Prologue

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''Here is your masala tea Sir!'' the waiter clad in a neatly tucked black shirt and trouser said, leaving our table after bringing the tea we had ordered.

It was just another warm night, perfect to relax and have a cup of tea with some friends. After a hard day's work, I wasn't in the mood for an alcoholic beverage. Neither were my friends, Pankaj and Prasun. So we ended up together at our usual place simply chatting about usual topics: our exhausting, but well-paid jobs, complaining bosses and long-waited raise. It was a night with both of my friends just like many others.

So far as the cupid was concerned, they were both waiting for the true love to come to them. Prasun was hopelessly in love his childhood friend, but too shy to confess his feelings to her. While Pankaj was claiming if he was successful and wealthy, the right girl would come along. So at the moment he was buried in way too much work.

''So Prasun, are you ever going to confess your feelings to her? Do it fast boy, else soon you will be called Mama by their children once she gets married to someone else“, we were teasing him as usual.

''Shutup guys! You will never understand what true love is all about“, Prasun's voice was evidently louder now, almost ignoring the presence of others.

''As if by keeping quiet, or even shouting from the roof top, you can prove your true love to someone. Huh!“, the young boy right across our table murmured, and continued sipping his tea. 

He was evidently younger than any other man in the room and his boyish features were revealing his young age, despite his formal clothes that included black shirt and a tie. It seemed as if he has recently got a job at quite an early age, and is showing off the same.

We started looking at his table. When he noticed the three of us, he approached our table.

''Good Evening!,“ he greeted politely. 

''I am Deepak! Hope, I am not disturbing you all by interrupting your conversation in-between. But I firmly believe that you have no clue what love is all about.“, he paused a bit, and took a deep breathe. His smile was quite mischievious.

All three of us were staring at him blankly.

He continued – Sorry! I couldn't control myself when you talked about Love. I know what true love is all about. If you want to know more about such an illusonary love, I may not be the right person. But I can let you all meet someone''

''Are you claiming that you someone who can tell us about True Love? How can you be so sure that it's a true love?Do you...'', Pankaj's excitement was evident on his face.

Deepak nodded before Pankaj got the time to complete his question - ''I can take you to hear out a person's real story, if you are interested.''

Both Prasun and Pankaj were eager to find out more, and looked at me. I signaled them to follow him. Deepak was only the tip of the icerberg. So without further delay, we expressed our wish to get to know all about this person's love life. Deepak promised to take us to the preson right away and as if under a spell, we obediently followed him. After all, we had many questions bothering us and if there was a person who might give us answers, we would listen to him!

Pankaj and Prasun were repeatedly wiping off the sweat from their forehead, with the handkerchief. They were occasionally also giving a strange look at me. I knew this was my fault. We should have anticipated this before. He was taking us through some narrow streets in this dark night, and an unknown fear of being aone with a stranger at such an odd time, was slowly gripping us.

None of us spoke, following Deepak silently.

''This way, please,'' he said, climbing the stairs of the fragile house.

The room we entered was in a complete darkness. It was dark outside, but there was not a single light to show us the way, so we just stood there. When our eyes got used to the darkness, we noticed an old figure, lying motionless on an old rotten cot. The room also had a strange odour.

''You may sit down,'' Deepak suggested, pointing at the semi-broken chairs.

We didn't move or said anything, but the voice of the old person made us startle.

''Sit, since you come all the way here.''

The voice sounded tired, although its tone was intriguing, as if the person had a lot to share with whoever was willing to hear it out. We couldn't argue, so we quickly settled down in our chairs. The old person coughed few times, not looking pleased Deepak brought the company along. We were still unable to figure out whether its a man or a woman.

''What do these men want?'' pat came a question to Deepak, ''Why did you bring them to me?''

''They want to know about love,'' Deepak said quietly.

''Love,'' the old figure repeated with a sneer.

''I mean, they are curious to know if it is possible to experience love, especially in this kind of society, you know, we live in.''

There was a pin drop silence, so Deepak continued. ''I can't give them an answer, but I believe you are the only one who can.''

Now the person became interested, the old and tired eyes widening with excitement. The eyes only were revealing that this person truly was the one who could share a haunting past with us, give answers to all of our questions, remembering all the precious memories, one which was unforgettable even if someone wanted to. 

There was a deep breath. That was it's way to get ready to tell the magnificent story that would shake our belief, make us rethink about everything we thought we knew about the word love, and ask ourselves why the life was worth living. We all eagerly looked forward to him, as the figure spoke...

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