She worked for a school, with the administrative department. She loved kids and loved her job. And she was so happy to spend the evenings either shopping with her mother or chilling out with her college buddies. She felt coerced at the thought of being pulled away from the life she was too acquainted with and more threatened at the thought of spending the rest of her life with a stranger.
And as she drove, she sighed at the fact that the day had finally come, when her parents would want her to get married and have another life. She thought about her college days. She had been a freak, back then. There were always some conceptions on marriage, on her mind. She had never been in love. Sometimes she wondered if she would fall in love and then get married. But she had never met a guy, she thought she admired. Anju had a few good friends, a couple of them boys. But they were just friends and the friendship to her was too noble that she never in the wildest hallucinations saw any of them as her boyfriend. A smile surged over her lips as she remembered two other guys who had proposed to her in college and the way she had just whisked both the proposals off.
And a couple of days later, they met. Anju and Ram were sitting in the park , as their parents decided to take a stroll around.
Ram smiled at her. “ I don’t know what to talk .” He smiled again.
” Mom and dad and more particularly my brother and bhabhi have been pestering me to get married for sometime and I managed to flee the whole idea. But now, they seem to have grown aggressive. And here I am, talking to you. “ He looked at her and they both smiled.
“So tell me, tell me if you don’t like me “ he tried to joke.
“Honestly, I have never given serious attention to the idea of getting married. “ Anju said, ” And mom and dad have not discussed it with me either, until they met your family. I am just happy with the school and home. But yea, Life cannot be the same through out. And they finally made me say yes to meet you up.”
And they talked for not more than 40 minutes. The chat invited topics on their interests, friends, the latest movies in town and their favorite restaurants in the city and then they badly wanted their families to come back.
So that was it. Anju did not have an answer when her parents asked her, later that night, if she found him boring.
“Mom, all I know is he’s a business analyst with an IT firm and he’s looking quite good. It’s too early to decide and besides we did not talk on getting married” .
The next morning, there was a call from Ram’s father saying Ram was ok with the wedding. And Anju’s parents were thrilled when she said,
“He seems ok to me. And if you people want to go ahead with the plans, I don’t want to say no” .
They could not believe what they had just heard. They were elated and Anju smiled.
Later that evening, Anju received a call from Ram. He sounded matured on phone.
“Listen Anju, they asked me If I liked you and I said yes, because there was nothing to be disliked about you, as long as our meet went. And I heard from pa that you have no issues as well. But I know it’s too early to commit on something as serious as marriage. Anju, err, if you want to take time before deciding, I would never object and besides, we did not talk about our life together. I mean your plans and mine.
Would you be comfortable quitting school. I mean, I would never ask you to, but
my work involves a lot of traveling. So I think, we need to talk over a few things that might crop up later.”
Ram said quite a few important things and Anju felt he sounded very serious. And she wondered if he was basically a serious person. And they talked for a couple of hours. But at the end of it, they had not convinced themselves that they were doing it right, because there were issues to be talked about and resolved if they wanted to go ahead with the wedding.
Ram somehow had the strange feeling that his career might disturb Anju’s and that would be a problem. And he was sure Anju would be thinking the same thing.
So, it was a fortnight, an engagement ceremony and few jaunts that had all happened between them.
There were more smiles with every meeting and once Ram tried to tease her, when a bunch of teenage school chaps giggled , as they recognized Anju, with him.
The evenings slid in as they indulged in more conversations and coffees and as the night got lit up, they realized it wasn’t too tough after all, to talk about life to a person who had been a stranger, till a few days back and would be the better half for the rest of their lives.
Anju knew, they both still had questions for each other, and more importantly to themselves. Sometimes she wondered if Ram was the kind of guy, she would be comfortable with and she frowned as she doubted if Ram was going through the same thoughts.
And this day, they sat in the coffee parlor and tried to talk about their Life together.
Anju told him she loved the school and he understood she wanted to continue working.
She felt too joyful to be involved with the kids. And there were events coming up and few big plans. She was expecting a promotion to the management unit. Her MBA had groomed her managerial skills finely that she was sure she refused to think about quitting work.
They both had careers they loved and that would draw them in two different directions. But they appreciated that they had decided to talk about it.
They tried talking of making compromises. But eventually, acknowledged the fact that they could not, as far the career was concerned.
They liked each other and had enjoyed being in each other’s company.
“But, this is Life, Anju. We need to settle on compromising something for us to think of a sharing a life” , Ram said, this time on a very serious tone. “If we cannot give up on something, I think it would be better to part ways, before issues get tightened:”
Anju looked at Ram in surprise. Was he hinting at calling the wedding off.
“Are you sure, you would not be able to postpone your trip or change your job ?” Anju wanted to know.
“Of course, I can’t, the most I can do is try and get another job that would keep me here”
“Can you do that ?”
Ram did not answer for a while.
“I don’t know. I don’t want to do that. I love my job”.
-- To be continued