Shades of Love: Sweetness and Sorrow - ZorbaBooks

Shades of Love: Sweetness and Sorrow

My college years impacted my life. College life holds a special place in your heart; its memories endure throughout your lifetime. For some, it signifies embracing every moment and revelling in vibrant experiences. Sunny belonged to the latter category. 

Sunny was my collegemate and a close friend. And we shared the same room in the hostel. For us, college days included both enjoyment and education. Sunny was a serious guy by nature. He was studious and an affable kind of person.

 One fine day, while having lunch, I asked him, “Hey Sunny, do you want a life full of fun and fulfilment?” 

“Yes,” he countered. “Why do you ask?” 

 “Don’t get me wrong when I say you have a rigid view of life. Where we Indians are doing the wrong thing is not in giving more importance to studies, but in not giving enough importance to our hobbies, extracurricular activities, and interests.”

 Sunny laughed out loud. “You have read me wrong, my friend.” He muttered and dug into his plate.


Sunny found himself deeply enamoured with the most glamorous and captivating girl from our batch. I was not against Sunny’s relationship with her, but my only doubt was that they were opposite personalities. Sunny exuded a quiet strength beneath his reserved demeanour. His introverted nature belied the depth of thought and sensitivity that set him apart. Despite his inclination towards introspection, Sunny harboured a profound capacity for love and devotion.

In contrast, Anita sparkled with vivacity and exuberance, her outgoing nature lighting up any room she entered. Her infectious laughter and boundless energy drew people to her, effortlessly melting away any barriers. 

Together, they formed a striking contrast—a pairing of opposites that fitted together seamlessly, their differences enriching their connection in unexpected ways. Though they may come from different worlds, their love bridged the gap, proving that sometimes, opposites attract.


While walking after dinner one fine evening, I broached this subject with him somewhat hesitantly.

 “Look, Sunny. I have known you for many years now, since our school days. We tend to be drawn to people who share our interests and are like us when looking for a relationship.” I paused, gathering my thoughts. “So, in fact, opposites don’t attract. Research backs this up. I fail to understand what you both have in common.”

 “No, brother. I beg to differ.” Sunny replied softly in an affable manner. “People with disparate personalities can get along well in a relationship for various reasons, while this may not be a rule of nature. Besides, dating someone like you would get boring after a while!” He let out a muffled laugh.

 “You have a point there, Sunny,” I acknowledged. “Because of her light-hearted nature, I felt she was not very serious about your relationship. Ultimately, what matters is that you both are quite compatible.”

Sunny let out a sigh. “You have failed to notice that underneath my serious expression is an enduring love. I invite you to try the way of love and to feel gratitude and positivity. It’s time to wean yourself off the negative thinking, as most people do. It’s time to learn to love again. You do that, and I’ll smile every day, inside and out.”

That was my last talk with Sunny about his love for Anita. The exam time followed, and we buried ourselves under stacks of books. We both passed out with flying colours. 

Soon, I got a government job in a steel mill in south India and was posted to Germany for higher training. I returned to occupy an important post, got married, and settled into a regular family life.

 My friend Sunny got a lucrative placement in a multinational company in Mumbai (aka Bombay), and we kept in touch for some time in the initial years. As time passed, we became less preoccupied with our everyday interactions.


After 20 years, a random turn of events resulted in my posting to Bombay. I tried to reach out to my college buddy, Sunny, but to no avail. In desperation, I sent out shoutouts to some familiar friends on Facebook and Twitter.

I was saddened to hear of his demise in the 2008 Mumbai attacks when I first met my pals. November 2008 saw what was referred to as the “26/11 attacks” worldwide. Over three days, ten terrorists who belonged to the terrorist group planned coordinated shooting and bombing attacks. The gunfight left numerous innocent bystanders injured and at least 174 dead.

During dinner at a renowned 5-star hotel, my friend Sunny tragically succumbed to terrorist gunfire as he shielded his girlfriend Anita from harm. Anita managed to escape with minor injuries.


The weight of sorrow bore down, and I felt utterly shattered. Amidst the crushing grief, one burning concern gnawed at my soul: the knowledge that Sunny was the sole child of his parents. I couldn’t help but wonder how they had coped with the devastating loss of their only son. The desire to provide solace and support consumed my thoughts.

Determined to reach Sunny’s grieving family, I searched for their address. I did so, thanks to the help of familiar friends and social media. 

As I stood at Sunny’s parents’ doorstep, my heart raced with anticipation and trepidation. The atmosphere inside was serene, an oasis of tranquillity amidst the storm of emotions. Two elderly couples, presumably Sunny’s parents and relatives, were conversing quietly. Their warm and welcoming smiles embraced me, beckoning me to join them.

In their seemingly contented appearance, I hesitated to broach the painful subject of the years they had spent without their beloved son.

Instead, I remained silent, offering my presence as a quiet source of comfort.

Just as I contemplated taking my leave, the gates swung open, and in walked Anita, the woman who had shared Sunny’s life and tragedy.


Unannounced, I had appeared at her doorstep, catching her entirely off guard. Surprise painted her face, but her hospitality was unwavering as she warmly welcomed me into her home. With each polite request to stay for dinner, my initial hesitation slowly yielded to a growing desire to converse with her, to bridge the gap that time had designed between us.

Summoning every ounce of courage, I mustered the strength to broach the subject of her life’s journey since that fateful day. She smiled quietly and sympathetically, acknowledging the unsaid words but still hanging in the air. Silence fell for a while as I struggled with my thoughts, unsure what to say or if speaking was acceptable.

She started the conversation, breaking the hush that had descended upon the room during those reflective minutes. 

“Sunny and I were going to get married and plan a future together. When the catastrophe occurred, I was devastated.” She paused and glanced at the four people in their world. She lowered her voice. 

“But then I looked at these four wonderful people and decided to bring new meaning to my life and theirs. I found solace in these four wonderful souls. I bought a new place and brought all four together. I’ve built a new life, finding purpose in supporting each other. We are now living happily,” she said. “When I do something for them, I know Sunny smiles from wherever he is, and his happiness counts.”

 I asked her how she coped. 

“Listen,” she said, “love is not only about his physical presence in my life but about celebrating togetherness.” She paused and sighed, probably reminiscing about the happy times.

“He was the only child of his parents, just like I was. We help each other and enjoy helping others who need love and understanding.” 

She gestured, “This is my world now.” I know somewhere Sunny is around, watching our every move and keeping us protected.”

She remained silent for a moment, collecting her thoughts.

“Love transcends physical presence,” she explained. “Though he’s gone, his spirit lives on in our shared memories. I wish we’d had a child together,” she admitted with a hint of sorrow. Suddenly, tears welled in her eyes.

 I was numb for a few minutes. At that moment, I truly grasped their love’s depth and resilience.

 “My great relationship happened because of my immense love for him initially. It has not died with him. On the contrary, it will remain alive as I build love until the end.”

As I listened further, I began to appreciate how fortunate my friend, Sunny, was to have encountered a girl like Anita. She was so devoted to fulfilling her integral role within his family. Her extraordinary strength and unwavering love formed the very foundation of their relationship.

I was amazed by Anita’s strength of character and felt foolish to have doubted such a pure and effortless relationship! She said she had enough memories to last for a lifetime. 

“When people ask me the reasons for my happiness, I tell them, my dear, that in your life, memories are like passing scenes, but in my life, every memory holds the essence of living. They’re not just moments, I recall. They’re the fabric of who I am, each carrying deep meaning and importance.”

Anita had become a beacon of everlasting love and selflessness, showcasing all the enduring power of love’s sacrifices.

Love is beautiful, and its appeal can be even greater depending on your perspective. The beauty of love is closely connected to how we see things. So, real love is found in the things happening around us and how we feel inside—when we appreciate things and feel hopeful, enriching our existence.

               ******************* The End************************



Leave a Reply