Somewhere in Hauz Khas, Delhi there was a big 3 storied house. The nameplate read -
The house belonged to Mr. Alok Mathur a businessman, his wife Ragini, a daughter Aarya and a son Akash.
Aarya was a software engineer who used to work in Pune. However, she had resigned and returned from Pune a month back. She was a petite slim girl with gorgeous eyes and a childlike innocent face.
Right now she was sitting quietly on the dining table sipping her tea.
Ragini fussed around the table serving breakfast and urging Aakash a 16-year-old high school student to keep away his mobile game.
" Come on Akash. Keep that thing away you will be late for school." She said sternly.
"Yes, mom just a minute." He replied without looking up.
"I don't understand what to do with this boy. Aarya please tell him to concentrate on his studies."
Aakash smirked "Didi is a game designer mom. Hey, sis look at this new cool game....."
"I don't want to talk about any games! Don't mention that to me ever!" She almost shouted.
Aakash went quiet and looked at her surprised. Ragini looked worried "Aarya? Are you ok?"
Arya composed herself "I am sorry Akash I didn't mean to be so harsh. Mom, I am not feeling well. I am going back to my room." She got up and left.
Ragini continued looking at her until she disappeared from her view. Later Ragini found Aarya lying on her bed staring at the ceiling.
She sat down on the bed and gently caressed her forehead. Aarya closed her eyes.
"Aarya ever since you have returned you seem different, is something bothering you?"
Aarya replied without opening her eyes " nothing mother. I am fine."
"You haven't been out of the house at all. You haven't even met your friends here. You can tell me I am your mother "
Aarya turned and laid her head in Ragini's lap afraid that her mom might catch her expression.
"I am just confused mom, I didn't like my job in Pune so I resigned. I am still trying to figure out what to do with my life."
"Is that all? Good that you left Pune. You should have never gone there anyway but you never listen to me. Anyway, now that you are here I am sure you will Figure out something."
Aarya quickly wiped away a stubborn tear that had escaped from her eyes before Ragini could see. If her parents found out the real reason for her return. They would be heartbroken.
"You are right mom. I should have never gone to Pune" She whispered.
That evening Alok Mathur entered happily into his house.
"You look really happy dear?" Ragini said while offering him tea.
"I have some very good news. Shashank is coming back from the USA next month and guesses what Mr. Bhatnagar asked me today?"
"What?" Ragini said.
"He wants Shashank to marry Aarya. They have been our friends for so long I couldn't say No."
Ragini's face lit up " Thats wonderful news but we should take Aarya's consent first. I don't think she would say no but we still we should ask her."
"Of course! My daughter has always made me proud. Her wedding is my dream. I can't wait to see her dressed as a bride." Mr. Alok beamed.
Unknown to them, Aarya had overheard their conversation. She clutched the railings of the stairs. She could not even think of a relationship after what happened in Pune. She contemplated refusing the wedding but her parents beaming faces sent her heart in turmoil.
She heard her mother's footsteps and immediately retreated back into her bedroom and picked up a book to appear busy.
Ragini entered her room carrying a tray with a teacup on it.
Aarya immediately got up and took the tray from Ragini "mom why did you bring the tea. You could have called me."
Ragini smiled " oh ! it's nothing! Look I have to ask you something."
She sat down with her on the bed and said "Aarya do you like Shashank?"
"He has always been my good friend mom. Yeah, I do like him." Aarya knew what was coming.
"Well, Mr. Bhatnagar has proposed marriage between Shashank and you. Your papa and I are very happy about it. They are very good people and you have practically grown up together. What do you think about it?"
Aarya looked at her mother. She had never looked so happy if she said No they would be devastated.
"What does Shashank think about this?" Aarya asked.
"Well if he hadn't agreed Mr. Bhatnagar wouldn't have approached us. Do you like him?" Ragini looked hopefully.
Aarya contemplated her answer "mom you can do whatever you see fit. I will marry whoever you ask." Aarya replied.
"Oh! I am so happy Aarya. You are the best daughter ever. Oh! Now don't cry...there is still time before you leave us." Ragini laughed and hugged Aarya.
Aarya sobbed on her mom's shoulders thinking "no mom I am the worst daughter ever! You have no Idea I broke all your rules and committed the biggest mistake of my life."
Both mother and daughter cried while Ragini shed tears of joy Aarya had tears of regret.
Everything happened rapidly after that. The wedding date was fixed a month later.
Shashak was going to arrive a week before the wedding and they were supposed to leave a week after for the USA.
Aarya had agreed for the wedding but as the D day got nearer her anxiety increased. She had to confess everything to Shashank. However, it was difficult to meet him as the wedding rituals would start soon after his arrival. She didn't want to talk about it on phone.
Sometimes she contemplated keeping her past to herself but the guilt was too much to bear.
Secondly, she didn't want to start a new life over a lie. There was a chance of wedding being called off. However, she was ready to take the risk.
With shaking hands, she picked up her phone and called Shashank.