My True Angel by Irshad Thalakala (Sample Chapter)

My True Angel by Irshad Thalakala (Sample Chapter)

I tried opening my eyes and had no idea where I was. I was not accustomed to this place yet, and then the past incident struck me. Yes, I was in a hospital. 

How did I reach here? What tragedy had happened to me? Thankfully, I did not lose my memory and could remember every major incident that had happened in my life. I think it is better to go back in time to know who I am, where I come from, what my priorities are and what my approach towards life is.

I was born on a full moon day in the auspicious month of Ramzan, but it is not necessary to start from there. Let me skip my childhood. My schooling and college years were spent without major events, but I was good at studies.My name is Iqbal. My parents and friends calls me Ikku.

 I joined a prestigious IT company after the graduation. It was a group of 40 members and it was very difficult for me to remember everybody’s name. However, I could not forget this one girl’s name, the girl whose name I will never forget in my entire lifetime.

I shook her hand. She flashed a beautiful smile and said, “My name is Rubina Sheikh.” I felt as if an electric shock had passed through my body. Perhaps, that is what ‘love at first sight’ is. She was beautifully dressed in a white kurta, red pajamas, with a red dupatta that enhanced her charm. She looked gorgeous in that attire. She was of average height and was extremely fair in complexion. I also noticed that a cute dimple formed on her cheek when she smiled.

 While my heart was being hit by her mesmerizing presence, she received a phone call and moved away to talk privately. Her hair bellowed out as she walked, like waves in the ocean. I noticed the expressions on her face changing as she talked on the phone. I liked how cutely she talked, her hands moving about animatedly. She was one of the most beautiful girls I had seen till that day. I felt disconnected from the earth and fell into a hypnotic state where I had the least awareness about what went on around me.

 There is a feature in modern cameras where we can focus only on the object we wish to capture and blur the background. What was happening to me was something similar to that. I just wanted to keep looking at that girl and nothing else. The first thing that struck my mind was that she belonged to my community, and it is the biggest factor in India.

 She did not cover her head with a scarf, but I could easily guess from her name that she was a Muslim too. This girl had cast a spell on me. I was unable to sleep properly. I rolled back and forth, tried to sleep in different postures.

 After trying for some time, I gave up and moved to the balcony. The sky was clear without any clouds, and moonlight spread across the surface of the earth. It was a full moon night and when I looked at it, it seemed as if it was looking back at me too. I tried to walk from one side to another, and the moon followed me. The entire city of Bangalore was quiet and sleeping peacefully, but this unknown girl had taken away my sleep. Remembering her expressions bought a sense of happiness in my heart. I had never felt anything like it before, it was very strange yet so serene.

 Rubina was my first love. Was I lucky to own my first love?

 Hundreds of questions attacked my mind. “There is a good chance that she is already committed to another guy. She is such a beautiful girl and surely, someone like me must already have approached her. What could be her present status? How can I approach her? She looks like a north Indian girl who speaks Urdu. My parents speak Malayalam and have no idea about Urdu. Is it going to be a language conflict? Even if she accepts, will my parents agree to this proposal? What about her parents?” I thought.

 My only strings holding my hope up were that both of us belonged to the same faith and were working for the same company. I had not even talked to her but was already planning our marriage. My mind told me, ‘Ikku, calm down. Don’t count your chickens before the eggs have hatched.’ Obviously, the first step was to talk to her and develop a good friendship with her.

 The next day, I managed to reach the office, but I was 30 minutes late. I had been a sophisticated guy until I met this girl. I was so anxious to meet Rubina that I swiped the ID card in a rush and it did not work. I then waited for someone else to come and give me access. I wanted Rubina to come out and open the door. I could not believe my eyes when my wishes actually came true. There she was, Rubina. She looked towards me and asked, “Why are you stuck outside?”

 “My identity card is not working. I will have to call the security to re-activate it. Could you please swipe your card and open the door for me now?” She smiled and said, “Tail-gating is not allowed.” Then she opened the door.

 I wanted to speak with her more but did not know how to start. I just said thanks and we proceeded inside. When I reached the desk, I started thinking, ‘There are more than a 100 people in this development center. Why was it only Rubina who came to my rescue? There is definitely some spiritual connection.’ Love makes people act and think crazy. It is such an overwhelming emotion.

 I had a mild headache as I had not had proper sleep the night before, but that did not stop me from thinking about ‘my girl’. Yes, she was ‘My Girl’. My heart owned her within 24 hours of meeting her. I wanted to be friends with her.

“But how?” I thought.

“We both are from the same community. Why can’t I try that angle?” I decided to play the religion card just like politicians play in India.

It was lunchtime and I entered the Food Court. It was a huge canteen with multiple counters; South Indian, North Indian, Chinese, American, Italian, etc. I chose a South Indian Thali and loitered around to find a place to sit. Rubina was seated at one of the tables. It felt like God took her wherever I went.

“Perhaps, God sent her to earth only for me,” I said to myself.

I approached Rubina and said, “Excuse me. Do you mind if I join you?”

She replied, “Of course not, please sit.” I pulled a chair and joined her for lunch.

 We were seated at the balcony and a light breeze complimented her presence. She had difficulty managing her hair. She flung her tresses behind her shoulders but after some time, they came back to bother her again. She lost her patience and untied her hair completely. Then, she took out a ribbon from her bag and tied them afresh.

 I still had trouble striking a conversation with her but somehow managed to ask, “How long have you been working here?” She responded, “I joined the company four months ago.” It was relieving for me as I had finally overcome my fear of speaking. It was a fantastic feeling to sit and have food in the company of a beautiful girl. I wished a romantic song to be playing in the background.

 She opened her lunch box and the aroma of tasty home-cooked food spread in the air.

“Do you bring lunch from home every day?” I asked casually.

Her answer was not something that I had expected. “Yes, I carry lunch home every day. The food they serve here at these counters makes me want to puke.”

 I could smell some attitude from that statement. A large number of employees had their lunch from those food counters and they weren’t as unhygienic as she had made them sound. Most good-looking girls have this problem. They do not think about another’s perspective while speaking. How could I continue eating in front of her, after knowing that she might vomit if she ate my food? I tried to convince myself that she must have said it out of her immaturity. I looked at my plate and tried to eat, but it was hard to swallow anymore.

According to my plan A, I wanted to divert the topic to the religious side where there was still a chance to score some marks.

“Do we have a room here to perform the prayers?”

She responded with a blank expression.

She paused for some time and asked, “Excuse me, what is your name?”

It was humiliating, not because she had forgotten my name, it is only natural that some of us take time to learn new names, but there is a decent way to ask if one forgets.

I called out my name, loud and clear.

“Oh, you are Muslim. I have no idea about Muslim prayer rooms here.” I thought she would get impressed by my religiosity, but I had still not made any positive influence.

 We finished our lunch. However, hundreds of questions popped up in my mind. Is she arrogant? Is she just trying to avoid me? Or am I reading too much?

The truth was that my first impression on her was a disaster.

What is the way to impress a girl? Is there any particular quality that girls like? Is there any book that can help me? Is there any ‘expert advice’ that can help me?

 My approach had not worked well. I needed to think and plan properly for the next time. Naturally, in this kind of a situation, our faith towards God strengthens and the frequency of Masjid visits

increases. While returning from the Masjid, I took a one Rupee coin and flipped it in the air. I did not have the courage to check whether it was ‘heads’ or ‘tails’. I knew that if the result had come out negative, my heart would not accept it.

 The next day, my manager announced that the team was planning for a day out over the weekend and everybody’s suggestions were welcome. After a team discussion, we decided to go to a waterfall nearby and spend the day there. It was thrilling for me as I thought there could be something special for me on this trip. It was early morning on a bright Sunday. Rubina was already inside the bus. She occupied the seat beside the driver. Dressed in blue jeans and a white round collared T-Shirt, she looked very chic. That was the first time I saw her in a western attire. I could not decide if she looked better in traditional Indian or western wear. She was a view worth looking at, whatever she wore. She had not noticed me till then.

 I was restless but hesitant to go and sit next to her because of the last experience I had with her. Something in my heart drove me to get up. When I stood up, some other guy occupied the place next to Rubina and struck a conversation with her. Both of them seemed so comfortable witheach other and the sound of their laughter irritating me to the core. Our bus stopped at the destination, from where it was a mere ten minutes’ walk to the Shivanasamudra waterfall. Though I was moving along with my other friends, my heart moved along with Rubina.

 We finally reached the spot. “It is spectacular,” Narayan exclaimed.

That was the common reaction from most of us and undoubtedly it is one of the best waterfalls to visit in the rainy season. It was lush green all around.

In that serene and amazing location, something disturbed me a lot. The guy from the bus just wouldn’t stop accompanying Rubina. He followed her wherever she went. The sad part was that Rubina also enjoyed his company. They even shared food. Rubina wanted to go down to the water and that stupid guy helped her. I looked intently at his legs and my only desire was to break one of them.

 I was restless. Was he Rubina’s boyfriend? Their body language told me that they were just friends. Even if they were just friends, she clearly liked him. She laughed loudly at his stupid jokes. Why couldn’t I impress her the same way that the guy had done? The truth was, Rubina did not treat me the same way that she treated this boy. She knew that I liked her. That is the complexity with girls. They usually do not care about the people who care for them. They often take those people for granted who try to impress them. They ignore the guys who are ready to do anything for them.

 I consciously walked past her many times but she did not notice me. She came to relax on a solid rock after playing in the water.

 I sat next to her and asked, “How are you?”

She said, “Good…having so much fun.”

“Do you like playing in the water?”

She said, “Yes, I love beaches and waterfalls. I am from Delhi, and there are no beaches and waterfalls back in my city. It is a completely different experience here.”

 I understood from her expressions that she loved the place. I was happy that she started the communication on a good note. Then, she asked something about my family.

I asked about her family in return. “My father is a businessman, mom is a housewife, and I have a younger sister who is studying medicine,” Rubina responded.

 I was about to ask what kind of business her father was involved in, but refrained because it would have given her the wrong signal. We should be extremely careful about these initial communications. My next milestone was to get her mobile number. I was perplexed whether to ask for it then or to give it some more time. What if she were to question, why do you need my number?

Then I would not have had any answer.

 ‘Curiosity killed the cat’. I tried to suppress my anxiety, but my heart could not do it. It forced me to ask, “Do you mind sharing your mobile number with me.”

Luckily, she did not find anything weird in it and we exchanged our numbers.

 I narrated my new love story to my roommates.

Harish said, “I think it will work out as you both belong to the same community.”

 Bharat’s reaction was unusual, “Hello brother. It looks like an old age love story. You should find someone else if she is arrogant. Do you know how the modern age love story works? Guy and girl meet at the pub. After having a couple of drinks together, they decide to have a one-night-stand. If they like their experience, they move to a live-in relationship. The relationship continues as long as the intimacy is intact. If anyone finds a better option, they just break-up and move on.”

 Harish looked at me and started speaking seriously. “Do not pay attention to Bharat’s words.”

 He continued after a moment, “If you love someone, tell her because hearts are often broken by words left unspoken.”

 Do you want to know how Iqbal proposed Rubina? Do you want to know whether Iqbal succeeded to own his lady love? Do you want to know what is Iqbal’s tragedy that took him to hospital?

 Limited period offer on Amazon/Flipkart/ShopClues. FLAT 50% on backpaper(hard copy)

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Check out the new Video Teaser about “My True Angel” that added just now.

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