“Hold me close and hold me fast
The magic spell you cast
This is la vie en rose..”

  Singing this song in her head, falling down the rocky cliff, Mahi wakes up screaming but to her disappointment there was no one there to comfort her, caress her…
  She put her feet on the cold ground below, chilled by the not-so-normal January winter. Turning around before getting up, Mahi looks at Abhinav who was probably dreaming about being Hugh Hefner (also snoring loudly).

 

Hunting through the room for her clothes which were scattered around by her last night’s affair with Abhinav, she slips her clothes on and zips on her Curve IDs, she moves towards Abhinav, who wasn’t looking very attractive at that moment with his belly and his loud snore, just when she was about to touch him to wake him up and tell him she was leaving, she felt the soreness, asking her if she was doing the right thing. Having quickly decided to leave without telling him, she shut the door of Room No. 307, careful not to wake him up.
  

As she walked on the red carpet through the shady lobby of the cheap hotel that they had checked into for the night, thoughts of Suraj, the love of her life came to her head. Shaking her head to dismiss those unpleasant thoughts, she stepped into the hotel lift.

“Hold on! I’m coming!
Hold on! I’m coming!
Don’t you ever.. Feel sad..
Lean on me.. When times are bad..”
   
  This classic by B.B.King reminded Mahi only of Suraj and the promise that she had made to him – to be with him in times of need. She thought more about him, only to burst into a flood of tears. She missed him.
   

Twas the night of their 5th anniversary of togetherness. She had planned on something huge, but to surprise Suraj and to let him feel her love for him, she kept it all a secret, not leaving a hint anywhere. She got busy planning their special evening together and the well-awaited private candlelight dinner at their favorite restaurant. She glowed with love and excitement. Knowing that she had told Suraj to meet her there and that he had agreed to it, she ignored his calls to heighten his curiosity.
 

It was two hours since his expected time of arrival. He had never done this before. Mahi was worried. Calling his number from her speed dial, she was met with only disappointment. No answer. She tried again, only to be left unanswered, just like before. This continued for the next 30 minutes till she realized that something was amiss. Mahi could feel her heart crawl up the back of her throat. She was never as scared as this before.
  

Mahi quickly called her mom to ask if Suraj had been there, wondering if he assumed that he had to pick her up. There was silence on the phone. Then she heard something she had not imagined. Her mom’s sobs. Mahi yelled, attracting everyone’s attention in the hotel. Her mom told her how Suraj had come to pick her up because she wasn’t answering her phone and how he got hit by a drunk truck driver.
  

Mahi broke down right there on the floor, as she felt her chest shatter into a thousand pieces. She could neither breathe, nor cry. Mahi’s mom’s voice on the phone which was stuck to her ear brought her back to consciousness. She said Suraj was at the hospital, asking only for her.

 

Gathering herself quickly, trying to run her fastest in Suraj’s favourite heels, she got into her car and drove to the hospital, crying all along the way. Reaching the hospital, she stepped out of the car not caring to turn  off the ignition or shut the door. She ran to the reception to ask about Suraj, where she dashed into her dad who held her as she could barely walk.

 

Her dad took her to Suraj’s Intensive Care Unit quickly. On seeing Suraj in that dire state, Mahi broke down again, this time on the hospital floor. Suraj’s parents and hers rushed to help her gather herself up.

 

They took her and made her sit next to him, she was all he had been asking for. Suraj wanted to say something but couldn’t because of his condition. For his ease, she bent forward with her running eyes and those mascara lines down her cheeks.
  

What happened then felt like the toughest breath that Suraj had drawn in a long time, as he said..

“When you kiss me heaven sighs
And though I close my eyes
I see la vie en rose
When you press me to your heart
I’m in a world apart
A world where roses bloom..

This was La Vie En Rose..”

  With those last words, he left the world that he’d created for her and himself. The room was filled with the deafening beep of the heart rate monitor.