INDIAN AUTHOR SHORT STORY: That Thing Called Love

Ruchita Misra, Author of The (In)eligible Bachelors, pens a love story for Cosmo

Neha did not want to say it. Neha desperately wanted to say it.

Kavya, her mother, was wiping imaginary specks of dust off a laminated picture of her father. Today was his 5th death anniversary. Not a day went by when Kavya did not mention dad. Always fondly, always with a sad smile. Theirs was a love story, people said, that even death had not managed to affect.

'Stop it, mum!' she screamed, self-control deserting her. 'You have been so blind in your love! Dad was having an affair! He was cheating on you!'

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Kavya was still.

Neha froze. Had the words come out loud?

Neha had stumbled upon some e-mails in her father's inbox on her 19th birthday; other details tumbled in but never the courage to tell mum. Hearing dad often tell mum how much he loved her had made her hate 'love' and she did not hesitate in refusing when Karan had proposed. He persisted for six years but was finally marrying someone else next month.

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Kavya continued to wipe the picture.

'Mum!'

Kavya turned around slowly, the familiar sad smile on her face.

'I am sorry you knew, darling' she said gently.

'What?' Neha mumbled, confused, 'you knew?'

'I knew him better than he knew himself.'

'Still...?'

'I hated him for one thing but loved him so much for everything else. Love can be senselessly powerful, never deny it its destiny...' Kavya said softly, turning around to clean the spotless frame.

A little later, Neha found herself dialling Karan's number. Maybe it wasn't too late?

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