Thursday, September 15


The florist was confused.
He just had one dozen of these white roses and he had two people fighting over them ...both wanted them and both werent ready to take less than a dozen.
He cursed himself for taking these accursed roses which were now driving all the other customers away.


Raju's sister was in the hospital. She was in the last stages of skin cancer. She could just lie there on the bed doing nothing for days together awaiting her time of death.
She though was the life breath of Raju's life. Orphaned at a young age, Neha was the only reason he was alive. Her strength in fighting the disease gave him the determination and drive needed to make those miracle rags to riches stories come alive. He was a poor son of a school teacher who painstakingly had made it to the cover page of Business Today as the most enterprising young Turk of the Year.
She loved white roses, and try as much as he could, he couldnt find them for her.
Today when he saw them , he wanted them for her and now.... this fool here had seen it earlier and was stuck to them like a broken gramaphone record which just emits the one line on which it is stuck. He offered thrice the price, even ten times .... but this guy was just adamant.


Salim was new to the city. He was here only for her. She had stolen whatever peace of mind he had. She was grace personfied. He had met her only online. They had talked for hours together ..... she would not divulge much about herself, but she had the vibrancy and the enthusiasm to live that made him yearn for her. They spoke on a variety of topics ranging from Politics to Love, from Life to Death. He now lived for those two hour sessions when he could talk to her, the whole day would be spent in thinking what and how he would talk to her, he dreamt about her every night, he imagined holding her hands and asking her to marry him. He told her about this .... "What if I am so ugly that you cant even look at me?" she had sent a Lol smiley along with it.
How could he tell her that how she looked mattered least to him, it was her who mattered to him.The impassive font of the keyboard would never capture the passion with which he wanted her. It would never tell her how much he longed for her ... words typed and sent through invisible carriers would be just that ... words .. and words which lacked life.
One day she sent a mail across saying she would no longer talk to him, she was moving to a place were they did not have a net connection. He was devastated. He came to the town where she lived, she had told him she worked in a hospital, he was searching for it when he saw these blossoms ... he wanted them for her.


He could not believe that this moron was actually offering him money!
What did this guy think of himself .... can money buy everything?
Maybe, but money could never buy love, and definetly not buy Salim.

This whole squabble was infuriating the florist. He handed 6 roses to each and asked them to leave. "No need to pay" he said , "Youve done enough damage as it is ... now just leave".

Both parted half heartedly with the 6 roses, knowing least that another meeting at a different place under different circumstances would be inevitable.


Raju rushed back to the hospital, his sister was just back from a chemotheraphy session, her hair ... her long beautiful tresses were long gone , now he could see the other side effects of radiation ... ulcers, shallow and pale skin , rashes and what not had engulfed her once pure and radiant skin , the dark holes where the doctors' needles had violated her skin were to be seen near her wrists and elbows.
"Bhaiyya , please give me the laptop ....."

Salim searched for her through out .... there was no employee named "Whiteroses_Neha" , but then , that was a screen name , how was some one to know a screen name .... that was until a kind nurse asked him to check out a patient named Neha who was visited constantly by a certain Mr Raju.
With a thudding heart and drooping flowers he walked down the long white morose corridor.
Room number 424 that was what the nurse had told him. He peeped in to see a hagard, seemingly aged woman bending over a laptop. Evidently the laptop was a huge weight and she struggled to hold it almost dropping it. The man standing next to her almost snatched it away. "I just want to check for something Bhaiyya."
She had not told her brother about Sal.
Salim hid as Raju went out to talk to the Doctor who seemed to have a perinnial frown on his face.

Her pale face drooped ... " He is not online"

Salim could not resist the question , it was out before he even thought about it."Are you looking for Sal_mohd?" he asked. she started, it was an effort to lift her head and look at him. The weight of the laptop had drained her of all her energy.

"Yes I am .... are you him?" the words came out hesitatingly ... but the eyes were full of anticipation.


Wasnt Sal the person who had shown him the world when she was away from it.Her Brother would never talk to her about the world outside, all he was concerned in was her and her health alone.She might have been dying but her zest for life wasnt dead yet ... her brother failed to realise it.


Salim thanked his merciful God for giving him a glimpse of his love at last. Ecstacy filled him .... he ran towards her.
Love can be so strange ... can blossom anywhere , anyhow and between anybody ... it doesnt need words.... doesnt need looks.... doesnt need even life .... to sprout and grow into a big banayan tree.
Salim gave her the blossoms .... saw the other 6 roses in the vase, turned to speak to Raju .
He was conversing with the doctor , face grim and the jaw set. "I have cancer... last stages" She whispered.

Fate had always been cruel with Salim... an alcholic father and a mother who seeked solace from men other than his father, sometimes he thought his mother was never sure whether the man who had lent him his last name was really his father.
Taunts, leers and Jeers was what Salim had been accostomed to; every girl shied from him, every boy made him the butt of every ridicule, teachers refused to treat him as though he was visible.
He had wanted to end his life... he might have just done that, if not for Whiteroses_Neha. She was his window to optimism, with her he saw the world with a new perspective , to her every fact was fascinating, every moment was interesting . It was as though she had the ability to laugh at the face of everything. When he told her of his troubles, she had laughed .... "Laugh at death" was what he had retorted ... "When I need to , I will" she said followed by a smiling smiley.

And now ... this girl here ... with her almost non existent skin , her bald shiny head was his Whiteroses_Neha, this dying person here had filled in him the love of life .... that moment he hated Allah for giving contradicting gifts to people.
How he would have loved to take her disease and die in stead of her ... he would have been happy with death.
But here she was , happy with what life or rather death had to offer, smiling through lips that were barely lines in a scarred face ... even in death, she had the will to live. What may have seemed grotesque to most onlookers seemed to Salim as though it were the greatest beauty on earth .... what may have seemed the radiance of chemotherapy seemed to him the radiance of the ultimate victory over death even while dying.
He held her close ... though no words were spoken , volumes were exchanged in that moment when they kissed each other, exploring the depths of each other, touching the souls of the other in that kiss.

Raju stood watching his sister kiss a man with whom he had fought just a few hours ago. He stood there finally realising that death or disease does not mean the end of anything. He saw the drooping flowers ( for it was quite sunny that day)and saw all the bounty of spring nature could ever produce in them. For he had learnt that it is will that makes the most of anyone , empires can be built or destroyed this he knew, death can be defeated was something he did not until now.

After a long moment , Neha turned toward her brother and introduced the two men so far apart, but yet bonded together by her.
Salim turned toward Raju ... "I want to marry her , even if it is for just a day or an hour, I want to be her husband"
Raju hugged his Brother In Law ... "Bro, stay here with Neha while I pay the florist and place an other order for flowers.... you have an entire life to plan for."
"Neha's Chemotheraphy worked she's coming home .... you want to marry her here and now or you want to wait for her to get home?"


The florist was confused.
He just had one dozen of these white roses and he had two people fighting over them ...both wanted them and both werent ready to take less than a dozen.

One wanted them for his sister's birthday, the other for his wedding anniversary.


Samyak said...

Nice comment !! [:D]
BDw.. Arpz.. first time ek duffer se mujhe kuch accha padhane ko mila !!
Awesome Dear... just fantabulously written !!

arpana said...

@ Indu .. who posted Anonymously ... kya karen yaar .. white roses milna mushkil hota hain

@ Sam .. Glad you liked it duffer! Thanks for your heartfelt comment followed by a chweet call ...

Phoenix said...

Very nice, very touching...extremely well written dear.
Extremely hopeful, as in mujhse shayd kabhi itni positive cheezein nahi likhi jati

but achhi hai....ek story yad aa gayi mujhe jo maine bahut pehle likhi thi, but uska end max neg kiya tha maine, as usual:(

Phoenix said...

Very nice, very touching...extremely well written dear.
Extremely hopeful, as in mujhse shayd kabhi itni positive cheezein nahi likhi jati

but achhi hai....ek story yad aa gayi mujhe jo maine bahut pehle likhi thi, but uska end max neg kiya tha maine, as usual:(