Nita ran down the stairs and slid smoothly behind the wheels of her brand new Audi. As she drove out of her office, the watchman at the gate saluted her smartly. She smiled to herself. At 39, she had everything; a successful career as a Creative Head of a leading Ad agency in the city, a plush apartment of her own, a dream car , but somehow instead of feeling on top of the world, she felt empty.
There was no one waiting for her back home, neither a doting husband nor a couple of chubby kids. At 39, and pushing 40, Nita was still single. Her thoughts inevitably turned to her parents. With a pang of regret, she thought of her mom who had desperately wanted to see her married and settled in life. She had turned a deaf ear to their pleas and gone on to scale the corporate ladder with each passing year.
“Now, I guess it is too late for me…” Her glance fell on a couple nearby, who were busy chatting and laughing with their ten year old daughter.
“If only I could find someone nice, a charming gentleman, who can be a good companion for me through life…” Her thoughts turned to a book she had read recently. She was surprised to find herself wishing dear Universe, please usher in a handsome, intelligent and good humored young man into my life…
Nita chuckled to herself as she thought, “Wishful thinking”.
Meanwhile, at the airport in the city, a tall, young man dressed casually in a pair of jeans and a shirt, strode purposefully towards his cab. Well built, fair, with a sprinkling of grey streaking his naturally brown hair, Rahul looked every inch a gentleman who had carved a niche for himself in the world. Calm, poised yet bristling with unbridled energy, Rahul felt as if he couldn’t wait to get on with his day.
Rahul had just come down from Chicago for a much needed break from work and also to spend time with his aging parents. Having never had much belief in arranged marriages, Rahul had been too busy in his career to even befriend a lady let alone fall in love. Of late, Rahul yearned for some intelligent female companionship, someone to whom he could open out his heart to. How he wished he had an elegant and charming long haired Indian beauty waiting for him at home in the evenings…..
Weekend arrived soon enough. Nita, clad in a blue salwar, with her long hair dangling loose, and just a bright red bindi to brighten up her face, ran up the stairs of the club house in her apartment complex. A residents’ meeting had been called for and she wanted to raise her voice in protest against the current association members since the maintenance of the complex had gone from bad to worse. She took a seat at the back, biding her time to voice out her dissent.
The door to the meeting hall opened suddenly and in strode Rahul, looking tall and handsome, yet casual in a red T- shirt, blue jeans and loafers. Nita’s gaze dwelt briefly on Rahul, and then she turned her attention back to the meeting in progress.
“I disagree with the raise in maintenance costs; on what basis have you raised the charges and how could you do so without convening a residents meeting?”- boomed an angry voice. All eyes turned to the source and Nita was pleasantly surprised to note that the voice belonged to the jean clad young man who had just walked in.
“Who is he? Never seen him hereabouts…?” she asked her friend Lata.
“That’s Rahul, a leading journalist from the States. He has just come down for a brief vacation and he stays here with his parents.”
Nita was impressed by Rahul’s boldness and assertiveness. Long after the meeting was over, Nita’s thoughts invariably kept returning to Rahul, and she found it mildly disconcerting.
Monday dawned bright and sunny and Nita was early at her desk. She opened her mail and found one from Rahul addressed to all members in the apartment’s Google group. He had voiced out vehement protests against the current association team.
Nita noticed his name again in her inbox, this time addressed only to her.
Hi, sorry for rushing off. Will catch up with you this week- the mail read.
Was this addressed just to me? – She replied back.
Yes, it is addressed just to you- and he had left his number too.
Nita too typed out her cell number and sent it to him.
Within five minutes, she had a call from Rahul, on her cell. ‘Hi, Rahul here”- a deep polished voice spoke to her.
Nita and Rahul caught on like a house on wild fire. After exchanging the usual pleasantries, conversation flowed naturally.
They promised to meet up in the evening over a cup of coffee. Nita felt good and excited about meeting him.
Later that evening, the duo met up for coffee at Café Coffee Day. Rahul couldn’t take his eyes off her face. What intrigued him were her eyes, which kept twinkling each time she smiled.
Time just flew and it was time to leave. They drove back home since they were both from the same apartment complex. Even after she reached home, feeling light and good in a long while, there was a beep on her cell.
Hi Nita- it was a message from Rahul. They continued to message and talk until late into the night.
This continued for a fortnight and both of them knew that they were drawing closer to each other, but they never spoke about it openly.
“Nita, I will be leaving for Chicago next Tuesday”- Rahul told her on a Friday.
Nita felt as if her world had come to a sudden stand still. But she managed to smile and retain her composure. Rahul observed her closely but said nothing.
They kept meeting and talking over the week end but now there was an unspoken tension surrounding them. She dint want to get closer to him than she was now, she knew she will be in for a major heartbreak if she allowed herself to get too involved.
“Nita, I need to talk to you. You have been avoiding me “- Rahul said on Sunday. Despite herself, her eyes welled up.
“Nita, I like you a lot. I have put off telling you since I wanted time to really think it through and not give you false hopes. I have decided that you are the girl for me. I will come back within two months and I will talk to your parents about us’.
Nita‘s heart surged up in happiness. At a loss for words, she hugged him close.
“You know something Rahul? Just a few days back, I had asked of the Universe to find someone gorgeous for me… and see? I have found you….”-she chattered away happily.
Rahul looked at her strangely-“That’s exactly what I wanted too, I too wished for a beautiful gorgeous lady with lovely eyes and hair, and here you are!”
Rahul pulled her close and whispered in her ears-“The Universe has conspired to bring us together’.
Yes, the Universe had wrought its magic on them both….
About the Author
Valsala Menon is a writer by profession, a journalist by intention and an author by passion. She has worked with several start-ups, and acclaimed magazines and dailies, and also explored several beats of writing. Currently, working on her own collection of short stories and a novel. Valsala is always on the look out for the next big challenge in the literary space.