SHADOW OF THE PAST by Mayank Manohar

Life throws up tough choices that often control your life, forcing you to carry the baggage of your past. In the process, you have no option but to fall in love with your own shadow. Your pain and loneliness are your best friends. But there comes a breaking point and when you reach it, there is a good chance it can destroy you completely.


Shadow of the Past is a story about three young people crippled by their own past and insecurities and how their life changes when they stop running away and start embracing it. But the question always remains: to what extent can anyone go to get rid of their past?


Meet Lavanya, deprived of the love that she deserved and fighting a seven-year-long battle for Rehan, who is crippled by the complexity of his own mind, then takes a major U-turn. Arpita, who yearns for Rehan’s love, suddenly finds herself trapped between the incomplete love saga of Rehan and Lavanya. Rehan comes out of the void he is in, only to tumble into another.


Will the shadow of their past destroy their lives completely or will life give them another chance to redeem what is lost?

Lavanya was asleep. But Simi couldn’t even imagine going to bed. As she watched her friend sleeping
like a baby, she felt bad about not being able to do something. She reflected on her words, ‘I want to know how he feels about this.’ She wanted to call him and ask him what the hell was wrong. Here was this girl who loved him unconditionally and he was somewhere else chasing his dreams. ‘She will be married soon and I have no idea what he would go through when that happens,’ she was amazed that such a love story existed in this day and age.


She got up and started searching for his contact information on Lavanya’s phone but the phone was
locked. She opened her Facebook account and looked for his name. And after a few clicks, there was his profile, smiling at her. She looked for his number, which was on his profile and saved it on her phone. She checked the time . . . it was close to 11:00 a.m. She thought it was a good time to call him and let him know about Lavanya’s situation.


She had to give this a try. Lavanya would kill her if she came to know but then she would love to get
killed by her rather than leave her in this pool of pain. She dialled his number, a little nervous, thinking,
what if the unexpected happened. What if he had moved on? Several questions went around in her head but she continued to dial his number.


The ring tone of his phone brought him back to his senses. He realised he was getting late for work.
He checked his phone; the call was from an unknown number. He answered it.
“Hello,” he said.


No reply came from the other end. He tried again but in vain. Irritated, he hung up and left. He got
calls from the same number all day. He thought someone was playing a prank on him so he ignored the
calls and got engrossed in his work.


Later at night, when he came back home and was strugging to sleep, he decided to call the unknown
number. He dialled once and immediately hung up. He checked the time—it was 1:45 a.m. He tried again and this time someone picked it up. It was a girl’s voice.


“Hello,” said the girl at the other end.
“I have got over twenty calls from this number. May I know who this is?” he asked her.
“Simi from Bangalore,” she said.
Simi? He didn’t know anyone by that name. He tried to recall but nobody came to mind.
“I am sorry, I don’t know you,” he replied.
“Yeah, you don’t know me but I know a little about you now. Is this Rehan Malik speaking?” she
asked.


“Yes” he replied.
“Do you know Lavanya?” she asked him.
For a moment the earth stood still for Rehan. He didn’t know how to react. All these years he had been dreaming about this moment and when it actually arrived, he was speechless.
“Yes,” he said.
After a brief pause, Simi said, “Dude, what is the problem with you guys? Here she is, crying her heart
out, thinking of you and I am sure something is terribly wrong with you too. Why is it so complicated when it can easily be sorted out?”


“What do you want?” he asked irritably.
“I just want to tell you one thing: that she is crazily in love with you. She is getting married in a
couple of weeks. But she doesn’t want to marry anyone but you. Now it is up to you—what you want to do,” she said.


“Then why is she doing it?” he asked Simi.
“Ask yourself this question first,” she said and hung up.
He was puzzled. He didn’t know how to react. Suddenly, in a matter of minutes a phone call had
turned his life upside down. He had longed for this moment for such a long time—it felt like an eternity— and now that it had arrived, he didn’t know what to do next.
He felt a pang in his heart and his throat turned dry. All these years, he had been waiting for this call . . .
spent every sleepless night anticipating this moment. He felt choked. He shook out a cigarette and lighting
it, took a long drag. He felt lost. He had no idea what to do. And thinking about her getting married soon freaked him out. This could be his last chance to bring her back into his life. While he was lost in his thoughts, his phone beeped. It was a text message from Simi.
“I know what you are thinking now and I can help you. You have the entire night to think about your
next step and when you are sure, call me. Bye. Take care. Simi.”
He was still in a state of shock . . . dazed over the sudden call. Not that he had never imagined such
a situation but facing reality was a different ballgame altogether. He didn’t know how to express his
emotions. How would he ever make Simi understand the depth of his love for Lavanya? Who knew that one phone call would have such an effect in his life!


He dialled Simi’s number.
“Hello,” he said.
“Yeah tell me what have you decided?” she asked him.
“I love her,” he said
“I knew it!” she said, whooping with joy.
“Is she engaged?” he asked her.
“Yes,” she said.
“Then it is too late,” he said, sighing.
“It is never too late,” she said.
“I don’t want to create a scene in front of her family,” he said.
“If you don’t, then her entire life will become a scene,” she said.
“What should I do then?” he asked.
“Come to Bangalore. Meet her. Express whatever you have kept inside your heart. Listen to what she
has to say,” she said.


There was a pause.
Lavanya continued, “I know it is easier said than done. I don’t know what went wrong between you
two. I have no idea why I am in the middle of this. I didn’t know anything about you till last night. But I
am doing what a friend should do and that is why I am thinking only about Lavanya. I may be selfish but
I am fine with that.”
She waited for his response and when he remained silent she resumed, “I don’t know how I can help
you. I don’t know if anything will even happen between you two. But how will you know unless you try?”