There he was sitting quietly on the sofa carved with the elegant wood work done by some of the finest arts man in the town. The drawing room was decorated by lots of artifacts like wall hangings, portraits,etc. with everything maintained perfectly showing that this house is having one of the best homemaking ladies. He was wearing his favorite blue shirt that was gifted to him by Radhika. Shoes were polished and so shining that he could see his face in them, metaphorically. It has been the past ten minutes that the room was filled with a kind of awkwardness where her parents were sitting in front of him asking him well being whereas her little puppy trying to tear off his trousers.
It all started two days back. Tarun was as usual buried in his project when he got call from Radhika. “Where are you…?”, she asked. “Where else?…In office. What happened…? Everything okay…?”, he inquired. “ Yeah, everything is fine. Actually I need to ask you something.”, she said. “Go ahead. I’m all ears”, he candidly said. “Ok…When are you having leave for one or two days? I know you are stuck in your project, still, just wanted to know”, she initiated with mysterious question. “Anything important…?”, he asked. “Maa and Paa wants to meet you”, she then threw the final question ending the buildup.
Bit surprised. Bit mesmerized. He pinched himself to believe what just she said. “Really…??? You are kidding? Liar…”, words were just gushing out of the enthusiasm. “See that’s the problem. Can’t you react normally?, she showed her pseudo anger. “Ok fine. I’m sorry. I’m free this coming weekend” , he said. “Fine. Then Sunday 27th August 10AM.Ok bye”, she ran away as usual wheels on her feet.
Shirt.Check. Trousers. Check. Grooming kit. Check. Wallet. Check. Handkerchief. Check. He packed the stuff for the visit in the innovative hack taught by her. He reached Delhi early morning,went to his friend’s home to get ready and left on time to her home. He did not want to get late. And then came the moment of truth where he was ringing the doorbell of her home for the first time.
Her mother opened the door. “Pranaam”, he touched her feet. “Bless you Beta” , she said.”Come in. Make yourself comfortable. Radhika…”, she continued,” Tarun is here.” “Thanks Maa”, he responded spontaneously. She looked towards him and smiled in a motherly gesture. “Consider this as your home. I’ll just inform Radhika’s father that you are here”, saying she went away. Radhika entered into the room with a glass of water followed by her little puppy who was barking since the time he entered the home. “Looking nice. Listen don’t try to behave or act like a dumb. Handle the situation wisely. Our future depends on it. I’m gonna kill you if you let both of us down. All the best. Paa is in puja room and will be here shortly.”, she said nervously. She looked here and there and when she was sure nobody was around, she gave him a quick goodluck kiss on cheek and ran away.
He gulped all the water in a single shot and sat on the sofa waiting for her father. “Namaste”, greeting him, entered the head of her family. Her father. Tarun immediately rose up and leaned to touch his feet, this is when her father held his shoulders and said,” Its Ok beta. It’s good to see you. Have a seat. So how was the journey.” “ Fine uncle. How’s is your health?”, he gathered the confidence and tried to initiate the conversation. “Its Ok beta. So how is the job going on? We have lived in Mumbai for around eight years, I guess”, he asked Radhika’s mother who was just entering the room with some snacks and tea. “ Yeah, eight years approx.”, she said. “ Lot have changed since we left. World is growing at a very fast pace”, he said. “Yes, uncle. It has.”, he added.
“Time runs very fast beta. You might have noticed a mango tree while you entered the compound. Radhika’s mother and I have planted this tree when we first came to this house. It was just a sapling and now, you see it is a fully grown tree. We have watered this tree and fed with compost to ensure that it gets the best in the world to grow and flourish. Now you see that this tree fully capable to survive and help others by giving shade and fruits to people. Our efforts and hard work has paid us when we look back.”, he communicated in a very philosophical way. Tarun was listening attentively. He was getting where Radhika’s father was heading to. “ As a parent for this tree we know our tools, methods of farming and the finalizing the location where it is rooted today. This alliance with Radhika for you seek, I do not have any objection frankly to speak,” he said. “ But we have some social responsibilities too. So being parents for a daughter we know how we have brought her up, what values she got from us and lots of other things just like we know about the tree I told you about.”, he continued further.
“I have faith in my children that they can take the best decision for their life on their own and we are not orthodox parents of 60s or 70s that we are against the love marriages. We too have seen many. It is just that being the parent we just wanted to meet you first before making any opinion for you both and to be true to all we are not here to make any pinion”, he said.
“I understand uncle”, he said while looking at both of them. Her father continued, “So Tarun, I have three questions to ask to you. Don’t worry I’m not saying that these questions are going to decide both of your’s fate. Relax. Both of your’s fate has been forged already. It is just these two old souls who want to peek into the future of their kids and that include you too beta.”
Radhika was listening to this conversation from the other room thinking while sitting on her bed,” Gayi bhains paani mein. Tarun is nervous and he is gonna get both of us killed”. All she wanted to be with all three of them forever and was praying and cross fingered all the time.
To be continued….