tagNon-EroticWill You Marry Me?

Will You Marry Me?

bybugsss©

The train eased to a stop along the long concrete platform buzzing with people all of whom were trying to reach their chosen destinations along the journeys of life. His heart was racing at torpedo speeds wondering what this amazing turn in his otherwise dull and routine life was going to bring to him. Afterall, he was going to meet the person for the first time. He did see her photograph before but then things could appear quite different when actually placed in a complex 3d environment of the life matrix. He waited until everybody had got down from his compartment. A coolie rushed to his side asking him if he needed his luggage to be carried. Luggage! Yeah, that was a piece of big luggage actually. A huge bag that hung from his shoulders and a big suitcase.

He looked out onto the platform from the door of the carriage desperately scanning the numerous faces around. None seemed to say, "Match found!". He got down onto the platform and waited. The population on the platform slowly began to thin. Soon, there were only a few people ahead of him talking leisurely perhaps waiting for someone like he was. He started walking towards the overhead bridge. Then a thought struck him. Did she forget about his arrival? Or did she run away seeing his appearance in the real world? Comeon, he didn't look that bad too. He wasn't a Shahrukh but there were numerous instances where even the mighty bollywood star was rejected by his looks in his early days. And then slowly people accepted him and began to like those things in him that really scintillated his charm. "Wait a sec! Was it her? God! Please let this not be her." he thought to himself. He didn't like the way she walked. He approached the overbridge and then confirmed that she wasn't there and that he should now call his only friend in town and see if he would be kind enough to welcome this uninvited guest.

He gave one last look in despair at the overbridge steps and there she was. He recognized her that instant. She did look a little bit different from what she looked like in the photos but the only change was that she looked with a lot more life. Happy introductions followed. And he felt strange. He knew her for some six months now. They had been pen friends. Yes pen friends even in this internet era. Because they felt letters are more close to heart than sentences on the screen. He almost knew everything about her. What she did, what her parents were, her brothers, etc. Yet he felt he didn't know anything about her. What she likes, what she hates, what she thinks, etc. There was a feeling of knowing her all the while but at the same moment that nervy thoughts of being with an absolute stranger.

They talked very little to each other on the way to her flat. Just an occasional joke about the policeman with his cowboy hat and a mention of how cool and fresh the city felt early that morning. They arrived at the flat. He had exactly four days to spend with her which also included the first day of the new year. Each felt they should make it a really memorable one. In the evening they went shopping and she bought him a lovely jacket. Then they went for a stroll along the shopping mall. The showrooms displaying their best products, dazzling discounts and exciting prizes failed to distract their attention towards each other. Or was it love? They both wondered. Then they went for a movie and returned home only after a really lavish meal at the Taj. It was one of those moments when we feel the joy in arriving at the destination of our life. They talked for sometime and then they slept.

She was woken up by the sound of the front door close. She checked the time and it was one in the morning. At first she thought it was a burglary. Then she realized it was Vaibhav. He had gone out at this hour without even telling her. Then for the first time she wondered if his real purpose of coming to the city was visiting her. She waited for a good two hours before he returned back. She closed her eyes and pretended to be asleep. She saw that he had put a bag he brought home back in his suitcase and locked it. She wanted to get up and find out what it was all about but then she thought the better of it.

She woke up the next morning as the first virgin rays of the sun graced her face. She looked at him at her side and at once she forgave him for his last night actions. All she cared for was to spend time with him... to spend a lifetime with him. After half an hour, she woke him up with a cup of coffee. As he was sipping coffee, she was reading the newspaper for him. "Atal Bihari Vajpayee warned the ISI that he won't tolerate their activities any longer. Sachin has blasted yet another magnificient hundred. The chief minister will be hoisting the tri color at the stadium grounds next morning. The shares... " went on Sindhu. He looked on at her but heard nothing. He admired at what beautiful eyes she had. He particularly was amazed at the way her eyebrows met just above her nose to form a stroke of beauty across her lovely face. And then those cheeks. He believed at that moment that Aishwarya Rai and Sushmitha Sen were God's trails before he created this masterpiece. The sipping of an empty cup brought him back to the real world.

In the afternoon, he helped her with the cooking. It was really fun cooking by the book. A little mistake here and a slight error there. Then the corrections to maintain the balance. And after an hour of extreme hardwork, they seemed satisfied but not before Vaibhav has cut his little finger of the right hand. Sindhu took his plate in one hand and with the other fed him. He felt like he was in heaven. It had been quite a large number of years since his mother fed him like that. He felt like hugging her that instant and propose to her.

But then he remembered he had a hard truth to tell her. And he was afraid that would shatter his just found paradise. He had to wait. He had missed her last birthday because he never saw the probability of meeting her those days as they were a little less than friends. And he decided that he should propose to her on her next birthday. Whatever be his commitments he should be there in the city that day. And he should be with her. And with her alone.

Sindhu had been a quite girl all her life. In her early teens, she wanted to avenge the death of her father at the hands of the ISI but with time she realized it was extremely difficult to get anywhere near an ISI agent leave alone murdering him. And that day she knew she would be much better living life with Vaibhav who was a computer professional lost in his world of website design and development. She was always fascinated the way he got into the flow at the mention of a good website. And she also felt him to be a bit childish being unaware of how bored the person opposite him might be feeling.

The next day she woke up to find that she was alone in the house. She made coffee for both expecting him to return from what she thought was his morning jog. He did return after an hour but didn't talk much. He almost involuntarily took the coffee from her hand all the while reading a map of the stadium grounds with the concentration of a bomb defuser. His reply to her repeated queries was a stern "Wait!". He didn't lift his head from the map and his dairy for another hour. His expression changed completely once he saw her disturbed face. He held her in his arms and told her that he was creating a VRML model of the stadium and would offer it to his boss back at 'Image Technologies' and see what he would say about it. She loved his interest in the job and sat beside him to help him with all the minute details of the stadium. Then he asked her a question that triggered dangerous anxieties in her. He asked if she knew where the flag would be hoisted the next day in the stadium. He observed her anxiety and told her that he wanted to make the model look really good with the flying flag included. For a second she suspected his real identity.

In the afternoon after the lunch, they both sat together almost fresh and free from the morning tensions and started planning how they are going to celebrate the start of the new year. They first thought they would go for dinner and then to a disco and come back in the morning. But then he said he wanted to make this really special. So, they baked a cake, put candles on it and blew them at midnight. Then they waltzed for a while and then sank into each other's arms.

Next morning, he woke her up early and said breakfast is ready. One look at what he called french toast killed her appitite and triggered laughter. Then he said he would go out for an hour but would be back as soon as he could. He asked her not to ask him anything now and said he would tell her everything when the time comes. She believed him. He took the small bag with him which he took the other night.

She waited for an hour and he returned. His train back to his place would be leaving in another hour. They hugged each other hoping time would stop not for a minute or two but forever. Then they looked into each other's eyes. She wanted him to say it. He wanted her to say it. Neither did. They reached the platform. Each had tears in the eyes. Each felt they would break down any moment. They wanted this moment to be over as soon as possible. The final whistle blew and he said "Please don't cry Sindhu. I'll be back for your next birthday. And I have something to tell you. And something to ask you. Please Sindhu, i would be very hurt if you cry now." And he boarded the train. She turned back and walked out of the platform into the lobby. She tried her best to control her tears but they didn't stop. She nolonger cared to stop them. Suddenly, she felt a hand on her shoulder. It was Vaibhav. "Sindhu, I thought I asked you not to cry, didn't I?" said he. He then kissed her cheek and ran to get into the moving train.

She went back to her flat. She felt miserable. She switched on the television. At first she thought it was a movie. Then she observed it was the Star News channel and live written just below the logo. She just stared at the television. The chief minister was shot at and he died on the spot. The killer was at large but eye witnesses said the killer wore metal framed glasses, was of medium height and build, clean shaven and wore Nike shoes. Then she remembered. Vibhav wore metal framed glasses, was of medium height and build, clean shaven and wore Nike shoes. She fell back on the bed tearing rolling in her eyes.

She composed herself and took the phone in her hand. She dailed the Pune Telecom Exchange and asked for the address of a 'Image Technologies' software firm. She knew the answer even before the operator told her after verifying the records. The firm didn't exist. She put the phone down and listened to the news. The Prime Minister condemened the act and blamed the ISI for murdering a true icon of the nation.

She hated Vaibhav, if at all it was his real name, that instant. She cried and cried until she remembered. He would be coming back for her birthday. And that day would be his last day. A look of satisfaction crossed over her face. She began to plan.

*****

She opened the door. He stood there with open hands. She stood still for a moment. She felt as if her long lost heart suddenly sprang out of the blue. She wanted that moment to last. To last forever. That smile which always showed how much he loved her began to dance on his lips. She travelled back in time remembering that paradise. And then she saw the hell. The hell she was living in for the past one year.

He came in and hugged her. Then he made an unusual request. He asked her to stay in one of her friend's house until the evening. He said he would personally pick her up from the place. He told her that he needed the time to prepare the flat for the special night. She obeyed. She wanted to grant this last wish of his before he would die. She allowed him to drop her at her friend's house not far from the flat.

It was seven in the evening when he came back. They didn't speak anything on the way back. When they reached the flat, he opened the door for her. He followed her and closed the door from behind. Then he switched on the lights. The sight she saw made her wonder if life can be made more beautiful. She felt sure that even paradise would have felt ashamed when compared to this heaven. Roses, daffodils, lilies, tulips. The dim lights were focused to make the flowers glow. The fragrance made her feel like floating in the air. She looked at him. That lovely smile again. She never knew love could be so beautiful. So wonderful. So graceful.

She walked over to the table at the center. Even the best of hotels would have envied the setup. A fine velvet fabric covered the table. The scattered rose petals made the table look like a bed of roses. In the middle was a candle stand. The candle burned cautiously hoping it didn't spoil the roses stuffed into the stand around the candle.

He held her hand and they moved to her chair. He tenderly held her shoulders and made her sit. Then he sat opposite her. They began the dinner. She wondered how he had learnt to cook so well in such a short time. Saying the dishes were delicious would only increase the value of the word. She started eating and she felt that sudden urge to kiss him. And then the hard truth hit her. She had different plans before she came here. And she would go accordingly. She finished her drink and asked for another.

"Oh! I am so sorry. I should have kept the champagne bottle on the table. I'll get it at once." said Vaibhav. He got up and went to the fridge to get the bottle. He came back and filled her glass. They finished the dinner. Then he started drinking his. After a few sips, he felt strange. Something was biting away sweetly inside him. He didn't care. Not then. He took out a box from his pocket and placed it before her. Then he looked into her eyes.

"Sindhu, before you open this, I need to tell you something. What I am going to tell you may make you hate me. May make you feel betrayed. May make your heart fill with anger. But listen completely and tell me what you feel only after you have digested it completely. Open..." a sudden pain rushed to his throat. "Open this box after that."
"My name is not Vaibhav as I told you. Its a lie. My name is Raj Kinsley." He felt her image blurring before him. Something was pulling him inside. Something was forcing him to stop talking. But he knew he had to go on. "I am not a software professional as I told you. Its a lie." She looked on without expression. "I am an expert shooter." She felt anger rush to her heart as his eyes started to burn. "I didn't come here to meet you. Its a lie. I came here to assasinate the chief minister. I don't work for Image Technologies. Its a lie. I work for RAW." For the first time, she felt her hands shaking. Her heart trembling. "But Sindhu, I love you. I never wanted to, but the moment I saw you, I fell in love with you. I wanted to ask for your hand in marriage. But before that...." He observed he was struggling for breath. He touched his nose and saw that he was bleeding. He didn't care. " But before that I wanted to move out of RAW. I expressed these feeling to my boss. But they didn't want me to leave. They felt my country needed me. But after much per.. persuation they appointed me as the Deputy Ambassador of the Indian Embassy in... in.. in Amsterdam." Tears were rolling uncontrollably from her eyes yet he didn't see them in the blur before his eyes. "Happy Birthday Sindhu. I love you a lot. And I.." She cleared her eyes to see why he stopped. And then a thud. His head fell onto the table. His metal framed spectacles fell on the floor and broke. She didn't move. She didn't scream. She just looked on.

Then she opened the box. A folded sheet of paper was on top. She opened it. Its a letter.

To
Raj Kinsley,
Agent Wild Hawk,
Special Commandos,
RAW

Dear Raj,
I congratulate you on the success of your recent assignment. You might have succeeded in missions much difficult to this one but this is truly a special one. The top intellegence still ponders on how the top most commander of the ISI in India aquired a position of such importance and such prestige in our country's administration. Had he not been dealt with in this manner he might even have gone on to aquire the topmost position of this nation and would have played a major part in its doom. But the most amazing part was the way he won the innocent hearts of the public. For what you have done to the nation, you should be awarded the top honours. But as you know, that will only make you a prime target of the ISI. But I am hopeful your services at your new job will see to it that your patriotism and intellegence will not go unrecognized. I once again thank you on behalf of everyone of the billion Indians for your achievement.

Yours truly,
The Prime Minister

She wiped away the tears and put the letter aside. Inside was another tiny box covered with blue velvet. She opened it. Inside was a platinum ring studded with a diamond that would have made the Kohinoor proud. She hugged it to her heart and put it on the ring finger of her left hand. At the bottom of the box was one more folded paper. She opened it.

She read the contents and put the paper aside. She poured herself another glass of champagne. She drained it all down her throat along with the pill. Then she held his hand in hers and put her head on the table looking at his face. Slowly his face blured and she closed her eyes.

The paper she had put down between them read:

I travelled a thousand miles
Overs the green valleys and seas so blue
With only one image in my heart and eyes
That of you and only you
Will you marry me?

I spent many a night
Tired and frustrated, yet without a wink
My only thought and light
Was this day, this table and this drink
Will you marry me?

I can't gift you Kashmir
Nor can I build another Taj
All I can afford is a little heart
That of your poor Raj
Will you marry me?

We'll have a house, a little garden
And children not few
I'll care for you like a pearl
And if need arise, I'll die for you
Will you marry me?

The candle burned on and after a while it slowly extinguished itself to complete its journey of life.

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