Updated: Feb 11, 2019
10 December, 11.15 am, Mumbai
While Sidharth reached the Mumbai central Station, he heard an announcement. It said “Mumbai-Jaipur Superfast Express has is running late and is delayed by approximately 3 hours”. Realizing he had no option, he waited at the designated coach for his girlfriend to arrive. Considering how impatient Sidharth is, on any other day, the wait would have been impossible for him! But today was an important day for him.
Keeping it as a surprise for Hirali, he had purchased a Swarvoski ring for her beloved girl, and planned to propose to her for marriage, after they would have a lunch at The Intercontinental. A long wait gave him some time to browse through the Economic Times on his mobile phone, sitting on the wooden bench. In the train, while waiting to enter Mumbai, Hirali too was waiting to hug her man.
The extended delay was over, when the train entered the platform, and the two souls searched for their love through the crowd. Sidharth immediately caught a glimpse of Hirali, smiled broad and drew himself closer to her. She, in her perfect Indian attire looked very pretty even after tiredness hit her. Cautiously, they unloaded the luggage, and embraced each other in a bear hug. He kissed her on the forehead and prayed to fill it in vermillion in a few days! They exited the Terminus holding each other’s hands, while Hirali was unsure of their next stop. They discussed her long trip whilst walking towards the parking lot. Once Sidharth started their red Wagon-R, she felt the air, breathing her cradle city after a week-long trip to the Pink city of India. He drove them to Marine Drive, not saying anything to her.
“Why would a man bring her girl to the seashore at 2.15 pm on a sunny day?”, she questioned for the 3rd time. Giggling at her irritated face, he kept quiet and motioned her to wait for the next thing.
He turned the car in the parking bay of the 5-star Hotel, gestured Hirali to get down and handed the car to the valet, and said, “Please ask the bellboy to get our luggage to Room 704”.
Stunned by the beauty of the hotel interiors, Hirali still was waiting for the next move her boy would take. They were welcomed by the staff, and preceded towards their room for the day’s stay.
Once inside the suite, Sidharth stared at her expressions, while Hirali was awed by the elegance of the executive space. She touched the plush Italian sofa, played with the navy blue curtains along the French windows and marveled at the copper-brown antiques that decorated the room. Her face glowed as if the tiredness had been taken away by the aroma of the lavender candles, carefully lit in the hallway. She lay herself on the gentle bed, relaxing her muscles, while Sidharth handed her a Vero Moda paper bag that contained a pair of jeans and a green floral top. He said, “Could I please ask my princess to get herself fresh and changed to these clothes?” She smiled her broadest and said “Jee Sartaj!”
Hirali rejoiced a foamy bath after a long day and got ready in the new attire, just gifted. She was very happy, however unknown to the upcoming events of the day. Just when she came out in the hallway, she found the lights dim and a very romantic scene.
Sidharth was bent on one knee, holding the emerald-studded ring in his hand, soft music playing in the air, waiting to propose.
“Hirali, I have known you for 6 years, and you are the most special person to me. You have been my support in all walks of life. As we grew old together, I realised how much I love you. And this love is never going to fade. When you are away from me, I feel empty, and when you are near, life is full. Thank you for being in my life, and making it beautiful. Will you be there always to make it worth living? Will you please marry me?”
Tears of joy streamed down Hirali’s face when she heard her man saying these words. She ran towards him, sat on her knees, accepted the ring and shouted in joy, “Sidharth, I shall”. He slid the ring in her finger and kissed her hand.
He then wrapped her in a sweet hug and complimented the situation with a French kiss. Both of them stayed in the moment for almost 3 and half minutes, unbeknown of the world outside.
They were immersed in the sweet romance for a few more hours, until hunger struck them both. After ordering food at the room, they called their respective families to inform them about the news. Hirali went on explaining the cute moments over a call to her younger sister in New York over Skype. Sidharth realised her excitement and glared at her.
After a few minutes, he got a call from office, asking him to report urgently to his desk, as an important meet was arranged at the Crisil Headquarters. Before he could reject the boss, the situation got tense and he discovered that it was important to be present at the office in Bandra.
He somehow gathered the courage to talk about this to Hirali and said “Sweetheart, would you please excuse your man for a few hours for official work?” She was not ready to let go of him on the special day, however, her understanding took over and she agreed, only with a promise of him returning before dinner.
10 December 2013, 8 pm, Intercontinental – Room 704
Sidharth had returned to the room, after a long day at office, completing important tasks. His head was heavy from the hunger and the black coffee in an empty stomach made his health worse. Gathering strength, he entered the hotel room, excited to meet his fiancé.
What he saw at the room was a shock. His body froze when he saw the horrific scene on the bed, his fiancé lying, and foam of white lather drooling from her mouth. His body went numb, but he gathered courage to walk up to his girl, now a mere body of mass. She lay lifeless on the bed, poisoned and dead. His boldness was torpid, like the cold body that lay beside.
He sought help from the hotel staff and the nearby hospital to look into the matters.
The doctors declared Hirali dead on arrival, leaving no clue for hope.
He was crushed, his soul feeling dead from within. The cause of death was poison, however, the root was not clarified by the hotel. Sidharth had no hope left, no life left, no love left. His reason to live was gone on the same day that she said she would stay forever.
Rituals took place while the families cremated the body on the same day while Sidharth still could not get out of the trauma.
When checked, his mobile phone read a Voice call in the afternoon by Hirali “It’s been only three and half minutes that you are gone, but I miss you”.
10 December 2017, 03.00 am – Raj Residency
“Aaggghhhhhhhhh” came a loud noise from the room which woke Mrs. Raj, mother of Sidharth Raj.
Sidharth had once again seen the same dream, which woke him with a jolt. His mother wiped the sweat beads that formed on her son’s face with her dupatta, and calmed him with a hug.
She cajoled her son to normalcy, getting the fear of losing his wife out of his mind. He held his mom very tight, while both lay on the bed, feeling tranquillity after the blasting cry.
Quite a few times earlier, Sidharth had seen the same dream like a baby in his sleep. Unfortunately, he could not take the demise of Hirali with a strong will power. He often visited Marine Drive, reminiscing the golden days of his love, ending up with tears in his eyes. He played the same voice note once again, repeating the words, as if she is listening to him - “It’s been only three and half minutes that you are gone, but I miss you”.