Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Envelope..


Meerha barged into her brother's room and ignored his continuous reminders to knock the door before entering. "Hey what do you think you are doing. Aren't you supposed to knock" he said and hastily opened the top drawer of his study table to put something in. 


"Guess what..!! I am finally going there". Meerha's eyes danced with joy when she said this. 


"Whaaaattt...", Mrigank got up from his seat and hugged her tight. "Are you serious..!!"



"Oh my god!. I can't believe this is happening to me.I am finally going to Australia" she said and instantaneously she was lost in her dream. She imagined herself in Sydney standing on the Harbour Bridge watching the sun vanish into the horizon. She saw herself lying on Bondi beach getting a tan. The spectacular view of the Blue mountain would take her breath away and she would never want to come back.


"Have you told mom?", Mrigank said breaking the silence that was created and bringing her back in the present. She realised that neither of them had uttered a word for two minutes while her mind was taking a tour of Australia. 


"I have no idea how am I going to do that."


"Hmmm" he said and then there was again silence.


"You ought to help me Mrigank. You know what this means to me."


Hearing Meerha call him 'Mrigank', gave him a fair idea how serious she was. She would never call him anything but Mrigu. He knew that her sister would not let this go so easily. He had to do something.


*******


Everyone was eating silently. They could not imagine that Meerha would do such a thing. Her mom was so furious that she left the dinner on the dining table in the middle of the talk  Mrigank could see the anger in her eyes. Or maybe it was sorrow. No anger. Sorrow. Anger. Whatever it was, it definitely did bother her. Meerha just looked at her dad expecting that he would say something, expecting that he would console her like the way he did when she was a kid. She just wanted  somebody to hug her. The silence was killing her. 


"Dad, please say something" she tried to look into her father's eyes who turned away at her glance. 


"Meerha, It was least expected from you." her dad said and neatly placed the spoon on the empty plate in front of him. He rose from his chair and started to go. "I cannot do anything", he added.


*******


After his sister left from his room, Mrigank sat on the corner of his bed and thought about what he would tell his mom. He remembered the day when Meerha made him promise that he would not utter a word about this to anyone. He tried to convince her that what she was doing was wrong. She couldn't just pack her bags and go after her boyfriend of 2 years who was now in Australia. Mom would never agree. And he also knew that she was looking for a match for Meerha who had absolutely no clue about their mom's intention. But now it was going out of his hands. He had to tell her. He didnt want Meerha to go. She couldn't. He would not let her. 


He came out of his room and walked towards Meerha who was standing in passage near the stairs. The sight of Meerha looking so cheerful stopped him from going any further. He loved his sister. He wanted her to be happy. He reluctantly shoved away the thought and startede walking towards her.


"Listen Meerha, he said, "What you are doing is really wrong. I am going to tell mom"


"You are kidding, right?" she gave him a questioning look.


"No, I am serious. I am very serious. I can't let you do this. Sahil is a nice guy but that does not mean that you would leave your family and go live with him when you know that even he has not established himself there. How will you survive."  He looked at her sulking face and tried to explain, "Meerha, its just been 10 months since he started working there. You are really out of your mind. Or maybe I am an idiot that I didn't stop you in the very beginning"


"Mrigu, I need to tell you something but please don't mention anything to mom or dad. Plea..." she stopped in between when she heard her mom call out from the kitchen.


"Mrigank, Meerha. Come down. Dinner is ready"


Both of them descended from the stairs when they heard her voice. Meerha nudged him with an elbow and gave him a pleading look asking him not to tell anything to anybody. He ignored.


The moment they all sat on the dining table, Mrigank began, "Mom Dad, ummm, Meerha is going to Australia." 


Both the parents looked at each other, then at Mrigank and finally at Meerha. "What do you mean she is going? Don't trouble you sister. You have grown up now and stop pulling her leg", she said laughingly and expected her daughter to shout at her brother for teasing her like they always did when they were kids. When neither of them said anything, she figured that something was wrong. She looked at her husband who seemed puzzled himself.


"I demand to know everything", their mom said.


After a mnute of silence, she said "Mom, I am going to australia in 2 weeks time. I am sorry for hiding this all the while but I couldnt ...."


"Stop. I dont want to hear anything. I will not take any excuses" She looked at her husband yet again expecting him to say something this time atleast but he seemed least bothered. She ignored him and looked at Meerha. "If you have decided that you want to go and you didn't even bother to take our permission then we wont stop you. You are free to go and nobody would stop you. Nobody.." Saying this she roughly pushed her chair back and left without saying anything.


*******


"Why was everyone behaving like this. This is not how I wanted the things to be like. No. This is not done.", she said to herself  when she was all alone in her room. "I am not going to talk to anybody now. I will not tell them anything. My mom, my dad and even my bro does not understand me. They didn't even give me an opportunity to explain." She decided that she would not talk to anybody and would leave in two weeks. "They will miss me when I am gone. They surely will.."


*******


Two weeks passed and it was time for Meerha to go. The days in between were miserable for everybody at home. The house was always filled with silence. She needed her parent's help but she did not approach them. Nor did they. Her ego was big enough for everybody. She knew she was right. She wasn't going there for Sahil. Not 'just' Sahil atleast. But how could she tell anybody. Mrigank too had not given her a chance to tell him why she was going. She wanted to tell him but he acted too brotherly. 


She was about to leave. She wanted to hug her mom before going but maybe her mom was too angry at her that she went to sleep when it was time for her daughter to leave. She searched the house for her dad and found him sitting in his favourite room in the house, the library. She gave him a quick hug. A tear ran down her cheek. She promised herself that she wouldn't get weak. It was time to be strong. It was time to go ahead.



"Bye dad. Please take care of mom. And dont worry about me. I'll be fine." She could sense more tears bursting out of her eyes and before they could come out she started walking away. She heard her dad telling her to take good care of herself but she didn't want to turn back. Meerha went straight to her mom's room where she was sleeping  and planted a small kiss on her cheek. She took out an envelope from her handbag and kept it on the table beside her mother. Everything would be okay when her mom would see this. She was positive about it. She looked at her mom one last time and ran out of the room, grabbed her 2 suitcases and rushed out of the house. She wanted to meet her darling Mrigu but even he had ignored her. She went and sat in the cab that she had called to take her to the airport. Her mind went back to envelope that she had left in her mom's room. She let out a small laugh and couldn't help but wonder what her mother's reaction would be when she saw the copy of full scholarship which the University of Sydney had offered her for an MBA...






Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The date...



Sitting in her room, she gazed at her image in the mirror. She smiled at her self and wondered what feature in her attracts Shekhar the most. She smiled again and made a note to ask Shekhar about this tonight and let him answer.


Tonight was a big night. Shekhar was taking her out for dinner and somewhere deep inside she was sure that he would propose her. She wanted to look the best tonight. She opened her almirah and ran her slim fingers through all the pairs of clothes that hung in front of her.


"Naah", Anushka exclaimed. She had to look special tonight. "I should rush to the market and go get something exclusive to wear", she thought.


She glanced at the White and Gold coloured clock which Shekhar had gifted her on their 1st anniversary of togetherness. Anushka was amazed at how time flies. She wondered how 7 years had gone by. She couldnt help but smile when she remembered how Shekhar used to trouble her when they used to sit together in Class 10th. They never got along well and Anushka always used to curse her teachers for making the so called 'rascal' sit next to her. Little did she know that she would fall in love with the guy whom she hated the most.


"Our story is like a typical Bollywood movie", she said loudly and then bit her tongue realising that she was too loud. After 7 years of knowing each other, they would be getting married soon. She jumped with excitement. She again looked at the White and Gold clock which struck 4. Shekhar would pick her up at 8:30. So there was still a lot of time left and she had loads of work to do.


She picked up the phone and dialled his number. Shekhar's manly voice greeted her.


"Hi baby, I was just thinking about you", said Shekhar.


"Shekhar, Are you still in the office?"


"Yeah, but if you want then I'll come right over". Shekhar let out a funny laugh.


"No sweetheart", said Anushka. "You stay in the office and complete your work. I was thinking that i'll go to the market and buy something to wear tonight."


"Again..?? How many clothes do you girls buy? Oh man, your almirah is too full"


"Oh please, you wont understand"


"Hmmph...I agree, we men can never understand you girls"


"Chalo then, I better go now. Mummy will kill me if I tell her that I am going shopping. I have to think of a bahana as well."


"HaHaHaHa, you wont change. Ok sweety, you go ahead. Will pick you up around 8-8:30"


"Bye honey. And listen.." Anushka was silent and then she said after a pause, "I love you"


"Love you too, Bye"


Anushka smiled. What a relief she gets after hearing Shekhar's voice. She felt that she was again charged and she could go on for forever. She picked up her purse, ran a comb through her hair, applied a smack of lip gloss, grabbed her car keys and rushed out of the door so that she could escape her mom's eagle eyes. She ran in the driveway and unlocked her 2 year old rust coloured Honda City. She looked at her watch again. It was 4:45. She had to hurry up.


She drove till Greater Kailash 1 M block market and her eyes looked for a parking spot. She found one near Cafe Coffee Day. She neatly parked her car and sheepishly smiled and thanked her father for teaching her how to park cars nicely. "Girls can't drive", Shekhar used to say when they were in school. Anushka proved him wrong and still Shekhar was proud of her.


She locked her car and looked through the lanes of the market. Clueless, where to start from, she entered the first shop she saw. After a series of trying the clothes on, making a sulking face, disapproval followed by extreme confusion she came out of the store and wished that she had gone to south-ex instead. There was nothing exclusive that she could find. But then she was short of time. Anushka quickly calculated in her mind how much time she had. "Shekhar will pick me up at 8, so I need to reach home by 7. For that I need to leave from here by 6:45." She looked at her watch and thought "So, I have a total of approx 70 mins left."


She decided that she would enter a max of two shops and get done with it. She quickly ran the names of all the stores she knew and picked 2 names from the lot. She entered into United Colours of Benetton, tried a few dresses and then came out. One last store to go to and she had to pick up the dress positively. While she was entering Esprit, a red and maroon knee length dress worn by the mannaquin caught her attention. She liked it instantly and asked one of the salesmen to show her size in that dress. It fitted so well on her and she looked dazzling. "Shekhar would love it", she said to herself. She asked the sales guy to pack it up for her. She paid and left.


Anushka was all smiles. It was a nice day. She loved every moment of it. Everything was just going perfect. While, walking towards the car she started humming the song "lets make a night to remember" by Bryan Adams. And suddenly she heard an extemely loud noise. She saw people running here and there. There were about 50 people inside the levis store that she was crossing. All of them rushed out and left no room for her to move. There was a total chaos and Anushka realised that there was something really wrong. She stood there trying to figure out what to do and then there was another bang. The next thing that Anushka noticed was that she was thrown several feets up in the air and she landed on the ground with a large thud.


Anushka lay there unable to move. She couldn't see clearly.

She wanted to call Shekhar but her muscles hurt her. She couldn't move. She just lay there thinking. "You look amazing honey, I wish I could hold you tight in my arms", Shekhar would have said. Then she would give him a heart melting smile. They would leave for the restaurant in Shekhar's car and she would rest her head on his shoulders while he drove the car. Shekhar had told her that he had booked a table on the roof top where they would be all alone. And suddenly while they are eating Shekhar would bend down on his knees and take her hand in his hands and say, "Baby, I want to live with you, I want to have kids with you, I want to spend my life with you. Honey, Please marry me" and she would close her eyes and nod. She would open her eyes to find herself in Shekhar's arms but all she could see were people lying on the floor covered with blood...






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The serial blasts in Delhi on 13th September 2008 took us all by surprise. The first blast took place at gaffar market in karol bagh, the next two exposions were in connaught place at Central park and Barakhamba Road. And the last two blasts were in GK 1 M block market. It is a really sad sight. The story written above is fictitious but my heart bleeds when I think that something of this sort may have happened to somebody. If only we could do something...