We both spoke for more than an hour and went to sleep I woke up late in the morning. I decided to have Breakfast; I liked the puttu with banana. Almost all the dishes have banana or coconut involved, I like the taste though. Somehow I started liking the place and the mallu people. I went out for a stroll into all the small lanes around the place. There were some beautiful houses and could see only oldies enjoy their life sitting in an easy chair outside the house in the lawn. Very few houses had children. All I know was Mallus don’t stay at their home town, they go outside Kerala to make a living and build good houses and settle in the native after retirement. There is a saying Mallus are found even in Mars.
I sneaked through the slope areas and saw few older kids playing cricket in a small ground in the midst of coconut trees. I was watching them play and got tempted to ask them if I could join. Endhaa Tamilaaa ? One boy asked. I said “yes” ‘Ok join that team most of them are tamilians in that team’ he said. I was enjoying the game while my mobile beeped “Please have lunch ;) “Sindhu SMS, I ignored and was immersed in the game Unfortunately our team lost and the boys stated shouting
"hey Kerala won... Tamilnadu lost…"
I said “Hey I am from Bangalore”
They shouted again “hey Karnataka lost…”
The time was almost 2 and I rushed to get an auto to reach the lodge and I went to the lodge and ordered a mini lunch. The rice were very big I got a “Vatha kulambu” papad, rasam curd rice, surprisingly no coconut and no banana, I had my lunch and was waiting outside, an auto came fast and I could see one hand popping out with green bangles waving at me “ Come fast ..Come fast. It was of course Sindhu – “Where are we going BTW” I asked.
“Surprise” she told. The Auto stopped in near a theatre- like place probably a porch tent we could say – I saw the poster outside Kamal Haasan starring Panchatantiram..
She looked at me to see my surprise. I was of course excited but not happy to watch this movie in such a theatre. “See your wish also full filled “you also watch movie I also go to my native – how is it? – actually she was excited wanting me to see excited”
Do these theatres have A/c.. DTS? I asked. Her face shrunk again and said. “Come lets go back – you can sleep in the lodge “
I some times feel that I need to have double filter in my mouth.. I said “sorry I was just pulling your legs” Brinda ran towards the ticket counter and came back with 3 tickets. We all enjoyed the movie. More than the movie, I enjoyed holding Sindhu’s hands.
She rushed back home and I was in the Volvo Bus sitting in the Aisle seat. Sindhu came with her father. I acted like a good boy got the bag from him and put in the upper shelf. Sindhus’ father without knowing that I am Sindhus friend who spent time with her , said thanks and told “konjam paathukoo” meaning take care .
I am ready to take care of her the whole life I said to myself and said sure maama .
While her father was getting down, Sindhu came to me and said as if she is talking to a stranger told me with different face
“Excuse me can you please move that’s my seat – window seat”
I pinched her hip and said “Yes mam”
She shouted due to the unexpected move of my mine “Budhu – my father still getting down – what if he had seen. that too in public"
So you are bothered about public and father and not the pinch – I spoke to myself.
“Hey did you have your dinner?” She asked in a very suspect tone
“Yes- why” I asked
“No, if you are hungry, you do all stupid things right, that’s why I wanted to confirm” She said
She turned to me and asked – BTW what did you say to my father “maama”
Yes maama means uncle “ I replied( it has another meaning father –in-law )
By the time her father came near the window and was telling all usual stuff. “take care, eat well. Sleep well” as if she doesn’t know.
The bus started moving and I waved to Sindhus father. She hit my hand and said “enough”
“we both were excited about the 2 day trip we had”
“I still can’t believe it, still feel like a dream, couldn’t imagine you in my native.” she said..
“BTW tell me about your family” She asked
“My father is a very cool person and my mom is bit short fused but my father knows all the techniques in the world to tackle her, my brother works in Mumbai in a mechanical company” I said
“Cool – interesting she said”
“How about your parents”, I asked as I know she is the only daughter
“its quite opposite to your parents, my mom is damn cool and father is bit moody but yes as all the women she knows how to handle her husband”
After a short conversation, we slept early as we had a hectic weekend and most importantly the Sunday night syndrome for IT folks had started.
Monday morning we both were surprised to see a mail in the office with the subject “Important announcement” It reminded Sindhu and myself the announcement in the previous company. We were praying so badly that the announcement should not be bad.
To our relief, the CEO & Seshank invited all the employees with a big smile and that indicated that the announcement is not that bad. We all had big cake and party as we had cracked a big deal in UK – a chain of schools.
It made me and Sindhu happier and while we were discussing about our weekend trip, Seshank called me – “Amit – 2 minutes”
I followed Seshank to his cubicle, “Buddy you are the project lead for this one and get your passport, you may need to fly next weekend to UK” he said.
I was so thrilled about my role and my trip and went running towards Sindhu to share the happy news. We both were already excited about the weekend trip and the sequences of good news made us to be in cloud nine. We decided to have a great lunch. Sindhu and I became very close after the trip.
My Visa, tickets all done, I need to take a late night flight on Friday. It was a mixed emotions first foreign trip but that also means separation from sindhu for 3 months. I took Sindhu to the pantry and was advising her the same way her father did while he was sending off the other day, some how the chemistry between us reached the peak that day. Either of us had to open it, I purposefully dragged it for I liked to enjoy that phase of life. Fortunately Sindhu broke the ice. She asked me to come to a café coffee day
I knew a lot can happen in a coffee day but didn’t expect this much
Amit “ I have told my parents about us” she said.
“about us – what” I asked
“Yes Amit I have told my parents about us” she reinstated
“Have you told everything – that also” I asked in a funny tone
She took my hand and twisted back side
“Very funny ….– I told my mom and she told my father and they kind of almost approved”
She said in a bit serious tone.
I looked at her eyes and she immediately asked a question which I never expected
“When are you marrying me?”
I knew this has to happen soon but never imagined she would be so fast.
“August 15th 2003” I said
“What?” She screamed
“Well, I will speak to my parents tonight they have come down from Chennai to send me off, I will give them 3 months time to think” I said
“What if they don’t agree” she asked
I held her hand and said “they are my parents” I said. She could see the commitment in my eyes.
Suddenly I felt everything is falling in place. I went home got ready and was on the way to the airport and in the taxi I told my parents about myself and Sindhu, my father was so cool to agree while my mom had some disagreement as Sindhu is from Kerala and we are from Tamilnadu. Three months passed by, my telephone bill probably would stand first in the project expenses and I am not sure if my project manager had budgeted it.
My mom kind of agreed as I counseled her all the 3 months when I was in UK.
Somehow both the sides agreed and we didn’t have a great hassle except for minor cultural difference raised by both the parents.
Sindhu’s parents came down to Chennai and we had an informal engagement. The custom at sindhu’s family is to have engagement at Guy’s side. We were finally engaged officially.
Sindhu was travelling to her native almost every weekend as she had to prepare for the marriage – shopping was the major factor. It was a Friday night. I dropped Sindhu in the bus stop to take her bus, after the bus moved, I suddenly felt very lonely, I also wanted to go to Irunjalaguda with her, though she had the same feeling she wouldn’t approve for it.
After her bus went I went to the same kallada travels fellow and learnt that in another 1 hour there is one bus to Trissur ,but disappointed to know that all seats were booked, after a long beg he agreed that he can have a seat near the driver but it would be uncomfortable but the price would be the same. I did not bother much about it and was happy to get a ticket. Since my cousin room was near by with whom I stayed, I went and got 2 sets of dresses in a bag and rushed back to catch the bus. I reached Trissur at 7 am Saturday morning and from there took another bus to reach Irunjalaguda in 1 hour. I checked-in at the same lodge where I had stayed the previous time and went to sleep as I had a tedious journey.
Sindhu called me 9 am “what are you doing? still sleeping – she asked”
“Yes – I replied “ - “Ok I will call you after, I may go out after some time she said and banged the phone.
I woke up at 11 am got ready and called her to know where is she and to give her a surprise visit
“Hi Good morning”
“Good afternoon sir” she replied
“So where are you?” I asked
“I am in a Nilgiris super market buying groceries for the month, I am a good girl after coming home got ready helped mom in the kitchen and come here- not like you sleeping till 11”
“Hey don’t tell me – you will repent later” I said
“I have no feelings – sorry” she replied.
“Ok which super market” – I asked
“Hmm – Nilgiris “
“Where is it” I asked
“Amit this is called kadalai, I will call you later I am busy in buying stuff”
“Hey why do you say this is kadalai – define kadalai” I asked
“Talking aimlessly to a girl is kadalai” she replied
“Ok you don’t have to tell where you are, I know it’s near the lodge where I stayed”
“Sorry boss, it’s just very near to my house” she said
I meanwhile got an Auto and told him to go to the place where she resides
“Are you outside? are you in auto?” she asked
“Yes am going to office some pending work “ I said
“What happened to your bike “ she said
“Ho yeah I had given it for service “ I said…
“Ok catch you later “she said and cut the phone.
I somehow located the Nilgiris super mark in 10 minutes and also located Sindhu.
She was buying vegetables; I kept my camera in mobile ready to catch her surprise in her face. I stood behind her and with different rough voice asked her “Are these tomatoes good?”
She replied “yes. They are!” in a soft tone without turning back. “How about the onions?” I asked again in the same tone, she hurriedly turned back to see who was that asking such strange questions.
As she turned back and looked at me with astonishing face, I took a snap.
“Hey ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,AMiiiii, how come ………..you are here….”
She couldn’t hold her breath,
Yes I wanted to give a surprise I said ..
“You naughty.., how did you come? When did you come? Where are you staying? ..so the auto sound was here.. That’s why you were asking me where am I? “She kept on talking to herself.
I explained her, the entire story and she insisted to visit her house, her mom came while we were talking and she was also surprised to see me and both of them pulled me to their house. Her Father too was surprised to see his daughter and wife who went to buy groceries coming back with his would-be son-in-law.
“Welcome Amit, how are you ? “ . “So what made you come here suddenly” he asked in a blunt way.
My presence of mind did help me there
“I am fine maama, Sindhu and myself wanted to take blessings of the Grandma after our engagement as she couldn’t make it to engagement” she was 87 and was almost bed-ridden. All of them got very impressed with my statement and Grandma was in tears after hearing me. Sindhu came near me and told “Periya Nadigan (great actor)”
We both took blessings and I had lunch and
His father started the conversation “I feel like I have seen you somewhere before” he said. “yes maama in our engagement” I said in a funny way with the fear that he may recollect that I was in the bus sitting next to Sindhu an year ago when he came to send her off.
“haha no son, before that itself , she said”
“Do you watch star movies uncle” I asked in a very jovial way
“Ho yes … why?”
Sindhu kicked my leg as were having lunch in the dining table without anybody noticing “don’t be so playful”. She whispered.
Somehow the topic got diverted and I was spared.
Left to lodge and took bus the same night to Bangalore. I informed my parents about the trip as they were in Chennai, they did not give much importance as they knew my bachelor life in Bangalore was coming to an end.
At last we got legally committed, yes Sindhu and I got married on Sep 3rd 2003.
Sindhu shook me to get my thoughts back, and she said again said “ Sheetal” her red eyes was now better though. While I was slowly coming out of my flashback, I asked her who is Sheetal and what that name has to do with cheating her?
Yes “Sheetal – why did you kill her “She asked.
(To be continued)