[Fusion after Fission – Love Short Story]
My love story? Definitely there is love in my life but I am still not sure whether my story is romantic enough to be published as love short story. In fact chain reaction of love triggered in my life after an affirmed but dull break up.
It’s all started when I visited my home town, Hyderabad, in Diwali. I was coming home first time after joining my first job. In teenage, while other girls were busy in sharing their love stories and boasting about their boyfriends, I was busy with my books trying to figure out easy way to remember formulae of uncountable chemical reactions. My studious, hardworking teen-years paid when I got offer for scientist post in India’s number one research centre. It was a dream comes true feeling for a girl from Indian middle class family.
Everything was happening first time in my life. For first time I saw the world outside of Hyderabad, first time I travelled in train for an overnight journey, first time I saw a sea beach in Mumbai Chaupati, first time I understood importance of my signature… I filled more than twenty five forms as joining formalities and end of the each form was notified by “Employee Signature”. Finally the day came when I was left behind in Mumbai by my Nanna and Amma (father and mother) with lot of instructions in form of “DOs and DON’Ts”.
First year was orientation programme that included rigorous classroom, never ending home work, and, the worst among all, every Monday torturous examination. Very soon I found myself behind thick books trying to demystify nuclear chain reactions. One day our training coordinator announced in his broken Hindi, “Bahut Parishram kiya aap longa… Ham socha ki aapko ek saptah ka avkash diya jai… ” (you guys worked very hard, we decided to give you leave for a week)… “but Monday when you report after the break, you must be ready for material science test…”
I was very happy reaching my home after three long months. Amma along with my dear Mamma (grandmother) prepared all the dishes I liked most. My plants were also happy seeing me back – Oleander was now touching window of my room at first floor and few white flowers trying to shake hand with me on the stairs itself, jasmine was spreading its aura as a natural freshener in my room, Chinese trumpet creeper was colouring my parapet whereas hanging pumpkins were bit scary in night whenever I tried to see remains of night from my windows while mugging up impact of fast moving neutrons on various materials.
I was awaken by my Doddamma (my mother’s elder sister). It was already 11:30 AM. I was pleasantly surprised to see her. She came all the way from Warangal to meet me. I hugged her with lot of respect and affection. She then announced the actual purpose of her visit, “Sri, Get ready… they would be coming anytime to see you” Reactor exploded… Cadmium control rods could not absorb neutrons. Reactor core started melting. Which shielding material should be used in this case… “Wake up Sri” I told myself.
Very soon a thick Kanchipuram sari along with overcritical mass of jewellery was cladding me. I entered in living room with tumblers in a tray (yes… my hands were shaking and weird sound was coming when glasses where vibrating at the tray. I still remember that sound — it would have been great hit as ringtone if I had recorded it that day) There was he – an average looking, average build, dark complexion with a shy smile on his face. Fushshsssssssss… nothing… no sound… no light… no spark… simply nothing. I got no feeling. I served coffee to him, to his parents and to my family, and sat beside him. Next one and half hour was quite obvious to guess. Questions. Questions.. and Questions… and finally my Doddamma revealed, “Sri sings very well…” so I had to sing as well – song from famous movie Swathi Muthyam, “Laali Laali Laali Lali, Laali Laali Laali Lali, Vata patra saiki varahaala lali, Rajeeva netruniki ratana lali…” There was obvious anger in my tone but I was also sure that Mr. Hero would be imagining me as his poor Raadhika who would take good care of him — the autistic Kamal Haasan. Later I literally found autism in Mr. Hero.
He was pursuing his master in Chemical Engineering from IIT Bombay. Within no time he took my detail address – thanks god there was no mobile phone that time and only one common landline for more than hundred trainee scientists. Everything was going as per Mr. Hero’s wish. His family liked me (even granite shielding could not save me), my family found “intelligent boy” for their scientist daughter. But to my rescue horoscope did no match. Good. End of Story. The End. This relation could not gather even critical mass. No shielding would be needed. It was just natural uranium with very little harmless alpha radiation. One week got over much earlier than I expected. On Monday I solved all questions in material science test and was confident to get in this paper also 100% marks. I entered in our guesthouse and there he was, sitting on visitors’ sofa at reception, Mr. Hero.
I got fed up with his autism. Every day at 5:45 PM I would find him waiting for me at reception. Now my friends started making fun of me, “Hey Sri, I bet your Kamal Haasan would today also be waiting for you… He is a nice guy… what is wrong in him… see, today again, he really loves you…” I started avoiding going to guesthouse in evening. Library became my evening home. As it was in restricted area, he as visitor would not be allowed. My friends told that the poor guy had been kept waiting for me every day until 8 PM. My anger slowly started changing in pity.
Two weeks later, after a tiring day, I returned to guesthouse at 11:15 PM in night juggling few books in my hand. I felt blasting with full volume moment I saw him reading book and making notes sitting on visitor’s sofa. There was none in reception hall. He stood up to greet me but I decided to close the already closed chapter once and for all. I approached towards him aggressively and almost scolded him,
“What do you want?”
“Happy birth day” he replied shyly and with a bouquet of my favourite Rajnigandha in his hand.
My eyes were locked at his down looking face. Time froze for few minutes. I could hear his heart beat. My anger started melting and filling in me excess of estrogen (love hormones).
“Sud… you are crazy. I haven’t seen a guy like you. I don’t think I would ever find someone like you” and ran towards stairs instead waiting for elevator. That day I climbed running eight floors to reach my room. My heart was beating very loudly.
Next day I did not go to library after classes. I was waiting for last class to get over as soon as possible so that I could run to guesthouse. I almost ran from shuttle bus stop and stepped in big reception area. He wasn’t there.
Two, three, four, five days over. No trace of him.
“Did I hurt him? I guess I would have not told him Crazy. He is two years elder to me. Oh my god! What I did”
Monday exam came and it was the worst exam. This time I could not do 100%. Cupid was stopping all neutrons, all radiations and their dynamics outside of examination hall. First time I found sea beach near my training school to be so romantic. Sixth day… no luck.
“Should I go to Powai to find him in IIT?” “Ok let’s wait for one more day”
Seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh days over. I was unable to concentrate in study. On twelfth day I took half-day off and was coming to main gate to hire taxi for Powai then I saw him coming inside with a small bag,
“Hi.. I was busy in my exam”
“…” I became dumb.
“Is everything alright? No class today? I mean still there is one hour…”
I could not control myself and put my hand on his mouth to shut him up
“Where were you Sud? Never ever leave me like this…” That evening was my first date.
After seventeen years, I am happily married, mother of his two children, but still trying to demystify what caused fusion reaction that day, blessing me such a wonderful husband and a beautiful love life…
[Dedicated to dear Ma’am, from her little Bachchu]