...Life... It is simple and beautiful, yet very complicated. Complicated... when it suddenly changes everything and we don't understand the reason. When strange things happen and people hold you responsible for the wrong you never did. When you are forced to take the decisions that were supposed to be right just because the people felt so. Why do we fear the society? Who are they to decided our how our life should be? Why are we forced to take decisions based on the consent of the people who would never be with us to face the consequences? I have learnt the most important lesson of life - Never depend too much on anyone, no one cares for you so much to always be with you through the dark times. Even our shadow leaves us when we are in the dark! There's no one our's as such. Sometimes things make me think... Am I really responsible for what happened? Am I the one to be blamed? And then I feel guilty. A fear creeps over me... fear of being responsible for more horrible things... I have lost faith in myself...
Yun thukra diya iss zamaane ne humein,
Har woh khwaab suhaana bhool gaye...
Zindagi ke iss gam mein itne ulajh gaye,
Ki hum aansoo bahaana bhool gaye...
(Meaning : I am so abandoned by the society, that I forgot every dream of mine...
I am so lost in the misery of life, that I even forgot to shed tears...)
- Khushi Gupta
"This is amazing! I like it!" thought Aman, as he read one of the entries for the application for an internship. "This girl has something in her... I am sure she would become a great writer one day!" He drifted away all other applications and attached this particular write-up in a file. He dialed a number... "Hello, Mrs. Sharma? I am Aman speaking. This is regarding the "Young Expression" internship program... Miss Khushi Kumari Gupta has been selected as the intern this season. May I please get her contact details?" Aman noted down Khushi's phone number and email address. He thanked Mrs. Sharma and the call ended. He was satisfied with his choice. Now before he contacted the girl, he had to meet his Boss - Mr. Arnav Singh Raizada, and that wasn't an easy job.
Arnav Singh Raizada - the author who became popular for his novels at a very young age. He was just 28 and many envied his fame. He was tall, handsome and single. Young girls were crazy for him. But he had no interest in girls. Books was his only interest. Even producers from the film industry were after him to make him write script for movies. Be he didn't intend to go into the film line. To encourage budding writers, an institute in Pune, Institute for Literary Arts, had come up with an internship program named as "Young Expression". For this program they had approached Arnav Singh Raizada after his third book was launched. The idea was that every four months, the institute would carry out the process of selecting an intern who would assist Mr. Arnav in his ongoing work for atleast a month. Arnav had appreciated the idea and had signed a two-year contract with the institute. But his experience with the interns was pathetic. He always cursed himself for signing the contract. Only four months of the contract were left now and he was glad that he would be free from the contract soon. Arnav was a very nice person when things happened the way he wanted. But his temper would go out of control if something happened against his wish. He never liked being disturbed when he would be working. He always remained isolated when he needed to concentrate on writing or when he needed peaceful environment to think upon his work. And for that, whenever he wanted to be alone, he always went to his bungalow in Panchgani. The weather at the hill station and the natural beauty there always refreshed his mind and he could work with new enthusiasm. He was an orphan and the only woman he had loved by heart was Kaveri Mausi, his care taker. Care taker of his house actually, but she was like his mother. She had always considered him as her son. And she was the only one who knew Arnav very well.
Aman was the coordinator for the internship program and managed everything related to it. Now that he had selected the intern for this season, he wanted to inform that to Arnav Singh Raizada. He was a bit hesitant but finally dialed Arnav's number. As expected, Arnav was irked by anything related to this internship and the 'useless stupid interns' as he called them. But by now, Aman was used to all this. Arnav was least interested in knowing about this intern and he told Aman to send the intern to his Panchgani Bungalow by the end of the week. Aman was relieved after the call ended. Aman sent a mail regarding the internship details to Miss Khushi Kumari Gupta.
Mrs Sharma was the Principal of the College of Arts, Pune. She sat happily in her chair recalling the call from Mr. Aman. She was glad for Khushi. She had always wanted Khushi to progress in her life and not spend her life in teaching language to students in an Arts college. Today, Mrs Sharma was satisfied for what she had done for Khushi. Just then there was a knock on the door of her cabin. "Come in!" she said and an angry Khushi walked in. She was angry because Mrs. Sharma had sent her application without asking or informing her. Khushi never wanted to do any internship. She just wanted to live a simple life and she had her own personal reasons for that. Khushi was angry because she got to know from her colleague, Rashmi, that Mrs Sharma asked Rashmi to give her anything which Khushi had written and Rashmi found a paper on which Khushi had scribbled something. Mrs Sharma liked it and sent it with the application in the name of Khushi.
Khushi tried to control her anger. She asked Mrs Sharma, "Why ma'am? Why are you doing this?"
Mrs Sharma smiled and walked to Khushi. She gently placed her hand on Khushi's head and said, "Look beta, you are a sweet girl and I have always admired your work. But I don't want you to stay here teaching students. I know you write very well. Dream big beta and achieve it!"
Khushi didn't agree. She chuckled saying, "I can't dream Ma'am, I will never dare to dream again... I have experienced once how it feels when dreams are shattered" she paused, "and shattered so cruelly... I have no guts to bear that pain again..."
Khushi was silently staring into the air, her face grim. Mrs Sharma said gently, "Khushi dear, I don't know what you had gone through and what you are talking about... I just know that you have the right to live your life with joy... And you don't get such opportunities again and again. Accept the offer dear... Why are you ruining your present living in the memories of the past? Don't let these twenty-five years of your life decide your future. Leave the past behind you and move on!!" Khushi gave no reaction. Mrs Sharma sighed. "Khushi beta, I said what I felt... The decision is yours afterall...!!"
Khushi was walking out of the college. She was thinking of the internship offer. Mrs Sharma had given a new hope to her. Khushi was in a dilemma - whether or not to accept the offer. It was a golden chance to work with "the" Arnav Singh Raizada. She might never get such a chance again. But her mind was not ready to try something new, something in which the results were not fixed, in which the consequences were not known... She feared that something bad would happen like it always had. She didn't know what to do now.
Khushi reached home. Her grandpa, whom she called "Baba", was waiting for her as usual. Khushi had lost her parents when she was a few days old. She had grown with her grandparents. Her grandma had passed away a couple of years ago. Khushi always used to enter the house smiling. But today she was not. Her grandpa noticed that she was worried about something, something was troubling her. As Khushi sat on her bed wrapping her arms around a pillow thinking about the internship, her grandpa came in and sat beside her. Khushi showed him the e-mail she had recieved. She was supposed to reply to it by the next day.
Khushi looked at her grandpa, "What should I do Baba?"
Her grandpa looked at his child and said, "I think you should go!" His smile was genuine and he meant what he said.
Khushi hugged him. "I am scared..." she whispered.
Her grandpa caressed her and said, "Face your fears dear... And in this case, there's nothing to be scared of! You are going to learn something new and it is going to be a great experience for you!!"
"But Baba, you would be alone here if I go..." she said.
"Just one month dear... And the days will pass before you even know!!"
Khushi felt better now. Her grandpa was her best friend. She quickly typed a reply to the mail but she hesitated before hitting "send". Was this the right decision? She again looked at Baba. He nodded to support her decision. Khushi gained confidence. "Here I come Arnav Singh Raizada!!" she thought as she clicked on "send".
Arnav sat holding his head in his hands. Kaveri Mausi came there. Seeing Arnav, she said, "Arnav, what happened? Ummm... Let me guess... A new intern is coming soon, am I right?"
Arnav looked up at her in surprise. "How did you know that?!!" he asked.
"Look at you!" she said teasing him, "Anyone can tell this after seeing your face!!" she laughed.
"What do I do Kaveri Mausi, these interns are so dumb and irritating. I am just fed up!!" said Arnav.
"You yourself had signed the contract, now suffer!" she said winking at him.
"Oh God!! Why did I?!" said Arnav regretting it. He looked at the file about the new intern Aman had sent. He read the name... "Oh no! Another girl...!!" he said with a sigh, "Khushi Kumari Gupta!! Huh!! I hate you!!"