Eternal Bond: Chapter I

Updated: 8 hours ago

Popping the Question


“Aashritha!” called out Arjun from his room, “It’s already half-past nine, and you’re still lying on the bed!”


Arjun just got out of the shower and started putting on his clothes, getting ready for his thesis presentation. It was a bright morning; Arjun was excited about the day, was confident about his thesis and intended to make it an unforgettable day.


He put on his white shirt, reached out to his mobile charger and connected his phone. Picking out the best tie, he stood in front of the mirror and struggled to tie the perfect knot.


“Good morning, Arjun”, said Aashritha, rubbing her dreamy eyes and noticing him struggling with his tie.


Turning to notice her smiling for a moment, Arjun replied, “Oh, Good morning, madam.” while continuing to fiddle with his tie mirror again, turning towards the mirror.


She walks up to him, takes the tie from his hands and moves between him and the mirror to tie the Windsor Knot. Noticing her smile, Arjun plants a kiss on the forehead, and she wishes him good luck.


Picking his laptop, mobile, chargers and a portable power bank, Arjun reached the door before Aashritha passed him his blazer. Thanking her, Arjun whispered, “We need to talk when I get back.”


Nodding in agreement, Aashritha bid him goodbye and closed the door before dozing off again.


It was a perfect morning with a slight breeze and not-so-hot weather. Arjun walked up to his professor’s office with a beaming smile and walked out of the office three hours later with the same smile, but only this time, his smile shone brighter. He started walking back home as if he had other important things to do.


As he passed the cafeteria, David, a batchmate who took a couple of courses with him, asked, “Arjun, how did the presentation go?”


Arjun, thrilled with excitement, replied, “It went well, I guess. I felt my professor was pleased, and he asked me to complete the rest of the formalities.”


As David congratulated him, Arjun’s phone started buzzing. Hoping to get going, Arjun replied, “Thank you! We should party after your presentation, and I will write to you.”


As David nodded in agreement, Arjun bid him goodbye to pick up the call from his mother. Before anything, he heard, “All the best, Arjun… Do well!”


With a smile, Arjun replied, “The presentation is finished, maa. I’m on the verge of completing my degree. Please inform dad as well.”


As he heard his mother praising Goddess Shakti, Arjun said, “Maa. I will call you back; take care.”


Walking back home, Arjun saw trees that bore pink flowers that had just bloomed after the winter. He was in awe of the bright and vibrant colours the trees possessed. He looked up at the sky and gave his prayers to his grandparents and his favourite God. On his way back, he pondered the change in his thoughts and Arjun couldn’t help but think maybe this was the Universe wanting him to do well.


It has been two years since he and Aashritha got into a relationship, but neither of them ever questioned their future. It was as if they lived one day at a time. However, Arjun wanted to take it to the next level and begin a critical phase in their life. Thinking about it, Arjun felt his life improved extensively with her, and he wanted it to continue for a longer time. Possibly, a lifetime.


Almost home, Arjun visited a florist at the corner of the lane and bought a bunch of tulips. Approaching home in total excitement, Arjun rang the doorbell, but he got no response. He pulled out his key, unlocked the door, and placed the tulips in the vase replacing the old faded flowers.


He then headed to Aashritha’s room and knocked thrice, which was their usual signal. When there was no response, he opened the door and went inside to find his partner in deep slumber.


He returned to his room, waiting for her to wake up, and by the time she finally woke up, he had prepared lunch. He arranged plates and dishes on the dining table by the time she got out of the shower.


As she sat facing him with droplets dripping from her half-dried hair, he served food for both of them and observed her sniffing the food on her plate.


Tasting it, she moved her gaze from the food towards his face as she asked, “How did it go, Arjun?”


Tasting the salty dal, Arjun replied, “It went good! I think he might even offer me a PhD position while considering this funding.”


Impressed, Aashritha replied, “Man, this is so delicious! How do you manage to do it perfectly every single time?”


Observing her devouring every bite while nodding her head, Arjun smiled as he replied, “It’s simple. You just need to add a pinch of love every time.”


Gawking at him with her eyebrow raised, Aashritha felt the taunt while Arjun laughed. After a moment of silence, Arjun inquired, “Okay, listen, what do you think happens with us now?”


Continuing to eat, Aashritha casually replied, “What happens with us? Nothing, to be honest. I’m sure it’s gonna be great fun for the next few months until you get a job, and let’s see after that.”


Arjun moved his chair beside her and held her before saying, “I thought... maybe we could take this forward... Like, be together for the rest of our lives? If that’s what you are thinking too, I can probably go and talk to your parents.”


A bit impressed, Aashritha replied, “Come on, Arjun! It’s my life; you need to talk to me, not my parents. And yeah, I’m more than happy to spend the rest of my life with you. But, if that happens, you must come to terms with many things.”


Though he felt happy, he didn’t completely follow her. Continuing to hold her hand, he asked, “What does that mean?”


Finishing her meal, Aashritha replied, “It has been two years we have been together now, Arjun. Shouldn’t you know me better? What the heck have you learnt until now?”


Thinking about it for a moment, Arjun smiled before saying, “I have learnt that I always want you by my side even though we don’t get along… Honestly, I don’t even remember how we even got together in the first place.”


While Aashritha shot an angry look at him, Arjun asked, “Hey Ash, tell me, dude, why did you even fall for me?”


As they glanced at each other, they started recalling the night they met.

 

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Credits

This contribution is reviewed by Edlyn ​D’souza, edited by Tarun Chintam, proofread by R. S. Chintalapati & illustrated by Nandini Jalan.

 

Product

This novelette is available in paperback & ebook.




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