This story is set during 1940s decade. Dharini was sitting in her courtyard day-dreaming. The courtyard was lit up with lights, the flowers were spreading its fragrance and the aroma of the freshly-made samosas was filling the courtyard with a pleasant evening smell. The house had been cleaned up and the people in the house were running around in urgency & shouting out instructions to each other.
“Dhariniiii, check if you need any last minute touch-up. They will be here any moment” shouted her mom from the kitchen. But Dharini was lost in her own thoughts and imagining as to how would the guy look? Will he be tall, fair, or have a good job or be romantic? She was too engrossed to pay heed to her mother’s remainders. Being a rich girl and educated in a convent school, Dharini was excited to meet the guy to check if he matched her expectations.
Finally, an hour later the guy and his parents arrived. Dharini’s mom ushered her into the room and ensconced her in front of the guy’s family. A nervous Dharini, with her pallu pulled over her eyes was smiling when her mother said that the guy belongs to a well-to-do family. She thought she now did not have to compromise on her standard of living after marriage. The guy’s parents demanded to see the girl’s face and when the veil was pulled off her head, Dharini was disappointed to see Bakul - a short and stout guy with dark complexion and thick dark circles that made him look like a panda. However, it was love at first sight for Bakul. Since the girls were not allowed to decide in those days, Dharini was married off to Bakul without knowing her wish.
Post-marriage, Bakul started gifting Dharini with a hand-made doll made with a rolled-up paper every day. Though it seemed strange, Dharini remained silent but never bothered to give the doll a careful look. She just tossed them into her cupboard without even noticing it. Though Bakul was very loving and good guy by heart, Dharini could not come over the fact that she being a beautiful girl, she was married off to an ugly, uneducated, school dropout village brut who could not even manage to speak English. As the days passed, she realized that Bakul’s mother had the final say in the house and no one dared to disrespect her decisions. Bakul was so enchanted by his love for his mother that he did not realize that Dharini was going farther and farther from him. She felt that his mother dominated him because of which he could not come up in life or take his own decisions. He was totally crippled without his mother when it came to decision-making. He was so busy running errands for his mother that it left no time for the couple to spend time together and get to know each other. One day, when things got out of control, Dharini tried to explain to Bakul that his mother’s constant interference was causing discomfort in the house and she could no longer take and to add fuel to the fire Bakul was a BIG ZERO in the romance department.
Bakul continued to shower the same kind of love to his mother but started giving Dharini her share of attention and things started warming-up between them. They had just started falling in love with each other when Bakul passed away because of a snake-bite. Dharini’s life became empty now. After spending two months like a crazy person, she took out the dolls. Those were the only gifts he left for her since the day they got together. She started counting the dolls. She then slowly started unwrapping the paper dolls and found that there was a letter on each paper/doll. The letters said how happy Bakul was to have Dharini as his wife and how he understood that she was feeling uncomfortable that she was sidelined in terms of attention. Some of the letters had questions to be answered. Dharini now understood as to why Bakul sometimes looked lost in front of her. He expected the answers from her but…
When she unwrapped the last doll, she was surprised to see I LOVE YOU in bold letters on top of the letter. This letter had some surprises in store for Dharini:
- He was trying to learn English secretly so that Dharini didn’t feel ashamed to hang-out with him in public
- He had made efforts to be romantic and learned to say I LOVE U from his friend but never had the courage to say it with Dharini’s cold reactions towards him
- In the letter he said sorry for being totally dependant on his mother and not giving her enough attention even though he understood what Dharini was going through
- In the end, he mentioned that he had bought a house for them without telling his mom and Dharini did not have to tolerate her mum-in-law’s constant interference and finding faults. He said it was A GIFT TO HIS WIFE. Now they could live happily in that house and start their own family
Fainted! Dharini collapsed on the floor. Finally her husband’s death had taken a toll on her and the fact that she read those letters but it was too late.