Sakhi's Laghukatha

Posts Tagged ‘romance

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It was one of those busy days at ER – Two MIs, one stroke and innumerable other patients. Peach was extremely tired and was looking at the clock for her shift to end and praying that there will not be any more cases. But as luck would have it, another case came in just as she was about to leave. She rolled her eyes and rushed to see her new patient.

There sat a very handsome man, with disheveled hair and visibly in pain. “Tall, dark and handsome”, Peach mentally noted and smiled to herself. It looked like he had fracture of the great toe with history of his heavy camera equipment falling on his foot. As she prepared his papers to be transferred to the relevant department and gave him some pain killers for immediate pain relief, she kept talking to him softly, explaining him the procedure and the next steps. As the drug effect started doing its magic, Joel started to take his surroundings in. He felt grateful to Peach and thanked her profusely as he was wheeled away to get his X-ray done. He was disappointed when he learned that he would next be consulted by an orthopedician and not by Peach.

Once home, Peach had hot dinner that her house help had prepared and flopped on the bed. She went into deep, dreamless sleep immediately. Next few days were as good or as bad as always. ER can be a maddening place. Peach was thinking of asking the hospital superintendent to shift her to some other ward. She mentally created a check list to be referred to later. As she cerebrally checked her list, she thought she saw Joel again, this time holding his tummy. She had to look again to check if she was dreaming. He came in a wheel chair as his foot still hurt and now, he was complaining of severe abdominal pain with diarrhea. He gave all the details of his medical condition and gave Peach a wide grin. Peach smile back, with a little confusion on her face. If he was so much in pain, why was he smiling as if he was a child in a candy store! Routine procedure followed, forms filled up and Joel sent for further work up out of ER. Next week, this happened again. This time Joel came up with sleeplessness and severe headache. Peach almost rolled her eyes at her patient but was cordial enough to do the needful.

Peach’s shift ended and she was dying to tell her best friend about this cute guy who kept coming to ER. She knew from his reports that Joel did not have any medical problem, except for the fracture for which he came for the first time! Peach and her friend giggled over dinner and Peach was teased endlessly. They felt that this was not the end of it and their feminine instincts came true. Joel appeared again, this time with complains of “heart ache” and Peach could not help but laugh at his dramatic presentation.

“You are getting creative”, said Peach to Joel in a teasing voice.

“Can’t help it. This is the only way to see you.”

“You mean you were faking all this while?” asked peach in mock horror.

He grinned sheepishly.

“Will you see me for coffee sometime?”

“Are you asking me out for a date?” she smile cutely

“Well, if you have an objection to that, let’s say I want to know you better, be friends. So, coffee?”

“Hmn… okay.”

“Saturday, 4 pm, Starbucks?”

“I work on Saturdays. Sunday?”

He thought for just a split second, mentally calculating something and said, “Done”.

“Do you still have heart ache? Shall I get the nurse to prepare for ECG?” winked Peach

With a loud laughter he excused himself out of ER. “Not very subtle,” thought Peach with a smile and rolling eyes at the same time. The nurse raised her eyebrows and asked her with a gesture, what was that about. Peach just shook her head and went about her work for the remaining of the evening. ER did not seem as busy after all.

One coffee meet led to another. Joel got to know Dr. Prachi was known by Peach among her friends and he loved the name. She was cute and chubby and super soft at heart, hence the name. He totally agreed! Both were busy professionals but took time out for each other. Joel traveled a lot for his photo shoots and Peach has weird working hours at the hospital. Peach made him laugh with her quirky medical stories and he loved listening to her. She brought the humane angle in his life that he felt lacked in his kind of work. He would not share too many details about his work with her but will not forget to video call her even if he had only a few minutes to spare or to ask for her picture just to see her or simply send a hello. When they met, which was not so often, it was magical.

It was almost a year that Joel had fractured his big toe. It was amazing how Peach had filled his life with colours and laughter and happiness. He wanted to take this relationship to the next level. Though they had pecked each other or held hands sometimes, Joel wanted more, and he had seen in Peach’s eyes that she wanted it too. Joel surprised her with flight tickets for a short get away with him during his shoot at Sri Lanka in a month’s time. He hoped that he had not read her emotions wrongly. She smiled, blushing profusely and letting him know that she will check if she can get her leaves cleared. Joel breathed with relief, he did not even realize that he was holding his breath.

As the time of going to Sri Lanka neared, their chats got spicier. All these talks made Peach to think about her body. She stood in front of the mirror and found innumerable faults with herself. She was always on the chubbier side, not so sexy with the current definition of the body sizes and right now those love-handles did not look flattering at all. She was used to looking at imperfections in her daily work and knew that there is nothing called as a perfect body, but she also knew that in Joel’s line of work he met the most beautiful, chiseled, lithe ladies every day. Even if there was so much as an extra blemish, he would remove it in post-production of the shoot and here she was having ugly stretch marks. She tried to reason with herself – he loved her and that’s what matters the most, but at the back of her mind there was this growing storm that wanted to seize her sanity. She thought about Joel and he came across as “tall, dark and handsome” just as she remembered him from when she first saw him. Suddenly, she started feeling that she was not a match for him at all, not the way they looked together. They might be great as friends and even something more but definitely not as physical partners, she cannot match his league.

Just a couple of days before they were supposed to leave for their first holidays together, Peach broke off with Joel.

Joel did not know what hit him. Well, neither did Peach!

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Eva picked up her phone to check the notification. She had a “match”, again! She opened the profile and saw smiling face of Zeus with some impressive credentials. She was pleased. Though this was not her first match, she was new to this online dating game. Her best friend Maddy was after her life to “get a life” and downloaded this app. She even created Eva’s profile. Eva was not averse to dating but even though she was a millennial, born and brought up in a metro city, online dating was something that she did not fathom or trusted. Maddy would not listen to her, however and got her on Tinder. After swiping on Tinder for weeks she got around 4 matches. Nice men but they were all looking for casual affairs, nothing serious. Though it is generally understood that Tinder is for flings, Eva still wanted something more. She did not connect with any of them and so conversations died after one or two chats. Eva was already bored, and she had swiped right for Zeus as one last try.

Their conversation started with a simple hi and Eva soon realized Zeus was as skeptical of online dating as she was and that gave her some comfort. The chats that had started tentatively went on to become full blown colloquies with varied topics from environment preservation to current affairs to discrimination against LGBTQ to Bollywood movies… they would discuss anything under the Sun. Zeus had a match in Eva and Eva could not believe that she found such a friend on Tinder. She had started liking Zeus a lot. He was funny, sharp, sensitive (sometime, a little too sensitive for Eva’s taste!) and caring. Everything that she wanted in a partner. He had a stable job and basically seemed like a right person for her. What she liked best in him was that he understood her perfectly – her passion for art, sensitivity towards animals, her silly dream of becoming a PM one day – everything. She was a total extrovert and he was a complete introvert (or so he claimed!). They complemented each other, like Ying & Yang. After online tête-à-tête for about 6 months, they thought of meeting in person at least once. Actually, it was Eva’s idea. Zeus was a little reluctant, but Eva did not leave him much choice.

As they both were from different parts of the country and decided to meet at a neutral place – Jaipur. Eva proposed this place as she thought it reflected her personality; vibrant, colourful and chaotic. Zeus laughed at the comparison. There was still a month before they would be able to see each other in person. Eva could not contain her excitement, but Zeus was getting silent by the day. Eva did not perceive this change, but their discussions were getting shorter. One month passed in a flash for Eva – D day arrived. Eva kept pinging Zeus till she boarded the flight and he kept sending back emoticons with various expressions. There was a bounce in Eva’s stride and had a big grin on her cherubic face. It was matter of a couple of hours before she would be able to see Zeus, hug him, hold him tight. The thought of being with Zeus filled her with unknown anticipation and exhilaration.

As she exited the arrival gate, she looked around for Zeus and found him waiting for her. He had landed a couple of hours earlier. She dashed towards him and hugged him tight. Zeus was taken aback with this sudden and uninhibited expression of excitement. He pushed her back, held her at arm’s length and smiled. Eva was so excited that she did not notice Zeus pale face when she tipped on her toes to kiss him on his cheek. Zeus went speechless looking at Eva. She was even more beautiful up close. Her long black curly hair were pulled up in a top bun, flashing dragon tattoo at the nape of her neck, with just a few strands escaping from the sides framing her delicate face. He had always liked her dimpled smile, but today, it was wreaking havoc within him. She had done her eyes with charcoal black liner which accentuated her perfectly shaped eyes. Her smell was enticing. She was a total bohemian and carried herself with that air of self-assurance and free spirit. Eva was chattering away, as she always did – whether it was on chat or video calls. Zeus, however, was subdued. It was as if cat got his tongue. He was totally in awe of Eva. She was holding his hand as if they knew each other forever. Well, they did know each other for a while but Zeus was flummoxed at Eva’s wanton behavior. She was oblivious to Zeus’s reaction. She was just very ecstatic to be with her bae.

As they arrived at the hotel, Eva was surprised that Zeus had booked separate rooms for them. She was a little disappointed but pleased at the same time that Zeus was thinking beyond sex and really wanted to spend time with her, to know her better. As for love making, she would manage it; she thought mind-winking to herself! Two days flew by with lot of sightseeing, roadside eating, shopping, selfies, and late-night discussions. To Eva’s surprise and annoyance, Zeus thwarted her carnal advances politely but firmly. Eva was still elated about their rendezvous, but something was different with Zeus. He was unable to accept bohemian Eva; her zeal for life, infectious uninhibited laughter, her promiscuity. This is what he loved in her, and yet!

At the airport, Eva bid a teary goodbye to Zeus with the promise to ping as soon as she landed. Zeus too hugged her tight and pecked on her forehead surprising Eva. Both parted ways to go to their respective gates; Eva turning back every few steps and Zeus walking away straight.

Eva never got to know why Zeus blocked her on all the social media platforms once they were back from the Jaipur trip, why was she ghosted!! Well, even Zeus did not know the reason; was the very nature of Eva that he loved so much was too much for him to handle?

****

Disclaimer: Use of “Tinder” is only to make story contemporary. Author does not personally promote use of any online platform, including “Tinder”.

Proposal

Posted on: August 28, 2019

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Kshitij fiddled with his iPhone in nervousness. It was more than 10 years that he had last seen her in person. They have been in touch on and off through Facebook and WhatsApp, but he had never really expressed his feelings to her. He did not even know whether she considered him as one of her many online friends or just an acquaintance from past. Definitely, he was not on her radar!

Kshitij smiled at the memory of much younger himself waiting for her almost every morning to enter their office together. She did not have any inkling, he guessed, of his fluttering heart; she would give her cursory, cute smile and walk off or have a small chat but nothing much. This was the ritual for all the five years that they worked together. He could never garner any nerve to ever express his amorous dispositions. He tried once, feebly, which he now doubted if she even realized to be a proposal. He remembered her hearty laugh, sweeping the whole conversation aside like a pro who is used to such flirting in her everyday life. Contrary to his expectations, neither she acknowledged it nor harbored any ill feelings. Time passed, and they went their own ways as their respective careers took them to different companies and cities.

He tried to keep in touch with her with social media coming in handy. She was always friendly and nonchalant about their conversations. Catching up with her, once in a while, was like a breath of fresh air for Kshitij. Social media had its boons and bane. Looking at her changing DPs or the life updates from time to time was making it more and more difficult for him to forget her. Of course, he could just decide not to follow her or block her for his own sanity, but he could not do the obvious!

In these 10 years, both had grown in their respective careers and had families of their own. He loved his wife and son to a tee but there was this unexplainable void deep down in Kshitij’s heart that wanted him to reach out to her and at least let her know once what he felt for her. As age was catching up, he was getting increasingly jittery. He needed to get this weight off his chest. He was well aware that this confession was not going to get him anywhere. For all he knew, she would completely cut him off.

So that was it… he was going to do it… propose… via WhatsApp!!!

***

10 pm, Friday

Kshitij: Hi

Her: Hey, hi… what’s up? 😊 Been a while!

Kshitij: yeah… how are you?

Her: goooood… as always 😊

Kshitij: You still with A&Z?

Her: yeah… and you?

Kshitij: M&B

Her: Cool… so, what’s new? Howz life?

Kshitij: I wanted to tell you something

Her: shoot

Kshitij: I always wanted to propose to you… ever since we first met

Silence…

Kshitij: Hello?

Her: Are you out of your mind? What are you saying?

Kshitij: Nothing, sorry to have bothered you

Silence again…

***

That night Kshitij did not sleep well. He did not know what to expect. Or maybe this was exactly what he expected. He kept checking his phone to see if she was online or if she sent any messages.

Nothing…

It was 3 am and he dozed off.

Morning came with a brooding mood. Kshitij did not want to wait for something that was not going to happen. He did what he wanted to do, and he was contented about it. Although thought of now never going to be able to talk to her was killing him. Life goes on, thought Kshitij and went about his daily routine albeit with a heavy heart.

Two days later there popped a message on his mobile…

Her: Want to talk. Video call tonight at 10?

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Disclaimer: Use of “iPhone”, “WhatsApp” & “Facebook” has been done only to make story contemporary. Author does not support or promote any of these personally.

Flaw

Posted on: August 14, 2014

fiction_stamp Dhri was not happy to leave her friends behind in Bangalore. She did not like that she had to leave her favourite school too. She loved the house and her room, not to mention cuddling up in her bunk bed. She belonged there.Though she never told anyone, she would miss Ryan too. Her friend, her soul mate. How will she be able to survive without seeing Ryan everyday. Of course, Facetime and Skype will help but it will not be the same. Sigh. 

 Everyday she was told about how good the new school would be and how great the new residence was. She was told about this new city, the city that never slept! Mumbai, city of dreams!! It sounded more like a nightmare. Though all were trying to perk her mood up, there was no way that she would feel excited about this new development. But she was 16 and she had to comply to her parents wish of shifting base to Mumbai. She looked like a little girl when she boarded plane with tears in her eyes and pouting. She kept staring out of the window, tears streaming down her face, throughout the flight. It was as if her world was crumbling around her.

Blue tarpauline lined slum houses and littered roads, continuous honking and traffic snarls of Mumbai dampened Dhri’s spirits even further. Affluent ambiance, perfectly trimmed Mehndi shrubs, evenly spaced trees, landscaped garden, swimming pool and cheering children on their bicycles at her new housing society did not do much to lift her mood. New abode was as good as her Bangalore one, if not better. It seemed to Dhri that nothing, nothing can ever make her happy now that she was uprooted.

Days passed and Dhri’s family started liking their new place. Her brother made new friends and both her parents started settling down at their new work place too. Neighbours were quite helpful and welcoming. Only Dhri resisted being happy. She still sulked and did everything to show how unhappy she was at every opportunity she got. School was still closed for summer vacation so there was no way to make new friends unless she ventured out of her new apartment, which she did not! She just wanted to show her parents how they had ruined her life by getting her away from her comfortable and contended life. It was working in part as her parents were now getting worried looking at their once happy-go-lucky daughter brooding for days. No amount of pacifying or reasoning seemed to work and one day Dhri’s father lost his cool. He admonished Dhri for her irrational behaviour.

That night Dhri cried herself to sleep. It was not even midnight when a sudden noise in her room startled Dhri and she woke up with a start. It took time for her vision to adjust to darkness. She thought she saw a shadow near her french window and she shrieked. Sweat beads broke out on her forehead and she struggled under the grip of the shadow who was now trying to stop her from screaming. As her effort to free herself reduced, she realized that the shadow was trying to talk to her. She stopped fighting. The shadow released her and it turned out that he was a young lad and a very handsome one at that! Fear went out of Dhri’s being, she kept staring at him. He was saying something to her but Dhri was lost. She blinked her eyes and he was gone. Dhri could not believe her eyes. She wanted to run to her parents but decided against it thinking she might have had a nightmare. She tried sleeping again but it eluded her that night.

Next night she tried staying awake to see if what happened the previous night was really a dream or not, but dozed off. A light shake woke her up. The shadow was there, looking down at her, smiling. Dhri, disoriented, looked around. She was indeed at her own home and this guy was in her room, smiling! Confused, she smiled back. His name was Hrim and apparently, he saw her everyday mopping around the house and just felt like meeting her. He liked her and wanted to talk to her. He was of her own age and was a neighbour. If that was the case, why he did not come and meet her like a regular visitor, she asked. He guffawed. Dhri liked the sound of his laughter and she smiled, a wary smile still, too. He started talking to her like he was her childhood friend and they always knew each other. Dhri warmed up to this cute chap and it was beginning of a new friendship. They talked and talked and Dhri slept off somewhere near dawn. When she got up she had a smile on her face. She felt good and light. After ages she hummed a song as she went to shower. Everyday she waited for the night to fall, waited for Hrim. They loved talking, shared their dreams and fears, teased each other and fought too. Her scowl had transformed into a happy, silly grin and it did not go unnoticed. Her parents were happy that finally their daughter had accepted the change and was being herself again. Again she was irritating elder sister, loving daughter and generally a happy teen. She was herself!

Hrim came to meet Dhri every night, which went on for a few weeks. One night as they were engaged in their usual banter, there was a knock on the door. Dhri was surprised since everyone was supposed to be asleep. Were they too loud? What will they say if they saw Hrim in her room at this hour? She looked at Hrim and he just smiled and nodded for her to open the door. Her parents rushed inside the room and looked worried. They demanded to know what was going on and whom was she talking to and laughing with. Dhri looked over her shoulder and saw Hrim had vanished. She smiled at her friend’s quick reflexes. “No one”, she replied and kept her naughty smile in check. Her mother gave anxious look before leaving her alone and asked her not to lock the door. Hrim did not come for a couple of days, rather nights, and Dhri realized how much she was missing him. It had not occurred to her to ask for his mobile number neither had he asked hers. She did not even know, if he was her neighbour, which was his apartment. She cursed herself for being so stupid. Now, there was no other choice but to wait for him to come over. There was no way she can contact him. Hrim came over on the third day, as usual, with his trademark smile intact. Dhri giggled with joy but took care to keep her voice low. They got lost in their repartee. Opening of her bedroom door startled Dhri. She rushed to her fuming parents to pacify them. She was sure that this time Hrim did not have enough time to escape. Her father pushed her aside, rushed to the balcony beyond the french window for he was sure that whomever Dhri was talking to had to be there. To their utter disbelief there was no one. Dhri was happy that Hrim had pulled off the disappearance act again but this time her parents did not let her off the hook. They goaded her and after a while Dhri spilled the beans. They looked at each other in bewilderment and with incredulity at their 16 year old.

How was this possible, their home was on 26th floor?!

हम हमेशा नाकामयाब रहे; पहले उन्हें समझने में, फिर अपने आप को उन्हें समझाने में ~सखी

“I loved him with all my heart, for years
Then one day I started loving myself too
And we separated!!”

~ Sakhi

Kesar peered at Tanish from behind her glasses. Every time he passed by her cubicle, her heart went into a somersault. She sighed!!

 “When will he notice me?” she thought. Love

She looked around her to check if anyone saw her ogling her boss and the effect he had on her. Every one was busy with work. She sighed again in relief and tried to concentrate on the rows and columns filled with numbers. Soon she forgot all about Tanish as she dived in balance sheets. She was the topper in university exams and loved playing with numbers. Since the day she joined A & A Fashion house as a trainee she was smitten by Tanish.

She tried hard not to show but it was difficult to turn a blind eye to her blushes. Tanish could see her puppy love for him and felt amused. She was cute, bubbly and a geek. He liked her name too… Kesar, saffron!! She was not beautiful in the conventional way but looked extremely attractive with her short cropped hair, a nose ring and black squarish glasses. She stood out with Kohl lined eyes, denims, long khadi kurtas, dangling earrings and floaters. But what caught his attention more was her youthful exuberance. Yet, he was acutely aware of the age difference between them. She was at least a decade younger to him, not that it would matter. But he was convinced that he was not romantic type, whatever that meant!

As the days passed Kesar got more opportunities to know Tanish. He was a tolerant boss and commanded respect. When late nights were inevitable at the office, he changed from hard, critical boss to understanding witty colleague. She noticed his exceptional managerial skills. She also noticed that though he was friendly with one and all, he never crossed limits and never allowed anyone else to enter his personal space. He kept people at bay without offending them. She was happy to know these tit-bits about him. She wanted to know more, much more. But this has to do, at least for now!

It was getting increasingly difficult for Tanish to work with Kesar without a stir of emotions. It was as if he was in his teens again. He loved her laughter, which he could not hear but see through the partition glass when she was engaged in some animated chatter with one of her colleagues. His heart would melt seeing her smile when she caught him staring at her through the glass panel. He would blush and feel embarrassed. He didn’t like when she was away.

Tanish tried to hide his feelings as did Kesar but it was as evident as sunlight. Only the two of them were blind and thought others were too! Love was in the air and it was palpable.

Valentine’s Day was around the corner and people were busy preparing for the office party for the V-day, as was the trend in A & A Fashion house since long. Tanish was in a dilemma whether to propose to Kesar or let the things be for some more time. But he decided to buy Kesar a gift, something he hadn’t done for anyone since he broke up with his first and last girlfriend when he was fifteen! He bought her an exquisite, hand embroidered maroon khadi silk kurta. He visualized her in it and was pleased at his selection. He knew she would look absolutely lovely in it. Now he just has to gather some courage to present it to her!

Finally, it was V-Day and Tanish got cold feet. He tried everything to avoid Kesar the whole day. He found a bouquet of red roses on his table when he came back from his so-called meeting. He knew it had to be Kesar, as no one in last 10 years had ever presented anything to him. He smiled in spite of himself. The silly grin was stuck on his face for long. He looked lovingly at the bouquet as he laid it on his bed while getting ready for the V-Day office party and smiled again. Suddenly he wanted to run to Kesar and hug her tight.

His eyes searched for Kesar amongst the crowd but she was nowhere to be seen. He waited for her but in vain. It was close to midnight, he realized she would not come. Suddenly the party looked drab. He wanted to call her but restrained himself thinking it might not be appropriate. He sighed and left the party early feeling dejected. As he approached his car he saw a lonely figure sitting on the bonnet. He strained his eyes and was shocked. On seeing him Kesar jumped down and ran towards him almost hugging him but checked herself just in time. She presented him with a big (though not as big as her smile!), heart shaped balloon and a small packet which contained Montblanc pen. He was so surprised to see her there, waiting for him that he went speechless.

“Happy Valentine’s Day!” she chirped. Her exuberance was contagious and a small smile returned to Tanish’s lips. He remembered his own gift for her and handed over the packet to her.

“Happy Valentine’s Day to you too!” he said shyly. Unlike him she didn’t wait to open her gift and tore away the wrapping paper. She squeaked in delight at seeing the kurta and this time she didn’t restrain herself, she hugged him! Tanish’s arms went around her too. She felt so perfect in his embrace.

They smiled and looked into each other’s eyes as if asking, “What took you so long?” Hand in hand they walked towards his car and drove off into the moonlit night.

*****

I am asked time and again why my characters have romantic (!) feelings for the persons other than their spouces or partners. So I thought I should give my characters some chance to feel pure, sweet, unadulterated  romance. What better time than V-month. Please bear with me if you find it too mushy. But as I said earlier… love is in the air! 🙂  🙂

Wish you all a very Happy Valentine’s Day (Belated!!).

Loads of love,

Sakhi


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Sakhi's Laghukatha by Sakhi (aka Dr. Dhara Shah) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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