Thursday, May 21, 2015

That first night (Part 1) - Working Title

It was a dark and stormy night...

No. Wait.
This is not the way this story was to have started...

Actually, it was one of those more moderate days in August... it did rain, but there was no storm as such. The light rain cut through some of the mugginess. Mridula remembered that she kept dozing off to sleep under the lazily whirring fan, while waiting for Atulya. It had been a long day and all she wanted was to get rid of the scratchy Benarasi and the bel flower garlands which had started to wilt... 

She congratulated herself on having convinced her mother and aunts and insane cousins that it was okay if she just wore her long earrings and not the stifling gold necklace which had eaten away at a major part of her father's savings... stop! She told herself, get off the guilt trip! They had all wanted this - beyond any logic, any reason - as much their cross as hers to bear... she wasn't going to think of her mother's medicines or her brother's studies either. Not now.

She woke up with a jolt when she felt someone nudging her. Atulya's earnest face with his enormous eyes loomed over her. He looked a little concerned. And nervous.

Nervous? Why on earth? Oh hell! She did not have the energy for anything but turning over to the other side and sleeping... surely he wasn't expecting... how could she have forgotten that this was "the" night for some people? She muttered to herself "dhur shala!"... 

Atulya remembers being taken aback when he heard the "dhur shala" - was it directed at him, he wondered. He had just about managed to shut the door on a houseful of curious eyes and all he wanted was to just talk to the figure (mysteriously slumped over), who was now his better half and lifelong partner and... oh! Did he just wake her up? 

He muttered "sorry! I didn't realize you were sleeping!"

"Er... okay..."

"No, I was just wondering..."

"Uh..."

"No, no, no! I just thought we could talk... for a while... it's the first night... never been with you this way..."

"Talk? Yes. Talk is good."

"So what do you like?"

"Huh? What?"

"Like, are you okay?"

"Yes. Just sleepy. Been a long day..."

"Ah..."

"No, it's okay. I am used to staying up late..."

"Oh!"

"Yeah... my brother. He sleeps late. I stay up with him so that he studies and doesn't nod off."

"Oh!"

"So, tell me about yourself... "

Atulya had been rehearsing his introduction for over half an hour before he even came to the room... but right now words failed him.

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