He was now resting on his chair in the study room where he had treasured everything which was part of his life, with eyes wide open, filled with terror and the biggest shock he had ever felt in his life. His lifeless body getting cradled in the chair, with a flickering lamp high above from the ceiling and an antique fan struggling to keep the pace up. The carved teakwood box lay open on the floor which he was holding a few mins back in his hand. Just a casual look around the study room can never let you know what was so wrong with it or what wrong just happened.
A lifeless body of Adesh was now at its ease forever. One of the most powerful yet a very humble human’s life ended in such a bizarre way. He was quite healthy and in his mid-forties. Not an age to die such an unusual death. Nobody will ever come to know, what he loved the most was the reason for his unusual death.
Mr. Adesh Kumar was one of the most successful businessmen in the field of import-export. It was not a family inheritance, Adesh had worked day and night to set up this business and take it far beyond anyone would have anticipated.
As it is always said, “In the heart of a rich man is always a poor kid who has seen and lived the poverty”. Adesh knew what the hunger was and how it felt when you don’t have a grain to fed your week’s starving stomach.
Adesh was born to his family when everything his family had, was lost in a terrible accident and that turned his family from riches to rags. He had lived the life on the pavements of Mumbai.
No poor kid dreams of anything more than two-time bread and butter for the family. But Adesh, he was different, he had never dreamed of a life with basic comforts and luxury. In fact, he dreamed of a lifestyle that was in the fate of a few millionaires. Adesh completed his schooling from the government school and managed to get into a college with the help of a scholarship. He took up the job to support his family during school time.
Adesh worked day and night and finally hit the gold, the jackpot of his life. He grabbed the opportunity and got into the business of import and export of the agro commodities. Adesh after that never looked back. He took the calculative risk and kept building his empire.
Adesh was now residing in one of the poshest areas of the Mumbai, Lokhandwala complex. He had a huge villa in the heart of the area surrounded by various high profile Bollywood celebs and politicians. He was the bloodline of a business community and business was in his DNA. He kept all the connections well-greased to keep his business running.
In this race, from rags to riches, Adesh lost his parents, his only family. He had everything now for them who had left him alone on this soil and departed for heaven. The void was soon filled with the love of his life, Smriti. Like Adesh Smriti also had a past where her family had given up on her by disowning her and she finally landed into an orphanage home.
Smriti worked hard to get out the place and she could manage to do it. She finally landed up as an accountant in Adesh’s office in Cuff-parade, Kumar’s. It was a six-storied building with the top floor as Adesh office and few most loyal and trustworthy people of him. It took less than a year for Smriti to reach to the top floor.
Adesh heart always skipped a beat whenever he saw Smriti and it was same for her when she saw Adesh smiling at her. It took no time for the young hearts to get bonded and got married. Smriti left the work and was now taking care of the Adesh’s home and their properties.
Time can never be always favourable to everyone with everything and the same happened to the couple. Smriti’s reports from the gynaecologist came and it said that she has some problem with the Fallopian tubes that impede the pregnancy.
Smriti was crying, clutching her medical reports when Adesh came. He was knowing deep in his heart that Smriti will never be able to be the mother.
“It’s fine dear, I don’t need anyone in my life with you by my side.” Adesh gave a glass of water to Smriti and took the reports from her hand to keep it aside, on the tea table in their hall.
“But why God is so unfair to us? We have never done anything wrong to anyone in this life then why God has done this with us?” Smriti could not stop sobbing, her heart crying out loudly with the pain that she is rendered from the biggest pleasure of the woman’s life, motherhood.
Smriti had left no gynaecologist of India to get the second opinion to have some hope without bothering Adesh but all in vain. Adesh kept his time more restricted for the work so that he could be with Smriti as much as possible. To cheer her up they kept calling the guest for the parties at home. Adesh always made a point to go shopping and outing with Smriti at least once every fortnight.
On one such shopping occasion, Adesh took Smriti to the finest jewellery shop in the city. A princess cut, a six-carat diamond ring was already selected by Adesh for Smriti as an anniversary gift with the best designer black coloured saree with silver sparkles in it. Smriti’s joys were in no bounds today. She looked at the Adesh with love of the whole world filled in her eyes. The tears could not stop rolling down her flawless white skin.
“I so loved this ring darling, thank you so much. And promise me one thing, whenever I’ll die this ring will stay in my fingers. It’s you within me in the form of this ring.” Smriti kissed the ring and hugged Adesh tightly. Adesh felt a bit awkward with the words of Smriti but he didn’t reveal it out.
After that day, Smriti had forgotten all her sorrows and started leaving a happy life. Wherever they go, Smriti would always be wearing her ring, she never removed for a second aftershe wore it for the first time. Adesh thought that Smriti is moving on from the pain she had carried for a long time within her.
The only thing that Adesh never came to know till it reached the last stage was about Smriti’s Fallopian tube cancer, which gonna take her away from him. It was hardly few more days before Smriti will get bedridden or worse would never wake up from the night sleep before her misery will take over her. And it happened exactly like that.
After one of the party they hosted at their new villa got over, late in the night, the couple was in each other’s arms when Smriti started feeling uncomfortable. She knew her time came and she woke up Adesh. With less than hour time left, she told Adesh about her cancer. Adesh was shocked and could not believe it.
“Don’t waste the time dear, don’t call the doctors. There is nothing can be done now. All I want is to die in your arms… Just hold me tightly in your arms till I take my last breath.” Smriti smiled and hugged Adesh as tightly as possible she could.
Adesh kept crying like a baby till. Friends and office staff gathered at the place for the final departure of Smriti. Adesh was still holding Smriti’s hand with the ring in her finger.
“Promise me one thing, whenever I’ll die this ring will stay in my fingers. It’s you within me in the form of this ring.” He just could not stop the tears flowing down as Smriti’s words kept coming to his ears.
But according to the Hindu religion, the deceased body had to shed off all the earthly pleasures before finally being cremated. Adesh reluctantly said no to remove the ring but everyone made him understand that things are to be done according to rituals.
“If it is not done that way then her soul will never start the final journey to heaven. Do it Adesh, for the Shake of her, remove the ring.” One of the elders gathered in the house consoling Adesh spoke.
With a very heavy heart, Adesh tried to remove the ring but it was stuck. Everyone tried hard enough but it just couldn’t get off it. Finally, someone advised for cutting the finger off. Adesh didn’t let anyone took that finger with the ring still intact on it, he kept it preserved for him forever.
Smriti left Adesh with a forever smile on her face that stayed in front of his eyes and will be staying in his mind forever. Adesh was totally broke, he lost all the interest in his life as he had no one left in this world for him. He kept himself shut in that same room for months together.
Few of his loyal men of the office finally tried to pull him out of his state. The guilt that Adesh was carrying within his heart has to be shed of, it was killing him. His best friend and the C.E.O of his company, Vishwajeet, finally pulled him out one day and dragged him to the saloon to get rid of his shabby unshaven looks.
That night, Vishwajeet made Adesh dress in his best suit and took him to the party hosted by the finance minister of the state. Though Adesh was looking one of the best in the party he was still sitting all alone at the bar counter, sipping his third peg of JACK.
A gorgeous lady came next to him and ordered her drink without looking at Adesh. Adesh shifted his gaze to her as her perfume reminded him of Smriti. It was one of the favourite fragrance of Smriti she always wore at the party. The first look at the lady was enough to give Adesh an adrenaline rush, the lady was almost a look-alike of Smriti. Adesh was aghast at seeing her, the smile on her face was the last smile on the face of Smriti.
“Smriti…” The words escaped out of Adesh’s mouth.
“Sorry?” The lady gave quizzical look at Adesh who was now all sane.
The effect of Jack had been washed out in no time. Adesh got up from the table and frowned at the lady to look at her. He could still not believe that it was Smriti or someone exactly like her standing in front of him.
Before Adesh could comprehend the situation and get a grip on his emotions, the lady spoke.
“Hi, I am Ashmita.” The smile on her face left no doubt to Adesh that she was Smriti.
“You are Smriti.” Adesh still looking at her without blinking his eyes and that made Ashmita bit uncomfortable, spoke to her in his head.
“So you guys doing good? Hope you enjoy the evening.” Vishwajeet who was busy in talking with a group of businessmen came for Ashmita’s rescue.
Adesh was still not able to fathom the reality that she was Ashmita and not Smriti. Looking at Adesh, Vishwajeet thought that it would be good to leave them alone together.
Ashmita and Adesh were now sitting at one of the corner tables and talking. Ashmita was talking about her and Adesh kept looking at her still not able to understand the game the God was playing with him. The couple got so good along with each other and after a few rounds of drink that nobody can say that they have met for the first time.
The party was getting over when Adesh invited Ashmita to his place. Ashmita too accepted the offer without any hesitation. She knew about Adesh that who he was and how well manner person he is.
They reached his villa and Adesh was now talking to Ashmita. She saw the large photo frame of Smriti in the study room.
“She was all I ever had in my life,” Adesh spoke for the first time without the tears in his eyes. He poured the JACK for them and passed the glass to Ashmita.
“I am sorry for your loss. I know how it feels when you have to let your loved ones depart.” A lopsided smile hung on Ashmita’s face.
Adesh told her how he met Smriti and how they both got along and had the best phase of life. Ashmita was all ears, tapping her nails on the teak wood tea table. Rounds of JACK continued for Adesh as he kept telling his story. Ashmita had already stopped after two pegs, she was more engrossed in the love-filled story of Adesh.
Adesh was very much drunk when he was narrating the final night of Smriti on this earth in his arms. He got up with shaky feet and said.
“I’ll show you something.” He opened the closet and pulled out a wooden box carved with silver on it. He opened it and kept it in front of Ashmita. Her eyes stayed wide open when she saw what was in it. Immediately her lips curved into a mysterious smile.
Jack had already taken over the nerves of Adesh now to notice the change in expressions of Ashmita. The box had the finger of Smriti with that diamond ring on it. Adesh slumped next to her and held her hand in her and spoke
“When I saw you at first glance, I thought I got my Smriti back.” Tears rolled down his eyes and his thumb kept caressing her fingers and holding the open wooden box with Smriti’s finger in another hand. Ashmita stayed quiet looking into his eyes.
At one point Adesh brain stroked him to feel that something was missing, something was not normal. He looked at her hand and asked quizzically.
“Hey, you don’t have that ring finger? Where is it?”
“I have come to get that only darling from you. I know it will always remind you of me and I can’t see you in this pain.” Smriti kissed his forehead and disappeared into the clouds of smoke………………