Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The Evening Walks

"I still rememeber the days we would take long evening walks together", blushed Suhani.He always had this effect on her.She would smile for no reason, became a poetic dreamer, and would seep back into nostalgia.It  was with Rajeev when she was truly happy, living a life of a chirpy youngster even when she was forty now.

The couple moved towards a  green coloured ,half-rusted bench .Rajeev said enthusiatically, "Do you remember how we first met ?"

"Yes, I surely do Mr. Sharma.That was how she would address him even twenty years ago.You were doing nothing that morning so you were sent to get Chole-Bhature for your guests i.e us,weren't you? "

"Yes ,I was. I didn't realise that I would not only help you with your Sunday brunch but also with the shifting and would be treated like an errand boy by your mother ,Suhani," he laughed as he remembered how they had met.
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It was a  very cold, chilly January morning in 1997.Suhani and her parents were to shift their new house to North Delhi's rising  and well-planned  Rohini leaving their Government  accomodation in R.K.Puram.Suhani had lived the twenty years of her life in South Delhi .

No matter how small her two bedroom  South Delhi apartment was ,she liked it there.She had a gang of friends who would sit out in the evenings on the terrace and have a blast gossiping, sharing their crushes and  playing various games. Suhani didn't want to be shifted to a better, bigger home but as there was no choice she had risen early that day and she was there with her parents to see the newly constructed society flat .

The only excitement was her own room which she was supposed to get in this flat.
So there she was at the Sharmas,  close friend to her father, his business partner.As they had already been living in the flat ,they would go and check their woodwork so that the work at their own flat could be started.

After the normal Namastes and hello-hi's, Suhani noticed him walking down from the furtherst room of the house.He was wearing a bright yellow hand knitted pullover and looked  dashingly handsome with his flawless clear skin and Greek features."Raje, get some Chole-Bhature for the guests,"Sharma Uncle instructed in a polite tone.

"Who is this ?",mused Suhani who wore a bright  sea -green anarkali suit which had a zipper at the back.She was looking elagantly sexy in her hourglass figure and dusky complexion.

"Abhi le aata hoon Bhaiya".So this is uncle's younger brother, thought the lovestruck Suhani and heaved a sigh of relief that he was not a well -dressed driver.

"Why don't you take Suhani with you and show her the play area  and the Auditorium, suggested Uncle Sharma.

"Great ! "

They walked slowly towards the lift. Suhani ,who was generally a shy and demure girl couldn't hide her excitement ,"So what do you do?"

I 'm doing a course in Electronics Journalism from Bharti Vidya Bhawan . I just completed my B.Com(Hons) from S.R.C.C.What about you ?"

"I'm in my last year of English (Hons)".

So,they came back with the hot Chole-Bhature  after getting to know each other well.This was how they had met.

After many a visits they had opened their hearts to each other.Rajeev was in love with a girl four years older to him and Bhaiya and Bhabhi were against the match altogether.He was threatened to be thrown out of the house. Suhani never shown her deeper emotions to him when he was telling her about Priyanka, his girlfriend. After they had shifted, they would take a walk together  after dinner when her parents  would also do the same.As they were family friends they would generally be seen together in society functions ,holi -diwali celebrations which they both abhorred.

Once ,when Rajeev's relationship had been terminated with his older girlfriend, and he had got over it ,he mustered the courage and asked Suhani out for a drive . Suhani so wanted to go but refused ,"It's ten in the night.I think we ought to sleep on time.Rajeev held her hand in his ,looked into her eyes and said, "Just hope you don't  regret this day in your life because I want to confess that I'm falling in love with you.Take your time and tell me." 

That day Suhani couldn't sleep.She thought that she would tell him that they could go for a drive but he should take permission from her parents.They wouldn't disagree, she was convinced.

The next night she was waiting for all of them to go for the nighly walk ritual. Rajeev came and started walking beside her. The elders were ahead and slowly he took her hands in his and asked,"So,whats the plan?Should we then take a ride in my second-hand white esteem or not?"

Suhani gestured that he needed to ask her parents.Rajeev left her hands suddenly and vanished. He wasn't seen for some days.
She kept on waiting for him .
Days changed into months and months to  years.Two and a half years had passed and she knew that  Rajeev was settled in Bangalore and he would  never come back for her.He was so right.She was regretting her decision. She knew that she had bruised his male ego.

She had joined an MNC in Gurgaon as a communication Manager and there were talks going on about her marriage."Get ready,"one Sunday her mother announced. Someone is coming home to meet you ",her mother declared.

"Mommy,I'm not interested, I'm just 25.I wouldn't marry for another two years.

"But you will , once you see the boy.He's quite fair and handsome,"her mother giggled.

Suhani donned on her typical Indian attire undesiredly.Her mind was traumatised .

Her mother called out to her to come to the drawing room.As slow as sleepy snail she walked into the drawing room .As soon as she lifted her disinterested face to wish Namaste to the elders ,she sprang to her feet to see Rajeev with his brother and bhabhi.

"Will you come for a drive with me in my first hand new Honda city?"

Suhani blushed  with ecstasy and replied ,"Yes,why not?"

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Now that they were forty they would always take a walk with their kids walking behind them.

Rajeev held her not so young hand in his and asked,"Do you want to come for a drive, Mrs.Sharma? Let's grab an ice-cream for us and the kids."Suhani blushed .He always had this effect on her.

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