No Strings Attached (The Bond) – Part 2

Part 1 – http://thoughtschef.com/2020/02/17/no-strings-attached-part-1/

Mohit had first interacted with Rachel six months back when they were both assigned to work on a project. He was supposed to head the India market while she would be his counterpart from the US. They had instantly hit a great working relationship. With in a few calls, Mohit had realized, how diligent Rachel was towards her work. He had started respecting her.

He would often talk about his work and Rachel to his wife Samaira.
Samaira and Mohit were happily married for 2 years, though it wasn’t a love marriage, but Mohit being a born romantic always tried to surprise Samaira with his subtle ways. Samaira on the other hand was a very practical girl. She was always focused on a better life. And Mohit felt that the bond was missing, that even after 2 years, Samaira was holding herself back, that she didn’t love him.
The feeling nagged him all the time.
He constantly thought about how to win over her heart.

Project pressure was also increasing by the day and he interacted with Rachel on hourly basis now. They were always on call about work and during some light moments they would share jokes or even flirt with each other. Rachel once made a statement that she was spending more time with him rather than with her husband Pete.

After 6 months of practically talking to each other for hours, Rachel’s trip to India was planned. Mohit had his own plans for Rachel. But she is a smart women. It won’t be easy and he also had a guilt. She trusted him, was he doing right? But he needed to do it for himself.

After 2 glasses of wine, he felt relaxed and ready and so he asked her! She was intrigued. Exactly the reaction he had planned for. After another glass he had the next four evenings planned.

Next 4 days, he took care of Rachel, he loved her, bought flowers for her, took her for shopping, dinner to Indian restaurants. He opened his heart out to her. He told her about his childhood memories, good and bad. Heard her talk about her life, her dreams. He made her feel special, important.

After dinner on Friday night, he asked her if she was able to make up her mind and she said “you are 4 years late”. That meant an uncertain yes, but he wanted a definitive yes.

Later in the night when he dropped her at the hotel, he gave her a hug, a warm hug. And he knew he had succeeded. Rachel held him, she didn’t want to let go, she wanted more. At that moment, when they were so close yet so far, he knew, she meant “yes”. He moved away delicately.

They waited for a while in silence and then she went inside the hotel and he drove back home.

When the plane landed, and Rachel turned off the airplane mode, all she wanted was to see his reply. Her phone kept beeping, so many texts, from Pete, from her mom, finally she found what she was looking for, “4 days were enough, thanks Rachel”.

He saw the blue line, she had read it, he hugged Samaria and looked into her eyes. He was happy with himself, he could still make a woman fall for him. Some day, Samaira will also love him.

Note: If you liked the story and want more from it, then do leave a comment 🙂

Sunset

He looked on….the Sun was hurrying away under the waves of the limitless ocean. It felt as if the Sun was running late for a rendezvous. Was it a date with his wife? “Oh, is Sun married at all?” Avinash frowned. “May be he is, his kids might be waiting eagerly for him to return” Avinash smiled at his own imaginations.

It was his favorite time of the day. When dimming rays of Sun, reflected on the oceanic waves, Avinash reflected on his life from the garden terrace of his beach facing bungalow.

It had been 20 years since he moved to the city of dreams. How ironic was it that Avinash had no dream! He was content in his own world, no expectations from life or people. He loved the sea, standing on the beach, burying his feet under the sand and feeling the sand slowly moving away from his feet. This was how life was for him, like a natural wave, and he was like sand, flowing where the waves took him, without any complaints. How he wished, it had remained the way it was! But at an age of 19, he could not even fathom what was in store for him.

A dreamless happy-go-lucky chap was about to be transformed into an ambitious “never-stop” addict of success.

But here he was, not thinking about his success or next promotion, but staring at the Sun. Suddenly he remembered that Arhan, his son, wanted to play a game of Othello with him but he had calls to attend. “hmm….I missed playing with Arhan, will do it tomorrow”, he made a mental note.

Day after day, Avinash looked at the Sun and made a mental note of something which he had missed during the day, even simple things like hugging Arhan for an extra minute, paying attention to Arna’s (his wife) continuous narration about her day, his 5000 steps walk, spending non-mobile time at the dining table and so on.

Never a day would pass when Avinash didn’t miss out one of the things.

Sun was almost at the entrance of his home. Waves were getting higher and Sun was ready to take a plunge. “What a monotonous life Sun has, wake up at the same time every day, take the same route to sky office, burn till evening and rush back home. No flexibility!! But how is it different from my life? I do the same, day after day.  At-least Sun gets to be home with his family on time everyday! Sun probably doesn’t have any pending tasks at the end of the day” Avinash wondered with a feeling of melancholy.

Since few weeks, Avinash was miserably failing in fighting this pensive feeling. Any kind of success, big or small, was not motivating him enough to go on. His mind kept telling him that this was not the life he had wanted, but if not this, what else would he do?

Sun was home. Avinash let out a sigh, and turned back to enter his home. Another day had ended….

 

PS: An open end of the story is intentional. Lately, I have been meeting people who are fighting the same feeling as Avinash. Call it midlife crises or quest for survival, we are all trying to strike a balance in life. With this story, I just wanted to bring out the feelings that most of us keep hidden, because we can’t stop, what we had started. Answers and solutions are probably within or around us but I have no intentions to find those answers….atleast for now.

High Heels

Meher felt uneasy, she turned to her side, trying to shield her ears with her cushion. Words that fell on her ears sounded like noise. She tried hard to sleep. But the dreams that filled her eyes and mind were disturbing. She didn’t see her fairy angel this time.

She woke up startled, and started kicking, trying to grab attention. Like always, kicking did not go unnoticed. Meher felt the pat and heard those magical words, “hey baby, so you are awake. Don’t worry, mamma is here. Are you hungry?”. Meher kicked again. “I knew” a pat with a chuckle. “You know what, mamma is hungry too. Lets eat something sweet”.

Meher felt content, and she dozed off in dreams coated with the sweetness of her mother’s words! “Mother’s womb is such a beautiful place to be”, she thought. But what was that noise?

Meher’s entry to the world was marked with bitter and sweet moments. At the age of 2, she was judged for being short, like her mother. At 5, she was advised to practice wearing heels when she grows up, if she wanted to grab a good husband. At 9, she was made fun of, for being the shortest girl in her class. “Nobody can see you”, everyone would laugh at her.

She would come crying to her mom, “Why am I not tall like other girls mamma? Why is being visible so important?. Her mamma had no answers, she was advised to eat protein rich diet during her pregnancy to have a tall baby. Meher was judged even before she was born. All her mamma could say was, “Don’t worry baby, mamma is here. I will buy you a beautiful pair of heels and then you will also be visible”.

At the age of 12, heels became Meher’s best friend. She wore them like a pro, blocks, stilettos, cone…she adored her heels for giving her, that much needed visibility.

At 13, she was hit by lightening. Her heels would not be able to help her anymore. She was covered from tip to toe in a black naqab. “Why were they all so worried about my height, if all they wanted was to cover me up?” she complained. She wanted to rebel, but her mamma stopped her. “It will not help you Meher. Find your own heels, and then everyone will see you”.

She found solace in books and read as much as she could. Meher was a natural at stage, an extempore speaker. Her voice would wake up the most sleepy heads in an auditorium. The shortest girl of the class started representing her school in debates.

College was a dream come true, she took a bold step to change her naqab into a hijab, but heels still remained her favorite. Now she had a face and also those heels, to make her stand out in the crowd. She was visible enough. Meher became an integral part of drama and oratory club. Her dream was to be a great orator, and she chose an idol for her. “I would be like him, one day”, she promised herself secretly.

“Hey Meher, director is calling you”, her friend called. Meher rushed towards the director’s room. She had good grades and she was outstanding at extracurricular activities, so there was nothing to worry about. “May be, there is an event coming up and they want me to compere for it” she guessed.

“Hello Sir, did you call me?” she opened the shaded glass door of director’s room after knocking once.

“Yes, Meher, please come in. I wanted to talk to you about an event”, director declared.

So she was right. She sinked into the chair and listened attentively.

“We have a special guest coming in next week and we want you to plan out a 2 hour program. It should be based on nationality, challenges of current generation and the changes that your generation want to see around you. I want you to take the lead. You can plan it as a drama or musical but you should speak about a topic. You will be the first student to meet our guest and also take a short interview”.

“Sure sir, who is the guest? I will prepare the interview questions accordingly”. Meher inquired.

“I can’t reveal that as its confidential. Don’t worry, I am confident that you won’t have any trouble framing your questions as soon as you meet him”, director smiled and indicated her to start with the preparation.

The Day

The college was buzzing with activity. Meher chose to wear sleek golden stilettos for the occasion. Guest had arrived. She hurried towards director’s room and knocked, “May I come in Sir”.

One look at the guest, made her go weak in her knees. She stumbled in her heels, getting engulfed in his aura. Her ankle twisted bringing her back to her senses, and she said, “Sorry Sir, I mean, Hello sir, its a privilege to meet you”. Interview went on for half an hour and she felt captured. Captured in his enigma. Her idol was sitting in front of her, answering her stupid questions.

“You have a great voice Meher. And you are extremely well informed. You would be a great orator one day.” he paused for a second and they said, “And your heels are beautiful”, he laughed out loud.

“Lets go to the auditorium for the cultural program sir”, Director said and Meher followed them.

She had to make an opening speech, the topic she had chosen was close to her heart, about her favorite heels. Meher walked on to the stage, stared down at her feet and stepped out of her stilettos. 4 inches shorter Meher stepped forward and opened her speech, all eyes curiously glued on to her.

“Hi everyone, can you hear me?”. A loud uproar echoed in the auditorium.

“Can you see me?”, audience burst out laughing.

“Never mind” and Meher continued.

It was her “Mitron” moment!!!

 

Chasing the Rainbow

“Its too hot in here, when are they going to fix the air conditioning?” cursed Sid, loosening his tie. He had flown to Delhi in the morning, for a customer meeting. As soon as he reached the client office, he was informed that minimum ventilation is available due a major power breakdown. Electrical team had been intimated and were on their toes to fix the issue ASAP.

Sid, a passionate engineer, worked in a multi national company as a senior executive. He had landed in Bangalore, the IT capital of India, soon after completing his engineering course. It wasn’t difficult for Sid, to find a job of his liking, He was a star performer in his university and a sucker for technology. As a child, he would see his cousins living in cities, use mobile phones and it fascinated him to the core. His dream was to invent and innovate. Numbers excited him and he fell in love with binary as soon as his eyes fell on it. There was no looking back or going back. He was hell bound on making his life a success. He grew up in the corporate ladder like a shark attacking its prey, unstoppable and unbeatable. Travelling in business class and breathing the conditioned air had become a norm. Anything below was derogatory for Sid.

And there he was, in a carpeted, round table conference room, sweating in front of a pedestal fan. He gasped for breath and rushed out of the building. Scene outside was no different. His Burberry sun glasses were seeking shade from the scorching rays of the sun. He wished that it rained !

Was it his dream vision? No! Clouds surfaced, blinding the sun. Mild breeze, blew Sid’s hair. He closed his eyes and let our a sigh of relief. Breeze suddenly transformed into a wind storm.

“No, No….don’t take the clouds away”, pleaded Sid.

“Your wish is my command”, breeze blew into his ears and it started pouring. Sid ran under the patio. Smell of the mud, being tickled by the drops of rain, reached his barren heart and he got lost in the reverie of thoughts.

Sid saw the cracks in the land in front of him, the land which yearned for water. Eyes filled with tears, but those salty tears could only make the land even more barren. His father’s quest, and the defeated look on his mother’s face when she served only a spoon of rice to him and his brother. Amar, his elder brother was so different. While Sid was always fascinated with the life beyond farms and village, Amar had a strange connection with his fields. Even though he was good at studies, he never tried to look for a life beyond his farms. They had seen their father struggle and that had transformed both the children in a different way. Sid hated the struggle and Amar challenged the struggle.

The drought had lasted for 2 years, but when it rained, it brought prosperity and rainbow! Sid would run across the fields and chase the rainbow. “Its not an achievable dream Sid, don’t run behind something that you will never reach”, Amar used to tell his kid brother. It did not deter Sid’s resolve.

“Hey Bro’, you were wrong, I caught the rainbow”, Sid looked up at the VIBGYOR in the clear sky. It wasn’t hot anymore.

A week later

“Heavy rains since last 7 days have disturbed the lives in northern parts of India. Farmers struggle to save their crop! Rivers are overflowing and villagers have been alerted to move to safe places identified by rescue teams. Help is pouring in from all parts of the country”, news flashed on the TV. Sid stared at the name of his village flashing on the screen. Gates of the dam near his village had been opened to save it from heavy pressure of water building up on the other side. He looked at his smart phone, which obeyed by unlocking itself. “Amar” was the first number in his address book.

“Beep beep beep….the number you have dialed is not in the network coverage” Sid heard the message over and over again. “Where the hell is this guy?, he threw his phone on the sofa.

“Amar, where have you been, is everything OK? I saw it in the news. How are Baba and Maa? Just take the next flight and come here, I will book tickets right away!” It was 3 AM in the morning, Sid was woken up by the shrill of his phone ring and all he could think was about “Amar”.

“Beta, its me. Amar gave his phone to me in case I needed to contact you for emergency. They are not able to find him. Gates were opened and we all were moved to neighboring village. Amar was trying to arrange for cattle to be taken to a safe place. Nobody saw him after that”.

Sid did not know if he couldn’t hear anymore or if his father had stopped speaking. Phone slipped from his hand and fell on the floor, shattering the screen. Light from his night lamp fell on the shattered glass, forming a rainbow and Amar’s name twinkled on it.

We Love Only Once! Really?

It was a memorable night for Sandra as she was finally marrying the man of her dreams. Krishna and Sandra had met at a business meeting by chance, and instantly got along. Friendship that had started with casual meetings, soon became a strong bond with confessions of love and desires.

Sandra was a charming person, everyone loved her, and many were smitten by her infectious smile. She had an opinion about everything, a liberated woman in true sense.

Krishna, on the other hand, was quite, but with an amazing sense of humor. He loved Sandra for her carefree attitude, which was so hard to find in women of his family. Sandra loved him for his composure and the fact that he could her make laugh without the slightest of efforts. They were poles apart, but belonged to each other.

Being a part of modern world, it wasn’t tough to break the news to her parents, who were more than happy for their daughter. After all, who finds true love in this world anymore! It wasn’t easy for Krishna though. Having grown up in a conservative family, even thinking of an inter-religious marriage was a sin for him. But, there are moments when you just know that “she is the one” and that feeling kept him going and his parents finally gave in to his only wish!

Marriage turned out be a fairytale wedding for Sandra, a private beach wedding in Goa. When Sandra walked the aisle in her maroon lehenga, her favorite song playing in background, and her eyes were glued on to Krishna’s. They couldn’t get enough of each other. At that moment, she realized that they were soulmates and no matter what twists and turn life had in store for them, she will always love him. Krishna couldn’t take his eyes off her. She was the girl of his dreams and he made a promise to himself, to be always be on her side, no matter what!

He had insisted on a Christian wedding, but it was her idea to blend the two cultures. She looked stunning in her maroon lehenga. He stepped down, and helped her on to the stage, taking her hand. They stood hand in hand while exchanging vows, and performing rituals of both the cultures!

It was now time for Sandra to join her new family. It was a happy yet sad moment for her. Krishna didn’t leave her side even once while she bid goodbye to her family and friends. But, her eyes searched for someone, as if a part of her was still left behind. She saw, Sebastian, Seb as she fondly called him, standing in a corner, smiling at her.

Krishna left Sandra’s hand and prompted her to go ahead. He knew when he had to step back. Sandra walked towards Seb and cozily melted in his arms. They held on to each other for what it seemed like an eternity to Seb. “I will see you around,” Sebastian said and let her go.

Krishna wondered if Sandra will ever get to know of Seb’s feelings or rather her feelings for Seb. He considered himself lucky enough that she had chosen him over Seb.

Sebastian was Sandra’s childhood buddy. Born 11 days before Seb, she would always bully him saying, ‘I am elder!’ They were together in school and then college. Seb was with her always, when her best friend made a new best friend, when she broke up with her boyfriend in college, when she got her job, and when she first confessed her feelings for Krishna.

When Seb and Krishna were first introduced, it wasn’t difficult for Krishna to guess how Seb felt for Sandra. He couldn’t help and asked Seb, “Why did you let her go?” Seb just said, “She doesn’t know it yet, and now I don’t want her to know because it will break her. She adores you Krishna”. That confession defined the end of Seb’s and beginning of Krishna’s love story.

Sandra’s charm worked on Krishna’s family and everyone eventually accepted her. Krishna never tried to contain her adventurous spirit. She had never felt so content and happy in her life before. Her married life was a blend of love, passion, and a balanced family.

Sebastian eventually moved to Canada for his higher studies and got a good job offer there. That’s when he told Sandra about the love of his life. Sandra was furious! “How could he? All these years, he could never tell me anything, while I told him each and every detail of my life”. She was almost in tears when she gave the news to Krishna. Krishna laughed out loud, “He is getting married Sandra, why are you so angry? Do you feel that he will not be there for you anymore and that makes you sad?” “I don’t know, let him do whatever he wants,” she didn’t want to discuss anymore.

She was confused, the emotions that she was feeling were tearing her apart. She wasn’t sure of her own feelings, how could she discuss it with Krishna. Seb asked her to travel to Canada and help her with the wedding arrangements. She did her best to sound cheerful and readily agreed to help him. All she wanted was to be with Seb and to understand her own feelings. Was she just jealous?

Time in Canada made her feel better, she visited new places, and badly missed Krishna. Only if he could come here earlier, it would have been an exotic vacation for them. Steffi, Sebasitian’s fiance, was a lovely girl and Sandra was not jealous anymore. Sebastian and Steffi were madly in love with each other.

Sandra was always thinking about Krishna and texted her whenever she could. He was also missing her badly. This was longest time they had spent away from each other. It gave her immense joy to think that the spark which most married couples search for after a few years, was still alive for her and Krishna, even after five years of marriage.

Finally, the day had arrived and Seb was ecstatic. Steffi was supposed to spend the night with her girlfriends and collect as many coins as she could. It was a tradition!

Seb and Sandra decided to have a quiet evening, drinking wine and eating pizza. It was like old times, memories of childhood, and college. Seb teased her about how much she had cried when her boyfriend had broken up with her in college, that he had to give his shirt for dry cleaning! Sandra, fondly started talking about Krishna and how much they were both in love with each other even after so many years and Sebastian couldn’t talk enough about Steffi.

“Why did we never fall in love with each other?,” Sandra asked. She was already feeling a little tipsy. “We are so perfect for each other, we have practically lived together, then why?” Seb was just looking at her! At that moment she knew, what was bothering her all these days.

It would never be same again. “Can you hug me?” is all she could say and once again, melted in his arms. They held on to each other, not wanting to let go.

That night, Sandra knew that she was in love with two men. She loved Krishna and Seb, both selflessly. She was drawn to both of them for different reasons, which made her complete. It wasn’t a broken or bad relationship that made her realize her feelings for Seb. Sometimes, it just takes forever to know that you can fall in love again. Sandra was always in love with Seb and yet, she fell for Krishna and yet again, for Sebastian.

The question is… whether this twist will be accepted? But, who cares… Sandra, Krishna, Sebastian, and Steffi are living their happily ever after!

PS: Variation of this blog was first published on http://thelhour.blogspot.com/ and also published on www.momspresso.com

Have you really wanted something in life?

“When you really want something to happen, the whole world conspires to help you achieve it.”
― Paulo Coelho

Few days back I was pondering over a question regarding this famous quote. How does one know whether he is aspiring for the right thing or not.

So I asked this question on the open forum of face book.

Within minutes, I received numerous responses from friends and family. However, I didn’t seem to get my answer.

After some more days of soul searching, I found my answer.

As a school kid, I once read the famous story of “Merchant of Venice”. “Venice” was the only thing that held my curiosity and I decided to approach my father to know more.

I do not remember what he told me about Venice except for the fact that, “The city was on water”. In that moment, I replied without thinking, “ I will go there one day”. And in my mind I added, “on my own”.

Europe trips are very common these days, especially for IT professionals but back then, for a small town girl from a middle class family, it was an unachievable dream.

However, if I look back now, even then when I had no means or way to fulfill my dream, I still thought of “Venice” every single day.

Today I realize that whatever happened in my life there after was only to fulfill my aspiration.

I wanted to be a doctor, but was destined to be an engineer.

I was initially working for American clients and was supposed to travel to US but fate had to play a role and I was suddenly moved to work for European clients.

That’s when I realized I was getting closer to my dream. However after few more years, my mind started questioning its theory.

And then as if it was destined to happen, I got an opportunity to go to Europe.

It was the most difficult decision of my life, as now, I was not only married but also had a 2 year old kid.

But there was no holding back, I knew this was my opportunity.

When I reached Europe, I started getting mixed reviews about Venice. Some said that it’s one of the most beautiful place of the world and some called it a waste place to visit.

I was a little apprehensive about visiting Venice now. I didn’t want to be disappointed about my dream destination. But I also didn’t want to go back without even seeing the place.

So the tickets were booked.

When I stepped out of St. Lucia railway station and had the first look of “City on Water”, I knew, “being able to see Venice…on my own” was the only thing that I had wanted in my life till then. It was true!!! City was indeed on water and that feeling itself is mesmerizing. And I spent my entire money to describe this to my father. He was right, it was on water. Oh, that feeling was out of the world. I felt like a small girl again who had just got her favorite doll (just for your information, that I never played with a doll, was always more inclined towards breaking my dolls)

Weather beauty of Venice is comparable to Eiffel Tower of Paris is all together a different question and it didn’t bother me much. After all, I had not seen Eiffel Tower till then.

I realized that everything that I had ever wanted before like, studying to be a professional, being independent, being able to work, and several other things were all meant to fulfill my dream.

And whole world had conspired for me. I never forgot my dream and whole world paved the way for me.

It may sound stupid for some readers that how can “visiting a place” be wanted so badly. But that’s how it is.

The feeling when I stepped on to the soils of Venice cannot be put into words and that scene can never be forgotten.

I can only say that If you have ever felt this way, then you have achieved what you wanted in life.

And if you have not, then the world is still conspiring for you OR you are not aspiring for the right thing.

However, question here is “Have you really wanted something in life?”.

 

PS: This blog was originally posted on my old blog: http://thelhour.blogspot.com/2015/07/have-you-really-wanted-something-in-life.html