He walked down the lane in a lazy, leisurely pace. After all he had nothing to worry about any more. He had fulfilled his oath to Roshni - vanquished her killer. The fire in those coal black eyes had subsided.
That's when he found time to reflect on his life ahead. The realization struck that he had a lonely path ahead. Off course he had friends. Rathod - who had become his most trusted friend. Chotu and Shree - available at any time for any need. And then Riya.
The dusky hued girl with twinkling eyes and heart stealing smile. The smile of hers was infectious. He had admitted to that fact long ago. Without doing much she had always seeped through his tight self control. Earning a smile from him now and then. In the long run, he had begun to look out for her. She kick started the protective instinct in all of them. But to him it was different. It wasn't love or passion. He just knew that he never wanted to watch another soul - especially a female get hurt in front of him. Not after Roshni.
He had never really stuck up a friendship with her. Even Rathod had managed to do that. With them it was always occasional smiled and the more frequent firing from him and back answer from her. Riya Mukherjee was not one to sit quiet.
All through that he had never even dreamed that she would fall for him. After all who would love a stone heart.
He knew that he had a heart but he doubted if it could beat for anyone else after Roshni. In the adrenaline race to get Sikhandar he had abolished the thought of love from his heart.
But now, when the prospect of long journey of life was glaring at him, he wished for a partner. He felt pangs of guilt but he knew that Roshni would've never wanted him to be alone. His Roshni was sweet, simple and much too loving to see anyone hurt.
He had started noticing females once more. But not really. Because always one female kept waltzing into his thoughts - Riya Mukherjee , with her sweet infectious smile.
In every woman he observed he started drawing comparisons with Riya and Roshni. More so with Riya because Roshni was his sacred memory.
Riya was slowly but surely making a place in his heart.
He reached the gates of the orphanage. He checked his appearance. Not much sweaty, presentable. It was Roshni's life's aim to help orphans. Her life was cruelly cut short before she could fulfil it.
He made this discovery while going through her personal belongings which he had pretty much avoided except an occasional dress to hold onto in sleep.
He had decided to fulfil her wish. He had visited a few orphanages and checked on their conditions. He then drew up records to make contributions to them. Roshni being the only daughter of her parents had immense wealth in her name. Her parents had left it to him and he had not much want for it. This was the perfect way to use it.
After helping a few organisations in Mumbai, he decided to spread out a bit to other states. Roshni had always wanted to visit Kerala. He treated himself to a vacation and also checked out for orphanages. He found a very needy one and was on his way to the place. Since it was near to his hotel he decided to walk.
He met with the lady running the orphanage. She was in her mid - fifties , a very kind looking lady. He knew it could be a faade. He will have to check on her with the kids. He had recently discovered that he had a knack with kids.
With the lady's permission he walked into the orphanage. It was in real need of money, he assessed. He checked the rooms, bathrooms etc and decided to move out to the ground where the kids were enjoying the Sunday air.
He could hear them laughing and cheering. He looked at the group playing. There was a girl among them,tall and svelte, wearing shorts. She had her back to him and her eyes were closed with a cloth. The kids were laughing , screaming and dodging her while she laughed with them, trying to catch them.
Arjun felt a sense of dj vu as he walked towards the group. He knew that form , it was all too familiar. Just as realization dawned in him, the girls soft form hit into him. He caught her arms and steadied them both. The girl having realized that she has struck on some one big removed the cloth from her eyes and turned to look at him with an apologetic smile which froze mid way.
"Arjun" his name escaped her lips after a long break.
Hearing the husky voice after long caused him pleasure.
"Riya" he called her back.
For a few moments their surroundings disappeared.