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writingLove rains

“'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”  Alfred Tennyson

Chapter 1

‘Tap, tap’ the keys went on smoothly on the lap top. 

Vel looked at the watch. It showed 2 am.  From afternoon he was so much engrossed in the work and didn’t remember when he checked the time. 

For more than once he walked to the pantry to have a cup of strong coffee to brush away the sleep that patiently lingered on his eye lids.  It has been a year since he started to work like that often shifting between day and night.  

“Ricky…” Vel called him loudly. “Bring me some hot soup from the canteen.”

“Yes.” Rick replied from the door without even looking at him.  It is a routine thing to happen every time around 3 am early morning.  When everyone wanted to sip a hot cup of tea with elaichi, Vel preferred to sip his vegetable soup. 

He always loved to sip any type of soup with the spoon and never wanted to drink it directly from the bowl. Vel knew how to cook delicious and nutritious and he also specialized in preparing different types of soups.  At home he sometimes made delicious, rich vegetable soup made from the left-over vegetables.

On rainy days, when everyone was at home, he prepared hot vegetable soup or chicken soup and served it with style.  The flavor of the soup would be so inviting, sometimes even his neighbors enquired his mother what was special to cook something so delicious and appetizing.

His taste for soups helped to slowly improve his culinary skills also.  At home whenever his mother is not at home, he preferred to cook his food. His father also enjoyed eating the food cooked by him. He always compared it with whatever his mother prepared.

Her mother always encouraged him to cook. She felt that it is a must for a boy to know cooking as it is a must for a girl to learn cooking. If a man can cook food, he can also assist his wife in all her cooking and that will definitely help them to sort out any problem or misunderstand amicably.

“Sir, your favorite soup is here.” Rick left the bowl of soup at the corner of his desk and looked at Vel who was deeply engrossed in his work.

The flavor touched his taste buds and he could not resist from having a sip from the bowl.

“Thanks.”  Vel took the bowl of soup and started to sip.  The soup was neither too hot nor too cold.  It had the exact warmth that he needed at that time. But the flavor was so mild that made him add some more pepper and salt to the soup.

Vel always preferred to have soup with more pepper especially during early morning. That helped him to feel energized and concentrate more on his work.

“Morning, boss.”  Reema’s message popped in from the chat window.

“Good morning. How are you?”

“Good. I can feel the aroma of your soup, here.”

“You are a devil. How can you smell it from there?”

“Because, I am sitting right across you, turn around and look.”

“But, I am not ready to share it with anyone now.”                                                         

“Yes, I know, let yourself drown in that yummy soup.  I have better things to do.”

“Cool, cool, I will take you to the place down in the street this Saturday. Are you happy with that?”

“No, thanks. I can walk on my own and treat myself with whatever I like. Good bye.”

“Ah!”  Vel chucked louder.  “The soup is so hot with too much of pepper.” 

“Go to hell.”  Reema got up from her chair and made the remark grinding her teeth.

“I not only enjoy sipping the soup, I can make delicious soups also. This is for your information.” Vel told her loudly.

“Yes, then your wife will be better placed to take the risk of your soup every day.” Reema mocked at him.

“Come to my home one day. I can show you how many varieties of soups I can prepare in an hour.” Vel invited Reema to his home.

“Yes, I will be there one day to risk my life. Now let me go. Bye, Bye.”  Reema made a mocking sign to him and started walking toward the pantry to get a cup of coffee.

Every day something or other happened like that and Vel loved to tease Reema.  Though they both sounded harsh and exchanged heated words, they loved each other in their hearts. Yet, they have not responded to each other openly and claimed their love also.  

Chapter 2

The day started sunny and bright.  The recent showers made every flower in the plant to bloom adding colours to the surrounding. But everyone was least bothered to watch those tiny wonders, and rushed through their way to enter the gates of the work place and get their cards punched on time.

Everyone felt that there looked a prominent change in the weather. At times the sun looked hot and made the people complain about sweat and dryness in the air. 

Suddenly during evenings, the clouds one by one peeped from every nook and corner of the sky and gathered together with their dark coloured cloaks and started to come down as if hitting the earth in the form of strong drizzle without giving a chance for anyone even to open the umbrellas.

People who wore their rain coats somehow escaped from the strong winds that splashed rain on their face. The umbrellas could not withstand the power of the wind and they turned up exposing the person underneath to the down pour.    The fancy umbrellas that sold in the roadside shops did not have the power to fight against the heavy wind or the heavy downpour.  The umbrellas turned upside down and the ribs of the umbrella twisted and made them unusable.

The streets were flooded with muddy water mixed along with the garbage thrown down at the corner. The down pour took along with it all the dirt even from the far away roads.

Reema stepped out of the main door and stood at the entrance.  The main entrance had more than twenty wide long steps and she could see the roaring water down the path that connected the office to the main gate.

The heavy downpour looked like a thick curtain that was dropped from the sky down to the earth.  It made everything hidden behind it.  Nothing was visible and it was difficult to walk or drive the vehicles down the road looking beyond the thick curtain of water.

It was only evening six o’clock, but it looked darker like mid-night.  The chill breeze that blew splashed drops of rain water on her face and made her feel thrilled like a little girl.  As a kid, Reema always loved to play in the puddles of rain water after a heavy rain.  Her mother never allowed her to enjoy such play with her friends in the neighborhood and kept her inside the house with the doors locked.

Somehow Reema would manage to convince her mother or get the permission from her father if he was at home at that time and join her friends down the street to play boat race.  They collected the required paper from the used note books to make paper boats. Paper boat racing was one of her childhood favourite play time and if it rains Reema always looked forward to spend the whole day out in the street.

Reema still remembered how her dad taught her to make paper boats.  Her friends knew how to make ordinary paper boats.  But Reema’s dad taught her to make paper boat with a sword underneath that made her boast to her friends.  She made them beg her to teach how to make that kind of paper boat.  The only difference is doing one extra fold of paper, which she would teach them with much fuss. After getting something in exchange for teaching how to make that paper boat, Reema taught them how to make that paper boat.

After making maximum number of paper boats, they decided to have the paper boat race in the stream of water that flowed down the street.

Little boats made out of different colours of paper floated gracefully on the small stream of water that ran down the street.

“Shall we play pirates with our paper boats?” Reema called her friends.

“That is interesting.  I will be the pirate.”

“No, I will be the pirate.”

“Hi, I will also be the pirate” another one joined the group.

“Then, I will be the sea guard.”  Reema would shout above the noise.

“Ok, Let us begin the game.”

With a cheer, they would start the game.  When the boats were half way through the stream, the rain would once again come down harshly and drown their paper boats.  The water flowing down the street would carry away the crumpled paper boats and throw them into the rain water drain. Yet, they never complained.  With all the cheer of heart, they tore away more number of sheets of paper from their used note books and made another set of paper boats. Till their hair started to drip drops of rain water, they would run along the street chasing their paper boats. 

Reema also remembered how they decorated their paper boats with tiny flowers that grew on the plants on the roadside. They also made tiny paper dolls and made them stand in their paper boats.  Their paper boats carried the tiny dolls as sailors and they all shouted together when the boats started to move down the water.  Reema could not forget all those childhood play and they were still warm in her heart.

‘Hi, once again into day dreams”

Reema turned around to see who made such a remark.  Her friend Caroline stood there with a mischievous smile.

“It is not day, dear. This is evening. No day dreams to dream now.”

“So, you are waiting for your Prince Charming to come in one of the paper boats down the stream?”

Both of them burst into laughter.

“Hi, Caroline, when did you shift to boats from horses? You are becoming adventurous.”

“I know you like only horses. See the water. How it will be if we get a boat ride back home?”

“Enough. Come on, let us start. I may miss the bus. Today it is going to be pretty long to reach home. My mother will be really worried.” Reema spoke with a concern.

“Do you have your rain coat?”

“No, I have my umbrella only. It is not comfortable to travel in the bus with the rain coat.”

Reema and Caroline stepped down and put their legs together in the street water. 

“Ayyee” Caroline screamed and jumped onto the middle step. 

A long snake swimming down the water was trying to climb over the steps searching for a dry space.

“Oh, god, what a miraculous escape” Caroline trembled with fear.

“I don’t know if it is an escape for the snake or you.” Reema replied her giggling loudly.

“Don’t joke. I am really scared. This is the first time I am seeing such a long snake.”

“Cool, cool.” Reema pacified her friend.  “It’s gone.”

Holding hands together, they struggled to walk through the muddy rain water and reached the bus terminus in twenty minutes.

Luckily, Reema got her bus on time.  She also got a place to sit, but after crossing half of the distance her way home, something went wrong with the engine, and all the passengers were asked to get down from the bus.  Though it was only 6:30 pm, it looked pitch dark and the chilly breeze made her shiver.  For some time, Reema could not tell where she was standing. An unknown fear gripped her for a moment.

There were only street lights on the main road.  She could see two wheelers and four wheelers that struggled to move through the lashing rain in flooded roads. Not even a familiar face she could look for help.  Not even a single empty auto could be seen there. The buses that crossed the place where the stranded passengers stood were already over-crowded and the engines of the buses literally struggled to push through the narrow space that was already congested with too many vehicles.

When the stranded passengers started to walk toward the next bus stop, Reema joined them. She did not want to be left alone in the dark. If she walked along with them, somehow she would be able to get an auto and reach home safely before it started to rain once again.

It took another long thirty minutes to walk to the nearby bus stop.  No bus came there empty. Every bus that stopped at the bus stop was full to the capacity and people who were desperate to reach home did not mind hanging near the footsteps all the way.  Reema decided to wait for a while. It took another thirty long minutes. Half of the crowd in the bus stop disappeared.   

Chapter 3

Usually rain in the evening never stopped with the drizzle, and as time went on it turned into heavy rain.  It slowly gained momentum and within minutes it flooded every nook and corner of the city.  Most of the lamps went away and rain that caught people unaware made their life extremely tough to manage till they reached their home safely.

Even people traveling in the cars could not drive in the flooded roads and they left their cars locked in the side of the road.  During rainy days most of the accidents happened.  There were stories about people who locked their cars with the windows raised and waited for the rain to subside.  But before the rain subsided, the people inside the car get suffocated and died. Initially, the police could not find out the real reason behind the deaths in locked cars. Later it was found out that the evolution of carbon monoxide from the running air-conditioner was the culprit.

It started once again to drizzle and the remaining crowd rushed to the bus shelter to avoid getting soaked in the rains. The umbrella that Reema carried was not of much help for it brought much of the rain water on her and made her shiver in the cold. 

Rain can be a welcome break in Chennai. But the heavy showers always made Chennai a stinking cauldron and a night mare for the people who drive their two wheelers or four wheelers. Especially the low lying areas in Chennai changed into small lakes and it is scary to watch people who fell down along with their vehicles into the ditch that lied hidden under the water.  The rain water eroded away the roads and left pot holes everywhere.

When Reema called her mom, she asked her to take an auto and come home safely. After rains in Chennai, the normal routine life will go haphazard, for everyone wanted to reach home and no one wanted to be on the flooded road. The same thing applied to the auto drivers also. Only a few of the auto drivers took the challenge and used the situation to make some extra money. Yet, most of them did not want to get struck in the middle of pot holes on the road. Instead of getting into trouble by helping others to reach home safely, they preferred to go home early and be with their family.

The heavy showers slowly decreased into drizzles. The cold breeze that blew brought along with it a warm, appetizing flavor of some soup.  The flavor slowly drifted toward Reema and reached her. The flavor made her feel hungry and she wished she would reach home at least in another one hour.  

Reema looked around to see where the soup shop was. A few feet away from the bus stop, a man was busy preparing hot vegetable and mushroom soup on a push cart. The crowd at the shop helped the soup vendor to have a good business. Suddenly, Reema realized someone familiar in the crowd.  Sitting on his bike, Vel was busy sipping his cup of soup.

“You are god sent.” Reema quickly moved toward Vel and tapped loudly on his bike.  It took some time for Vel to recognize Reema in that place at that time.

 

“Oh, what the hell you are doing here?” Vel looked at her with a surprise. 

 

Drenched to the skin, Reema was shivering in the cold and both her palms looked wrinkled and cold.

 

“Do you mind having a cup of my favorite soup? You can feel heaven.”

 

“True. If I have not seen you now it will be really hell for me. Thanks. But it will be great if you leave me at home now. I can join you later with your favorite soup.”

 

“So you found me because of the soup.” He gulped down the remaining soup fast with a smile and looked at her teasingly.

 

“It is getting late. Let us move before it started to rain again.” Reema wanted to leave that place immediately and reach home as early as possible.  She suddenly felt she was so demanding and wanted him to do as she wished.

 

“Sorry, if I sounded demanding.  I am scared of this lightning and thunder.  It makes feel so shaky.” Reema apologized to him.

 

“I did not feel anything wrong. I will take you home before it rained once again.” Vel promised her.

 

On the way, it once again started to rain heavily.  The connecting road to their place was almost empty, so only less traffic was there.  But riding against heavy lashes of rain along with strong wind really tested one. 

 

Though the road does not have any pot holes, the running water on the road made the ride difficult.  As there was much chance to skid and slip on the road, the motor bike rider need to go slowly and cautiously.  One slip, one great fall would happen.

 

As everyone was busy rushing to their home, no one had the patience to stop and see what happened.

 

“Hold your umbrella; don’t get soaked in the rain.”  Vel had to shout to Reema.  

 

Vel was wearing his rain coat and so he was protected against the lashing rain.  Reema unfolded the umbrella and hold it above her head.  But, for anyone holding an umbrella while riding as a pillion rider was not an easy task.  Reema struggled to hold the umbrella in one hand and grip the bike with the other hand. She had to put in the maximum effort to balance herself on the pillion. The swirling flood water rushed ahead and disrupted the speed of the vehicle. It was really a task to go against the force of the nature.

 

The umbrella that Reema was holding on her hand could not withstand the slashing rain and the swishing wind tilted the umbrella and made it folded upwards. For sometime Reema struggled hard to keep her balance.

 

When Vel applied brakes to avoid a pot hole, the umbrella slipped from the hands of Reema and it flew away to some distance drifting backwards.  People who followed Vel on their bikes had to do some stunts to avoid from getting hit by the umbrella that the heavy wind carried further.

 

The wind carried it further and the folded umbrella rolled down the flooded road and got stuck in the mud on the side of the road.

 

“My umbrella, umbrella” Reema shouted above the sound of the rain.

 

“Yes.” Vel stopped the bike and turned around to look at Reema. “Go and take it.”

 

“Let it go away. I don’t mind getting drenched in the rain. We will go home soon.” Reema shivered in the cold piercing wind added with the slashing rain water.

 

“I can wait. Go and pick it up. All the way you can’t come like that.” Vel ordered her.

 

Reema had to obey Vel. She jumped down from the pillion and ran towards the umbrella.  When she picked up the umbrella, she was shocked to find some of the ribs of the umbrella were broken and it looked pathetic.

 

“Look at this. See the condition of the umbrella.  I have to throw it only.” Reema replied to Vel.

 

“Yes, you can throw it once you reach home.”  Vel started the bike, and asked her to hold the umbrella so that she could at least protect her head from the rain.

 

Reema started to feel embarrassed.  Why should she get him also into trouble like this?  Definitely, she must have got an auto or a bus if she had waited for some more time.  Now it had become his responsibility to take her home safely without any problem.  Reema realized how her mother was right and asked her to come by an auto or a bus.

 

As if reading Reema’s mind, Vel asked her. “Excuse me. Where do you live?”

 

“Just near the bus terminus.”

 

“Ok, which terminus?”

 

“Near the Adyar bus terminus.” Reema replied casually.

 

“Oh, my god, do you live there quite near my place?”

 

“We live near Aavin parlor.”  Reema could not hide her surprise.

 

“Oh, that park.  Sometimes, we all go over there to have our ice cream.”

 

The next five minutes they reached Reema’s house.  Leaving her at the door step, Vel left immediately as he did not want to get caught in the rain that once again started to drizzle.

 

Reema’s mother was so shocked to see Reema drenched to the skin. When she told her mother that she came along with her colleague in the bike, her mother gave a stern look.

 

“What is the hurry? You must have taken an auto.  Riding in this weather in the bike is not safe at all. Anyway thank god, you have come home.” 

 

Reema felt relieved and went to change her dress which got stuck on her skin and showed her curvy features.

 

“Oh, my god, am I coming like this with him.”  The thought made her blush and she could not avoid the rising excitement in her heart.

 

He must have seen me, but he did not show any reaction on his face. He must busy riding the bike in this bad weather.  Yet, at heart Reema wished he must have seen me.  Reema once again blushed and changed into a comfortable dress.  Rain water still dripped down her hair and one stream of water from her forehead slowly came down on the ridge of her nose and touched her lips.

 

Chapter 4

 

Reema looked herself at the mirror. “Do I look so sexy to entice him?” A broad smile adorned her beautiful face. Reema was always proud about her small pouting lips. Some of her friends used to tell her that she had sexy lips that looked inviting and could hold a man’s heart at once.  But as she failed to notice any sign of admiration from Vel, she was a little bit angry toward him.

 

“I know he has a soft corner for me. Yet, why does he hesitate to tell me.” Reema went on thinking wild for a while.

 

“Let him come and tell me first. I will not get emotionally attached to him so soon. Let me wait.” Reema decided to wait for him and tell his love.   It will be really good to watch him and consider him to be my secret admirer. That thought can help to lift the confidence and can make her feel great.  If he is going to reveal his love just like that in a moment, it will be not be a true love, and there will be no thrill in knowing about that also.  


Love is something like an adventurous trip. It must have its own challenges, then, only it will be interesting to go ahead. Reema always believed that things won after facing challenges will last longer and it can help to make the life meaningful and the love life more blissful.

 

But at that time she did not realise how her life will take a slippery u turn and give her the maximum friction to let her stand firmly on the ground.

 

“Reema, come and have your food. What are you doing there? Wipe your hair dry, otherwise you may fall ill.” Her mother scolded her from the kitchen.

 

“Yes, ma, I am drying my hair.” With the towel on her hand, Reema went into the kitchen to get her plate of food.

 

“What a pleasant ride!” Vel could not believe in himself. He never expected to ride with Reema on his pillion. So many times, Vel wanted to drop Reema at her place. But he always hesitated to ask her for she will be always there with some of her friends. He also knew it will not be a good idea to ask only her to come along with him when she was with her group of friends.  This adventurous ride in the lashing rain made his heart palpitate faster.  Once in a while he looked at the shivering Reema in the rear view mirror.  To maintain his decency, he did not look again and again. If Reema caught him looking at her in the rearview mirror, she might think worse about him. To avoid such embarrassing situations, he concentrated on the road to avoid any pit fall.

 

“Why don’t you come home early?” Vel’s mother opened the door with the usual complaint.

 

“Started early only ma, but caught in the rain.”  Without giving time for her to begin with the next complaint, Vel came back quicker after changing his dress that was drenched in rain. He did not want to listen to another long lecture from his mother who yet treated him like a 10 year old boy.

 

After dinner, he switched on the computer as usual to check his personal mails.

 

“Don’t sit too long glaring at the system. Go to sleep early.”

 

“Yes, ma, you go and take rest. I know how to take care of myself. I am not a little boy.”

 

“Drink at least this milk.”  His mother left the tumbler of milk and went to sleep.

 

When Vel took a sip of the milk, the warm milk caressed his throat and made him feel better. He always wondered how his mother knows what he needs even without asking him. Probably, that is motherhood. With a smile he drank the milk in one gulp. 

 

As usual, Vel was caught by the flavor of the milk. He remembered how his mother would force him to drink a cup of hot milk with a pinch of turmeric powder, jalapeno pepper (val milagu in Tamil) and palm jaggery. This mixture always protected him from getting cold and also prevented the throat pain. After drinking the milk, Vel went to sleep immediately even without switching off the computer. In minutes, he was fast asleep and so even the numerous messages that Reema sent to him did not wake him up from his deep sleep.

 

After sending a thank you message, Reema eagerly expected Vel to reply her back. But he did not reply to her message. Reema could not avoid feeling a bit disappointed as she expected an acknowledgement from him.

 

She did not want to call him and disturb in the middle of night. At the same time, she missed the patience to wait and talk to him in the office the next day. Reema rolled and rolled on her bed and went to sleep around 3 am in the morning. She felt awkward and did not know what she was thinking about Vel would be true.

 

Reema knew cycling and she loved to ride bicycle on the busy roads. Cycling made her feel energetic and she liked to pedal so fast and feel the evening breeze on her face. Sometimes, cycling in the rain was so irritating and she had to keep on wiping away the rain water that dripped from her forehead and dampened her hair.   If it rained, the entire crowd went mad and no one bothered to follow the traffic rules. Only one thing ruled over their mind. They wanted to reach their destination as soon as possible.

 

After traveling in the bike along with Vel, she wanted to enjoy bike rides. Even though she can ride a two wheeler, to be a pillion rider is also something thrilling and exciting.

 

Reema always listened with wonder to her male colleagues while they discussed going long bike rides. Young college boys or men in their early twenties always wanted to go for adventurous trips during their weekends. In Chennai, they always selected ECR road for their long bike rides. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                               

A ride on the ECR is breathtaking and picturesque. ECR is a biker’s paradise. Most of the road is unusually straight and flat and they are also well laid out.  Vehicles rode you past at a speed of over 100 km per hour, though the legal speed limit is 80 km per hour.

 

After crossing the ECR Toll Plaza, the riders can get a natural view of the sea. The East Coast Road is only one lane per direction with no dividers.  So overtaking becomes hair-raising and high-speed head-on collisions are quite common.  The road runs parallel to the coast of Bay of Bengal. The bike ride through the ECR to Pondicherry is about 130 kilometres. 

 

Sometimes, Reema had seen couples riding on the East Coast Road.  It was quite romantic to watch those riders who rode unmindful of the people around them. Those youngsters were least bothered about the onlookers and rode their bikes in tune with their high spirits.  Nothing prevented them from enjoying that free ride that made them feel so excited and happy. They were never afraid to show their tricks and zip past the traffic without giving any one a chance to overtake them.

 

The next morning Vel got up late. His mother had to keep on calling and reminding him that it was getting late for the office. He was pleasantly surprised to see too many messages from Reema. He was also surprised to see many missed calls from her. With a smile, he went to brush his teeth.

 

Morning showers always took a long time for Vel. He loved to stand for hours under the shower and enjoyed the tingling touch of the sprinkled water. On that day, the shower reminded him of the yesterday’s rain showers on the way home. Usually Vel avoided travelling in the rain in the bike. It was quite tedious and he always felt a bit risky to drive the slippery roads especially at night.  He preferred to wait and ride the bike after the rain stopped. But on that day, because of Reema he had to ride the bike in the slashing rain.  He took the utmost care to ride on that day.  

 

Except his mother, Vel had not taken anyone on the pillion of his bike, and it was the first time he took Reema on his bike. Even after he dropped Reema at her home, he could feel the sweet fragrance of her around him. Even after a quick wash in the rain, the fragrance lingered on the pillion and he lovingly touched the seat with much love from his heart.

 

In the India, especially in South India, right from the childhood, boys and girls are taught to maintain distance. As it starts from home, they never deviated from it even while they travel in the bus, train or in any public places. This can be seen everywhere in South India. It is embedded in the culture of the society and no one took the liberty to break it. Yet, things are different now.

 

In a city like Chennai, people grow learning to get adjusted to certain things by coming out of the rigid circle of cultural restrictions.  During peak hours, people never mind to travel in share autos and crowded buses. Even though buses have separate seats for girls and ladies in the bus, both the gender has learned to accept certain things during peak hours or office hours. They have started to understand each other’s responsibility and the difficulty every one faces in the daily life.

 

Usually morning hours are hectic and it nearly took one’s patience to get through traffic snarls and reach the office on time. The roads looked pathetic with pot holes and it tested the nerves of the riders. Vel reached office on time after managing all the routine hardships and got engrossed in the usual office work.  Vel totally forgot about Reema’s messages. His did not check any message that he received on his mobile. While going down to the canteen to have food, he scrolled through the messages and was pleasantly shocked to see so many messages and calls from her.  He decided to reply her messages after having his lunch.  

 

In the meanwhile, Reema continued to watch Vel throughout the day. Her eyes followed him wherever he went and she could not avoid watching him again and again.  During the afternoon break also Reema searched for Vel in the canteen.  He was busy talking and eating with his friends, and Reema could not stop feeling hurt.  A sense of possessiveness gripped her and she wanted Vel only for her. Though she knew she sounded childish, she could not get away from those thoughts.

Again and again she thought about her short ride on the bike with him.  Thinking about Vel again and again made her feel love sick.  How it would be in a tight embrace of Vel? How it would be to be near him always?  It will be an enchanting moment to feel his masculine flavor and get locked inside his strong hands.  How it will be to feel him on my lips? Will it be heaven or it will show another world to live through? She kept on day dreaming and at one point of time she got lost in her thoughts.

Caroline looked at Reema with a smile. What happened to her today? She called Reema for more than once, but she did not respond to her immediately.

“Hello, what is happening? You look as if you are in trance.” Caroline called Reema loudly.

“Nothing.” Reema looked at her with a sheepish smile.

“Something has happened yesterday evening. What is it? Let me know.” Caroline looked at her with a question.

“No, no, nothing happened.”

“I can understand from the way you are talking itself that something had happened.  You need not tell me now. I myself will know it by myself.” Caroline left the place with a sarcastic smile.

“Ok, then there is no need for me to tell also.” With this reply, Reema started to key in the content.  She now required a break to come out of the love trance that had suddenly occupied her without her knowledge. She did not want anyone to know about it until she succeeded and received the proper response from Vel.

“When did you reach home yesterday? I was worried.” Caroline asked her.

“It is a story. The bus got struck in the middle of the road. It was raining heavily.  Luckily, I got a lift from Vel. He dropped me home.” Reema replied her.

“Oh, that is reason why you are in a trance.” Caroline teased her.

“Yes, it may be.” Reema answered her back.

“Is it? It sounds interesting.” Caroline laughed at her.

“I am not bothered about people who didn’t even have the decency to reply back or call back.” Reema replied her with a frown on her face.

“What happened? Are you not happy with your ride back home?” Caroline questioned her.

“No, he helped me as a colleague, nothing else. Let him go to hell, I don’t want to talk about him. He thinks too much about himself.” Reema could not control her anger. To divert her from the topic, Caroline smiled at her.

“Cool, cool! Carry on with your work, I will meet you later.” Caroline went to her place to complete her pending work.

Chapter 5

“Reema, do you mind joining us?” Caroline called Reema around 8 pm at night.

Caroline told Reema about their weekend trip down the ECR and their visit to Mahabalipuram.  Some of the team members wanted to go for a short picnic and celebrate the success of their upcoming project. In the beginning, everyone was willing to join the trip, but one by one went away with some excuse or other. Finally, ten people were willing to go for the trip.  Out of the ten only three were girls.  As the maximum number turned out to be boys, they planned to arrange for a trip in their own bikes.

Vel felt so excited to join the group as it is his first trip that covered a longer distance. He had often heard about the exciting trip down the ECR from his friends, so he did not want to miss the opportunity.  When Caroline gave her name to join the group, he asked her to check with Reema and know if she is also interested. 

Initially, Reema reluctant to join the trip took some time to tell yes. But, when she heard Vel is also part of the trip, she told Caroline that she will join them. For Reema it looked like an opportunity that is god sent and wanted to make use of this trip to her maximum advantage. Reema’s mind constantly worked and rehearsed what to talk to him and how to make him understand her mind.

Everyone who participated in the trip assembled at Aavin parlor around 6 am.  The park with so many green trees made the morning pretty cold and Reema could feel the fresh air that carried the strong fragrance of flowers that started to bloom from the trees and plants around the parlor.

The road around the parlor also looked empty. Only morning walkers kept the place busy.

“I must have brought my sweater, so cold over here.” Reema complained when Caroline arrived there completely tucked in warm clothing that protected her from the morning cold breeze.

“Sorry, for not telling you.”  Caroline apologized.

“Ok, I think it will be good once the Sun is up in the sky.” Reema replied back Caroline. Within another ten minutes, all the members of the group assembled in the park.

“Hi, dude, morning.” Vel called Caroline with a brilliant smile.

“Morning. How is your day?” Caroline replied him back.

“Wonderful to start with, I feel so excited to go for the ride.” Vel smiled at her.

“It is same with me. I have never been to such trips, so exciting.”  Caroline shared his excitement with much joy.

As if planned earlier, everyone got into their bikes along with their pair.

“Hi, Reema, do you mind if I go along with Vel?” Caroline teasingly called Reema.

“Never mind. Carry on.” Reema fumed with anger.  She clearly understood that Caroline wanted to provoke her and make her feel tensed.  All of her excitement went away in a few seconds. Reema could not hide her unhappiness. Whatever she kept rehearsing for a while went away just like fumes of smoke in the air.

“Come on, Reema.” Vel called her loudly.  Reema felt so jealous to see Caroline sitting beside Vel on his bike.

“I am not coming.” Reema started to walk toward the gate of the parlor.

“Hi, Reema, what is happening?” Caroline got down from Vel’s bike and came running toward her.

“Why do take small things so seriously? You go along with Vel. I will come with Sanjay, no problem.”  Caroline whispered to Reema.

“We are getting late. What is happening over there?” Sanjay shouted at them.

“Nothing, we will join you in a few minutes.” Vel started the bike. Reema sat on the pillion. She could not control her emotions and her heart beat increased raising her blood pressure and in no time her eyes looked blurred with brimming tears.

Reema could not get back to her excited mood for a while. Just like a prick in the balloon, all her excitement was drained in seconds. The chilling morning breeze from the sea accompanied the rising sun and the entire place looked like heaven.  The group stopped often to take pictures of the beautiful morning that painted clouds with changing colors. The long stretch looked gracious and fit to be a romantic hide out from the bustling crowd of Chennai.

Whatever Reema yearned for came within her grip in a very short time, but somehow she felt low and isolated. Though she sat inches away from Vel, she could not enjoy his nearness. Vel rode the bike so elegantly without any jerk. Maintaining the speed all through the way, the ride must have turned into a romantic one but for Reema’s mood everything looked so blunt and without any specific meaning.

The group once again stopped to take snaps. The place looked breathtakingly beautiful and Reema could hear the calls of sea gulls. The smell of sea drifted slowly in the air, and the air smelled salty and new.   

“Hi, Reema, are you not excited? You look so occupied with thoughts, what happened?” Caroline questioned Reema with a concern. But Reema did not reply her back and kept her lips tight.

“Nothing, I am fine.” Reema answered Caroline after she kept on pestering her with too many questions.

“Leave me alone.” Reema’s words sounded worried.

Caroline looked at Vel.  “Don’t worry. I will take care.” Vel answered Caroline with a hope that Reema would be back to normal once they reached their destination.

Vel could feel something went wrong with Reema. She was not in her usual self. He started the conversation to break the ice and wished Reema would be back to normal to enjoy the trip.

“Hi, what happened? Why do you look so dull?” His voice sounded with real concern.

“Hmm, now I know. You are angry I did not answer your messages or called back. Is it right?” Vel asked her as if reading her mind.

Reema did not reply immediately to Vel. For a while she struggled to hide her rising emotions. She did not answer any of his questions and continued to be silent without answering him back.

“Have you decided not to answer me”? When Vel asked her, Reema only smiled back.

“I know how to make you talk to me.”  Vel raised the speed of the bike and applied the brakes suddenly. The bike stopped with a jerk and it threw Reema towards Vel. The sudden jerk shocked Reema to an extent that she hugged him tightly. With her face tightly closed on his broad shoulders, Reema closed her eyes thinking that they have met with an accident.

The way Reema’s head bumped into his broad shoulders sent a spark across him. For Vel it was a pleasant shock that introduced him to the softness of a feminine body along with its enticing curves.  It took a while for both of them to regain their composure and realize where they are.

“Sorry.” Reema fumbled for words. She could feel the blood rising up on her cheeks and made her blush.

“No excuse. I must thank for your bump into my shoulders. You have brought heaven for a while.” Vel replied her back with his usual teasing tone.  

“Why did you do that?” Reema sounded sweet to his ears.  Still her heart was beating faster with the shock of meeting with an accident and she could feel the palpitation high at her wrists.

“I wanted to make it an unmemorable moment in your life, my dear.” Adjusting his helmet, Vel started the bike.

Though Reema was reluctant to accept that she also enjoyed her bump with him, at heart she felt things were falling in place and she would win Vel’s heart definitely one day. 

“Reema, wear your sweaters. It will be chilly.”

“Oh, no problem, I have not brought my sweaters. Caroline did not tell me to bring me one. I can manage.” Reema answered him with a hope that she would be able to manage the chillness while on the ride.

But things turned out the other way.  She could not withstand the piercing chillness of the cold wind. Half way through, Vel had to stop the bike and give his jerkins to wear for he could continuously hear the cluttering sound of Reema’s teeth in the cold. 

“Do you like to munch some chocolates?” Vel handed over her a bar of fruit and nut which turned out to be her favorite. With a single bite of her favorite chocolate, Reema felt the sudden rush of adrenaline once again.

Chapter 6

Reema remembered what she read in an Internet article. According to Helen Fisher, Professor at Rutgers University, when you see your beloved your heart starts to race. (Why Him? Why Her? Finding Real Love by Understanding Your Personality Type). It happens because of an adrenaline rush. The brain sends love signals to the adrenal gland. The adrenal gland secretes hormones, namely, adrenaline, epinephrine and norepinephrine. They flow through the blood and cause the heart to beat stronger and faster.  Norepinephrine, a stress hormone, governs the attention and responding actions, and makes you feel weak in the knees.

The research team headed by Fisher did brain imaging of people who said they were "madly in love" and found activity in the area of the brain that produced the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine and norepinephrine are closely related. Dopamine gives you that focused attention, the craving, the euphoria, the energy and the motivation. Dopamine gives the motivation to win love, the life's greatest prize. The response of norepinephrine has never been accurately studied in relation to romantic love, but it gets more activated in people in love.

Infatuation that kindles an unbearable attraction toward a person is due to the virtual explosion of these three chemicals.  Phenylethylamine speeds up the flow of information between brain cells, dopamine makes the person feel good and glow with love, and norepinephrine simulates the production of adrenalin. Adrenalin makes our heart beat faster and our eyes sparkle with love.

Suddenly Reema felt the urge to reduce the distance between her and Vel and sit cuddled to him on the pillion.  She remembered this is due to Oxytocin, the cuddling chemical, which makes the lovers yearn for the need to be held physically close, and care for each other.  Oxytocin can be triggered immediately by the look or even the enticing perfume smell from the lover.

In addition to this, another natural chemical also plays a main role in making people love sick. The common symptoms of love, restlessness, shaky knees, and sweaty palms are caused by Phenylethylamine which is commonly called love molecule. This love molecule is released from the brain by simple actions like meeting of the eyes or touching the hands.  Racing pulses, heavy breathing and becoming emotional are due to the over dose of the so called love molecule. Interesting to note here is that chocolates have a very high level of this love molecule.

“Thank you.” With a smile, Reema got the chocolate from Vel and started to munch heartily.

“A perfect gift to start our hide and seek game in the name of love,” Reema told herself with much joy.  Her eyes looked bright with the light of love. Looking at her changing reactions in the rear view mirror, Vel smiled to himself. “These girls, no one can understand.” With thoughts in the same wave length, their ride moved smoothly on the ECR.

Vel showed good control over his bike.  He maintained average speed throughout the ride and at the same time made Reema feel thrilled and excited over the long ride on the stretch of ECR. Though he wished Reema to put her hands around him and make feel the warmth of her love, he restricted himself from wishing to be so early. If she started to feel he took advantage of their lonely ride on the ECR, things may not fall in place. Silently at his heart he wanted first to take Reema into his confidence and allow him inside her heart.

Suddenly it started to drizzle, and so everyone halted at a roadside resort hotel. Finishing their breakfast there, the group decided to take a walk on the private beach shore of the resort. The entire shore looked clean and tidy.

Just like their group, groups of youngsters thronged the resort.  Everywhere Reema could hear happy giggles and loud laughter.

“Caroline, can we go and play in the swing?” Reema ran and sat on the swing. There was no drizzle and the sun rays brightened up the place. The cool sea breeze helped them not to feel the hot sun rays.

Reema enjoyed going up in the air in the swing. Caroline and Reema took turns to push the swing and spent more than an hour by going up and down in the swing.

“Let us go and stand in the sea water for some time.” Both of them hand in hand walked toward the sea.  The water looked crystal clear and chill.

“Move ahead. Let us stand there.” Caroline dragged Reema along with her into the waters. The tides were low and every tide splashed foamy waves on them.

“It is heaven. Is it not?” Reema quipped happily to Caroline.

“Do you want to go for a swim in the sea?” Caroline called Reema teasingly.

“Oh, god, I forgot to bring my swim suit. But I don’t mind swimming with my jeans.” Both of them burst into loud laughter. Reema felt light at heart and hoped she had wings to fly up in the air and show the world her happiness.

Enjoying the touch of cold waves, Reema plunged into her romantic thoughts.  She shifted her legs to stand firm on the sea water. The sand under her legs drifted away and it took a while to balance standing in the sea water.

“Hi, Reema, take this.” Reema turned around to see who talked to her.

“Look at this. It is so huge. I found it on the shore.” Vel gave her one beautiful sea shell.

“Keep the shell on your ear you can feel the sound of the waves inside the shell.”

Reema kept the shell on her ear and patiently listened to the sound inside the shell.

“I have read about this sound. It is not the sound from the shell. It is the sound of the blood that runs through the veins in our ears.” Reema gave a good explanation without smiling.

“Then it is the sound of your heart.”

“What is the connection between the heart and the ears? I could not understand.” Reema questioned Vel.

“I told you whatever I thought.”  Without waiting for her to reply, Vel moved ahead into the sea and picked some more shells that were scattered across the sandy sea shore.

“Oh!” suddenly Reema screamed loudly.   A well grown crab that peeped from its hole in the sand came walking toward Reema’s leg. The crab wanted to get hold of the plankton sticking on her feet. When the crab touched her leg with its pincers, it made her shout.

“Enough. I am not going to stand in the water anymore.” Reema walked awkwardly in the wet sand and sat down on the swing once again.  The warm breeze and the sun rays helped to dry her dress quickly. Caroline also joined her and once again they enjoyed swinging for some more time.

Looking longingly at the sea shore, Reema wished to be born as a mermaid in her next birth.  The world under the sea always excited her and till then she did not get an opportunity to know more in detail about it. The world of fish always fascinated her and she wanted to know more about the life under the sea.

Someone called Caroline, and so she left Reema alone on the swing and went to the reception. Reema alone on the swing moved fast high up in the air. She enjoyed swinging so high in the air.  For a few shots high up in the air, she enjoyed the fun. But suddenly, she felt so dizzy and wanted to stop the swing from going up and down in the air. When the swing came down, Reema hit her left foot on the ground and tried to stop the swing from moving up again.

Within a fraction of a second, she lost her balance and the swing board twisted suddenly.  Losing her grip on the ground, Reema went head long on the ground. As it was only sand, Reema escaped without any injury, but she could not come out of the shock for some time.

Some girls who were walking toward the sea came running to her and helped her to stand up.  Caroline who was walking back from the reception sensed something went wrong and came running toward Reema.  She opened the water bottle and asked Reema to take a few gulps of water.

“Thank you, I am alright.” Reema kept on repeating to Caroline.

“What happened?” Caroline was worried.

“Don’t tell all these things to them. It may spoil the trip. I am ok, come we will go and join them for our lunch.” Reema holding Caroline tightly, walked slowly on the sandy shore.

After lunch, Reema looked normal. She totally forgot what happened to her at the swings, and enjoyed her time with her friends.

After enjoying the get together for more than three hours, the group started their return journey.

Evening set in and they watched the breath taking beauty of the evening sun in the back drop of sea shore.  Reema accompanied Vel everywhere and enjoyed even sharing the lunch with him.  But her mood suddenly changed now and then which made Vel nervous at time. She looked unpredictable. At one point she made him feel that she desperately needed him and she loved him so much. At another point, she suddenly distanced herself from him and looked nervous and unhappy showing stress on her beautiful face.

Vel could not understand her mood fluctuations, but it clearly showed Reema did not want to get emotionally attached to him so soon.  She did not want to take any chances and lose him forever. These thoughts may be sensible on her part, but not sharing them with Vel made him feel desperate and unhappy.  She made him feel confused and he could not decide if she loved him or not.  Reema looked like a problem that is without a solution and he did not know which love formula will work with her.  

Vel decided to wait for her. He felt she needed some time to take a strong decision that will not be changed elsewhere in the future.  His matured way of approaching problems helped him to remain stable and strong.

“Caroline, I will join Sanjay. Can you go with Vel?” When Reema asked Caroline, she was initially shocked to hear.

“Why, what happened. You only wanted to go along with him.” Caroline looked at her without understanding what happened to her.

“Yes, let me go along with Sanjay.” Reema without waiting for any answer sat on the pillion.

“Leave her. We will go.” Without showing any reactions, Vel started his bike. He really could not tell what went on Reema’s mind and why she changed her mind so.  When they started from Chennai in the morning, she desperately wanted to accompany Vel, but now she has voluntarily changed that option.

Reema’s face did not show any signs of unhappiness or stress. She looked totally calm and relaxed. But her sudden neglect made Vel feel hurt and unhappy. The thrill and excitement that Reema’s nearness looked short lived and he could not find out what made her to do so. 

Chapter 7

Next day when they met in their office, the group had become extremely close. Sharing the photos taken during the trip, they teased each other and laughed heartily.

Around lunch time, Caroline called Reema. “Reema, do you mind coming to my house, this weekend?”

“Yes. What is the special occasion?”

“Can you come and help me to build the crib for this Christmas?” Caroline requested her.

“No, problem, I love doing it.” Reema accepted Caroline’s invitation at once without knowing a surprise awaited for her at Caroline’s house.

Reema reached Caroline’s house around 10 am in the morning. Two of them sat throughout the day cutting and pasting long sheets of cardboard till afternoon. After lunch, both of them took rest for a while listening to some songs.

Around two o’clock in the afternoon, Vel peeped inside through the window and called Caroline.

“Half of the work is done. You are here now.” Complaining Caroline opened the door for him.

“I got stuck with some work at home. I took my mom to the hospital.”

“You are excused. Had your lunch”?

“Not yet.”

“Then come and have your lunch.” Caroline’s mother is an excellent cook and the lunch tasted extremely good and Vel loved eating the food as it tasted different from the way his mother cooked their food.

“Thanks for a tasty lunch, Caroline.”

“Welcome. Shall we start our work?”

“I feel heavy. Just let me relax.” Vel replied her with a lethargic tone.

“So shameless to eat whatever you get.” Reema sneered at Vel.

“Yes. I am shameless.  This is not your place.” Vel gave back her without waiting for her to complete the sentence.

“Oh, my god, what is happening here? I always find you fighting with each other.” Caroline replied to their conversation.

“Leave her. Let her go to hell. We will start building the crib.” Vel moved over to the place where the crib has to be kept and started to work on it.  He never answered any of the questions from Caroline or Reema and was completely involved in his work.

“Reema, do you mind having some soup?” Caroline looked at Reema who was busy painting.

Reema looked at Vel and smiled at him. “Here is your favorite.” Vel did not respond to her remark.

“Caroline, go and bring a bowl filled with thin clear soup. That is his favorite.”

“I want people to mind their own business. If I need, I will ask.”

“What is happening here? Reema come along with me, we will bring the bowls here.” Caroline dragged Reema and took her inside the kitchen.

“Add more pepper in his bowl. Let him feel it hot.” Reema whispered to Caroline.

“If you want to have more of pepper, add it to your bowl, why are you teasing him?” Caroline answered her back.

“Wow, what a flavor, it smells so delicious.” Vel sounded cheerful when he smelled the soup.

“Hi, it is delicious. Who prepared this? I think you did not.” Vel queried Caroline.

“My mom is a specialist in preparing soups.  Today she has prepared her favorite chicken soup.”

The next fifteen minutes went away in discussing how to prepare various kinds of soup. Slowly the conversation turned its focus on preparing chocolates.

“Vel, do you know, my mom prepares delicious chocolates at home.” Caroline announced proudly.

“Is it so? I love chocolates. I love to eat chocolates. I love to drink chocolates. Chocolates in all forms is my all time favorite.”

“Wonderful.” Caroline hit on Vel’s extended right hand and both of them broke into loud laughter. Reema did not join their laugh, but fumed with anger.

“Aye, what is there to laugh so loudly?” Reema mockingly showed gestures at both of them.

“Reema you also like chocolates. Then why don’t you join us?”  Caroline called Reema.

“Not interested. Go to hell with your chocolates.” Reema turned her back to them and continued to paint.

When they completed the work it was nine in the night.

“Reema, why don’t you stay tonight here? Call your mom and tell her. Or else I will call and talk to her.” Caroline wished Reema to stay at her home as next day was Sunday.

“Caroline, can you get an auto and send her home? Her dad is not at home now. Let her stay some other day.” When Reema’s mother told Caroline to send Reema immediately, she could not tell anything.

Caroline started along with Reema to get an auto from the nearby auto stand. Unfortunately, on that day, the whole stand looked empty. No auto was there.

Caroline started to feel restless. “I must have asked you to start early. Sorry, Reema, I am really sorry.” Caroline could not stand the rigid stare from her mother also. 

“Vel, do you mind dropping her at home?” Caroline requested Vel reluctantly.

“No problem, I don’t mind. But first ask your friend.” Vel replied her with a doubt.

Reema had to accept as she did not have any other option to reach home safely.

Caroline lived in the other part of the city, the extreme north.  So, it always took more than 1 hour to travel down the road to reach the place where Reema lived.

Without any words, they travelled together silently for the first fifteen minutes. Initially, Vel tried to build a conversation with her, but she responded to him with one or two syllables. This clearly told Vel that she did not want to talk to him. Vel could not understand what happened to Reema so suddenly. There was always an unexpected change in the way she behaved toward him and he could not tell what made her to react like that.

Reema’s indifference irritated Vel to the core. He raised the speed gradually and touched the maximum speed in a short time. As the road was empty with a few vehicles here and there, Reema could feel the chilling cold breeze of the night.

The full moon was up in the sky. The entire place looked serene and beautiful with the cold rays of the moon. Reema loved watching the rising moon in the sky. At that time also, some couples walked down the road holding hands together enjoying the cool moon lit night. They were deeply engrossed in intimate conversation and unmindful of the people and vehicles around them, they looked enjoying their love walk.

“How it will be to go on a love walk like this on a moon lit night with Vel?” Reema could not help thinking like that. The thought brought a broad smile on her face. Though she wanted to share this thought immediately with him, she did not know how he will take it. If she gets snubbed for this, then she may not have the guts to talk again to Vel. So, she decided to keep her mouth shut.

Chapter  8

Reema could understand the changes that have started to happen within her. She very well knew it is also because of love hormones that made her feel love sick and wanted to be near her beloved always. Literally speaking, Reema had come out of her infatuation toward Vel, and had started to yearn for an intimate relationship with Vel. So she wanted to take every step cautiously and win his heart. She did not want to go wrong in any place, and lose Vel forever. Temporarily this thought phase drew a line between them and at the same time, Reema did not want to get this gap wider.

‘Do not get emotionally attached to him so early’. She kept on telling herself again and again. You must have your own space at any cost. Reema may be right in her thoughts, but that brought down the seriousness of their love life just like a brake on the bike.

Endorphins in Reema made her wish her relationship with Vel to be steady, warm, dependable, intimate and also a great sharing experience. Because of this Reema did not feel high and giddy with love, but felt stable and calm. She very well knew she yearned to be together with Vel always and did not want to be separated for a long time. Initially due to the sudden rush of adrenaline, Reema loved the idea of being in love. But when endorphins took over her, she started loving Vel.

Absorbed in these thoughts about love, Reema did not even know where both of them were. Suddenly, the bike stopped and Vel asked her to get down.

“Excuse me. You are now at your home. Will you please get down?”

Reema looked at Vel as if she was in a trance. “Thanks.” Reema climbed the steps without even waving back Vel. Totally confused by her behavior, Vel left the place wondering what happened to her for the past two days that started from the day they went on a trip.

Reema’s mother was angry with her. She did not expect Reema to return home so late.

“Why don’t you call and tell me you will be late?” She started once Reema got inside the house.

“Sorry, I forgot. I really didn’t think it will get so late.”

“Your brother has gone out of town. Your father is also not here. He had called so many times and he kept on scolding me. Hereafter, I am not going to allow you to go anywhere like this.”

“Ok, sorry, sorry. This will not happen again.” Reema apologized to her mother.

Reema drank her usual cup of milk and went to bed directly. It was already 11 pm and she did not want to go late to the office next day.

But, Reema could not sleep immediately. With all the lights switched off, she could hear only the noise made by the blades of the fan. The swishing sound of the blades accompanied her thoughts silently and it encouraged her to think more and more about Vel.

For a while, Reema kept on reading all kinds of stuff about love and relationship in the Internet. Reading articles that look at love and relationships in every angle that is possible gave more knowledge about love and what would be the expectations of men and women in their love life.

Is Vel a watcher or a poacher or a Tarzan? Thinking about Vel as a real Tarzan made her smile with a broad grin.  Vel cannot be a watcher as a watcher is a man who is married or in a relationship. He just wants to attract women who are married or in a relationship. Vel cannot be a poacher for a poacher is a person who is materialistic and his love is not in depth and it is only on the surface. A poacher wants to know what she can give him or do for him. Before she understands his real intentions, she will be dragged into a situation that leaves her broken hearted that would take a long time to heal. A poacher wants to understand what she has in her deep soul and use it for his own. 

Reema wanted Vel to be her Tarzan.  Tarzan is a person who wants to understand his lady love and become a part of her world. Though he gets scratched or bit by her, he still wants to be with her and discover the love life and give a greater meaning to the life they live together. Tarzan wants to start their love life in their path that coincides at all levels and literally bring their worlds together to become one.

Similarly, when Reema started to think about her role in love and relationship, she could not tell who she is. Is she a tigress or a goddess or a maiden? Thinking herself as a tigress made her smile contentedly. One needs to be honest and know what she really wanted for her and her love life. The tigress is wild, protective and she is also beautiful. She is smooth and at the same time she is full of life, capable of bringing rhythm to the love life.

Thoughts about love made Reema more and more love sick.  She struggled to find out a way that would make her feel comfortable and concentrate on her work. Even her dreams reflected the commotion at her love heart and that made her feel sleepless and tired. With her eyes closed, but her mind wide awake, Reema spent the time in disturbed sleep. She felt mentally weak but her face showed the love glow and told the world that she is much in love. When her mother reminded her that she is getting late to the office, she lethargically woke up from the bed. Another fifteen minutes in the cold shower did not help her much. With the same wave length of thoughts she started to the office without knowing that something waited for her in the office with a surprise.

When Reema reached office on that day, only a few people were there. The entire space looked empty and she could see her colleagues scattered here and there. Even the central air-conditioner was not switched on.  Reema could feel the air to be stuffy and smelt of the floor cleaner that the house keeping maids used to mop the floor.

As usual she entered the rest room and started to comb her hair and make it look tidy. She washed her face with a face wash and applied light make-up to brighten up her face. Normally, she never liked to do so. But after seeing most of her female colleagues spending at least ten minutes to brighten up so that the day will start good, Reema also started to do that.

The morning sun rays always left her face dark and sun tanned. Washing the face fresh with cold water always helped to save the face from darkening and it also helped to avoid dark spots on the face.

After getting herself look presentable, Reema went to her place. She was quite surprised to see a box of chocolates along with a red rose on her table near the computer. At the first guess, she thought it must be only none other than Vel. She could not think of any other one than him.

‘Hi, Reema, what is this”? Caroline screamed at Reema with a surprise.

“What a nice gift in the morning? Look, they are your favorites.” Reema smiled back at Caroline. With a grinning smile, she started to distribute the box of chocolates among her colleagues, which definitely made Vel upset and unhappy.

Vel looked outwardly cool but he could not share his love pressure with anyone. Every time he met Reema she teasingly shifted his love pressure to the highest point. When he was on the verge of going high up in the air, Reema pricked and burst the love balloon that drifted across the valves of his love heart.

With a pricking pain the love balloon burst and it always failed to carry along the love oxygen through the blood vessels to all the parts of his body. The air sacs in his lungs turned romantically into love sacs and yearned for every drop of blood to be richly oxygenated with love.  Vel rarely smoked and he did not have the habit of taking heavy drinks. Sometimes to give company to his friends or colleagues, he restricted himself to a glass of chilled beer.

Vel felt delicate to discuss these issues with his friends for they may tease him and make fun of him. He finally thought a way to unfold her heart smoothly and know what has been happening in her heart and also if there is any place for him in her heart. As it happens in fairy tales, like the magic potion that the witches prepare, some time in future, medical research must find out a love potion to win the heart of the beloved.

Chocolates can help to induce love feelings, but it takes a long time to find out the way through.  Yet, chocolates looked as the best option at that time. Along with a box of dark chocolates, Vel bought a love bouquet and left them at the desk of Reema before any one arrived in the office. Expecting something to happen, he went to his place and continued with his official work.

The cold dark nights of November stretched his dreams further. Vel did not get a response from Reema.  Reema immediately guessed who must have left such gifts in her place; she did not want to confirm it with Vel. With a happy cheer, she shared the dark chocolates with everyone in her team which infuriated Vel.

“You, stupid girl, and these chocolates I brought it for you. You are sharing with everyone.”  It irritated him more and made him feel like an idiot doing things that doesn’t make sense.  Unable to control his rising emotions, he took off and left the office around 1 pm in the afternoon. He rode directly to Marina beach.

Though it was afternoon, he could see crowd over there. He took a shady place behind a boat and started to watch the sea waves that rolled slowly and touched his legs. Enjoying the cool sea breeze, Vel spent his entire afternoon there.  As he did not want to get disturbed, he switched off his mobile and kept it aside.

Vel kept on looking at the sea waves. The waves showed irregular bumps and hollows that a love life can also have. Winds that blow over the ocean create currents and waves on the sea. The force of the waves depends on the speed of the wind and the length of the time that it takes to blow.  If the wind dies down, there will be no waves and the sea will look calm without any movement. 

Peculiarly, Vel compared his love with the waves of the sea. If the force of the love from Reema is showered more on him, the love waves will also take the maximum height or length to move and touch the sea shore.

“Am I becoming a fool to have such thoughts?”  Vel spoke to himself.  But he needed an outlet and he shared whatever he had in his mind with the evening breeze that blew from the ocean. After 8 pm in the night, he stammered across the sand and reached the main road. He kick started his bike with the speed that showed he was mentally depressed and angry for whatever that has been happening in his life.

After reaching home, Vel switched on his mobile phone again.  Caroline’s messages filled his in box.  He changed the mobile to silent mode and went to take his evening shower.

After eating dinner, he switched on his computer and started to chat with some of his friends who came online.  Around 10 pm, Sanjay came online.

“Hi, how is your love spell?”  Sanjay’s message popped on his desktop.

“Are you teasing?” Vel replied.

“No, I am not teasing or joking. It is sincere.” Sanjay wanted to know why he left the office like that without informing anyone.

“Nothing important, I just wanted to relax a while by being alone.” Vel replied without losing his calmness.

“Ok. I think you need a love potion to make your love work. All the best, Good night.” Sanjay signed off and went away.

Vel opened the search engine and started to find some details related to love spells or love potions. He was taken aback by the information he read on the net and he decided to use some of them to make his love work. But he did not know at the same time, Reema was also searching and reading on the net something about love spells and love potions.

Cheerfully both of them started at the same time to win each other’s heart without knowing whatever the person is up to.

To start with, the next day Reema made the romance origami and left it on the desk of Vel. When he looked at it, he was quite surprised to see that as he was also planning to leave the same romance origami at Reema’s desk top. Reema carried one with her and left one at Vel’s desktop, so that he can carry it along with him.

Reema started the game of love.  She meticulously planned every step to conquer the regime of love.  She planned her first schedule that started with day one and extended till day 9. Day 9 will be the end point for the first schedule. All the time, she did not forget, unless she got the blessings of cupid, she will not succeed in her love.

Reema checked the calendar and chose an auspicious day after the New moon.  She prayed and then started to make the Romance Origami.

Day 1

How to prepare Romance Origami

Just fold the paper into a square.

• A pinch of lavender
• A pinch of rosemary
• One piece of orris root
• A piece of stiff red paper

Lay out the paper, and put the herbs in the middle. Fold the paper over a few times to enclose the herbs and make a little "envelope". Seal it shut with a piece of tape or string.

Reema decided to carry the love charm around with her to draw Vel.

When Reema decided to prepare this passion tea, she did not know how she is going to share it with Vel.  Reema had to break her head to find out a way to meet him and offer him this passion tea.  She entirely relied on Caroline to share this passion tea with him.

Day 2

Aphrodesia Passion Tea


A warm cup of this tea will set the love mood. It can be called as a passion potion, rather than a love potion.

  • 1 pinch rosemary
  • 1 pinch thyme
  • 1 pinch damiana
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons black tea leaves
  • 3 mint leaves
  • 3 rose petals
  • 3 small pieces of lemon zest

Mix everything together with about 3 cups of boiling water, and let it steep in a teapot. Fill your heart with thought about your beloved while it sits for a few minutes. Pour into cups and sweeten it with many spoons of honey to taste good.

Reema always remembered that even love potion spells have their own limits. To make someone love with tricks cannot be successful always, especially if the person is really not interested in you.

Reema in the middle of tight office schedules found it difficult to spare some time to sit and do this herbal love box.  She reached home late and left early in the morning.  The tight schedule in the office demanded her time, yet one day she sat late night and completed making the herbal love box.

Day 3

Herbal Love Box

Reema decided to prepare this herbal love box and leave it on Vel’s desk. The scent of petals and herbs can attract love when this spell is performed during a full moon.  

• A small lidded box or bowl
• Piece of quartz (clear or rose)
• Rose petals
• Chopped vanilla bean
• Lavender buds
• Damiana root
• A pinch of ground cinnamon
• Piece of white paper

Reema decided to make a cute little box as it can be secretly slipped under the computer key board tray. Even with a small quantity, if all the ingredients are kept inside the love box, it can successfully cast its spell.  

Reema mixed the flowers and herbs together, and filled the bottom half of the box. Then she wrote 5 qualities that she liked with Vel on a piece of paper. Reema did not forget to include only his personality traits, and not physical traits. She folded the paper at least once, to fit into the box. Then she filled the rest of the box up with the herbs. She placed the crystal right at the top of the herbs and closed the lid.  Every night, she opened the box and took a sniff to remind her need for true love.

On the fourth day, Reema reached home late around 9 pm. As it was raining heavily the whole day, she could not reach home early.  The traffic congestion in the flooded roads delayed her reaching home early, but she managed to do this spell after having her supper.

Day 4

Classic Candle Spell for Love

Reema liked this simple spell. It has all the classic elements of a good magic spell.

• A pink candle
• Rose oil
• A little dried lavender or rose petals

Reema sprinkled the petals around and set her candle-holder on top. She then rubbed the rose oil along the candle, and lit it in the holder. She repeated the words for three times:

I wish to find love
I wish it to last
I wish to find love
May it come fast

After repeating the words for 3 times she left the candle to burn out.

Reema could find some time to do this spell at leisure.  She was alone at home and without much disturbance she sat and did it.

Day 5

Letter of Love Spell

Though this spell did not contain any of the traditional magical ingredients like herbs or crystals, for Reema it turned out to be powerful. Reema performed this on a Friday night.

  • 1 sheet of blank paper
  • 1 red marker
  • 1 envelope
  • Favourite perfume
  • Favourite red lipstick
  • 5 or 6 fresh red rose petals

She used the red marker to write down the qualities she has been looking for in Vel, making it specific and realistic. She did not use names. She then gave the paper a spray or dab of her favorite perfume, then folded it into an envelope.

Reema then held the rose petals in her hand, and imagined herself with Vel. She immediately felt happy. She then put the petals into the envelope with the paper, and sealed the envelope. Reema applied a little lipstick on her lips, and then planted a big kiss on the outside of the envelope.

Reema decided to keep the envelope in a safe spot, and did not open it. Once her love succeeded, she must simply throw it away or burn it. She must not open it at any cost.

Reema loved to do this spell as it lovingly stirred within her smiling thoughts about Vel.  When she carried out this spell, she felt romantic at heart and she can feel love in the chill cold air around her that blew through the open windows.

Day 6

Perfect Partner Candle Spell

Reema loved this love spell with candles. For her nothing could be more romantic than a love spell with candles. The flickering flame will tell when the right time comes.

This spell could attract a particular person or bring the right person to you.

• 1 white candle
• 1 candle in your favourite color
• Candle holders for each candle
• Pink or red cloth
• Pink chalk

In the corner of the bed room, she prepared an altar space. She selected a clear a space to set this as it can take several days for this love spell to work.

She held the white candle in her hand and thought about all the qualities she wanted in Vel. She then said them loudly while concentrating on the candle. This candle represented Vel for her.

Reema then took the other candle, and listed down the qualities that she will bring to their relationship. The candle represented Reema.

She then spread the pink cloth, and set the candles in their holders on either side of the cloth (about 2 feet apart). In the centre of the cloth between the candles, she drew a large heart in chalk.

Every evening, she focused on both candles and concentrated on their relationship. Then she moved the candles a little bit closer together. She did this every day in the evening, until the candles are together in the centre of the heart. Reema planned this spell to last at least a week. Reema decided to set the space between the candles.

When both candles are side-by-side within the drawn heart, she then drew a second heart around the first one. She asked her love Goddess Venus to grant the request and finally lit both candles. She lit them every evening and let them burn as long as until they are gone. She knew she must wait patiently, for it can take some time for this love spell to work.

Reema got up early in the morning to get ready with the love pouch. She made one for her and one more for her friend Caroline also. When she gave this to Caroline she got it from her with a smile, but kept on teasing her for a while.

Day 7

Love Pouch

Reema prepared this handy spell pouch because it can be carried wherever she went and keep it along with her always for added magic.

• Small pink pouch, cotton or silk
• 4 white or pink candles
• Cauldron or fire-proof pot
• Catnip
• Jasmine flowers
• Paper and pen

On the altar, Reema set the 4 candles at the cardinal direction points (north, south, east and west) with the cauldron in the centre. Put the catnip and jasmine in the cauldron. On the paper, she wrote down what she wanted in Vel and in their relationship. She then signed her name and folded it.

Reema placed the paper in the cauldron, and lit it. The paper burned, but the herbs did not get burned. While the paper burned, she repeated the following words:

By the power of flame and words, bring me love

Reema kept on saying these words until the paper is burned out. She stirred the ashes in with the herbs, and poured them into the pink bag. She tied it closed, and carried it along with her.

Reema prepared two more of this love spell. One she gave it to Caroline and the other one she asked her to pass it on to Vel without his knowledge.

Day 8

Triple Knot Love Spell

Reema found out this knot spell is an easy spell to perform. Whatever Reema wished gets charged in the knots as she said the spell.

• A length of red ribbon at least 24 inches long
• Patchouli oil
• Ylang ylang oil

She put one or two drops of each oil into her palms, and rubbed them together. She then run her fingers along the length of the ribbon to anoint it with oil. For Reema has to tie 3 knots in the ribbon, she left some space between them evenly along the length. Reema then told each line of the spell as she tied each of the three knots:

With knot of one, my love will come
With knot of two, it shall be true
With knot of three, so mote it be

Reema then made a loop on the knotted ribbon around the door knob of her bedroom. No extra knots are needed to hang the ribbon around the door knob.

This potion Reema found it difficult to do for her mother stayed at home most of the time. Reema wanted to do alone without any one to question her.  She had wait for three days to catch up with the right time. When she finished preparing this, she felt relieved at heart.

Day 9

Classic Love Potion #9

Though there are different love potion spells based on the magical number 9, Reema chose the more traditional one. Even though it contained a long list of ingredients, it is an easy spell.

  • 9 oz sweet red wine
  • 9 basil leaves, fresh
  • 9 red rose petals, fresh
  • 9 whole cloves
  • 9 apple seeds
  • 9 drops real vanilla extract
  • 9 drops strawberry juice
  • 9 drops apple juice
  • 9 small pieces of ginseng root
  • 9 pink candles
  • Large cooking pot
  • Cheesecloth or fine strainer
  • Small glass bottle

She lighted candles around the area likely in the kitchen, and mixed all the ingredients in the pot. She stirred together over low heat while saying the words of this spell:

"Let the one who drinks this wine,
Shower me with love divine,
Love potion number nine,
Let his (or her) love be forever mine.

Reema brought the stove to a low simmer and let it be heated for another 9 minutes. She then took the pot off the stove and let it cool. While it is cooling down, she said the names of 9 love goddesses loudly: Venus, Ishtar, Astarte, Nephthys, Hathor, Aphrodite, Freya, Arianrhod, Inanna.

Reema then strained or filtered the fresh potion to remove the bits and pieces, and poured it into a stoppered bottle. She then kept it in the fridge till she needed it. Give on its own to your loved one, or add to another drink for a romantic boost of magic.

All these days kept Reema busy along with her usual office work.  She did not talk much to anyone in the office. Caroline kept on wondering what happened to Reema.  She did not talk to her also in the usual way and replied or answered her questions or wishes in single words or mono syllables.

 “Reema, what is happening with you?” Caroline shouted at her one day to find out what is going on with her. Reema did not get angry at her but smiled at her and walked away without answering anything to her.  Caroline decided to wait and see as she always knew one fine day Reema will come to her to reveal all her secrets.

Sundays are mask days for Reema.  She never failed to apply a facial mask every Sunday.  If any one of her friends happened to visit her on a day like that, they will be shocked to see her weird face behind the yellow colored besan flour mask.

The facial mask that Reema prepared is her secret and it helped her skin to glow bright and healthy.  Reema mixed two to three table spoons of besan powder with thick boiled milk and made it into a paste.

Sometimes she added a pinch of turmeric powder to the mixture so that her skin is protected from all kinds of infections. After applying the mixture throughout her face, she would leave the mask to dry for at least thirty minutes.

Once the mask started to give a tingling feeling on her face, she would wet her hand with cold water and slowly rub it across her face. The dried mask would slowly dissolve in the water. Using the tips of her fingers, she would rub upwards on her face and smoothly massage her facial skin.  

While massaging her face, Reema always felt the spreading warmth on her fingers from her face. This helped her to bring out the heat in the skin and let it get cooled. After that she washed her face in the cold water. Once in fifteen days, she never failed to give a steam bath to her face after washing away the mask. This helped her to strengthen her facial skin and tone up the blood circulation in the face.

One Sunday when she was busy applying the mask, someone at the door called her mother.  As her mother was taking bath at that time, she asked her to go and see who was at the door. With the mask on the face, Reema went to the door and opened it.  The man at the door was initially shocked to see her with the facial mask. When he told her that he had brought the provisions, she asked him leave it in the hall and go. The same person when Reema met at the store could not hide his laugh and shared his experience with his colleague. But Reema did not take it seriously and brushed it aside. So from that time onward whenever they came to her house on Sundays got used to her facial masks.

Instead of hiding behind the door, Reema simply walked out and spoke to anyone who called at the door. The same thing happened on that day also. Vel who was returning to his home thought he would make a visit to her house and so stopped at her house. When Reema came to open the door, he did not recognize Reema and asked her if Reema was at home.

Reema could not control her laughter and started to laugh loudly.  

“What happened?” Vel could not understand what made her laugh like that.  “I asked where is Reema?”

“I am Reema.”  She stopped laughing for a while and told him.

“Oh, just like to scare crows, you want to scare people not dropping at your place?”  Vel posed a question.

“Yes, to scare away unwanted visitors at unwanted time.”

“Oh, then am I unwanted here. Ok, I am leaving, good bye.” Without waiting for Reema to answer, Vel turned and started to climb down the steps.

Reema’s mother who was out from the bathroom came to the front door. 

“Come inside, have some coffee, and go.” Reema’s mother called him.

“How is your mother? How is your father? When is your sister getting married?” Reema’s mother did not even give time to answer one question at a time.

“She is good, aunty. I will come some other day, I just wanted to wish you and uncle.” Without waiting, Vel started the bike and left Reema’s home.

“Reema, go and take your bath.” Reema’s mother screamed at her.

“Ma, it is Sunday, what is the need to hurry.” Reema took the weekly magazine and sat down at the steps in the backyard. She always loved to sit and watch the sparrows that went on chatting with each other continuously. It was a treat to watch them. 

The male sparrow looked small when compared to the female sparrow. The female sparrow looked bigger than the male sparrow and it kept on talking loudly to other sparrows.

Reema parked her Scooty at the shed in the space at the side of their house. She lost count of time by watching those little sparrows that kept on flying around the rear view mirror of the bike.  One by one the sparrows flew to the mirror and looked at their reflection. Then they all flew in a group and looked at the mirror in a group. It looked as if one by one looked into the mirror and showed the other sparrow how good it looked. Reema read in a magazine that the sparrows do like that during their mating season.  It is as if trying to show the female bird, how handsome he looked when compared to the other male sparrows in the group.

Sometimes they talked so loudly and made her shout, ‘Hi, don’t shout, can’t you keep quiet for a while?”  They kept quiet for a while as if they have listened to her. But within seconds, they started once again to chirp loudly and made the place vibrating with their love cheer.

Every Sunday turned out to be a relaxing day for Reema. She did not want to hurry up and do things in the routine way and wanted to sit and enjoy life as it would be.

For a moment, Vel looked at the clouds that slowly spread across the sky.  More than thousands of travelers faced untold misery after most of the air planes were suspended in and out of UK. Scientists warned that the eruption from the volcano could continue for months and cause unexpected travel chaos. Vel never expected his traveling plans would suddenly turn into such a chaos. In another two days, he desperately wanted to reach his office and participate in the annual routine Christmas celebration along with his colleagues. Every year he got the chance to play the game with a male colleague only.

This year he got the chance to play the game with an unknown female colleague and he desperately wanted to know who that was. The much awaited foreign trip came in his way but he was much reluctant to take the trip. Half-heartedly he accepted to go on this foreign trip, but never dreamed that it would turn into such a mess and made him feel home-sick.

British airways cancelled all long and short-haul flights in and out of UK. The long queues at the air-port to check and find out from the help desk to know what he could do next made him feel tired and frustrated.  If he had been at the place of his meeting, somehow he would have made arrangements to extend his stay at the company guest house there and think about a way out for the sudden crisis. 

Things happened the other way round. Vel got the flight at the scheduled time from the town where the meeting took place and when he reached London all his connecting flights stood cancelled. The people who were stranded like him waited patiently for hours till the air-port authorities made some emergency arrangements.

Some people suggested him to take a flight that was available to a nearby destination from where he could get a connecting flight.  But when he heard even the flights to France, Germany, Belgium, Swiss and Poland also stood cancelled due to the spreading clouds of ash, he decided to wait.

For Vel that was a welcome break. Usually every day rushed ahead with hectic schedules and made his life meaningless and monotonous. But now he had the entire day ahead of him without any urgent commitments and he was free to do whatever he liked to do.

Yet, such a break brought some restrictions also along with it. In order not to the miss the immediate next flight, he was forced to wait within the air-port waiting lounge. Within the enclosed space, Vel was forced to spend the next twenty four hours. 

Fortunately, he carried his lap top along with him. He spent most of the time chatting with his friends at Chennai. He desperately wanted Reema to come online so that he could talk to her and tell her frankly what he thought about her. But, Reema never came online and that made him feel more tensed and worried.

When Vel was checking his mails, he happened to see one of the mails sent by Reema.

It read like this.

You can do this to bring new opportunities in your life.

The energy of the flame will help to draw new opportunities.

Abundance Candle Spell

• A green candle
• Cinnamon oil
• Vanilla oil or extract
• A large denomination coin

Use something sharp to carve the word "Wealth" along the side of the candle and then anoint the word with cinnamon and vanilla. Put the coin in the bottom of your candle holder, set the candle in over top. Light the candle and let it burn down completely. When the candle is done, leave the wax-covered coin in a safe place to help bring money into your life.

Vel was quite surprised to know how Reema believed in all these things. Yet, he could not deny, after he did that only, he got the opportunity to travel abroad.

November months are cold months. The evening became darker quickly and the people returning back home wanted to reach their places to enjoy the warmth of four walls.

Reema stepped out of the office. Down from the horizon the full moon was rising crimson colored. The cold rays of the moon made the place still chiller. The people who rarely used sweaters to protect them from the chill cold wind, shivered in the evening sea breeze. Everyone could see a sudden change in the weather.

Common people who were so used to the scorching sunrays did not mind using a thin shawl to cover them now realized the difference. Why is it happening so now?

Is it due to global warming or due to the heavy rains that lashed the city continuously for more than a week? Reema could not tell the real reason for this change.  She felt uncertainty in the air, and the whole world desperately looked forward to the changes that can happen in the future.   To think deeply about these things, at times made her feel pessimistic and wished something must happen soon to make her feel optimistic about the coming future.

The attitude toward life has changed and everyone was selfish and much self oriented toward their achievements and goals. No one had the time to stand and see why people suffer or struggle to make their lives happy and comfortable. Prolonged hours of work at the work place made the life monotonous. Even sleep evaded these unlucky people and only terrifying dreams visited them in their sleep. At heart they always felt that there is no happiness or contentment in life, and every day started with an opening that unveiled only woes.

Reema looked at the moon on the sky. She could see a bright star in the eastern sky.  She remembered that is to be the planet Venus. For Reema, Venus, the goddess of love looked brilliantly white along with the bright yellow colored full moon.  She thought about the spell she has to do on a full moon day.

 Shimmering Silver Spell

Reema performed this spell on the night of the full moon. It must be a clear night so the light of the moon actually comes in through the window. The materials needed are:

• A cauldron
• 7 basil leaves, fresh
• Water, rain or spring
• 1 silver coin

Reema used a ceramic bowl (not metal for this one), and the coin must have silver in it. An old dime is a good choice.

Then she put the coin in the bottom of the ceramic bowl and poured water over it. She filled it at least half full. The bowl can be set in a window or on a table so that the moonlight shines on it.

One at a time, drop the basil leaves into the water, and say:

By the light of the moon
Bless me soon
Water and silver shine
Wealth be mine

Reema left the bowl under the clear sky with the full moon until the next morning, and then she poured the water and basil out in the yard. She then carried the coin in her purse and kept it inside her handbag.

 

She walked slowly accompanied by her own thoughts. As she was scary to drive her bike in the traffic, she preferred to take public transport or take an auto to reach home.  When she reached the main road, she felt suffocated and her lungs desperately yearned for fresh air.  The air fully laden with particles spewed out from the smoke of running vehicles irritated the soft inner lining muscles of the nose and the eyes.  This made her sneeze constantly and tears started to flow down continuously from her eyes.

“What the hell is happening here? Earth is not going to be a safer place to live in another five years.” Reema murmured to herself.

The future looked challenging and confusing.  There was unrest everywhere in the world. Something or other happened to make the people feel jittery and tensed. No one looked happy and Reema at times wondered, if they have forgotten to smile.

For the past ten days, Reema did not even think of meeting Vel at least once in a day and wish him. She deliberately avoided him and did not want to meet him face to face. Somehow she felt she must maintain her distance from him. Though at heart she wished to be with him forever, she did not want to take chances by doing something that can bring down the chance of winning his heart forever in her life.  She once again reminded herself that getting emotionally attached too soon may not help her to achieve her wish, her final goal of getting married to Vel.              

Vel was one among the travelers who were disrupted at airports in England.  The unwanted break left him waiting with heaviness at heart.  Things became worse for Vel as he was there waiting for his connecting flight.  If he was at the place where he attended the training programme and the annual meeting, things would be different. The company could have helped him by extending his stay at the guest house or finding out another alternative to travel by rail or by bus.

As he got stranded at a new place, for a few hours he did not know how to manage the situation.  The company may be willing to help him financially in a situation like that, but the real life situation demanded Vel to face everything on his own.  Every one hour he checked the messenger to find out if any known person was on line.  Unfortunately none of them came online. Even if he wanted to check the help counter, he must wait in a long queue to check with the staff.  The people whoever he met looked angry and irritated. No one knew when the situation will be set right and even if it is set right, when will they take up their flights remained as a very big question. 

Initially people looked agitated and restless. Slowly, they learned to accept the situation and decided to wait until the next thing happened. The airport authorities provided the stranded passengers maximum support by providing them extra chairs, pillows and shawls to use. The spacious lounge slowly turned into a huge dormitory where people started to reserve their space.  Unmindful of people around, the anxiety and tension made most of the stranded passengers mentally tired that made them decide to take a nap and slowly they all drifted into a restless sleep. With a hope, things will be better while they take rest, people started to make use of the time by sleeping.

Vel decided to walk around and explore the place. He did not want to sleep. As a curious observer, he strolled around looking at the different facial expressions and conversation that happened in all the languages of the world. The noise that filled the air was a mix of international and national languages of different countries in the world.  He could not understand the conversation in foreign languages, but could understand the emotions with the way the people expressed themselves. 

The café at the airport were crowded to the maximum.  Even to get a cup of tea, everyone waited in the queue. For everything there were long queues.  If you wanted to use the rest room, there also waited a long queue.  After waiting for more than thirty minutes, Vel fetched his cup of coffee and two pieces of cheese, vegetable sandwich.  Despite the cancellation of flights, the authorities took the maximum care to fill all the food counters with varieties of food items both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. 

Vel was simply amazed to look at the varieties of soups, the vendors provided.  Different kinds of chocolates with varied tastes tempted him to taste. Packing his pockets full with bars of chocolates, he moved to a corner with the cup of soup. 

The huge walls of glass across the airport lounge clearly showed whatever that happened outside.  Vel could see hundreds of flights on the empty runway.  As the airport received maximum number of flights from all over the world, every flight stood as an identity of the country from where it came.

After eating the cheese-vegetable sandwich, Vel decided to take a short nap. Sitting idle for more than two hours made him feel physically and mentally tired.  Without any physical activity, he was drained mentally and his brain needed some rest.

“Excuse me.” Someone woke him up around 5 pm in the evening.

“They have rescheduled flights. Don’t you want to check it?” Vel smiled at the friendly man who politely asked him to check if he got a place in the next flight.

“Thank you.” Vel woke up from the lounge seat and started to tidy himself.  He combed his hair neatly and walked to the already crowded rest room.  After waiting for more than fifteen minutes, he brushed his teeth and washed his face.  He then walked to the coffee counter and took a hot cup of coffee.

After drinking the hot, good cup of coffee, Vel felt relaxed and comfortable.  Watching the restless people, who desperately moved here and there, Vel looked at the notice board that announced the reschedule of flights.  To his relief, his flight was rescheduled the next day around 10 am in the morning. He has to spend the whole night again in the airport lounge. 

“No other way. Nothing can be done. I have to wait.”  Murmuring to himself, he moved to the corner where he was sitting earlier.

The evening had set in. He happened to see some of the strikingly beautiful sun set caused by the ash clouds high in the sky. The area around Newcastle and Ponteland were bathed in golden glow with streaks of red and vermillion at dusk.

Most of the stranded passengers did not want to miss the visual treat and so took the maximum number of photographs to have as a record for their stay in that airport lounge.

As the scientists said, the people were excited to look at the spectacular sunset as the sun's rays reflected off the volcanic particles, creating beautiful skies.  The motorists were warned to look out for layers of ash on their cars from the leftovers of the explosion. The temperature was colder as tiny particles of ash lingering high in the atmosphere blocked out light from the sun.

After reading the local Tamil newspapers for some time, Vel started to check his mails.  The airport lounge at night became very noisy.  He could hear so many wailing babies, giggling children, adamant little girls who wanted to eat only ice-cream in that cold weather, naughty little boys who kept on running here and there. Parents had a tough time controlling their little kids. 

Nagging little babies not only made the mothers feel tensed and restless, they made the people around also to feel uncomfortable.  Parents took turns to carry the crying babies and walk around the available space so that they will go to sleep.  Telling stories or singing songs in that environment looked ridiculous and out of question.  Whatever done in privacy cannot be done in the public for it may embarrass or shock people around.  Yet, some mothers started to sing lullabies to make their babies sleep. 

The people who came along with their families were the most affected. Only a very few lucky ones got accommodation in the hotels arranged by the airline companies.  Most of the families who were travelling in the economy class preferred to stay back in the air-port lounge, as they wanted to take up the first available flight and leave the place.

When Vel logged into the messenger, Reema also came on line. Initially, both of them were quite excited to meet online after sometime.  Vel’s trip abroad was news to Reema.  As everything happened within a short time at a short notice, most of the people in his office did not know about his abroad trip.    So more than three weeks Vel was not there in the office.

To see him online was a pleasant surprise to Reema.  Yet, Vel was the first one who wished her good day. In the beginning Reema wanted to sign off after exchanging a few enquiries.  But the conversation went on for more than one hour that revealed both their hearts. It also gave an opportunity to them to show how they loved each other even without confessing their love to each other.

‘Hi, Vel, Good day.”

“How are you? How are things at home?”

“Good. I am talking to you after a long time. Where are you now?”

“I am stranded. Sitting in the airport lounge.”

“Stranded.” Reema could not understand anything from his one word answer.

“Are you joking?  Why to get stranded?”  Reema was confused by his answer.

“Yes, I am here in UK. Stranded and sitting in the airport lounge with my laptop.”  Vel replied.

“Oh, my god.  No one told me. Even you did not inform me before leaving.”  Reema started to feel heavy at heart. 

How can he go like this even without informing her?  Did he wish to vanish from her life even without telling her where he would be going?  Reema felt so bad. It always happened with her. So many important things will be happening around her, but she will not know anything.  To heighten all the pressure, she will be the last person to know about everything that happened.  During such times, she would feel like a fish out of water and a fool among the crowd.

Vel explained to her about the volcano ash and how the flights were cancelled and the plight of travelers across the world.

“So, sad. Did you eat anything? I know it will be horrible over there.” Reema replied with a concern.

“Things are not much worse here. We get all kinds of food items here. I had my food just now.”

“Ok. When will you be here?” Reema’s question reflected her excitement over meeting him online.

“As per the plan, I must reach there by tomorrow. But, now I don’t know.”

“I am waiting desperately to meet you.” Reema sent the reply in a second.

“I know my sweetheart.” Vel replied with love, for it was the first time he addressed Reema as sweetheart.

Reema could not control her happiness.  She could not control her tears that welled up in her eyes.

“Thanks. Do you really mean it?” She asked with a doubt.

“Yes, I mean it truly.” Vel acknowledged his love without hesitation.

Reema replied back with emoticons.                                                                     

“Do you like using emoticons?  I don’t know their meanings. So I rarely use.”  Vel replied happily.

“Symbols can express thousand words.  They are very powerful than words.”

“Yes, but I prefer words.”

“Do you know early man used symbols to express himself before he started to speak?” Reema questioned him.

“True, but now we live in the latest robotic age, where technology rules the world.”

“Yes, that is why you are stranded there without any connecting flights to come over here.”  Reema answered him with a chuckle.

“Do you miss me?” Reema could not answer immediately to Vel’s question. 

“What answer do you want me to tell?”  She questioned him back.

“I miss you. I wish you were here with me.” Vel answered her back with whole heartedness.

“Why don’t you look for some alternative arrangement?”  Reema asked him with a concern.

“My flight got rescheduled tomorrow morning. No problem. I am relaxing.”

“I heard sunsets are spectacular to watch over there. Is it so?” Reema being a nature lover asked this.

“Yes. I have taken some snaps also.  I will share it with you.”

“Can’t you find any friend over there?  You can take a stroll around the place and just explore it.” Reema’s question made him feel happy.

“I would love to go around this place for a while. But it is so chilly. I will be frozen to death if I go out in this night.”

“If you are frozen, ask them to send you here. I can thaw you and set you right.”  Reema replied.

“What a good idea? Now I really look for you to keep myself warm in this cold weather.”  Reema blushed and did not reply for a while.

“Reema, are you there?”  Vel called her.

“Yes, I am here.  It is day time over here and I am in the office.” 

“Oh, god, sorry.”  It took some time for Vel to realize that it would be day if it was night at UK.

“So, I will be having plenty of stories to hear from you.” Reema asked him with a hope.

“Wish, there must be something to share.”

“Oh, nothing important, you didn’t meet any beautiful girl over there?” Reema asked him.

“Plenty, I wish I live here.”

“Then stay back there, no one needs you here.”  Reema answered him back.

“Oh, you are so jealous.”

“Yes, I am. I will be like this only.” Reema’s curt reply made him laugh loudly.

The loud laughter shocked some of the little babies sleeping there, and Vel had to apologize again and again for disturbing them.

“Sorry, sorry. I am really sorry.” Vel could not face the mothers who were having a tough time with their little ones.

“What is the time over there?  Do you want to go to sleep?” When Reema asked him, he did not want to go to sleep at once. 

Though most of the people started to lie down, still some kind of disturbance prevailed over the place.  People who did not get sleep kept walking here and there.  Here and there people sat in groups and discussed the situation.  Some people who did not want to lie down and sleep sat in the large, long lounge sofas and kept reading endlessly.   As their minds were completely preoccupied with thoughts about home, they simply skimmed through the pages of books in their hands.

Vel knew very well he could not rely on any information until he climbed and sat in the flight and reached home.  After chatting with Reema, he started to feel it was a long wait and he started to count hours to reach home.

After sometime, all the bright lights in the lounge went off.   The lounge plunged into light shaded darkness that would help people to get a good sleep irrespective of the continuous noises and disturbance that went on till the early morning.

“Tell me if you are going to sign off.” Reema reminded him once again.

“Let me talk with you for some more time. At least for another thirty minutes, please Reema.” Vel pleaded her.

“Never mind, but get some sleep.” 

The next thirty minutes went on with both of them exchanging sweet nothings and it also helped them to share things about each other.  Both of them felt easy to converse with each other. Whatever they hesitated to talk in person; they spoke in detail over the messenger.

When both of them signed off from the messenger, they were desperately looking for the day when they will meet each other in person and express how deep they loved each other. Vel yearned to be near Reema and talk in detail and share with him the secret what made her wish to win his love forever.

After chatting with Reema, Vel felt cheerful and happy.  He decided to go out of the lounge to take a stroll and come back. While he was walking toward the exit gate, some more people joined him.  To spend the whole day within the four walls suddenly made him feel suffocated and drained off.

The full moon on the sky was a spectacular treat to enjoy.  Vel did not know how long he stood there gazing at the moon on the sky.  The accompanying clouds tinged with varied colors of pink and red painted the sky with different shapes drawn by some unknown hand. The small bright planet, Venus also caught his attention. Venus, as the goddess of love always fascinated him.  He loved admiring the statue of Venus which he got as a present from one of his intimate friends in the college.

Vel stood looking at the vehicles on the road.  The cars, buses, and other vehicles had a coat of dust that looked like an extra coating of paint.  Though the sky looked clear, the moon looked blurred on the sky. The twinkling stars also looked hazed and dull.   The chill night breeze did not give a cold shiver instead it gave him a new experience.

After reaching the airport lounge, he could not sleep.  He lied down on the temporary bed provided by the airport authorities and closed his eyes for a while.  He took a cat nap and waited for the dawn.  Before anyone got up from the bed, Vel went to the rest room brushed his teeth, washed his face and got ready.  After having a cup of coffee, he went to check for the confirmation of his rescheduled flight.

With her heart fully loaded with love, for Reema everything looked different.  The whole world seemed to rejoice along with her and share the excitement that she felt from her head to toe.  Love waves ebbed through her veins and made her feel rejuvenated and her smile brimmed with complete happiness. The confession of love brought a satisfying glow on her face and she beamed at everyone with a grinning smile.

Caroline was quite surprised with the sudden glow on her face and teased her continuously. But Reema did not ask her to stop and she completely enjoyed such talks that heightened her excitement.

“I want to know what happened.  What is the secret of your sudden glow on your cheeks?”  Caroline pestered her with questions.

“Nothing, but at heart I feel excited and happy.” Reema did not share the conversation that happened
online.

“No issues, I can wait. One day I will know about it, even if you are not sharing with me.” Caroline poked at her.

“Sure, you will be the first person to know.”  Reema smiled at her.

“Thank you, but if I become the last person to know about all things, I will not hesitate to slap you and even kill you. You know about me.”  When Caroline threatened her, Reema simply smiled at her.

“I know about you. What is the hurry to know about things so early? I think it will be better to wait for another two days. After things are confirmed, I will give you a big treat.”  Reema promised her.

“That is good. I can wait now.” Caroline approved her with a smile. 

Caroline kept on teasing her till they reached the bus stop. As usual, the crowd at the bus stop was huge. Most of the offices close around the same time at 6 pm, so the bus stop will be heavily crowded till seven in the night.  Caroline and Reema have to cross the road and reach the bus stop on the other side.  Waiting to cross the road took nearly ten minutes. The ever flowing traffic did not halt for a while for the people who wanted to cross the road. 

Rarely traffic policemen stood there to regulate the heavy traffic.  Most of the time, the pedestrians managed on their own.  The vehicles always rushed with their head lights on and the lights dazzled the vision of the people who waited to cross the road. Somehow they crossed the road and reached the median in the middle.  Holding Reema’s hand, Caroline stepped down on the road from the median. Moving forward she crossed the road.  Reema who walked behind her suddenly disappeared. When Caroline turned around, she was so shocked to see Reema falling unconscious on the road, in the middle of the rushing traffic.

Someone stopped the flowing traffic, and helped Caroline to carry Reema to the roadside. Caroline kept on calling Reema but she did not respond to her calls.  The crowd gathered around Caroline and Reema to see what happened to Reema.  Caroline felt tensed and for a while she did not know what to do. Luckily, some drivers from the nearby auto stand came for her help.  Even after sprinkling water on her face, Reema did not gain consciousness.  Some of the girls who were also waiting for the bus helped Caroline to carry Reema to an auto and Caroline rushed her to the nearby hospital.

Within ten minutes so many things happened.  The people at the hospital lifted Reema and made her sit on the wheel chair and took her inside. The doctor asked Caroline to wait at the reception.  With heavy heart, Caroline called Reema’s brother and told him what had happened.  Caroline decided to wait till Reema’s brother came to the hospital.

The doctor after examining Reema told Caroline that Reema must be admitted to the hospital immediately as she did not revive from her unconscious state. After doing the initial examination, the doctor informed Caroline that Reema must have a head scan done. Luckily, she was not seriously injured and there was no bleeding anywhere in the body.  The doctor wanted the head scan to rule out if there is any injury inside the head.  Even a small clot inside the head may turn fatal. 

Caroline could not help tears flowing from her eyes.  How happily both of them were talking and walking all through the way?  Unbelievably something drastic happened in a few seconds and it had left Reema unconscious. Caroline could not tell what made Reema fall unconscious. When the whole crowd was crossing the road safely, what must have happened to Reema so suddenly? She still could not remember or tell which vehicle hit her. Only Reema can tell what happened at that time.  She must come out of her unconsciousness and share with her. Within one hour, Reema’s family arrived at the hospital. Reema’s mother kept on crying and Caroline found it very difficult to calm her. 

After giving some injections, Reema was wheeled to the room. Still Reema was unconscious and the doctor told them that they have to wait for her to come out of that. He also told them it can happen within seconds, minutes or it may take hours. To make everyone feel tensed and lost, Reema took completely two days to come out of her temporary stage of unconsciousness and tell them what happened.   

Caroline left the hospital around 9 pm.  Most of her colleagues came over to see Reema as the hospital was near their workplace. Reema’s brother asked Caroline to leave and promised to let her know the status of Reema’s condition at the hospital. Reema looked like a sleeping beauty, sleeping with a serene look on her face. Caroline can still see the glow of love on her face. 

The doctor promised that nothing will be there to worry, and Reema would definitely come out of that. With a heavy heart Caroline left the place.

All the way to her home, Caroline could not feel relaxed. She felt restless, and the thought that anything can happen to Reema made her feel unhappy. She desperately wanted to stay near Reema in the hospital, but could not do so as her parents wanted her to come home and visit Reema the next day in the hospital.

Reema’s mother and father looked completely shaken and they refused to move away from Reema. Both of them sat at the bed looking constantly at Reema, praying hardly that Reema may open her eyes any time in the middle of the night and ask them what happened to her.

As the hospital had MRI scan facility within its campus, the doctor asked them to do it immediately so that the treatment can be started at once.  Luckily, the scan showed only a very minute clot of blood in the head that compressed the nerve to the spinal cord.  The doctor told them that medicines can dissolve the clot and once it is dissolved she will be back to normal. 

While her parents were waiting for her to revive from the temporary comma, Reema’s sub-conscious mind still alert even in that stage thought extensively about Vel and his arrival from abroad.  Deep in her heart, she kept on reading again and again the entire conversation that happened online between them. She could not remember any other thing than that.   

“Definitely my sweet heart,” Reema’s sub conscious mind kept on repeating these words.

“How much do you love me?”  Reema continuously asked this question to herself.  You have assured it online, but I want you to assure me that in person.  She wanted to share the excitement and happiness with him and shout to the world that she is in love.

“How much do you love me?” Vel asked her again.

“This much I love you.” Reema drew a very big heart on the sand and showed him that.

“Only this much, I never expected such an answer from you.” He replied showing disappointment.

“Ok, then the heart is huge and large as that wide blue sky.” Reema showed him the horizon that touched the large expanse of sea water.

“So your love will end there for me.” Vel teased her.

“Do you want me to travel in the space craft and show how much I love you in the space?” Reema questioned him again.

“Yes, I hope so.” Vel replied her.

“But, my wish is different.” Reema answered him back.

“I want to show you how much I love you by swimming deep into that sea.  As deep under the sea where sunrays could not enter, my love is so deeper and it cannot be measured.” Reema’s reply brought a smile on his face.

“Do you mind waiting for me sweet heart?” He asked again.

“It is difficult, yet I have to wait for the right time.” Reema replied in a serious tone. “Before I get you in my hold, I don’t want to get emotionally attached to you. You may feel I move away from you, but it is not like that.” Listening to her serious tone, he smiled at her heartily.

“Don’t laugh, I mean it 100%”. Reema replied him back.

“Is it? I thought you are just teasing me.” Vel looked at her.

“No need to play in this.  Every word that I tell is true and its implication is also more than usual.” She replied him back.

“Then come out of your coma, come to me. I am waiting for you.” Reema could hear Vel’s voice so near her.

“You have come. I am lucky.” Reema moved her hands searching for Vel.

Reema’s mother was happy to see the movements in Reema’s hands. She informed the nurse immediately.

The nurse came with the doctor immediately. The doctor told them as they have started the medicines immediately, Reema had showed some movements of the hands and legs. Yet, Reema did not respond to their questions and answered them.  It did not register on her that they were her family, and they were all worried about her state.  Her eyes looked blank and went around the room as if searching for someone.

The next day she opened her eyes and looked around, but she did not respond to any one’s call.  Slowly she recognized her parents and her brother.

When Caroline reached the hospital the next day morning, Reema’s mother thanked her for taking Reema to the hospital just on time.  She also told her that Reema opened her eyes and looked at them. The doctor had also promised the she will be back to normal within a short time. Reema gained her complete consciousness at the end of the second day. Reema’s mother hugged and kissed her to show how much they were all worried about her health.

“Reema, we were all scared. Thank god, you are now good.”  Reema’s family could not control their tears. 

The doctor told them that it was only a short term memory loss and it would not affect her in future.  On seeing Caroline, Reema’s eyes brimmed with tears. Caroline took Reema’s hand and pressed her hand to tell her support and her willingness to make her feel comfortable.  The doctor also told them about the regular follow up to be done to check if the blood clot dissolved completely.  Till the doctor gave assurance that she is perfectly normal and there is no need for medication, Reema must not strain herself much and should be under complete rest.

The doctor requested everyone not to ask Reema what happened on that day for that can make her feel stressed. 

“Thank you, Caroline.” Reema took her hand and kissed it thankfully. “You saved my life.”

“It is my pleasure. How can I afford to lose you?” Both the friends wiped away their tears.

“Caroline, will you do me a favor?” Reema looked at her friend with a plea in her eyes.

“Tell me what you want. It is my pleasure.” Even without Reema telling her, Caroline knew what she will be requesting her. She may want her to contact Vel once he reached India.

“I don’t know if I will be joining at work once again.  I wanted to go on medical leave and come back to work. But my parents may not want me to do so.”  Reema told Caroline.

“No need to hurry. First take rest and take care of your health. You are important to us.” Caroline comforted her.

“Yes. I will be missing you.” Reema started to cry broken hearted. “How things have changed?”

“Don’t worry things will be back to normal. Take care of your health first.”  Caroline half-heartedly left the place after promising Reema that she will call her every day and talk to her. She also promised to update whatever happened in the office and how things were at her life also.

Initially, Reema thought she would take some rest and return back to work. But the doctor told her parents that Reema needed complete rest and she should not strain much.  She must eat well and sleep well so that she will not have any problem in the future.  As there was no bleeding on the head, they must be doubly careful.  Injury that happens inside the head is always delicate and it needs treatment for a while so that the short term memory loss will not happen again.

Reema’s father insisted that she must take a break for a while.  When health is concerned, work always becomes secondary.  To them, her health mattered much and they don’t want to take a risk with her health.

Reema could not talk to her parents about Vel without discussing with him. She decided to wait till her health improved and also till the doctor assured that she is back to normal and continue with her routine activities like going to the office or playing tennis. 

Reema’s parents took her to their native town as they thought it will help her to get back to normal as soon as possible.  At Chennai, people kept on calling or visiting her and reminded her about the accident again and again.

Reema’s father first took away the mobile from her as the doctor insisted her not to use a mobile phone at least for three months.  The doctor also asked her not to sit at the computer and use the net or contact any of her friends through mails also. The doctor wanted her to be away from all kinds of stress that can strain the brain cells. As their native place lacked some of the facilities that cities enjoyed, Reema was forced to live aloof.

Every day Reema woke up to the sweet songs of song birds. The flowers bloomed colorful and their fragrance filled the air. Reema spent most of her time reading books, listening and watching television. She spent her evenings watching flock of birds going home or plucking jasmine flowers and preparing strands of jasmine to wear on her plaited hair.

Reema’s mother taught her how to do crochet bags and whenever she felt bored she did crochet. After four weeks when she looked at the collection of crochet materials, Reema could not believe herself. Reema did not forget to make some memorable gifts for Caroline. Caroline promised to call her every day, but she called her once in a week and it did not last longer than a few minutes. As per the doctor’s advice Reema needed complete rest that did not strain her brain, so Caroline called her once in a week in the landline number. Reema had to cooperate with the doctor’s advice, for she wanted to be normal as soon as possible and make her parents feel relieved and happy. 

Reema slowly started to settle down in her routine life, but things were different for Vel. His life also took a complete turn and he had to face so many twists and turns that left him broken hearted and lonely. Caroline updated him whatever that happened to Reema. He was forced to wait than taking any action immediately.

As promised, Vel could not reach Chennai within two days.  Though he got the connecting flight, it took another route to reach India. That took two more days in his travel schedule. One of his friends in the office sent a mail to him about the accident that Reema met with and how she suffered from short term memory loss. Vel wanted to meet Reema at once and see her in person.

When his flight landed at Chennai, Reema had already moved away with her parents to her native place. Willingly or unwillingly they were made to accept things as it were. They both decided in their hearts that they would wait till things fall in place, and nothing can be done except waiting. They understood how waiting can be so painful and make the life a hell when one cannot even make a guess and tell what will happen in the future. Vel started to feel emptiness at his heart and he painfully missed Reema in his life. Days in the office were hell and he lethargically moved on without any interest.

Whenever he met Caroline, he got an update of Reema.  He requested Caroline to tell her his concern about her well being and asked her to take care of her health.  Caroline caught in between these two friends, wished heartily that things will turn in their favor and god will help them to unite in life. Only prayers can do wonders and help them to get their dream true.  Vel never maintained a diary, but started to write one recording his feelings for Reema and how he missed her badly.

New projects occupied his time and he stopped going around with his friends. After work, he went home straight and started to record his feelings in the diary. Vel’s mother was so surprised to see the change in him. He never stayed at home during weekends. Most of his friends always come home to see him and they never allow him to be at home even on a Sunday. But now it was different. Even though friends come home to see him, he talked to them, but did not accompany them if they want him to come along with them. Vel also became so thoughtful and kept on thinking about something. 

At home, most of the time, he was pre-occupied with the thoughts of Reema.  While returning back to India, he kept on thinking about their eventful meeting after reaching Chennai.  After having shared their love for each other, he wanted to meet her, rejoice and celebrate their love.  Things happened so suddenly that both of them were not able to meet each other as planned.

To keep count of days, Vel bought rose plants and kept them at his home. Every day he started to talk to those flowers as if he was talking to Reema.

The white rose first bloomed. It reminded him of the first lengthy conversation they shared online. He remembered every word and he saved the entire conversation in a file. He thought he would change into a beautiful Ppt and present it to Reema.

Next, the red rose bloomed.  It reminded him of their first ride in the bike on the flooded road on a rainy day. The ride on that day was really an adventurous one as he rode the bike on a threatening night with shattering thunder and striking lightning that lit the whole place every minute. He could remember how Reema sat on the pillion shivering in the lashing cold rain and how careful she was all the time not to nudge him on the pillion.  Driving on the road filled with pot holes tested his nerves and he had to be doubly careful to ride safely on the road.  Thinking about that rainy day made him feel crazy and go wild.

“How can you do this to me?  Do you think I am a fool?”  Vel brimming with anger hit his fist on the desk and showed his anger for whatever that had happened and changed him so badly.

Nearly three months went away.  Vel wanted to spend the Valentine’s Day with Reema. Nothing came through except a mail from Reema stating that she is good and recovering much faster.

After a break of three months, Reema came to the office only to submit her resignation. When Caroline insisted that she must meet Vel before leaving the office forever, she bluntly refused to meet him in person. Caroline was so shocked to hear this from Reema.

“Reema, I can’t believe. Why do you say so?” Caroline questioned her.

Reema kept quiet for a minute without answering her question.  At her heart, Reema felt the pain of missing him, yet, she was not in a state of mind to meet him in person.

“Office is not a place to meet him now.” Reema replied her back.

“I understand. But I think there is nothing wrong in telling him hello.” Caroline said to Reema.

“Please understand me. I don’t want to meet him in person now.” Reema stressed once again.

“That is what I am asking. What is the reason?”  Caroline looked at her irritated. “I really could not understand you now.”  Caroline knew how much Reema loved Vel and she was even ready to accept him as her life partner.

“I am not in a position to decide now.” Reema replied her back.

“Oh, Is it so?” Caroline looked at her sarcastically. “You will make a person go so crazy on you and tell it is none of your business. Very good, I can understand you now. So from now onwards don’t expect me to pass on any message to him. You don’t deserve him.” Caroline looked away from Reema.  This attitude shocked her immensely and Caroline did not know what to reply to Reema.

“Did you tell him that I will be coming today?” Reema asked Caroline with a doubt.

“Did you tell me that you will be here today? This is a surprise to me.” Caroline answered her.

“I came along with my brother as I have to complete some formalities in the office. The HR called me and asked me to come today.” Reema replied to her without looking at Caroline.

“When will you be leaving the office?” Caroline questioned her.

“In another fifteen minutes. I have completed all the formalities. I came down to talk to you and tell good bye.” 

“Thanks for sparing me. But what you are doing is not correct Reema. How you have become so stone hearted? I can’t believe.” Caroline could not accept the way Reema behaved and she could not understand why she refused to meet Vel.

“Ok, I am leaving. My brother is waiting down.” Reema started.

“Do you mind if I come down along with you and tell hello to your brother? Do I have the permission to do so?” When Caroline asked Reema, she nodded her head without a reply.

“You may not know manners, but I have.”  With this reply, Caroline followed Reema to the door.

On the way while both of them were walking down the corridor, Vel came along with his reporting head discussing some work related issues.  They were in the middle of a serious conversation.  Vel was pleasantly surprised to see Reema there. His face showed his excitement. Yet, he could not wish her hello and ask about her health. 

Reema just gave a glance and walked ahead. The impact of her indifference left a shock on Vel.  He struggled hard to control his emotions and continued with his conversation.  While he punched his card to open the door, he turned his head around to see Reema walking toward the exit door. Caroline gestured to him that she would talk to him in detail later.  Vel smiled at her and went to attend the meeting at the conference room.

Vel could not excuse himself and talk to Reema.  The moment that he desperately wanted to happen was around the corner, yet he could not make use of it.  Vel could not concentrate on the discussion that happened in the meeting room. As it was a new project, his TL went on explaining the scheduled target dates and the guidelines required for the assignment. He also talked about the need for experienced resources who could understand the specific requirements of the project and the necessity for quality control and quality check.

Once they were out of the exit door, Caroline looked at Reema.

“I feel like slapping on your face. I never expected you to behave like this. So cold and indifferent! How can you be like that?” Caroline screamed at her.

“Let him forget me. I don’t deserve him” Reema replied her without blinking at Caroline.

“You don’t deserve him. What nonsense you are talking?” Caroline looked at her.

“Don’t make me feel emotional. I may break down.” Reema answered her with tears welled in her eyes.

“Ok. I will never interfere with this anymore. It is your life, it is your headache and you have all the rights to do as you like.”  Caroline stopped talking for a while.

Reema’s brother greeted Caroline.  After a few initial enquiries about the family and other things, he left the place along with Reema.

“Good bye, Caroline. Keep in touch.” Reema waved her hand as her brother started the bike.

 “Good bye. Take care.” With these words, Caroline turned around and walked into the office. She felt so embarrassed and delicate by the sudden indifferent behavior of Reema.

What will she tell Vel if he enquired anything about Reema?  The cold expression on Reema’s face shocked her and it showed the other side of Reema.  Is it so confusing to understand what lies deep inside the heart of a woman? As a girl, she could not understand Reema.  As she told her, Reema did not speak or tried to contact her in the next six months. Caroline busy with other things in her life totally forgot and she also never tried to call or write to Reema.

To save Caroline from embarrassment Vel did not ask her anything about Reema.  His matured way of handling complex things helped him to keep himself cool and wait for Reema to open up and talk to him in detail about everything. He decided to wait for her.

It was a cool Sunday evening.

“You are always sitting and spending time inside. Why don’t you go out for some time?” Vel’s mother pushed him out and told him not to return home before eight in the night.

“Walk for a while and come back. I don’t know what had happened to you.” She could find the difference in him, but could not tell why it was so.

Not to make his mother feel upset, Vel slowly walked to the nearby Aavin parlor which stood in the middle of a park.

Parents along with their kids filled the place.  The little kids were so noisy playing in the swings or running around the circular path again and again. Some kids were busy playing hide and seek. Little toddlers learned to walk holding their mothers. Vel spent some time looking at them. A cute little girl who would be around 3 years was busy licking her chocolate cone ice-cream.  Her face with the bright curls on the forehead reminded him of Reema.  But he did not want to think about Reema and spoil his mood, so he walked toward the counter and got a bottle of chocolate flavored milk.

Vel opened the bottle and started to drink the chill cold milk. He once again remembered the different types of chocolates that were on sale at the air-port lounge and how he bought a box full of chocolates to give as a gift to Reema. Somehow or other, everything reminded him about Reema and he desperately wanted to put an end to her thoughts and live a normal life.

The park had big trees that nested so many birds. The birds made the place so noisy in the evenings and it would continue till they settled down in their nests. It sounded like hundreds of birds sharing and gossiping together about things that happened throughout the day.

When darkness started to settle in, the noise of the birds faded away. He could see only cats prowling in the dark searching for the prey under the shaded trees.

The elderly people and parents slowly moved out of the park along with their kids. Except for the sound of the vehicles on the road, silence slowly occupied the place. 

The counter that was busy throughout the day looked deserted. The sales men at the counter read evening newspapers and talked to each other relaxed. Usually, the counter closed by nine in the night. After that no one can stay there and the park gates will be locked for the day.

“Enough for the day,” talking to himself Vel got up and walked slowly toward the gate which was partially opened. He knew that Reema lived near that parlor and he also know where her house was. Yet, he did not want to go to her house and find out what happened to her. When she herself did not have the heart to tell what happened to her, he also did not want to take the initiative and win her hands once again.  As Caroline told him that Reema’s mobile got stolen during the accident and her parents told her not to have the mobile for a while. Reema’s mother did not allow anyone to talk to her except a very few friends.

Reema got used to the routine life at their native place.  She slowly started to forget her colleagues in the work place. Time has the mysterious effect on the minds of people. It can slowly make people forget even things that were considered precious and dear and get involved to the present life and the present situation they all lived. It happened in the same way to Reema. She completely got diverted from the thoughts about Vel and her life at the new place occupied her days.

Even Caroline faded away from her memories.  New people came into her life replacing the old ones. Initially Reema felt distanced from them, but slowly she learned to be a part of them and got merged into their way of life.

The day started chill for Vel. After heavy rains for a stretch of ten days, it was now freezing and the morning air pierced through the skin and raised goosebumps.

Though he went late to bed, he could not sleep any longer.  The heaviness that rested on his heart seemed to increase day by day, and he desperately wished something to happen. He must know if he can win the hands of Reema or he must walk away from her and start a new life.  The long silence from Reema made him feel confused and worried.  He tried all ways to reach her, yet, he could not succeed.  He could not contact her by mobile as she lost her mobile and so the number was out of reach. 

Somehow, he managed to get her personal e-mail id but not even a single response to all his mails. He also left messages in the messenger, so that she would read when she logs into the messenger. 

Whenever he spoke to Caroline, she was interested to talk about all other things, except Reema. He did not understand why she voluntarily skipped to talk more about Reema. Caroline did not want to encourage talking about Reema and give false hopes to him.

Caroline understood the sudden changes that had set in the mind of Reema, and Reema herself had not shared anything regarding that.  She talked to her in an elusive way that ignored all talks related to the office and the people who were working along with her.

Standing in the dim light of the dawn, he looked at the buds on the rose plant.  More than ten buds. Then it will be a treat to watch those flowers that slowly unfurled and bloomed into beautiful flowers spreading the fragrance across the house. 

“Hi, Good morning,” Sanjay called him from the main road. He was on his way jogging.

“Good morning.” Vel replied with a smile.

“Why don’t you join me?  We can return within twenty five minutes.” 

“Ok. I need this walk.”  Without ignoring his invite, Vel joined his colleague.

Vel could feel the fresh air.  He inhaled the fresh air that rejuvenated his dull sprits and woke him up instantly.  After exchanging a few words, both of them sprinted slowly on the empty road.

Every day he used to walk the lengthy stretch of road for more than twenty minutes. He always enjoyed his daily walk.  Whenever he crossed the stretch of road with morning glory flowers that started to bloom, he walked slowly and enjoyed admiring those beautiful flowers. Pale pink colored morning glory flowers and bright violet tube like flowers conveyed their good morning to him. 

Vel loved to watch the moving clouds, the rising sun and the songs of song birds while walking down the road.

While jogging on the main road, they came across Reema’s house.  The gates were locked and no one was seen around. 

“Did you hear anything about Reema? How is she?” When Sanjay asked him, Vel did not reply back. He did not want to talk about Reema and spoil his morning.  Morning blues are not needed now and he wanted to forget everything just like a dream.

“I got a mail from her yesterday. She is good, slowly coming back to normal.”  To Sanjay’s answer, Vel did not reply.  He wanted Sanjay to stop talking about her, but could not tell him to shut up and mind his own business.  Sanjay did not know about the things that happened between him and Reema, and so he did not want to snub him for no fault of his.  Without replying to him, he kept on jogging.

“Sanjay, when we are jogging, we should not talk, do you know that?”  Vel politely reminded him. 

“Ok.” Sanjay did not talk for a while.  

“I just could not forget the trip we went last.” Sanjay started to talk once again.

“Which trip? The trip on the ECR” Vel questioned him.

“No, the day out we enjoyed at the resorts.” Sanjay replied him back.

By that time, they have reached Vel’s house and so they parted wishing to meet again in the office.

Vel could not control his anger.  Reema deliberately avoided him. If she can reply to Sanjay’s mail, why she could not reply to his mail? That showed the she is not interested in him any more and does not want to continue with their relationship.  For no fault of him, things happened so suddenly, that they had to get separated and walk in different ways.   Vel let out a deep sigh; he could come out of this failure, but it would take some time till something happened. He did not expect that something happened so soon that changed his life to a great extent.

The House Sparrow is known to be monogamous when it comes to picking mates. They will spend the mating season looking for their preferred mate and then stick with each other for the rest of the breeding season. In fact, House Sparrows actually keep to the same mate for the rest of their lives. However, if a mate is lost, for whatever reason, during the breeding season, it could be replaced quite quickly. Courtship between House Sparrows usually starts as early as January and can continue on till the month of July.

What happens during courtship is that the male House Sparrow goes around and looks for a potential partner. He looks for a potential nesting site and hovers around the area. The male House Sparrow looking for a mate would then chirp around the nesting site, in the hopes of attracting a female House Sparrow. Each time a female House Sparrow wanders near the area, the male House Sparrow chirps even more loudly and quickly. Sometimes, when a female House Sparrow drops by and then starts hopping around (or away for that matter) the male House Sparrow would follow her. The male House Sparrow can even show “theatrics” by hopping around and quivering his wings so that the female would notice him even more. It is not uncommon to see several male House Sparrows engage in these activities while trying to catch the attention of a single female House Sparrow.

Once House Sparrows have found their mate, they will move on to the breeding cycle. This can start as early as March and end as late as August. Pairs mate near their nests. This can happen several times a day. The male House Sparrow is the one designated to defend the nesting site. Though there is no observed range which is considered by the House Sparrow as its territory, what has been observed is that the male House Sparrow defends the immediate area surrounding its nest – and it does so quite fiercely. This is one factor why the House Sparrow is considered by many (at least in North America and other places where they have been introduced) to be pesky, even to the point that they are considered pests. The House Sparrow is very adaptable and breeds easily and quickly. Add to that the fact that they defend their nests very fiercely and you can understand why some people think that way.

 

As Reema wished their relationship to be monogamous as Vel wished. She did not know how things are going to materialize and end in the marriage.  Reema now did not have any other option to pray and wait for good things to happen. And as she wished, things started to turn in her favor that strengthened her hope and happy life.

 

All through the way Beena kept on talking to Vel, but he did not responded to any of her questions.
 

“Why are you so moody nowadays?” Beena asked him.

“It is not the time to start again.”  His answer did not convey any sensible meaning to her.

“What?” She once again asked him. Yet, she did not stop smiling at him. Her smile was so enticing that made his mind wavering once again with the thoughts about Reema. But he did not want Beena to know all that was happening to him.

Beena sensed something went wrong with him for he always looked cheerful and smiling.  

“What is the need to be like this?”  She questioned him once again.

He let out a long, deep sigh. “I know it is not good to be like this. My parents are so much worried about me.”  He added in a calm tone.  They both questioned and answered each other without understanding the real context of the question.  Beena wanted to know the real reason for him being sulky, but he avoided answering to that question.

“I will not tell you are wrong. Yet, don’t take a long time to decide.”  Her eyes looked into his and searched for an untold answer.

“Sure, yet…” without completing the statement, he took a sip of his favorite Assam tea.

“Why you always prefer cold coffee?” Vel questioned his cousin.

“Because I like cold coffee,” she laughed at him.

It was around 4 pm in the evening.  There was not much crowd in the coffee shop.  Here and there people sat scattered.  Most of them were lovers and they were whispering sweet nothings along with their coffee. People who want to be left lonely for hours or just spend hours without any disturbance usually drop in at the secluded coffee shops.  The coffee shop on the ECR road was empty at that time. People, who were travelling or were on their way home, just stopped near the Coffee shop, had something and left the place immediately. Rarely did it take more than fifteen minutes and now he preferred some lonely place where a few people come and go.

He wanted to share whatever that burdened his heart and let that go away so that he can return back to his normal life. 

Is it so difficult to understand a girl?  With his experience, he could not come to a conclusion and tell if they are good or bad. What runs in their mind, only god knows.  Whenever his friends quoted their experiences and told him that it was difficult to understand girls, Vel always thought they don’t have matured minds. To understand girls, everyone needs a broad outlook.

“Ok, tell me more.”  Beena demanded.

“What to tell more?” He questioned her back.

“Ok, shall we leave?”  Beena took the last sip of coffee and got up from the chair.

“Please, we will be here for some more time.” He pleaded again.

Beena went to the counter and ordered for some snacks.  After paying for the snacks, she came back and sat at her place.

“Will you take me to the library tomorrow?  I want to have a look at it.”  When Beena requested, he could not tell no.  He accepted to take her to the library and then to the planetarium that is near the library.  In some way, he wanted to divert his mind and forget whatever that happened in a short time.  He needed faster recovery, so that he can concentrate on other important work at hand.

It took some time for Reema to settle down in the new place.  She had often visited her native town. Every year during annual holidays, the family stayed at the ancestral home and they spent a gala time with all the close relatives who come there to spend their holidays. She was familiar with the place, yet she always wanted to come back home soon.

When she was a child, she remembered walking to the river every day and enjoyed taking bath. When her aunts washed the clothes and took bath in the place meant for the women, Reema and other children sat on the rocks at the side of the bank of the river.  They took bath in the shallow water and never tried to walk or move ahead in the running stream of water. 

Having lived in a place that reeled under very high demand for water, the river with plenty of clear water looked as a welcome change.  The women in the household went to take bath and wash their clothes in the river on alternative days. 

Reema loved those days and enjoyed taking bath in the running water. Though it was hot, the water in the river was cold.  He remembered the days when she was so scared about the little fish in the water that swam to her feet and started to nibble on her toes and fingers on her feet. It sent a tickling sensation across the body. Initially it scared her a lot, and she was first hesitant to put her legs into the water.

One day one of her aunts told her that the fish would bite away the dead skin cells and it would help her to maintain a healthy skin. From that day onwards, she did not feel bored to sit at least for thirty minutes and let the fish bite on her worn out old skin on the feet.   The fish would bite away all the old skin that made her feet look polished and neat.

Now Reema is grown, but still she wanted to go and have a dip in the river.  When her mother decided to go to the river along with her sisters, Reema decided to join them. She did not want to take bath in the river water after she looked at the women taking bath in the river.

All the women who were wearing sarees took away their sarees and kept them aside. Then they untied their full skirts worn under the sarees and pulled them upwards and tied them under their arms. Then they tactfully removed their blouses and started to take bath in the thin stream of water that flowed in the river.

The women looked sexier with their bath attire.  The shoulders were completely exposed and they wore only the long skirts that hid them from the shoulder to the knees. With this attire, they sat on the bank of the river and washed their clothes first. They rinsed the washed clothes well and kept them inside the empty buckets.

Then they waded through the water and had their bath.  They looked casual and they swam across the river that showed a cool attitude.  Unmindful of everything around them, they took bath under the open sky, made Reema wonder about their guts to do like that. These women if they were asked to wear swim suits and take bath in the river, they may object to that. But these long skirts made them look sexier than swim suits.  Usually these women wear their under skirts which are made with thick cotton cloth and so it protected them nicely.  Even an ordinary woman looked sexy when she wore only that thick long skirt around her.  The water shamelessly showed their curves and their body structure that looked fit because of their routine house hold chores that demanded much of the physical activities.

When her aunts asked her to take bath in the river, she refused to remove her dress. Reema always wore chudidar at home and she told them that she will take bath only along with that dress.  She told them that she don’t mind taking a dip in the river and will have her usual bath once she returned home.

Everyone laughed at her and the way she took bath in the river. As Reema felt so delicate to wear like the other women in the town, she sat on the banks with her legs into the water.  She allowed the fish to bite the dead skin cells on her feet and enjoyed the tickling sensation that made her giggle now and then. 

After her dip in the river, Reema sat on the rocks to dry her clothes. Though she shivered after her bath in the cold water, the morning sun rays helped her to dry her clothes within thirty minutes.  She sat on the rock watching the other women washing and taking bath in the river.

The stream of water looked clear and white.  It was a treat to watch the fish moving under the water.  The river water brought along with it bits of plants also.  The water brought along with it flowers of different kinds that were found on the banks of the river. Sometimes little sparrows and other birds came to the river to drink water.

Reema sat watching like this till her mother and her aunts completed their washing and bathing in the river.  When one of her aunts lifted the bucket, a towel fell into the water and the flowing stream carried it along.

As it passed near Reema, her aunt asked her to pick it up from the water.  Reema bent down to pick the towel.  But she lost her balance and fell into the water.  Holding the towel in her right hand, she fell into the water. As it happened so suddenly, Reema could not balance herself on her feet and stand up inside the water. Though the water was shallow, she could not keep her feet strong inside the river. She tried two times to get up from the water, but did not succeed. She dripped and fell into the water again.

A strong hand pulled her by her hair from the water. It dragged her aside and pushed her on the nearby rocks.  Once again Reema got drenched in the river water.  Initially she could not tell what happened.  Her aunt helped her to relax by giving some water to drink. 

“What happened?” Every one surrounded her and kept on asking her.  Her mother was shocked to see her under water as Reema had escaped an accident only a few months ago.  She told her to stay at home and not try to go anywhere.  Reema could not tell ‘No’ to her as she had not come out of the shock of drowning in the water.

“Reema, you need to be careful.” Reema looked at the male who spoke to her.  He was a friend of her uncle and he happened to see her while he was walking down the bank of the river to reach the place where men took bath.  Though he knew men are not allowed in the place where the women took their bath, he acted fast and saved her from another meeting with death.

When they all reached home, Reema got the best treatment that she got forever in her life.  Every one treated her like a Princess and took care of her.  Her younger aunt helped her to change her drenched dress and dried her hair with a dry towel.  Even unknown people were helping her. Someone ran to the kitchen to bring a cup of coffee so that she would feel warm.  Her grandmother after hearing about all these things started to scold her mother.

“I told you not to take her along with you. Only a few months back she met with an accident and took so long for her to be normal. Now this has happened.  For sometime don’t take her anywhere.” Reema was her favorite granddaughter and the incident brought her tears.  Reema’s father hearing about the incident started to get worried about her health once again. He also told her to return home immediately, so that she will be under his care and she needed strict vigilance to keep her in good health.  Reema could not talk a word to any one of them. She kept her mouth shut and became a silent listener to people all around her.

Her aunt called the doctor home immediately.  The doctor examined Reema and told her to take complete rest. After having some food, Reema took the prescribed medicines and went to sleep immediately.  She needed that rest imperatively as the shock of drowning left her entirely shaken and weak. 

Reema went into a deep sleep that opened the doors to her dreams.

Reema and Vel were walking in the shallow water in the sea shore. The waves that rolled and touched the shore were not hesitant to touch her feet also. At one point of time a strong waves pulled her feet down and she struggled to stand firm on the moving sand.

“Hold on to my hands tightly.” Vel told her.

Reema gripped his hand tightly. She could feel the possessiveness in his hands and also the safety it assured her.

“Will you ever take your hands away from mine?” Reema asked him with a doubt.

“Don’t ask stupid questions.” Vel replied to her tightening his grip on her hand. “You will be forever with me.” His slowly released his hold on her right hand and he lifted it to hold her tightly around her hip.

 With a strong push, he moved her toward him and held her tight for a while. Reema just looked at him and smiled. “You are so possessive. I understand how much you love me.” Reema’s reply showed her satisfaction.

“I will be forever with you.” Reema could not help her tears flowing down her cheeks.

Reema in her dream never failed to be with him for her mind was always occupied only with his thoughts. Again and again whenever she got into some problems that risked her life, automatically her sub conscious mind relied on his love for strength to come out of that danger and back to normal.

After being saved from getting drowned in the shallow water of the river, her mother started to feel restless. In her heart, she felt something bad can happen to Reema and they need to be very careful with her. 

In the middle of the night, she peeped inside the room and checked if she is sleeping or not. But, Reema slept through morning also and woke up only around noon in the afternoon. The doctor prescribed her some sedatives to keep her at peace and that helped her to feel relaxed once she got up from the sleep.

The second incident left Reema aloof for more than a week.  She got up late every day, had her food and medicines and once again slept through the afternoon.  When she started to feel it was difficult for her to get sleep at night even after taking medicines, she stopped sleeping during the afternoons.

All the family members were much worried about her, and they took turns to be with her. Doing nothing and just lying down on the bed became a boring activity after sometime.  None of them at home allowed her to watch television for long hours or sit in the computer and browse the net.  She hardly spent time checking mails. Her mother felt sitting long hours before the computer can also drain away her energy. 

Reema loved reading books but she did not want to read books continuously for that also strained her.  In the afternoons, she would sit at the backyard looking at the birds, squirrels and crows there.  With her book in her hand, she would switch her view from the book to the nature and from the nature to the book.  She wanted to talk to Caroline and ask her how things are there at the office. Reema had so much to share with Caroline, but her mother did not allow her to use the mobile phone. 

For more than a month, she was out of contact with the world. She could not communicate with any of her friends either by mobile or by emails. Caroline called her, but the talk never lasted more than a minute. Though Reema wanted to spend hours talking to her friend, her mother asked her to end her talk with a few enquiries about health.  As her mother always attended the call on the mobile, Reema could not snatch some time with Caroline also.

Except eating and sleeping, she didn’t have much to do.  She lied down in the bed or sofa and spent most of her time listening to music.  Listening to music slowly helped her mind to settle down and be normal once again.  If anyone finds her switching on the computer, they will come and stand near her watching.  She never wanted to someone to stand behind and watch her browsing the net.

She hated that.  To avoid any curious questions from the people around her, she would just open her mail box and scroll through the messages.  Once she found many mails waiting for her to reply.  She replied only Sanjay’s mail.  Reema wanted to write to Vel in detail about things happened and let him know that she still remembered him.  She wanted to do this in her privacy, but she could not get any privacy to do so.  They have not met and spoke to each other for a long time, and so she wanted to share whatever she felt at heart for him and how life has been now for her with its unusual twists and turns.

Reema looked at the ceiling and the fan that revolved above her.  Just like the blank ceiling, her life also looked blank. She could hardly tell what will happen in the next moment. First she met with an accident and went into a temporary memory loss. Now, she risked her life by getting drowned in the shallow water.  Usually the river near the bank is always shallow and there is no danger. Sometimes, shift currents passed through the water near the bank of the river only. It is quite dangerous to be there at that time for it can topple and drown the person standing in the water.  This time also she miraculously escaped from death.

How long is she going to be there in that place?  Reluctantly she got up from the bed and reclined on the pillows.  Aimlessly she looked out of the window. She could see some birds sitting on the branch and preening their feathers studiously.  They were all so much engrossed in their preening activities; they failed to notice Reema who stood there watching them. Her heart felt depressed when she looked at the two crows that sat on the branch of the tree and were preening their feathers helping each other.

Reema’s eyes were filled with tears as she remembered Vel and at heart she wanted to see him immediately. 

Her heart recited a poem by her favorite poet, Emily Dickinson. 

That I did always love,            
I bring thee proof: 
That till I loved
I did not love enough. 

That I shall love always,       
I offer thee
That love is life,
And life hath immortality. 

Afternoons at her native place were always very silent that is strong enough to make a person feel depressed at heart. Reema thought about their ride on the ECR road in the early morning and the ride on the flooded roads one night.  She kept on thinking again and again those pleasant moments which brought her very close to him. Those moments brought them close together when they were only colleagues and did not have anything personal between them.

The day when he dropped her home from Caroline’s place and how he kept on talking to her on the way home drifted across her mind. She remembered every moment in detail and she could blissfully visualize their ride. Intuitively she knew that he also had a soft corner toward her and he also recognized her love toward him.  Though they have not openly confessed in person about their love, they knew about it.

Reema lovingly remembered their chat when he went abroad and got stuck in the airport due to cancellation of flights.  Reema came to know about him and his love at that time only.  How diligently they charted out a plan to meet in person to celebrate their acceptance of love and how drastically things happened to her before he reached Chennai? 

Tears started to flow from her eyes and stained her cheeks.  She did not even have the mind to wipe away the tears.  She felt a pull at her heart when she thought if she will be able to win his hands. With a deep sigh, she stood there for some more time listening to the birds.

Reema usually referred to tarot cards when she was in an awkward situation or faced a problem that tested her confidence. But she could not do so as she could not use the computer as she wished.  With a heavy heart she lied down on the bed and closed her eyes. Sleep took over her and she slept soundly for more than two hours.

“Hi, Reema,” Reema in her deep sleep heard someone calling her.  She could not make out who called her, but she could hear her name to be called again and again.

Without responding, she shifted her position and turned around and faced the wall. The evening sun rays slowly peeped in through the window bars and painted streaks of lines on the wall. The soft glow of the evening rays smoothly touched her shoulders and gave a shine to her thick black hair.

The unfurling jasmine flowers in the creeper near the window slowly sent the fragrance across the room. In her sleep, Reema’s nose reacted to the fragrance. The fragrance entered her lungs through her nostrils and it excited her even in the midst of her deep sleep.  A smile across her lips showed she was dreaming something she really cherished.    

The dream slowly shifted to her another world of vision. She could see herself strolling along the sands of the beach.  She could hear the sound of the waves that came slowly and washed ashore. Sometimes the sound became so loud and the waves raised high as if touching the sky and broke on the shore reaching considerable length on the sea shore. 

Though Reema was walking away from the water, the waves took the effort to reach her and get her drenched upto her waist in the salt water. Reema usually avoid standing in the water for a long time, as she hates to walk on the sand with her wet slippers. The water dripping from the slippers carried the sea sand and after some time she would start feeling the nagging sensation that slowly spread between the toes and fingers on her feet.

“Why did you some so long to touch me? See, how I am drenched.” Reema questioned the sea waves. As if answering her question, the waves once again lifted above the air and came to her and touched her feet again.

This excited her like a child and she looked ahead. Many kids were busy playing in the sand building sand castles.  After building the main castle, they built the fort around it.  They made a beautiful flag out of the leaves of the plants on the shore and they placed it on the top of the castle.  Every one took their time to build their assigned part of the castle.

Within seconds, she once again heard the heavy roar of the sea waves. A wave with the maximum height once again lapped the shore and took the castle along with it.

“Oh, our castle is going into the sea.” All the little children clapped their hands and shouted loudly.  Their loud burst filled the air. But within minutes they started to build a sand castle again.

Now they built a figure in front of the sand castle and called that figure as the guard to protect the castle from the waves.

“Now the water will not come and touch the castle. Look at the guard be at the gate. He will not allow the waves to come and touch the castle.” The eldest one of the group told the little children. Much to the surprise of Reema, the sea waves seized to come near the castle and touch it. 

Reema visually thought Vel to be the guard to the castle of her dreams and she wished he would come all the way to protect her and win her hands. But will it happen?  Will she be lucky enough to see her dreams come true? So many questions kept her inner mind busy, and her heart with the heaviness of expectations struggled to beat with the normal rhythm that can keep her at peace.

When Vel and Beena left the library it was around 3 pm. From there, they went to the Birla Planetarium.
The centre enclosed eight galleries which extensively covered themes on Physical Science, Transport, Electronics and Communication, Energy, Materials Science, Life Science, Innovation, International Dolls and Children with over 500 exhibits.

After going around the galleries, they decided to attend the cosmic show. The show provides a virtual tour of the night sky and cosmic shows on a specially perforated hemispherical aluminum inner dome. When the lights were off, the cosmic world revolves around showing the twinkling stars, shooting meteoroids, the rotating solar system and the rising and falling outline of the planet Mars in red color.  The spectacular show also shows the city of Chennai with the brilliant stunning look against the night sky.

It was quite an unforgettable experience to watch the cosmic show.  Vel had been there for a number of times.  So, it was only another visit to the show. But for Beena, it was the first time she had been there. She was so amazed to watch the show.  The entire place were filled with parents and kids and a very few youngsters were there. Vel and Beena took the last corner seat. 

Once the lights were out, the revolving screen showed the beauty of the night sky, and the life took a different view for every one there except Vel. He felt bored and closed his eyes reclining comfortably on the cushioned sliding seat.  In the next five seconds, Vel drifted into sleep and he slept till the show was over.  He slept like that till the show was over, and Beena woke up him from his sleep.

As this was the first time, Beena was watching the cosmic show, it took her spirits high.

“Wow, what a wonderful show. It is amazing.”  Beena turned and looked at Vel. He was deep asleep.

“So sad, look at him, he sleeps even here. Really something is happening with him.” She told herself.

For Beena felt that Vel was not in his usual spirits. He looked disturbed for he did not share any of his feelings with anyone.

The moment the show started he drifted into sleep. That showed the indifference he had to the surroundings. Now and then she started to watch him.  Beena could not focus on the show.  She wanted to talk to him and know what disturbed him and made him feel so broken.

Beena slowly placed her right hand on his left hand that was smoothly stretched on the left hand of the seat. There was no response. That did not disturb his sleep.  Beena’s arm touched his hand with a concern. The smooth breathing that accompanied his sleep showed he lacked sleep for days.

“What is that disturbs him so much?” Beena had never been so close to any one and her nearness to him roused a comfortable feeling that was new to her. With a concern she gripped his hand for a while. With her long tender fingers she softly took his strong warm fingers in her smooth grip for a while. The masculine touch spread a few electric sparks to her heart and it slowly spread across her system. Vel did not move her away and in his sleep he failed to recognize her smooth touch.

Beena felt a tickle in her heart. “Will he be my Prince Charming?”  The thought made her smile with love.

The show just went on for another fifteen minutes and Beena was happy it was over.  

People started to move toward the exit door. Beena woke him up with a shake on his sliding seat.

“Oh, god, you are not watching the show. You are sleeping.” Beena called him with a surprise.

“Oh, sorry, I don’t know, I drifted into sleep.” Vel apologized.

“Hmm, let us move.” Beena started to walk toward the exit door. Avoiding curious eyes that looked at him, he slowly got from the chair and adjusted his shirt.  He did not feel ashamed that he slept away during the show.  For days, he had not been sleeping well. 

Most of the nights, he spent disturbed sleep as he was constantly worried about Reema. He felt heavy at the heart as he failed to express in person his love to her. The days were not good for him as things turned toughed wherever he turned.  Reema occupied his mind always and he could not stop thinking about her.

“Hmm, let me be normal at least for a while.” Vel told himself and followed Beena. Beena was much excited to describe the show to him and he listened to her without making any comments.

Then they went to watch the 3D show in another theater in the same complex.  The show was especially for kids and everyone was given a pair of 3D glasses to watch the show. Every child in the show enjoyed by screaming aloud and Beena was also no exception.

It was five in the evening when they came out of the planetarium.

“Why don’t we go and have some snacks?”  Beena asked him.

“Yes, I am also feeling hungry.”  Vel took her to the famous hotel Sangeetha which was nearby.

They waited for more than fifteen minutes to get a place inside the family room. Beena looked around the crowd eating without even talking to each other. Nowadays in cities like Chennai people prefer going out and having food in a restaurant than cook at home.  Most of the restaurants are crowded with women and children which showed that they don’t mind spending more money to eat. The shift in the look towards eating out literally brought out the women from the kitchen and they enjoyed eating varieties of food that saved their tough hours in the kitchen.

Apart from that, the restaurants provided hygienically cooked food with different tastes. People enjoyed eating all types of cuisine and experiment their taste buds with food from different parts of the world. When the whole world was talking about recession and shortage of money, these people never gave a second thought to spend more money to buy their food items.  People wanted to enjoy life without much stress and strain and the money spent for life style expenses was more than the money spent on provisions.

Beena selected her favorites from the menu card.  Vel told her that it will take some time for them to get the ordered food items as they were prepared once the order is placed. Beena took the opportunity to talk and know what is there in his mind.

“I found you sleeping during the show. Why? What happened?” Beena started slowly with that question.

“Nothing unusual, I was feeling tired. For the last two weeks I came late from the office and left for the office early.  It is hardly two hours every day I slept.”  Vel replied to her.

“Do you want me to believe that?” Beena’s question shocked him.

“Why? What is your problem?” Vel looked at her with a sneer.

“What is the need to lie to me?” Beena asked him again.

“Nothing to share,” Vel answered her back.

“That shows you have much to share.” Beena replied him back.

Vel did not reply to her question and looked away from her for a while.  So many thoughts went across his mind. Will it be right to share whatever that is going on his mind? Will it be good if he shared with her whatever that happened between him and Reema? Vel could not decide.  He somehow wanted to avoid this situation that put him into embarrassment. To save him from this trouble, they received the ordered food items.

Without talking, the next thirty minutes went on in silence.  Both felt so hungry that they concentrated only on eating the food. Beena enjoyed her food for it tasted simple and delicious.

“Do you come here often?” Beena questioned him.

“I think this question you can answer.” Beena smiled at him.

“Yes, I often come here with my friends. Most of the weekends we spend here only.” He replied her back.

“Can I take this as a treat?” Beena asked him again.

Vel smiled back at her. “For what! Is there anything special to celebrate?”  He questioned her.                 

Around 6:30 pm, both of them came out of the hotel. The day was tiring and Beena felt it would be good if they returned home immediately.

“Enough for the day, I am dead tired. We will go home.” Beena told him.

While they were walking down the steps, Vel saw Caroline walking up the steps.

“Hi, Caroline, what are doing here?” With a surprise he asked her.

“Do you mind introducing me to her?” Beena asked him immediately.

“Sure. Caroline, this is Beena, my uncle’s daughter. Beena, this is Caroline, both of us work in the same office.”  He introduced both of them in a stretch.

“Hi, Caroline, Nice to meet you,” with a smile Beena shook hands with Caroline.

“Yes, it is a pleasure meeting you. How are you?” Caroline greeted her in her usual way.

“I think I can know more about him from you.” Beena’s request shocked Caroline for a minute.

“Sure, but that cannot happen now, some other day.” Caroline replied Beena.

“Let me have your number. I will talk to you later.  We are feeling dead tired. Need some rest!” Beena apologized to her. After exchanging their mobile numbers, Caroline walked into the hotel along with her friends.

Beena waved back to Caroline and followed Vel to his bike.

The next day morning when Beena saw all the colorful roses in full bloom she shouted with excitement.

“Aunty, these roses look so beautiful?” Beena called her aunty loudly.

“Yes, it is so pleasant to see those roses.” Her aunty, Vel’s mother replied her back.

“Can I buy some rose plants while I return home?” Beena asked her.

“Yes, the nursery is quite near. We will go and get the plants tomorrow.” She assured that she will get her the rose plants.

Beena left Chennai in two days.  Having her at home was a welcome relief to Vel’s mother. She kept on talking to her and helped her in doing all household chores. She even managed to bring Vel back to his normal mood. Though she understood that he was upset over something, she stopped questioning him about that. She kept on asking for one thing or other and diverted him from feeling lonely or dejected at heart.

Even Vel’s mother could not guess what happened with him.  She told Vel’s father about his activities, but he asked her not to keep on pestering him with unnecessary questions. 

Once while talking about him and his office work, she told Beena about the sudden change in him and asked her to talk to him and find out the reason for that. Beena promised her that she will find out, but kept on postponing it as she could not find the right time to start a conversation about that.

Even if she tried to ask something related to that, Vel was always hesitant to proceed further and avoided answering questions related to that. Beena thought it would be good if she don’t talk about it for a while.  After meeting Caroline, she thought she would talk to Caroline about it as she worked along with him in the same office.

Beena called Caroline more than twice after their first meeting. But she could not ask anything related to Vel.  Beena thought it would be ideal if they meet in person to know more. She tried her best to meet Caroline in person, but Caroline’s work hours came in between and prevented them from meeting in person.

Beena called Caroline after she boarded the train to her place.  On the way, she called Caroline and asked her to tell what happened and why Vel was not in his usual self.  Initially Caroline hesitated to share the details with her. Yet, Beena kept on asking her too many questions. Beena also told her that it affected the peace at home and everyone at home was much worried about Vel and his aloofness.

Caroline could not hide anything from her anymore. She told her everything in detail and also told her that Reema was not in Chennai now. Reema is taking rest at her native place and it will take another three months to come back. Caroline also told her that no one can get in touch with her as her parents told her friends that Reema was asked not use mobile phones for a while and she is restricted from using computer also.

Even Caroline did not know the present condition or situation of Reema. Until her parents returned from their native place, she may not be able to help her with details. Beena decided to wait for Reema to return back to Chennai.

Reema returned to Chennai as her father insisted her to come home soon. To keep Reema engaged, her mother decided to set an aquarium at home.  Along with the fish tank, she asked her father to get a pair of love birds and a pair of pigeons also.  This came as a welcome relief to Reema. Most of her time went on watching the fish in the tank and feeding the love birds. She also loved to feed the pigeons and look at them flying around the house and perch on the window sill or on the balcony.  This helped her to relieve her stress and she slowly came back to normal.

Reema started to go to the nearby library once again and look for books on pigeons. She was much surprised to read about the monogamous relationship the pigeons maintain in their lives. Pigeons have a relationship almost like a married human couple does. They usually won't look for another mate unless something happens to one of them. Pigeons are monogamous and a mating pair will typically have three or four broods a year. The female usually lays two or three eggs at a time. The eggs are a solid bright white color. The eggs take roughly 18 days to hatch and 35 more days before the fledglings leave the nest.

Pigeons are not migratory. Their natural instinct is to stay near their birth site. This trait gives the pigeon a very determined personality when it comes to roosting at a particular site. The daily cycle of a pigeon is to roost at night, feed in the morning and loaf in the afternoon. The seasonal cycle is as follows; courtship in the early winter, nest building in late winter and breeding in the spring. However, in warm climates, breeding will occur year round. Pigeons molt once a year in late summer.

 

Reading about monogamous relationship made her think about Vel once again. Will I be able to win his hands or will the fate get me united with some other person?   These questions went through her mind again and again. Even after reaching Chennai, she did not meet Caroline or Vel. Her mother did not allow her to go anywhere and accompanied her wherever she went. Her mother only took her to the library and never allowed her to strain much. After seeing her drowning in the shallow water, she became too protective and was always behind her. Even if she sneezed, she ran to her side and checked if she is alright. 

 

One day Caroline dropped in to see her. Reema could not speak for a while. Caroline hugged her and asked her how her health is.

“Now only you know the way to come home.” Reema wiping away the tears asked Caroline.

Initially Caroline was angry with Reema as she could not get in touch with her through mobile or through mail. But after listening to whatever that happened to her made her changed her mind.

“Cool, cool, I understand.” Caroline had to keep on pacifying her as Reema could not stop tears. Tears started to flow down non-stop which embarrassed Caroline much.

“Reema take her to the balcony. I will bring you something to drink.” Reema’s mother felt relieved to see Caroline as she knew both of them worked in the same office and were close.

Reema held Caroline’s hand tightly. The grip of the hand showed how Reema missed every one and how she felt lonely at heart.

“How is he?” Reema asked Caroline with a shaky voice.

“Good. You still remember him!” Caroline replied with a sarcastic smile.

“I always think about him.” Reema looked at her.

Reema then told Caroline about the incident that happened in the river and how she escaped drowning in the water.

“Oh, dear, so many things have happened in your life in a short time.” Caroline once again hugged her.

“We are all here with you, don’t worry.” Caroline assured Reema.

Reema’s mother brought some chilled drink for both.

“Caroline please come here at least once in fifteen days.” Reema’s mother requested Caroline.

“Sure ma, I will make it hereafter.” Caroline promised her.

“Will you please send her to our home for my birthday?” When Caroline asked Reema’s mother, she accepted immediately.

“She needs some change. Take her and you must return her safely back home.”  Reema’s mother told Caroline.

Caroline was much happy to take Reema home.  Caroline invited some more friends also for her birthday.  With Reema back at Chennai, Caroline planned for a grand birthday at home. She meticulously sat and wrote down the list of friends to be invited for her birthday.  She planned for a small get together with her family members, but after Reema agreed to come, she included her list of friends also. She did not forget to invite Vel for the birthday. 

Caroline as a friend wanted to make things work out for Reema.  Caroline decided to keep it as a secret and introduce Reema as a surprise. 

Reema felt much relieved after talking to Caroline for a while. She started to count the day when she will visit Caroline’s home and meet Vel at the birth day party.  Reema had so much to share with him and she did not know how she will start to talk to him and pour her heart out. The day came and when Reema reached Caroline’s home, her heart started to beat faster than ever.  A wave of excitement caught her spirits and she felt weak on her knees, and perspired more with much expectation.

Caroline made a comfortable cushion for Reema to sit on and watch the party. She does not want her to strain much and asked her to sit and enjoy.  Though Reema wanted to participate in all the activities, she did not want to involve much as her mother insisted again and again that she should not stress herself much.

Reema kept on looking at the door for Vel to come.  But he did not turn even after the cake was cut. Caroline understood Reema’s excitement to meet him and so kept on checking with him when he will be there at her home.  Vel came to Caroline’s home when everyone was having their food.  Reema took a glass of apple juice and told Caroline that she will have food along with her.

“Hi, many more happy returns of the day,” with his usual smile Vel greeted Caroline handing over her favorite teddy bear doll.

“Look, what present he had got for me.” Caroline showed it to Reema with a grinning smile.

Reema’s eyes met Vel’s.  Without any doubt they exchanged so much that made Reema’s eyes filled with tears.  Lovingly her eyes told him that she missed him very much.

After handing over the gift to Caroline, Vel’s eyes searched for Reema.

“She is there. Sitting near the window,” Caroline replied him.

“Thanks.” Vel with a broad smile walked toward Reema.  Unaware of Vel coming toward her, Reema was busy drinking the apple juice.

“Hi, Reema, how are you? How is your health?” Vel enquired her.

Unexpectedly he sounded so near to her which made her feel startled.

“Oh, my god, you scared me!” Reema’s replied nervously.

“Sorry, if I have scared you. How are you?” Vel asked her again.

“I am good. I am now recovering.” Reema replied him.

“We are meeting after a long time. Is it not?” Vel questioned her with a smile.

“Yes, so many things have happened in my life. What to do?” Reema replied with a sigh.

“Don’t worry things will be good for you.”  Vel took her right hand within his.  His grip tightened as he pressed her hand to assure comfort.

“I missed you.” Reema broke down and tears started to flow down her cheeks.

“Cool, cool.” Vel pacified her.  “Let us move outside and talk.”  He got up and walked to the backyard.

“Where are you going? Come and join us.”  Vel’s friends called him loudly.

“Carry on, I will have it later.” Without waiting for their reply, he walked to the backyard.

“Wait, wait.” Caroline called him.  “Don’t take her into the dark.  If anything happens to her,  I could not answer her mom.” Caroline warned him.

“Ok, ok.” Vel was slightly disappointed. Looking at the changing expression on his face, Caroline changed the subject.

“Your favorite soup is here. Why don’t you both have it together? You can sit there in the sofa and talk while having it.” Caroline comforted him with this answer.

“Good.” Vel walked to the sofa and sat near Reema.

Once again Vel took her hand in his and held it tightly for a while. Reema’s eyes brightened up immediately and she accepted his love whole heartedly.

Reema moved near Vel and sat closely to him. She tightened her grip on his hand and looked at him for a while. Reema told him how the doctor has not allowed her to use the mobile phone for a while and she was not allowed to use the computer also. Without communication, she was totally cut from the world.  Reema had to learn to live a restricted life and live secluded only with her books.

“Do you love me still?” Reema questioned him again accompanied by tears.

“Yes. You need to believe it first.” Vel answered her back.

“Can you now feel the warmth of my heart?” Vel questioned her again.

“Warmth of your heart,” Reema looked at him. She could not understand his question.

“Can you feel my heart in your hands?” Vel asked her again.

“Yes, I can feel it on my feet also.” Reema slowly moved her feet away from Vel.

“Is this your way of expressing your love?”  Reema blushed and moved away from him. She took her hand bag and kept in between them.

“You stay there where you are. No need to come and cuddle near me, I am not feeling cold.” Reema laughed at him.

“Hi, here is something delicious to start with.” Caroline came to them carrying a huge tray with two bowls.

Reema could not restrict from laughing when she found what Caroline brought were bowls of soup.

“Caroline, is it so delicious. The flavor is so good.” Reema teased Caroline.

“Yes, now it will be like that only. Even if I give you warm water, you will tell me it is delicious.” Caroline gave the bowls of soup and left the place with a smile.

Sipping the soup, both of them talked their heart out.   Reema kept on talking to him which sounded endless for Vel.  Will he be lucky to hear her throughout his life time?

“Have you spoken whatever you wanted to speak?” Caroline asked Reema. “Your brother has come to pick you up.”

Reema got up from the sofa.

“How can you contact you again?” Vel asked her with a concern.

“Convey your messages through Caroline; she will come home to meet me every fifteen days.” Reema left the place half heartedly.

“Reema, I will keep in touch with you. Don’t worry.” Caroline assured her. They all then sat together to have their food.

With tears, Reema left Caroline’s home with her brother.  Reema’s brother could find out instantly the budding love between his sister and Vel.  Without their knowledge, he kept on watching them. Those five minutes told him how deeply Reema loved Vel and if she gets married to him, it will be a perfect gift from her brother.

On their way back home, Reema’s brother Satish enquired her. “Who was that guy sitting along with you?” he asked her casually.

“He is from the same office where we worked earlier. We are all friends.” Reema answered him.

“Ok, nothing specific, I simply wanted to know who he was.” Satish did not ask her anything further about Vel.  Though Reema did not know her brother had been watching her talking with Vel, she did not find anything different in the way he enquired her about Vel.

Whenever Vel came to Trichy he never failed to drop at Beena’s home and meet their family.  But his visit that time turned out to be something different.  Initially Vel did not realize it, but when he left for Chennai, things changed greatly and he did not know how he was going to handle that delicate situation.

 

“Will you allow me to hold your hand?” Beena looked at him.

 

Her soft words did not reach Vel’s ears for he looked pre-occupied and lost in some thoughts.  Beena could not read his mind.  But could understand his thoughts were deviated and her presence did not mean anything special to him. She is just another member of the family at home.

 

Beena looked at him once again.  Unmindful of her sharp gaze, he was busy with his work and he kept on scrolling up and down the document which he was reading through.  After speaking to Caroline, Beena felt a sort of affinity toward him. Though they are related to each other and have the liberty to spend time together as they know each other from their childhood.  Yet, they never thought to unite in life as husband and wife.  Whenever Beena needed some help related to her studies or visiting the British Council Library, he was always there to help her. No one in the family objected to that and gave her the permission to go along with him.

 

Until she heard about Reema, Beena did not think him to be an eligible bachelor who can be a better understanding husband to her and a close member of the family who knows all about her.  Now in the corner of her heart, Beena started to think about Reema to be a rival, a competitor in the game of love.

 

Beena cherished every moment spent with him, and she started to watch him closely.  Though she knew him from her childhood, the focus she started to have on him became distinct and sharp. 

 

Not knowing about the changes within Beena, Vel continued to move around her as usual. He failed to notice, every day spent along with her brought some delicate changes within her that brought happiness on her face whenever she saw him.  

 

Vel lifted his eyes from the monitor and looked at her.

 

“Yes, what did you ask?  Sorry, can you tell me again.” Vel asked her.

 

“Nothing special, I asked you will you allow me to hold your hand.” Beena told him.

 

“What a big deal. Here it is.” Vel gave her his right hand. He voluntarily took her right hand in his and smiled at her.

 

“You need not ask permission to hold my hand. Why are you asking like that suddenly?” Vel asked her with a doubt.

 

“Nothing, I just wanted to hold your hand for a while.”  Beena felt Vel’s hand pleasantly cold. The soft touch of his inner palm slowly took away the heat that evolved from her right hand.

 

To avoid nervousness that started to build in her slowly, Beena took away her right hand from his hand. 

 

“How can I allow you to take away my hand like that?” Vel teased her.

 

Beena did not reply his question but looked into his eyes directly.

 

“Please.” Beena tried to take her hand away from his.

 

“I don’t know what is happening with you. I can feel a change in the way you behave to me. Let me know the reason.” 

 

“Do you love me?”  Beena asked him directly.

 

“You are my uncle’s loving daughter. How can I tell I don’t love you?” Vel replied her back.

 

“Think and tell me. I don’t want you to tell an answer immediately to me. Take your time but you must tell me before you leave for Chennai.”  Beena placed this request to him and left the room without waiting for his reply.

 

This sudden development hit him like electric shock. He never expected such a question from her.  He never thought her more than a close family member and never felt an emotional bond to Beena, though he had spent more time with her.

 

Vel started to Chennai, his uncle called him. “I have something important to talk to your parents. Tell them I will call them.”

 

Vel immediately guessed it must be regarding him and Beena.  Beena already knows how to take hold of things in her hand.  She did not want to lose him and she started working on it without wasting time. But at heart, Vel did not want to marry Beena.  He never wished to get married to a girl within the family.  His thoughts went to Reema.  Will I be lucky to marry her?  Or will I be forced to marry Beena?  Without knowing the answer for this question, he boarded the train to Chennai.

 

Meeting Reema at Caroline’s place cleared most of his doubts about their relationship.  He was so glad that Reema also loved him as he loved her. She was deeply in love with him and the circumstances in her life made her love toward him stronger. 

 

Reema had faced serious life threatening situations twice, and her deep love for him only helped her to survive and come back alive.  Deep at heart she yearned to win Vel’s heart, get married and live together.  Even when she was unconscious, her sub-conscious mind thought about Vel and the life with him.  As an inner instinct that love gave her heart the strength to overcome such hurdles.

 

The next day while having breakfast, Vel’s father spoke to him about his marriage with Beena.

 

“Please excuse me for not saying yes.” Vel bluntly replied to his father.


“Why?”  Vel’s father did not expect such a reply from him. He thought Vel would tell him to do whatever he wished.

 

“It is me who is going to live with her. I don’t want to get married within the family. I am very clear in that.” Vel answered him strictly.

 

Vel’s father looked at his mother.  Though she supported Vel in this regard, she could not tell anything at that time.

 

“Vel, please consider what your dad tells. It is for your good only. Beena is definitely a good choice to be your wife.”  His mother tried to convince him.

 

“I am very clear.  I don’t want to get married within the family. Why don’t you understand me?”  Vel got irritated and angry.  He did not expect such a turn of events when Reema had accepted his love and the future looked colorful and bright.  When he was thinking deeply how to open the topic with his parents, they have opened up with a new issue. 

 

“Are you in love with anyone?”  His father asked him directly.

 

“Yes.” Vel replied to him.

 

“So, now this is your problem. Do you want us to approve it or you have any plans of your own?”  He questioned him.

 

“Without your consent I will not marry her.  I want you to go and talk to her parents.”  Vel requested his parents.

 

Both of them did not know how to proceed further in this issue.  Vel’s father thought it would be better if he waited for two more days and decide.  In the mean while, he decided to enquire about Reema’s family and fix a date to go and talk to her parents about this proposal.

 

Vel felt relieved after confessing his love to his parents.  It is now left to them to decide if he can marry or not.  Vel’s father felt in one way Vel is correct. Marriage within families is not advised by the doctors also as it can affect the future generation in all aspects.   Though it may be delicate to talk about this to Beena’s parents, he wished they will understand.   He decided to call on Reema’s parents and meet them in person regarding that.

 

“Reema, will you please go to the Aavin parlor and get some ghee?  I need it now.” Reema’s mother called her.

 

Reema reached the parlor in five minutes. After getting the ghee she walked to the exit gate.   As a surprise, Vel stopped near the gate and got down from his bike.

 

“Hi, Reema, What a surprise?” Vel called her with a surprise.

 

“Hi.” Reema could not reply him back.

 

“Just wait, let me get some milk and come.” Vel rushed to the counter and got two milk sachets and a few bottles of flavored milk.  He returned within two minutes. 

 

“I want to talk to you. Let me drop you at your place.” Without replying him she followed his command.

 

“I spoke to my parents about our marriage. They may come to your home anytime.” Vel informed him.

 

“What?” Reema could not believe his words.  The sudden revealing made her feel excited. She blushed with a soft smile.

 

Looking at her blushing face in the rear view mirror, Vel teased her. “Oh, sweet heart, you are such a beauty.”  He exclaimed.

 

Instead of stopping the bike near her house, he drove faster and reached his home.  He parked the bike in the stand, and asked her get to come inside.

 

“Me! No, I will come some other day. Please.” Reema started to feel nervous. 

 

“No one is at home. Only my mother, come inside. I want to introduce you to her.” Vel insisted.

 

“Please.”  Reema still stood at the steps and pleaded him.

 

“You have come so soon.” Wondering Vel’s mother came out of the house.  Initially she did not look at Reema standing down the steps. 

 

“Ma, this is Reema.” Vel introduced her to his mother.

 

“Oh!” Vel’s mother looked at her sternly which checked if she is suitable to win his son’s hands.  She did not tell anything more but simply asked her to come inside.

 

Reema nervously followed them inside.  After asking her to sit in the hall, Vel’s mother went to the kitchen to prepare some coffee.

 

“How is my place?” Vel looked at her and expected her to answer him.  But Reema had not come out of the nervousness and she did not know how Vel’s mother would take this sudden visit.

 

Reema could not sit peacefully.  Her mother will be expecting her within five minutes, and after a long time she had come out alone.  If it is getting late, her mother will be tensed and may come down to the parlor searching for her.

 

“Please, my mother will be worried. Let me come another time. Please, let me go.” Reema pleaded Vel in a whisper.

 

“I think this is the best time to introduce to you. I don’t want to miss the chance. Please understand me.” Vel murmured to her in a lower tone.

 

Vel’s mother handed over the cup of coffee to her.

 

“How are you? How is your health?” She enquired her casually. 

 

“Ok, aunty. I am good. How are you?” Reema enquired her.

 

“We are all good.  Are you working now?” She could feel the nervousness in Reema.

 

“No, aunty, the doctor has asked me to take rest for a while.” Reema drank the coffee in one gulp.

 

“Excuse me aunty, I need to go home now. My mother may search for me. Let me come home some other day.”  Reema stood up with a request to Vel’s mother.

 

“Ok.  Do you live nearby?” Vel’s mother asked her again.

 

“Yes, aunty, it is getting late, let me go.”  Without waiting for her respond, Reema started to walk to the door and climbed down the steps.

 

“What is the need to hurry?” Vel questioned her.

 

“Will you please drop me home?” Reema requested him softly. She still felt nervous before his mother and she feel her palms became chill with sweating.

 

“Mom, I will leave her and come.” Informing his mother, he started the bike.

 

“Ok.”  Vel’s mother went inside the house without asking any more questions to Vel.

 

“I never expected you to take me to your house like this. I feel so nervous.” Reema told him angrily.

 

“Cool, cool. One day or other this should happen. I let it happen today.” Vel replied to her with a cool tone.

 

“I am still feeling shaky.”  Reema replied to him.

 

“Shall I tell you a way to feel strong?” He asked her with a mischievous tone.

 

“Hmm,” Reema answered him back.

 

“Hug me tight.”

 

“You are, you are…” Reema stammered for words.

 

“Yes, I am a rascal.” Vel replied her back.

 

In the meanwhile, they reached Reema’s place.  Dropping near her home, Vel turned his bike and rode fast before she replied with some nasty comment.

 

Reema’s mother came out and saw Vel moving away.

 

“Who is that?”  Reema’s mother queried her.

 

“He worked with me in the office. I saw him at the parlor. He dropped me home.” Reema replied her back.

 

“I was worried. It is more than half an hour. Usually it takes only ten minutes to go and come back.”

 

“Today there was more crowd in the parlor.” Reema replying her went inside and took the story book to continue reading.

 

Reema still felt nervous. It took another fifteen minutes for her to settle down.  She felt dizzy as her heart palpitated faster.  Reema rubbed her hands together to feel warm.  Riding with him in the bike turned out to be a cherishing moment.  She felt thrilled like a small kid on her first ride on the bike.   

 

Meeting Vel at that time was the first surprise. The next surprise was Vel taking to his home and introducing her to his mother.  She never expected him to act so fast and get things moving on.  That itself showed her that he loved her wholeheartedly and wanted to get married to her as soon as possible.

 

Reema did not know how her parents will take it once they came to know about this.  Reema’s mother knew Vel only as her colleague, but her brother knew about her wish.  At Caroline’s place when he looked at both of them sitting and talking together, he had a doubt if they were in love.  Reema decided to talk about this to her brother as he may be able to help her out if Vel’s parents started to talk about their marriage.

 

“Mom, do you like her?” Vel questioned his mother. At heart he expected that she will tell him that she liked her very much and she is suitable to him.

 

“Who you are asking?” she questioned him back.

 

“Reema who came today with me in the evening,” Vel replied her.

 

“What to tell? She looks good.” Vel mother replied him back.

 

“That’s all. Do you like her?” He questioned again.

 

“Do you like her?” Vel’s mother asked him back.

 

“Yes. I want to marry her.” Vel answered her with a firm tone.

 

“So, you don’t want to marry Beena.” Vel’s mother looked at him.

 

“Ma, marriage within the family is not good. It can affect the children. Do you know that?” 

 

“Yes, I know. But this is not new in our culture.”

 

“Beena is beautiful. It will not be difficult to find a groom for her. Why do you insist me?” Vel got irritated.

 

“Because, we want her to be your wife,” Vel’s father replied to him from the hall.

 

“Dad, leave this to me.  Let me make the choice.” Vel requested him.

 

“So, you have become a big shot in a day to decide your own life. Sorry, I didn’t know about this till now.”  Vel’s father sarcastically answered him back.

 

“I did not do anything without your knowledge. I want you to take the efforts and get us married. This is my request.” Vel replied him.

 

“If I don’t take the efforts, will you carry on with whatever you wanted to do?” Vel’s father questioned him in a serious tone.

 

Vel kept quiet for a few minutes. Without answering him anything, he went to his room and switched on his music system.  He did not want to start an argument with his father so early.  To get things move on his favor he decided to keep his mouth shut.

 

Vel looked out of the window. It looked dark and cold outside.  Usually nights during November are quite lengthy and dark.  The nights set in early and days started late. He got up and opened the window doors.  When he removed the hook and pushed the window door, freezing chill air brushed his front curls and made his facial skin shrink in the cold. He rubbed his hands together and made it warmer. Then he pressed his hands on the face and relished the warmth for a while.

 

The kitchen contained all things to make a good breakfast. He checked the fridge and pulled out a sachet of milk.  He poured the milk in the pan and kept it on the induction stove on the kitchen slab. Within minutes, the milk got heated.  He took another pan from the shelf and poured equal amount of water and milk. After adding two teaspoons of tea and crushed cardamom to it, he set the stove to boil. In another two minutes, the flavor of the tea filled the room. He strained the tea and served it in two cups. Vel then added sugar to taste. He kept the tea cups on the tray and took it to the front room. He kept the tray on the table over there.  Sipping the tea he switched on the television.  

 

Suddenly his nostrils sensed the sweet fragrance that the cold air carried toward him.  His bundle of joy comfortably tucked in a woolen shawl was dozing away in the corner at the other end of the sofa.

 

“Hi, sweetheart, you are up so early.” Without lifting her head up, Reema nodded her head.

 

“Oh, it is so cold over here. I am freezing.”  Reema replied him through the shawl.

 

“You must have asked for my service.” Vel replied her.

 

“What?” Reema could not understand him.

 

“I will be very happy to make you feel warm. I am always at your service.” Vel got up with his cup of tea and sat near her.  With a force he cuddled toward her and hugged her tightly.  Reema did not tell anything but moved closer to him.

 

“Thanks. Now I feel so warm.”  Reema replied with a smile.  Vel took a deep breath and closed his eyes.

 

“How do smell so nice? What is the secret?” Vel questioned him.

 

“Hmm. That is a secret. I know you will like this.” Reema replied him back.

 

“I have prepared tea for both of us. Why don’t you have it?” Vel whispered to him with love.

 

“Let me enjoy this bliss for some more time. The tea can wait.” Reema smiled at him.

 

Vel kept the empty tea cup on the table and pulled her out of the shawl.

 

“Come out and feel the chillness. It is heaven to feel the cold air. The air here is so pure and full of energy.”  Vel took her shawl away.  

 

“Oh, god, what are you doing?  It is freezing.” Reema screamed at him.

 

“So, today you have plans only to stay inside and no sight-seeing?” Vel asked her eagerly.

 

“Not so early. We will go once the sun is up.” Reema answered him.

 

Vel broke out into a loud laughter.  “The sun will never be up.  It will be chilly like this throughout the day.”

 

“I don’t know how I am going to manage this cold. Shivering, shivering, throughout our stay here.” Reema complained him.

 

“That helps me to explore more.” Vel replied her with a smile.

 

“You are always naughty.” Reema blushed with a smile.

 

Vel woke up early morning with this dream.   Usually early morning dreams come true. Vel wished his early morning dream will also come true.

 

“What will I do if I don’t marry him?”  Beena tossing on her bed kept on thinking about it. She felt restless and wanted to know why Vel does not give in and give his consent.  Beena never thought of marrying him, but on the day when she learned about Reema and experienced in person the protectiveness and the pleasant company of Vel, she started to think about him.

Thinking more and more about him finally left an impact on her heart and she started to love him deeply and wanted to be united in life with him.  Beena did not hesitate to share her liking with her parents immediately.  She did not want to wait and miss him forever.  She thought things will work out good if she followed the traditional way.  Stand firmly behind the screen and get things done as you wish.

 

Beena was anxiously waiting for the call from her uncle.  Both of their parents did not stand in their way and they accepted the marriage proposal between the families.  But Vel’s reluctance to marry her hit her heart.  When she overheard the conversation between her father and her uncle, Beena felt jealous of Reema. She did not think about the valid reason that Vel kept on telling his parents.

 

Beena could not over come the fact that what she wished to be hers is at her arm length, but she could not just grab it and have it as her own.  She cried her heart out while taking bath. Beena did not want her parents to know about it. She wanted to call Vel and ask him why he did not want to marry her. 
 

Around 10 pm after every one went to sleep, Beena called his mobile.  Vel attended the call from his office.   From the morning he was expecting a call from Beena and was mentally ready to answer her questions.  Whatever it may be he decided to be cool and handle the situation smoothly.

 

“Hi, Beena, are you still awake?  Usually you go to sleep by this time.”  Vel did not give time for her to open the conversation.

 

“What made you reject me?  I feel like a fool.”  Beena’s voice choked with tears reached his ears.

 

He already expected tears and sobs from her end. Last time when he visited her place, he could feel the difference in the way she moved around him.  With his heart bent toward Reema, he did not take it seriously.

 

When Beena asked his permission to hold his hand for a while, he indirectly told her about his mind. Even after understanding the open message from him, still she wanted to try her luck.  One of his friends got married to a girl within the family, and his children suffered from some chronic diseases from their infancy. 

 

“Fool. Don’t talk like that. You are an educated girl and you must understand things better.” Vel’s words did not comfort her.

 

“Shamelessly I spoke my heart out to you, yet, you are not ready to consider me.  What made you decide like that?”  Beena went on talking about the same thing again and again.

 

“I am in the office. I will talk to tomorrow. Go to sleep now, you will understand things better once you are awake.”  Vel told her and ended the call.

 

Even after talking to him, Beena felt the heavy burden on her heart. She could not accept the fact that he did not want to marry her.  She kept on sending so many messages to him when he stopped to attend her frantic calls. Vel knew very well if he attended her calls, she will not allow him to be at peace and she will deliberately push him into unnecessary mental pressure.

 

Beena’s parents took it lightly. Though they wanted to help Beena, they understood Vel’s point of view also.  They have seen marriages within the family and they also know how it affected the lives of the children and even the lives of the boys and girls who married within their family.  

 

Beena’s parents did not want to discuss these things any more and left Beena alone to come out of that on her own.

 

Beena could not sleep immediately. She switched on the computer and checked with the online tarot reading. She selected the cards and read through the Universal 6 card spread reading.

 

Card 1 (The Chariot) : How you feel about yourself now

You feel everything is a constant battle at the moment, but persevere and you will triumph in the end. Expect some good news that will help you to keep going until you achieve your goals. This is a time of movement and change and of conflicts ending in victory. You may well consider a journey that relates to work or go for that new car you've been looking at.

 

Card 2 (Justice) : What you most want at this moment

The cards suggest that what you most want at this time is for a fair and right outcome whether it concerns relationships or business affairs. You feel that you are in the right and that any decision or agreement to be made should be in your favour

 

Card 3 (The Star) : Your fears

You are fearful of the future and rather lacking in self-belief - you are afraid your hopes will be dashed. Well don't be, this is your wish card - a time of joy and fulfillment. Good health, possibly after a time of illness, and good fortune that will give you a new zest of life. If considering a new love affair, new job or career, or travel, then go for it. You may also receive a gift or gifts!

 

Card 4 (The Moon) : What is going for you

Despite the fear and bewilderment you feel, and the seeming difficulty of the path you have chosen, keep going - all will eventually turn out fine. The Moon is a good omen if you are in a clandestine affair; it also shows us how to be open to new and unexpected possibilities

 

Card 5 (The Empress) : What is going against you

There are conflicts around you, frustrations and possibly a break up in a relationship. Be careful not to over-react and be too protective or dictatorial about your needs, and whatever you do, do not resort to emotional blackmail, it won't do you any favours. You may be experiencing infertility problems or an unplanned pregnancy, if so just know that there are people around you who love and care for you and will provide support.

 

Card 6 (Judgement) : Outcome

A time for taking stock, an end to an era or phase of your life, and brand new opportunities appear. An opportunity will present itself that must not be ignored and it could have far reaching implications, changing your life for the better. You will enjoy success and enjoyment for past efforts, events will pick up a pace and the outcome will be quicker than expected.

 

Beena could not control her flow of tears as the reading clearly told what was happening at that time in her life.  She could not stop the tears and they kept staining her smooth, slippery cheeks.  The tear drops dried and glistened on her cheeks. The heaviness on her heart choked her breath and she kept on tossing on the bed this side and that side. She never thought of such an attraction toward him and she doesn’t know what made her inclined toward winning his heart.

 

For a while, the world looked bleak and the life meaningless.   Is this the end of every wish a man has?  What is the need for men to chase behind goals and dreams? 

 

“When days are narrow and nights threatening, prayers light our way.”  Beena remembered this again and again and wished she will also come out of this unwanted mess and get cleared of the unnecessary stress. Finally, she decided to let Vel go away from her.

 

“If you don’t get it, just forget it.” She ordered her sub-conscious mind to shut and chase away thoughts about Vel.  Initially it was a tough task, but she succeeded in that by diverting her attention to books and little children.  The world is a wider place to conquer what we deserve.  No need to sit and cry, take a different way to achieve the best.  Beena smiled at herself in the mirror and decided to move on her way.

 

But things were not easy for Vel at home.  His father was totally against him getting married to Reema. Vel’s mother was reluctant to go against her husband’s wish.   No one spoke to each other and it went on like that for a while, till Vel started the topic again.

 

“Ma, why are you not talking to me?” Vel once again called her. She carried on with her work as if she did not listen to him.

 

“I know dad. It is difficult to convince him. But why don’t you understand me.” He asked her again.

 

“Do you want your brother’s daughter to be here as your daughter-in-law?” He asked her again.

 

She did not reply him anything.  Though his father was listening to this conversation, he kept on reading the newspaper without showing any reaction on his face.

 

“So, both of you don’t want me to marry Reema. Is it so?” He questioned again.  She did not reply him.

 

Vel’s father lifted his head from the paper and answered his question loudly. “Yes, we did not want you to marry her.”

 

“But why?” Vel looked at his father.

 

“Because she is not our choice,” he replied him back.

 

“So that is the reason. I think she is a better choice for me.” Vel answered his father.

 

“If Beena gets married now, will you allow me to marry Reema?” Vel asked him back.

 

“Beena’s has her parents to look for a better choice. You need not worry.”  Vel’s father curt’s answer hit him.

 

“So you are not ready to understand me.” Vel felt sad why his parents must reject Reema so bluntly.

 

“Ma, that day you saw her. What is wrong with her, tell me.  If you feel she doesn’t suit me, you must tell me why.”  Vel once again pleaded her. But both of them did not reply him with an answer that would convince him.  With a heavy heart, he left for his office. He decided to share with Caroline whatever happened so that he can find a way out.

 

“Caroline, will you join me for tea?” Vel called her around 4 pm.

 

Around 4 pm when Vel came down for tea, Caroline was already waiting for her in the canteen. The place was not much crowded and he decided to speak his heart out to her.

 

“Will you please listen to me?” Vel sat down with his cup of tea.

 

“Yes, I am here for that.” Caroline looked at him.

 

“Can you meet Reema for me?”  Vel looked at her with a request.

 

“I will be going to see her tomorrow. Do you want me to tell her anything?” Caroline questioned him.

 

“Yes, I want you ask her if she is ready to marry me.” Vel’s answer shocked Caroline.

 

“What? She is always ready to marry you. What is the doubt?”  Caroline queried him.

 

“My parents want me to marry Beena. They don’t want Reema as their daughter-in-law.” 

 

“Oh!” Caroline exclaimed.

 

“Have they seen Reema?”

 

“That day I took to my house and introduced her to my mother.” Vel replied.

 

“When did that happen? You did not tell me.” Caroline smiled at her.

 

“That day when I went to the parlor to get ghee, I met her.  I took her to my house then and introduced her to my mother.”

 

“What did you mother tell then?” Caroline asked him.

 

“My mother did not tell anything. Even now she is not telling if she wants her or not. She keeps her mouth shut and doesn’t involve in the conversation between me and my father.  I really don’t know why she behaves like that.” Vel replied with a concern.

 

“So you expected them to tell ‘yes’ immediately when you announced your decision.  As you have wishes, they will also have their own likings for your marriage.  Did you ever consider that?” Caroline questioned Vel.

 

Vel did not answer her back immediately. He could not answer this question.  He looked at her without answering her.

 

“Tell me.”  She stressed her question again.

 

“Yes, that is true.  I also understand.  Initially it will be difficult for them to accept this, but I want them to think about my wish also.”

 

“Nothing wrong in that, but you must give them some time to think about it and decide it in your favor. Don’t forget that.” Caroline took a sip of her tea and smiled at him.

 

“This one I never thought about it.  But I don’t want to take any chance.  They are insisting me getting married to Beena.” Vel replied in a lower tone.

 

“I know Beena also likes you. But she will not stand in your way to get married to Reema.” Caroline told him.

 

“How are so sure about it? Did Beena talk to you about this?”  Vel was surprised to hear this from Caroline.

 

“No, that is my guess.  Do you want me to talk to Reema?” Caroline asked again.

 

“Yes, sooner it will be better.  I want at least his brother to talk to my father and fix a date for further talk.”

 

“Hmm, that I can do, it is not a problem for me.” Caroline promised him.

 

“Now only I feel relieved.  Please let me know after you met Reema.”  Vel thanked her with a big smile.

 

“What treat will you both give me if things are successful?” Caroline asked him again.

 

“I promise, you can expect a very big treat from us. Thank you.” Vel thanked again.

 

On his way back home, Caroline dropped at Reema’s place. Reema was pleasantly surprised to see Caroline at that time.

 

“Hi, Reema, how are you?” Caroline hugged Reema with a happy smile.

 

“I am good. I did not expect you to come today. It is really a surprise.  I am getting so bored nowadays. How long can I sit and read? “Reema talked non-stop. 

 

“Where is your mother?” Caroline searched for Reema’s mother.

 

“She is busy in the kitchen.  What is the special news?” Reema enquired her.

 

“Nothing special about me, I want to talk to her about you.” Caroline replied her.

 

“Me. What is that even without telling me?” Reema asked her curiously.

 

“Surprise, I will tell you after talking to her.” Caroline teased her.

 

“Caroline, you are my best friend. Why don’t you tell me first?” Reema requested her in a pleasing tone.

 

“Ok. It is about your marriage.” Caroline answered.

 

“My marriage! What is the hurry now?” Reema enquired her again.

 

“You are not ready, but Vel is not willing to wait anymore.” Caroline looked into her eyes.

 

“Caroline, I don’t think this will be the right time to talk to my mother about this.  They are all worried about my health. I am just recovering. The doctor may not permit me to get married.”  Reema spoke in a serious tone.

 

“Yes, Reema, I do understand. But Vel wants to know if you are ready to marry him.  His parents want him to marry Beena. He is under great stress.”

 

When Caroline talked about Vel and the stress at their home, she could not tell her anything. Even if she wanted to get married to him, her parents must first approve. Then her health condition must allow her to start a marital life that will make both of them happy. So many things are to be accounted when marriage is concerned.

 

“Let them tell that, then Vel will wait.”  Caroline replied her.

 

Luckily, Reema’s brother came in at that time.

 

“Hi, Caroline akka, what a surprise, what are doing here. We expected you next week only.”  He greeted her warmly.

 

“Yes, I wanted to meet your sister Reema.  I came here on my way home.  Will you drop me at the bus stop? It is getting late.” Caroline requested him.

 

Reema’s mother came out of the kitchen after hearing the voice of Caroline in the hall. She was also quite surprised to see Caroline at that time.

 

“How are you? How is your work going on?” She asked Caroline with a pleasant smile.

 

“Good. I am leaving. It is getting late. Just came to see Reema.” With a smile she started to climb down the steps.

 

“Why don’t you come early? You always come and leave within five minutes. You never stay here at least for an hour.”  Reema’s mother complained.

 

“Sorry, aunty, I will come another day. I will come on a Saturday. Bye Reema, Take care.” Caroline waved her and left with Reema’s brother.

 

On the way to the bus stop, Caroline spoke to Reema’s brother, Satish about Vel and how he wanted to marry her immediately.

 

As Satish already knew about the love between Reema and Vel, it was not a surprise for him.

“Akka, I already know about this.  But what is the hurry for marriage. Reema is just now recovering. It may take some time for her to be ready for the marriage.  There are so many things to take care of. First, we are worried about her health, then only other things.” Satish explained to her in detail.

 

“Whatever it may be, try to talk to your dad and Vel’s dad about this. Vel wants you to talk about this as soon as possible.” Caroline conveyed what Vel wanted her to do.

 

“Sure, I will talk to my parents today, and let you know.” Satish assured her.

 

“Do you have Vel’s number?” Caroline asked him.

 

“No, it will be good if I get his number. Let me first talk to him.” Satish promised her.

 

Caroline after giving him Vel’s number took the bus with a much relieved heart.

 

As Caroline shifted the burden on her shoulder to Satish, she decided to wait for things to happen.

 

After having his supper, Satish called Vel and spoke to him in detail about whatever that happened at his place.  Vel was desperate and he did not want to take chances and fail to get Reema into his life.

 

While Caroline was on her way home, Beena called her.  She heard about all things that happened with Vel and how he adamantly refused to accept the marriage proposal.

 

“Is he so deeply in love with Reema?” Beena asked Caroline sarcastically.  Her tone made Caroline feel irritated.

 

“You know he doesn’t want to marry you, then, what is the need to insist on getting married to him” Caroline asked her.

 

“I know him better than Reema, you must first accept that. We know each other right from our childhood and our parents are also not in my way.” Beena spoke with a confidence.

 

“But he is not interested in you.” Caroline told her.

 

“That I know, and I have also decided not to marry him. I think god wants me to get married to a person better than Vel.” Beena answered her still with a mock in her tone.

 

Caroline did not want to reply her back for it may hurt her. Beena was so emotional and she just needed someone to pour her heart out and share what she went through at her heart.  Caroline listened to her without making any comments. She let her speak out and get cleared of all stress that kept on building within her.

 

“Have you completed whatever you want to talk?” Caroline asked her after a while.

 

Beena did not reply her back.  Caroline told her that it is not her intention to make her feel hurt, but tell her the facts that will help her to decide in a better way. 

 

“Best of luck Beena, you will get a better person in life.  Marriages are made in heaven. Take care, bye.”

“Thanks for listening to me, but don’t expect me to talk to my uncle and tell them Reema may be a better choice than me. I will never do that. Take care, bye.” Beena ended the call without expecting a reply from Caroline.

 

In a way, Caroline felt relieved for she was able to clear at least one way for Reema to move further. Caroline could not tell who will make a better choice, Reema or Beena.  But the choice is left with him and he has to decide how his life should be.  Even though he must respect his parents’ wish, it is his life and he must live with the girl of his choice.

 

For Reema, her guardian angel cleared her way and helped things to happen smoothly without any hitch.  It is her luck that brought Arun from Spain to India. Arun initially knew everything from his parents how Vel refused to marry Beena and now they thought it will be easy for them now to ask Beena for Arun. Arun’s father called him and asked him if he is willing to marry Beena if they moved further with his marriage plans. Arun’s parents even wanted to know if he had any choice over there and they also assured him they will not stand in their way. 

 

Understanding his parents better, Arun decided to accept their choice as his choice. Just like Vel, he also knew Beena right from his childhood and he felt it would be good if he get married within the family as they have to live far away from India. At the same time, Arun wanted to meet Vel also and help him to get away with the cold war that went on between him and his father.

 

After meeting his parents, Arun landed directly at Beena’s house.

 

“Hi, Beans! How are you?” Beena lifted her head to see Arun with a beaming smile.

“Hi, Arun, what are you doing here? I thought you will be somewhere in Spain?”  Beena screamed at her cousin.

“Just now landed on here to meet my dear beans! How are you dear?”  Arun greeted her with his usual laugh.

“Don’t call me like that. I hate to hear you calling me.” Beena frowned at him.

“How can I let go of that. You are my favorite beans – Is it double beans or soy beans or kidney beans, I am not sure of that.”  Arun mocked her.

“Ma, ask him not to call me like that.” Beena shouted loudly at her mother.

“Beans, you are still the same. You have not changed at all.”  Arun exclaimed.

“Why should I change? I am the same Beena forever.” Beena gave him a curt reply.

“Yes, what is going on, I heard Vel ditched you, poor dear.” Arun once again teased her.

“Shut up, he does not deserve me.  I don’t want him now.” Beena replied him sharply.

“Cool, cool, just teasing you. I know about him, you are poles apart. And why did you want to get married to him.” Arun questioned her.

“Hmm, that is a good question. You know sometimes I am crazy, it happened when I was feeling crazy. Now it is over.” Beena joined him with a wide laugh.

“So, you forgot about a handsome guy who was just thinking about you always. Oh, poor me!” Arun answered her with a sad tone.

“You, don’t think you are handsome! Don’t think too much about yourself.”  Beena replied him back.   

Beena knew already what Arun liked and so planned the menu accordingly. She helped her mother to  prepare a wonderful lunch for Arun.

Beena’s parents already knew why Arun was there on a sudden visit. Arun is another cousin of Beena and that was his usual visit from Spain to meet his parents.

While having lunch Arun opened the topic to Beena’s parents.

“Uncle, this time when I am going back I want to take my wife also along with me.  Daddy has been looking for some alliances, but no one impressed me. I think it will be better if I marry Beena. What is your opinion?” Arun spoke to his uncle directly.

The whole family was so happy to hear it from him.

“Yes, did your father know about this?” Beena’s father asked him with a surprise.

“Yes, they first want to know if you are interested in this. Then he would proceed further.” Arun replied him.

“We were all really unhappy after Vel told us that he did not want to marry Beena. I could not really believe this.”  Beena’s father replied him with a choking tone.

“Uncle, I understand your feelings. I know how it will be as a parent to take these things at heart. But be happy he told things frankly at this stage itself.  Time can heal any kind of wound. Now let me know if you agree to my marriage proposal.” Arun asked him again.

“We agree to it. But you don’t mind marrying within the family. You know what reason Vel told us for refusing.”  Beena’s mother asked Arun.

“That is his wish.  I also know about the drawbacks. But I don’t mind taking the risk, it will not happen always. Believe me, it may or may not happen.” Arun spoke to her in a convincing tone.

“When are you leaving India?” Beena’s father enquired Arun.

“I will be leaving by the end of next month. But I want to get married soon, so that I can apply for visa. There is such a lot to do.” Arun answered him.

“When are your parents coming here?” Beena’s mother asked Arun with an excited tone.

“They may be here any time tomorrow. Uncle, before that I want to tell you one thing. The marriage needs to be registered first, and then we can call every one and conduct the marriage in the usual way.” Arun explained every thing before he finished his lunch.

Beena’s parents never expected that things will take a turn like this. Beena was so excited that she could not control her tears.  She felt so happy that Arun came on time to make her parents happy and relieved. She thanked Arun whole heartedly for that. 

Beena and Arun always talked jovially with each other and they often teased each other when they met in person or chat online. Just like Vel, she knew Arun also right from her childhood.  She remembered the days when they all played together during their annual holidays and made the house louder and cheerful with their pranks.

Now Beena suddenly felt so shy and nervous to speak to him. All her mischievousness took the back seat and she became calm. With a blushing smile, she went into the kitchen and did not come to the dining hall till they finished eating.  Beena who was talking loudly when Arun entered their home became so silent and struggled for words to reply her parents.

While he was still at home, Arun’s parents called Beena’s father and their conversation ended happily with further arrangements for an early marriage.

From then onwards Beena became a silent spectator to their conversation. She could now find the difference in the way Arun even looked at her. Her cheeks now glowed with the rush of extra blood and this made Arun to tease her more.

“Aunty, nowadays girls don’t know how to blush. See how your daughter is blushing. She is still a traditional girl, isn’t it?” Arun questioned with wonder.

Beena’s mother smiled at Arun and went inside the kitchen to get some more water.

Arun sat on the sofa in the living room. He was also surprised to see the sudden change in Beena.

“Hi, beans, it is fun to see you like this. Why you forgot how to talk?” Arun teased her.

Beena smiled at him.  She could not withstand even the eye contact with Arun. She moved away with some lame excuses. She herself could not tell what happened to her. That is the traditional charm of wedding that brings in Indian girls. Even though they are highly qualified and earn more, still they remembered the traits of culture as it carried through genes from one generation to the next generation. That is the gift given by our ancestors for all the girls who are born as Indians.

Beena’s parents left both of them alone for a while. Arun with a twinkle in his eyes called her again.  “Look at me my dear, get ready for the marriage.” Beena simply nodded her heard.

“Oh, I am shocked, you are not my beans. Why you have become so soggy and soaked? What happened?” Arun looked at her with a mischievous smile.

“Are you not happy in getting married to me?” Arun asked her.

“No.” Beena shook her head. Her hands folded on her lap, she could not control the nervousness and she could hear the raising palpitation of her heart.

“If you don’t like, tell me now itself. I can talk to your parents.” Arun questioned her.

“I am ready to get married to you.” Beena answered her in a low, whispering tone.

“There are so many things to learn in love life. I can help you to be a master in that. Are you ready?” Arun asked her in a serious tone.

Beena blushed when she understood what he hinted at.  She nodded her head and told her acceptance.

“Uncle and aunty are here; otherwise I can kiss and tell you take care.”  Arun whispered to her.

“Hmm. Take care.” Beena spoke to him after a long silence.

“Get ready to be my bride, dear.” Arun waved her good bye and left her home with a smile.

The next ten days went on with so much activity at home and Beena’s parents could not spare much time to be there at home. Arun also accompanied them wherever they went and Beena could not believe she is getting married to a marine scientist for sea is her favorite spot to admire and cherish forever.

Both their parents selected an auspicious day to register their marriage first. Only close relatives accompanied them to the office.  After they registered their marriage, they all left the place. 

When coming out of the office, Arun looked at the notice board in the entrance.  He was so shocked to read the notification on the board that wanted to know if there is any objection from anyone for Vel getting married to Reema. 

Initially he ignored that notification, but when he heard from Vel’s mother whatever that had been happening at their place, he could connect things together.  When his aunt casually referred to him that the name of the girl as Reema, Arun recognized it to be the marriage between Vel and Reema.

Arun went to the counter and checked if the address given at the office is same as Vel’s home address. To his shock, it was the same address. Now he got confirmed, it is the same Vel who is getting married against the wish of his parents.

“How I wished Beena to come to our home?” Vel’s mother could not hide her feelings. Tears rolled down her cheeks.

Beena took her hands in hers and consoled her. “Aunty, don’t worry, he will get a better wife than me. Believe in god he will help you.” Beena could not talk more than that.

Vel’s father also looked emotional as he wished his sister’s daughter to be their daughter-in-law.  He thought Arun was lucky to marry Beena.  After seeing Beena getting married to Arun, Vel’s father became more shaken and unhappy with Vel. He did not want Vel to get married to Reema at any cost. He could not tell a solid reason for his refusal, but he insisted that he should not marry Reema.

Even Arun could not convince him.  He kept on telling Arun that Vel does not respect his feelings and he forgot to respect him as a father.

“Uncle, don’t keep on thinking like that. This will add more hatred toward Vel. He is your son. Why don’t you allow him to do what he wished?” He could not answer Arun’s question.

Arun called Vel and asked him to come to the beach. Vel was happy to meet him alone as he knew Arun will understand him better than anyone else.

When Arun entered the beach after parking his vehicle, he easily spotted Vel sitting alone near an anchored boat.

“Hi, Vel, I expected you to come for our registration.” Arun greeted Vel with a broad smile.

“Hi, dear, how are you? How is life?” Vel greeted him back.

“Thanks for letting Beena for me.” Arun joined him with a cheerful laugh.

“Hmm, sorry for not coming, still my parents are not happy with me. I don’t want to face Beena’s parents also now. They are also not happy with me.” Vel answered Arun.

“Leave things as it may.  Don’t worry.” Arun cheered him up.

“Are you here to give a treat for your marriage?” Vel enquired him eagerly.

“Sure.” Arun sat down on the sand.

Vel congratulated him by shaking his hands. “Wish you a happy married life.” Vel wished Arun with a warm tug on his shoulder.

“Thanks. Let me ask you one thing. Do you prefer to go for a registered marriage?” Arun asked him straight.

“Yes, what is wrong in that? I want to secure my position.” Vel replied him.

“Why don’t you wait for a while? I can talk to your parents.” Arun assured him.

“No, I don’t want to take any chances. I want to marry only her.” Vel replied him in a stern voice.

“Good. It is not wrong. But I want you to do things as our parents wish.” Arun tried to convince him.

“I have thought about all things. My parents are not ready to give in. They are so adamant to accept Reema.” Vel replied him.

“If you are going to do this, Reema will be moving away from them. It will be a difficult task for her to get into their hearts. They will show their unhappiness on her. Why don’t you understand that?” Arun asked him.

“In that case you better inform them that I am getting married with Reema tomorrow in the registrar’s office. If they really love me, they can come and bless us.” Vel replied him harshly.

“Have you spoken about this to Reema’s parents?” Arun questioned him.

“Yes, I have discussed with them. But they are also not willing. So I decided to do as I wish.” Vel replied him.

“Vel, what you are doing is not correct. This is not going to solve your problem.” Arun looked at Vel with a concern.

“I know it will take some more time to get things settled. But I don’t have any other choice. I can’t leave her just like that.” Vel was so stubborn in getting things done as he wished. Arun knew this right from their childhood.

 If he wanted to get things done as he wished, he will never think about the problems it can bring later. He will see to it that he got things done as he wanted.

“How do you want me to help you?” Arun asked Vel.

“Be there with me during the registration.” Vel requested Arun.

“Sure, I will be there with you. Take care, bye.” Arun left Vel after having a cup of coffee in the nearby restaurant.

When Arun reached Vel’s house, the house looked quiet and dark without any lights.  The television in the drawing room was switched off, and there was only a night lamp in the living room.  Usually, Vel’s parents never go to sleep before Vel reached home.  They will all sit together to have their food.  Vel’s father always insisted on having their food together at least one time a day.  Vel stopped eating food at home for more than fifteen days.  He just came there to sleep. He skipped his breakfast, lunch and dinner at night. 

Arun pressed the calling bell for more than three times till her aunt came to open the door.

“Aunty, Are you not well? Usually you don’t sleep so early.” Arun enquired.

“We are all ok. Both of us just had our food and so went to bed early. Come, inside.”  Vel’s mother opened the door with an excuse.

“Where is uncle?” Arun asked her.

“He is there in the terrace.” Vel’s mother replied him. “Let me bring something to drink for you,” saying so she went into the kitchen.

“Uncle, where are you?” Arun called his uncle while climbing the stairs to the terrace.

“Come here, I am here.” Vel’s father replied from a dark corner in the terrace.

“Uncle, it is so breezy here, Very nice.”  Arun sat near his uncle in the chair.

“Arun, you must be having so much to do. What brings you here at this odd hour?” Vel’s father enquired him with a doubt.

“Uncle, you are very smart.” Arun appreciated his uncle.

“Please promise me, you will not react emotionally after hearing this from me.” Arun requested his uncle.

“I will not.  First, tell me what it is.” His uncle promised him.

“Vel has planned to go for register marriage.” Arun looked at his uncle.

His uncle did not show any signs of shock. He looked at Arun and smile at him.

“It is not a surprise to me. I know he will go for that. But why should he do without telling us.” Vel’s father asked Arun.

“Uncle, you take these things so easily. But why are you not ready to give your acceptance to his marriage.” Arun asked his uncle.

“I know your aunt also like that girl. She has nothing to tell against his wish. She doesn’t want to go against my wish that is all.” He replied in a calm tone.

“What is the reason, you are against this marriage?” Arun asked him.

“They are not from our caste. I don’t want my only son to marry like that.”

“Oh, that is the reason. Uncle, it is nothing specific. Why to think about that?  Nowadays even inter-country marriages are common.”

“Yes, but I could not accept it just like that.”

“Whatever it may be, I want you to be there. Please, uncle, don’t tell no.” Arun requested him again.

“Tell him, he is not ready to listen to me. He is our only son.” His aunt who came there added with a concern in her voice.

“Uncle, do you know Reema’s parents are also against this. But Vel is adamant to get things done. Why do you block his way? You know right as a child he is independent.” Arun added to the conversation.

“Can you talk to her parents on our behalf?” Vel’s father requested him.

“Sure, the main thing is they are worried about her health. They don’t want her to get married now.”

“Why, what happened?” Vel’s mother asked Arun.

Arun explained in detail what happened to Reema and explained how she is now taking rest at home.  Even though the doctor insisted her parents not allow her to get married so soon, he also told them to carry on with her marriage after explaining everything in detail to the family.  Reema must be careful for at least one year and after that nothing to worry about her health.  Once she has regained her normal strength, she will be able to manage things on her own.    Arun then promised that he will talk about this to Reema’s father the next day and he will also ask them to come home to meet them in person.

“Is there anything that will prevent her from having her child?” Vel’s mother asked Arun.

“No, nothing to worry like that now, I will talk about this to her parents and you can talk to her mother in detail about that.” Arun assured her.

Arun wanted to relieve this knot and bring a happy ending to a heartfelt love. After talking to Vel’s parents, Arun felt happy. He even suggested Vel’s marriage can happen along with his marriage and it will be nice if it happens so. He convinced both of them and cleared the tension that was building up for more than fifteen days. 

Vel was quite surprised to see his parents waiting for him at the doorstep.

“Ma, what happened?” He enquired with tension.

“Nothing, why are you so late today?” She was talking to him after fifteen days.

“Just went to meet some friends.” Vel looked at his father.

“Dad, I am sorry.” Vel sat near his father and apologized to him.

“Arun came here, he told me everything.” His father looked at him. “We don’t have anything against you marrying that girl.”

“Is it?” Vel was so happy to hear that from his father.

“But you must have told us about your register marriage. Even after the girl’s parents are not willing for registered marriage, how can you compel her for register marriage?” Vel’s father questioned him.

“I am having it as a last option only.” Vel replied him.

“Now wash your face, change your dress and come. It is a long time we had food together.” Vel’s mother said to Vel.

“I will be there in another ten minutes.” Vel replied cheerfully and went to have a quick shower.

The sudden change at home made him feel excited and happy.  He could not believe Arun could convince his parents in that short time. Whatever he had been hesitating to share with his parents, Arun was able to tell in detail and at the same he was successful in making them understand things in a better way.  Thin shower of ice cold water dripped down his hair and touched his face reminding him whatever that happened was real and not a dream. The cold water ceremoniously sucked away the heat accumulated in his body due to stressful thoughts.  Vel stood in the shower engrossed in his own thoughts for more than twenty minutes and came to reality when his mother called him.

“Vel, so long in the shower, we are all waiting for you. Dad has not taken his food yet.” His mother called him.

“Sorry, sorry, I am coming just now.” Vel came out of the bathroom with a cheerful reply.

His parents were relieved to see him happy and they thanked Arun for clearing the gloominess that started to set in their family.

The day dawned with the happy notes of cheerful birds.  For Vel it was a new day as his parents understood his feelings and were ready to accept Reema as his better choice.  Vel sincerely believed that Reema will be a better choice for him at all levels, and she will also be a good daughter-in-law to win their hearts by her smooth interaction and behavior.

As promised Arun called Reema’s parents and visited their home along with his uncle and aunt. He assured them that nothing will happen to Reema and they will take care of her health. He also explained to them that elders must understand the younger generation and give way for changes.

Arun felt happy after he saw Reema. He also felt he would be a better choice for Vel as she looked as the apt match for Vel.   Vel’s father after seeing Reema wished that Vel’s life will be a happier one with her.

Reema’s father was so reluctant to tell yes to the alliance. But Reema’s brother, Satish spoke to him and succeeded in getting the permission from him.  Reema’s mother did not want to interfere into this as she believed whatever her husband decided will be always the best.

They all decided to carry on with the register marriage and fix a convenient day for the traditional marriage.

“Uncle, what is the need to look for some other date. Why don’t you club it together along with my marriage?  It will be economic also.” Arun asked his uncle.

“Good. You are getting married in Chennai only, so it will not be a problem.”

Arun looked at Reema’s father. “Uncle what do you think about it?”

“Satish feels it will be good if that happened so. It will be easy for us also.” Reema’s father answered him back.

Reema could not believe how things suddenly happened so smoothly that brought a sudden relief to both their families. Reema’s parents also felt happy about her marriage for she is going to live near them only as Vel lived near to their house.

After helping Vel to get his marriage fixed as he wished, Arun took a short trip to his uncle’s place. He went there with an excuse to see Beena after they got their marriage registered. As Arun’s parents wanted to take Beena to their home after the traditional wedding on the fixed date, he was made to wait, which he did not want.

“Will you come along with me?” Arun asked Beena with a twinkle in his eyes.

“Where? I have so much to do.” Beena answered him nervously.

“No use in asking you.” Arun replied her back.

“Aunty, I want to take Beena out for shopping. Shall I go?” Arun requested his aunt.

“She is your wife. What is the need to ask me?” She answered him back with a smile.

“Go and get ready. I am waiting.” When Arun asked her to get ready, she knew he was up to something. But she did not know about that till they reached the place.

First Arun took her to the latest shopping mall. After getting whatever she wanted, he drove toward a famous restaurant.

“What do you want to have?” Arun picked the menu card and gave it to her. He waited till she selected her favorite and then placed the order.

“Beena, how do you feel now?” Arun asked her bluntly.

Beena did not understand why he asked such a question suddenly.

“I feel good.” Beena replied him back.

“Do you still regret Vel did not want to marry you?” Arun asked her again.

 “What is the need to ask this question now?” Beena frowned at him.

“Nothing, I asked just like that.” Arun replied her back.

“Will you stop talking about that again to me?  I am now married and I don’t want to discuss such things anymore.” She answered sharply to him.

“Sorry, I will not talk like this again.” Arun apologized to her.

On the way back home, Beena was silent and answered yes or no for all his questions.  After all these years, it is still difficult to understand what goes on in the mind of a woman. Unnecessarily he spoiled that evening and returned home without any excitement.

“Beans, are you upset?” Arun asked her again.

“Nothing, what is the need to feel upset.” Beena replied him.

“Then why are you sitting there in the corner. Come and sit near me.” Arun asked her to move near to him.

Without replying, she moved near him and sat close to him.

“I planned something else, but nothing happened.” Arun talked to her without looking at her.

“Don’t mistake me for asking such a question. It came out just like that.”

“Hmm, I am happy you cleared your doubt.” Beena replied him back.

“Leave it. Let us talk about our future. Do you know how to ride a car?” He asked her.

“Yes, I learned to drive a car last year only.  Do you want to test my driving skills?” Beena questioned him.

“ I wanted to know if you know car driving, nothing else.”

“Do you want me to drive the car now?” Beena asked him again.

“No, I don’t want to take the risk now.” With a smile he answered her back.

“How dare you talk to me like that?” Beena pinched him on his left arm.

“Oh, god, what a pinch, it is so painful.” Arun answered loudly.

“I can’t even rub it. I have my hand on the steering wheel.” Arun murmured to himself.

 “So sad, can I help you not to feel the pain.” Beena asked him back.

“No need. I can manage myself.” Arun replied to her without turning on her side.

“Why did you take me out today? Is there anything special?” Beena asked him when they neared their home.

“I just wanted to feel how you are.” Arun parked the car at the side of the road, turned around and hugged her tightly.  Next he pulled her face toward him and planted a passionate kiss on her lips. The unexpected hug and kiss made Beena blush once again. She sat searching for words.

“I expected you to kiss me back. You are sitting still. Have you never read any love novels?” Arun asked her with a loud laughter. Pleasantly surprised with the unexpected hug from Arun, Beena could only smile back at him.

“You did not expect such a thing from me. Is it not?” Arun questioned her again.

“As a husband you have the right to do.” Beena answered him.

“May be, but I think you were expecting me to do that. And I also know you suspected such things to happen when I asked you to come out with me. Is it not?” He asked once again.

“Yes, I can read your mind.” Beena kissed him back on his cheek and hit softly on his forehead with her head.

“Beena are you ready to do this.” Arun asked Beena.

“What?” Beena looked at him.

“Look into my eyes.” Arun told Beena.

“Yes.” She looked into his eyes with a constant glare.

“Adjust your seat belt and sit comfortably on the seat. Just turn your head around and look at me.” Arun asked her to face him straightly.

“Have you heard about mind melds?” He questioned her.

Beena became curious to know about it as she had not heard anything about it.

“I have not heard about it. What is that?” She asked him.

“Mind-meld is a telepathic technique that helps to share thoughts, experiences, memories and knowledge with another person.” Arun answered her.

“In the mind meld, the minds of two individuals become a single entity. So when it happens, you will think the same thing as I think.”

“It can be done through physical contact and sometimes it can be done even without physical contact.”

He explained to her in detail.

“Mind melds can be used to erase memories also.  It can allow more than one mind to experience memories or feelings. It can interact with the memories of other person also.”

“Now let me start it.” The car with the windows raised, she could hear only the silent hum of the air-conditioner.

“Hold your hands together and place them on your lap.” Beena started to do one by one as he kept on telling her to do. After a few minutes, she realized she was not sitting inside the car, in the front seat near Arun. Both of them were walking hand in hand on a hill slope.

Beena found it difficult to climb on the steps on the steep hill for she could listen to the loud beating of her heart.  She gripped tightly the left hand of Arun, and with slow steps they climbed the hill.

Beena could feel the cold breeze on her face. She could even hear the sweet songs of song birds that kept on singing continuously from the hidden branches of trees that grew on the slopes.

“Look at the clouds over there.” Arun asked Beena to look at the moving clear clouds on the sky. The clouds looked mesmerizingly beautiful and some of them looked brighter with the silver lining that ran across their edges.

“These clouds are nothing but air. If you go near them, you will not see them, only empty space will be there.” Arun told her.

“Yes, I know clouds are formed due to the frozen water particles that linger on the air.” Beena answered him back.

“Yes, our minds are also like those clouds. Sometimes we feel happy, sometimes we feel sad. Finally they are nothing, they are only our assumptions.” He replied her.

“Why do these philosophic thoughts coming in our way now?” Beena questioned him.

“It is the starting point of our love life. I want you to go deeper and explore all kinds of possibilities so that we will be satisfied at all levels.” Arun replied her.

Beena could not understand anything and so she looked blankly at him.

Walking slowly for more than thirty minutes, they finally reached a water falls. Beena could see the water flowing from a great height with force.  Only a few birds and monkeys can be seen over there. Not even a single human being was seen there. The whole place looked far away from the bustling activity of human kind and it looked serene and calm.

“Do you mind joining me?” Arun walked toward the water fall.

“Let us take a dip in that cold water. Come.” He called her again.

Beena stretched her hand and touched the icy water from the falls. It sent a shiver through her spine and it slowly spread across her whole body.

“Enough testing, come and join me.” He pulled her into the water.

“I have not brought any spare dress. Please, leave me.” Beena requested him.

“It will dry when we walk again.”  Arun pulled her hard into the stream of water.

The icy cold water fell on her head like a thud and massaged her throughout her body.  After standing like that for more than five minutes, she started to enjoy the bath.  Arun removed his shirt and threw it on the ground. 

Beena smile at him. “It will be good if I am taking bath like this.”  She clubbed her hands across her chest.

“May be, but the real joy is not with the clothes on.” Arun teased her.

“Come into my hands.”  Arun pulled her into a tight embrace.

“Hi, you can separate me from my sweetheart.” Arun screamed at the water falls.

Beena looked at him and his well built chest and shoulders.  His arms were hard and she could not press it with her slender fingers.

“Do you exercise regularly?” Her eyes became wider with the wonder of looking at his well built physique.

“Yes, I exercise regularly. But this is not the time to discuss all these things.  Come and enjoy along with me, I will teach what is love life?” He planted a passionate kiss on her lips that shivered in the cold water.

“Feel my warmth, my sweetheart.”  Cheerfully Beena also joined him to explore what is love.

After having a wonderful experience under the falls, both of them started to walk down the hill.  It was not as difficult as their climb up the hill.  The chilly breeze touched her soft curls of hair and dried them within minutes.  Her dress pinned to her body also dried slowly. With his hand held tight to her narrow hip, he walked down the hill whispering sweet nothings.  Beena felt happy and moved closer to him all the way even if he moved away while walking down the hill.

On the way down the hill, they were able to spot so many kinds of birds peculiar to the hill and more number of monkeys jumped from tree to tree.

They saw some women carrying dry twigs that they collected from the slopes of the hill. One woman carried a basket filled with purple coloured berry like fruits.

“What are they?”  Arun asked her.

“They are wild jamun fruits. It will be tastier than those fruits you get in your town.” She handed over him some fruits neatly placed inside cone like structure made from leaves plucked from some tree in the wild.

“Thank you, it is delicious.”  Arun thanked her and shared the fruits with Beena.

The Vulcan mind meld is a form of touch telepathy. The mind meld is a psionic technique normally employed only by Vulcans. It is a deeply personal thing, part of Vulcans' private life, and not normally used on aliens. Melding is not strictly telepathy; those in a meld share consciousness in a kind of gestalt.

Physical contact is usually necessary. In extreme circumstances however, Vulcans have been able to conduct a mind meld over short distances. For example, Commander Spock of the USS Enterprise did so twice to control guards outside of a detention cell, and once to establish contact with a Horta. Also, Lieutenant Tuvok of the USS Voyager was able to speak telepathically with a race of non-touch telepaths, though he did have to touch one in order to do a full mind meld.

The initiator places the tips of his fingers at key locations on the head of the other participant. This allows him to place pressure on key nerves and blood vessels to facilitate the link. If successful, the link results in a merging of both minds, essentially creating a single consciousness in two bodies. Only the subject in physical contact with the initiator participates in the meld; others in the vicinity are not affected.

Melding carries some risk. It can be physically debilitating for both parties. The pressure changes can potentially aggravate existing conditions. The melding results in some loss of identity, and can be difficult to break, especially when the subject's mind is powerful or dynamic. Aftereffects can be treated with the drug lexorin.

At the conclusion of the meld, each mind retains some knowledge of the other.

It is possible to force a mind meld on an unwilling subject, but most Vulcans are loath to do so, unless under the most dire circumstances. An exception may be the Vulcans of the Mirror Universe, whose ethical constraints, shaped by the savagery of their environment, are doubtless far different.

During the 22nd century, mind melding was believed to be an ability only a minority of Vulcans are born to. Due to the apparent intimacy of melding, Vulcans during this era considered the practice defiant to the ancestral teachings of their society. As a result, other Vulcans considered those who were natural ‘melders’ outcasts. (http://en.hiddenfrontier.com/index.php/Mind_meld)

“How do you feel now?” Arun asked her in a softer tone.

“Good.” Beena answered him as if in a trance.

“Will you ever think about any other apart me from me now?” Arun asked her. Beena nodded her head telling no. Arun erased away all the memories about Vel from her mind.  He erased even the thoughts about Vel as a boy that were deeply embedded in her mind. Arun felt relieved. He wanted Beena only to himself and he did not want her to think any more about Vel.

“Do you want to come out of that?” He asked her referring to their satisfying bath in the water falls.

“No, please take me over there once again.” Beena replied him again.

“That is done for today. We will try later.” Arun started the car.

Adjusting her seat belt, Beena reclined her head on the seat.  She felt the experience satisfying and fulfilling.  She did not know what happened to her.  Arun just asked her to look into his eyes. She met his glance boldly. She could remember the streaks of light rays coming from his eyes and they entered into her eyes. The rays touched her eye lashes and made her pupil enlarge wider. The rays entered into her inner mind through the narrow space that opened up for him to enter. She sat still on the front seat of the car.  The rays slowly took hold of her inner thoughts and took control of her wavering thoughts and feelings that stayed hidden deep inside her sub conscious mind. Beena has never allowed anyone to tamper with her deeper mind levels, but Arun entered that region even without asking her permission. She had deliberately allowed him to enter and explore more about her inner mind.

“Get down.” Arun opened the door and asked her to get down out of the car.

He slowly tapped on her shoulder and asked her to come out of that trance.

“Hi, Beena, open your eyes, we have reached home.” Beena shook herself and came to senses.

“What happened to me?” Beena asked Arun.

“Nothing, you are perfect. Go and take rest.  I will go and come back tomorrow.” Arun left her in her home and left the place immediately.

Beena still could not believe what happened to her. She walked straight to the bed and threw herself on the bed. After a few minutes, she was fast asleep.

“Beena, Beena,” her mother came calling her.

“Where is Arun? Did you eat anything outside? Or do you want to eat anything?”  Beena could hear her mother’s words as if spoken in a long distance.

“No, let me sleep. I am tired.” Without answering her questions further, Beena continued her sleep. Beena slept through the night and when she woke up in the morning, her mind was completely free and she felt light as if someone had lifted the hidden burden in her heart.  She still did not realize it is because of Arun who cleared all the doubts and confusion from her mind by applying the mind meld technique.

Everyone from the family came down to Chennai and one by one their relatives started to reach the wedding hall.  Happiness and cheer brimmed all over the wedding hall. 

Beena reached the hall along with her parents, and other relatives. The first thing she wanted to do in the wedding hall is to meet Reema and check how she attracted Vel toward her.

Though she took Vel’s refusal casually, still at heart she wanted to meet Reema in person.

Reema along with her parents reached the wedding hall only after an hour. 

“Where is Reema?” Beena asked her aunt.

“She must be in her room. Are you not ready?” Her aunt asked her.

“I am ready. Nothing more to do for myself, just wanted to see if Reema is ready,” Beena told her aunt.

“She must be staying in the second floor. Go and come fast, don’t spend much time there. You must be in the hall in another fifteen minutes.”  She told her and went along with her work.

Beena walked slowly on the stairs to the second floor.  She once again repeated to herself what she must ask Reema.  Still she could not forget how Vel rejected her choosing Reema.

After reaching the bride’s chamber, Beena slowly peeped inside the room. Reema sat there along with her group of friends. They were all busy helping her to get ready for the reception.  Beena at first could not look at Reema’s face. She faced the wall and a group of girls stood around her.

“Excuse me. Is Reema ready?” Beena questioned them.

“Yes, she is ready.” Reema’s friends moved away and Beena could see Reema.  Reema looked stunningly beautiful and she looked charming as a Princess. Beena’s pride got a bad prick.  Before her, Reema will be the best. Now she got convinced that Vel was correct in his selection. He is not wrong in preferring Reema than her.

Beena looked at Reema.  Whatever she wore looked simple and elegant. She smiled at her.

“So, you are the beautiful Princess whom Vel wanted to marry.” Beena asked in a lower tone.  Before Reema could answer her question, Caroline came there for her rescue.

“Hello, Beena. How are you? You simply look great in this saree.” Caroline greeted her loudly.

“Hi, Caroline, you have already come.”  Beena nervously answered her.

“Yes, I am here as her guardian angel.  Do you have any problem with that?” Beena could not reply her back in the same tone.

“Just came to see Reema. I was quite eager to meet her. That’s all.” Beena answered.

“You are always welcome.  Are you ready? It is time for the reception.” Caroline checked with her.

“Yes, I am ready. See you later.” Beena left the place with an excuse.

Reema turned to Caroline. “Who is she? Is she Beena?”

“Yes, your competitor. Look at her eyes; she is still jealous of you. She doesn’t want you to get married to Vel.” Caroline replied her.

Without replying, Reema started to apply lip gloss on her lips.

“Some how she wants to make you feel hurt. Don’t worry, I will be always with you.” Caroline promised her.

“Thanks, Caroline.” Reema thanked her.

Caroline stayed with her in the marriage hall. After the reception, she accompanied her to the dining room.

Beena’s eyes curiously followed them wherever they went, and Caroline smiled at her whenever their glance met together. Caroline could understand Beena’s feelings. But one thing she could not understand. Now she is getting married to Arun and will be going to Spain in another two weeks. She also got a better life than Reema, then why should feel so jealous about Reema to get married to Vel?

After the reception, four of them sat together in the dining hall. Reema could feel the sharp gaze of Beena even while eating.  Once in a while, she would lift her head and look at her. Reema started to feel nervous and she could not concentrate on eating her food.

Vel looked at her and felt she was very nervous.

“Reema, what happened you look so nervous?” He asked her.

“Beena keeps on staring at me. I can’t withstand her look. It is so disturbing.” Reema replied him back.

“Just ignore. Carry on with your eating. You are not the reason for whatever that happened.” Vel replied her back in a lower tone.

Reema gulped her food fast and got up from the table.

“Sit down and have your food properly.” Vel gripped her arm and made her sit in the chair.

“Excuse me, Caroline; will you take her along with you?” Vel called Caroline who was sitting and eating in the opposite table.

“Sure. I have also finished eating.”  Reema walked in a hurry and joined Caroline to wash her hands.

As she expected eagerly, the next day dawned. As the muhurtham or the auspicious time for the wedding happened to be so early between 6 am and 7 am, the wedding hall also got filled up so early.  Caroline felt so relieved when all the rituals got completed and the main event took place smoothly. Looking at Vel and Reema as married couple brought tears to her eyes.

“Congrats, Reema,” Caroline hugged her friend and wished her happy married life.

It was 10 pm when they were left alone to have their time.  Vel felt extremely happy and satisfied after he brought her to their home. Reema did not show any expression but she looked unusually silent.  Vel found a lot of difference in her.  Only in the wedding hall, he could see her. Whenever he made a visit to Reema’s house with some excuse, her parents never allowed him to meet her.  They wanted everything to go on smoothly and they insisted it would be better after their marriage.  Her father once politely refused and told him that they may sound so traditional, but they did not want to take any risk as things were not pretty good with her for sometime.  Vel had to agree with them and had to accept things as it is.

The vibrant nature in Reema seemed to have taken a back stand. She answered every one politely, but there was no energy in her replies.  There was a total change in her behavior. Reema whom he knew at the office was different from the Reema he was having near him.  

“You have changed a lot.” Vel told her with a concern in his voice.

“Yes. Is it for good or bad?” She questioned him.

“I don’t know. I have to wait and tell.” He replied her back.

“What difference did you see in me now?” Reema asked him in an anxious tone.

“The cheerfulness has gone. You have become a serious person. You also answer any question after thinking for a while.” Vel told her.

“Probably that may be because of the medicines I have been taking for some time. I hope I will be the usual self once I start to live with you in your home.” Reema replied him with a smile.

“Yes, I also hope so.” Vel replied her back.

After entering the room, Vel looked around.  He could see something over the corner.  He saw two candles together in the centre of the candle.

“Reema, did you practise love spells?”  He asked her with a smile.

“Yes, I have been doing it.”

“Finally you have made the male and female candle to be there in the centre of the heart.” He was amazed to understand the tough fight she had put across to win his hand. All through the days, even without sharing her wish with anyone, she has successfully won his hands in life. 

“You are amazing.  I really wonder at your mental strength.”  Vel appreciated her mental strength.

“It is good, now you have understood me better.”  Reema took his right hand and closed it within her right hand.

“Now no one can separate from me.”  With an assurance, she looked at his eyes that shone brightly with love. She could see the passion he had for her. 

“No need to talk anymore.” With a blush, Reema rested her head on his shoulder.

“Are you not now scared about the emotional binding between us?” Vel questioned her.

“No.” Reema replied in a whisper.

“Why were you so afraid that there should not be any emotional binding between us? Answer me.” Vel asked her again.

“I did not want that to happen without an assurance that you are mine. I don’t want to get broken hearted. I believe in ‘Slow and steady wins the race’.  Reema answered him firmly.

“Now, do I need any permission to show you my love.” Vel asked her with a smile.

“Hmm. You are wasting your time.” When Reema answered him back, Vel could not resist from hugging her tightly and kissed her on her lips with rising passion.

 “Reema, Reema.”  Someone called her from the hall.

Reema lifted her head and looked outside. It was still darker. She looked at her watch on the nearby table. It was only 5:30 am.

 Once again the same voice called her again. Reema tried to get up from the bed.  But she could not.  She looked around. It took a few seconds to realize that she got married and Vel’s hand extended across her hip showed it is real. She slowly moved his hand free and climbed down the cot. With her right leg on the ground, the metti on her left let got tangled in the threads of the bed spread that flowed down the cot, Reema slipped and fell down.

A strong hand gripped her by the waist and helped her to stand properly near the cot.

“I am here and I will not let you fall again.” Vel smiled at her.

“Thank you.” Reema replied him.

“Your bad days are over, come out of that. Start to enjoy your life.” Vel spoke to her to build her confidence.

“Yes, I will do so.” With a smile, she went to take her bath.                                                                        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It all started on a rainy day. Vel was returning home early in the morning. Vel deciding to give a lift way back home to his female colleague, who was waiting in the bus stop, unfolds a series of events from then onwards making his life a tough task to resolve.

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