Does the meaning of love change over time? A young, starry-eyed Ratna finds herself at the doorstep of her favorite author, Ronit Sukhdev, and a little white lie lands her the opportunity to stay at his place for a few days. Funny and heartwarming, this is the captivating story of three very different yet similar people finding their way in life-
There are certain moments in life that feel bigger than the whole universe, the whole cosmos. This, for me, is one such moment. I am tempted to use the voice recorder in my phone to capture my feelings right now but my hands are busy and clammy, one holding a huge bouquet of flowers that I spent over half an hour putting together and the other carrying a bag with my camera and notebooks. It’s not just any random bouquet of flowers. Flowers have meaning, you know. Each flower depicts and symbolizes something. Red roses are for love and desire, daffodils convey regards, daisies represent hope and carnations, alas, are for my poor heart. And therefore carnations make up the majority of my bouquet. I ring the doorbell using my elbow and wait. No answer. After standing there for what felt like a millennium, I ring the bell again. After a long, long, long wait, an old man with a shabby beard opens the door. His head and face are awkwardly dotted with grey hair. He has paired his sweatpants with a rather interesting sweatshirt – it features Yoda’s head. Something tells me that he has painted it on the sweatshirt himself, along with the tagline below it – Strange creature you are not? The shirt looks at least ten years old. It has a few holes around the neck, a big one on the shoulder and an even bigger one just above the hem.
I have a strong feeling that if I go any closer, I will get a whiff of inevitable stink. I am looking at him trying to figure out who exactly he is. The domestic help, perhaps? He is frowning at me. After several seconds he says, ‘Who are you?’ I don’t know why but his question threw me off . Seriously? Who are you? That’s how he greets guests? It’s far from a greeting actually, it’s insulting! ‘Hi.’ I smile anyway. ‘I am Ratna. I have come here to meet Mr Ronit Sukhdev.’ ‘He does not meet anybody,’ the man says as he steps back to close the door.
Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! I just realize that this is Ronit Sukhdev himself! F**k! He looks nothing like what I had imagined! He is no tall, brooding gentleman! Far from it. F**k! This cannot be
happening to me! For a split second I think this was a bad idea and that I should go back. He looks so filthy. I feel like screaming my lungs out, dropping everything in my hands and running away faster than I have ever run in my life. But then the words from Pranab’s mail flash in front of my eyes: He is slipping into depression . . . he needs help. I almost hear the words like an akashvani!
‘Wait, wait, wait!’ I hold the door and manage to stop him from closing it. ‘You don’t understand. I have to meet him! I mean, I have to meet you. It’s very important.’ ‘We have already met. And the meeting is over. Bye, bye,’ he says and pushes against the door. ‘No, no, no! See, I am your biggest fan. It’s not possible to have a fan bigger and crazier than me. I can guarantee you that. In fact, I am such a huge fan that when I found out I was going to meet you, I was pretty sure I’d faint the moment I saw you.’ He does not even listen to what I am saying and steps back, trying to close the door again. Think, Ratna, think of something! Fast!
‘In fact, I am getting dizzy right now! Oh my God!
My head! My head!’
This is the time to display my excellent acting skills. I must enact fainting, like I have done several times in front of the mirror. No man can stay away from helping a girl who faints in front of him. It’s almost his moral duty! I pretend my head is spinning and move around in circles, like one of those actresses from black- and-white films, making sure my hair moves just as gracefully. I fall on the floor, dropping everything I am holding but making sure nothing gets damaged. The bouquet of flowers falls right next to me, almost in slow motion, hitting the ground and bouncing slightly from the impact before settling on the ground. I lie there expecting to be picked up with desperate, concerned inquiries like ‘Oh my God! What happened? Are you okay? I hope you are not hurt!’, but no such thing happens. I continue lying on the floor. Still. The floor is cold and I am starting to get cold. I slowly open my right eye to take a peep. Ronit Sukhdev is still standing there with his arms folded in front of his chest. I slowly close my eye again. What is he doing? Why is he not picking me up? Maybe I should have fallen on him instead of falling on the floor. Maybe then he would have been shocked to see me in my miserable condition and helped me. Several seconds pass. ‘I saw that, you know. I am not blind. I saw you open your eye and look at me and then close it back again,’ he says. Shit!