Chapter 2: Love At First Sight!
02 Dec 2002: Severe and sudden snowfall brought a bustling Srinagar to a complete standstill. All day-to-day activities came to a halt. The only businesses active were either of essential goods or of horse-carts used for travel.
Vihaan’s family had quickly adapted back into their homeland. In just a fortnight, Aayushman started a horse-cart business, while his parents began helping Chacha at his departmental store.
This was a perfect homecoming, at a time when Asif needed his friend to be with him.
His store had recently been attacked by three terrorists. They were trying to get their hands on a Hindu man who had allegedly wooed a Muslim woman and was hatching a plan of escape.
Upon discovering the man hiding in the store, they began a relentless shooting, killing three workers and destroying multiple refrigerators which were used to store the meat for the Winter season. “These people are a menace to humankind.”, shouted Asif's heart on seeing the debris.
With all the repair work in progress, Asif Chacha was in a desperate need of hands, nonetheless the people were too scared to help a man who, they thought, gave shelter to a KAAFIR.
But with his friend’s support he was able to get the repair work done in time, and saved himself from falling into severe debt.
In the meanwhile, Aayushman had already begun earning money by taking rides from Srinagar to Pahalgam and Gulmarg. He was royal in all his ways, be it his habits, mannerisms, speech or his heart-warming attitude towards the people he met.
Little did he know that he was the last descendent of Maharaja Hari Singh, and nobility was in his blood. But this was to be kept a secret from him.
He was raised as any normal child, who was made to earn whatever he desired; so as to know its value.
He too displayed his royal genes and worked hard to earn all his rewards. Now, that was another reason why he was always content with whatever he got from his customers.
Due to this attitude, he quickly rose to fame in the Valley and got titled “The Royal Tongawalla”.
Life was all peaceful until one day, Aayushman saw a girl in the Haat. He stood speechless. She was the perfect personification of a fairy. She had the power of removing all pain from the heart it seemed, that with one touch, she could immortalise anyone. Her mere presence was so divine and attractive that you couldn’t help but fall in love, and that’s exactly what happened with Aayushman. He instantly fell in love with the girl.
“Wallah! How beautiful is she! Let me go and ask her name!”, murmured Aayushman to himself.
But before he could make any move, she disappeared in the morning mist.
Aayushman quietly stood there, completely mesmerized. He could hear his heartbeat singing and a smile appeared out of nowhere.
He wasn’t disappointed at not being able to ask her name, but excited at the prospect of asking it if he would ever meet her again. After all, who knows what destiny has in store for us.
From then on, he seemed lost in his own thoughts. His charming smile gave him an unusual happiness. He would feel the girl's presence around him and whenever the face of the girl came across his eyes, he would suddenly hear his heartbeat racing.
He felt ecstatic on realising he had fallen in love, moreover, LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT.
BY: TEJKIRAT SINGH SUKHIJA