“Air Force pilot being tried for having an illicit affair with friend's fiancée”, the newspaper read. Captain Rakesh Kumar was being tried for having had an affair with Squadron Leader Vinod’s fiancée who went missing since April this year.
Rakesh was pleading with the officers, “Sir, I am innocent. The night Karishma went missing the servants have given witness of Vinod and her having had an argument and she left from his house.” His pleas fell on deaf ears. The court was dismissed and Rakesh’s uniforms, certificate, badge and medals were about to be confiscated.
Rakesh was commissioned into the Air Force about three years ago. He was the brightest of the group and was chosen to fly the most advanced fighter planes of the Air Force. His officer Vinod, was also a friend and Rakesh often visited his house for dinner. “Karishma is very fond of you, I am scared man,” Vinod would often tease him.
“Happy new year sweetheart”, Rakesh hugged her after their dance, how I wish I had met you before you said yes to Vinod. But next birth, it’s a promise, you will be mine!’ Karishma was speechless. “Hi sweetie, happy New Year,” Vinod’s voice broke her chain of thoughts. “What happened, I hope the fellow did not misbehave while dancing, I can break his teeth if you say so,” Vinod asked her. She just smiled and did not answer.
A few days later, Rakesh knocked on Karishma’s door. “Oh Hi, come in.” she was surprised to see Rakesh at her home. “What brings you here?” she enquired. “You!” he said without batting an eyelid. “I know this may not be right, but I just can’t get you out of my mind. Your thoughts are haunting me every moment.” “But Rakesh, you know I am to get married to Vinod soon. How can we…..” she could not complete her sentence. He held her close and kissed her.
Love has strange ways and Karishma too started having doubts about her relationship with Vinod. Vinod and her’s was not a love affair. Their parents were family friends and both were from the defence background. It was natural to have them married. Karishma was teaching in the defence run school in the campus and lived alone. She was happy to have been posted in the same place as Vinod.
Karishma had decided to tell Vinod at the right time. But before she could do that, things had taken a sour turn. Vinod and Rakesh had a show down in public. Vinod had warned Rakesh that if he ever saw him near Karishma he would kill him. He had also forced Karishma to agree to an earlier date for marriage and distributed the invitation cards.
Rakesh was on a month’s posting outside of base while all this was happening. When he returned he went to Karishma’s house. He was surprised to see her mother there. “Aunty, where is Karishma?’ he asked. Her mother told him she had gone for a function to Vinod’s house. Her mother had a very odd expression. Rakesh dialled Karishma’s number. She sounded very agitated. “I can’t see you now.” She was about to disconnect the phone, when he said, ”I am waiting at the café where we always met. I will wait there till you come.”
“It’s time for us to close sir”, the attendant at the café came to tell Rakesh. “I know” he had tears in his eyes. He walked outside and sat on a bench. It was drizzling but he did not feel it. He slept off on the bench. Karishma did not come.
But the defence security staff came. They summoned him to the office of the major. He was given a notice and had to appear in court.
Months had passed and Karishma was missing. Rakesh was cursing himself for having got her into this trouble. He was being tried for a number of charges including being responsible for Karishma’s disappearance. The court had finally given its verdict today. He was being dismissed from defence services.
Just before his final verdict was to be signed, the bailiff came in with a note to the officer presiding over the enquiry. The presiding officer announced that they had someone outside who would like to throw some light on the case,
Rakesh was shocked to see Karishma. She looked pale and expressionless. She did not even look at him. “And now it is for you to decide Sir, if falling in love is a crime. If it is, then both of us should be convicted” said Karishma as she finished her story. Vinod stood stunned. He knew that every word said by Karishma was true . She had been true in telling him that she would never be able to keep him happy, but Vinod could not see it and had threatened to kill Rakesh if she did not marry him.
The presiding officer apologised to Rakesh and all charges against him were dropped.
“Oh my God, Mom you had such a wonderful love story”. Karishma’s daughter Shweta was saying while hugging her and Rakesh. “Dad I love you too, you’re the best!” Shweta further enquired, and asked, “What happened to Vinod?” Ah that story some other time, now I am hungry,” Rakesh kissed his daughter and they all laughed.