Given below are some snippets from Dream’s Sake that describe the main characters.
Aashi (Akanksha Sharma)
“Terror does Diwali shopping in Delhi–killing 55, hurting 155,” the old newspaper clipping proclaimed as it trembled with her fingers.
Those weren’t just numbers, even if they had been correct. Those were people blown into bits. And people left behind to die in bits after them.
But Aashi had died quite enough. It was time to start living again.
She would have torn that paper and thrown it away. But her fingers didn’t obey. She wanted to erase its black words entirely from her memory. But she could not, not yet, anyway. For there was her father in that paper, one among the fifty five dead.
Aashi could not let go of the dead. But it was time now for her to start living again. She had already taken her first step back into life.
Life, though, was no longer how she had once known it.
Aashi leaned her head against the wall and closed her eyes. She desperately needed to call forth the dream that she had kept with her despite the loss of everything else.
She put herself on a large balcony of a palatial house and looked dreamily down at the gorgeous garden spread around. There was the steady sound of manly footsteps approaching her. She turned and looked at him, love dancing in the lustre of her eager eyes.
‘If only I had blue eyes, or green perhaps! How wonderful it would have been,’ she thought as she dreamed.
But then, the audacity of her black eyes was irresistible too. She had often admired it herself, feeling sure that a writer must have composed some pretty amazing lines while describing her eyes, had she been the heroine of a novel.
Of course, she was not a heroine, and life wasn’t a novel either. She was just an ordinary girl, being forced to live in less than ordinary world.
But her dreams were perfect. They had perfect love, perfect romance, luxury and above all, a perfection in manly form too.
Abhi (Abhinandan Mathur)
She turned her head a little and observed the neighbour that was being just a bit too friendly, as it seemed to her. She looked at him, and despite her not very benign feelings, didn’t find too much to disapprove of in his person. Of course, she had to quickly move her eyes away from the stump of his left arm. But other than that, he didn’t lack much in the way of her fine-tuned ideas about a good-looking man.
He was tall enough, a bit on the leaner side, but that went well with his boyish face and the curly strands of hair that steadfastly clung to his forehead, despite all his attempts to brush them away. He was fair too and had brown eyes that looked remarkably happy. And indeed, they were happy. Openly, sincerely, even eagerly happy, enlivened with the joy of a true and honest heart that loved life and desired to live it to the fullest, no matter what.
A more careful observer might perhaps have noticed some dark embers in those eyes too. But Aashi hadn’t yet given so much thought to him or his eyes, nor even to his amputated left arm or his very obvious limp. There was nothing so remarkable in Abhi to arrest Aashi’s attention for that long. He was handsome, but not extraordinarily so, had a charming face, but not breathtaking and his faded T-shirt showed that he clearly had no dressing sense to boast of.
Priyam Mathur (Abhi’s sister)
‘Oh, hi!’ Priyam exclaimed, turning around quickly. ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were standing here.’
‘It’s okay, you were engrossed,’ said Aashi. ‘Let me help you,’ she added, wondering at the same time whether Abhi’s judgement about their being of same age was really true.
The girl who looked at her with big brown eyes seemed much younger. Except that her eyes were so much wiser and calmer. No turbulence rocked their placid depths, and there wasn’t even a hint of restlessness that flickered with such intensity in Aashi’s own eyes.
Priyam had a charming face and a figure too slender to admit the possibility of curves as perfect as Aashi’s. She looked a delicate and frail creature and Aashi might have been in danger of pitying her had the serene lustre of those brown eyes not told her how little Priyam was in need of that emotion.
Sid (Siddharth Vardhan)
Aashi looked at Sid. Though he wasn’t exceptionally handsome, he had a good and honest face and his athletic built went greatly in his favour.
There was an aura of placid strength about him, not merely physical but that which lies inwards. It shone out from his intense and penetrating eyes like a black fire, subdued and at peace now, but not extinct. He had a dusky complexion and a smile that brightened up on whom it shone because it was always genuine and straight from the heart. It was shining on Priyam now.
Half a smile appeared unawares on Sid’s lips as he looked at her. The sable depths of his eyes became alight with a buoyant glow, a glimmer that only Priyam’s smiling face had the power to evoke.
Had Sid’s colleagues or even most of his students seen him at that moment, they would hardly have believed their eyes. To them, Sid was just a surly person who rarely smiled and was always on the lookout for the opportunity of being rude and deprecatory. That he could smile too and be playful was a thing nobody could ever have imagined of him.
Aashi forgot all about going back to home and could think only of how well Abhi’s friend was dressed. Everything Raj wore boasted of a big brand name. He sure did not lack in good taste. And certainly not in good looks either.
Raj was almost as tall as Sid, with a fairer complexion and playful eyes that glowed with self confidence and joy of easy life. Everything about Raj spoke of richness; everything about him seemed to have a certain glow, the glow perhaps of the magic that had suddenly given a corporal form to Aashi’s fantasy.
But to her, Raj had become a semblance of perfection.
And indeed, he was very near it, according to his out judgement too. Raj was an honest millionaire; at least as honest as a millionaire can be who wants to hold on to his millions. He never told a lie unless it was absolutely necessary to do so and he never, by himself, indulged in flirting. It was Raj’s constant endeavour to be a perfect gentleman, and he tried very hard to do good because, basically he believed himself to be good. Raj was generous, never raised his voice, minded his manners perfectly and was civil to everybody, even the lowest of his servants. He liked to see himself as a perfect son, a perfect brother, a perfect friend and everybody was sure, including himself of course, that when he married, he would prove to be a perfect husband too.
Mr. Aditya Vardhan (Sid’s Father)
The man who walked in the crowded room was perhaps just an inch shorter than his son, with the same athletic built and deep penetrating eyes. He was smartly dressed in a well-fitted suit and looked striking enough to make most of the younger ladies hush their babble and several men to stand up in respect.
‘I’ve come, Sid,’ Mr. Vardhan said as he walked straight to his son, ‘what do you want me to do?’
Sid lost no time in explaining everything to him. It was perhaps the first time in several years that he had spoken more than a sentence at a time to the man who stood in front of him. And also the first time that it dawned on Sid how out of habit he had become in holding any sort of conversation with his own father.
‘Don’t worry,’ Mr. Vardhan replied as soon as Sid had finished, ‘I’ll take care of everything. This must be Priyam, is she?’ he asked looking at the young girl standing close behind his son.
‘Yes…Dad,’ Sid replied.
‘Don’t worry, child,’ Mr. Vardhan said putting his hand at her head. ‘I’ll take care of you and your brother. I know what it is to be distanced from the one you love above everybody else,’ he said looking at Sid before turning again to Priyam, ‘but I won’t let that happen to you.’
Priyam looked bewildered as she turned to look at Sid. She wondered if the man standing before her really was Sid’s father. He didn’t seem as hateful as Sid thought him to be.
But Mr. Aditya Vardhan was really Sid’s father and despite the sliver of gratitude that Sid now felt compelled to admit, he still hated that man with all the passion and energy that a seventeen year old can be capable of. It was another matter, however, that despite all his bitter feelings Sid could not help but admire his father’s efficiency in manipulating everyone in such a way that they agreed to everything he said and yet considered themselves as faring better than him in the dealing that ensued.
Mrs. Sinha (Raj’s mother)
You’ve turned out to be something like a beauty you know. Though when I first saw you, there was little indication that you will ever have anything more than a tolerable face.’
‘Mother!’ Raj hissed.
‘What, child, I’m just praising your girl. Don’t feel shy. You should have become used to by now to hear the women around you being praised for their looks,’ Mrs. Sinha said, giving her head laborious nods while repositioning her hand in a way that her twelve diamond rings caught the maximum light from the lamp.
Aashi, being also present in the room, covered her mouth with her hand. She had no doubt that Mrs. Sinha considered herself a woman of great beauty. But for her son’s sake, Aashi decided to forgive the lady for her ill-founded vanity.
Besides, it was true too that God had indeed endowed Mrs. Sinha with a fair complexion, pouted lips and a face that had once been in perfect proportion to her body. Now however, it seemed to have shrunk to a much smaller size thanks to the fecundity of the rest of her person. Perhaps that was the reason, as it appeared to Aashi, that the lady favoured her face with a greater share of cosmetics, in an attempt no doubt, to bring it back to prominence and also to draw the attention away from what had over time became much too prominent.
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