September 26, Saturday:
Priya hurried to the bus stop as she was already late by 10 minutes. She was panting when she reached there. She looked hastily at her watch. There were 15 more minutes for the next bus. Her thoughts drifted away. She had never felt bad for anything in her life, so far. She had never missed anything so far. She was born with a silver spoon and was raised by perfect parents who showered her only love. She was beautiful and extremely good in studies. Needless to say she had been a star in school and college. It was then she met Karthik and fell in love. She should have handled the misunderstandings better, she later thought. All those mounted up and caused for their breakup. Her marriage and divorce happened so quickly, but left a scar on her for a lifetime. Now she was missing something big. She was missing love, she was missing life, and she was missing her Karthik.
She had, of course made few worst decisions, but life could have been fairer on her. She never expected she would be here struggling. Her father got her married in the best way he could. Their parents were so genuine to open up to Arun about her previous Love.
Every time Arun abused her and hurt her , her mind drifted away to Karthik. If she had been with him, how easy her life would have been, she regretted.
After the divorce, She shifted back to Chennai. Priya’s family refrained themselves from meeting any relatives. They were embarrassed. It was a fine day, when Srinivas ’ dad who was Priya’s relative, personally came home and invited for their son’s wedding. At first Priya’s family denied. Later, her uncle insisted, that Priya could at least come so that she might have a change. That was how she made to Aparnaa’s wedding and met Karthik. She was shattered by the way he looked. She knew it was because of her. She hesitated so much to contact him. It was just six months. But the tremors that shook her life had given her the pain of a lifetime. She was not sure what had changed in his life. She was sure on one thing, that Karthik should not suffer more. She was surprised to see that the love he had for her had not deteriorated. She felt it was dangerous to be in high proximities with such pure love for it might make her fall for him again. Priya wished and loved, getting back Karthik, but she felt it was totally unfair. He was not a gadget to use it when necessary and ignore when not needed. She had killed all his feelings. She had committed an irreversible mistake by breaking Karthik’s heart and their relationship. She thought of repaying for it, by moving away from him, from his purest, endless love, which she actually needed the most. She made up her mind not to contact him anymore. She wanted to remain away from him forever. She deleted all her accounts with Social networking sites. She changed her mobile number. She opted for an old model mobile so that Karthik cannot track her through various Apps.
Srini uncle owned a house in Coimbatore. He had been of a very great support to her and her family after the divorce. There were close relatives, but Priya could sense an extra care and affection. It might be because of sympathy, she thought. When she wanted to stay away, Srini uncle suggested Coimbatore, where he Srini owned a house. He convinced Priya that the time of searching a house and a huge sum to be paid as rent might not be there. Once they shifted to Coimbatore, her first motive was to find a job. It was a very small company, where the biggest advancement they made last year was maintaining a portal in which their employees could enter their details. Salary was paid in hand. She never hesitated to be here. In fact, she liked the environment. Her colleagues did not know what EOD, ETA meant, but they were all friendly and nice to her. Her boss still felt that she is over qualified for the job. Priya was not worried about it all. She wanted a job, a decent salary and a good time to keep her mind occupied.
The bus honk distracted Priya’s thought. She hopped in the bus. She was sure the bus was going to take her to office, but she was not sure where her future would take her to.
September 27, Sunday
The most expected weekend had come. Harini was all excited, at the same time tensed. It was planned that Karthik will come early. It was already 10. There was no sign of Karthik’s arrival. Harini’s mother sensed her mood, but to her surprise, did not question. Harini’s father went out for a small work. Harini was tensed, as she was expecting Ashwin and his parents anytime now.
Her mom was casually preparing something in kitchen.
There was a knock in the door. Harini opened the door.
To her surprise it was Karthik, along with Ashwin’s family. She smiled at them and ushered them in.
Harini’s mom came out of the kitchen. She was very happy to see her old neighbor.
“How are you all doing? What a pleasant surprise. “, Harini’s mom inquired.
“We are all doing great. So happy to see you after so many years”, exclaimed Ashwin’s Mom.
All of them were seated now. Harini and Ashwin exchanged blank glances. Harini raised her eyebrows at Karthik. He was casually smiling.
“Where is Mr. Padmanabhan”, asked Ashwin’s dad.
“He has gone out for a small work. How is your health”, asked Harini’s mom.
“I am doing fine. My family is taking good care of me”, Ashwin’s dad smiled. ”lets wait for him” he continued.
“Anything important Sir, I can give him a call and tell that you all are here, so that he can come immediately”, Harini’s mom was about to get up to take her mobile.
“Don’t urge him. Though we are here to discuss an important thing”, replied Ashwin’s mom.
“We can start with it, while Harini’s father is on the way”, Ashwin’s mom told her husband.
Harini’s mom just smiled and waited for them to begin.
The moment of truth is about to begin, Harini thought.
He looked at Karthik, he was signaling her to bring something to drink for them.
“Uncle, Aunty, Shall I make some tea for you. What do you prefer, Tea or Coffee or any hot beverages”, Harini spoke for the first time.
She looked and sounded so homely, Karthik and Ashwin chuckled. She gritted her teeth and went to the kitchen.
Though she was inside Kitchen , her ears were targeted at the conversation in the living room. All that she could hear was murmur and whisperings.
Once she was out with a tray, Karthik hurriedly got back to his chair and Ashwin tugged something inside his pocket.
Harini threw a “What Happened? ” look at Ashwin.
Ashwin shrugged his shoulders, Harini turned towards Karthik. He was just smiling.
While Harini served them with tea and pre-lunch snacks, Ashwin’s mom began the talk.
“Madam, it was only few days back my son expressed his love interest on your daughter”, began Ashwin’s mom.
“Please do not mistake us for encouraging his love , or asking for something odd , all of a sudden.”, continued his father. “when our son told us about his wish to marry your daughter , the first thing that came up to our mind was , whether your daughter was also equally interested and wishing the same. He assured us a ‘Yes’”, Ashwin’s father paused.
Harini was eagerly waiting for him to continue while she saw through the corner of her eyes , that her mom was staring at her.
“Sir, please. I need to talk to my daughter”, interrupted Harini’s mom.
“Harini, what is this? Why can’t you tell me on your own. You expect me to accept something, when you bring elders along with you?”, she was furious.
“Mom, no, please don’t mistake me. It was just that I was not bold enough to tell you all alone. Hence I thought it would be nice, when elders speak formally rather than we opening it up ourselves”.
“Whatever Harini, this is not good, you have to handle your dad now.”
“Madam, I…”, Ashwin’s mom tried to speak, but Harini’s mom cut her short.
“Sorry, I am talking to my daughter. I do not want others to interfere”, Harini’s mom snubbed.
“What is the noise here?”, Harini’s dad entered puzzled by a new car parked outside and several pairs of slippers laid outside.
“They have come to fix your daughter’s wedding”, Harini’s mom kept her face grim.
“What?” asked her Father.
“Yes, please deal with your daughter”, Harini’s mom blurted out in rage.
The next set of words and action startled everybody.
Harini came running to her dad, hugged him and started crying.
“I am so sorry, Appa. Please do not hate me. It was my idea to bring Ashwin’s parents here. I do not want both of you to get into hard feelings because of me. Mom is already furious about my actions. Please don’t hate me Appa. I am so sorry”, she wept.
There was pin drop silence.
Karthik signaled from Ashwin’s back , asking Harini’s father to continue. He was stand still holding his daughter. Karthik whispered into Harini’s mom ears to talk something. Karthik almost lost his patience when he banged his head.
“Come on, Son. Harini weeping to me was not a part of the script at all. Something unexpected had happened. Why are you asking me to continue. I played my part well”, spoke, Harini’s dad.
Karthik was stand still now.
“Yes, Karthik, Sir played his part well, exactly according to script. We are all aged people, don’t demand us to act spontaneously “, Ashwin’s dad supported Harini’s dad.
Karthik sat back in sofa with his hand on his head. Harini looked at him with puzzle.
Ashwin , who was trying hard to control his laughter all this time, broke into a big laugh.Karthik hit him hard.
“Stop it man. You did not teach them how to react”, Ashwin mocked Karthik.
“No, Ashwin. Remember, it was your turn to talk now. You should have acted swiftly “, complained his mom.
“Excuse me, May I know what is going on”, Harini demanded looking at Karthik and Ashwin.
Everybody laughed except Harini. It added fuel to the fire of her rage.
“Karthik, what the heck?”, she demanded.
“Cool, Harini”, her father patted on her shoulders and continued. “Karthik came home last week and told about your love. We were initially disappointed. We told him that we will confirm a couple of days later. In the meantime Karthik had spoken to Ashwin’s parents too. They were initially upset that their son made a choice of his own. After a couple of days, Ashwin’s parent , your mom and I met. We spoke a lot of things. Our opinion, views, etc. Later we decided one thing in unison ’Instead of marrying our child to a stranger, why not to someone who had been a good neighbor to us’. Both the parents knew each other well, years before. We felt it was safe that our son and daughter are getting married to a nice family. We conveyed the same to Karthik. Only then he told about your plan of making us come together this weekend. Karthik thought he could surprise you, by trying to act that as though we are not going to approve it and day after tomorrow, on your birthday, we thought of revealing it.”, Harini’s dad completed.
“Yes. That was our master plan. This guy spoilt it all”, Karthik made face at Ashwin.
“What can I do, I just forgot the dialogue for a few seconds, this lady came in between”, Ashwin shrugged his shoulders, pointing to Harini.
“You were a part too?”, Harini raised her eyebrows.
“Yes, couple of days earlier, this Karthik was talking over phone to someone, ‘ok Aunty, Something something no Aunty, this weekend Aunty’ . I really doubted it should be your mom. When I dialed my mom’s number to talk to her, It was busy. The next moment, Karthik cut the call, the line was through. I used my brain and demanded Karthik. He had to tell the truth and I made him to fit me in his play”, Ashwin grinned.
“Yes. Don’t take special pride in it”, Karthik stared at Ashwin.
Harini still threw a puzzled look at her dad.
“What dear?, do you need me to tell you that we have approved your love?, you did not get it from what I told you”, smiled Harini’s dad.
Harini’s joys knew no bound, she smiled at her dad. She slowly turned towards Karthik and just looked around. Apple, which Ashwin’s parents had brought, caught her eyes, she picked them up and started throwing at Karthik. He started running to escape her hit. Finally, the chase stopped when Harini was tired and she could not manage to run anymore. Harini was heavily panting.
“Why… Kar..thik…”, Harini gasped for breadthe inbetween the words.
“Surprise for my kiddo. She loves surprises. “, Karthik winked.
“But.. ne…ver..li..ke th…is”
“Hmmm, but i was not really sure how well you will be able to withstand any negative reaction from parents. I did not want you to get disappointed or heart broken. But Uncle and Aunty , of both the sides made it much easier for me”, Karthik smiled.
The family had a good time during lunch. Karthik was busy relishing the Potato curry , while Harini’s dad suggested October 28th for engagement and February 1st for wedding. Something struck him and he smiled.
“What was that son?, smiling to yourself?”, asked Ashwin’s dad.
“A small idea uncle. I am not sure how far this will work out, But why can’t we have Aarthi and Ashwin’s engagement on the same day?”
“Oh that’s a great idea. But..”
“Uncle if you are worrying about the hall, dont worry. The one we have booked for Aarthi is twin hall type”
“Karthik, you have to confirm it with your parents too. We just cannot decide ourselves”, Harini’s dad interrupted.
Karthik consulted his dad through phone and they were ok with the dates too.
They could not synch the wedding dates , as Aarthi’s in laws wanted to have the marriage by year end.
The meeting ended on a very happy note. Harini was just few days away from becoming Mrs.Ashwin.
October 3, Saturday – Coimbatore.
Priya was busy working on the excel sheet, entering the previous month details. Her mobile rang. It was from an unknown number. She had not given her new number to any of her old firends. Should be a new person, she thought.
She attended the call. “Hello”.
“Dear, How are you doing “, asked the familiar voice. She almost froze at the voice. How and why is he here? , she thought.
“Priya?”, his voice called out again. She was sure it was him.
“Priya”, he called again.
“Can you please come out of your office?”, he asked.
“Sure , I am coming”, she replied, not able to avoid him. Oh god, why do you always have to testify me, she thought. She did not want to meet him. He might have come to invite her for some function. His daughter in laws baby shower?, his sixtieth birthday?, his second son’s wedding?, she questioned herself. Whatever it was, all of it will just remind her about her bitter life. She would be the odd one out there – Messy and sobbing, Priya thought.
Her uncle, Srivats’ dad was waiting for her.
“Child,are you eating?”
Priya was able reply with her smile only.
“Priya, my second son Srivats is getting married. His engagement is happening on October 28th . You will have to make it”, Uncle smiled.
“Sure uncle”, Priya lied.
“Come child, we will go home. I will drop you, bid your parents a bye and then will leave for Chennai”, Uncle warmly welcomed Priya into his car. She could not avoid. She was about to ask how he got her number, but she was in no mood to build conversation.
As he left , Priya shut the door and cried in her mother’s arm. She wept so hard.
“Priya, do not cry. Let it go. Please dear, if you are not comfortable, we shall not go”, assured her mother.
“Amma, why all this has to happen to me”, she cried loudly.
“Dear, most of the happenings in life will not make sense right at that moment, but sometime later, we will realize that everything had happened for our good”, her mother consoled.
Priya’s mother knew nothing shall console her daughter now. Priya was completely distraught. Her hasty decisions, her dad’s anger towards Karthik, had all led Priya’s life in to a deep sorrow.
Priya cried almost for hours together. She never knew when she slept.
Priya was awakened by the ringing of her mobile phone.
“Hello”, she answered weakly.
“Priya, how are you”, a warm voice asked her.
She thought it was a dream. It was Karthik’s voice. Had she thought about him last night?, she recollected. No, she did not. She stopped thinking about him, for his good. She was not ready to disturb him. In fact she was not ready to disturb anybody.
“Priya”, he called again.
She was still not sure what was happening.
“Hmmm”, she mumbled, as though she was moaning in pain.
“Priya”, he almost shouted. His high pitch startled her.
“Karthik”, she called out. She never knew how the name slipped through her lips.
“Amo, are you ok”, he asked.
No she was not. Both of them knew it. Her eyes were filled with tears. She was fully awake now. She did not want to cry and create a scene.
“Sorry Karthik, I just woke up”, her reply was firm now.
“Good morning then”, Karthik smiled.
She could hear him smile through his warm voice. Does she even have a chance again, to hear it for the rest of her life? , she thought.
“Good morning”, she managed to reply.
“I hope the news had reached you.”
“Er.. Srivats engagement?”
“Yes, uncle invited us”, she replied. She was not sure if her tone conveyed her disinterest.
“You are making it for sure”
“Hmmm”, she mumbled again.
“What?”, Karthik demanded.
She was not sure again, how Karthik got her number.
“Karthik, will call you back”, she fought her tears, to cut the call. What would she explain him? That she is hurt? That she cannot attend any function as it reminds her past? Every breathe she sucks in, hurts her?
“Ok then. Hope to see you soon”, he called out and the line went dead.
Priya rushed into the restroom to refresh herself. Her mom and dad had gone for the temple. It was a usual Sunday morning practice. She was not shocked that they were not around.
As she pat dried her face, she heard the calling bell ring.
As she opened the door, she was shocked to see the person standing at her doorstep.
“I told you right?, that I would see you soon”, Karthik stood there with a smile.
She tried to open her mouth and say something. Her words were caught in her throat.
“No worries, I will come in and make myself comfortable “, Karthik winked as he entered the house.
Priya made coffee for Karthik and they both sat in silence for almost twenty minutes. The only sounds apart from their breathing were the ticking of the clock and the whooshing of the fan.
Priya finally spoke.
“How come you are here? I mean, don’t get me wrong. But how did you find my number, address?”
Karthik smiled and his thoughts went a few days back.
September 14 – few lines from Chapter 11 for continuity
Karthik called Priya’s mom and dad. They did not answer his calls. In another few days, he visited Priya’s house directly. It was locked. Their neighbor had informed that they had relocated to a new place, which they were not aware of.
Karthik took his mobile and dialed the number which he thought; he would not dial for his life time.
“Hello”, answered a stern , familiar voice at the other end.
“Hello, Srini Uncle, this is Karthik. Hope you remember me”, Karthik spoke hesitatingly.
“Tell me, Karthik”, came out the reply.
“Uncle, I met Priya in a wedding. I am now trying to contact her. Her mobile is not reachable. Her parents mobile either. Can you please share her number with me?”
“Karthik, but, Sorry, I do not know”
“No Karthik. I dont know”
“I know you are lying”
The word lie from Karthik wounded Srini. It was as though he was stabbed by a knife. The small lie he told few months back had ruined Priya’s life. Srini had not liked Karthik and rather than expressing his dislike directly, he lied to Priya’s father that Karthik’s family had bad mouthed about Priya’s brought up and character. That lie caused for the break up and many other remorseful events that followed.
“Uncle, you there”, Karthik’s voice startled Srini.
“Yes Karthik”, Srini uncle stammered.
“Uncle, please can I have her number”
“Karthik, ok. I give up. I have her new number, I also know where they are now. But , I cannot share it with you. They did not want to disturb you further”
“Uncle, please listen. I need a big favour from you. I knew Priya’s family was very close to you. I met her again recently in a marriage and came to from her that her life is a choas. I am not assuring I will set it straight. But I am trying to help her. A very small help. She needs it uncle. She is in need of a change badly. Changes which can make her forget her past. It can’t take away all of her mental ailing in a jiffy. But it will help, and for it, I need your help. I know you care for Priya a lot. I know it’s true and I know you will give me her number and address, so that I can help her”
Srini gave Priya’s new number, house address.
“But Karthik, what is that help?”, he asked out of curiosity.
Karthik smiled and replied “Will let you know Uncle, If I succeed in making it happen. Thanks a lot for your help”
“Ok Karthik, take care”, uncle said and the conversation ended.
“Karthik”, Priya waved her hand in front of him , as though she was trying to bring him back to present.
“I contacted Srini Uncle”, Karthik smiled.
Priya nodded , and started gazing at the floor.
“Priya”, Karthik called.
“Hmmm”, she replied, still fixing her gaze.
“Look up”, he demanded.
“No. I am not worth it”
“Stop this worthy nonsense for some time”
Priya was silent.
Karthik moved and sat beside her. She was not sure why was he doing it. She will succumb to his love, she knew it.
“Amo”, he called her and held her hands. She was trembling now.
“Relax, Amo, I am just your Karthik”, he told.
“Don’t call me that way Karthik. I don’t deserve it”, Priya broke into terrible tears, which she had been controlling since she saw him that morning.
Karthik gave her time to cry. He did not disturb her. He waited patiently, until she was done. Tears ran down her eyes or her eyes were running out of tears, Karthik was not sure. She slowly raised her head.
He cupped her face, and studied her slowly. Her eyelashes were wet and stuck to each other. Her eyelids were bulged and it implied a lot of sleepless nights and dreadful days. Her lively eyes were now droopy, demanding for rest and console. She had left him. He was hurt. He had suffered every worst thing because of her departure. But he forgot all his pain now. He could not see her like this. He wanted to console her. He was looking straight into her eyes now.
Priya shut her eyes tight. The remaining few tear drops which were stuck in the corner of her eyes, ran down her cheeks.
“Look at me, Amo”, Karthik almost whispered into her ears.
“Don’t hold me close Karthik. I am not pure enough for that. I don’t deserve that. I left you in pain. I will not allow you to console me when I am in pain, when I left you back to suffer all alone. “
“But you were not happy either. You were undergoing worse things”
“It was my hasty decision. I had to pay for it”
“That’s past. Don’t talk about it”
“Emotions belong to the past, they are reversible. But I had even lost something irreversible. My body, purity, virginity to that guy. It is all gone. “ she was crying again.
Karthik did not expect her to tell something so sensitive. He rushed to close her lips from preventing her to talk further. His lips and fingers fought, as which would reach her lips first. To his surprise and disappointment, his fingers reached first and he gently placed them on her lips.
“Priya, listen. I did not love your body, I did not love you because you were a virgin, I did not love your purity. I just loved you. I just loved My Amo, My Priya, for whom I can do anything. You are here. My Priya is back. It’s my right , in the name of the love we share to console and strengthen her when she needs me”, he paused , still looking into her eyes and continued “the most.”
Priya tried to release her face from his grip. Karthik firmed his grip, locking Priya’s face.
“Don’t do this Karthik. I don’t want this. This is killing me. Bringing you into this is making me feel so sick and cheap of myself. I pulled you into my life again Karthik. I am just trouble and pain to you, nothing more. I don’t want to live this way, with these thoughts. I shall di….”
Once again Karthik wanted to stop her from uttering the dreadful word ‘die’. This time he made sure his lips won. His lips did the job gently at first, firmly and passionately later.
They were not sure how long they were locked, until Priya pulled back, as she gasped for air.
She turned pink, Blush or Anger, Karthik thought. She was crying again. Karthik could see a tiny smile at the end of the lips which he freed few seconds back.
Priya hugged him tight.
“Priya, my love, I know it is not simple. You have got a chance to be out of the misery and out of a potentially ruined life, feel happy for that.
It had been painful for you to meet relatives at social gatherings. They end up asking,Where is your husband? What happened to your life?
But you have to put on a brave face and tell yourself that you could not stop meeting the numerous people who loved you because of one worthless person from your past. People will pinch you on the same sore again, but move on.
You have to discover that unless you stopped suffocating yourself, the society would not. Once you start accepting and respecting your choices, the universe will accept and cooperate as well. I don’t encourage divorce. I just feel that if you have found your reason to opt out of married life, don’t be afraid. The fault was never on you but in the family, you unfortunately, became a member of.
You survived the wound. You will survive the healing as well.
I know my Amo is brave, she will not hide under covers anymore. She will come out, not just for herself, but for her”, Karthik held her hand now, “but for her Karthik, at least”, he finished and smiled.
She felt refreshed within. Of course she was not completely transformed, but she felt she will accept his words.
Karthik was about to leave when Priya’s parents came. He greeted them and left her home. As Karthik left, she closed the door, ran to her room and picked up two sarees.
She came running to her mom and asked “Out of these two what shall I wear for Srivats’ engagement?”
Her mom was not sure which saree to select, but she was sure that her daughter was happy like never before in the past few months. She was happy too. Priya’s father did not miss to see the change in her daughter.
The Denial – Priya touched those words which she had written just few minutes before.
She slowly turned the paper, to re-read what she had written.
The best thing that happened to me was you.
The worst thing that happened to you was what I did to you.
I never forgot it, but forgave me so quickly.
So gently, so warmly, so passionately, you continued to love me,
As though nothing had happened to you because of me,
As though i had not done anything to you.
You brought your love back, to bring me back to life.
I denied you, to show you how strong and peaceful I would be, without you.
But, you accepted my denial, pateintly, just to save your love.
I accepted his denial, quietly, just to save my life.
I denied you to show even pure love needs praticality.
You came again and gave so much love; it’s my turn again, to prove that
What goes around comes back.
Give me a chance, to give you love and get my life back.
Give me a chance again, to love you like I have never loved before
Give me a chance again, to live my life back.
This is not a plea, not a love request– to deny.
This is just a heart’s note, not to deny, but just to read.
You can take it, or accept it, or even deny it.
Cause denial is not new, to both of us.
I was fortunate to be loved by the same one, whom I denied.
I will strive, every second, to love you more,
I will strive, every second, to give you only happiness,
I will strive, every minute, every second, every fraction of second,
To make you feel fortunate for not denying this ‘Denial’ note
She folded the paper, in which she had unfolded her heart.
It was wierd, how difficult it was for her, for telling her love, the second time though. She thought of just handing it over to Karthik when she meets him for the function. She decided not to be there when he reads it.
The engagement hall was completely filled guests and happiness. Karthik was busy running , as he had to balance both the pairs. There were a lot of common friends. It was almost 6 o clock. Karthik never missed to search for Priya in the crowd.
Karthik was now beside Aarthi, when he finally spotted Priya. He could tell that amidst the crowd and distance because she was wearing a beautiful peacock blue saree, which Karthik had gifted for one of her Birthday.
He was so happy to see her. He waved to her from the dais. She smiled back at him. Aarthi winked at Karthik and punched in his arm. He signaled her to sit down. She took a corner seat and saw the happenings, without being able to mingle with the crowd.
Friends and cousins were waiting for the rigid priest to complete all his rituals. He did not want any friends to shake hands or give bouquet before he completed his rituals.
The moment lagna patrika was read and both the parents signed in it, the bride and groom were asked to exchange rings. Karthik and his friends had ordered two big cakes. For the exchange of ring alone, Karthik changed the dais arrangement as he wanted to be with both the pairs.
The newly engaged couples exchanged the rings and friends immediately started spraying the snow flake spray and other glitters. Karthik came running to Priya, held her hand tight and pulled her to dais. She first hesitated, but could not win over Karthik.
The cheer, sounds of the friends and cousins was a wonderful fun. The moment was so joyous.
The hall was filled with smile. It was there in everybody’s face.
Cake cutting was the best part. Harini’s Groom was very strict not to waste the cake, by trying to apply the same on faces, as it was strictly ordered for eating purposes only.
Parents were asked just to sit back and enjoy.
One of the friends turned on some peppy numbers and everybody started moving their hands and feet.
Harini shouted on top of her lungs to Karthik “Thank you” , Karthik smiled back and touched her head. Nevertheless to say, he did look like a proud father.
All through the happening, Karthik never let go Priya’s hands. The couples also joined few friends who were dancing now. All the elders wondered how come an engagement suddenly turned into a Sangeet ceremony.
Priya was wondering when she would get a chance to meet Karthik in private to hand over her note.
As the stage was busy bustling, Priya was dragged by Karthik to terrace.
Karthik thought Priya would ask him why, but she did not, to his surprise.
As they reached the top, Priya thought this was a nice chance. Without any further delay, she parted her lips and started ,
“I have a surprise note for you” , and to her surprise, Karthik and Priya uttered the same words in unison.
Priya was not sure how to react. What was he about to give her. A love note like her’s? No he is a better person, she thought. Or his engagement or wedding invite, her stomach churned at the mere thought.
“Amo” , Karthik shook Priya.
“Yes”, she returned to the real world.
“Tell me Amo, what you have for me”
“No Karthik, you tell it first”
“Hmm, ok that sounds better, because you will feel really happy after seeing it” , he said and took a letter from his pocket and handed it over to her.
The five letter in bright blue in the outside cover, shook her for a second.
The five letter word was “INTEL”
She looked at Karthik.
“Go ahead, and open”, he smiled.
As Priya opened the letter, the first thing that caught her attention was the From.
It read as follows.
VP, HR & Director, Human Resources Enterprise Services Intel,
Global Staffing, Intel Learning and Development and HR Operations,
2200 Mission College Blvd,
Santa Clara, CA 95054-1549
She had tears as she read the rest of the letter. Her aim for her lifetime, her aim to join Intel, Karthik had brought it in real for her now.
She wanted him now, but he wanted her to achieve more.
“Karthik”, she fumbled for words.
“Karthik, but how ”, she asked.
Karthik smiled and replied, “Before I met you in Coimbatore , I met your mom and got your marksheets, previous experience certificate and for a safer side your GRE Score card too. The research analyst opening was in fall season only. I thought this was the right time. I started with the procedures and this was what I got as a reply”, Karthik pointed to the letter in Priya’s hands.
“But all this through my mail?”, she wondered.
“Remember, in college, when you gave my email Account as back up?, I tried emailing the password to your back up email. Luckily you had not changed it. The new password came to my mail and the rest followed”, he smiled.
“You took so many steps”, Priya was dumbstruck.
“Yes, just for my Amo, my love. She needed a change. She was in need of it badly. “
“This is something incredible”, Priya replied. Tears rolled down her cheeks. She was not sure whether she should be sad or happy. If she had to pursue her aim, she cannot be with him. The thought troubled her.
“I know what’s going on in your mind. Don’t worry. I will not leave you at complete peace by moving away from you. I will definitely come to you , my love.” ,Karthik winked at his sarcasm and Priya made a grim face. Karthik continued now, “I am not sure how long it might take. But wherever you are, however you are. I will come for you, in search of you, because I can find love only in you and you can find true love only in me. When you held my hands, on the day I proposed you, I knew it was for a lifetime. You are mine and I am yours. Nothing can separate us. We need both of us to survive. But before all that, what you need now is a change. You need a break. Go, live your life, the way you want it. Be your master, be your own slave. Enjoy the air of freedom. You are now not bound to anything. But just to your aim. Go ahead, have fun. It is time to flutter your wings and explore the great heights. Do not worry, how high you fly, I will catch up one day. One day. ”, Karthik stressed on the last two words and smiled.
Priya stood there frozen, not knowing what to say or do. She was about to ask about her parents, as where would they live. But she thought it was now her responsibility to give a good place to live. She cannot burden Karthik more.
“I have arranged a house in my apartment for your parents. Your parents and mine will be staying in adjacent flats, so that they could be mutually supportive and helpful”
“You even thought about it and acted on it already?”, Priya was astonished. Karthik just smiled.
Ashwin’s parents have also planned to move near to Karthik’s house. Everything was settled
“Hey, by the way, you told me you have something?”, Karthik asked.
It is not the right time, Priya thought. She tucked the note in her hand bag and she pretended as though she forgot what was she about to tell.
“That’s fine. Leave it. It’s time to get all packed up.”, Karthik told her as he urged her into the hall for dinner.
Priya looked at him, his face and slowly shifted her gaze from his forehead to his chin and thought, angels never come in white lace gown with a magic wand in hand. Sometimes life guardian angels do have un-shaven moustache and beard. She boarded the cab which took her to Coimbatore.
As priya packed her things, she took the Denial note placed it carefully between the folds of her blue saree which she wore on engagement. Priya planned to take the road which Karthik just showed her , with so many questions and one belief, that Time will answer her questions.
After one and half years – Santa Clara, California.
Karthik was busy getting ready to leave his office. When Harini and Aarthi were happily married and parents were also at peace, his company had offered him an onsite opportunity. To his surprise, it was also in Santa Clara where Priya was currently working. Nevertheless to say, they both chose to share the same apartment.
“I am already home”, spoke Priya, who had called to check whether Karthik had left. He swiftly wound up things and left home. He made a quick move to his apartment and knocked the door gently. He hugged her tight as she opened the door. “Happy birthday sweetheart”.
She was fully ready for the dinner. She wore the same peacock blue saree which Karthik had gifted her. He slowly removed the box from his jerkin pocket and gently hooked the chain behind Priya’s neck. His warm breathe against the cold night, made Priya go crazy. As he hooked the chain, she slowly leant back to rest her head on his shoulders. He carefully stepped back, as she turned to him in disappointment.
“No Priya, its highly difficult for me to control my emotions when you are so close”
Priya sighed. Karthik had an agreement, that until they express the love for each other and get married, they would just be good friends. Priya did not have the guts, still, to tell her love. The denial note was still safe with Priya. Karthik was sure, not to force her until she tells him. The same is still being continued. They returned home after dinner and Karthik took the couch and Priya took the bed to sleep.
Karthik woke up and saw the time. It was 6.30 AM. To his surprise he was sleeping in Priya’s bed. He wondered how he got to her bed. She was sleeping beautifully beside him. Few of her hair strands fell on his face. She was so close to him. Her chest was against his arm. Her chest raised and sunk rhythmically , according to her breathing pattern. His heart skipped a beat as he saw her beautiful plump pink lips. He touched it. She responded by moving further closer to him. He could not resist himself, he thought of throwing away all his rigid conditions and lose himself in her love and beauty. He decided to kiss her as his first move. He brought his lips together to reach hers, he lifted his head, she was so close, yet her lips were so far. He continued to raise his head, when he felt rain drops falling on his face. He startled and opened his eyes, he saw Priya standing there, in her formal attire, with a glass of water in her hand.
“Whom are you trying to kiss in your dream”, she demanded. Karthik smiled and winked at her.
“Anyways, its time baby”, she showed her watch. Karthik slowly slide the window glass to see the morning sun. It was beautiful, such was his dream too.
He smiled at his journey of thoughts, how it all started with a dream about a wicked witch hitting him and ended with a beautiful angel, smiling at him. He stretched his arms and arched his body wondering when it will turn real. The Denial note, which slipped under the table when Priya took out her saree yesterday, was now, busy flapping its edges there in the corner. It had all the answers in store.