‘So let’s everybody dance and enjoy my single-hood for the last time on Saturday, 13th May.’ This was written on the invitation card which was held in Aniket’s hands. It was for Khushi’s marriage.
He remembered, just one month back she said to him, ‘We’ll start going out with each other if we both don’t find someone in the next one year.’
She worked in the same company where he worked. She knew him from the last one year. They were good friends by now. The news came to him quite suddenly. One day when he reached office, she told him, ‘My dad has found a guy finally for me and I’m going to get married next month.’
He congratulated her. After a week, when they were having a conversation, he came to know more about this. Khushi was a software engineer and one of the best employees that the company had.
‘He is running his father’s business and they belong to a very reputed family. My father likes him a lot. And he also asks me to quit my job after marriage.’ She said.
‘And you? Do you like him?’ He asked.
‘I don’t know, Aniket.’ She replied.
‘What do you mean by you don’t know!’
‘All I know is that this marriage is going to make my parents happy and I don’t care for anything else.’ She said.
‘What are his educational qualifications?’
‘He has spent two years in a commerce college.’
‘And how many years did you spend in your college?’
‘That doesn’t matter now.’ She replied.
He got busy with his work later and couldn’t talk to her till the day when she called him to meet her as she wanted to give him the invitation card.
He went to the dance party and she introduced him to her college friends. He also met her younger brother Karan, who took him to dance with other girls over there.
When he was leaving for home, he heard someone crying in the garden of the hotel. He went close and found that it was Khushi herself.
‘My mother in law scolded me for this party. She says no one in her family goes to such parties.’ She said.
‘You still have time. You don’t have to marry him.’ Aniket said and left.
He didn’t go to attend the wedding. He got promoted after a month. He met her at a bus stop three months later. She was wearing a red colored saree, a golden necklace and dozens of bangles. She was in her car and invited him in.
‘You look very different. You must be very happy.’ He said.
‘I’m not happy, Aniket. He is paranoid about my loyalty. We fight everyday over minor issues and his mother always takes his side.’ Her tone was having tiredness.
‘Didn’t you anticipate this before your marriage? If not, then I surely must have overestimated your abilities.’ He said.
‘Now he wants a child very soon.’
‘Give him one. That will make your parents happier.’ Aniket said and she was not stupid to NOT get the derision in this statement. ‘Here comes my home. Thank you for the lift.’ He said and left. He whistled out a song while going towards the apartment. She didn’t know why but the sound of that jovial tune induced some pain in her stomach.
He didn’t meet her for the next two years. Then one day again she stopped her car at the same bus stop. She called him and he was taken aback by her appearance. She had put on many kilos and was wearing a green saree, had kilos of gold on her body and looked ten years older than her actual age.
‘Have you got married?’ was the first thing she uttered after a long silence.
‘No’ he replied.
‘Wow! What does she do?’
‘She is a teacher in a secondary school.’
‘I thought your standard was higher than that.’ She said with a faint smile on her face.
‘Any girl who has certain amount of self dignity and who can uplift herself without undue compromises fits my standard. She is proud of whatever she is doing and she would never quit it for anyone, not even for me. And that’s what I like the most about her.’ He said.
Khushi didn’t say anything after that. She dropped him near his house and left.