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She turned to smile into the eyes of her love and saw the wealth of understanding there. The hand in hers squeezed, telling her, let me continue.
“So Meera, tell me, how did you guys meet?” asked the reporter on the eight o’clock special.
Meera smiled, “I come from a very conservative family. I was never allowed to stay for an extra hour, either after school or work. I never participated in any events that required me to stay back. I wasn’t too close with the people at work for these very reasons.
They would all make plans to go out somewhere after work. To decompress, they called it. To have fun. I had to come back home so that my parents didn’t worry about anything untoward happening to me. But it was more to satisfy the wagging tongues of the many aunties in the family who were appalled that my parents were ‘letting me work’ instead of getting me married.” She shyly ducked her head, “In the second year of my work, I was shifted to a new project. At first, I was very skeptical because I was comfortable working with my earlier team. They never called me for any extra hour or on the weekends. They never even questioned the oddity of my insistence of leaving work at five every day.”
She turned to smile into the eyes of her love and saw the wealth of understanding there. The hand in hers squeezed, telling her, let me continue. She nodded, and the deep, heavy voice chuckled, “The first day Meera entered our bay, it felt like a cat had lost her way. Oh, she is fierce. Don’t mistake that! But that day, she looked everywhere and nowhere, all at once. I was on a call, but one look at her, and the receiver slipped to the floor.
I…I still remember the naïve timidity in her tan eyes. It grabbed me by the throat and pulled me into a slow daze. I couldn’t help but stare at her. She briefly looked at me, then dropped her eyes to the floor. With the bout of jitters, her dark curls danced all around her pretty, pretty face. That smooth, dark skin! All I could do was grin because, by God, I had fallen in love! I quickly pulled down my ball-cap, straightened my hair into some semblance, then looked down at my shirt. The creases on them were beyond repair. So, I just tugged on my leather jacket and stood up. Since my desk was the nearest to the entrance, she approached me and asked – “Hello, where can I find Pranali Ravindran, please?”
It took me a whole minute to understand what she was saying because I was lost again. Then Meera – ha ha – repeated her question a little louder, and my mind snapped to attention. I gushed like a fool- “Me. I…I am Pranali Ravindran!””
The newly married couple laughed into the camera.
This short story had been shortlisted for the March 2021 Muse of the Month short fiction contest.
Image source: a still from the web series Little Things
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Manasi Diwakar is a writer, and sucker for love stories. When not writing or reading
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