It was Bhatta. He had a puzzled look on his face. Divya emerged out from inside. Rain had by then reduced to a drizzle. She dint look at me nor Bhatta and hurried away from there. This probably increased the doubt in Bhatta's mind. He looked around if there was someone else watching. He gave a sigh of relief. With anger in his eye he questioned as to why we had took shelter in this room rather than take cover under trees. "we would have got drenched man,besides there was the danger of coconuts falling on us, look at the breeze".
"I trust you as a friend Jatin,but seeing how Divya went.....".
"Nothing happened,i would not take advantage of any girl,let alone her"
"You are a city boy,i have seen how u people live there,you are very modern people man,but here in village still we have certain values left man,besides you know how it is in villages,each person likes spicy news about others,wants to defame others and they take pride in doing that"
"If they had seen you both coming out,you know how they would be stories going on about u people,our's and your family reputation would have been ruined forever man".
I was sorry for causing anxiety in my two dearest friends.The way Divya had gone from there i was sure i had lost all the trust.The next day i got a chance to redeem myself.Her mom had asked me to go along with her to buy some groceries for a function in their house as Bhatta had to go to temple to conduct the poojas for the day.The tradition there was that the temple ceremonies had to be conducted in round robin fashion by the delegated few families.
In the bus we dint talk only.There was a certain awkwardness.Our hands touched accidently on the seat handles,and there was an immediate withdrawal from her.I could see how sensitive she had become.I wanted to talk about what had happened but dint know how to start. Surprisingly she broke the ice and talked about the function rather than what mattered.There was a deliberate avoidance of that topic whenever i tried to bring it up.While returning back i forced her to get down one stop behind so that we could get a chance to walk the talk.
"Look we need to talk about it,we cant avoid it...I am sorry,the moment was crazy ok and we both got carried away,it had never happened to me before.I know now the equation between us has got complicated"
"sorry influence of watching lot of english tv shows". She used to talk very less and most of the conversation was initiated by me.I wanted to tell my hearts "feelings" to her.So i requested her to come and meet me at the backside of the temple day after the function.That was my big fault.I should have told her that i liked her then."Seized the moment" as one of the protagonist says in my favourite FRIENDS show.
FUNCTION:many guests had come to her house.I gave the Bhatta household all the help i could.I returned to my grandma house early.In the night Bhatta's father came visiting.He seemed very happy.He told my grandmother that a very good relation had come for Divya."The boy has settled abroad.His parents were in Bangalore "and various other details which i was not interested in.Grandma was asking other details and reveling in the happiness of her guest unaware of the storm brewing in her grandson's heart.I felt clueless.Was i to commit?what consequences will it have?how will i handle the colourful stories churned out by the gossip hungry villagers?my parents?her parents?oh i would become mad!!
I could not sleep that night The next day was spent contemplating my next move.Bhatta came in the afternoon and asked if we could talk a little away from other's glare.He hugged me and said that he was happy that i had so sensitively handled the situation that evening.He was so happy that he was getting a stud as his brother-in-law.Not able to handle the situation i acted cowardly.I immediately decided to go back to Bangalore and climbed the bus in the night.I din't have the courage to meet Divya in the night.
I fought this decision of mine with my conscience.How could i have stranded her?Sindu had cheated me,i had cheated Divya.Was it justification for me being wronged?.Although she had not talked much,i had seen the love for me in her eyes.Her actions indicated that.This doubt was confirmed when i went to her marriage 3 months later.
"I was waiting at Tulsi katte till 10p.m"she said when i was giving the gift to her.I saw in her eyes the hope that still something could happen.What she dint know was how escapist my mind was.
"Congratulations for your wedding and have a good life",i asserted as though i was some elderly person.These were the last words to her.Bhatta handed me a diary of hers on my way out.
"Keep it with you",he quipped with a sad look in his face.
When i went home and opened the diary,what was written in it choked me to tears.It gave an insight to her innermost feelings.She used to talk less but more than made it up in her diary.It had the details on her life till then.I saw how special i had become in her life.She was waiting for me to move forward.I just shut the diary with disgust and with it all the feelings i had for her.She was married and I had to respect that.This was no hindi movie for a happy ending all the time even in bizarre circumstances.
I thought then that i could never fall in love.First i did not want to,and now destiny did not want me to.Maybe i was born to become a good mama to all of my friend's children-"Uncle!!".I hated love songs on TV.Hated to see a couple so much in love and getting a chance to cherish it together.You can say i deliberately acted Devdas but the difference was that workahol had replaced alcohol.
This season of depression continued until one day i met Priya Seth!
She was a motormouth.Our thinking and personalities were like chalk and cheese.But as they say opposites attract.
We met on 31st december 2009,New Year's party in office:
She was recently shifted to our vertical to work on an image processing DiCom project.She was in the same team as me.Our team members were divided on pseudo modern and modern lifestyles.
She was the embodiment of everything i had hated in girls,or so i thought.I was bit of a chauvinist back then.
July 23rd 2015:TODAY
As i am writing this story, the invitation card of my wedding is being readied-"Jatin weds ...." is written in gold letters.Some memories flash through my mind.One of them caught my attention.I tried to remember it properly and....