The house was empty as her mother had gone to the temple. Divya changed quickly and went to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee for herself. Her mind was whirling with unanswered questions. “Were Shalini and Rahul going around? They didn’t look lovey-dovey but appeared very comfortable with each other”.
An hour later she was still in the kitchen when her father came back from office. Her cup of coffee was untouched. Without wasting much time she told her father everything and waited for his take on the whole issue.
Ashok Rao had never seen his daughter so uncertain. She had always known what she wanted out of life and how to achieve it. He felt her anxiety and tension as if it were his own. But he knew that he couldn’t take it away or sort it out for her. In this case, whatever the consequences she had to handle it herself. Choosing his words very carefully he said “If I were you, I’d let the man do the hunting from now on. If he is interested he knows where to find you. And right now, I suggest you give your studies priority as your exams start in 2 weeks time.”
Divya silently agreed with her father. Rahul now knew where she lived. If he was interested he would surely find some way to contact her. She only prayed that Shalini and he were not involved with each other. The easy way they conversed suggested a very close relationship whereas whenever Rahul and she met they never lost an opportunity to spar.
Taking her fathers advice to heart she began preparing earnestly for her exams. She had already revised a few subjects but since Rahul’s appearance, studies had taken a back seat.
Two weeks passed slowly. When writing her exams, time just flew but while studying for it minutes crawled. Her heart quickened everytime the phone or the doorbell rang but it never used to be him. She went to the library thrice and walked home all the time but never saw him anywhere. When she analyzed all their previous meetings, she had to admit that nothing earth-shattering happened between them for her to think that Rahul was interested. Her mind told her she was a fool to keep waiting but her heart refused to listen. Divya had fallen head over heels for Rahul and couldn’t just accept that he didn’t feel anything.
On the last day after her exams Divya did not feel the usual exhilaration she experienced of doing her exams well. All her friends urged Neetu & her to join them for a lunch and movie but she was just not interested. Only Neetu was aware of the reasons why Divya was so apathetic. She too thought it would do Divya good to be in the company of friends but Divya wouldn’t go and Neetu ofcourse would not go anywhere without Divya.
They were almost halfway home when a car stopped by them and the tinted window rolled down to reveal a familiar heart-stopping face.
“Hello!” greeted a very familiar voice. “How was the exam?”
“How do you know I have exams?” exclaimed Divya her heart leaping inside at the sight of him. Rahul got off the car and came up to her. He looked drop-dead gorgeous in a dark blue Tee and black jeans.
“You had exams” corrected Rahul with a twinkle in his eye. “You had your last exam today”. Then leaning forward he growled softly “I made it my business to find out” answering the question in her eyes.
Divya blushed. Neetu was watching the scene wide-eyed. When Rahul turned his attention to her she said humorously “Don’t mind me, I’m just an innocent bystander”.
Rahul grinned and asked both of them “Can we have lunch together?”
Neetu, without consulting with Divya agreed and muttered “About time”. Rahul looking intently into Divya’s face said cryptically “It was worth the wait”.
Exactly a month later Rahul and Divya were married with approval from both sets of parents. Their marriage was a grand affair with both sides rising to the occasion to make it a memorable event.
During this time Divya found out that Shalini was just what Rahul said she was – one of his dearest friends from college engaged to another common friend whom they were going to meet that particular day she met them. Divya met Vijay, a very calm and composed individual, at the wedding and thought he was a perfect foil for Shalini.
On the wedding night when they were finally alone in the room, Divya finally asked Rahul THE question which was burning a hole in her tongue for the past three weeks.
“Raaahul” began Divya, her eyes fixed on the alarm clock next to the bed.
“Hmmmm” said Rahul who was lying on the bed with his hand behind his head and watching the expressions flitting across her face.
“When did you realize you ….I mean…‘really’ liked me? She asked casually and turned her face away coz she didn’t want him to see her blushing.
“You are trying to find out when I fell in love with you” teased Rahul. He rolled on to a sitting position and tried to get her face in focus.
“Remember the 1st day we bumped into each other” said Rahul almost nostalgically.. “Mom had been telling me to pick up some books for her from the library. I bumped into you while coming out. One of the books that fell on my toes had your name written on it. It didn’t register at that time coz a pair of beautiful eyes were staring at me transfixed. I got a bit rattled and so just murmured something and vanished. And I went to Coorg on a 2 day trek with my friends on the same day. The trek was a lot of fun but I don’t know why, I was itching to get back. We reached back home around 4 in the morning. Within an hour after getting up from sleep I was at the library returning my very surprised Mom’s books.”
“I think we were meant to get together. How else can you explain your presence in the library the same time I was there? As soon as I saw you on the library floor I remembered your name. That was also when I knew for sure that I wanted to see you again. But you made me so mad that I walked out of the library without finding out anything” said Rahul grinning boyishly.
“And” prompted Divya entranced.
‘On the day you met Shalini for the 1st time, we were going to Vijay’s house which was in the opposite direction but I just couldn’t resist passing the library and luckily we saw you walking down the street lost in thought. I had already told Shalini what little I knew about you and it was she who gave me the idea of bumping into you” grinned Rahul wickedly.
“Whatttt? You mean to say you deliberately walked into me” cried Divya throwing a pillow at him
“Uh huh” grinned Rahul, fielding the pillow neatly. “I was sick and tired of going to the library everyday and borrowing books which mom made no effort to read. Why else do you think I introduced myself to you immediately and offered you a lift? I needed to find out where you lived. Infact I was ready to force you into the car if you didn’t get in”
“I got into the car only because Shalini was there. I figured I’ll be safe enough” said Divya loftily.
“Well, whatever your reasons, I got what I wanted. For once I didn’t have a problem with Shalini’s non-stop chatter. There I found out about your exam schedule amongst other details. By then I was quite sure of my intentions” teased Rahul.
Turning serious “But your exams were a major obstruction. Even now I am surprised how I managed to keep away from you for 3 weeks. Ofcourse some of the credit goes to your father also”.
Divya stared at him in surprise.
Rahul smiled wryly “Yes, he managed get hold of my phone number and asked me to meet him. We met and spoke at length…about my intentions. Something about me must have convinced him”
Divya was shaking her head in wonder. Her father hadn’t mentioned anything to her.
Reading her expressions correctly Rahul explained “He didn’t want you to be distracted during your exams. After that he must have assumed that I filled you in”
“Why are we discussing the past when we have our whole future to look forward to” dismissing the topic, Rahul reached for her.
It was only now things were becoming clear to Divya. So this is why Rahul did not make any attempt to contact her during those miserable 3 weeks. Her father was so busy with the wedding preparations that they hardly had a chance to sit down and talk. Rahul and she met each other often during the days leading upto the wedding but her pride forbade her from asking him.
As Divya rested her head on Rahul’s shoulders she smiled to herself. Someday she’ll tell him that luck did not have anything to do with their love story.......that they both tried equally hard to 'get together'.