hi…i haven’t started writing this story yet, but the prologue was ready so posting it here.
It is strange how time leaves its mark even on memories. Some just fade away and disappear as though those moments never happened and some just standout – sharper and more poignant than ever – bringing with them each and every emotion that you experienced in them, multifold.
When I landed at Delhi airport, I could feel the warmth in the air. I mean that in the nice way. Not the ‘you are stuck in crowded space, being squashed with no place to go’ warmth. No. This was the one that you feel when you know you are back home. I lowered the side glass in the car, feeling the breeze caress my face, refreshing me with a pleasant coolness that was so common, up north in Himachal, this time of the year.
It wasn’t just my tired body that the breeze had refreshed. It had also unlocked the window to the past. Letting the memories out. Memories that I had locked away. Memories that I had tried to forget. Memories that I thought I had forgotten already.
As I looked out of the window, my eyes fell on sights that I remembered. Many things had changed. But as it happens in smaller towns, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Even if the place hadn’t changed much, I was a different person now. I wasn’t the old Ruhi. I was older, wiser and stronger.
This was the first time I was back in the country. Back home. First time in 10 years. It is a long time for someone to be away. Especially long someone who was close to her family. Especially long for someone who never thought it as part of her future plans.
I was never one of those who left their country with the dreams of settling abroad and making it big. Don’t get me wrong, I have dreams and ambitions. Big ones at that! But leaving was never part of the plan.
No. I was the one who had left to get away from home. To get away from him.
Without meaning to, his face flashed before my eyes. His deep brown eyes with that twinkle in them. The one that made me skip a heartbeat every time I looked into them. His mischievous smile. The one that made me break into a smile of my own, every single time I saw him.
That is until I realized that neither he nor his smile was meant for me.
My eyes snapped open. I look out at the sights passing by. Letting the breeze and the sights distract me, from the thoughts that were popping into my head, without my permission.
“Why did no one in your family come to pick us up at the airport or even send a car?” I was asked, breaking the trail of thoughts.
I bit my lip feeling guilty as I glanced at him.
“What did you do?” he asked narrowing his eyes at me
“What do you mean what did I do? Why would I do something?” I asked trying to distract him
“You are biting you lip” he said raising his eyebrow “I know you do that when you have done something bad”
“I wasn’t biting my lip” I said primly, jutting my chin at him, challenging him to counter
“Roo!” he said looking at me pointedly. Tarun always called me Roo. That was his nickname for me. And that pointed look was his way of giving me third degree.
“Okay! Okay!” I said giving up the charade “I sent them the wrong flight details.” His eyes widened hearing me say that “Relax, I messaged them after we landed to let them know we were on our way home” I assured him.
“Why would you do that?” he asked surprised
He didn’t know my family!
I sighed “If I hadn’t, they would have come to the airport with dhol, nagada (drums) and garlands” I said rolling my eyes “My cousins are a bit crazy”
“Really!” he said wide eyed “Does that really happen? I thought it was just in Bollywood movies. I wanted that” he complained even as I could see him trying to contain his excitement
I shook my head “I am sure they will have those at home to welcome us”
“Oh! This is so much fun!” he said with almost a childlike glee
I laughed seeing his antics.
That was Tarun for you! Tarun Kakkar. Crazy! Wacky! Funny! He had been my best friend for major part of those 10 years that I was away from home. And yes, he was also my fiancé!
He was the reason I was back home after 10 years. And I was the reason he was in India, for the first time ever!
We were getting married. In 10 days. In 10 days, I was going to stop being Ruhi Sethi and was going to become Mrs Ruhi Kakkar.
I was dreading it! Not the wedding or the name change. I was actually looking forward to marrying Tarun. Tarun was wonderful. He made me laugh! I was looking forward to holding his hand and spending the rest of my life with him.
I was dreading spending the next 10 days with my family.
Don’t misunderstand me. I still love them. Love them to death. And for most part, my immediate family was fairly normal – that is once you change the definition of normal! It was my extended family that was making my blood pressure shoot up.
When you threw my extended family into the mixture with my immediate family, it was like a chemical chain reaction. You could never predict what was going to happen. Except that it would be some sort of a mess. Every time we got together, it was like a badly put together circus not a family get-together. We were an acquired taste!
I glanced at Tarun. He was blabbering excitedly about things he had seen in movies and wanted to experience. I wasn’t worried about him. He would fit right in with my family.
No. I was worried about myself. I was worried about my sanity.
‘Babaji menu sambhal lena’ (God, please protect me) I quickly prayed in my head as we entered Manali city municipality.
I was in for one hell of a ride. And I wasn’t sure I was up for it!
Ruhi Sethi – Ragini
Sahil Tandon – Sanskar
Tarun Kakkar – Laksh
Links to previous chapters