Sameer parked his bike; he suddenly noticed Ritesh entering the college in his car. Sameer is surprised and looked on as Ritesh came out of his car and joined his gang. Sameer shook his head in disgust and walked towards his gang.
“So he is back, eh! I was wondering why life was going so smooth.” Sangeeta commented.
“He was missing for so long, but why?” asked Dinesh.
“I don’t know but rumors are that he got involved into drugs and therefore had to go to jail. You know his father, Mr. Rajiv Juneja. Very big man, he has got almost half the city in his pocket and his son enjoys being in his shadow.” said Sangeeta.
“No wonder, he must have got out of jail quite easily. It really helps when you have contact with big people.” said Sameer.
Anita joined them.
“Hey people! What’s up?” asked Anita.
“As usual. How about you?” Sangeeta responded.
“What’s all that enjoyment out there?” asked Anita, looking at Ritesh and his gang.
“If you were missing a college bully, then meet one. That is Ritesh. As usual, popular with his gang but unpopular among others.” said Dinesh
“Stay away from his shadows and all will be fine.” said Sameer.
“Anyway, almost forgot! My dad is having a party at home. He is a very big industrialist actually and therefore, to increase his ties, he is inviting a lot of big shots of this city.” said Anita.
“So why do you want us to come? We may look like big shots but definitely not in league with your father.” said Sameer.
“That is because I am the daughter of that big industrialist and therefore want to increase my ties to. So, if you, Mr. Sameer Malhotra, don’t come to the party, I will cancel all ties with you. What do you say? And of course, bring your sister, too.” said Anita, in a commanding tone.
Sameer stared at her and then at his friends.
“Whoa! Sameer, we better not make this really big girl angry. I say we honor it.”said Sangeeta.
“Yeah! I am in and so is everybody.” said Sameer.
At the party, Anita introduced her friends to Mr. Patil, Anita’s father, “Dad, meet my friends – Sameer, Dia, Dinesh, and Sangeeta.”
“I am absolutely delighted that you people have come. I was kind of worried when I decided to settle here thinking whether my daughter will be happy but I guess I am relieved now. You people have been such good friends to my daughter. Please feel comfortable and make yourself at home. Anita, take care of our guests. They are as important as the others.” said Mr. Patil.
“Sure dad.” answered Anita.
“Excuse me, people while I check on my other guests.” said Mr. Patil, walking towards the caterers.
The gang was having fun but not until Sameer and Dia recognized someone familiar, very familiar.
“Hey! That’s mom and dad!” said Dia.
“Sure is. Let’s surprise them.” said Sameer.
Sameer and Dia walk towards their parents who were totally surprised by their presence.
“You both! Over here!” Mr. Malhotra’s reaction was priceless.
“You know them? They are my daughter’s friends.” asked Mr.Patil.
“And they are my children.” Mr. Malhotra replied with a smile.
“What! Really! My goodness! You are the parent of this handsome man and this pretty lady.” commented Mr. Patil.
“Oh yes, my pretty angel… and my handsome Devil… they are mine.” said Mr. Malhotra, with pride.
The party got into a romantic mood now with music playing and a lot of couples dancing to it.
“You know how to dance, Sameer?” asked Anita.
“I never had a partner to dance with.” Sameer responded.
Anita took Sameer’s hand and pulled him towards the dance floor saying, “Come with me.”
Sameer couldn’t take his eyes off Anita the whole time. She was wearing a beautiful blue salwar suit, and was looking gorgeous. They both danced, their eyes were looking nowhere but each other.
Sameer felt he couldn’t waste time. He had to say it.
“I wanted to tell you something.” said Sameer.
“I know.. even I want to but not here.” said Anita.
Anita took Sameer away from the crowd into a grandly set up balcony.
“Anita, we have known each other for quite sometime. What I say may not sound good but… its better I say it then to keep it in my heart…” Sameer started.
Anita hugged him, Sameer could feel the warmth of her hug and embraced her.
“You talk too much. I didn’t bring you here for some boring melodramatic Dialogue session. Why don’t you just say those three words?” Anita whispered to Sameer.
“Three words, eh! How about four? Will you marry me?” asked Sameer.
“Hmmm… not a bad idea but you see, I have my career also to look at so, you might have to wait.” Anita responded.
“Ah yes! I forgot that completely, my sweet new generation lady. Ok, I… love… you!” Sameer said, tightening his embrace.
Anita looked into Sameer’s eyes again and without thinking, kissed Sameer on his lips and started running.
Sameer couldn’t believe what just happened and stared at Anita, the latter turned back while she was running.. she was blushing, she ran towards the main hall and Sameer followed. The moment he reached the main hall, he saw another guest coming in. One look at him and Sameer was definitely not surprised.
“Well! Well! He ought to have come by now. What took him so long anyway?” Sameer commented.
It was Mr. Rajiv Juneja followed by his son, Ritesh. Mr. Patil welcomed them. Anita was also there and Sameer could make out Ritesh eyeing Anita the very moment he saw her. Sameer was enraged yet he controlled it.
He could see that Anita showed no interest and just shook her hand with Ritesh and walked away towards her gang looking for Sameer, the latter walked towards his gang.
“Where did you both go? We were feeling bored.” said Dinesh.
“A bit awkward too…” commented Sangeeta.
“Don’t worry. We are not monsters here. No one will eat you.” said Anita, smiling mischievously.
“So that bully made it here too. And he is looking at you only.” said Sangeeta.
“Well… It is accepted that I am very beautiful. What do you say, Sameer?” asked Anita, looking at Sameer.
Sameer raised his left eyebrow and then smiled.
The next day as Anita was walking towards the main college building, Ritesh suddenly stopped her path and re-introduced himself, “Hi! I am Ritesh. We met at the party yesterday, remember? We didn’t talk much though.”.
“Really! Let me think. I was busy with my group of friends.” said Anita, a bit sarcastically.
“Well! At least you should have introduced me to them. I can do anything to make you feel comfortable and… happy.” said Ritesh, it was obvious he was trying to flirt with her.
“Oh I see! But I don’t think they are in league with you. As far as I got to know about you, you may not hang out with people who don’t respect you.” Anita commented.
“Ah! All rumors. Don’t listen to them.” said Ritesh.
“Look Ritesh, I know you want to make friends with me but I guess I have heard too much about you and as a matter of fact, they are definitely not rumors. I am happy with my own group of friends, so please leave me alone.” said Anita.
She tried to walk away but Ritesh, feeling insulted, caught hold of her hand.
“Look here, lady, this is my town and my father is well known over here. He controls this town which means I get what I want. If I want I can get you by any means possible but it is in my good spirits that I am asking you as a gentleman. Don’t make me make you regret this.” said Ritesh, angered over Anita trying to ignore him.
“So my friends are right. The rumours about you are not false, I guess. If you would have asked a bit more solemnly, I would have accepted your friendship but it seems you need me for something else and I don’t do social service for people like you. Now, let go of me.” said Anita, looking at Ritesh with contempt.
“You flatter yourself, lady. I give you one more chance… be with me or I am sure you will not like what I do with you.” said Ritesh.
Anita struggled to let go of Ritesh’s grasp, the others around watched in horror but no one came forward to help Anita as they were afraid to cross their path with Ritesh.
Suddenly, Ritesh received a hard punch from someone. He fell to the ground visibly shaken. He looked up to see who it was. It was Sameer.
“Your father may be the richest man in town but you sure are the poorest beggar I have ever seen. I have never seen anyone begging for friendship or maybe love the way you do. Such things are only earned and not begged.” said Sameer.
There is murmuring around followed by giggles, Ritesh looked around, already insulted, he could now see his pride going down the drain.
“You have no idea what you have done. You will pay for this.” said Ritesh.
“Of course… your father owns the town, isn’t it? So we need to pay for using some of the stuffs.” said Sameer, as Ritesh looked at him confused.
Sameer took out a one rupee coin, threw it at Ritesh’s legs and said, “There you go, you treat woman as though they are a property, isn’t it? So, here you go… a coin for ‘using’ this property.”
The people who were watching this were impressed that someone stood up to the bully; they laughed and clapped their hands. Ritesh never felt so insulted in his life, he could only look down in shame… he could do nothing else.
Sameer took Anita’s hand and walked away with her.
“Thanks Sameer, if you wouldn’t have come, then I don’t know what he could have done with me.” said Anita, with tears in her eyes. It was clear she never experienced this before.
“My new age lady… isn’t it time for you to understand that the world is still not safe for you even if your aspirations are equal to men. Learn to fight. You can’t always have me or your father by your side.” said Sameer.
Anita put her hands on Sameer’s lips.
“Don’t ever say that again. I may reach my goals but I will never leave your side. You tell me… you tell me that you will be on my side all my life; I will win this world facing all fears.” said Anita.
Sameer wiped her tears and said, “Consider it done.”
Anita smiled at him, handing over her bag to sameer, she said, “Good boy! Now follow me.”
Sameer stared at her as she giggled and walked away; he nodded his head in amusement and replied, “Sure madam.”
In the evening, Anita got back home to find her father in a happy mood.
“What is it, dad? You look very happy today.” Anita asked.
“Well! How do I start? Have you heard of Mr. Juneja?” asked Mr. Patil.
“Of course! Almost everyone in this city knows him. He also came to our party along with his son. So what about him now?” Anita was anxious to know considering whatever happened in college between Ritesh and her.
“Well… his son, Ritesh seems to like you and would like to marry you. A marriage proposal has come for you from Mr. Juneja.” said Mr. Patil.
Anita is shocked when she heard this. She realized that Ritesh was playing a game now with her. At first she thought that she should tell Sameer about this but then decided to make her stand clear before that.
“Dad, I want to say something. It is after all the question about my life.” Anita said firmly.
Mr.Patil looked at her daughter, quite confused with that attitude and then responded, “Of course it is, absolutely no doubt about it. Tell me.”
Anita took a deep breath and then started, “Ritesh is a big bully in our college. He was jailed a few months back because he was involved with drugs. He does not have such a good name as you think, dad. He is using his father’s power to get whatever he wants and his father also pampers him.”
Mr. Patil stared at her and at the same time, began to think about the proposal.
“Do you really think I should be with somebody who does not even take one effort to show respect to others?” Anita asked making Mr. Patil curious to know the truth.
Anita then said taking her father’s hand, “Dad, Ritesh tried to molest me in front of everyone today. If it was not for Sameer, I don’t think I would have… have saved myself from him. No one came to save me except Sameer.”
“That scoundrel! No wonder he is so quick with the proposal. I will say no to them. His father may be a big shot but I have my self-respect.” said Mr. Patil.
Anita felt a sense of relief; she felt confident and decided to tell the truth.
“Of course, there is someone else whom I love.” said Anita, blushing.
Mr. Patil was surprised and asked eagerly, “Really! Tell me who is he? Do I know him?”
“Of course, and I just took his name. You know him, father. You met him at the party. His name is Sameer, son of Mr. Malhotra.” said Anita.
Mr. Patil couldn’t believe his ears.
“Now we are talking. That boy is indeed the perfect man for my daughter.” said Mr. Patil.
Anita hugged her father in joy. Her father laughed heartily over Anita’s reaction. Mr. Patil looked at her daughter and then talked about his struggle in life, “Anita, I wasn’t born rich. Whatever you see is the gift of my hard work. It is a pity that your mother couldn’t live to see this day. If I did something wrong in terms of any decision that could mess with your life, what face will I show to your mother.
It is you who needs to understand that we are given this very life to live the way we want and not by some useless protocols that people have created for themselves. Sameer’s father is a respectable gentleman in this city and it would be an honour to tie my relation with him. I would like to meet Sameer. Call him some day.”
Anita nodded her head in agreement; she couldn’t wait to share this with Sameer. She immediately ran to her room, took her mobile and called up Sameer and said everything.
Sameer couldn’t believe what he was hearing, he felt on top of the world. He thought to himself, “Just a small change in my attitude has resulted in this outcome. I pray to god for helping me achieve what I am destined to.”