In a small beautiful village lived a girl name Shruthi. She was a beautiful girl with stunning features. Her eyes were the shape of a fish, her fair skin and her beautiful long thick black hair shined in the sun.
She was born in a poor family, her mum died when she was young, her father was a tailor and she had 2 younger brothers. So Shuruthi had to cook, clean and take her brothers to school. Her father wanted shruthi’s little brothers to study hard and become a doctors, but he did not have any hopes for Shuruthi as he felt she was just a common girl who should learn to be a good wife and mother as all girls should do.
However Shuruthi had always dreamt of becoming a writer and when she finished her duties and sent her brothers to school, she goes to the river near her house and sits there, writing stories. Her brothers had taught her to read and write and when they are at school she uses their book to develop her writing.
One day, she was at the river writing stories and lost track of time.
When she finally went home, her father was waiting for her. Her dad shouted at her and accused her of many things a father should not say to his daughter. Shruthi was hurt and went sleep crying.
Next day her father announced that she will be marrying a rich young man. She begged her father not to do this. She told him that she had dreams to accomplish and there no room for a husband in her life right now. Her father just mocked her and said that a girl’s dream is to be a good wife and a mother and they are not good for anything else.
What shruthi did not know is that this young rich man who she was supposed to marry had followed her for months to the river so he can listen to her stories. He had fallen in love with her stories and her beauty.
Shruthi wanted to run away but she couldn’t leave her brothers and also she was worried about what the society will say about her if they heard she ran away. She had no choice but to marry him.
She got married in misery. The only thought that was on her mind when she was getting married is that her dreams are crushed in to million pieces.
After marriage, her husband told her that he fell in love with her stories and her beauty. When she heard that he had fallen in love with her stories, thousands of butterflies began to flutter in her stomach, her face beamed with happiness.
He helped her develop her stories and publish them so the whole world could fall in love with her stories like he did. Few years later she was one the famous writers in the world. Shruthi had fulfilled her dreams!
Suja is a rich girl who grew up abroad. Her family left for America when she was just five years old. They lived a privileged life in the United States. Although she grew up with Western influences, her parents also imbued in her traditional Indian values.
Aravin, on the other hand, grew up in his native India, and he has never been abroad. He has never been anywhere actually. He just stayed in the city he grew up in and never went away on trips. He can only speak his native tongue, and his values and views on life are all typical of any young man living in his country.
When Suja finished school, she volunteered in social work. She loved helping people, especially children who are lost, who have been abused, homeless and those that have lost all interest in living. She was good at it, too.
Her social work brought her back to India – a place she can hardly remember. She was saddened by the plight of the young children she saw on the streets. During her social mission, she met Aravin. At first, they couldn’t get along because he didn’t welcome her Western ideas, and she, likewise, didn’t like his old-school ways.
But their love for children and their volunteer work soon brought them closer. He saw that her ideas were workable, and she understood that he only wanted the children to feel comfortable around them, hence, his refusal to include ways that are foreign to them.
During their free time, he would take her to the local café’s and restaurants and introduced her to exotic dishes she only heard of back in America. She started falling for him, and he started loving her secretly.
One night, after having dinner in her apartment, he kissed her. They were sitting together in front of the television, having coffee, when she turned her head to look at him, and he just kissed her softly on the lips.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.” He softly apologized. “I must go.”
“Adhavan,” she said touching his arm to stop him from leaving. “Don’t go.”
Still standing, his back turned from her, he told her that he has fallen in love with her. He knows it’s impossible because they are from two different worlds. Reaching out to hold his hand, she told him that she felt the same way. That night, he stayed. That night, they are not from different worlds. That same night, they bridged the gap and simply let love in, traditional it may be or not.
Little Sumathi gave a start as her mother’s impatient voice rang through their house. Grudgingly, she discarded her rag doll and proceeded to the kitchen where her mother was tapping the table with her ladle.
She hated doing the dishes. It was tiring, boring, and too mundane. She would much rather be outside, playing with her friends. But no, her father had forbidden it. ‘Times are difficult, and it’s dangerous for a little girl to be outside,” he told her with an edge in his voice.
She didn’t really understand what all the fuss was about. But she could see that her mother was really worried. And her father seemed worried, too, as he always answered questions about the ‘revolution’ with a hushed voice. Now that she thought about it, she realized that her mother had talked in hushed tones as well.
Her parents had to huddle together each time they talked about this “revolution.” It made Sumathi feel like she was being left in the dark about a really, really juicy secret. She really didn’t like it.
Oh well, if they didn’t want to tell her, then she’d find out herself!
She slowed her pace in washing the dishes, straining to hear little tidbits from her parents’ conversation. What she heard, however, were words her seven year old brain could barely comprehend. They said something about a “Mr. Churchill,” and they mentioned something about “It” happening soon. What piqued her curiosity, though, was when they said something about a guy named Gandhi who was, she heard, not eating – had not eaten for days, actually.
“The poor guy,” she thought. One time, she missed dinner, and she became so hungry that she almost cried. She couldn’t take it – that insistent churning in her tummy. It was so…so uncomfortable.
She was down to the last few dishes, so she dallied even more. There was still a lot she didn’t know. However, it seemed that her parents had heard her as they had stopped their serious conversation abruptly and changed the topic to something more mundane – Aunt Ahila’s new baby.
How boring, she thought, finishing up the rest of the dishes with a huff.
Sumathi woke up the next day to her mother’s frantic screaming. She was shouting about freedom and independence and a lot of other things which her young brain could still not grasp.
‘What changed?’ She wondered. The whole day, she kept on trying to find out what it was. But the grownups were much too busy to take notice of her. They were hustling about, talking animatedly with each other, giving each other an excited pat on the shoulder. But nobody – not even her mama – had cared to tell her the secret.
“Sumathi! It’s time to wash the dishes!”
This time, though, there was a happy lilt in her mother’s voice. And Sumathi thinks that whatever it is that changed… it must have been good.
Santhi was a typical girl from the province when Adhavan met her. He had to go to her town to do a little background check for a possible expansion for his company. At 25, he was already showing great promise as a Civil Engineer, and this project is his first big break.
Although he comes from a rich family, he never let this stop him from pursuing his own dreams. His family wanted him to take over the business once he graduates from college, but he had other plans.
Much to his family’s disappointment, Adhavan decided to carve his own path. Thankfully, after years of being in conflict with his parents, they are finally slowly accepting his decision, and now, they are starting to see that he made the right choice.
Santhi was walking home from the market when she saw a sleek black car stop just inches away from her. She had a good day today, selling all her vegetables in the market. She stopped in her tracks when she saw a handsome young man get off the car and walk towards her.
“Good day to you. Is the town plaza still far from here?” Adhavan inquired. This girl is possibly the most beautiful girl he has ever laid eyes on.
“No, you’re just a few meters away now. Just make a right turn at the corner store and go straight. You won’t miss it.”
“Thank you. I am Adhavan, by the way.” He said, extending his hand.
“My name is Santhi.” She shyly answered, taking his hand to shake it.
She hurriedly said her excuses and walked away from this man who is starting to send goosebumps all over her. She felt something when he took her hand. It was as if an electric current ran down her spine all the way to her legs and she felt weak.
Adhavan went on to work on his project for at least a year in her home town, and everyday, he would pay her a visit and give her gifts. He never failed to show her how much he loves her.
Finally, after a year of courtship, Santhi accepted his proposal. She had never had a relationship before. She didn’t know that the love of a man could consume her whole being and render her helpless and yet happy at the same time. So this is what they call love. She’ll never forget the day she met him. It was the day she fell in love with him.
The time on the wall clock read 2:45 a.m., but Nanthan couldn’t sleep. In fact, he dared not, at least not while he was still in the office.
He suppressed a yawn. The graveyard shift was always difficult, despite the fact that he had been at his job for over six months already. It was just one of those things that he learned how to cope with, but never fully got used to.
The red light and beeping sound on his comm indicated an incoming call. Nanthan pressed the receive button and spoke into the microphone of his headset with a crisp American English accent.
“Hello, this is Hyper Solutions. How may I help you?”
“Hyper Solutions?“ an old woman’s voice replied. “Oh, I’m sorry. I think I dialed the wrong number.”
“That’s quite all right, Ma’am,” he responded. “Which number or company are you trying to reach? Perhaps I may be of assistance.”
The woman paused. “Actually, I’m not looking for a company. I thought this was my son’s number.”
“You know, you sound a bit like he does.”
“Thank you, Ma’am.”
“I know you’re probably busy, but would you mind very much if we chatted for a minute?”
Nanthan blinked. He knew that if he attended to the needs of this lady, it would mean putting other customers with business-related concerns on hold. His head said no, but something in his heart urged him on.
“I don’t mind at all, Ma’am,” he said.
The woman heaved a sigh of relief. “Thank you. It can get very lonely here, you know.”
“You’re very welcome, Ma’am. I understand where you’re coming from. We’re here to serve our customers, after all.”
“That’s very kind of you, young man,” the old woman told him. “I wish more people were as kind as you are.”
“Thank you for your kind words, Ma’am.”
“Can you tell me a little more about your company?”
Nanthan happily obliged. After several minutes, the old woman politely interrupted him.
“I have a confession to make,” she said. “I was just testing you, actually. My son’s name is Santhan Kumar. I wanted to find out what his people were like. Sorry for deceiving you somewhat.”
Nanthan did a double take. Santhan was the owner of the company.
“No problem, Mrs. Santhan,” he managed.
“Keep up the great work. Thank you so much again. Goodbye.”
“Goodbye, Mrs. Santhan.”
Nanthan grinned. He would definitely be sleeping better that morning.
For as long as she can remember Abirami and Karthika have never gotten along. They were neighbors and schoolmates, but they completely ignored one another whenever they would bump into each other in the streets or in school.
Karthika was a beautiful girl with long black and silky hair. She was the most popular girl in school. Girls in school envied her good looks and the way the boys admired her. She was also popular among teachers because she always got good grades. She joined decathlons and always won.
Abirami, on the other hand, is the exact opposite of Karthika when it came to her popularity status. Although Abirami was also a pretty girl, she wasn’t as stunning as Karthika. She also got good grades, but Karthika’s were always higher. This is why she resented Karthika.
It didn’t help that their families were friends, being neighbors and all. Their parents knew that their girls weren’t as close as they had hoped, but they didn’t know that there is animosity between the two girls.
However, this would change one afternoon in school. It was already late and most everyone had gone home already. Abirami forgot about the time and didn’t realize that it was already starting to get dark. She had spent hours in the library researching for a project.
As she was walking down the hall, she heard a noise from one of the rooms. She silently went to the window to see what the commotion was, and to her horror, she saw Karthika struggling in the arms of one boy. She was begging him to stop kissing her and to please let her go.
Without hesitation, Abirami barged into the room and hit the boy with her books. She kept hitting him and hitting him while shouting for help. This scared the boy and he ran off.
“Are you okay?” Abirami asked Karthika as she took the shaken girl’s hand in hers.
“Thank you.” She said, sobbing.
“We were just talking. I really liked him but then he started kissing me and I got scared.”
“We must tell our teacher about him tomorrow.” Abirami angrily said.
“No, please. It will ruin my reputation.”
Understanding what she meant, Abirami agreed to keep quiet about the whole incident but insisted that, from now on, they will go to school and walk home together just to be on the safe side.
That afternoon, tragedy brought two adversaries together and forged a beautiful friendship between them.
It had been raining incessantly since this morning. Abi absentmindedly watched as the raindrops slowly trickled down her bedroom window. She hasn’t been sleeping well at night ever since her parents told her that they have already planned her betrothal to the son of their long-time friends.
Suthan had been away for a long time. He went to America to study when he was just a young boy. Twenty years later, he decides to come back home. It would have been all right if only her parents hadn’t insisted that she marry him! Now, all she could think of was how much she hated him.
“We are living in the 21st century! You would think that people would be free to choose whomever they want to marry!” Abi frustrated whispered to no one in particular.
She had always been a good daughter. She obeyed her parents, did everything they asked her to. She even went to the university they picked for her! But to marry her off to a complete stranger? This is the rest of her life they’re talking about!
It’s not that she had a boyfriend, and she was happily in love with him. But she does want to know how it feels to be in love. She wants to experience the butterflies in the stomach and the sweaty palms whenever he’s around. She wants the whole fairy tale – the happily ever after ending. She realizes now that she may never have the anymore, thanks to her parents and a guy named Suthan.
Abi sighed and continued watching the rain from her window. Tonight, Suthan and his parents are coming over to formally ask for her hand in marriage. Tonight, they will hand her over to a man who will be more like a prison guard than a good, loving husband. Tonight will mark the beginning of the end of her life.
Evening finally came and Abi had no choice but to go down to meet the man she was to marry next month. As she was going down the stairs, she caught a glimpse of a handsome young man with eyes as bright as the stars.
As he rose to greet her, she saw that he was tall and well-built. She felt the butterflies in her stomach and her palms started to sweat.
“Hi, Abi. I am Suthan. I’m very happy to meet you.” He said as he softly kissed the back of her hand.
Mathu has always been a carefree young girl. She loved hanging out with her friends after all her chores are done. They loved to just sit at a local café nearby and look at all the people passing by. They would make up stories about the people they see, and they always had a good laugh about their silliness.
Mathan, on the other hand, has always been the serious kind. He hardly ever smiled, and when he did, it looked more like a grimace than a smile. He liked staying home during his free time, and he is not interested in anything except work. Mathan has never even been to the movies!
However, when these two opposites met, it’s as if all the stars aligned and everything fell into place. On one rare occasion, he went to the same café that Mathu and her friends always hung out in, and just like from the movies; he accidentally spilled his cold coffee on her. He was so embarrassed and apologetic that Mathu could only laugh at his discomfort.
She assured him that it was perfectly all right and that she could easily change because her house is just nearby. Still apologizing, he offered to walk her home. She couldn’t refuse his offer because she felt so sorry for him.
After she emerged from her bedroom, looking fresh and all cleaned up, he invited her back to the café. “I apologize once again for spoiling your dress.” Mathan told her.
“Mathan, if you apologize one more time, I swear I will spill coffee on you!” She laughingly said.
“May I invite you for coffee then?”
As they walked back to the café, he couldn’t help but notice how beautiful she looked. Mathu, too, was carefully examining this adorable man walking beside her. Before long, their coffee dates turned into dinner dates, and they began spending more and more time together.
She showed him the fun side of life, and he, in turn, showed her how to be organized and serious about certain things. They were exact opposites that blended perfectly well. Years later, he asked her to marry him and she accepted.
They have grown to love each other’s eccentricities, flaws and traits. They complement each other so perfectly that they have created the right balance in their lives. For better or for worse, they promised to love one another for the rest of their lives.
KalaiMoli was an orphan girl who grew up with her aunt and uncle. Her aunt was her mother’s sister, and she took her in only because no one else wanted her. Her cousins were about the same age as her, but they never got along. They always picked on her and made her feel unwelcome.
She didn’t go to the same private school. Instead, she went to a nearby public school. Sometimes, her aunt would make her do household chores all afternoon that she only had time to do her schools work late into the night. Sometimes, too, she would go without dinner as a punishment for something she didn’t do.
Through it all, one thing kept her going – the thought that someday she would earn enough money to support herself, and she can leave the house that has brought her so many heartaches and tears.
She never blamed anyone for her fate. She just accepted the fact that this was the life handed her and she had to make the best of it.
Her only friend was a schoolmate named Kanmani. Kanmani comes from a rich family, but she was very simple and good-hearted. KalaMoli’s plight made her feel sorry for her, but her friend’s determination to succeed and positive outlook on life are what Kanmani admired about her. Her friend’s strong character is something she respected.
“Someday, Kanmani, I can leave everything behind and start life on my own.” She would often tell her best friend. “Someday, I can be truly happy away from all the people that hurt me.”
Although she accepts the fact that she owed a lot to her aunt and uncle, and that she would always be grateful to them for taking her in, she also understands that they have no place in their family for her.
KalaiMoli recalls how hard her life had been back in her home town, but now that she has become a successful doctor, mostly helping the poor and going on medical missions to other impoverished countries, she acknowledges that, without those hardships, she wouldn’t be where she is now.
With the love of her best friend and the hope that kept burning in her heart for a better life, she has finally reached her dreams.
“Indeed, hardships and trials in life come to make us stronger and better persons,” she admits to herself.
She silently whispers a prayer of thanks as she tends to an orphaned little girl. At last, she has come full circle.
Isha pounded on the heavy oak doors relentlessly, her knuckles red and swollen from too much knocking and her voice hoarse from excessive shouting. She was bent on ignoring the pain, however, and was quite determined to continue pounding on the door, even if it meant hours more of waiting, shouting, and knocking. She was going to make herself heard no matter what. She was going to make him see the error of his ways. Damn it all, she was going to make him pay.
He went too far this time.
“Javed, I know you’re in there! Open up! Open the door right this – ”
Startled by the abrupt slam the door made as it was swung open, Isha backed away slightly. She stared at the man in front of her, his dark hair disheveled, his eyes red and smoldering in barely-controlled rage, his mouth twisted in a hideous snarl. For a second, she thought he was a monster and had to take a further step back. But then she realized he was wearing his pajamas, odd bunny-patterned ones, and realized that the man wasn’t a monster – he was just someone who was rudely roused from slumber. Emboldened, she took some steps forward.
“Oh, you know perfectly well why I’m here, Javed!”
The snarl had twisted into a smile – mocking and patronizing.
“Come to play savior for little Harshita again, Isha? Well, how nice of you.”
Isha ignored the slur to her character and tried instead to focus on the reason she went there in the first place.
“I came back to get her things. She asked me to. Now if you don’t mind, please move aside.”
She pressed forward, intent on entering the house and getting what she came there for, but before she could enter, a hand shot out, barring her way in.
The words were whispered, venomous and scathing. And when she looked up at the speaker, she saw that he was smiling – sinister and cold – but she didn’t miss it. No, she didn’t miss the doubt that flitted through his eyes. It disappeared quickly, but she saw it, she was sure.
She had to commend him for his perceptiveness though. He was right, of course, she was lying. He treated Harshita like trash, but Isha had to hand it to him, he sure knew his girl inside out.
But this time, he wasn’t completely sure, and now she had the upper hand.
“You know you can’t blame her, Javed. You’re much too fond of breaking your toys.”
She reached out, grabbing the long sinewy arm that blocked her way, moved it to the side, and went inside. Aisha wouldn’t like it, but she had to keep up this farce. It was for her friend’s own good. Javed wasn’t good for her. He wasn’t good for anyone.
Isha had her eyes shut tight in irritation. Her friend was possibly the densest person on earth. Couldn’t Harshita see that she was only doing what was best for her? Couldn’t she see that he was bad for her? Couldn’t she see?!
“Did he say anything – ”
Isha cut her off, not wanting to tolerate her friend’s dithering resolve.
“Oh dear, dear, Harshita. It doesn’t matter anymore. You’re finally free of that man! We already talked about this, remember?”
She watched as the girl, clad in a white knee-length dress and a purple camisole, bit her lower lip and clenched her suitcase tighter. She had her head bowed, but after a while, she looked up, her thin brows knit together in determination and said, “Yes, yes we did talk about it. And I’m leaving my bab – Javed. He can cook his own meals, for all I care.”
She could really be cute sometimes, daffy and a bit dense, but still cute. Isha thought as she smiled fondly at her friend. She had a good feeling that things were going to be okay from now on. Oh, she was pretty sure that Javed wouldn’t be taking this lying down. But then again, the sooner she could send Harshita off to another city, the harder it would be for Javed to make a move. Oh yes, there was hope.
“Great. Now, run off now, Harshita, I’ll visit you next week. You’ll be bunking in with Aisha for a while, okay? You got her address?”
“Yeah”, Harshita said sheepishly before giving her friend a small hug, “you’re a great friend, Isha, the greatest.”
“Yeah, yeah. Now go on. Bye Harshita. Take care!”
“Bye, Isha. Thanks again!” Harshita waved before turning away and bounding off to the train. Isha was about to breathe a sigh of relief when suddenly, someone very rude bumped into her, zooming past her and towards the train.
She was just about to grumble about rude passengers who should learn to come to the station on time when –
The said girl whirled around, a flurry of white and purple, trying to locate where the voice had come from. Before she could find the one who called her, however, she was enveloped in crushing hug.
Isha could hear murmured statements of ‘don’t leave me’ and ‘I love you’ and ‘I’m sorry’ from Javed and some muffled sobbing from Harshita. They were back together again, and she couldn’t help but curse Javed’s vileness and Harshita’s stupidity.
But really, there was nothing she could do but seethe and lament the world’s shortage of sanity.
They have been working together for nearly three years now and yet, Kaveri has never looked at Aathi as anything more than a work mate. Although they worked in the same department, Kaveri hardly ever talked to Aathi except when necessary. It was always about work when it came to their relationship.
Actually, Kaveri was the quiet type. She never joins them whenever their work mates would go clubbing or go on trips to the countryside. She’d rather stay home with a good book instead of cavorting with the men at work or chatting with the girls from the office.
These traits are what attracted Aathi to Kaveri. He liked the way she handled herself – always poised, well-mannered and well-dressed. She is someone any guy would be proud to bring home to meet the family. She is the ideal woman any man would want to marry.
He’s been pining for her for far too long. It’s about time that he let to her know how he truly feels about her. After almost three years of silently loving her, Aathi determined that, once and for all, he will find out if Kaveri could love him the same way that he loves her.
“Tonight, I will ask her out for dinner and profess my love for her.” Aathi promised himself. “Tonight, I will find out if she loves me, too!”
Finally, mustering enough courage to go up to Kaveri, he asked if she was free for dinner that night. He couldn’t believe his ears when she said that she’d be glad to have dinner with him.
“At last!” Kaveri said to herself. “Aathi finally noticed me.”
Little did they know that they have been hiding their true feelings for each other all the years that they’ve been working together. As the day turned into night, both Aathi and Kaveri were secretly anticipating their first date – a first of many others, for the rest of their lives if the heavens permit.
As it turned out, the more that they talked well into the night, the more they found out how much they have in common. Before the night ended, they talked about going out again the following night. Who knows? Tomorrow night could lead into the next night and the next and the next for the rest of their lives.
And as he walked her to her door, he gently leaned forward to plant a kiss on her lips. Aathi and Kaveri found out that falling for a work mate isn’t so bad after all.
“Isn’t it grand?” he asked her, voice bubbling over with obvious excitement. Aisha looked at the painting, trying to make some sense out of it but failing miserably.
‘It’s just a bunch of dots and lines. how could it mean anything?!’ she thought miserably.
“Yes, honey. It’s very beautiful!,” she exclaimed, feigning understanding and amazement. She hoped he would just get on with his monologue about the work of art’s meaning like he always did. It was going to be boring, but the sooner he was done describing the picture, the sooner she could get to those checkbooks. They needed to be balanced after all, balanced and rechecked.
When all she got was her husband’s silence, however, she began to grow worried. She glanced at her husband, only to see him looking at her with an expression that was akin to disappointment.
“You don’t have to pretend, Aisha,” Kumar looked away, not really liking the fact that his wife didn’t understand much about art. She was a no-nonsense girl, excelling in mathematics and all the other things he thought were a waste of time.
He, however, liked – loved – art. It was an integral part of his life; one that she, sadly, didn’t think was worth her time.
It was all rather frustrating.
Silence – thick and heavy – stretched on between them, neither of them willing to break it.
Their relationship was falling apart. He knew, she knew, they both knew.
It was hard to imagine that, just last year, they were the hottest couple in town – Jack and Sally, Tristan and Isolde, Romeo and Juliet! They were inseparable! Well, until they realized they had nothing in common.
Unfortunately, by the time they realized this, they had already tied the knot.
“I – uh – I’m going to go to the study, Kumar. I have some work to do.”
“Ri-right…,” he stammered, not really knowing what to say to her. Instead, he just watched her walk away, feeling a twinge in his heart that he couldn’t quite describe. Sighing, he went to his own study, the one he had converted into a studio, and started painting.
They stayed like that for the rest of the day, apart. Each doing his one thing, each caught up in their own world – worlds that excluded each other. They both had to wonder, though, why he was painting a picture of her and she was balancing his checkbooks.
If ignorance is indeed bliss, then I must be the happiest woman in the world. Why, then, do I feel as if something is amiss?
Take now, for instance. I’ve been feeling utterly restless for the last ten minutes or so.
I’d been going through the motions of preparing a meal for Rakul, just to get my mind off of the uncomfortable silence that reigned in our house. He was seated quietly in the next room, but I could feel his eyes on me.
What was holding us back from talking to each other?
Oh, come on, Ananthi, I thought. Stop fooling yourself and concentrate on your duties.
Easier said than done.
Unfortunately, my inability to concentrate on the task at hand proved to be my undoing. I was so lost in thought that the knife slipped and cut me on my finger instead. I yelped, more from fright than from pain. Out of reflex, I jabbed the wounded finger into my mouth.
“Are you all right, Ananthi?” my husband asked.
I nearly jumped.
He’s talking…to me?
I took my thumb out of my mouth and turned to face my husband. “I’m sorry. I was careless. I’ll be more careful next time.”
He wore a sympathetic expression on his face. “Let me have a look at that wound.”
“It’s all right, Rakul,” I insisted. “It’s just a shallow cut.”
“Perhaps, but I’d still like to see it.”
I blinked. This isn’t like him…then again, what do I know?
“Rakul, is everything all right?”
“Everything is fine. Actually, not everything is fine.”
That was the response I’d been dreading. Nevertheless, I decided to pursue the line of thought, anyway: “What is the matter?”
“Nothing. Everything. I don’t know.”
My face fell. “Are you…displeased with me?”
“No, I’m not,” he sighed. “But I think that maybe I should do the cooking. That is, after we see to your wound.”
I didn’t know why, but his words brought me much relief. I found myself smiling again.
“I think you’re right,” I told him. “To be honest, I’m not much of a cook, anyway.”
Rakul reached for a strip of Band-Aid and quickly treated my wound. “That should do it,” he said.
“You’re welcome. Now, will you please, please let me do the cooking?”
I wanted to laugh. “By all means. I thought you’d never ask.”
That really made my day. I walked away with the feeling that we may be able to work things out between us after all.
I never thought I’d see the day when a stranger would stand in my kitchen, chopping vegetables in awkward silence.
I had only known her as my wife for a week. Our parents had taken care of all the arrangements, and they were extremely pleased when the local astrologer announced that our horoscope compatibility score was reasonably high.
Somehow, I doubted that. Ananthi was a fairly beautiful woman, but I barely knew her. Though I respected my parents’ wishes, I wondered deep down if such a thing would ever work out between us.
Nevertheless, there was something…heavy in the air that I couldn’t quite identify, and it bothered me. It bothered me a lot.
Ananthi’s yelp of pain snapped me out of my reverie. I saw her place her left thumb in her mouth.
I walked up to her and asked her if she was all right.
Her emerald green eyes stared back at me in surprise. She took her thumb out of her mouth immediately.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I was careless. I’ll be more careful next time.”
“Let me have a look at that wound.”
“It’s all right, Rakul,” she reassured me. “It’s just a shallow cut.”
“Perhaps, but I’d still like to see it,” I insisted.
She looked at me as if I had uttered something blasphemous. “Rakul, is everything all right?”
“Everything is fine,” I blurted out. “Actually, not everything is fine.”
“What is the matter?”
“Nothing. Everything. I don’t know.” I scratched my nape in exasperation.
She looked as if I had struck her physically. “Are you…displeased with me?”
I sighed. “No, I’m not. But I think that maybe I should do the cooking. That is, after we see to your wound.”
As soon as I had spoken the words, I thought she’d be offended, but she looked oddly relieved instead.
“I think you’re right,” she said with a slight smile. “To be honest, I’m not much of a cook, anyway.”
I found myself smiling for some reason. After examining her hand, I grabbed the nearest strip of Band-Aid and wrapped it around her finger. “That should do it.”
“Thank you,” she said softly.
“You’re welcome,” I flashed her a wry smile. “Now, will you please, please let me do the cooking?”
“By all means,” she giggled. “I thought you’d never ask.”
Perhaps it wasn’t so bad to have a stranger for a wife after all.
Ashwin and Geetha can’t believe just how lucky they are. After years of hoping and praying for love to come their way, they finally found each other, and they couldn’t be happier. The heady, dizzying sensation of falling in love is so exciting and exhilarating in the first few months that they’ve been together, and it seemed like they would always feel this way for the rest of their lives.
Little did they know that once the novelty has worn off and the romance has abated, the true test of love will find its way into their fragile relationship? The changes came in gradual trickles. Ashwin started spending more time at work, while Geetha started resenting Ashwin’s determination to get ahead in his career.
When before Ashwin’s focus on his goals was something Geetha admired and loved about him, this same trait became the reason why she now questions his love for her. In like manner, Ashwin started resenting Geetha’s tendency to always check up on him wherever and whenever.
He used to love the fact that she always wants to be with him and how she fixes her schedule so that she has more time for him. Now, he can’t stand the way she’s always in his face. He wished she had other stuff to do instead of always just wanting to be with him 24/7. She’s getting to be too clingy, and it’s boring him.
“Can you please find something else to do instead of always nagging me about not spending all my time with you?” Ashwin said during one of their endless arguments.
“You used to always want to be with me!” Geetha cried out.
This kind of argument is now commonplace in their relationship. In fact, it seems that all they ever do nowadays every time they’re together is to get on each other’s nerves and argue all the time.
“What happened to us?” Geetha silently asked him on night.
“We grew up. We fell out of love.” Ashwin painfully answered.
“So this is goodbye?” Geetha asked again.
“I guess it is.” Whispered Ashwin.
Painfully but with hope burning in their hearts, they said their final goodbyes with the promise that should their paths cross again and they find themselves falling in love all over again, that they would make it work the second time around.
Maybe they just need to grow apart in order to find each other again someday.
Parani liked to wake up at exactly 7:00 AM everyday. He liked his coffee bitter, with just a single lump of sugar and exactly two teaspoons of creamer, the vanilla-flavored one. He liked his morning paper folded in such a way that he’d always see the front page before anything else. He liked his clothes arranged neatly in rows, organized according to color. He liked shoes placed side by side, always at the same spot beneath his sock drawer. He liked his documents filed alphabetically. He liked his desk clean and free of clutter, with the pen-holder always placed on the upper right corner. He liked everything to be arranged in the exact same way he wanted them to be.
You see, Parani was the kind of person who liked his life to be filled with constancy.
He operated on the belief that if everything in life was in its place, constant and reliable, then life would be easier to handle. After all, people overcome their problems by sorting them out, surely if the little things sorted out, then there’s more time for those bigger problems, and thus, life would be easier.
And indeed, the principle worked quite well with him.
He had a high-paying job, an apartment of his own, and a nice shiny car. Few things in the world could faze him. Yes, indeed, he had it made. Everything in his life was under his own control…
…until she walked into his life in her shabby sneakers and her dowdy skirts.
“Hi Parani, remember me?”
Of course he did, he could recognize that high-pitched squeal anywhere. Besides, no other woman he knew would want to wear those inch-thick glasses.
“What do you want?” he barked, crossing his arms in mock annoyance.
When she broke into a toothy grin, however, he couldn’t prevent his lips from turning upwards at the corners. The half-frown/half-smile didn’t last long, however, as she tripped – in typical Aisha-fashion – and paper went flying everywhere, making a total mess of his office and making him break out into full-fledged laughter.
Aisha’s toothy grin, however, had disappeared and given way to an exasperated pout which he only caught a glimpse of since she immediately dropped to her knees and started picking up the papers.
“Aren’t you gonna help me, Parani?”
He was still laughing when he stood up and approached her, but he didn’t help her pick up the papers, however. Instead, he pulled her up and enveloped her in a big hug.
“Welcome home, Aisha.”
Yes, indeed, she was the chaos in his order. And yet, she was the one he wanted to stay constant the most.
Love can be found in the most unlikely places, the parking lot for one.
Ram was waiting in line to pay for the groceries he bought when the old woman behind him started talking to him. He was not one to enjoy conversations, especially not now that his mind is on other things as he had a deadline to finish and he only has about five hours to finish the whole article. But the old woman kept on talking to him. Wanting to be courteous but irritated at the same time, he answered her in short sentences. But that did not deter the old woman. Finally, he paid for his groceries, but she still stopped him.
“Young man,” she said, “Please help me with my groceries. I’ve bought a lot, you see, and my niece is waiting by the car. I can’t possibly carry all these things myself!”
Cursing silently, he nodded, his mind still on his deadline. On top of his worries to go home and start with the article, he was now praying that the cashier do his job quickly so he can help her load her items to her niece’s car. At last, she was done paying with her groceries. He took two of the bags but found out too late that she had a lot more to carry.
“Are they all yours?” he asked, miffed.
“Yes,” she answered sheepishly, “My niece is home, and I wanted to cook her a special dinner. I guess I got carried away and bought a lot. Most, I probably will not use anyway.”
“Well, let’s go then,” he said.
As he was carrying what seems like a hundred bags, they went to the parking lot. A car was waiting there for them with a young woman about his age sitting behind the wheel.
“That’s my niece,” the old woman said proudly. “She’s really beautiful. I want you to meet her.”
He grunted his reply. “Beautiful or not,” he thought, “I have a deadline to finish.”
When they approached the car, the young woman got out to help them load the groceries. And yes, she was indeed a very beautiful woman.
“Beautiful, isn’t she?” the old woman persisted, especially when she noticed the stunned look on his face.
He nodded his response. She really is beautiful.
“Mathu,” the old woman said, “This young man here is very kind to me. Come and meet him.”
Mathu approached them, extending a hand.
When Ram took it, it was soft. “Well, to hell with the deadline,” he thought as he felt the stirrings of emotions he never felt before.
Ananthi couldn’t believe what had just happened to her. After working so hard to make her dreams come true and put up her own garments business, she had to fold up after only five years because demand for her products abroad dramatically went down, and locally, she wasn’t selling as well as she first used to.
The soaring prices and the diminishing demand for her products have compelled her to finally accept that she couldn’t keep up with the hard times anymore. Although she had a little savings to tide her over until she can figure out what to do next, she was still hurting over the loss of her business.
As if destiny was playing tricks on her, around the same time that she lost her business, she also found out that her husband has been seeing another woman for the past year. They have been married for only three years, and yet, he has already turned to womanizing. Good thing they didn’t have children, otherwise they would be deeply affected by the divorce.
“I must have done something bad when I was younger for Fate to play this cruel trick on me.” She thought, bemused.
For weeks, she mulled over what she did wrong to deserve this kind of life. Was she a bad wife? Did she perhaps hurt someone unintentionally and now she’s paying for it?
Doubting herself and her character, she fell into deep depression, and no one can get her out of it. She refused to see anyone, not her friends and certainly not her family. She was so ashamed of being such a failure!
Then one day, she just suddenly thought to herself, “What am I doing with my life? Why have I allowed myself to waste away when there is still so much to live for?”
As if on cue, she snapped out of her depression. She was determined to start over and learn from all the painful events that have happened to her recently. She knows that life is just like the seasons, there will be rainy days and sunny days.
She knows that there is the calm after the storm. She had a choice of either holding on to all the painful events and wallow in self-pity for the rest of her days, or she can learn from them, cry over them and then move on. After all, seasons change and when they do, you just have to ready.
“Sorry!” they both said hurriedly and looked away in embarrassment. They didn’t look where they were turning and their heads collided, not knowing what to do they walked away in the opposite direction unable to face each other.
Suruthi smiled to her self as she thought once again of that incident, with out realising that she was on a packed train full of people. She was only close to him for a second but even then she managed to take in the sweet smell of his aftershave, from then onwards she could not help thinking of him and that incident. It had made a permanent mark in her heart.
As Suruthi sat on that train to continue her long journey, she began thinking of their first meeting. She remembers him walking into the room that she was in; though she noticed that he was new she did not paying much attention to him. It was only on their second meeting that she was drawn to him and his sense of humour; having had the opportunity to sit opposite him she was watching his every move with her eagle eyes. He was a cheerful guy, always full of energy; every one liked him as he always made him self known. He had his way with everyone, what she really liked about him was that he would help anyone, unlike some guys who would just mind their own business. Children also seemed to be drawn to him; Suruthi was amused to notice how easily he tuned into child when playing with them. It was inevitable for her to think that he would make a good father. By not talking to him and simply watching and hearing about him she began to understand him in depth, this may not have happened if she was able to talk to him as she would have been influenced by what he says. She feels that even if his character may not be perfect she knows him properly. He had all the qualities that she always looked for in a guy in addition to that he seemed to have made a good impression on her parents.
Suruthi couldn’t help but think of him every waking minute, even in her dreams he would torment her. There was one problem, even though she liked him she doesn’t know if he has thought of her in that way. She also new a nice guy like him would be attractive to every girl not just her self, so she new that there is a chance that he could already be taken. Still, she laid trust in her love and believed that if her love was true then eventually they will unite. She knows the route that he takes to work and when her train passes the interchange station she would look out of the window hoping to at least catch a glimpse of him, but knowing her luck this never happened, but she never gave up she was strong minded. She even took the same journey as him to see if there was any chance of her meeting him, but neither luck nor coincidence worked for her, but this was usual for Suruthi as she was used to disappointment.
Today was no different, it was just a typical morning journey, she braced her self as the station drew near and pleaded with god as usual, and as the station arrived she glued her eyes outside the window hoping to see her beloved. As she heard the usual service announcement she grew disappointed again, as the doors closed once more on her life. She now stared at the floor and thought miserably of her luck. This was why she was startled when she felt a tap on her shoulder; she shuddered as she turned around her heart raced like never before, could it be? If only! Slowly she turned around bracing her self expecting anything. To her amazement and disappointment it was her high school friend that she lost contact with, she didn’t know weather to be happy or sad, she greeted her friend comforting her self that there is always tomorrow.