I sat on the bench that faced the pond munching my favourite masala corn. I smiled at the freshers teasing each other and running around. After adoring the ducks swimming in the pond, I frowned at those who fed them inspite of the warning board that said, ‘Do not feed the ducks’. With the breeze gently brushing my face, I enjoyed the warm and soothing sunlight.
I have always enjoyed spending my evening breaks by this pond. I sit there marveling the infrastructure of my company and keenly notice the people who briskly walk from and to their workstation. As I finished the corn, I mentally went through my to-do list. I sighed and looked at my watch; it was time to get back to work. I crushed the cup and threw it in the dustbin, when I saw a group of men coming opposite to me. By looking at them one can say that they belonged to the higher cadre in the organization.
One of these men caught my gaze. He was tall, average built, not too fair complexion, that subtle smile on his face, those silky straight hair neatly gelled and combed yet naughtily fell over his forehead, the powerful eyes behind those thick pair of glasses he wore. The moment I saw him I lost myself, I forgot the world around me. There was something about him which drew my attention for him like a magnet. I had a feeling like I have met him previously. “I know him, I know him really well” said my mind. I saw him for just few seconds walking swiftly across me and he stole my heart. I was not sure of what was happening to me. I turned to see him again but he was nowhere to be found. I smiled to myself. But I have seen him somewhere! My mind told me again.
I went back to work but was not able to take him out of my mind. I kept rewinding those few seconds when I saw him. It made me feel good. He made me feel belonged, not everybody makes you feel that way. My phone rang, it was my mother.
‘Priya, do you remember about the alliance we were talking about few months back?’ My mother sounded happy.
‘Yes mum. But I didn’t like him.’ I said soberly. As usual she ignored me.
‘You know what! I am very happy… The guy likes you so much that he wants to meet you immediately. He’s so badly waiting to see you.’
‘But mooom!’ I screamed.
‘Since both of you work for the same company he thought meeting you informally would be more comfortable for both of you. So I have given him your number, he might call you any minute be a good girl and talk nicely.’ She instructed.
‘Mum, take some time to breathe and let me talk in the meantime…’ I protested.
‘I am not listening to your BS anymore, just talk to him. Bye.’ The line went off.
I threw the mobile angrily and turned to see my colleague staring at me. I smiled weakly. I sank back to work. I was not able to think of the man who stole my heart in seconds anymore. After an hour my mobile rang. It was a call from an unknown number. Oh god! It should not be HIM! I closed my eyes and offered silent prayers to God. I picked the phone and pressed the green button.
‘Hi Priya’ I heard a very manly and cheerful voice at the other end.
‘Hey!’ I said plainly.
‘I am Karthik, your mother just spoke to me. Are you OK to meet?’ he asked without hesitation. Oh yea! That’s all about arranged marriage. Everything is arranged! Boring! I rolled my eyes.
‘Yea sure’ I said softly.
‘OK, where are you put up?’
‘Tower S6… we could meet in the café if you are OK with it.’ I said quickly. I didn’t want him to come to my tower.
‘Hey! What a surprise, I am in Tower S6 too! Ground floor.’ He guffawed.
‘Oh! Me 4th floor.’ I tried to sound surprised. I don’t want to meet you, go to hell! I wanted to say.
‘OK, come down I’ll wait at the reception and then we’ll go together to the cafeteria. I will be out in 5.’
‘Sure, bye.’ I pressed the disconnect button so hard and sighed. I looked around, got up and left to meet him. I wanted to jump off the 4th floor. Arranged marriage is something I have always detested, it never happens the way how love marriages happen. You don’t really feel anything for the person you are going to get married, how boring!
I was getting more and more nervous as the lift went down. I don’t want to see him, what do I do? Dig a hole and vanish, should I tell him that I am not interested in this alliance? Why did God betray me? Or I will run up and call him to say that there was an unplanned meeting? Lot of thoughts kept popping up my mind. I took deep breaths to calm myself. Finally, I reached the ground floor. My heart beat so fast, my hands started shivering. I opened the received calls log in my phone to call him.
‘Hi!’ A voice startled me. My heart beat extremely fast I was waiting for it to jump out and run right in front of me. I turned to see him and was shocked… surprised… abashed… stumped.
‘I am Karthik, Nice to meet you!’ He smiled and extended a hand. I kept looking at him. It’s him! Now, I know where I saw him!
‘Hi!’ He greeted me again and waved his hand across me.
‘Pleasure’s mine!’ I smiled and shook hands with him.