It was first day of school and little Ami was sobbing. Her mom was late and except for gatekeeper everyone had left. Suddenly she heard someone running. It was an older boy who stopped when he saw her. He came over and tried to reassure her. He had seen this sight many times over. He introduced himself as Ajay and informed that he was in second grade. He had stayed back to help out his teacher. He took out a chocolate bar and gave her half. Ami gave him a wide smile. Her unruly hair, dark wide set impish eyes and cherubic face got imprinted in his mind. This was the start of a beautiful friendship.
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Ami slowly got used to school and being bright did well except for math which was her bete noir. Ajay would often run into her and would try and help her. Ami came from a very wealthy family but pride did not let her seek tuitions- so she somehow managed with only Ajay’s help. Ajay was a middle class boy and lived in the old city in a joint family. Their sprawling mansion had been in their family for generations. His house was full of laughter that more than made up for any lack of luxuries etc. that the rich enjoyed. He was mechanically inclined and right from childhood could put together any electrical appliances that broke down. He became the fixer upper in their home. His career path had been decided. Ami on the other hand came to know her heart quite by fluke. Besides Ajay she had one other fast friend. Her name was Madhu who by nature was her antithesis. She too was rich but a frivolous shallow good time girl. However she loved Ami very much. Perhaps she saw the unspoiled little girl in Ami that she could never be and wanted to protect her. Once she dragged Ami to a fashion show. Madhu loved clothes whilst Ami could care less yet was always well turned out as she had an uncanny dress sense. Ami was fascinated by the fashion show and more than that she loved the paintings that were on display. This was a double event of a fashion show and an art auction. Now she was certain about her career. A few years later Ami became a topnotch fashion designer and an artist on the side. Ajay became a mechanical engineer and had already patented a couple of designs in auto and electrical industries. His designs had been bought by an Italian auto maker and the royalties had become a nice nest egg in his bank.
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Ami was late and was rushing to the fashion house where she was apprenticing for one semester. This had been achieved through her powerful parents who pulled some strings and got her this coveted job. It was hard work but she was very happy and had learnt a lot. This was her last week in Paris and Senor Carlo was himself expected in today to inspect her creations. In her spare time she haunted Louvre Museum and other places made famous by the impressionistic painters whom she adored.
Ami was soaking up everything like a thirsty blotter so that she could incorporate it all in her clothesline and paintings. Suddenly the coffee and croissant went flying out of her hands. Then two strong hands held her and she looked up into the laughing eyes of Ajay!! After high school they were in contact but by phone calls and emails only. They had not seen one another for over a year. Ajay looked dashing in his summer clothes and quite handsome in his own way with nice frame and good features. Ami had really blossomed into a ravishing beauty and her gamin spirit was very much there. They stared at one another wonderstruck. Then they started laughing. They had never lost that special connection that had been forged on those school steps many years ago. After lots of interruptions he came to know Ami was returning to India in a week’s time. Ajay had come to Italy to sign a new deal with the auto maker and had now established his own Polytechnic institute. He had a winner on his hands and was also able to provide seats to gifted students who could not afford to pay fees. He was also due back home in a week. To their delight they found out that they were on the same flight. He was in Paris as tourist and rest of the evening they spent together in her apartment or visiting her favorite places. Then they left for India. At the airport before going home, Ajay asked Ami to meet him in exactly a week’s time at the steps of their old school. She promised him full of curiosity.
The day of their tryst arrived. Ami waited at the steps but Ajay did not come. Finally after waiting for an hour, she went to his home and met his mom. She was surprised to see Ami and told her that after arriving from Paris, Ajay had rushed off saying that for next week he will be too busy to come home and was staying with his friend Sudhir. She had tried to call Sudhir but was unable to reach him and moreover did not have his address. The mystery was deepening. Ami checked her cell phone and saw a text message from Ajay. He had asked her to meet him in room 105 at the Apollo hospital. Ami was scared and mystified.
She rushed to the hospital.. Soon she was in room 105 and saw Ajay lying in a hospital gown and smiling. Next to him were seated a beaming young couple who were looking at him with love and reverence. Ami looked at Ajay quizzically. Then the young man whose name was Samir told her the events of the past week. Ajay and Samir had met in Italy. Samir was there on a conference on behalf of his company. They had struck up a friendship and due to many common interests had become good friends. Then Samir had confided to Ajay about his desperate search for a kidney donor for his wife who had lost her kidney function after the birth of their twins- A boy and a girl. The twins were two years old and his wife Uma was on dialysis but the doctor had said that after kidney transplant she would be as good as new. The twins desperately needed their mother and he and Uma were childhood sweethearts. Every single family member had tested themselves for matching but had failed. Ajay was really saddened by this. He offered to get tested also. Samir was horrified and refused flatly. But Ajay insisted that he was in good health and agreed that he would undertake this step only after the doctors had reassured them both that he would be fine. He said this for Samir’s sake but his mind was made up. Rest was history. His kidney matched and as he was in fine health, the kidney transplant went without a hitch and here was Uma already on her way to recovery. Ami was a mix of concern joy and a sense of pride.
Then Ami realized how much she loved Ajay and wanted to spend the rest of her life with him and not the pretty rich toy boys her parents paraded before her. She dramatically went on one knee and said. ‘Sir, I would like to offer you my hand in marriage. Will you accept?” Ajay’s heart was filled with pride and joy at the large heartedness of his sweetheart. He removed a box from his side table and took out a solitaire ring that fits her perfectly. She was not prepared and so valiantly takes out her key ring and puts it on his ring finger to be replaced at a later date. And they all clap with joy. Ajay had also become the god father of the twins and Ami was dying to make their acquaintance as well. They looked very cute in their pictures and had already stolen her heart. They decided to inform their respective families together the following week after Ajay got strength back and had the doctor’s blessings.
The rendezvous at the school steps had been replaced by room 105. In later years, number 105 became their lucky number and on every anniversary Ajay gave 105 roses to his beloved wife. They soon became parents to a lovely girl the spitting image of her mother and named her Amiya.