditya’s belongings, she came across a pen drive, she started looking through it, there were so many pics and then she came across an audio file, when she clicked it, Aditya’s voice filled the room, then went inside her heart. Aditya’s voice reverberated, he was mimicking a dialogue from Jaya’s movie,” Jay, Please stay happy, even when I will not be there. I love you and can’t see you unhappy. Jay I am a reckless person, I always listened to my heart. But I lived my life Jay and I am happy about it. With this the audio stopped and Jaya broke into torrent of tears. That was the last day when Jaya stayed a recluse.
It was the launch of Yugantar; a special screening was kept for some people. There was a huge crowd assembled to get a glimpse of Jaya and the other star caste. Reporters and photographers were present in large number. All of them were vying for Jaya’s attention. Jaya looked around and then she found one young reporter, their eyes locked, and Jaya wistfully thought, even I looked like her once, young, naïve and full of energy . She signaled her to ask her a question.
She stood up and asked, “Ma’am I know you have gone through a lot, can you just tell me what your thoughts about love and today are?” Jaya took some time and then said, “After Aditya, I didn’t think I would ever fall in love again. I know that everyone says that after heartbreak, but the difference is that I’m not heartbroken. I’m not cynical, or pessimistic, or sad. 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. I may give life another chance to let me fall in love ones again.”