HEROINE – (PART-III)
She cries in front of her hero. The story so far Ashish and Joanna open up, rather get involved. Will it lead to love blossming?
Dr Bhargav was a strict doctor, very strict. ‘Who is this girl, sorry I want to talk to my patient in private.’ Ashish and Joanna were seated in front of Dr Bhargav for consultation. Ashish was wondering how to convince him when she took control. ‘Well Sir, I am the one who is getting married to him,’ she went on, ‘if you can please allow me, since I think I have the right to know what’s wrong with him.’ As Dr Bhargav pondered, Ashish whispered, ‘good one.’ ‘Okay, let her be,’ he said after a while, ‘You start from the very start.’ ‘Sir, I am in love with the concept
Mr Bhargav was overconfident, he thought his 2 minute lecture will be able to influence Ashish’s 20 years of obsession. ‘ You are still not getting me Sir, okay let’s make it even lighter. ‘Sir, I am in love with the concept of the Hindi movie heroine.’ ‘Which heroine, Sridevi?’ Not again wondered Ashish, ‘You don’t get me Sir, there is no particular heroine, it is the virtue of the heroines that attracts me,’ he said.
of the Hindi movie heroine.’ ‘Which heroine, Sridevi?’ Not again wondered Ashish, ‘You don’t get me Sir, there is no particular heroine, it is the virtue of the heroines that attracts me,’ he said. ‘Elaborate.’ ‘How to describe, their spontaneity, their exuberance, their never ending charm, their aura. The one girl for whom you want to fight with the entire world. The single glance that keeps you awake the entire night,’ Ashish would have gone on and on had not Dr Bhargav stopped him. ‘Understood, Schizophrenia, from when you started having these hallucinations,’ he sympathised with Ashish. ‘Hallucinations,’ he was confused, ‘You don’t get it Sir, okay I guess it was too heavy for you, let’s make it light.’ ‘Which is your favourite movie, sir?’ ‘Sholay, what does my favourite movie got to do with you?’ ‘Tell me honestly when the glass pieces pierced Basanti’s soft feet, didn’t you feel as if the
‘ Wow, I always wanted to wear a sari, it’s so sexy, man,’ she was excited. ‘ Today is your lucky day, go and wear it.’ ‘ You crazy I don’t know how to wear a sari.’ Even her mom had no idea how a sari is worn. ‘Come on,’ Joanna pulled him out in the rains. ‘What are you doing,’ he asked. ‘Time to give my auditions, for I desperately want to be your heroine.’ She dragged him in the rains. ‘What, I can’t dance.’ ‘I will dance, you just give company,’ she said. So Tip tip barsa paani.
glass pieces actually pierced your heart,’ Ashish was all emotional. Joanna tried her very best to control her laughter, but she was not sure till when. ‘Look son, that is what movie-making is all about, there is a story writer who writes these magnificient scenes, the screenplay writer visualises the same, the director brings them to life and the performances of your so- called heroines make them real. It is a medium to entertain us, it is a make- belive world not to be taken so seriously.’ Mr Bhargav was overconfident, he thought his 2 minute lecture will be able to influence Ashish’s 20 years of obsession. ‘You are still not getting me Sir, okay let’s make it even lighter,’ Ashish was getting irritated. ‘Have you seen Mr India?’ Dr Bhargav nodded. ‘How was that song, Kate nahin katte yeh din yeh raat, kuch kuch hua tha naa, Sir?’ Dr Bhargav was sweating, ‘no.’ ‘You are lying,’ he answered back. ‘Dr Bhargav stamped the table and said, ‘ Bol raha hu naa, no.’ ‘Puree India ko hua tha yaar,’ Ashish stamped the table even harder and answered back. Joanna was desperately trying to think about her break-up, even then she was unable to control her laughter. ‘Look, you are seriously ill, I am telling you, okay let me try to explain it in your way, have you seen the movie,
The Beautiful Mind?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Good, you are going through the same emotions that Dr Nash was going through, nothing is real, it’s all in your mind,’ Dr Bhargav was not willing to give up that easily. ‘The love in the eyes of his wife Alicia Nash was that unreal,’ Ashish choked. Dr Bhargav was now at the brink of his tolerance, ‘look you are not cooperating,’ he said sternly. ‘I am sorry Sir, can I give it one more shot.’ He nodded. ‘I admit when you say that movies are unreal.’ ‘Finally,’ Dr Bhargav almost shouted, ‘finally we are talking, yes go ahead.’ ‘Movies are not real,’ Ashish said. ‘Good,’ there was a smile on his face. ‘But you will also admit that movies are a representation of the society.’ ‘Yes, of course.’ ‘So, the characters of the movies my heroines are nothing but real persons brought to the reel.’ ‘So the qualities that our heroines have will be present in real people, they will dance in the rain, sing like a bird, will have the magnetism that defies the Law of Gravity, will have those expressive eyes, someone jise dekh ke gaane ko jee kare, ‘ Ek ladki ko dekha to aisa laga.’ Ashish started singing. He was an atrocious singer and to add to it he was real loud. ‘Jaise khilta gulab,’ he went on. ‘Stop,’ Dr Bhargav had enough. ‘Jaise shayar
ka khwab.’ He was in no mood to listen. ‘Please stop, immediately.’ ‘ Jaise
ujli kiran.’ ‘Are you mad?’ ‘ Jaise ban me hiran,’ Ashish was in full flow. ‘Leave,’ Dr Bhargav was literally shaking. ‘Jaise chandni raat.’ ‘You should be in an asylum.’ ‘Jaise narmi ki
baat,’ Ashish did not give heed to his words. ‘Get out.’ ‘ Jaise mandir main ho
ek jalta diyaaaaaaa,’ he sang with extra vigour. ‘Can’t you hear me, get out.’ Joanna could no longer control herself and she burst out laughing. ‘That is my heroine,’ Ashish said at last. ‘Get out,’ Dr Bhargav repeated for the third time. ‘Okay, but before leaving touch your heart and say that you didn’t get excited in that Mr India song, I bet you still do.’ ‘Guards,’ Mr Bhargav yelled. Doesn’t matter, Ashish had made his point.
It was about four in the evening but the hovering clouds had made it real dark. Joanna was still laughing, ‘Know what, I underestimated you, you are a rock star, way better than anyone I have ever met.’ ‘No, Joanna, tell me seriously the pathos in Jaya Bhadhuri’s eyes in Sholay, the pain in Madhuri’s face in Tezaab, the love in Kajol’s expression in DDLJ, is everything unreal, everything makebelief, can’t be,’ he shook his head. ‘Tell me what is the most important criteria to be your heroine,’ she asked all of a sudden. Joanna was in a blue floral frock which was barely in her control in the strong winds and wasn’t she looking vivacious. ‘She must be able to dance in the rain,’ Ashish said as it started to rain. ‘Come on,’ Joanna pulled him out in the rains.
‘Show me her photograph,’ his mother said. Ashish desperately searched his mobile for at least one snap of her in which she wore something sober. 20 odd photographs later he finally found one. ‘She is so dark,’ his mom didn’t like her. ‘You have chosen her over Rupali.
‘What are you doing,’ he asked. ‘Time to give my auditions, for I desperately want to be your heroine.’ She dragged him in the rains. ‘What, I can’t dance.’ ‘I will dance, you just give company,’ she said. So Tip tip barsa paani, was set on her mobile as she scintillating, copied Raveena’s step to perfection. Ashish could not just believe it, ‘I have found my heroine,’ he said with his arms outstretched.
Ashish had no doubt in his mind that Joanna was his heroine. She danced like the trees in a storm, sang like a bird in the sunrise, looked like a princess in her puberty. What was even more important, she had a heart of gold. She would never allow him to spend extravagantly on her. Irrespective of his assurance that he can afford it she would say, ‘If you can, spend it on your parents, yes they were a little harsh on you, but that you are such a nice person today is due to their upbringing.’ So, she was the sexy heroine, beautiful heroine, caring heroine, confident heroine all rolled into one. She had the class of Madhubala, sex appeal of Zeenat Aaman, femininity of Sridevi, charm of Madhuri, warmth of Kajol, accent of Katrina, swagger of Deepika. She was the best, irrespective of the era.
The month to follow was as good as it gets. He was as proud as he can be as Joanna walked in the party with him the very next week, that too hand in hand. ‘Neighbour’s envy, owner’s pride,’ he whispered to her. ‘Now, I will slap you,’ she glared, ‘how dare you say you own me?’ ‘I just wanted to express my feelings, don’t get angry, okay.’ He fumbled. ‘I understand, you are too ecstatic to be here with me,’ she whispered back as they entered the hall. ‘Why do you get so nervous, whenever I scold you, I’ll scold you now and then, just like that, get used to it, okay.’
Three months passed by. It was a usual dinner with his parents that Ashish brought up the Joanna topic. ‘You love a nonBengali girl,’ his mother was as always overdramatic. ‘Not possible,’ his father announced as if it was a verdict. ‘Joanna or no one else, period,’ Ashish said without losing his cool. ‘Show me her photograph,’ his mother said. Ashish desperately searched his mobile for at least one snap of her in which she wore something sober. 20 odd photographs later he finally found one. ‘She is so dark,’ his mom didn’t like her. ‘You have chosen her over Rupali, are you blind,’ his dad was astonished. They tried to brainwash him in every way possible, but it was not to be so. ‘What to say, your life, we’ll go to meet her next Saturday at 3’ his dad told him, for he realised this time his son won’t yield. ‘Well, I have to go to office this Saturday, never mind you take the car, I’ll reach directly.
That night Ashish told Joanna everything. ‘You ready for marriage,’ he asked her. ‘Can we wait till my masters are over,’ she replied. ‘Okay, I’ll buy some time but next Saturday please do as I tell you for our sake.’ ‘Done.’ Ashish didn’t go to office next Saturday; instead he was at their place. The room as usual was in a mess with whisky and vodka lazily lying here and there. Ashish was not to give up so easily. He changed into a tee and shorts and took complete charge of cleaning the house and in the next 40 minutes transformed it into a perfect sober home. Joanna was astonished to say the least. ‘I am speechless,’ she had to admit. ‘Well, further surprise awaits you,’ he said as he took out a traditional sari and handed it to her. ‘Wow, I always wanted to wear a sari, it’s so sexy, man,’ she was excited. ‘Today is your lucky day, go and wear it.’ ‘You crazy I don’t know how to wear a sari.’ Even her mom had no idea how a sari is worn. ‘Don’t you know how it is worn,’ she asked. ‘Well, I do but.’ ‘Bas, problem solved,’ she said casually. There was another problem. ‘What blouse you brought yaar it is not fitting,’ she said from the
In spite of all her virtues there was only one flaw in her, a single flaw but it was bad enough to mar all her goodness. She did what she felt was right, and not even her parents could make her do otherwise.
bathroom. As Ashish was rushing away to get another one for her she peeped from the bathroom, ‘What will you say at the shop, give a big blouse.’ ‘No, that I have said earlier, this time I’ll say give a bigger blouse.’ She laughed, ‘just tell 36c.’ 36c fitted her perfectly but her wearing the sari was tough. ‘Come on yaar, how much time you’ll take my leg’s are paining,’ she said. ‘What to do, I don’t do it on a regular basis,’ quipped Ashish. The problem was not with the sari, it was with him. Though Ashish and Joanna were dating for over 3 months now yet they had never kissed. Not that Joanna would have repelled, as a matter of fact she had created quite some moments that could have resulted in their first kiss. However, Ashish was so awestruck by her that he always shied away. So naturally, all of a sudden such physical proximity with her was making him hell of a nervous and he couldn’t concentrate. Joanna could easily make it out. ‘Well, if you get this excited, you won’t finish even in 2 more hours,’ she said casually. ‘I am not at all excited,’ Ashish said in his defence. ‘Is it,’ Joanna said while chewing on the gum,’ well the bulge in your shorts suggests otherwise. Ashish was never so embarrassed before and immediately turned around. ‘It’s normal, okay,’ he said with a sign of guilt in his voice. Joanna turned him around and said, ‘of course it’s normal, you have shown enough resilience Mr Ashish Sen, so I have decided to reward you.’ Saying this she kissed him passionately. It went on and on. ‘Man, I have messed up my lipstick,’ she said after it was finally over. ‘Now, Mr Sen, I want you to complete the sari thing in the next 10 minutes, it’s an order.’ Ten minutes down it was finally done and wasn’t she looking pretty. ‘Now, let’s see how they can reject you,’ Ashish said confidently. ‘Don’t forget to touch their feet,’ he gave the last-minute tip and went away.
Joanna looked so wonderful as she walked in the room that his parents were stunned. ‘Her complexion may be dark but she is beautiful,’ his mother whispered to his dad. Mr Sen could not deny it. The effort that he put has been worth it, Ashish wondered but Joanna being Joanna spilled it all, ‘Sorry, in spite of Ashish’s repeated training I can’t be mechanical, but I promise to shower my love on all of you,’ she assured them as she hugged his mom tight instead of touching her feet. ‘Ladki acchi hai,’ his mom approved her that very minute. Joanna requested them if they can wait for another six months till she completes her studies, to which they agreed. Joanna had that magic in her, everybody liked her instantly, the same magic that the heroines have. Ashish never expected this to work out so smoothly.
In spite of all her virtues there was only one flaw in her, a single flaw but it was bad enough to mar all her goodness. She did what she felt was right, and not even her parents could make her do otherwise. She was so stubborn that she never listened to others advice even if it was for her own good. It was a friendly gathering of his close-knit friends when Ashish decided to introduce her to the world at large. Yes, you have the liberty of being a little over the top in a trusted friend circle but that does not mean that she would arrive in a risqué. Ashish came directly from the office and Joanna was supposed to come on her own. As Joanna entered the club he was shocked, looking at her dress. So much so that his friends were too uncomfortable to talk to her. Ashish didn’t tell her anything in the party because he was well aware that she was capable of creating a scene in her own wedding party, leave aside anywhere else. But when he was dropping her home in his cab, he gave her a piece of his mind. ‘What the hell Joanna, what dress is this?’ ‘Why, it revealed nothing,’ she said in defence. ‘Yes it revealed nothing, but left little to imagination, and how many pegs did you have,’ he was terribly upset. ‘Everybody out there was drinking, apart from you, I had 3 or 4, it’s normal for me,’ she replied. ‘3 or 4, I stopped counting after 5.’ She kept quiet. ‘You got to be sober next time onwards or else.’ ‘Or else what Mr Ashish Sen, you’ll leave me, to hell with you, I call it quits right here right now, stop the car.’ ‘No, I won’t,’ he said in return. She slapped him tightly, then again and again, yet he drove on. Finally they reached her home. He pulled her up to her floor and as the door was opened he said ‘Now, I call it quits.’ ‘Of course you will, now that you had everything,’ she was in tears. It was enough for him, ‘I have never for once forced myself on you, you had so many boyfriends. God knows what you have done with them.’ ‘Thank you Ashish for calling it quits, kaafi cheap nikle yaar, not that I owe you an explanation but will tell you for what Joanna does she does khullam khulla. 15 boyfriends in 3 years, slept with none since nobody was special, thought you were but forget it, you won’t understand.’ She paused for a while. ‘Listen dude, I live my life the way I want to and not even my parents are allowed to comment on that, what piece of shit are you and by the way were you not aware the way I am?’ she went on, ‘as a matter of fact, my most revealing outfit was on the day you saw me for the first time and since you men are egoistic pigs you won’t confess, but I know that you fell for me in the very first second.’ ‘You were counting my drinks today, why were you not counting
Joanna on the other hand was absolutely unaffected with his absence from her life. She partied, drank, danced at her will and fancy. So much so she had as many as three boyfriends over the last six months.
my drinks the day we met for the first time, I cross my heart that day I drank even more.’ She was out of breath. ‘Yes, you have been really sober and never forced yourself on me, big deal. I gave you your heroine, I gave you your 20 years of patient expectation, I gave you what the whole world told you is not gettable.’ ‘Go and get married to the girl of your parent’s choice, I can assure you she has not or in future sleep with anyone else but you, she will only have her face, tummy, hands and her feet for the world to see and will keep the rest intact for your bedroom.’ ‘You always say naa you can afford it, well tell you what you can’t afford me and just for the records you can’t afford your heroine as well, what did you always say, yeah heroine is a concept and that concept suggests that she will be admired and liked by all, she will wear spunky clothes, she will be sought after and you can’t take away the male gaze from a heroine once it goes. So goes your heroine.’ ‘I am taking your concept of heroine along with me, now leave you son of a ….’ Ashish held her mouth, ‘bitch, mat bolna please, not that I’ll say anything in return but as you rightly said I fell for you in the very first second I saw you, let that stay in my memory rather than someone who called my mom a bitch,’ saying this he left.
‘I’ll marry anyone you want me to, but I require some time to get over Joanna,’ Ashish told his parents that very night. ‘Why, what happened to Joanna,’ his mom asked. ‘Don’t ask me that but all is over between me and her.’ Ashish had a scrapbook which he has maintained for the last twenty years. It contained pictures of his heroines. Once in his room, the first thing that he did was to take the scrapbook out and tear it to pieces. Heroine is not a concept to be believed in anymore. Still he stopped on the last page’ He had pasted Joanna’s photo on it, he just couldn’t tear it apart. Yet he had to. He touched her for the very last time as he never touched her before and tore the photograph into a million pieces.
‘Accha, is it true that longest your affair lasts is a couple of months,’ Ashish asked nervously as they were returning home after watching a movie. ‘So far yes, but why do you ask,’ she enquired. ‘For today we will be 2 months down.’ ‘Toh kya karu chor du?’ ‘Well, I can also leave you,’ he said in return. ‘You can always leave me, but boss Joanna is an addiction just like your heroines, once you fall for her then you won’t like anyone else, let me warn you,’ she said playfully. ‘Let’s see.’ ‘Am serious every guy I have ever dated has asked for a second chance, dekh lena, if you leave me then in every girl you will search me, but Joanna is one piece.’ She was not wrong about herself, six months passed by, but Joanna was not to be forgotten, there is simply no one like her.
These long six months were torturing to say the least. Along with Joanna, Ashish lost interest in anything and everything else, even his heroines, his only source of sustenance. He realized, what a fool he had made of himself in front of the world. People must have joked behind his back including Joanna. Stars will be stars. Heroines are made for heroes and he is not one.
The only regret he had was that of taunting Joanna of his ex-boyfriends. He felt so low whenever he thought about it. Joanna was so right, you can’t cage a bird in flight. Heroines were easy to admire but to walking hand in hand with them requires courage, requires character which he vehemently lacked.
As time passed he was totally detested with his life. To get away from the same he concentrated more and more on his work, sometimes working for hours at a stress. He hardly had food in time, rarely had enough sleep.
Joanna on the other hand was absolutely unaffected with his absence from her life. She partied, drank, danced at her will and fancy. So much so she had as many as three boyfriends over the last six months. Unfortunately that Ashish was just another chapter in her life, a terrible chapter, written, read and not to be revisited again.
Six months passed by. It was a Saturday night, just as wonderful as Saturday night’s normally are when she was out for dinner with his 19th boyfriend Oscar, an adorable guy with loads of money and a fake accent. He was kind of a despo but Joanna didn’t mind as long as his desperation was limited to her. Oscar had gone to refill their plate and she was seated alone when someone called her from behind. ‘Joanna, isn’t it?’ ‘She turned around. ‘Dr Bhargav, right?’ She smiled. ‘Long time, how are you?’ He said in return. ‘All well sir, I can’t believe you still remember me, someone as busy as you.’ ‘Well, someone who happens to know Ashish can’t forget, Joanna Desuzza,’ he answered back. ‘Sorry Sir, we are no longer together,’ she said, ‘I am with Oscar.’ She pointed at him as he was hurrying towards the table with both the plates overloaded. ‘Well, then I think you no longer have the right to know what’s wrong with him’ he was about to leave, but Joanna stopped him. ‘What’s, wrong with Ashish, Sir.’ ‘Well, he is not well.’ Dr Bhargav shook his head. ‘What the hell is going on, Joanna?’ Oscar was real mad. ‘We are on our first date, and you are wasting your time on your ex?’ ‘Ashish was a dear friend, please do not refer to him as XYZ,’ she retaliated. ‘What do you mean by he is not well,’ she asked Dr Bhargav. ‘He is going
‘ You got to be strong,’ he said as they reached the hotel.’ ‘ You are Ashish’s heroine, be that and no one else, and if you succeed which I’m sure you will, just tell Ashish.
through severe depression and with time it’s getting worse.’ ‘Depression and Ashish, he used to be so jovial earlier.’ Joanna couldn’t believe it.’ ‘Well, I’ll like to call it the Joanna Effect.’ Dr Bhargav was honest. ‘Look, we are here to have a good time and not to discuss your socalled, dear friend’s mental condition’. Oscar had enough. ‘You can’t really keep quiet, can you,’ Joanna said at last, ‘Okay, it’s over between us.’ ‘What?’ Oscar was heartbroken. ‘Please, don’t mind, I am someone else’s amanat, you see,’ Joanna said calmly with a lot of control. ‘Whose, Ashish’s?’ ‘Jesus, you are intelligent as well.’ Joanna said acidly. He seemed to be heartbroken. ‘Don’t make such a face, it makes me feel guilty,’ she said at last, ‘let’s be honest, you wanted a sexy girlfriend to brag to your friends, I wanted one more boyfriend to make him jealous, mission accomplished.’ ‘Don’t worry, you will have plenty of girlfriends now that you are ex-joanna,’ she quipped. ‘You are a doctor, right?’ He asked Dr Bhargav. ‘A psychiatrist, to be precise,’ he answered back. ‘Even better, take her into consultation, she is mad.’ Oscar was not accepting to lose her. ‘No, she is not,’ Dr Bhargav said sternly, ‘You know in my 25 years career I have never been proven wrong, not that I could cure all but at least I was right in my diagnosis, until she came along.’ ‘Ashish was right, heroines do exist, and she is one of them.’ ‘Now, can you please leave, I’ll take care of the bill.’ Joanna was getting restless. He left. ‘Thanks Sir, I am ever so grateful,’ Joanna said. ‘Do you believe in destiny, Joanna?’ ‘Not really, Sir.’ ‘Well, you should, had I met you any later it would have been really late,’ he said. ‘What do you mean, has anything happened to Ashish?’ Joanna’s heart thumped. ‘No, but just as we speak Ashish’s family is meeting up with Rupali’s family to finalise their marriage.’ ‘Ashish’s father happens to be a close friend of mine and I can assure you if he gives his word, he will never shy away from his promise,’ he continued, ‘and If I judged Ashish right, he loves him way too much to go against him.’ ‘Then,’ Joanna asked nervously. ‘Then, what? you are the heroines, the climax awaits you, the best I can do is to give you a lift to the hotel, rest you got to take care by yourself.’ ‘As the car speeded to the Hotel, Joanna asked, ‘Did he speak about me in your sessions, Sir?’ ‘He only spoke about you,’ he assured her, ‘and he desperately wanted to apologise for something he said in the night you guys separated, to quote him, she won’t believe me but if you ever meet her ever again just tell her I didn’t meant it.’ Joanna broke down. ‘You got to be strong,’ he said as they reached the hotel.’ ‘You are Ashish’s heroine, be that and no one else, and if you succeed which I’m sure you will, just tell Ashish, for he’ll never need me again that Hema Malini was my favourite heroine and I indeed felt like the glass pieces pierced my heart when it pierced her soft feet.’ Dr Bhargav drove away.
It took some time for Joanna to find them, but she finally did. Yes, Ashish’s parents were there but not Ashish. ‘Sir, I’m sorry for everything, won’t you give me a second chance?’ Ashish’s dad was busy discussing something with Rupali’s parents. He looked up. ‘How dare you come here today?’ ‘I really love him, please uncle, won’t you forgive me,’ begged Joanna. ‘Stop making a joke out of yourself in front of us.’ Mr Sen said harshly. ‘Well, I can make a joke out of myself in front of you people, but can’t afford to see Ashish make a joke of himself in front of the entire world,’ she said strongly, ‘where is he?’ ‘You expect us to tell you that,’ Ashish’s mother intervened. ‘Don’t bother, I’ll find it out for myself.’ She called a waiter, ‘Hey, where did the girl in the Red sari and the handsome boy who was seated here go?’ ‘In the lawn, maam,’ he replied. ‘How did she know that she was wearing a red sari,’ Rupali’s mother asked. Mrs Sen had no answer. ‘Who is she?’ Rupali’s father was bewildered. ‘She is my son’s 20 years of belief, she is the heroine he tried every one to convince but everyone thought he was crazy, but he was right, heroines do exist.’
Ashish and Rupali were in the lawn all by themselves as Joanna rushed in. ‘Ashish,’ she exclaimed. He looked back. ‘What are you doing here?’ Ashish couldn’t believe it. ‘You got to be Joanna,’ Rupali interrupted. ‘How do you know?’ Even Joanna was stumped. ‘Since he was only talking about Joanna, in our precious private moment before we go back and obviously say we do like each other, I presumed the one to barge in like this got to be Joanna.’ ‘I was only telling you my past,’ Ashish explained to Rupali. ‘We don’t have a past Ashish, we have a future,’ Joanna said. ‘Don’t get overexcited, I was criticising you by the way,’ he said. ‘If this is criticism, I would like to be criticised all my life,’ Rupali said in return. ‘Look, I don’t have anything personal against you and I don’t fight, I only fight back but if you come between us, I’ll have to be indiscreet. ‘Madame heroine, take your hero with you, I have no inclination to get married to him,’ Rupali said. ‘Can you guess, how humiliating it can be for a girl if a task is given to her to impress a guy who is deeply in love with someone else just because he is well settled.’ ‘You know what I really want, to go to the Goa trip that my friends will be going in a few weeks from now, but alas I can’t.’ Joanna was surprised. ‘You
are a heroine as well!’ ‘Every girl is a heroine, Joanna, some have the guts to express it, some can’t.’ ‘I reject you Ashish, since I want my hero who will be as crazy for me as you are for Joanna and I will only be his heroine.’ She walked away. J oanna walked up to him. Ashish was not the same old Ashish. He has reduced like anything, looked pale and sickly. She took his face in her hands and said, ‘What have you done to yourself?’ ‘Well, Dr Bhargav had an apt name for it which I can’t disclose,’ he said. ‘Okay, I am mad, what you and my parents told me was so very right, I dressed obscenely I drank profusely, I behaved rudely with you that night but the next morning you should have come and pacified me,’ she continued with a deep breath, ‘at most I would have slapped you hard again and again, snubbed you for a few days but eventually I would have melted, naa.’ Ashish couldn’t believe she was casually saying all this. ‘Wouldn’t you have done the same if I was one of your heroines,’ she asked. ‘Don’t ridicule me Joanna, heroine is a myth,’ he said. ‘What, heroine is a myth,’ she was again shouting. ‘Please don’t shout, it’s a renowned hotel. ‘Heroines are like this only, boss,’ she replied back.’ ‘You could have come also,’ he complained. ‘Heroine tum ho yaa main, heroine ke
nakhre uthane parte hai use
manana parta hai.’ Ashish looked up, heroine is indeed not a myth, here standing in front of him is a girl who can dance in the rain, sing like a fountain, have a million-dollar smile and can take panga with the entire world for her man. He came forward, ‘I am sorry for what I said that night I didn’t mean it, and I never wanted you to change, drink, party, wear whatever you want to wear but you have to strike a balance, all I wanted to convey was that but as always you never listened even to those who really cared for your well-being.’ ‘I know, I was obstinate, and I very well know you didn’t mean it, you love me way too much for that, I know you were hurt, but why didn’t you realise what I said that night, it was alcohol not me, you gave up on me too easily.’ She was in tears. ‘From then till now, I have dressed real soberly, as per my standards, drank soberly as per as my standards.’ Was Joanna Desouza crying, wondered Ashish.
‘Hey, be strong, heroines don’t cry that too in front of her heroes,’ Ashsih replied. ‘ Don’t copy me, okay,’ she replied, ‘and for your knowledge, heroines only cry in front of their heroes,’ she said as she surrendered in his arms. We do not remember days, we remember moments.