Updated: Sep 13, 2022
Everything in life boils down to two things: Choices & Time. An individual might be skilled, passionate, and talented, but growth, worth, and value are attributed only to cautiously ambitious ones.
“An Anticipated Consequence” by R. S. Chintalapati narrates the story of a reckless youngster and his calculated partner who are on the verge of parting ways if the youngster’s worth is not proven quickly.
Even though Nihal and Neha have been in a happy relationship for three years, Neha was nervous to tell her parents about Nihal. It was because Nihal neither earned nor even tried to earn. With each passing day, her family, who was unaware, intensified their pursuit of finding her a suitable match and Neha did nothing, but worry. Though the problem was a serious one, Nihal kept neglecting her warnings and did not care much about their future. One fine day, Neha’s parents presented her with two marriage proposals and Neha, sticking to Nihal, refused both of them. She gave her parents surprisingly odd reasons which in fact made them suspect the true reason behind the refusal. Unable to give her parents a proper answer, Neha decided to warn Nihal one last time. Meeting him in a cafe, she informed, “Nihal, my parents are pestering me to accept one of the two proposals they have chosen.” As usual, Nihal just smiled before sipping his coffee. His smile enraged her but controlling herself, she took a deep breath before asking, “Are you even comprehending the position I’m in?” Nihal instantly replied, “Lucky me! I don’t have anyone to reject.” Clenching her jaw, Neha stayed silent for a moment before saying, “That’s it. I don’t wish to be in this state of mind for long. If you wish to marry me, I want you to get a job within a month. If not, I would move on.” Finishing his coffee, Nihal smiled as he asked, “What makes you think I can do it in one month when I couldn’t do it for the last one and half years?” Unable to hold it anymore, Neha yelled, “Because I’m leaving if you don’t!” Finishing her sentence, Neha left. Though Nihal tried calling her back, she didn’t respond. That evening, Nihal called her by phone and she just repeated the same condition she told him that morning. When being told about it for the second time in the same tone, Nihal felt that she did mean it and feared he might lose her. He knew the only way he could save their relationship was by getting a job. Fortunately, he had two interviews to attend in the next two weeks. So for the first one, he visited a temple before attending the interview. However after the interview, he knew that he wouldn’t qualify and when Neha called him to enquire about the interview, he shouted in frustration that he screwed it up. As Nihal expected, two days later, he was informed about not getting selected. The next interview was in a week and this time it was a start-up that called him for an interview. Though Nihal did not take much interest in the job, he appeared and gave it his best shot. Three days later, unlike last time, he was informed that he was selected. Thanking God for his grace, Nihal immediately thought of calling Neha but he presumed it would be more fun if he would meet her. He reached her house on his bike and she was in the living room all by herself. He walked towards her and noticing him, she stood up. She assumed he must have been informed about the change in the events. Looking into his eyes, she said, “It was quite hard for me, Nihu. However, neither can I keep waiting for you nor can I stand with you when you aren’t willing to accept responsibility.” Though Nihal couldn’t understand, he stayed silent as Neha continued, “It’s okay if you couldn’t get this job, Nihal. You would get another but I’m afraid I cannot give you any more time.” It took a few moments for Nihal to realize what she meant, the pain kicked in and loneliness crept in as fear. He was crushed emotionally and though there was a part of him that wanted to question Neha about the time given and the days left, he stayed silent. Stammering on her words, Neha informed, “I got engaged to Srinivas.” Looking into his eyes filled with tears, Neha kissed him on his forehead before saying, “I am sorry Nihu...” Unable to pay attention to Neha’s words, Nihal just whispered, “Congratulations.”
This flash fiction is available in paperback & ebook.