Happy Anniversary My Love…

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Our tenth anniversary was coming up. I wanted to do something different this time, because getting more dresses and ties were just becoming too boring. We had always wanted our marriage to not fall in the boring category. So we made it a priority to take time to spend with each other in spite of our busy working schedules. We tried new activities together or learnt something new to bring into our marriage. Marriage is after all companionship for the long run right?So why have we fallen into the boring gift giving category. Yes this time I am going to write a letter I thought. Though I tell him most of the time with my actions and words that I love him, there is nothing like writing a hand written letter isn’t it?

First I enlisted five of his colleagues to give five different notes on five different days:-

Friend one:- “You have an ardent admirer. Can you guess who?”
Friend two:- “I love the way you smile and you turn me on.”
Friend three:- “You are my sexy man.”
Friend four:- “You are my number one.”
Friend five:- “You and me forever. What do you say?”

Day one:- He came home smiling when he entered the room and put his arms around me and kissed me on my neck.

“I know who my ardent admirer is.” He said laughing throatily.

“What are you talking about? Ardent admirer .” I said not wanting to give in.

“It was you wasn’t it?”

I turned around looking him straight in the eye. “What are you talking about?”

Come on. Don’t act. You know you can’t keep any secrets from me.

I really don’t understand. You have an ardent admirer?

He pulled out the paper and showed it to me.

I asked him angrily “So who is it? Someone in your office gave it and you are coming and asking me? Tell who ever is admiring you that you are married.” I snorted and walked away from him pretending to be angry.

I just couldn’t suppress my giggles that I ran into the bathroom and opened the tap to prevent him from hearing my laugh. “Gosh this is indeed fun.”

I could see the bewildered face on my poor Aakash. But I had four more days to go and I needed to zip my mouth until then because it was true that I could never hide anything from him.

Day two:- I begged my husband’s colleague to not tell him who it was even if he twisted his arm and he promised to keep my secret.

The second day there was no acknowledgement about the receipt of the note. Had he given up already? I wondered. He seemed to be in a pensive mode.

I called up his colleague to ask him how it went and he confessed that his arms were twisted, but he held on to the truth. I thanked him profusely.

Day three:- I got a call from the colleague to whom I had handed over the note saying that my husband was refusing to get the letter. I beamed with pride at his loyalty. He seemed more sexy to me today and my heart swelled with pride.

While I was cleaning the dishes he came into the kitchen and cleared his throat.

“Aarthi I need to talk to you.”

I turned around and blew my hair out of my eye.

“Is everything okay?”

“I really don’t know who it is. I keep getting these little notes. I thought it was you, but I know you wouldn’t dare to do such things that too in my office. But here. I got a note today too and I didn’t open it. You open and read.” He placed it on the counter top and walked away.

I went back to the living room and said “Here. I am already doing enough for you and the kids. I can’t open your love letters for you.” I threw it on the sofa and walked back to the kitchen.

I acted angry the whole evening. “So ten years into the marriage, I am an old woman with two kids but you are still a sexy man for a prick.” I said fuming.

“Look Aarthi, I really don’t know who it is. That is why I wanted you to open it. So don’t be mad at me. I just can’t help being sexy.” He giggled.

“Ya Ya I guess whoever she is…actually let us hope it is a “she” okay has never seen you burp or fart. So indeed you are sexy for her.”

“Hey don’t bruise my male ego. You know how long it has been since someone hit on me. So I am going to enjoy all the attention.” He said lying down on the sofa folding both his hand behind his head and smiling.

Day Four :- I heard from his colleague that he opened the letter today. It seems the news had spread at his work place about the anonymous letters and today a few of his close friends surrounded him as he opened the letter. “Gosh, I felt embarrassed today.”

Today he walked into the house loosening his tie and singing Enrique Iglesias “You’re my number one” song.

I looked at him quizzically, “For whom? Your lady love?”

He came and hugged me and said “I know I am number three on your list after our two little monkeys, but to someone out there, I am their number one.”

“Whoever is this b…” I stopped my curse half way seeing my son. “I am going to twist her neck if I see her.” I said.

My husband laughed and said “Okay. Prove to me I am your number one tonight.”

“Gosh I don’t want to compete with a no face jerk who doesn’t even have the courage to hand the letters herself.” I said gnashing my teeth.

“Okay okay. Cool down. Come here.” He pulled me onto his lap.

“I only want to be on your list, even if it is number three or number thirty.” He kissed me tightly and the kids were grossed out and ran into their room.

Day five:-

I got a call from my husband. “Aarthi… guess who has been handing over all those little note.”

“Who?” I asked with trepidation, hoping he hadn’t found out.

“It is that mottu receptionist. I knew she had an eye on me. She always used to come to my room to hand over all the letters personally and talk unnecessarily. Today while I was walking across her table I spotted the letter in a pink envelope on her table below all the mails. Today she delivered it personally.”

“Oh really. Then I am relieved.” I said sighing.

I heard him tearing the envelope and he read what I had written.

“You and me forever. What do you say?”

“What is she thinking? Doesn’t she know I am already married? Shall I go and confront her?”

“No No just stay calm. You don’t want to make a scene at work do you.?I am sure the person who is so interested in you will definitely come in person to talk. So don’t come to conclusions yet. Okay.”

“Okay. Let me hope it is someone really pretty at least.” He said mumbling.

“If it is someone pretty?” I asked questioningly.

“I will sigh and show my ring and say “Maybe in our next birth babe.””

I laughed hearing him. “Hey you remember what is tomorrow right?”

“What is tomorrow?” I knew he was scratching his chin. Then with a shock in his voice he said.

“Aarthi, I have to confess to you. I haven’t bought you anything yet. This whole note thing distracted me this week. You tell me what you want, I will buy for you.”

“It is our tenth anniversary, do I have to spell everything for you. You go and figure.” I kept the phone down angrily. This time I was really angry. Here I was planning for the last two weeks and he was saying that he just remembered that it was our anniversary tomorrow.

Then I folded the letter that I had hand written and delivered it to the florist shop on my way.

It was our anniversary, my in-laws bought some sweets and my hubby had bought me a sari which I had eyed in our previous visit to the mall.

“Thanks. How did you remember? “

“I try to, so that I can come up on your list at least one time a year.” We smiled at each other.

“Okay I have to hurry to work.” I said and got out of the house. I called the florist to ask him if everything had gone according to my plan and he said that he had done as I told him to.

When my husband entered into his room, it was filled with helium balloons and on the table laid my letter with a lipstick kiss on the envelope. He opened the letter. The letter read:-

To the love of my life,

We entwined our lives ten years ago in the name of marriage. Yes we entered in with trepidation and excitement just as any couple would have. We have seen the ups and downs. We have fought and made up. We gave in and compromised most of the times!

But these ten years have been the best decade of my life! The strength I got standing beside you, gave me the courage to accomplish my dreams. The freedom I had to be who I am, made me fall in love with you more. The way you trusted me, made me want to be more trust worthy. You are the one to show me what it is to love someone by giving them space to grow instead of caging them in the name of love.

How much I have grown and matured? When I look back at those years I am proud to be the person who I am today and that is because of you my dear. Without your love and support I would have never been able to accomplish so much at work and at home.

I love you Aakash, with all my heart and soul. I make a vow to you again on our anniversary that I would never take you for granted. I know marriage is for the long haul and with all the negativity about marriage that I see happening around me, I cherish what we have. I want to prove to every pessimist out there that having that one person in the world to love you and to come back too is worth all the work and sacrifices. Yes after ten years I would say we don’t have the initial excitement which we had in our first year, but in turn we have a wonderful bond and understanding that comes only after staying with someone for a long time. We have created a small world around us which is happy, secure and beautiful and having two wonderful babies as a proof of our love. What more can we ask?

I am able to go out in the world and win, because I know I have you behind my back and likewise I am standing besides you holding your hands. Our is a partnership of two adults and there is no place for dominance or belittling someone because if I hurt you I know I am hurting myself. For all the times that we have fought and all the times we went to bed angry I look back and see that those were the moments that brought us closer together with deeper understanding. I want to grow old together and see our children grow and become adults and believe in the system of marriage seeing us.

Yes I love my kids. But you are my number one (even if it doesn’t feel that way) but believe me. Your smile lightens up my world. Your are still the one sexy man I want to end up in bed with. You and me forever. What do you say?

Love you today and forever more,

You wife

Aarthi.

There were tears sliding down his cheeks said his friends to me the next day. But those words were not enough to prove how much he meant to me but I knew he would get it.

He called me up at work

“Hey you naughty girl, so you were the one sending me all those notes. You fooled me well this time, gosh I have to give it to you for your wonderful acting.”

“So are you sad, that the only admirer is your wife.”

“Hell no. I am happy that she still sees me and feels the same for me as I do for her. I love you Aarthi. I will come and pick you up at 5 from work. Inform your boss before that.”

“I will be waiting for you. Love you too honey.”

But when we got home the house was quiet and I asked him where the kids and my in-laws were .

They have gone to stay at my sister’s house for today. So we have the entire evening for just the two of us.

“Really?”

“Really.”

“So you did do some planning actually.”

“How can I forget it was our tenth anniversary.” He pulled me closer and kissed me and carried me to the bedroom.

I was even more surprised to see the bed covered in rose petals. I felt like a new bride again.

“I love you Aarthi. You will always be my number one.”

“I love you too Aakash.” I said tears sliding down my cheeks.

The grass is always greener on the other side

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As I was dusting the shelves, the picture of my best friend and me sitting in the water when we were 4 years old fell on the ground and shattered. It deeply disturbed me as it was one of my favorite pictures. My friend Mona and I were neighbors and we practically grew up together like twin sisters. We went to the same school till 12th grade and did our college together. There was nothing that I hid from Mona or her from me. The people in the apartment used to tease us saying “Hope you girls don’t end up marrying the same guy.” That was 12 years back. We got married 5 years back in the same year, but to different guys of course.

I ended up living in India and she had to move to the US with her husband. We missed each other terribly. But distance does create a gap in any relationship I feel. We who used to hang out with each other every day could only talk once or twice a week. Then we had our babies and life became even more hectic and our phone calls also reduced to once a month or so. But the real reason I should say why I drifted away from her was the small green monster of envy that had started engulfing me. She was having a wonderful life in the US is what I imagined seeing all the pictures and the way she spoke about it. Here I was in India, living in a joint family and rendering the trials and tribulations of staying together in a small 2 bedroom house. We never went to many vacations as Mona did and did not have much fancy stuff either. But my husband was a gem. He was a kind and loving man and a good father to my kids.

The shattered picture frame felt like a bad omen for me. So I called up Mona’s mom but it was busy. I called up my mom to ask how things were and she sounded the same. May be I was panicking without any reason. Sometimes these superstitions were just superstitions and I carried on with my day.

In the evening I got a call from Mona herself. After saying my name she started sobbing. “Mona, Mona what is it? What happened? Tell me. Calm down first. Okay take a deep breath. What is it Mona? Is everything okay?” “No its not. I don’t even want my mom to know. You are the first person that came to my mind. Mona my biopsy result for the mammogram was positive. I am so scared and feel so lonely. Who will take care of my kids? I am so scared Mona. My husband doesn’t even take this seriously and he is busy with his work. I have been going alone to all these tests and taking care of the kids and house too. Sometimes I wish I had a life like you living in a joint family with everyone’s love and support. I am terrified.”

What she said struck a nerve with me. The grass is always greener on the other side. All these years I hadn’t valued the support that I had by my family and in-laws and was only looking at the negatives. I closed my eyes for a second and thanked God for what he had given me and then in a calm voice I spoke to Mona.

“Mona first don’t start panicking. It might be a benign tumor which can be treated. First thing, sit with your husband and tell him how you feel. Ask him if you can come here and take the treatment. Here all of us are there for you. We will take care of the kids while you recover from the treatment. Nothing will happen to you. You first convince your husband and once you book your flight tell your mom that you are just visiting India. Once you land here we will let them know. Mona everything will be okay. You have always been the brave one so you can do it.”

1 year later…. Mona came to India and got her treatment done with all of us around her. She convinced her husband that they should move back to India so that they could be closer to their family and friends. No amount of money can bring the comfort and love that only loved ones can provide they decided and she is also looking for a house near mine so that our kids can grow up together just as we had.

The Chat Room

It all started 8 months back. I met him on the internet chatting room. I was bored out of my mind one day and while I was browsing thru different chat rooms I got a friend request from “justme2012” so I added him. We chatted often, mostly general questions like what I did or where he was going to for the weekend. He was in Madras and I was in Mumbai. I usually never trust these chat room guys, as they are always fake and pretend to be someone who they are not. So just to keep it going I too pretended to be someone else.

I told him that I was working in the film industry in Mumbai and how hectic my life was with assisting the directors etc. when I had the most boring job on earth being the front desk receptionist. I hated my job. I had to always smile even if I did not feel like and attend to all the phone calls and direct them to the right person. I got this job because I had to support my family.

We started chatting frequently and I was sure he was jobless even though he claimed that he was into textile business. Maybe he had the same idea about me too! But I didn’t care as this was my distraction from my painful reality. We shared our likes and dislikes and our passions and slowly we started revealing about our families and I felt so connected with him at times because he always knew to tell the right thing.

Here I was getting addicted to a person who I was not sure was a male first of all and didn’t know how much of what he was telling me was true. But every day I looked forward to chatting with him and teasing him and revealing a little bit of my real self.

One day he did not come to the chat at all. I felt lost and waited anxiously and then nearly a week passed and he never showed up. I kept pinging him and asking him if he was okay. I was even tempted to give my phone no so that I could hear his voice. But… my practical mind always wins over my heart.

Finally when I was about to give up my messenger blinged.

“Hi. It’s me.”

“Hi. Where have u been? I’ve missed you.” I blurted out.

“Tell me one thing how much of your story is true.”

“hmmm why?”

“If you want us to continue I want to know the truth. The real you.”

“Why?”

“Just shut up and answer me or I’m leaving. Bye.”

“Hey hey wait. You ask me, I will tell if it’s true/false.”

“You are a girl right?”

“True”

“Unmarried??”

“True”

“Live in Mumbai”

“True”

“Working in the film industry with famous people”

“False. I work as a receptionist in a dingy firm. ”

“hmmm…. Very interesting”

“What about all the other things you have told me? About family, your college and your first love etc”

“It’s true.”

“Then I want to see you. I don’t care how you look. It will not make a difference to me. I think I have found a best friend in you.”

“Hey, what about you???”

“I promise that whatever I have told you is 100% true.”

“Send me a picture of you ASAP and I will do the same.”

Finally I decided I’m going to do it. Yes I am going to send my picture to him and wait for his response whatever it might be.

The other side

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It was the graduation day at the Engineering College and the whole college had a festive feel. All the kids were running here and there and the loud speakers were blaring. We were all asked to take our seats. I took mine along with Lakshmi besides me. Her son was graduating and I could see her face swelling with joy.
As her son walked towards the podium my family and I clapped as loud as possible until our hands were burning. Tears were streaming down Lakshmi’s face. I could understand the feeling as I was there one day at the same event for my son’s graduation. But this one had a special meaning to all of us.
17 Years back…
As I was walking towards one of the best schools in Pune to admit my daughter in Preschool I saw 2 small kids about the age of my own children standing on the opposite side of the road in rags and bare feet.
My children looked at them too and that image stood with me the whole day. Here I was given the opportunity to educate my kids at the best schools and on another side these 2 kids future was a big question mark.
The question of inequality in life pestered me and made me wonder why? Why were there 2 extremes in the world? Whatever spiritual or economical explanation that can be given can never make the kids on the other side understand why them? I made sure my children knew that they should be grateful l for what they had.
I had just moved to Pune and was looking for a housemaid. My neighbor suggested a woman who was working for them. When I met her she had this sweet big smile and agreed to start working from the next day. Her name was Lakshmi.
Everyday Lakshmi walked into my house with the same sweet smile. In time I came to know that she had 2 kids. Her boy was 4 years and her girl was 2 years. When I asked her how old she was she just smiled and said that she didn’t know. Apparently she had never entered school and had been given in marriage at the tender age of 12.
She said in her caste it was the costum of getting the girl child married whenever a bridegroom was ready. As Lakshmi’s parents were not alive her elder brother was ready to get rid of her as early as possible. She lived in the labor camp opposite to the apartment that I was living in. Her house was made of tin sheets and she lived there with her husband and 2 kids and mother-in-law.
I felt sad for her and wondered how she carried on with life with so many elements working against her?
Who could she blame but herself and her bad karma that gave way to the kind of life that she lived now.
No the government was not responsible because they were not doing their duty on emphasizing that every child should be educated. Her parents who were ignorant themselves were not responsible because there did not know better. The people who passed by the labor camp were not responsible because it was none of their concern too. She had grown up to be a maid and will die as a maid.
One day when she brought her 2 kids home for Diwali my son blurted out “Mom do you remember those 2 kids that were standing on the road unsupervised? They are them…” Though my memory had faded my son remembered. It all came around. I knew there was a reason Lakshmi was working for me and I had to do something. When all the people of the world had washed their hands saying it was not their responsibility I knew I was given a chance to go on the other side or be the one who had the courage to act when I had been given the opportunity.
I had an idea and when I bounced it against my husband he said go for it. I wrote an email to my close friends and family about helping Lakshmi educate her kids. I had an overwhelming response from all of them. We opened a bank account for the money to be deposited and I became the guardian for the kids when they needed admission in school. Though Lakshmi’s husband was not enthusiastic about it he finally climbed the bandwagon. So after 12 years and after so many hardships here her son was graduating from an engineering college. Her daughter was in college too ready to graduate in 2 years.
When her son got the degree on his hand his lectures had asked him to give a speech. This is what he said, “Dear Lectures and chief guest, dear parents and friends, this is a special day for me and my family. I come from a family where both my parents are illiterates. My father is a construction worker and my mother is a house maid. But I’m proud of it. Proud because they chose to dream of a different kind of life for me and my sister. Proud that through so many hardships and difficulties they emphasized that we should never even think of discontinuing our studies. At times we only ate one meal a day. But that was fine with them, because one day they knew that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. A light that can be lit only thru education. A light which in turn can bring hope to so many other lives. Yes and today I feel it is worth all the difficulties that I went thru. I want every one of you here to going out with your degree to look around you. Look how you can use this education to serve this country and the community around you to make it better. We cannot wait for someone to take responsibility for all the apathy that is going on around us. It is our responsibility as a human being to think about elevating the condition of another human being in distress. If everyone in the world had washed their hands like that I wouldn’t be standing here today in front of you. There is one person I would like to thank especially for helping my/our dream come true. That is “Mrs.Rani”. When I stood on the other side of the road as a young kid with tattered clothes and dirty feet she took notice of me. She felt the pain of another human being who was so vulnerable to his circumstances. She took a bold decision to educate me and my sister along with her 2 kids. She took us under her wings and made sure we got the best education as possible. She made us dream of a better life than a life in the shanties. She emphasized that education was the only way out of poverty. So here I am. Like a lava that struggles inside a cocoon before it breaks free with wings. Today I have been given wings by her and I am truly greatful for this opportunity. I promise her that I will be an asset to the community and use this education for the betterment of humanity. Thank you. Thank You. Remember always to dream big but also to include others in your dreams!”

Now me and Lakshmi were both weeping. Weeping because her boy understood the true meaning of compassion. More than the degree I was grateful that the help that I had bestowed on them made him into a wonderful human being who was capable of thinking about others pain. I was grateful that he got the spirit to help others and to use his education for it. Grateful that I did listened to my heart instead of my head. Yes more than him my heart flows with gratitude to God for giving me the opportunity to change a life.

Never Date your clients

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As she walked into his room all she could think was “Wow! He is so cute! ” She had always assumed investment bankers were so boring and uptight. The way he shook her hands proved he was uptight but she thought she couldn’t put him in the boring category.
“Hi I’m Liana. I just moved to Pune and want my accounts to be transferred from Delhi to Pune. I also want some information on the different products that are there that would help me on my investments.” She knew she was speaking too fast and her hands had become cold.
“Hi, I’m Donavan. Please sit down.” He said in a calm voice.
He asked her for her account number and her investment time frame. As she was giving him the details she couldn’t help her mind from exploring his other features. His deep brown eyes and the little curve on his nose that gave him a rugged look, the way his mouth curved and the way his hair kept falling on his forehead.
He became conscious of the way she was looking and wanted to be done with her. She looked beautiful too with sharp piercing eyes and luscious lips painted in pink. Her light blue ruffled top added to her glow. But the rule that he had made for himself “Never date your clients”, flashed before his mind before he could revel in her beauty.
He took on the serious tone and narrated the different options for her. Her mind went blank half the time and nodded to most of his suggestions. Finally she said “I’ll read about these and get back to you.”
She scolded herself for being so distracted while she was about to be making important decision regarding her investments and promised herself that she would meet with someone else the next time.
When she sat down at her desk to work she couldn’t prevent herself from looking up at “Donavan Seth” in Google. The fact that he was still single and loved to play the guitar made her day!
She had never been interested in finance and always dreaded reading the pamphlets given in the banks. But she decided that she wanted to impress him the next time if she gets to meet him again.
As she entered the bank on Friday all the consultants were busy. Her heart sank when she didn’t see Donavan in his seat. The manager of the branch came and introduced himself to her and apologized as all the consultants were busy. The door opened sending in the morning cool breeze as Donavan walked in with his suitcase and jacket in one arm. The manager pulled him towards her and said “Here’s your man. Hold on to him and make him suffer with as many questions as possible as a punishment for coming late.”
“Yep he is my man!” she thought to herself.
“Good Morning.” They both jinxed together and laughed.
“Come on in. But before you start firing me with your questions I need some coffee. Shall I get one for you too?”
“Okay” she said and felt like she wanted one desperately to wake herself from Donavan‘s spell.
She wasn’t able to get him out of her head this entire week and seeing him today only added more to the excitement. She had taken extra care to dress up. She had worn a skin tight jeans and a white top that hugged her in all the right places and she looked stunning too.
Once he came behind the desk, all his smiles were tucked in and he bore a professional front. As she was going thru her folders he couldn’t help but admire how hot she looked in that dress.
When they were done with the discussion, she just blurted out without thinking “Hey my friend is having a party tonight, do you want to join me?”
“I would in other circumstances but unfortunately I don’t go out with my clients. Thanks for the invite though! Have a great weekend.” and he held out his hands to give a hand shake.
Liana blushed. She felt stupid for asking him without even thinking about it. It was insulting. Even though deep inside her felt he would respond to her in this way.
It so happened that all of Tina’s friends planned an impromptu visit to the beach in Goa after the party. They drove all night and crashed in the hotel early next morning. Liana woke up earlier than everyone to go for a walk along the shore. As she was getting her feet wet and enjoying the morning sun and the way it was reflecting on the water and shimmering like glass, she saw a group of men and women standing around a boat for parasailing. She felt thrilled and wanted to try it too. She wished she had woken up one of her friends to come along.
Her heart skipped a beat when she saw Donavan in the crowd. At first she thought she was hallucinating, but a second look confirmed it was him. She turned around to go back to her room and hoped he hadn’t seen her.
Before she could walk a few feet she heard the sound of water splashing. She held her breath and turned around to see Donavan running towards her with only a dark blue swim shorts on. Liana hadn’t imagined such a well toned body hidden beneath the suit he was wearing yesterday. Her knees became weak on seeing him.
“Hi Liana. Did you actually follow me to Goa?”
“Ah! Yes I don’t have any other work than following you in spite of you proclaiming your rule!”
“Hey come on don’t be too serious. You want to go parasailing. I don’t have a partner.”
“I thought you never went out with your clients.”
“Yes, until yesterday. But there this beautiful dame who made me bends my rule a bit only on the weekends and that too only when they are out of the city. So please don’t say no. Let’s go!” He took her hand and pulled her towards the boat before she could answer.
Liana had never done parasailing. She was giddy with excitement. Two people could go together on the sail and they waited in queue for their turn.
Liana came to know Donavan was from Goa and he came down here once a month. His parents still lived here. He had this smirk in his lips when he talked to her and it irritated her.
She turned around and asked “okay come on, why you have this sarcastic smile? I must have sounded desperate to you yesterday, didn’t I? I didn’t know anyone else to take with me. I thought you might be interested after being stuck behind your desk all day! Guess you had to be stuck with your rules too.”
“Hey come on not every day I get to meet an attractive woman as my client and be asked out as well. It is our banks policy too. We can only maintain a professional relationship with our clients. So I had to say no to you. Are you nervous about trying the parasail? You seemed jittery? That’s why I was smiling.”
“Yep this is my first time and I’m nervous. I am afraid of heights but just want to overcome it. I bet you must have done it a couple of times.”
He nodded his head and said “Once you are up there it is just exhilarating. I promise, you will not be afraid. Just try to enjoy and be in the moment. Its fun.” He sounded like a child when he explained it.
When it was their turn he held her hand and they were both tied to the harness which was attached to the boat. When they took off Liana’s stomach churned. But once they were up in the air the view was striking. She felt like a bird. When she turned her face to look at Donavan he had this huge grin on his face and he said “Didn’t I tell you this is fun?” she nodded. With the sun shone behind his back she thought she would never forget this face in her whole life and wish she would never have to.
Apparently her friends had become paranoid when they didn’t find her. She saw many missed calls from them. As she turned around, her friend Akshay carried her and dumped her in the water. Then all her friends ran and started splashing around.
When she looked up Donavan was very far from her. He had gone without even saying a goodbye. She felt so annoyed at him. She wondered whether he felt the same attraction that she was feeling towards him. She had come here to have fun and decided she will and started frolicking in the water.
Even when she wanted to put away Donavan in a secret corner of her mind and not think about him everything made her wish he was there with her. Her mind kept going back to the fact that he left without saying goodbye and she became moody. When her friends asked her if everything was okay she just nodded and pretended she was sleepy and said that she didn’t want to head out them.
It was almost 9 o’clock in the night. The full moon outside the window teased her to come out and look at him. This was the first time she was near the beach during a full moon and wondered how beautiful it was. It looked bigger and brighter and the shades of light on the water mesmerized her. The house that they had rented had a veranda with 4 easy chairs facing the sea.
She took a shawl and her cell phone and sat down in the chair. Her stomach had started growling by now and she wished she had gone out with her friends. Her phone started beeping and she saw a text message saying “Where r u?”
“Who r u?” she replied back.
“Donavan” came back the reply. She couldn’t help smiling.
Her friends had been teasing her all day with him; in the back of her mind she thought if it was them trying to make fun of her.
“I’m at the bar with my friends.” She replied back.
“Ya I know, just met your friends and they told me that you were in the room. Which one is it?”
She was surprised that he had come all the way looking for her. She stood up to see a shadow standing 2 feet away from where she was.
“Just turn around.” She texted.
He walked slowly toward her and she wished she could just run to him and put her hands around his neck and hug him. But she stood where she was patiently giving him the space to respond. If he had come all the way looking for her, she was sure he felt something for her.
He was carrying a bag in his hand. When he neared her he lifted and said “Food. Thought you would be hungry.”
“You have come at the right time because I’m starving! Thanks a lot.”
He reached for her hand and she leaned towards him and they walked slowly towards the veranda.
She felt so comfortable with him and on seeing him the feelings she was trying to hide from surfaced up.
He stood facing the sea while she went inside to keep the food. She joined him and said “Isn’t the full moon beautiful?”
He turned towards her and held her face and said “Not as beautiful as you.” He took her in her arms and kissed her.

Love is Patient

book

I was married at the time that I had met him. I had 2 young kids and visited the library often. We bumped into each other and when I looked into his eyes to apologize I felt like I had known him for many lives. He felt so familiar and my heart jumped with a sense of recognition.

 I said “I’m sorry.” When I tried walking away he held his hand out saying “Hi, I’m Dave. Do you come here often? You look very familiar.”
I said “Yes. I come with my kids often here. Nice to meet you too.” and walked away to the kids room in the library.
“Ah! it’s just that I have been coming to the library so often that half the people would already know me here.” I sighed to myself.

The next time when I visited the library, I went looking for a book and when I was pulling it out of the shelf someone else was pulling it out at the same time. I gave in. There, on the other side was Dave again. He broke out with a grin and said “Hi, Nice to see you again. If you want you can keep this book. By the way I didn’t get your name last time.”

I nodded no “Hi, I’m Scarlett. You can keep the book. I can read something else.”

“What kind of books do you read?” he asked. When I told him my genre of favorite books and authors he took me around and showed a few books that he had read and recommended them for reading. Then he started talking about himself and how he was in between jobs for the past 2 months and he listed all the books that he had been reading.

I was fascinated. I loved reading books and any free time that I got I usually sit down and read. I have always wanted to write too, but never had the courage to write. It was nice to meet someone who shared the same interest and I told him how I have always wanted to try writing.

He immediately started persuading me to start writing something small and to bring it to show it to him on Monday. I nodded my head in doubt but he asked me to promise him that I would try writing at least one page.

I finally did try writing a page of the story that had been running in my head for a long time. When I went to meet him on Monday he was not there. I felt disappointed. So I sat there and wrote more pages.

By wednesday I had written nearly 10 pages and wanted to meet Dave  again to share it and get his opinion. So when the kids were at school I went to the library with apprehension to see if I can meet him or atleast write without disturbances. Alas there he was standing near the entrance in a rugged jeans and a red sweater on. He looked so handsome.

I didn’t want to seem that I had come to meet him and acted surprised on seeing him.

He said ,”Sorry I couldn’t meet you on Monday. I had a call for an interview and I had to go since my savings are diminishing.”

 He asked me if I had kept the promise. So we sat in a table and I opened my laptop to show the pages that I had written. He was pretty impressed with the story line and corrected some of the sentences. He knew that I was married but never asked about it.

My husband had been busy for the past year and half with setting up his new business. He was frequently out of town for 5 days and came only for the weekends. During the weekdays I could never talk to him much. I never complained but it was creating a void in me. A need for someone to share my days, which were becoming like wallpaper repeating the same pattern over and over again.

Now Dave was like a bloom in my winter days. He made it a bit more colorful. We started meeting more often at Starbucks or Barnes and Nobles. We discussed books and our other interests. We had so many things in common. At times I felt he was my soul mate to me.

 I did not want to define our relationship with a word. I looked forward to meeting him whenever I could and we did about 6 months. I had nearly completed my book as well with his encouragement.

One day when we were at the coffee shop he looked intensely at me, I felt nervous. I knew he was about to say something serious. I only prayed that what he was about to say would not change our relationship in anyway. But alas he had to say this, “Scarlett I love you. I know you are married but I don’t want you to do anything about it. From the day I met you I felt like I have known you forever. I felt a spark like I have never felt with anyone else that I have met in my life. I couldn’t help myself from holding on to this secret for any longer. It feels so hard to withhold it. I would rather let you know and face your reaction than locking it up. We can still be friends and I would be your first instigator in getting your books published and be there when ever you need me. But I had to let you know  how I feel about you for my sake.”

My hands started shaking. I knew I liked him a lot too. We had a lot of things in common and I had felt the same spark that he just described. But I had made a vow to a man, to stand by him until death do us apart. Now I couldn’t continue my relationship with him I thought. He had been a good friend and helped me find my passion. But I didn’t want to meet him again.

“I am sorry. I can’t do this Dave. It was okay for me as long we were friends. But I am married. My first commitment is to my kids and my marriage. You were a wonderful friend who helped me find myself. You rescued me from a depression and showed me what I was meant to do in my life. I thank you for that. But I am sorry. I don’t think I can continue with this and keep giving you hopes. As I have come from a broken home I always wanted to give my children the stability of a family.  I think I am holding you up from meeting other wonderful women out there who would give you what you deserve. I will sure miss you. But you deserve better Dave. So let’s part ways before either of us hurt each other more.” I walked away without looking back with tears streaming through my eyes.

12 Years Later…..

It was a very cold December day. I was in Book a Million signing my books. I had written 3 books so far and was being welcomed by readers across America.

My husband left me 10 years back for a younger woman he met while on his business trip. I started writing with fervor and here I was today signing books for my fans and living my dream.

 I heard someone call me “Scarlett can you sign this for me?” The voice seemed very familiar and I turned around to see the face that I had yearned so many days to see.  To tell him that it was because of him that I was here in this place.  But I had not known his whereabouts. I prayed that one day I would be able to tell him how thankful that I was to him. Here he was… standing with the same twinkle in eyes and dimple on his cheeks.

Tears tried creeping in my eyes. I tried stopping them but no walls could hold them now. I got the book from his hand and signed “Dear Dave I dedicate these books to you…” with a tear drop blotting his name.

 

 

 

 

I will be there…

old-couple

As I was sitting in the hospital chair I couldn’t stop my mind from wandering to the day I met her.
She was 21 and I was in the final year of my college. I never believed in love at first sight until I met her. With the sun shining behind her she looked like an angel walking down the stairs. I immediately found out what her name was thru one of her friends and all her other details. I stood at the same place at the same time everyday just to get a glimpse of her until one of my friends urged me to go and ask her out as the year was about to end.

I was shy by nature and dated very few girls in the past. I picked up my courage and introduced myself and before I could open my mouth to tell my name, she said “I know, you are Steve. You live in the Pine court subdivision and you are in your final year; tomorrow you have your last exams and you have been watching me for over 3 months now! “I was flabbergasted.

 “Okay since you already know so much of information about me, can I take you out for dinner tomorrow night.”

“You have been waiting too long and I don’t want to say “NO”.  But tomorrow soon after my exams I’m leaving for California. So shall we grab something to eat at the cafeteria now?”

She looked so beautiful and her eyes smiled when she smiled. My heart was beating fast and I could almost hear it. Blood rushed to my face and I knew my ears were turning red. That always happened when ever I was nervous.

She looked more confident than me; but at the same time she was down to earth. So we went to the cafeteria to eat lunch and she kept prodding me with questions about me and my life. I asked her how she found out about me and we were giggling soon enough.

She said she had had a good time and would see me tomorrow before she left. I was in cloud 9.

After my final paper was over there was a classroom party and it was past 5 o’clock whenI ran to her classroom but it was too late. I was in agony. I will not be returning to the college again and I was sure she would have forgotten all about me when she came back from her vacation. But deep inside I felt there was more between us. I felt like I had known her for a very long time and we belonged to each other. I missed her terribly and sighed.

I got a job in Staples and moved to North Carolina. I thought about her often.  I had never thought about myself as a creative person but I started a journal and wrote poems in it. Poems about the pain and anguish of a lover waiting for a loved one to return.  About waiting for that one love that feels so true that there is no pretense or no need for explanation.  My book grew in size and my one date with her felt like eons away.

I dated many other girls after my friends started setting me up. I knew they thought that I was stupid pining for a women whom I got to talk to only once. But that one time never equaled to all the hours that I spent with countless other women.

She was just 3 hours away. I had contemplated many times to go to college and find her. But it was better to be in love with her in my mind and heart and poems than finding out she did not have the same feelings as I had for her.

I was fed up with my dates and refused to go out anymore when my friend begged me saying that this would be the last one. I agreed reluctantly and went to the restaurant. It was dimly lit and I was having goose pimples for no reasons. I, who had become immune to these blind dates, started feeling nervous. My heart started pounding when I saw that the girl that I was meant meet was already there waiting for me. I had purposely come 20 minutes late and so I hurried in with a big smile to apologize.

When she lifted her head, my head started spinning. I couldn’t believe that I had kept the one girl I had wanted to meet all these years waiting for 20 minutes. I kept nodding my head and couldn’t contain my happiness on seeing her.

“How are you?”  she gleamed. I didn’t know my blind date would be someone I already knew.

“Me either. Did you wait for on that day?” I asked.

“I waited until my dad got so mad that he was almost going to take off without me. Why didn’t you come?  I thought that the one date that you had with me had made you change your mind. I felt very bad though at that time, I felt we shared more than that one moment. I felt we were meant to be. I have never felt that way with anyone else so far.” She explained and looked up at me with tears sparkling in her eyes.

She looked as beautiful as the day that I had set my eyes on her. Now she was saying the things that I had rehearsed a 1000 times to tell her when I met her. Now I didn’t care if the whole world saw me, I was in love with this woman and never wanted to lose her again. I got down to my knee and proposed to her and asked her if she would marry me. 

She nodded “YES” and the kiss that we shared that night in front of 100 people sealed our life together.

We got married that summer.  I got my book of poems published and dedicated to her. We have spent nearly half a century together. During this time we have fought many battles and made many peace treaties. We have travelled around the globe and experienced the wonders of nature together.  We have had 2 kids as a proof of our love; Stood by each other during all the crest and troughs of life; seen our bodies transform with time. But nothing changed our love for each other.

Today may be time will finally win.  Time was asking me to believe that my love can cross the boundaries of this physical world.

So I walked into the ICU again. Now it was for me to decide whether I wanted her to be tied to these tubes so that I can continue seeing her or let her go and believe that I will be meeting her soon.

I held her hands and spoke to her. I said I didn’t want her to suffer anymore and will meet her soon. I nodded my head to the doctor and held her hands.