Symphony of the Heart Strings




Prologue

Aalap watched in terror as the piano keys began to play on their own. He overheard a humming sound: Humko mili hain aaj yeh Ghadiyaan naseeb se Jee bhar ke dekh leejiye Humko qareeb se Phir aap ke naseeb mein Yeh baat ho na ho.. Shayad phir is janam mein Mulaqaat ho na ho When Aalap turned around, he noticed a silhouette in the moonlight. 'Who is it that is singing?' What am I doing here?' He pondered. The music abruptly stopped playing, and the shadow began to approach Aalap. He attempted to move but became immobile. He noticed a gorgeous girl, staring right at him, as the moonlight fell on the silhouette. She stepped carefully towards Aalap, narrowing the short gap between them. He locked his gaze on her. Her eyes were turning blood-red from brown. Her strong nails scraped into his skin as she snaked her arms around his neck. When Aalap shouted, she was prepared to strangle him....

Chapter 1

February 10, 2019 "No!!!!!!" Aalap screamed as he opened his eyes. Dhvani, who was seated behind him in the car, was taken aback. "Aalap, are you all right?" "Yes. It's insignificant. It was all a dream." The same dream he'd been having for years. Paas aaiye ke hum nahi Aayenge baar baar Baahein gale mein daal ke Hum ro lein zaar zaar Aankhon se phir yeh pyaar ki Barsaat ho na ho Shayad phir is janam mein Mulaqaat ho na ho "What the hell is going on? Were you the one who played this song?" "This is one of my favourite songs. While you were sleeping, I was listening to this on repeat." She showed him the YouTube video that was currently playing. 'Oh, that's why I dreamt I heard this song,' he reasoned. "We have arrived, sir." Mohan, the driver, remarked as the car came to a halt in front of a mansion. "My dear, welcome to our haveli." As they approached the mansion, Aalap scooped Dhvani up in bridal manner. Mohan assisted them with their belongings. Dhvani persisted, "Put me down, Aalap." After saying their goodbyes to Mohan, they knocked on the door, but it only opened with a gentle push. They were about to enter the mansion when they heard a voice saying, "Who are you? Do not enter the haveli." When they turned around, they noticed an elderly woman approaching them. "My name is Aalap Surdeep Singh. Surdeep Singh's only son. This mansion is owned by my father. Dhvani, my wife, and I are on vacation. But who exactly are you?" "Get out!" yelled the elderly lady. "Why should we go? This is our haveli," Aalap retorted angrily. "I'm Mirabai, the haveli's caretaker. Do not enter." "Why should we listen to you?" Dhvani inquired. "Because her spirit is still here, waiting for you." "I believe this woman is insane. I don't think there's any point in arguing with her," Dhvani advised. They attempted to enter the mansion. Mirabai, on the other hand, refused to let them in. Instead, she led them into the guest house across the street from the mansion. She warned them not to go anywhere in the mansion without her permission. They were too tired to argue with her. Mirabai was about to leave when she heard Dhvani say, "I think the old woman is just scaring us." Mirabai was now enraged. She spun around and yelled at Dhvani. "If you knew what had happened there, you would not have entered that godforsaken haveli." She walked away without saying anything else.

Chapter 2

February 11, 2019 Aalap made the decision to tell Surdeep about his meeting with Mirabai. He dialled his father's number, but it was out of service. Dhvani was adamant about going out to lunch. She didn't want to be stuck inside. Aalap, on the other hand, was curious about the mansion. He wanted to believe Mirabai, but logic told him otherwise. The couple went on a sightseeing tour. They went on a long drive after lunch and returned home late in the evening after dinner. "I warned you not to stay out late around here," Mirabai reprimanded. "If you're really worried about us, why don't you tell us why?" demanded Dhvani. Mirabai raised her sad eyes to the couple. She sat across from them on the couch. "That haveli is haunted," she said, taking a deep breath. "Tell us something we don't already know," Dhvani chuckled. Mirabai gave her a stern look before turning to face Aalap. They were startled to hear someone crooning. Lag ja gale ke phir yeh Haseen raat ho na ho.. Shayad phir iss janam mein Mulaqaat ho na ho "This is not the time, Dhvani, to play your favourite song." "No, Aalap, I'm not." "She has come," informed Mirabai.

Chapter 3

"Can you tell me who she is?" Dhvani was curious. "Swara." "Swara? Isn't that the one after whom our music school is named?" Aalap looked perplexed. "Yes. It's the same individual. She used to be a well-known pianist with a beautiful voice. Her voice and songs now only bring death." "I'm not sure how she's related to our family. I had previously read my father's diary in secret and found her name there. I looked her up on Google out of curiosity; no one knows how she died." "Aalap, why is our music school named after her?" Dhvani was enthralled. "I'm not certain. My father never told me anything." "She died inside that haveli," Mirabai interjected. "Are you saying Swara's spirit is singing and playing music?" Aalap was frightened. "There are no ghosts and none of this is true. Aalap, I'm going to show you." Dhvani proceeded to march towards the mansion.

Chapter 4

When Dhvani entered the mansion, she discovered that there was no one there. "I was aware of it.  All of this was a ruse to frighten us away. The elderly lady regards us as gullible." "Dhvani, please come out."  Her train of thought was derailed when she heard Aalap's voice. He and Mirabai were standing at the threshold. "Check it out for yourself, Aalap.  "There is no one in this room." Dhvani said as she brushed her fingers across the piano. Dhvani began to walk away, a pleased smile on her face. She was about to leave when she heard music.  Her eyes popped out of their sockets as she turned around. The piano keys were moving on their own.  She was so focused on the piano that she didn't notice a shadow lurking behind her. It was the exact same tune. In the next moment, Dhvani started singing: Humko mili hain aaj yeh Ghadiyaan naseeb se Jee bhar ke dekh leejiye Humko qareeb se Aalap wished to grab Dhvani's hand and flee. But it was too late; as soon as he entered the mansion, a force threw him outside, and the doors shut behind him. "No, Dhvani!!" Mirabai dashed over to his side. Aalap passed out while crying out for Dhvani.

Chapter 5

"Aalap, save me!!" "Dhvaniiii!!!!!!" Aalap jolted awake. "Mirabai," he called out. Mirabai dashed inside. "Where is Dhvani? I have to save her," Aalap cried. "Sir, no one ever comes out alive from that haveli. However, you only have three days to save her. Swara only kills on the 14th of each month. Until then, she takes over the person's body and makes them sing until they die." "Why only on the 14th of every month?" Why not another date?" "Because Swara died on February 14, 1987." "How can we save Dhvani? I'll do anything to bring her back." "We can't do it alone. Only one person can assist us." "Who is it?" "Your father."

Chapter 6

February 1, 1992 Surdeep had seen her for the first time. Her sweet voice and captivating music had completely enchanted him. At the end of the performance, everyone applauded her. He fell in love with her at first sight and bravely attempted to communicate with her. "Hello." "Yes. Do I know you?" "No. My name is Surdeep Singh. I'd like to learn to play the piano. Would you be so kind as to teach me?" "I'll give it some thought." "I'll wait for your response." Swara hesitated at first when he suggested that piano lessons be held at the mansion, but she eventually agreed. Surdeep, on the other hand, had recently turned eighteen and had a crush on his piano teacher, who was three years his senior. He had no idea Swara liked him as well. Surdeep improved his skills with each passing day. He'd play the piano, and she'd sing. 'Lag ja gale' was their favourite song out of everything they played. It wasn't just a song that brought them together; it was an emotion. They were due to appear in a college event on February 14th after a year. Surdeep was making his debut appearance on stage. The day, however, never came.

Chapter 7

February 14, 1993 Swara had requested that he meet her backstage before the show. Surdeep walked into the common area. Surprisingly, the interior was dark. The lights came on just as he was ready to exit the room. He shielded his eyes, blinded by the brilliant brightness. Swara was there when he opened them. She wore a red silk saree and clutched a bouquet of red roses in her hands. She presented him with the flowers. Her demeanour perplexed him. But what she said next made his jaw drop. "Surdeep, I adore you. Will you be my Valentine this year and for the rest of my life?" Surdeep stood there, mouth agape, staring at Swara. "You are not required to respond right now. I'll be waiting for you on stage. I'll know you've accepted my proposal if you wear this rose on your suit. Please come soon. I'll be there waiting." Swara left with a heavy heart. Surdeep was taken aback. Swara's proposal caught him off guard. He exited the building, but not towards the stage. In panic, he bolted. Swara waited for him, but he had vanished. She was unable to sing that day. She was waiting for Surdeep when she received the heartbreaking news. Someone had informed her that 'Surdeep had committed suicide.' Swara was sceptical of what she had heard. She went back to the mansion where Surdeep resided. The mansion was deserted. She sat on the piano bench, staring at the instrument. Her fingers slid across the keys. She began pressing them one by one in the hope that he would return. She started singing while playing the piano: Lag jaa gale ke phir yeh Haseen raat ho na ho Shaayad phir iss janam mein Mulaqaat ho na ho Lag jaa gale se se

Chapter 8

February 12, 2019 Surdeep's confession left Aalap speechless. He had a long list of questions he wanted to ask his father. "Why did you flee, father?" "I was terrified. Swara was attractive to me, but I never expected her to fall in love with me. I couldn't take it when she proposed. I was a wuss. I immediately left the location." "How come you're still alive if you committed suicide?" "I never attempted suicide. I pretended to die so Swara would forget about me. I never imagined she'd die in our haveli." "Swara, what happened to her? How did she pass away in our haveli? And why wasn't anyone at home at the time of the incident?" "Swara possessed a duplicate key to our haveli. Every morning, she would come home and wake me up for the riyaaz. Because my father worked for the government, he was frequently transferred. He'd be accompanied by my mother. I made the decision to remain alone in the haveli. There was this caretaker named Rameshwar who never bothered to get involved in my affairs. He was the one who told me about Swara's death. He told me that she didn't stop singing or playing the piano. She eventually died singing on the same day." "Dhvani must be rescued. Swara has possessed her. We must act quickly or Dhvani would perish in the same manner "Aalap screamed. "Don't even think about her, Aalap. I've returned to take you with me. I took the first flight to come here for you after you told me about all that was going on here." "I'm not leaving without Dhvani," declared Aalap. "You will not be able to save her. Surdeep babu is the only one who can save her," Mirabai remarked quietly. "Try to understand, Aalap. Dhvani is effectively dead. Why put your life on the line for her?" Aalap stared at his father in disbelief. "Is there any other way to save Dhvani?" he asked Mirabai. "Swara may leave Dhvani's body if you can convince her that you are Surdeep and accept her love on 14 February. But.." "But, what?" "She may, however, take your soul with her. Aalap, you will have to sacrifice yourself in order to save Dhvani "Mirabai concluded.

Chapter 9

February 13, 2019 "There isn't a lot of time left. If I don't intervene, Dhvani will die as Swara tomorrow "Aalap exclaimed. Surdeep had locked Aalap in his room after learning of his plans. He didn't want to lose his one and only son. Love, on the other hand, knows no bounds. Mirabai came to Aalap's aid with the assistance of Mohan. "What are you doing here, Mohan?" Aalap inquired. "We don't have time to waste. I'll fill in for you. You and Mirabai depart for the Shiva temple. Mirabai will tell you what to do there," said Mohan, as he handed Aalap the car keys. "Where has my father gone?" Aalap was perplexed. "He's gone to meet some tantrik in order to capture Swara's soul," Mohan explained. Aalap and Mirabai arrived at the temple. "Why are we here?" "We'll need a red rose to fool Swara. We will accept the one offered to the Lord. You must give her that rose so that her soul may rest in peace." As Aalap stood directly in front of Shiva, he prayed to the God to grant him the strength he needed to protect his love. He prayed for Swara as well. Finally, he wore the rose that had been offered to the Lord on his shirt. He gave Shiva one last look before departing for the mansion.

Chapter 10

14 February, 2019 Aalap was dressed in the same suit that his father had worn for his debut performance on the same day. The red rose complemented the velvet suit. "How did you know what my father was wearing on that particular day, Mirabai?" Aalap inquired suspiciously. "Sir, this is only my estimate," said Mirabai.  They could hear the piano playing as they walked through the gate. Dhvani's vocals was recognised by Aalap. Humko mili hain aaj yeh Ghadiyaan naseeb se Jee bhar ke dekh leejiye Humko qareeb se Mirabai sprinkled Gangajal (holy water of the Ganges) all around the mansion before Aalap could enter. "Why are you doing this, Mirabai?" "Swara's strength will be weakened as a result of this," she predicted. "Aalap, don't go inside," Surdeep said as she raced up to him. Before his father could apprehend him, Aalap dashed into the mansion. As he walked in, the music abruptly stopped and the doors closed behind him. The piano was in the middle of the room. There was no one there to play it. There was a strange silence. When Aalap turned around, his jaw dropped. Swara and his father were depicted in a photograph. When he saw the photo, he realised he resembled his father when he was younger. "Who are you?" A voice startled him. He turned around and saw Dhvani. But she looked different. Her eyes were red. She was wearing a red silk saree. Her eyes were focused on him. "I am Surdeep Singh," he lied. "Surdeep?"  "Yes." "If you're Surdeep, then sing with me." Dhvani sat on the piano desk and began playing. Slowly, she started singing: Lag ja gale ke phir ye And then she looked at Aalap. Aalap continued," Haseen raat ho na ho.." Suddenly, Dhvani stood up from her place. The lights flicker and then the spirit separates itself from Dhvani's body. Dhvani collapsed on the ground. "What is your name?" He was startled by a voice. When he turned around, he saw Dhvani. But she didn't look the same. Her eyes were bloodshot. She was dressed in a red silk saree. Her gaze was fixed on him. "My name is Surdeep Singh," he pretended. "Surdeep?" "Yes." "If you're Surdeep, then join me in singing." Dhvani sat at the piano and began to play. She gradually began to sing: Lag ja gale ke phir yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee She then turned to face Aalap. "Haseen raat ho na ho," Aalap continued. Dhvani abruptly rose from her seat. The lights began to flicker, and the spirit separated herself from Dhvani's body. Dhvani fell to the ground. Aalap resisted the urge to help Dhvani. He couldn't afford to offend Swara and endanger Dhvani's life, even if it meant risking his own. "You're my Surdeep," Swara exclaimed. "Yes. As you can see, I'm wearing a rose. Your proposal has been accepted." Swara embraced him. "I had a feeling you weren't dead. I've been expecting you. I kept singing in the hopes that my love would bring you back from the dead." Swara's eyes were filled with love for Aalap. Aalap, on the other hand, felt guilty for deceiving her. He didn't want to go down the same path as his father. Suddenly, he noticed a shift in her demeanour. Her eyes had turned bright red. She resembled the person he had seen in his dream while on their way to the mansion. Swara screamed, "You're a liar!" "You are correct. I'm not Surdeep. I am his son. I came here to save my love, Dhvani." Swara yanked Dhvani off the ground and hurled her against the wall. "Please, don't cause her any harm. Instead, take my life "Aalap exclaimed. Swara grabbed Aalap's neck and began strangling him. Aalap began to lose consciousness when he heard the door open unexpectedly. "Put that rose on her heart," Mirabai exclaimed. "Mirabai, I can't do it. Allow Swara to murder me in retaliation for what my father did to her." Mirabai dashed up to Aalap and snatched the rose from his suit. Swara threw her against the wall just as she was about to place it on her heart.

Chapter 11

Swara was about to end Aalap's life when she heard the piano playing. Surdeep was at it when she turned around. He began to sing. Lag ja gale ke phir ye Swara reverted to her previous state. The song sung by Surdeep enchanted her. "Swara, I'm back," Surdeep said as he finished the song. "I apologise for deceiving you. I thought I had done the right thing all these years. But I was unable to forgive myself. I reasoned that naming my academy after you would cleanse me of my sins. But I was mistaken. I'm the one who has sinned. Swara, punish me." "Surdeep, I will never punish you. I love you." Swara turned around to find Mirabai on the floor. "I'm sorry, mother," she said, her eyes welling up with tears. Surdeep took the rose from Mirabai's hands and knelt down, "Swara, I've always loved you. Will you be my Valentine this year?" Swara felt a jolt as she took the rose from Surdeep. Surdeep clasped Swara's hands and drew her into a tight hug. "It's time for me to leave with you," Surdeep said as he cut his throat with the knife. Aalap was terrified as he witnessed his father's death. But he couldn't stop crying when he saw the two souls leaving the mansion peacefully.

Epilogue

14 February, 2020 "Congratulations, Dhvani and Aalap," exclaimed the nurse as she placed the baby in Dhvani's arms. "He is so cute just like you," exclaimed Aalap. "What should we name him?"  "Swaransh!"   Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!