“And so will I be “, Anju replied when Ram told her scornfully that he would be a lot more occupied with his business assignments, for the next one year.
She looked at him, took her eyes off and smiled, in perplexity over the Life that was arranged and hoped to be bloomed between them.
This was the fifth time since their engagement, Anju and Ram went out together. They were in a coffee parlor, down the road where Anju’s workplace was, to discuss the plans they had for their wedding. The first few times they met, they talked about the list of friends to be invited, the count of days they would be off work for, the places they would visit post wedding and the places to shop. They had enjoyed the conversation and they kept it light and friendly.
But this time, Ram seemed to be too keen on his agenda for the next year. He would be away at his client’s location for five months, immediately after the wedding. And he wanted to know if Anju was interested in accompanying him.
“The new project, I am sure, will keep me traveling around for a while. I am off to Australia, in about ten days after the wedding. Might take five months until I return.
And I will have to fly again in another month. Anju, I don’t want to amuse you, with all the travel stuff. It could get tiring. But I leave the decision to you. If you want to come with me, then we need to get your visa processing initiated and you’ll need to decide on your job” .
Anju gazed at him. She did not have an answer. She did not want to have one.
And she hoped Ram would understand her silence. Ram looked away, thinking his plans might have intimidated hers. They sat in silence and watched the world go by, bending down occasionally to sip their coffee. This was the first time, since their two-week courtship, they had talked less and felt a bit uncomfortable.
Anju and Ram were engaged for a week now and had known each other one week before the engagement. To both of their apathy, it was arranged. Their parents had met over a common comrade’s wedding and the tête-à-tête deduced to the point of getting their offspring meet up. If they would feel ok with each other, things would be great. And that is precisely what had happened.
“Mamma, I don’t want to get married now. And I am not meeting anybody. I can’t believe you just fixed up something as important as this with out even asking me ! “
Anju was in plain anguish, over what had been discussed to be arranged, when her mom told her two weeks back about the proposal that had come up.
“Beta, we are not forcing you for this, in any way. We are simply asking you both to meet up sometime and see if you can get along at all. I promise that will be all. “
Anju’s mother tried to put her hands on her daughter’s cheeks as they spoke the same thing for she did not remember how many times, that day.
“And If I don’t like him ?” Anju snapped.
“We are not even going to think about it again”. Her father assured her, as he gently pressed her shoulders, from behind.
Anju sat there with a cranky mood and managed to listen as her father continued.
“We are never against your wishes, sweetheart. And we have always loved to see you live by your choices. But now that you don’t seem to have anything else on your mind, why not give this a try. Just a try and that’s it . You are 24 and mom and I feel this is the right time for you take another big leap in your life. And who knows, this could be the best thing to you. “ he smiled as he looked longingly for a positive gesture in his daughter’s eyes.
Anju replied. “Okay. Bu if I don’t like him, don’t even bother to pull me again to this crap, until I decide to get married. “
“Never, never”. Anju’s mother’s voice was relieved.
Anju smiled at both of them and picked her bag as she checked on her watch, ready to leave. And she drove off in her two-wheeler.
--- To be Continued