Root & Rebound: What’s meant for you will always find you!

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The end of Summers and the amphitheater is all packed. The convocation is just about to begin in a while. The much-coveted Howard Business School Convocation. Getting my doctorate from HBS is a dream come true, and the cherry on the cake is the job placement in Silicon Valley at none other than Google.

My family is seated in the fifth row and I can see the pride in their eyes. There is nothing more powerful and empowering for a child to see her parents overwhelmed with their daughters’ achievements and this rush is the best feeling trust me! No matter where you are in the world, whatsoever is your ethnicity and whatever your age be, making your parents proud is the best token of love you can give to them.

Butterflies in my stomach as I wait for my turn and name to be called on the stage. These are the dreams of so many people but only a handful of them can achieve. Yes, for sure I am one lucky one whose dreams have come true. What do you expect, a 24-year-old making it to her dreams or maybe beyond what she has ever asked for, how is she supposed to feel? Happy, on top of the world, accomplished, well to break the ice these feelings didn’t resonate with me.

Despite all my top achievements, the prestigious certificate in my hand, and everyone congratulating and applauding for me, I felt empty. There was a strange hollowness, a vacuum that made me felt so depleted to the chore. Maybe after all these years, continents and time apart, I still miss him. And all of a sudden, I felt this huge nostalgia of the carefree days, when our minds and soul were exclusively devoted to each other. Those childhood school days were the best days of my life.

Generally speaking, people experience the emotion of love in their teens and adolescence but I was lucky to feel it in my pre-adolescence tween years. How could I forget I was bullied and made fun of in the school and lacked confidence and how Rohan took my side even though his entire friend circle was the main bullies. His protection became my armor and in no time, we became good friends. From sitting together in the classroom to sharing our lunch boxes, from doing his homework to him teaching me maths, I didn’t know when going to school became an enjoyable treat rather than a nightmare.

He was the one to clap for me when I achieved something, to pick me up when I fall, to celebrate my little craziness, and to catch me when I am torn. He understood me so well that I never felt a need for having any more friends. It was him and he was enough. Never ever I could forget that boy in my life, today the courage and determination I have to pursue my dreams are all because of him.

And all I could do is smile and look back at the memories and relive those moments. Sigh! Zapping out of my thoughts I rushed towards my family and my classmates and we headed towards the customary lunch and photobooths for capturing the convocation memories. I have a huge network of friends now, equally loving and equally caring but none can fill in the void I have due to the absence of Rohan and what’s funny is everyone knows about him and laughs at our childhood pictures. They say to keep the ones you love close to you, but that’s not always easy and life’s plans are different than ours.

Today is my first day at Google office, and I am already in awe of the office, not just the physical environment but the vibes, the energy of the place, the culture, and of course the people. All of us interns are so excited for our induction as we gather and sit around in the hall. There are incumbents from different countries and what a plethora of learning that would be! Excited much there were people from India as well. Every time I listen and gear up to meet an Indian my heart hopes to see him. To make my paths cross with Rohan would be destiny’s biggest magic.

It’s not that I didn’t try to find him, I did, I did several times. After my family migrated to the U.S. when I was in class eight, I tried to reach out to him via phone. What else could I have done, there was no Facebook and Orkut in those times and neither did we have mailing systems. I tried reaching out to his friends also but all they knew was Rohan left the school soon after me, and nobody has a clue about him. We didn’t have common family friends as well who could help me trace him out so I had no other way but to fondly miss him and hope that we meet someday. I have been to India also 3–4 times, tried finding him but his mansion was closed and they migrated somewhere. Ever since Facebook came into existence I have been searching for Rohan Malhotra, all throughout the world but with no success.

Sometimes I wonder does he miss me this badly, or my memories have been washed from his mind. Is he searching for me too? With questions in my mind and hope in my eyes, I scanned every Indian in the induction hall, and damn! he wasn’t there.

We were allocated to different projects and with new excitement and energy, we kickstarted our work. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months. After toiling for a year, I was given the much-awaited promotion that everyone eyed for. Another happy day in my life, I celebrated with my friends and family, missed Rohan, and almost given up on the thought of meeting him again.

With new roles comes new responsibilities and challenges, and I was up for all of that as I packed my stuff for a month-long onsite project in New Zealand. Rolling green hills, majestic mountains, breathtaking fjords, and an amazing diversity of landscape from one island to the next, New Zealand is certainly God’s own country. I felt so lucky to be in this beautiful place as I landed from my flight in Auckland after almost a day and jetlag.

Setting up my new house wasn’t difficult as the company took care of everything, I was given a chauffeur-driven car and a cook to help me through. Such a lovely villa it was as I looked out of the window and saw the mountains and the mesmerizing lake. I took a stroll and dozed off because the next day was a big day as I planned to meet the CEO of our new client.

It was a sparkling morning, and I got up without a delay, got ready with my sharp silhouette dress in burgundy, skipped breakfast as I wanted to reach before time, and rushed to the meeting venue. I was welcomed by the company secretary and informed that the business ventures will now be preceded by his nephew as he is the key decision-maker and our meeting will start in 10 mins. Shuffling the pencil, I was wondering what it would be like as I didn’t have any secondary research done for him. We generally researched the personality of our clients before client meetings so that they go favorably but this meandering was nothing short than the jump in the dark.

I didn’t know his name so I couldn’t even search for him quickly so all I did was keeping my calm and patiently waiting for him. A few minutes later I saw a tall, athletic-built Asian guy probably an Indian walking alongside his bouncers and the same secretary towards me. Ok, he was the nephew but why was there an uncanny resemblance between him and the Rohan I have also known.

As he approached the table and took off his glasses, without a sec I screamed Rohan Malhotra, OMG! and he replied with a smile and my name “Roshni, damn I missed you”. And there he was, the answer to my prayers, the result of my wait, and the reward to my patience. Finally, he was here right in front of me and I hugged him irrespective of the consequences and what people would be thinking, and he hugged me back tightly. We talked for hours and hours and as the dawn approached, I didn’t want to waste another minute as I uttered “I love you Rohan” and his smile had all my answers.

Seems like yesterday but it has been ten years since I and Rohan have been married. The memories are still fresh and so enjoyable every time I open this photobook and look back at the pictures from my convocation, first day at Google, and New Zealand of course. I somehow knew from the bottom of my heart that one day I will find him, and I did.




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