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After years of living as a single mother after the death of her husband, Navika is used to being on her own. What happens when she goes to her first party in years?
Navika’s world revolved around her twin daughters Sara and Tara. Being a single parent to two cute and energetic girls was not an easy job.
Over the years she had managed to balance her duties between office and home perfectly well. After the untimely death of her husband, Saurabh, she had taken full charge of her life and the twins. Her in-laws who lived nearby were always ready to help in case of emergencies. Her successful career kept her busy during the week but her weekends were totally devoted to her daughters.
Sara & Tara went to a reputed school in the city and loved to draw & paint, and had a passion for dancing. Navika found a good art school in the neighbourhood and the girls spent their Saturdays taking drawing & painting classes in the morning and dance lessons in the evening. This gave Navika some time to finish the pending chores of the week, and spend time either reading or go shopping at the nearby mall.
It was a Saturday morning. Navika was at the mall when she heard someone call out her name. She tried to follow the voice which came from the farthest corner of one shop. She was pleasantly surprised to see her old college friend, Devaki, walking towards her. It was almost a decade since they last met.
They hugged each other as her friend Devaki’s husband looked on with a smile on his face. Before Devaki could say anything, he extended his hand saying, “Hi I am Vasu, Devaki’s husband. Devaki speaks a lot about her college friends, so I am familiar with most of the names. Have we met before?” Navika replied while shaking his hand “I was there at your wedding, but you may not remember me, I looked different in those days with long hair and traditional clothes.”
Devaki had a surprised look on her face as she said, “Navika I almost did not recognize you. You have changed so much, look at you, short hair, trendy clothes and all these fashionable accessories, this suits you so much!” She gave her an admiring look.
“Yeah, Saurabh introduced me to this look and then I loved it so much that I retained it, even after he had gone,” she said with a smile.
“I am very sorry for your loss Navika, I got the news from one of our friends, but I did not know how to contact you. You got married after I shifted to US and I did not have your current address or phone number” Devaki said in a sad tone.
“I was about to get a cup of coffee for myself if you girls want to have something I can get you”. Vasu said. Devaki asked for a cup of hot chocolate, her favourite. “And what will you have Navika? “The same as Devaki” she replied.
They found a table to sit at the food court and while the two friends chatted, Vasu got hot chocolate for them. It was their favourite drink from college days, and Navika was totally in the mood to have one that day. The two friends got busy catching up on the lost years and totally forgot Vasu who was now busy surfing on his mobile phone. There was a lot they wanted to talk about, but Navika had to leave soon as she had to pick up the girls from their classes.
Devaki invited her to their house, “Vasu has invited a few of his friends over for dinner next Saturday, why don’t you also join us?” Navika was not used to going to such parties and was reluctant to accept the invitation. She brushed it off saying she will try to make it if her in-laws agree to take care of the twins.
It was a message from Devaki on Friday that reminded her of the invitation. That evening while talking to her mother-in-law she casually mentioned about the party invitation and her inability to go because of the girls. Her mother-in-law immediately volunteered to look after the girls and insisted that she should go to the party.
When she informed the girls about her plan, they were happy with the idea of spending a night with their grandparents. The girls were looking forward to having their favourite dishes that grandma made, and listen to the stories grandpa often told them. They helped Navika choose a dress for the party and got busy packing their own bags for the night. Navika dropped them at their grandparents’ house and promised her mother-in-law to come back home before midnight.
She reached the party early which gave her some time to chat with Devaki. Vasu had invited a few of his friends to the party and they introduced her to them. She enjoyed mixing up with the crowd at the party. After Saurabh’s death, she had mostly avoided social gatherings. But today she found herself enjoying the party. By the time she reached her in-law’s house the girls had slept off. Her father-in-law narrated all the details of time spent with the girls to her. Her mother-in-law suggested that she should go out more often with her friends and leave the girls with them. “I am overwhelmed at your kind & considerate gesture Maa, but I don’t like to enjoy without the girls,” she told her mother-in-law before going to sleep with the girls.
Next morning, as they were having their morning tea, her father-in-law suggested that she should consider getting married again. Navika was stunned at his suggestion. Her mother-in-law also agreed with him saying “After many years we saw a happy glow on your face last night. You need someone to share the responsibilities of life, I think you should give it a thought”. Her father-in-law said “Beta, even if we want, we cannot guarantee to be with you forever. Till our health supports us we will do our best to support you morally as well as physically. But if you agree to remarry, we will be able to leave this world peacefully”.
Navika had never given remarriage a thought. She could understand her in-law’s concern for her and the girls. But her getting involved in a relationship again was risky, she was more concerned about the future of the girls. She was unsure if any man would be ready to take the responsibility of the twins. Just for the sake of her in-laws, she agreed to give it a thought. That night she could not sleep with all the memories of the years spent with Saurabh clouded her mind. Finally, sleep overcame her tired mind in the wee hours of the morning.
A few weeks passed, Navika had totally forgotten the talk of the proposal of marriage. She got a call one day from her father-in-law informing her details about the matrimonial column where he had registered her name. Over the next few weeks, he sent her various links of prospective grooms who were either divorcees or widowers. Ironically most of them wanted a bride to take care of their children but were not ready to take the responsibility of her daughters. She was relieved that it would be next to impossible for her father-in-law to find a match and thought he would eventually drop this mad search.
It was Saturday again and the twins were at their art school when she got a call from her mother-in-law asking her to come over for lunch. She accepted the invitation and decided to take the girls directly from their classes. When she reached her in-laws’ place her father-in-law informed her that a gentleman contacted him with a proposal to marry Navika, and they had invited this gentleman over for tea. “Who is this man Baba, why did you invite him without consulting me?” Navika was not happy with the situation. “His name is Vinod and he said he met you at Devaki’s house”.
Navika remembered meeting Vinod at Devaki’s party. He was Vasu’s closest friend. He had lost his wife very soon after marriage in a plane crash and did not have any kids of his own. After that incident, he had concentrated most of his time in his business. She remembered Devaki telling her at the party that day. She had liked Vinod at first sight, because of his positive attitude and friendly nature. Today she was nervous and tensed to face him and kept herself busy in the kitchen with the preparations. Vinod managed to impress her in-laws over tea. Sara & Tara also seemed to be enjoying his company. “Navika, I am glad we met at Devaki’s house that day,” Vinod said in front of everyone.
“That day after you left the party, Vinod told us about his desire to propose you for marriage, he had totally fallen for you. I told him that day, you will never agree to it, but when you told me about your father-in-laws’ proposal, I thought that maybe it was a sign and the two of you were destined to meet at our house. Vinod is a very loving and kindhearted person Navika, and I think you two are perfect for each other” Devaki finally revealed the secret she had hidden for so long.
“Vinod loves kids and will be happy to be a father of the twins” Vasu added. There was no reason for Navika to refuse such a proposal. But she was still not sure about what she wanted. “I think we should take into consideration what the twins think about this proposal before we take any final decision”, Vinod voiced out his thoughts. Navika was relieved that everyone agreed to his proposal. Before they left Vinod planned to meet Navika and the girls for lunch and a movie the next weekend.
After a few weeks, Navika started to feel comfortable in Vinod’s company. The girls also developed a liking for him. She had spoken to Sara & Tara about the marriage. They took some time to get adjusted to the idea of having a father in their life again. A simple ceremony was planned where only the closest family and friends were invited. The only thing the girls were not happy about was leaving their house and shifting into Vinod’s flat. Navika somehow managed to change their mind with a promise that they can spend Sundays with their grandparents.
Navika had never thought her life would change so much after marriage. As the days passed by all her fears were put to rest. She considered herself lucky to have found a perfect life partner and a caring father in Vinod. Making this choice was not an easy job for Navika as there was always an innate fear of something going wrong again.
“The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters and that was so true.”
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