Despite a rain-drenched evening, the book fair at Bengaluru was reasonably crowded with full of activity. The discounts ranging from 20 to 30 per cent was available on the books. In one of the stalls, two youngsters - a boy and a girl, selected the same book. Owner of the stall told them any one can buy the book as there was only one copy left. Both were adamant to buy the same book. Their argument continued for some time. The owner was in the puzzle and suggested for a toss. The girl won the toss. She paid the cost of the book and observed the boy was very much disappointed. She thought for a while and gave the book to him as a gift. He refused to take the gift from an unknown person. She repeatedly requested him to take the book as a gift. He was in a dilemma whether to accept the gift or not? She left the place keeping the book in his bag. He followed her and traced her in another stall.
"You left the previous stall without listening to me," said the boy.
"Yes! I left the previous stall hurriedly with a good purpose. I gave you the book as a gift with good intention. If I stay there for a minute you would have returned the book. I don't know why my mind directed me to gift the book to you," replied the girl.
"Thank you for your gesture. Can you tell me what made you gift me the book?" asked the boy.
"Before giving an answer to your question, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Vinuta. When both of us were arguing in the stall, I recognised you as Vishwas. I still remember the incident happened three years back. At that time, I was in the same book fair and lost my wallet containing cash and debit cards. Seeing my position your dad, who was Inspector Police recognised me and enquired why I was so nervous? I told him the fact. He called a constable on duty and instructed him to find out pickpocketers operating in the book fair. The cop took the details of the wallet. Within half-an-hour, the cop came with the wallet and the thief. I checked up the wallet nothing was lost. I expressed thanks to your father. At that time you were with your father. He introduced you to me as Vishwas, his only son. You were in a hurry and did not notice me properly."
"Sorry Vinuta, I could not recognise you. Let me know what are you doing now?"
"Vishwas, This year only I have passed Bachelor of Engineering (BE) Computer Science in first class. I have already appeared a campus interview in two reputed software companies. I am waiting for the response from them. What about you?"
"Vinuta, this year only I too have passed Bachelor of Engineering (BE) in Information Technology in first class. I have not yet decided whether to continue studies or apply for a job."
"Congratulations, Vishwas. If you ask my suggestion I advise you to join post-graduation and thereafter take up research."
Their conversation continued for some time in a canteen. Sipping the aroma of coffee, they discussed many issues including personal.
"Vinut, when we were neighbours at that time we were just kids. I called you a number of times to play with me. But you had refused. You preferred to play with the girls."
"Yes! Vishwas. That was the culture taught by my parents. While growing up, I was brought up in such an atmosphere where freedom of moving out was restricted. Even today, I have continued the same attitude. I must be thankful to my parents especially my mother, who taught me noble thoughts."
"Fine! But I am quite reverse. Being an only son to my parents, I enjoyed maximum freedom. I never misused this freedom. Whenever I asked my father for pocket money he never refused. Vinuta, may I ask you one personal question? Hope you will take it in the right spirit."
"Okay, ask me what you want to express?"
"Vinuta, the moment I observed your magnanimity some time back I developed a sort of love and affection towards you. If you have no objection, let us become life partners."
Vinuta was mum for a moment and unable to reply.
"Vishwas, I'm not serious about the marriage. I will have to discuss with my parents and take the right decision."
"Vinuta, there is no hurry you may take your own time."
They left the place and decided to consult their parents. While leaving, both exchanged their contact numbers. After one week, Vinuta told her parents about the experience she had at the book fair. She gave details of Vishwas and his parents. They were surprised to hear the marriage proposal from the daughter. They knew Sadashiv and Parvati, parents of Vishwas. Two decades back, they were neighbours in the same apartment complex. But her parents rejected the proposal on the ground that the boy belongs to another caste and his lifestyle is far from satisfactory. Vinuta respected the views of her parents.
Vishwas without wasting time revealed his wish to parents. He gave details about Vinuta and her family. His parents were happy that they knew Manohar and Vimala, who were old friends. But his father was not happy with this proposal due to the fact that the girl belonged to different caste and their family status. After hectic efforts by Vishwas with his parents, they gave him a green signal. It took more than six months to convince her parents. Sadashiv and Parvati took personal interest to convince their friends Manohar and Vimala. Ultimately elders met on an auspicious day in a hotel to fix the date of their marriage. For Vinuta and Vishwas it was an arranged marriage. The date of marriage was fixed after one year. Vinuta and Vishwas became husband and wife in a simple ceremony.
By the time both tied the marital knot, Vinuta got a job in Paramount Info at Bengaluru and Vishwas joined Hindustan informatics at Chennai. After two days of the wedding ceremony, the newlyweds planned to visit Ooty for a honeymoon. It was planned before marriage. On the day of the honeymoon journey, both got up early in the morning. Brand new car Maruti Ertiga was presented by Vinuta's dad. It was decorated with Rose flowers. The priest in the temple conducted the puja of the car on the previous day. They went to Ooty in a new car. Both shared the driving turn by turn. Newlywed couples returned after spending romantic events in the abode of beautiful nature. They returned to Bengaluru after two days.
Due to the pressure of work they were unable to meet frequently. Their communication was through mobile, e-mail, social media like What's app and Facebook. During the first year of their marriage, on weekends and holidays, both met either in Chennai or in Bengaluru. The couples enjoyed watching romantic movies and visiting good hotels for sumptuous food. In Chennai, walking in the beach, they felt exhilarated. First Deepavali was memorable for them. They spent time with their parents and in-laws.
On their second wedding anniversary, there was good news. Vishwas resigned the previous job and joined a software company based in Bengaluru. Vinuta was happy that she lives with her husband. But this was only illusion. She had to face a number of problems from the second year of marriage. Due to their pressure of work they spend lesser time together. Vishwas was deputed to the USA for six months to look after a prestigious project. During this period he spoke just two or three times. As a result of this misunderstandings increased. The happy relationship slowly disappeared. He came back to India.
Once, Vinuta planned to watch a movie in a theatre. She booked the tickets online before one week.
"Vish, coming Sunday evening let us watch a Hindi movie in Dream Land Theater. I have already booked the ticket."
"Vinu, good idea. I wanted to tell you the same to go out on coming Sunday."
The Short Story continued here....