“Damn, how did you decide which ring to buy?”, Daniel asked Rook,  fluttering the pages of the brochure of antique rings soon up for auction at Sotheby’s, “There are so many cuts, Princess cut, this cut that cut, aw aw aw paper cut”, he winced when the page bit into his skin. ” See we could narrow down the rings according to Mira’s choice, regal, elegant and sober”. “Well that narrows it down doesn’t it”, Daniel stared at Rook, handing rather shoving it into his hands. “Rook all engagement rings seem to have a basic design don’t you think”. “We can eliminate those with gemstones,  besides don’t get so angry I didn’t buy the ring for Ev, it was Mira’s idea, didn’t she tell you that”. “No she didn’t,  but I wished she had so I’d not be here wasting my time”. “Hey, hey we could look at the ring she bought for Ev and may be get an idea”, said Rook. “Well and you have become useful again”. The ring on Evelyn’s hand did give Daniel some idea to pick a few rings out of the entire lot.

At the auction, suddenly all the rings weren’t up to the mark. They just couldn’t meet Mira’s brilliance. All his previous picks were slowly bought bu others and the hall was beginning to get empty and he also had begun to get up, giving up the hope of proposing to Mira witha ring that would sweep her of her feet on their one year anniversary, he would have to settle for those love bands. Then suddenly another ring was announced, probably an urgent addition to the items up for sale. It wasn’t anything like the others, rather it pretty much resembled the rings that the ladies in Mira’s favourite movie wore,something to do with a Moghul king and his Hindu wife, the dialogues and story of which she explained in excruciating detail, going over everything in the movie from the lineage of the king and the queen respectively to pointing out every flaw in the movie and what happened actually. In a nutshell, the Mogul dynasty was a her stronghold of the Indian history and obviously a topic of great interest. A blue diamond in the centre, mined originally from Golconda mines, another some place about which Mira had told him, really rare and pricey diamonds had been mined from it, one of which even adorns the crown of the Queen of England. Around it white diamonds were arranged in a sqaure compartmentalised into four quadrants, set in platinum. He knew immediately that this would surely win her heart and prove to her that he wasn’t after all an idiot in the matters of the heart.


She picked out the gown, she had carefully selected just for the occasion. Daniel was waiting for her at the Westland hotel, which wasn’t like Daniel, because he didn’t like taking her out to his hotels. But it really didn’t matter what mattered was making tonight special.

Daniel had been preparing for the past one week,  practicing the line over and over, but he knew it boiled down to the moment, and so he thought being at a familiar turf while doing it might keep him calm. She would walk in any moment so he was eagerly looking towards the door. She came in and his heart skipped a beat she was dressed in her trademark white, a gown tight at just the right places. The concierge showed her to the table and she sat down it front of him in one fluidic motion and said “Hi, Daniel, ah everything’s all right, you seem kinda dazed”. That jolted him back to reality and he realised it was going to be more difficult than he had thought. His phone rang but he ignored it and put it on vibration mode. “So what’s up?”, asked Daniel and immediately regretted it. “Daniel, if not seeing each other face to face, we talk at least twice a day and practically discuss everything from breakfast to bed and you ask me what’s up, seriously honey are you alright?” said a rather irritated Mira. The table suddenly shook, which surprised Mira that she had spoken with such intensity, thankfully it turned out to be Daniel’s phone and he again silenced it. “I am sorry, I seem to have a knack for ruining good things please just take the call, I have been so agitated due to work, my life seems to have gone haywire”. “Mira, I understand it completely, and I deliberately have kept the phone silent, I don’t want anyone intruding on my time with you tonight”. They held hands and just smiled at each other, and Daniel calmed a bit and promised himself that nothing could bring him down tonight not even Mira herself.

They ate the dinner and talked now thankfully of varied mature things but behaved if they were a new couple, wanting to kiss at even the smallest brush of the hands. Daniel ordered champagne, as he had decided to be old school. “Mira there’s something I wanna ask you”. “As if I’d my saying no would stop you”, she cracked a smile, but Daniel didn’t flinch “You are not breaking up with me are you”, Mira too became grave. “Don’t be silly, what made you think this, I know I am an idiot but letting go of the best thing that happened to me, no”. This time Mira’s phone rang, it flashed Rook, “Sorry gotta pick this up”. ” So, James, what is it?”. “Why isn’t Daniel picking up the phone”, his tone was serious too. ” So what is it with today, World sulking day, he is serious made me serious for a minute and you are speaking as if someone just died”, she looked at Daniel who was fumbling with the inner pocket of his coat. “Someone actually did, Mira” said Rook. “Who?”, the suddeness of Mira’s tone alerted Daniel and then her face almost became ashen. “Daniel get up”, Mira said sharply, “I’ll get the car, pay the bill and wait for me at the door”,  “But why….”, before he could complete his question she had already made a move for the door .

She took a street took a totally different route, something that did not lead either to Daniel’s house. “Where are we going?”, she did not answer. Only one thought came to his mind: Rook had told him about his plan, damn him. She entered a hospital parking and while parking her car, she said “Go straight to floor number 44, I’ll be here”. “What is it and why aren’t you coming?” . “Just go”, she pushed him out of the car. After about an hour, Daniel turned up on the passenger door of the car, opened it and just propped on the seat, his face towards Mira , but seemingly he was looking somewhere beyond her and then he turned towards her and said “They tried me all evening and I kept ignoring it, messages, calls, even emailed me but I was not here when he breathed his last”. “Daniel it is not your fault please”, she took up a hand to his face. He pushed it aside but held on to her hand, using it to pull himself towards her and kept his head on her lap and started crying “He’s dead Mira, Dad’s dead”.

(Catch the entire story on the ONCE UPON A FAIRY TALE page)


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