It all started six years ago. Udit saw her first then. Her name was Vanya. They both gained entry in the first year of their Engineering College. He liked her then & there. From a back bench, while she sits in another row, sometimes talking to her friends, sometimes laughing, sometimes taking notes, listening to her tutor, he always saw her. Now it was third year. Days passed & passed. Things changed, as they always do. He tried talking to her in that year’s annual function but couldn’t gather the courage to do so.
It looks so old now. As if it was a previous birth. Sugriv told him once, that he is just wasting his time. But it was useless. ‘It is just Karmic’, Sugriv said it too once, but he couldn’t take it. One thing he had in control was his studies. As his parents had stakes on him, he was always sincere about it. He wasn’t a topper but managed to get decent marks over the semesters.
Then, when they entered in to their third year, fifth semester, he became more serious about this affair. ‘I cannot live without her’, Udit told Sugriv when again the topic of her came.
‘I should talk to her this time.’
‘Ha ha, the last time she came near you, you were breathless. That’s one joke.’ Sugriv said laughing.
‘You don’t understand, you never fall in love.’ Udit protested.
‘I don’t want to fall in this kind of stupidity. It doesn’t have either head or tail.’
‘This time, I will go to her. We are having annual function party next week, that will be a good chance to get to know her.’ Udit said, rather convinced that he will succeed this time.
‘Lol, I challenge you, you can’t.’
‘I can & I will, similarly like what last President of USA said.’
‘I bet, 500 bucks. I pay, if you talk to her, else you pay.’ Sugriv said with his hand stretched out to Udit.
Udit, like a man, shook that hand. ‘Done.’
He betted. But he came into dilemma sooner. How? How? How? This question was continuously revolving around his mind. Talking to girls, like many other boys, wasn’t his forte. So, this how was all he had for now.
Days were passing by. Annual function was coming nearer. Now it’s just five days away.
‘Did you know, Vanya is getting married?’ The moment he heard this line from Sugriv in evening one day, Udit thought he started losing his ground.
‘We were sitting in a group, where her friend Raksha & two other girls were too. Raksha was talking about Vanya, she told us. Vanya is getting engage once she is through the final year. Her family is are little traditional, so they found a boy and want to marry her off soon.’
‘So, they don’t even want Vanya to do job?’
‘I don’t know about it, all I know, she is getting married after finishing her BE. Now it’s more useless for you to chase her. At least now you will move on.’ Said Sugriv.
‘No, I don’t think so.’ Udit said, dejected, feeling all his dreams crumbling down.
‘You became crazy for her. And I am tired of telling you to be practical.’
‘Hmm.’ Udit went into deep thought, standing near window, looking towards the evening sun.
Udit became restless since that day. Constantly thinking of her, started making him mad about her. With a suggestion of Sugriv, he started investing his energies in studies & thus gaining time, space from thoughts of Vanya.
Annual function party came & went away. But Vanya thoughts weren’t from Udit’s mind. He sometime tried forgetting her, by watching Cricket Matches, joined language classes, so that he gets less free time. But whenever he got free time, Vanya occupied his mind.
After passing his 8th Semester, Udit got a job in Software Development Company in Delhi. As almost all the private companies do, he had a 12-hour job. From 10 in the morning to 10 in night, sometimes 12, sometimes 6 in the morning. Last time he heard about Vanya, she got engaged, in a grand ceremony in one of the finest hotel in the Mumbai. The person she engaged to, was son of a businessman. Last he heard, Vanya was very happy & was busy dreaming about her future.
He is looking for a girl, who does not know he exists, or the story that has brought him here. He has no reasons to be discreet but still he has to be careful. He is standing near the doorway and surveying the golden banquet hall, which is filled with refined bodies in saris and jackets, and beautiful young women with straight hair who never make facial expressions. But they will, soon. Any moment now.
The story. That brought him here. One day, his routine was broken. Since finishing his studies, he was engrossed in his work so much, that he rarely keeps in touch with his college friends, even Sugriv. But that day, Sugriv called him early in the morning. Udit was preparing himself for the presentation, he has to give that day to his clients, about the software he & his team had developed for them.
‘Hi Udit, how are you?’
‘Hey Sugriv, I am good. It’s a long time, how are you brother?’ Udit asked excitedly. He hadn’t talked to him for more than five months now.
‘I am fine too, yeah it’s really a long time. I called you to tell something.’
‘Yes, sure, I am all ears.’ Udit said while mulling what his close friend wants to tell him.
‘Vanya’s engagement broke.’
‘What? Are you serious?’
‘Yes. She told me. We met yesterday in a mall here. She came with Raksha & Vidya, exploring this new mall. We people met & sat in a restaurant. Revisiting old college memories.’
‘There Raksha told me about her. Vanya sat quiet. Without words, looking downwards. Vidya was comforting her by putting her hand over hers.’
‘How was this happened?’ Udit asked curiously.
‘Raksha didn’t went into details. But the boy became abusive. There were quarrels every day. She tried everything to sort out matters. But one day, she got the news. The guy broke the engagement with her & went with another girl.’
Udit was stunned.
Sugriv continued. ‘Vanya went into depression. For months, she didn’t come out of her house. But eventually, time heals every wound. Here she was, with her friends having an outing.’
‘Thanks for calling Sugriv. But, I am sorry I have to go to the office. I have a presentation today. Will definitely call you once I finished few things. Bye brother.’ All he can say.
Going to the office, he has mind all over Vanya. Is god providing again a chance? Is destiny bringing them together? The more he tried going away from her thoughts, the more she was there.
After the presentation, he called Sugriv again. He asked about Vanya. Where she is, what she is doing currently, did she remember him?
‘I don’t think so. Though Raksha asked about you. But I don’t think Vanya is interested in another guy, for a while.’ Sugriv spoke.
That night Udit couldn’t sleep. All night he just thought of what he should do now. And then he made a plan.
He went to Mumbai next day. Stayed there in a Hotel & called Raksha, whom number he has taken from Sugriv, that morning.
‘Hello Raksha, this is Udit, Sugriv’s room partner during College days.’ He spoke when she picked up the phone.
‘Hi Udit, I know you. Tell me what I can do for you?’ Raksha said in a happy voice.
‘Honestly speaking Raksha, I came here in Mumbai for few days, I need to meet you & talk to you about Vanya.’
‘Why? What about her?’ Raksha became sceptical.
‘Raksha, I would like you to help me please. Meet me in a restaurant of your choice & I will tell you everything.’
Raksha told him the name of restaurant & time. He reached there at given time.
On cup of coffee & biscuits, he told her about everything. His college days, about hearing about Vanya’s engagement & now about her broken engagement.
‘Why do you think she will come with you, let alone be interested, she even doesn’t know you exists.’ Raksha said.
‘Raksha, I loved her in those college days, but I went away too when I heard about her engagement. I know she doesn’t know me, but now when things changed, I think I should try at least once.’
‘Tomorrow is her parents 25th anniversary. They are giving a party in the evening. Come with me, I will take you to her.’ She said.
‘Thanks, Raksha. That’s very obliging.’ Udit spoke. They finished their coffee & went to their respective abodes, decided to meet next day at Raksha’s house.
And thus, he was here. In the Banquet hall. Looking at the people. Nervous. Suddenly, she saw him. For the first time. The young women saw him. The men saw him. He was still at the doorway with Raksha. She took him inside. He was looking good & handsome, dressed up for this special occasion.
He met her. After six years since he first saw her. It was all like a dream. They form a group. He went & congratulated her parents on their anniversary, gave them the bouquet he brought with him. After all the formalities, he sat with Vanya & Raksha & began talking.
‘Vanya, I don’t know, if you remember me, but I was Sugriv’s roommate in college.’
‘Yes, I know you, saw you many times during classes & in lab. How are you?’ Said Vanya, unaware about what is coming next.
‘Vanya, I know about your past. I want to confess, that I liked you since our first year in college. I even wanted to propose you in third year’s Annual function, but then I heard about your engagement & went my own way. But I want to say now, that I want to marry you. I thought about it for longest time & I always came to conclude that I love you & I want to marry you & only you.’
Vanya was stunned. She didn’t expect this, more so at this time, at all. She couldn’t speak for few minutes. Then she stood up & went away.
‘I think, its time for you to go too. I’ll go & see Vanya.’ Raksha said, with a little worried voice.
‘I think so too. Thank you Raksha, for everything.’ And Udit came to Delhi the same night. From next day, he got used to the routine he had.
Few days later, he got a message from Vanya. He called her. They had a brief talk. She told him that it was unexpected for her, the abusive relationship she went through & everything that followed, was too much for her. But, life moves on. She had discussed him with her parents. Parents as were already worried about the future of their daughter, thought to give this one shot. So, she wants Udit & his parents to come to her place to talk more.
Udit, realizing his dream came true, that he is going to marry love of his life, made him so happy that he called his family immediately.
Getting nod from his family, they arranged to meet Vanya & her family the following week. As expected, things turned out for the good. Udit & Vanya also liked each other’s company. They soon got engaged. The date of marriage was just few weeks away.
Udit called Sugriv. ‘Hey Sugriv, I want to tell you something.’
‘Hey Udit, what is the surprise?’
‘Me & Vanya are getting married on 24th next month. And I request you & your family’s gracious presence on this auspicious occasion.’ Udit spoke in a comical tone.
‘That’s great news Udit, you really surprised me. Of course, we will come. But first you tell me how all this happened?’
Udit said everything happened in the past few months. In the end he said, ‘We were destined to be together, I am happy by this turn of destiny.’ After saying goodbyes to each other, Udit put off the phone & slept. He slept the way, he never slept before, relieved from the worries about his future, about everything.
The following month, on the evening of 24th, Udit & Vanya got married. Only closed ones were invited in this private ceremony. They took blessings from both the parents & then elders. After one month, the newly-wed couple went to Switzerland for their honeymoon.
Waking up in the bed, in an early beautiful morning in the lap of Swiss Alps, Udit saw beautiful sleeping face of the girl he used to see few years ago, about whom he never thought, will be beside him, will become his life partner.
She opened her eyes. He took her into his arms & kissed her forehead. ‘This is my luckiest day.’ He said.
‘So is mine. So is mine too.’ Said she, putting her head over his shoulder.
And they both looked through the window, at the mountains, turning golden with the rise of the morning sun.