Raghav Calls with More News
When I got up on Monday morning, my thoughts were still in a tangle. Thankfully, I was too busy all day to have much time to think. The last couple of months, I had got used to working on my narrow part of the project: now that I was working with and leading a team, I had to deal with frequent discussions and constantly being on my toes, often literally, as I flitted about from desk to desk… I loved the excitement, but the effort left me exhausted by the end of the day.
It was only when I was in the cab that was taking me home that Miki and Mandakini piped up again.
“Good thing you haven’t had time to think all day,” observed Miki. “It’s not going to be pleasant thinking about last night.”
“Oh, god,” said Mandakini. “What am I going to do?”
Mandakini articulated the thought that had been at the back of my mind for hours, even as I had focused on work: “Vikram didn’t come over to see me. He didn’t even send me a chat message.”
“Nor did I,” said Miki. “He doesn’t have to be the one who speaks to me first.”
“Aren’t you disappointed he didn’t?” Mandakini pointed out.
“He was so gentle last night. I can’t quite believe…”
“Well, of course he was gentle when he was getting what he wanted!”
“I don’t want to think of it that way. It’s not true. He’s such a nice guy.”
“I don’t know. I thought so, but yet … Maybe I should have listened to you last night.”
Mandakini had nothing to say to that.
“But it’s only been one day,” said Miki. “And it’s not even over yet. Maybe he’ll call me.”
A cab companion said something to me then, and I had to smile and answer.
Vikram didn’t call. He didn’t come over to talk to me. He didn’t SMS. He didn’t send me an instant message in office. I didn’t hear from him at all.
I waited. More than once I opened a chat window with his name on it, only to close it without typing anything. Once I typed ‘Hi’, and Paras came by with a question, and I closed it without hitting ‘Send’. The week passed by with not a word between us.
“He hates me,” cried Mandakini on Friday after I got home and sat on a ledge on the terrace with a cup of tea.
“No, he doesn’t.”
“Why would he not want to talk to me?”
“I… don’t know. Maybe it scared him, what we were going to do? Maybe he couldn’t face it? Maybe he’s afraid that talking about what happened will make what’s between us more of a ‘relationship’?”
“What was I to him then? A distraction? An amusement?”
“I don’t know. Maybe he began like me, with hope. But he didn’t want to continue.”
“So it ended before it began.”
“I suppose so. If he’s not mature enough to handle this…”
“He could at least have spoken to me. Is he trying to pretend nothing happened?”
“Never mind,” I said aloud, with a wry smile. “At least I’m not in love with him.”
And then Raghav called to tell me when he was getting married.
“What? That’s two months away! That’s crazy!”
“Too late, you think?” He laughed. “That’s the most auspicious date, apparently. And after that there are none till September. So we decided, March it is!”
“But are you sure you’ll be ready?”
“Oh yeah. My parents have started on the preparations already. And Sonali’s parents – they had actually suggested we have the wedding in February! My parents felt that wouldn’t give us enough time to prepare.”
“That wasn’t quite what I meant by being ready,” said Miki.
Then I said it aloud.”That’s not exactly what I meant, Rags. Are you sure you’re ready to get married? You’ve only been with her a few weeks, and you haven’t spent much time with her. Are you sure it’s not too soon?”
“Why? Are you afraid I’ll change my mind?” he demanded laughingly.
“No! Yes… It’s just that… This is the most important decision of your life, Raghav. Don’t make it in a hurry. What’s wrong in being engaged for a year or so before you get married? That will give you both time to know each other better.”
“I’ve known Sonali since college, Miki. I don’t think we need more time to know each other…”
“That’s different,” I interrupted. “You haven’t known her as your girlfriend. You don’t know enough of what she’ll be like in that role.”
“I think I know her well enough,” Raghav laughed. “Besides, her parents don’t want to wait, and…”
“Don’t bother about her parents,” I interrupted again. “Do what feels right for you. For a few moments, Raghav, forget about everyone else and just think about what you want. Do you want to marry Sonali in two months?”
“Yes,” he said without hesitation.
“How can he be sure?” cried Miki. “Why doesn’t he give it a little more time?”
“But if he thinks he’s sure, there’s no point pushing it,” Mandakini pointed out.
“Okay, Raghav,” I said aloud. “If you’re sure, go on. I just want to be sure you’ll be happy.”
“I will, Miki,” he said, surprised. “Don’t worry, I’m quite sure of that.”
“What about Sonali?” I asked. “Is she okay with this?”
“Of course! She’s very excited. She’s making shopping plans and working out her leave already.”
“Have you spoken to her, asked her if she wants more time?”
“Hey, she was the one who refused to wait till September. She’s very eager.”
“Okay, then. Good for you two… So are you going to visit again soon?”
“No. The parents wanted an engagement but I told them I couldn’t come again so soon. So they’ve decided to just have the engagement a day or two before the wedding.”
“That makes sense!”
“I’m thinking I’ll come down a week before the wedding. I’m hoping to take a month off, then we’ll have enough time for a honeymoon.”
“He doesn’t even get my sarcasm any more!” cried Miki. “He’s changing already!”
“I haven’t told them at office yet, you know,” he continued. “In fact, I haven’t told anyone.”
I realised I hadn’t been appreciative enough. “I should congratulate you,” I said hesitantly.
“Thanks,” he laughed again.
“It’s difficult to believe, somehow, that you’re getting married in a few weeks…”
He chatted on for some more time about how excited he was and what Sonali had said and what preparations his parents had already started on.
Later that night, I forced myself to send Sonali a congratulatory SMS. Within seconds, I got a reply: “Thank u! Im so excitd!”