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Love Will Find A Way — Prologue

Anurag Garg is the bestselling author of A Half-Baked Love Story and Love Not for Sale.
Here is an excerpt from his latest novel Love Will Find A Way.
10 July 2016
New Delhi Railway Station
As soon as the delayed train reached the platform, passengers rushed to board. We quickened our pace as clouds began to gather in the sky. Looking up, I saw insidious grey encroaching on the blue expanse. The city was ready to welcome its first rain.
As the first few drops fell, we entered the carriage along with the other disgruntled passengers. When we found our berth, Gitanjali grabbed the window seat, as always, and asked me to buy a bottle of water from one of the stalls in the platform after placing our luggage in the overhead bin. I gave her an exasperated look. She looked outside as raindrops began to trickle down the window pane. She was wearing a pair of skinny black jeans and a turquoise T-shirt. Her warm chestnut hair rested on her neck and her long eyelashes swept alluringly against her rouged cheeks, from time to time.
‘Get me a packet of chips, too.’ She thoroughly enjoyed it when I catered to her every need, especially when we were on vacation. Three years into our relationship and we still bickered like teenagers! I handed her the requested goods while she plugged in her headphones.
I rummaged through my bag to find my neck pillow and settled down with my Saadat Hasan Manto book as the train pulled out of the station.
There was a couple with two children in the seats next to us. We exchanged smiles as a man selling tea came our way. They attempted to engage me in small talk even though I tried to keep to myself and buried my head in my book. Gitanjali, however, adores making conversation. With her legs folded under her and her hands gesturing wildly, her face glows when she narrates one of her tales. She began talking to the couple and playing with the kids. It made me immeasurably happy seeing her bright eyes and animated smile.
The TTE came to check our tickets.
‘They’re on your phone,’ I said to her, as she continued playing with the little boy.
‘No, they’re not with me, Anurag,’ she said, her attention focused on playfully tickling the boy, oblivious to the TTE who was breathing down our necks. She turned to me when the little boy suddenly started crying.
‘Were you asking for the tickets?’ she asked as she showed the TTE the IRCTC message on her phone. I heaved a sigh and said, ‘Thank you, madam!’ Gitanjali just smiled and began consoling the wailing kid. She had this uncanny ability to comfort those around her.
Just as the train left the Anand Vihar station, I went to the toilet to change into comfortable clothes for the long journey ahead since mine were slightly wet from the rain.
On returning to our compartment, I saw a beautiful middle-aged woman sitting there, dressed in a floral knee-length kurta and smart trousers. I presumed she had boarded at Anand Vihar. The woman wore spectacles and had green eyes, just like Gitanjali. As she smiled at me, I was struck by an eerie feeling, as though I somehow knew her.
Most of the passengers were going to their hometowns for the summer vacations, whereas some of them, like us, were going to Nainital on holiday. We had to get off the train at Haldwani, which was the closest town to Nainital, from where we had to take a taxi or bus to reach the hill station. I gazed at the scenic vistas as the train trundled through the countryside.
In Amroha, we saw farmers harvesting crops and cows grazing in the paddy fields. Little huts made of bamboo and mud dotted the scenes that rushed by. Gitanjali nudged me as I wrote down the plot points for my next book.
‘Have you decided on the theme of the story?’ she inquired loudly.
‘Yes, I’ve been thinking about something . . . but I’m not sure. I want my character’s motives and emotions to be driven by some sort of psychological disorder.’ My words drew the attention of the beautiful woman and she looked up curiously from her book.

Forever Is A Lie: Prologue

On the Eve of His Twenty-Eighth Birthday
9 November 2010
He looks at the arrangement on the terrace of a forty-floor high-rise in Mumbai. A cosy mattress, a transparent tent and five love candles around it. He heaves a sigh of satisfaction. He recently bought the terrace and the floor below it without telling her about it. Tonight he will turn one of her fantasies into reality. They will make love under the stars. Tonight he will also realize his five-year-old dream. He will ask her to marry him the moment the clock strikes twelve—on the eve of his twenty-eighth birthday. He has never been happier.
She is attending a corporate training programme, which is due to end in an hour, at a resort in Lonavla. She has checked her watch at least ten times in the last five minutes. Time seems not to be at its usual pace today. She does a quick mental math for the umpteenth time. Five more minutes for the training session to get over, two minutes to greet everyone, say goodbye, another two minutes to hit the highway and then a couple of hours to reach Mumbai if there’s no untoward traffic. She has already asked her friend, an expert at baking, to make his favourite: blueberry cheesecake. She will make a detour after she reaches Mumbai to collect the cake, which will not take more than half an hour. She will reach his place by 10 p.m. Good, she tells herself and checks her watch yet another time.
The tent is right in the middle of the terrace. He places the smooth white mattress inside and puts a soft blanket over it. The air has just the right amount of chill, which makes him crave for her. For a moment, he can almost see the two of them becoming one inside the tent. He snaps out of the tempting reverie and readjusts the position of the candles. Tonight should be the perfect night, the kind lovers fantasize about, or so he has in mind. He places a sixth candle, a fake one, right above the mattress, where they will place their heads. It is actually a candle-shaped box and has a diamond ring inside.
She feels elated to hear the final ‘thank you for being such a nice batch’ from the trainer. The session is officially over for the day. She rushes out, greeting whomever she meets on her way. Almost everyone asks her if she wants to accompany them to Lion’s Point, a famous mountaintop, but she politely says no and calls her driver.
Satisfied with the preparation on the terrace, he makes his way to the flat and heads straight into the kitchen. He had googled and written down the recipe of sun-dried tomato risotto, her favourite, on a
Post-it note. He has also arranged for Montoya Cabernet Sauvignon—one of the best red wines in the world—as the perfect accompaniment. Suddenly he wants to hear her voice and decides to call her.
She is in the car now. She picks up her phone to call him and finds him calling her. This is how synchronized they are in their relationship. Be it matters of the heart or the mind, they are always on the same page. And it’s this very perfect timing that has gently pushed them into seeking a forever together every day. She says a soft hello into the phone.
He talks to her for some time and then lies that he has some important official work to complete. He has never been the kind who would surprise anybody, but this time he wants everything to be special, a memory that would last forever. She believes his lie. He cuts the call and wears an apron.
She hums her favourite romantic song while checking the photo gallery of her phone. Her car climbs the treacherous roads of Lonavla, with hills on one side and a gorge on the other. A boulder is displaced a few feet above the road that her car is on. Tearing the safety net around the boulders, placed to stop them from sliding down abruptly, it falls exactly on top of her car. It crushes the vehicle out of shape and the driver and her out of recognition. Her heartbeat stops almost immediately.
He keeps waiting to surprise her.

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