Love that can never be !

She was a ravishing and successful actress; the country’s sweetheart in the 1980s while he was the heir of the country’s first political family; handsome, charismatic and well read. This is the story of Kriti and Milind. This is the story of what happened when two different worlds collided.

‘Kriti wake up it’s time for your shoot’ said Mrs Singh. She had been Kriti’s only family for years. Though she was not related to Kriti in anyway but circumstances made them the perfect companions for each other. She had known Kriti since her days of struggle. Infact she was practically a mother to Kriti.

‘Not so soon Mrs Singh’ frowned Kriti. She would behave like a child with Mrs Singh and why not she was the only mother figure in her life after the death of her own.

Kriti had grown up in poverty. Her mother died when she was just eleven and since then life has been a long struggle for her. Her step father would abuse her and she would be up all night nursing bruises while crying incessantly. When Kriti was unable to take the violence further she ran away from home. Since then her home had been various alleys and shelters. It was in one of the shelters that she met Mrs Singh and since then they had shared a strong rapport.

Kriti hadn’t finished school and that limited her avenues to earn a decent living. One day while she was waitressing at a cafeteria in Shimla, a casting agent happened to see her. She was a tall girl with long black curls that accentuated her beautiful face; she had deep blue eyes which seemed to tell a million tales. She was perfect for the role he was about to cast for. Lack of cash and the want of a comfortable life led Kriti to accept the project though she had no clue about acting. How hard could it be she thought!  She moved to Mumbai, then called Bombay, and began a journey towards a new horizon. It was like it had always been written in the stars; Kriti became successful instantly. Offers kept piling in and life now took a positive turn for Kriti. She was like the modern day Cinderella waiting for her prince charming.

Around the same time Milind entered into active politics just after his marriage to his college sweetheart Dona. Infact such was his charm that the news of his marriage caused girls around the country to write letters of heartbreak to him. Though he was a practising lawyer but that wasn’t what his aim was. He wanted to take his family’s legacy forward and hence began his sojourn into the field of politics. He was among the youngest politicians; handsome and belonging to the new generation with new ideas. Unlike the kurta pyjama clad politicians of the country he dressed in jeans and shirts; he was trendy yet very close to the land he wanted to work for. He was a breath of fresh air in this crowd of murky and brash politicians.

Kriti was overwhelmed by the level of success she had received. Some would say it had gotten to her head. She became harsh and brazen; defaulting on commitments and spending more time drinking. Yes the success had taken its toll on her. This added with the lack of a partner and love in her life catapulted her to the arms of virtual destruction. She started doing drugs and drinking at an alarming rate.  During that time she had to shoot for a film in Dehradun; it was right in the middle of winter. Mrs Singh had accompanied Kriti to keep her from drinking and drugs during the shoot. It was also the time when Milind had gone for a holiday there to his ancestral home along with Dona.

Inspite of Mrs Singh’s efforts Kriti had become so dependent on alcohol that never for a moment was she sober. It was evident but the crew kept silent for fear of pushing her into one of her fits. One night during their stay there, both were invited to a party at the Collector’s residence. An inebriated Kriti dressed in a dark red saree with a sleeveless golden blouse with her black curly tresses reaching upto her petite waist stood at one corner with a drink in her hand. She looked divine but for the wine and no one at the party seemed to be able to take their eyes off her.

Milind entered the party with Dona and from the moment he set his eyes on Kriti he was in awe of her. Of all the good traits of Milind there was one habit of his which was spoken of in hush tones in the elite circles. Ofcourse he couldn’t be all good afterall he was human. He had to have a flaw and his was that he was a ladies’ man. Though Dona was whom he loved and eventually settled down with; he needed a ride on the wild side every once in a while. Dona too wasn’t oblivious to this but as long as he came back to her at the end of the day she gladly ignored all his misdoings.

So that night too at the party when Dona noticed the vibes between Milind and Kriti she chose to overlook it thinking that it was just momentary. But was it just that? Granted Kriti caught Milind’s attention because she was oozing with oomph that night but was it just that. It was actually Kriti’s eyes that haunted Milind; there was something in those dark blue eyes perhaps the pain or perhaps the void which called out to Milind. Milind was so much taken in by Kriti’s sultry charms that he drove himself to where she was put up the very next day.

He waited there watching Kriti shoot her scenes. As always she looked heavenly and like that night she had the glass of wine with her too. Kriti was oblivious to Milind and went about her business in the usual way. At the end of the shoot, Milind approached Kriti while Mrs Singh looked on from a distance. For some reason she didn’t like the two of them talking to each other; he was the big politician; on top of that married too while she belonged to the industry which was looked at with a sceptical and suspicious eye.  There was an instant connect between them. That day they talked for hours before Milind was reminded of the hour by Mrs Singh and he left reluctantly.

After the meeting on the set that day, they met a couple of times more in Dehradun. It seemed like they couldn’t get enough of each other. Once Kriti moved back to Mumbai, Milind would often drop by from Delhi just to meet her. Initially it was once in a month; then once in a week after which he would spend days on end in Mumbai while visiting Delhi only once in a blue moon. There was a sudden change in Kriti, she reduced her drinking. Not only that; she also didn’t do drugs ever since Milind came into her life. They sat together for hours on end talking to each other. They were happy together - people from two different worlds; with different backgrounds finding comfort in each other’s presence. Theirs’ was a platonic bond more than anything else.

Was this different for Milind unlike his earlier flings; was he more interested in her as a person? Did he begin to care for her and feel emotions for her which were at a much deeper level than anything he had ever felt before? All this happened while Dona sat as a silent spectator. This relationship with Kriti was longer than any affair Milind had ever had before and for the first time Dona was worried about her marriage. But what could she do? As Milind lay engrossed in Kriti, Dona contemplated her move to get her husband back to her for good.

Kriti was in love. She was a new person altogether. She felt complete. Now she not only had the pleasures that money could buy but also a soul mate to share it with or atleast so she thought. Mrs Singh however was still worried. The reputation of Milind was not unknown and since he was the scion of a powerful political family; she knew the dreams that Kriti had begun to harbour would never be realised. Kriti would break into animated conversations with Mrs Singh about her wedding with Milind while Mrs Singh would sigh in apprehension and fear.

Unable to stop Milind from meeting Kriti, Dona called upon her husband’s brother Mukund. She pleaded him to help her save her marriage. So one evening just as Milind was about to leave for a vacation with Kriti, Mukund called upon him. They went on to Milind’s study while Dona waited outside in anticipation. What else could Dona do anyways after all Milind was her husband and as much as she had ignored all his misadventures in the past; this time it was certainly going out of hand. In Mumbai Kriti had already boarded the flight to Dubai. She was supposed to meet Milind there and they would fly off to Europe from there. She was happy, ecstatic and eagerly looking forward to the time with Milind.

As Kriti landed in Dubai, she straightaway headed to the hotel where she was supposed to meet Milind. As she inquired at the reception she found that Milind hadn’t checked in yet. He was supposed to reach prior to her. She waited for hours but still there was no sign of Milind. Finally she made a call to Milind’s office; the person on the other side of the phone informed her that Milind was out on a holiday with his wife. They had gone to Australia and would only be back after a month. As she hung up the phone; she felt cheated and violated.  Happiness had deceived her again and she was left all alone. She called Mrs Singh and cried herself to sleep that night.

It had been two months since Kriti had returned from Dubai and things started to go downhill. She went back to her drinking ways. She missed Milind and on numerous occasions tried to contact him but failed. She even met him a time or two in public but he gave her the cold shoulder. She had to meet him; she deserved an explanation she thought and so one day she decided to fly out to Delhi.

It was a winter night when she reached Milind’s house. As she waited in the living room, she looked around at the pictures of Milind with Dona. They looked happy and it made her sad as this could have been her future she thought. A picture perfect life with the man she loved! As she stood engrossed in thoughts, she heard a familiar voice call out to her from behind. It was Milind, how she had wished to see him and hear his voice. She turned and for some reason rushed to hug him but he pushed her back.

‘Whatever was between us is over Kriti. I cannot jeopardise my marriage because of you. It was a mistake and I am sorry if I hurt you but it’s over’ he said. He looked nervous, almost nauseated. It was strange for a man like Milind standing there devoid of confidence. He looked no better than a helpless fellow putting on a show of strength.

But that was it. Kriti could see behind his petty little excuse ‘If you cannot see me because you fear your political career will be affected then be man enough to say it Milind. Don’t give the excuse of your marriage’ she shot back.

‘It was never about your marriage. You know it as well as I do, the connection we had and you just blow it off for your career. You are so damn shallow Milind. You are such a coward’ saying that she barged out of his house teary eyed and again cheated.

She drove back to her hotel and called Mrs Singh to tell her how right she was. She promised Mrs Singh that she would not destroy her life for Milind who wasn’t even man enough to say the truth. She promised not to touch drinks or drugs again. Kriti wanted to make a new beginning and she would do that the very next day after reaching Mumbai she thought. She would apologise for her erratic behaviour to her colleagues and make up for everything. Mrs Singh was relieved that Kriti had decided to take a positive turn in her life. Though while saying all these Kriti cried her heart out and why not, she felt the pangs of a broken heart but she knew she had to move ahead. She thought if Milind can give his career more importance then why couldn’t she? She resolved to make it even bigger than where she was and for that she made up her mind to give up all her bad habits.

That night Milind stood in his study looking at pictures of Kriti. She was right he loved her; very deeply indeed. But his brother had explained to him on the night he was supposed to travel to Dubai how his failed marriage would affect his career and that’s why it was best for him and the party that he forgot Kriti. Though it all made sense but perhaps Kriti was right, he should have atleast told her the truth instead of hiding behind his marriage as a reason. He spent the entire night in the study looking through articles about Kriti and pictures of them in a happier time. Dona stood behind him and when she saw the pictures of Kriti lying in the table, she feared if Milind would be strong enough to stand by his decision. So she called Mukund and told him everything that happened that night. Mukund was furious on Kriti visiting Milind asked Dona to take a good night sleep as all her troubles would vanish the next morning.

It was around 10 in the morning when Milind woke up the next day. His secretary was standing next to him. ‘Sir I think you need to read this’ he said. Milind couldn’t believe his eyes. There it was in bold letters written on the front page of the newspaper ‘Actress found murdered in Delhi Hotel’. Yes it was Kriti. Someone had murdered her. She was gone never to return. He was shocked and stood dumbfounded. As Dona entered the study she asked Milind what was the matter but he didn’t speak. She took the papers and to her horror she found Kriti was murdered. Just then she remembered what Mukund had told her last night. A chill ran down her spine, was it really Mukund she thought? It had to be him.

The previous night as Kriti finished speaking to Mrs Singh and was looking forward to starting afresh somebody knocked at her door. As she opened, it was Mukund standing outside. Kriti didn’t know Mukund, she had never met him before. Mukund introduced himself and asked permission to come in. Though Kriti hesitated but she let him in. While Kriti turned away from Mukund towards the sofa, suddenly he attacked her with a rope from behind. He held the rope tight around her neck as she struggled to let herself free from his clutches. She tried and fought till the very last ounce of strength in her but he was too physically powerful for her and finally she gave in. Mukund made sure even the last breathe was squeezed out of her. She fell to the floor, all blue and with marks on her neck.  Mukund then carefully made his way out of the hotel. The next day a housekeeping lady found Kriti’s body on the floor of her room and alarmed the authorities.

Dona was too scared to even ask Mukund or even tell Milind about Mukund. Days passed and turned to years but to this day nobody knows who killed Kriti; nobody except Dona and Mukund. Milind went on to become the party president and lived happily or it seemed so with Dona and their three kids. Mrs Singh died after a few years of Kriti’s murder. Nobody remembers Kriti now, except Milind who blames himself for her death. If it wasn’t for him she wouldn’t have come to Delhi he repents. He still keeps a file of her pictures hidden in his study and he still loves her. Their love was forbidden or it seemed so? But do career aspirations and family name outweigh love? Was it right for Milind to choose career over Kriti? Was Kriti too naive to fall in love with a married man and that too one with a history of affairs to his name? These questions would have several answers and each answer various connotations but one can’t deny the love that they felt towards each other. But I guess it is indeed true when they say ‘The love that lasts the longest is the love that can never be.