We had invited you, our readers to share your love story this Valentine's Day.
This is Arun and Deepti's love story that reveals how true love demands courage and eventually stands the test of time. Illustration by Uttam Ghosh
1999: Sparks fly and disappear
"I am Arun. What is your name?," I asked this lovely girl who patiently waited for my mother to attend to her.
"Deepti," she said with a beautiful smile that was going to be the high point of my life for years to come.
My mom used to take tuitions and there were many students who would come to our place. I was in college while Deepti was in the last year of her school.
What I liked about her was that she had an unbridled enthusiasm of a child and the frisky playfulness to enjoy life rather than be bogged by boring books.
They say the smile does not cost anything but is worth a million dollars and Deepti had the most beautiful, vibrant smile I had seen in any girl.
At the same time, she was quite intelligent and would immediately understand and absorb things cleverly.
Soon we bonded over a lot of things and felt that there was a lot in common between us. I secretly nursed a crush on her and I did not really know if she felt the same.
As the term came to an end, I realised that she was going to leave the place with her family to another place in the city.
To make matters worse, both of us had a misunderstanding in the last few days, due to which she left without giving me a forwarding address.
Soon enough, even my family shifted base to another place. So, there was no point of contact for either Deepti or me to talk.
2002-05: Love lost and found
Three years passed, I had no clue about Deepti. However, I would talk to a friend of hers and left my number with her saying that if she ever did call, she could pass on the number to Deepti.
In these years, whenever I got a call on my landline phone, I could make out that it was her on the other end of the line.
One day, I got a call again on my phone and I heard her sweet voice. She was speaking from a PCO.
She asked how I had been and I asked her about her well being.
Since then, I got a call from her at around the same time, everyday. She told me that she had joined a computer class.
Her parents were very conservative and were hell bent on getting her married the moment she finished school.
They did not even allow her to go to college because they felt there was no point sending her to one and risking the thought of her getting involved with any guy.
They were and continue to be people with really outmoded set of beliefs that believe in giving the girl basic education and getting her married.
Deepti managed to convince a friend of hers to persuade her parents to let her join college.
She joined college and soon got more opportunities to talk to me as it was not possible for her to talk from the landline because there was another intercom phone which if someone would lift, would hear the caller's voice.
So, I decided to send her a mobile phone. The fact that her parents were not educated, worked in my favour, as I made a dummy call to her mother saying that she had won a mobile prize in a newspaper competition.
I arranged for a friend to act as a courier boy and gift her the mobile with a letter saying that it was from me. The next day, Deepti blasted me for wasting so much money on a phone.
Nevertheless, we began to communicate more often as I would call her on her cell phone. We decided to meet and soon we began dating.
In those days, cell phone bills would be expensive and the amount of calling on the landline would reflect on the bills.
So, I used to load money on calling cards just to speak to her. No matter what would happen, we would keep the communication going on.
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2006 to 2008: Cupid strikes again
When we actually met, we hit it off instantly.
Deepti revealed to me that she had missed me all this while. In these years, she had matured as a person and would not keep grudges for long, as she would in her teens.
She told me that she had missed me so much that she would always wait for my calls even at late nights so that I could call her up after I finished my shifts.
She told me that she had joined the computer class hoping to speak to me.
During college, Deepti said that a guy, a friend she knew, had proposed to her and she had declined him.
I told her that I loved her too but all I wanted was her to be happy. Once while we were in a rickshaw, Deepti couldn't stop herself from telling me, "I love you."
That was the most beautiful day in my life. We kissed and hugged and she said that it was the most special day for her.
Deepti said that I was the only person in her life, to whom she has spoken about everything, shared every aspiration and voiced every apprehension.
However, she said that it was almost impossible for her to marry me because her parents would be dead against it, because I was from a different religion, community and was a South Indian.
I found this unrealistic divide a trivial thing before our love. I told her that all I knew was that we loved each other and that if she was strong enough, nothing would come between us.
I strongly believed in Gandhiji's quote, ""First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win."
2008 to 2012 : Against all odds
I managed to find Deepti a job in the same place I worked.
She proved to be a much better learner than me. So fantastically committed she was, that she became indispensable to the organisation.
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