(This is a work of fiction. Never happened in my life.
Any reference will be a simple coincidence.)

It was a day before my birthday. I was at Viviana Mall shopping for my dress. I knew what exactly I wanted and I was looking for that one. I was walking by the Crossword when I found a guy dropping off his parents/grandparents there. I found that amusing as Covid restraints are still going and there they were a couple wanting to be dropped off by their son or grandson at Crossword. There were so many questions but I left those for some time later and went straight to Reliance trends. I looked up that exact dress which I wanted. I tried it on, and it looked dazzlingly beautiful on me. I bought that dress as I had been saving it for some time now. Like you know me, the booklover in me was just waiting for the shopping demon to sleep. I almost ran for Crossword. You also knew I was not there to buy anything but to just feel the books that I dream to buy at least one day. Being in Crossword gave me so much relief. I and the love for books are eternal. I find solace, peace with them. I don’t buy books but I read the story behind it, about the writer, the comments and try to grab every aspect of that book before I keep it back on the shelf. That day was nonetheless. I was looking book after book and suddenly a couple caught my eye. They were sitting on the small black table in the corner. They were holding hands and the husband was reading a poem to his wife. (I am a cringe for romance.) I was just looking at them and that is when the wife caught me. She called me to sit near them. I went and the husband kept reading the poem. That feeling I had when I was with them was something different. I never had that one before. My heart,  felt heavy but with love. Every word he utter, I can see the love they shared with each other. I kept listening to them. After the third poem, he said, “These are her favourite poems (pointing at his wife).” I smiled at him and was about to leave them together he asked, “Have you ever fallen in love?” “No” I answered. (I may have liked a few truly, but I never had the kind of love I wish for in my life. Even the guys never returned.) This time the wife questioned, “Which is why you chose this book?” I was holding “The Fault in our Stars” in my hand. “Do you love someone now?” Without thinking I answered “Yes” “You don’t need to read these books to understand love child. It is just right when it is with the right person.”, said the husband. “And you know the right person. Not all are right. Your heart may play games and tell you every guy is right for you, but do not believe it. It may fool you.”
I was speechless. My eyes swelled with water and I just kept looking at the book. The couple didn’t even know me and yet they understood what and why I chose the book. The wife hold my hand and said, “I fell for another guy before meeting the love of my life and i.e. him. Even I thought he was the one before my heart said ‘NO’. It was after meeting my to-be-husband whom I never thought I would marry, I understood what LOVE is. Beta, don’t follow what the world has written as LOVE LAWS. Follow your heart. It is never wrong. It will give you the most amazing 50 years with the true love of life.” I was still crying. The husband sensed that and exchanged my ‘the fault in our stars’ with ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama. He said, “If you really want to read, read this. She is not just a leader, she is an amazing woman. You must learn a few things from her. And beta, True Love will find a way in your life at the right time and in the form of the right person. You keep listening to your heart.” The wife nodded in agreement. That is when I realized, the wife is still holding my hand. I composed myself and then we three had more few laughs. They told me how they met each other at a very old library and the thing that brought them close was nonetheless than books. The husband was a very sweet, supportive and funny guy and the wife was the same just like him.
After some time, their son came to pick them up. That is when I got to know their names Shridhar and Sheekha Kulkarni. The husband bought a few books including the Becoming he showed me. While parting ways, Shridhar uncle put that Becoming in my hand and said, “I hope this reminds you of an old couple who you met in a bookstore and had a few laughs with.” I was reluctant to take that but they both insisted. Shridhar uncle patted my head and for a moment I felt like he is my grandfather and gifting me the book. Sheekha aunty even gave me a kiss on my forehead. It all felt like a dream but it wasn’t. I felt like a family with them and I could not say no to them. I bend down took their blessings and they went their way. I opened the book and read the message Shridhar uncle wrote in it “Be a Michelle Obama and find your own Barack Obama, but the one whom your heart gives a nod to.” I had tears when I looked up and the beautiful couple walking hands in hands in front of me.

You can never know who will come into your life and what will they leave you with. This couple left me with a lesson for a lifetime. And the warmth of love.”

 

I hope you like this story. I don’t remember why this story exactly but I have learned sometimes, some stories just happen. And this is one of those!

If you have ever come across such someone, I hope you cherish those memories forever!

LOVE yourself!

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Madhumita Bhadkamkar

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