“Am getting married Maya!” Shruti exclaimed.
“Wow. . . thats great news! When? Where? Who?” Maya screamed back a million questions.
“He is a software engineer working for Google and settled in America! A prize catch it seems! Mom has sent me his photo!” Shruti waved the envelope frantically.
“Open it! Open it!” Maya shouted and tried pulling the envelope away from Shruti’s outstretched arms.
“Easy baby . . . Easy!” Shruti warned, “Here goes . . .!”
She tore the envelope with a whoosh and pulled out the photo.
“Tadaa!” she chanted and showed the picture to Maya.
Maya was silently staring at the photo, all the while mouthing silently.
“Hey! What happened?? How is he looking? Tell me!” Shruti rocked her shoulders.
Maya wasn’t listening . . . She was transported to a world of her own.
* * *
Those were beautiful times.
With her eyes closed, Maya rewound her intimate moments with him and played it on a loop inside her memory.
“Will you marry me Maya?” he had asked.
“Is that the way you propose Vishnu?! Huh! Wonder how I ever fell in love with you!” Maya had shot back.
Vishnu smiled. It was a smile that teased her. It was a smile that made her stomach do a somersault. She cursed herself. Have some self-control Maya, she warned her heart.
“So . . . what do I have to do now? I don’t have prior experience in proposing anyone” he reasoned.
“Well . . . you have to go down on one knee and then prop up the question you dumbo!” she laughed.
“Ohoo . . . ok then!” he quipped and lay himself down on the floor.
“Heyyy, what are you doing Vishnu? Get up . . . Get up . . . you’re not supposed to lie down idiot!” she tried pulling him up frantically.
“This is a new way of proposing!” Vishnu quipped. “Will you marry me Maya?”
“You monkey, get up first! You are embarrassing me . . . There are people watching us!” she exclaimed.
“Tell me that you will marry me first!”
“Arrgh…you donkey, you just wait till I beat you to pulp!” Maya screamed sheepishly looking around at all the people staring at him. “I will marry you . . . now get up!”
Vishnu stood up grinning widely.
Maya punched him in the chest.
“Monkey…!” he replied with a straight face.
She laughed. He was really a mental case. Maybe that’s why she loved him so much.
“You are really a pain in the back Vishnu” she quipped.
“So are you Maya. . .” He was still grinning.
She had punched him back again.
“I love you Vishnu . . . and, am ready to be yours forever!”
“I love you beyond the world itself darling . . . I will live and die for you. You will be the only one I will always love. My wife. My world. My life.” he said, taking her arms in his and kissing it gently with his lips.
* * *
Tears welled up in Maya’s eyes as she looked at the photo.
“Hey what happened dear?” Shruti asked concerned.
“Nothing . . . Nothing” Maya caught herself. “I was just thinking about how happy I was for you!” she smiled weakly.
Shruti smiled back. She seemed convinced.
“So how is the guy? Mom said he is a prize catch!” she beamed.
“Ya he is . . . surely he is” Maya replied.
“Yippee!!!” Shruti jumped up and punched the air. “The wedding is in two weeks it seems! You will be by my side won’t you?”
“Ya dear . . . I will” she nodded, holding back her tears.
“What is his name by the way?” she asked, even though every inch of her body knew the answer.
“Vishnu it seems! Vishnuvardhan!” Shruti beamed.
Maya nodded. ‘You have gone so far away from me, Vishnu’ she thought to herself.
Tears flowed down her eyes as she thought about the silly fights that led to their breakup. She hurriedly lifted her fingers and wiped them away and put on a smile instinctively.
Shruti squeezed her hand and hugged her happily. Maya hugged her back.
“What will you do if I leave you Vishnu?” she had asked as they lay on her bed together one night.
“I will die darling . . . I will die” he had said, fiddling with her luscious long hair.
Maya smiled. She had stopped crying.
Tears are only for the dustbin.