“Swara we need to talk. We can go to a café, but I really think either your place or mine is
better.” Sanskar asked
“Your place is fine. You are right we need to talk and coffee on your balcony sounds ideal.”
Once again they drove in silence and when they entered the penthouse they still had not spoken a
word. Their clasped hands and the looks they exchanged were their only communication.
Once inside the unit, Sanskar made the coffee. Even within the confines of the apartment he
refused to let her out of his sight. Still unable to believe, that she was truly there and still unable
to comprehend the change in her. He had seen beauty in the ‘plain Swara’, but now he found
They carried their coffee out to the balcony. Once again they began to clear the misconceptions
and set new ground rules for their life together. No more running away – that was the first
commandment. When the sun had set and the chilly night air made its presence felt, they went
indoors. Her engagement ring was back on her finger. Happiness now resided in both their eyes.
When the doorbell rang, Sanskar went to open the door, and found Ragini and Laksh walk in
looking sheepish. Then just as he had done earlier that evening, they too, froze.
“Swara? Is that really you?” Ragini asked
“Phew! What happened to our ‘plain Jane’? And I am meaning that in the nicest way.” Laksh whistled
“You both should be sacked over this.” Sanskar exploded at them, still smiling.
“On the contrary, we were thinking, we have earned a promotion.” Ragini laughed back.
Then looking at Swara’s engagement ring, Ragini said, “Sanskar if I was you, I would not go for a long engagement. She needs a wedding band to secure that ring in place.” She joked but there
was seriousness in her eyes as they met Sanskar’s.
“Is a week too long?” Sanskar question was his reply.
“A week, oooh” And then she was hugging and kissing them again. Laksh was still too stunned
by the change in Swara to say anything.
“And we are in desperate need of a matron of honor and a best man.” Sanskar said
“We’d love to.” Ragini said “Is Suraj giving you away?” She added looking at Swara.
“Yes, he is. Ragini you should have told me. How long have you know?” Swara asked
“That you and Sanskar had a thing for each other; since I came back to work last week. That Suraj
was your grandfather, since the night he came and spoke against Sanskar. He followed me after I
left your place, and had coffee with us. That’s when he told us everything.” Ragini revealed
“You mean, Suraj was in Swara’s bad books because he spoke ill of me.” Sanskar felt strangely elated at the thought.
Swara smiled, but before she could tease him with her reply, the door- bell rang again.
“Someone please reassure me that I did not organise a party tonight, and forget all about it?”
“Suraj, Parvati, what are you both doing here?” Sanskar was surprised to see them.
“When Ragini said she was coming over, we could not miss out on the excitement now could
we?” Parvati said bubbling with joy.
“Well, we thought we would come over and give you the good news. The wedding is on Sunday.
Everything has been organised, except the wedding outfits. Sanskar can you spare Swara from work
for the rest of this week; we have a lot to do starting with the wedding dress etc. I need her for all
of that.” Parvati asked
“ Grandee, it’s r..really busy at work and I have caused enough delays. I might take a couple of
afternoons off and work the fittings around that.” Swara said
“No you won’t, you are going to take the time off as your Grandmother suggested.” Ragini cut in
“I can manage our work. If there is an overload, I’ll bring the urgent stuff over. Beside I don’t
want anyone at work to see you until the wedding. Let’s just say, it’s going to be sweet revenge
on Sunday.” Swara knew this was a reference to all the people who had passed what were once
very hurtful ‘put downs’.
“I agree with Ragini, you should take the time off. It will also give you a chance to be with your
grandparents.” Sanskar said. Then looking at Parvati he continued “Parvati are you sure the entire
office is not going to be too many people. There is almost a hundred staff in all. I would have
taken time off, but I have several things to settle before the wedding.” Sanskar asked
“Nonsense, I have catered for a thousand in the past. If Ragini can give out the invitations at the
office, all things will be running on target.” Parvati replied.
“Grandee I hope you haven’t ordered a bride and groom too?” Swara laughed
“Don’t laugh Swara, she almost did. I had to remind her, that Sanskar and you exist and have
already taken those roles.” Suraj added and watched with pleasure as everyone found the humour
in his comment.
Swara was not at all hungry, but everyone else insisted on going out for a meal. They settled on a
Thai restaurant that was on Suraj’s list of ‘good ones’. He promised them the best ‘satay chicken’
ever. And so they set off in their respective cars.
While driving, she once again offered to go in to work. Sanskar refused to look at that option any
more. She had not even taken one day from her annual leave in five years. He said it was time to
take it now. He would bring back whatever she needed from her work.
The food was indeed delicious, but neither Sanskar nor Swara had the appetite to eat. Every time
Sanskar looked at Swara, the butterflies in her stomach flew hither thither.
Sanskar was in no better shape. By the time the dessert menu came around, everyone had given up
on asking the two of them to eat anymore. They finalised the wedding arrangements and then
came to the honeymoon. For an instant, Sanskar saw alarm in Swara’s eyes and then she looked
“Sorry to disappoint you all, but that is one arrangement I am looking after.” Sanskar took over the
situation completely. He would have loved to go to secluded island on the Great Barrier Reef.
But in that setting, with Swara looking the way she did, even a saint would have difficulty
keeping his promise. He was a mere mortal, so totally in love with her. For him it would have
been impossible. And neither did he want to pressure her in anyway.
The rest of the evening was passed deciding other arrangements, but the wedding dress and now
the honeymoon were taboo subjects.
Ragini and Laksh left soon after dinner. Swara offered to go home with Parvati and Suraj, but Sanskar
would not hear of it and insisted on driving her himself. Swara had agreed to stay on at Suraj and
Parvati’s place until the wedding. The three felt they needed the time together. And Sanskar too, felt
it would be better if Swara did not stay alone.
On the drive home, Sanskar did bring up the subject of their honeymoon. “Swara is there any place you especially want to see?”
“Sanskar we don’t have to go anywhere. I am quite happy to just sit on your balcony and watch the world go by” Swara replied.
“No way!. Between your grandparents, our work, and our loving friends, the phone will never stop ringing. No we need to get away if we want time to ourselves.” Sanskar said
“In that case, I’d like to see ‘your’ Hayman Island” Swara replied.
“My Hayman Island? How did you know I wanted to go there? The only reason I have hesitated
in suggesting it myself, is because, I don’t want you to think I am pressuring you in any way.”
“I heard you talk about it when you returned from the conference. Laksh had said something
about ‘you should go with a woman’ and you replied, ‘Not just any woman. That place is for my
bride.” Swara reminded him
“You remembered. I didn’t realize that you had even heard that. You are the only one who had
never shown any interest in my conversations.”
“Maybe my problem was that I was always too aware of you, of what you were saying, of what
you were doing. I wish I could have let the past go a long time ago. I have wasted so much time”
“Are you sure you are ready to let the past go now Swara?” Sanskar asked. He wanted her to let go
of it in every way.
“Can we take one day at a time Sanskar. I know I am fine about going to Hayman Island, but
beyond that I don’t know.” Swara replied honestly
“In that case, Hayman Island it is. And you take all the time in the world. We have the rest of our lives now.”
“Sanskar, I am truly the luckiest woman in the world” Swara said with teary eyes
“Not half as lucky as I am to have found you” with equally sincerity.
Suddenly Swara reached out and clasped his hand with hers and raised his to her lips. He left his
hand in hers for the rest of the journey home, gently unraveling his when the gears needed to be
The Ferrari stopped in front of the gate. This time it opened automatically. Sanskar drove and
parked beside Suraj’s car.
He came in briefly but declined the offer of coffee. Five minutes later he said goodbye to Suraj
and Parvati and left. Swara saw him to the car. It was only when he had opened the car door, did he
lean over, and raising her chin with his finger, kiss her lightly. But that too was enough to set
Swara’s heart beating so fast that she felt her heart would explode.
Sanskar had intended a quick peck on the cheek, but found he was kissing her instead. It had taken
a mammoth effort to pull away. What had gladdened him was the fact that it was he, who pulled
back, not her. And when he saw the love in her eyes, he knew, all they needed was time and
everything would work out. He was sure of it.
As Sanskar drove away, he looked in the rear view mirror. Swara stood in the same spot as she
watched him drive away. Even as he turned into the street, she was still standing there.
Credit to: JANPA