by Vidhya Devanathan
Madhu had come from Mumbai. Ravi didn’t know this. He had heard it through a common friend.
"I spoke to her just 4 days back. How come she hadn’t said anything then? There was nothing even in her mail yesterday!" he thought. Doubts began swirling in his mind. "Has she found someone else in Mumbai?”
Both Madhu's and Ravi's parents knew about their love and had readily agreed for their marriage. It was Ravi who was awaiting a better job offer and had postponed the marriage by six months.
When Ravi entered Madhu's house, her parents welcomed him with their usual cheerfulness. There was nothing artificial in their manner. Madhu too greeted him enthusiastically.
"What happened Madhu? How is that you got leave at such a short notice?"
"Oh...that is nothing. It has been long since I took a vacation...so I just came"...Madhu replied.
There was a lot of hesitation in her answer. Ravi's suspicions grew. He knew about Madhu's job. It was a high profile one. She cannot take off just like that. He felt disgusted. He remembered the day when she left for Mumbai a few months back. She had cried heartily not wanting to be separated from Ravi. All that seemed a pretense now.
For the next two days Ravi's job demanded most of his time. Madhu too didn't try to contact him. By now he was sure that Madhu was not interested in him anymore. On the evening of the third
day Madhu was waiting for him outside his office. Ravi's face grew grim on seeing her. Madhu mistook his expression.
"Was it a difficult day?" she asked with concern. Ravi shrugged.
"I would like to speak to you. Shall we go to the beach?" He didn't feel like going with her. But he wanted to call a halt to their false relationship. So he went along.
In the beach, they sat in the silence for some time.
Then Madhu said, “I have quit my job". That was totally unexpected.
"I had a colleague there called Gowtham who proposed to me. But even after I said I was not interested, he didn’t back out. He said he was going to come here & talk to my parents. I didn’t like all this."
"So what Madhu? Even if he would have come, here your parents would have told him about our relationship and set him straight."
"No Ravi. Gowtham is from an affluent family. What if my parents fall for his background and say yes to his proposal ? It will spoil my relationship with my parents...or to avoid such unnecessary proposals they might start pressurizing you for the marriage. I won't like that too."
Ravi was speechless.
Madhu continued "Whenever that Gowtham used to talk to me about love & marriage, I was on thorns. How can I even imagine a life without you?....." Madhu went on.
Ravi shrunk in his own eyes. ***