Love is in the Ruins…(A Love Story at the backdrop of Hampi)

I want to go to Hampi…..Sonakshi said out loud. Hrithik noted her tone! It was assertive. He peeped from the corner of the newspaper that he was reading and looked at her. He understood – The decision was already made. He was only being informed! He nodded and went back to hide behind the newspaper.

I think this weekend will be really good…said Sonakshi. Saying this she went to the kitchen without waiting for Hrithik’s answer. Hrithik and Sonakshi were married for two years. They were pretty affluent but Sonakshi was not happy within. And she never came out with what she was looking out for, in their relationship. Their misunderstandings were increasing day by day and time was running out fast. Something had to be done…!!! Someone between them had to take the initiative….else…..

On a Saturday morning, both of them started for Hampi. Hrithik was driving. Through the corner of his eye, he was noticing Sonakshi’s impatience. He could sense that she was less of excited and more of tensed. She wanted to reach Hampi in minutes… Lots of thoughts were passing through his mind. He could guess, she wanted to be in Hampi desperately. But why? Was it because she had chosen Hampi willingly, to meet someone else….? And the message from an unknown number, that he had accidentally read on her phone yesterday….How can he forget that? ” All set. See you in Hampi….”…the message read… With a heavy mind Hrithik drove along the highway. Silence prevailed….between them!!

The check in was smooth. They had preferred on staying at Hospet, few miles away from Hampi. The town had all the basic necessities and the hotel were good. They were having dinner at the restaurant of their hotel. Hrithik said – I have my cost accountancy paper tomorrow. I have to appear online for the exam at 12 PM sharp! So, you carry on. I have booked a car for you. I will see you in the evening! Saying this he paused. Then he added – And you know I don’t like ruins. I like mountains and the sea…. He expected Sonakshi to create a scene but was visibly shocked to see no reaction from her! As if she expected this from him. She looked through him and said – OK. Hrithik could feel, she was not interested in him…..maybe it was time to part off??

The next morning, the moment her car left from the hotel lobby, Hrithik hinted at another car and jumped in! He instructed the driver to follow the other car, at a distance. He could see, she was talking on phone…. She kept talking on phone till her car stopped at the Virupaksha temple parking. From the parking, she took an auto. The auto took a right turn after entering Virupaksha temple premises. Hrithik took some time to catch an auto, and by the time he hopped into one, Sonakshi was nowhere in sight… He got down from the auto and decided to wait! How could he miss her?? – Hrithik started brooding. It was almost two hours of waiting. Suddenly Hrithik was shocked to see, Sonakshi was walking along with a tall, dark, handsome man. They were walking towards her car. Both of them, got into Sonakshi’s car. Hrithik had tears in his eyes. The marriage was over… He knew from within, it was over….ironically, he felt he was standing on the ruins of Hampi, staring at the ruins of his marriage…. He somehow dragged himself into his hired car and instructed the driver to get back to the hotel. He had lied to her about his exam. There was no exam at 12.30 !! But, he had nowhere else to go…!! Hrithik was sitting at the reception since last four hours…Sonakshi was not to be seen….He was feeling helpless. He started browsing through the contact list and stopped at a saved number. He was hesitating to press the call button. Finally, he dialled the number… A female voice answered – Good to know that you still remember me….

Hrithik couldn’t speak for a minute. His eyes welled up…He said in a trembling voice – Saima, my wife is cheating on me. I don’t know what to do… Saima said – Where are you? I can’t meet you before Tuesday, because I am at Hampi… Hrithik couldn’t believe his ears. Saima, his ex, was at Hampi?? How far strange can the situation be?? He whispered on the phone – I am also at Hampi. Which hotel?

There was a long silence at Saima’s end. Then she said – I am coming at Tungabhadra dam at 7 PM. Meet me at the musical fountain show. Come in your car.

The 7 PM show was over. The show was good but he had seen better… Hrithik was at his wits end. He couldn’t find Saima amongst the huge crowd. He was walking back dejectedly, to the main entrance of the dam along with a huge crowd who had come to watch the show…. A group of bare footed students rushed past him…shouting…- Hello. In chorus. Then he noticed the entire thing. It was an identification mechanism. Their teacher at the front shouted – Hi. All children behind him shouted in chorus – Hello!! What an excellent and accurate way to avoid getting lost in the crowd…. Hrithik felt amused at the technique. Suddenly, a soft voice whispered in his ears – Hi….. He turned and noticed Saima.

As beautiful as ever! Hrithik and Saima were walking together, towards the parking. Saima was holding on to the elbow of Hrithik. The light was dim. Just as he came in front of his car, a couple crossed them and then turned around. Hrithik’s heart was in his mouth.. It was Sonakshi and the man that he had seen in the morning. Sonakshi held the man’s arm in the same way, as Saima was holding on to him!! His eyes met Sonakshi’s….Both looked away and then walked away! A storm was likely…..!

There was total silence at the dinner table…Hrithik was trying to be exceptionally calm. But he was very nervous from inside. He was thinking on his own – Meeting Saima had helped him or had ruined his marriage? Sonakshi was also calm. But he could sense a lot of pain in her eyes. He looked at her and then again looked away…Somehow he couldn’t face her eyes, although she was the one who had started this going around with someone else game…. He said out – I…..met Saima…..accidentally at the musical fountain…..She…she is married….!!! Sonakshi looked away. She didn’t speak. Hrithik knew he shouldn’t have given an explanation!..Damn it – he was becoming restless minute by minute.. Sonakshi didn’t speak a word. Getting no reply, Hrithik also fizzled down. Both had their dinner in silence!

Hampi was waking up from the slumber…It was only 6 AM. Hrithik woke up to see Sonakshi was all dressed up and ready to go… She was wearing his favourite berry red lipstick…. She came near him, gave him a tight hug and said – Today is not our anniversary. But, I want to re-celebrate it as our first one…..!!! Hrithik was speechless at this pleasant shock… She chirped – I want to make it special for you…Please get ready…I have arranged everything…saying this she passed on a handmade card to him. Hrithik knew, Sonakshi was brilliant at these creative things. He opened the card and read the itinerary…. 1) Explore the Tungabhadra river on a coracle amidst rocks and boulders 2) Taking blessings of Lakshmi 3) Paint the stone chariot at Vitthala temple…together.. 4) Take blessings of Kadalekalu Ganesha at sunset…. 5) “……………………………………………” Point no 5, was left blank… Hrithik was amazed at the idea… He had tears in his eyes..He was longing to paint for a long time. It was his passion during his college days….He wanted to go for a boat ride for a long time…but couldn’t make time……he wanted to witness sunset from a secluded place along with his beloved……All these were what he wanted to do…But how did Sonakshi know all these? And what was point no 5??

  The coracle ( a round shaped boat ) ride amidst the crystal clear green water and the rocky terrain had its own charm. Hrithik and Sonakshi were sitting hand in hand inside the coracle and a guy was rowing. The sun was still soft and the weather was amazing!! Hampi seemed to have rekindled their lost romance…. They even stopped at one of the riverside ancient temple ruins…. 

    Hrithik said softly….I never knew Hampi was so beautiful….I never knew ruins could be so full of life!!  Sonakshi smiled and said – At times, Ruins is where you start…..!! Hrithik knew what she meant. He was amazed at her transformation. She seemed to have changed completely, from what she was yesterday…. They were sitting on the stairs of the Kadalekalu Ganesha temple..The Sun was about to go down.. Phew…what a day it was….- Hrithik brooded!  

The rendezvous with Lakshmi ( the elephant at Virupaksha temple who blesses you with her trunk if you give her a ten rupee note) and the painting experience at Vitthala temple was amazing. The stone chariot was an amazing masterpiece and was said to be carved out of a single stone….They had joined a local guy who was painting the stone chariot…. There was colour on the hands and clothes of Hrithik and Sonakshi…It seemed as if they had played Holi with dry colours… It seemed the colour somewhat found way into their heart too…Both were beaming with love….for each other….

Hrithik’s smile vanished looking ahead. He looked perplexed!! Saima was coming towards them along with the same handsome man that Sonakshi was with, yesterday.!!! Saima came near them and waived. She introduced – Meet Avshesh, my loving husband who, knows Sonakshi too, by chance!! She is her brother from another mother – saying this, she giggled out loud!

Sonakshi looked at Avshesh and said with mushy voice – Thank you Bhaiya ( brother). Your idea, saved our marriage…..and thank you Saima…..I knew he would go back to you once I snub him, and I knew that I could trust you the most!

Hrithik could understand, Sonakshi had planned everything along with Saima and Avshesh…and he was so hell bent on ruining everything!! He felt guilty… He stood up and hugged Avshesh….He could only murmur – Thank You! Avshesh patted him back gently…. Hrithik took Sonakshi’s hand in his hand. He couldn’t speak because the emotion within him was obstructing his voice. He said with teary eyes after a lot of struggle – Thank You Sonakshi….You literally brought us back from the ruins of our marriage… the ruins of the once largest city in the world…Hampi!! Sonakshi said – I am grateful that it worked out. I guess, that is what Hampi is all about!! It helped us find the rhythm in our poetry of love… !

All four of them were basking in the sunset. The sky was reddish and the boulders ahead were looking majestic. Saima said – Truly, Hampi, is the poetry of Ruins! You need to be here…Who knows you might find back your rhythm!!! Hrithik said out aloud – The point no 5 in Sonakshi’s itinerary was, ” Find back the lost rhythm of our poetry of Love…” Saima chipped in – Did you find back the lost rhythm? All four laughed aloud and exchanged glances… Sonakshi rested her head on Hrithik’s shoulder…..Truly, Love was in the air amidst ruins…. !

The End!

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