“Mind of a woman, even gods cannot read, what chance a man stands,” thus goes the legend. Given the scope of success so difficult, Rathin has avoided the path, altogether. Instead, he tried to find his niche in academics and career building. He studied in an unisex school, excelled in college to excel, went abroad for specialization. Fully loaded with foreign degree, he came back and joined at a mercantile farm. Relationship, marriage, family remained far far away from his consciousness. Life works in a mysterious way. You never know what awaits in the next turn. Neither did Rathin.
Once a year, every year, Rathin takes a break from city. He goes to his favorite resort close to a reserve forest. This year was no exception. When he got down on the platform, hot summer day was almost over, but evening had not taken charge yet. He always loved this moment. Two days of complete freedom. As always he waited for the train to disappear in the horizon, before he made his way out.
A pickup vehicle was waiting outside, but this time there was another passenger.
“Hi, I am Shakti,”
“To Jungle Lodge?”
“Obviously!” Rathin wanted to retort, “you are sitting in their car,” He simply said “sure”.
He did not like “disruption of his regular routine one bit. “Now I have to talk, there goes my peace and quiet weekend.”
They ended up having dinner together. Not by design as a date, but because in this season they were only two guests in the lodge. It was easier to serve both of them in one table. Not only dinner, all the meals thereafter. Rathin ordered his lunch in his room. Shakti dragged him out, “eating in you room! Are you nuts? Come out let us eat together.”
They took jungle safari, morning and evening together in one jeep. Resort management had made such arrangement keeping their budget in mind. Talk of design of destiny. All through, Shakti did most of the the talking. It emerged, “Shakti works for a private company, likes to travel, loves photography, single and not inclined to a relationship.” While Rathin was introvert, regular routine bound and tongue tied. Shakti was talkative, outgoing, strong, and take charge kind of person. Can there be more mismatch? All said and done, Rathin grudgingly admitted to himself, “weekend went not so badly, afterall!”
Upon his return, Rathin tried to immerse himself in his routine life. But something was amiss. He could not pin point, but things were not as before. He slipped a deadline, surprising his boss. “My highly paid workhorse is slipping, everything alright Rathin? You seem to be distracted!” Rathin was embarrassed. But he did not know what it was.
Off and on, face of Shakti kept on appearing on his mind. Her infectious laughter, constant chatter, insistence on doing things her way, kept on coming back to him.
“Whats wrong with me?”
“It looks to be a matter of heart, my friend. Technically you may call it a burglary, common people like us call it love.” his only guide on societal matters, Sam, advised.
“Love! You must be joking! Why would she fall in love with me?”
”Who said she has fallen for you? It is you who is in a ditch”
Ever studious, hard working Rathin could solve many scientific mysteries. He was clueless about this mysterious way of his mind.
“What should I do?”
“Why don’t you ask her out for dinner?”
“Ask her out! Are you mad? What if she says no?”
“At least you will know? There will be others.”
After meticulous planning and a lot of deliberations on social complexities, Rathin sent two tickets for a play, and a dinner invite in an envelope.Separately he also sent a bunch of balloons and a birthday greeting card. (This was Sam’s idea).
“Rathin why did you send me birthday card? It is not my birthday?”
“I thought you may call and this will get us talking.”
“Are you an idiot? Who is advising you?”
“ Are you coming for dinner or not?”
“Be there, to find out” phone was disconnected.
Peace returned to turbulent mind of Rathin. He could concentrate on his work.
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