Kuch kuch hota hai? Really?
Yet, despite her skepticism, Rajani couldn’t help but envy Shikha – she sounded so happy. Shikha was lucky to have found her soul mate. Was Harsha her true soul mate? But why didn’t she feel any connection to him? Perhaps they would grow to be friends, partners and lovers – there was no rush, she comforted herself. That would be better, logical and feasible path, rather than instant headlong fall into a mad rush of emotions shown in Bollywood movies. But who would have thought the practical, cool calm and collected Shikha would be the one to slip?
Rajani giggled to herself. Buddhu Shikha! And she was the mature calm collected one! Hahaha…
“Have you submitted your leave application?” Harsha called up.
“What’s the point? They aren’t going to sanction it in any case.”
“How will you know unless you submit your application?”
“They won’t give me leave. I know. They are very fussy and particular about attendance.”
“But this is a special case.”
“That doesn’t matter to them.”
“Submit your application at least. Do your part of the job. Avoiding the problem wont make it go away will it?”
Exactly what Suryakant had said. Cornered, Rajani had little option but to take up the issue with the college authorities.
“I submitted my application. They aren’t agreeing.” She couldn’t quite hide the triumphant note in her voice.
“Who’s not agreeing to what?” Harsha was patient.
“The college authorities aren’t agreeing to my leaving for more than a week in the middle of the term.”
“What’s their problem? We are paying their fees aren’t we?”
Rajani felt odd at the easy and natural way Harsha said ‘we’ – yet it was heartwarming. For the first time she felt, he was on her side, by her side – perhaps this was what they meant by partners?
“I don’t know what is their problem. But it’s their policy.”
“So what happens in case someone does take leave?”
“Either they are suspended or they have to miss their vacations and attend college during summer vacations. They run these short Diploma courses then – credit hours can be earned during those days.”
“I think they are being unnecessarily fussy and poking their noses in matters that don’t concern them.” Harsha was very annoyed. “Get me their phone numbers, I will talk to them.”
“No!” Rajani was scandalized, “You can’t do that!”
“Why not? We are going to be married and as your future husband, I have the right to decide my wife’s future…”
“Speaking of which,” Rajani interrupted, “I heard our horoscopes don’t match?”
“Yes. They don’t. But so what? Besides, our punditji doesn’t find anything wrong in our horoscopes. I don’t understand why your mother had to go and consult…”
“She is also getting her daughter married.” Stung, Rajani retorted. “She naturally would consult her own trusted astrologer.”
“Trusted people are not the most qualified.”
“But what about the adverse consequences to you if the wedding goes through? Both punditjis agree on that don’t they?”
“Are you looking for reasons not to marry me?” He neatly turned the tables.
Rajani was taken aback at the blunt attack on her covert operations. “No…no I was just concerned about your well-being…”
“Do you believe in all this hocus-pocus?”
“I asked you first.”
“I am not sure if I believe in it or not but if somebody makes a negative comment or observation it is bound to impact our thinking and raise concerns and doubts isn’t it?”
“Don’t worry about me. The punditji will tell me how to overcome the ill-effects. I will be safe don’t worry.”
“So keen to marry me that you don’t mind putting your life at risk?” Rajani couldn’t help herself.
Harsha didn’t deign to answer her half-joking half-serious comment. “Follow up on your leave.” He ordered.
Rajani laughed to herself. At least he didn’t deny it! She thought a bit smugly. “What’s there to follow up?” She said lightly. “I told you there’s no scope of mid-term holidays.”
“Fine! Let’s call their bluff shall we?”
“What do you mean?” Rajani’s amusement vanished.
“I mean you take leave. Let’s see if they actually suspend you from college.”
“But what if they do chuck me out?!” Rajani was horrified.
“All the better. You can come home where you belong.” Harsha was unconcerned.
“No! You promised me…” Rajani choked and burst into tears.
“Ok ok. Relax. I didnt mean that. I meant I am sure they wouldn’t go that far.”
“But what if they did?”
“Okay fine! Write another application stating the reason for your application and that you will attend college in the summer vacations. And since you will be forgoing your summer vacations may as well take a longer break…”
“Let me check with them,” Rajani cut in hastily.
“So what did they say?” Suryakant asked.
“They were adamant about not allowing a break longer than two weeks,” Rajani reported, “and that too with the condition that I would forfeit my entire summer vacations of 40 days.”
“They are really being very unreasonable I must say. They should be more understanding.” Suryakant was quite put out. “Rani, I think you should withdraw from college…”
“Papa!” Rajani was aghast, “you promised…”
“Hear me out Rani,” Suryakant scolded, “and take admission in Delhi. There are so many good colleges here and you can stay at home…”
“But I would lose a year.” Rajani wasn’t too keen on the idea of staying at home, “what if I don’t get admission?”
“Don’t worry about all that. What is one year? Besides, I am sure your new family will ‘arrange’ your admission in DU. Let me talk to them…”
“No Papa! Please don’t do that. Harsha is okay with my studying here and two weeks is not that short a time.”
“But what’s your problem Rani. This would be ideal situation for your newly wedded life.”
“No Papa, it just doesn’t feel right. I don’t want to be distracted from my studies. Please Papa, promise you wont suggest this to them, please Papa,” Rajani was getting hysterical.
“As you wish Rani. But I really feel you should give the idea some serious consideration. It would be the best of both worlds and easier for you. I am very concerned about how you will steer two boats at the same time…”
“That’s why I didn’t want to get married Papa. I wanted to finish my studies first. You only…”
“Okay beta, bye beta, the phone bill is going to be astronomical,” Suryakant disconnected the phone.
Rajani burst into tears and sobbed her heart out. Bhagwanji please do something. Please. I really don’t want to get married. Please. Please. Please. She begged over and over again.
But her pleas were met with silence.
Disheartened and depressed Rajani sought solace and refuge in numbers. But her heart wasn’t in it. She railed at the injustice being meted out to her, every fiber of her being rebelled at the looming incarceration from which there seemed to be no escape.
Just as she thought things couldn’t get worse, she got a late night phone call from her parents.
“Harsha met with an accident.”
Calvin went missing – finally caught up with him 😀
Click here for Chapter 124: The Accident