It was an arranged marriage. The proposal was sent through family friends, and accepted by her parents. She was happy. She was independent to pursue her career,live in the city of dreams and achieve every milestone she ever thought of. Maybe this was the destined love story, her story.

Like every newly engaged couple, they initiated with calls and texts, her guy was shy. She sensed it in the small conversation they had, while meeting up for the first time. It felt strangely to her that he was vocal only when they discussed job, studies and all, and that was it. No eye contact, no hidden glances, no smiles.

After coming back to her native,her aunts were more excited about her new relationship. There days went by in discussing how many gifts the guy’s family brought for her,how much they adored her, the guy was so good-looking, etc.

One morning, she told her mother that Abrar has seen a job profile for her in the city where he works. He wants her to give the interview. It was a pleasant surprise for the family as they were wondering the same. She was least interested in the jewelry and other shopping. It was better to focus and pursue her career. What could be better than getting a job before getting hitched.

Her father declined the proposal of sending flight ticket, he said he will take her himself and a train journey would be fine. She felt happy because morale and dignity were cardinal in their lives. She could never fathom what was in store for her in the future. Yes she was scared, but that was only because she hardly knew that person,who had suddenly become the axis point around which her life was revolving.

The previous week felt like a dream gone by, to her. How he came to receive them at the station. She not only cleared the interview, but her name was second in the list of selected candidates. Her father along with Abrar, searched for a flat to live, while she went for the training. And now after all this,she missed home,her evening coffee and her dog.

In the second week of her training program, a new boy joined their team. Being a stunner, she felt strange when he did not share any pleasantries with her. She realized he never looks at her,tries and keeps his head down when she comes. This atypical behavior, attracted her attention. Most of them knew she was engaged, but that did not stop them from hanging around after classes. They had to go on field visits,give presentations and mostly it was done either in groups or pair.

This boy, whose name was Aachman, never talked to her.

They were always kept in the same group, they were brilliant in curriculum,managed to win first prize in project management, new product design and everybody appreciated their efforts as the new trainees. They were seen as the new shining stars,for the company.

Meanwhile,¬†Abrar’s attitude towards her became unprecedented. His calls became less frequent, visits rare. Mostly he was out of the country for his work.Her father called her regularly,and that was the strength,which kept her going on.

One month was left in the training program, after that all trainees were to be assigned posts in different projects undergoing in the company. The location was given as pan India so her family was looking forward to her joining. In these days she felt attracted to Aachman, mainly because he never talked to her directly, they were not friends but still he was always around her.

They sat together, worked in the same group and after going back to her flat,she would terribly miss him.

In one of the conferences, they sat together. This was a very normal thing to happen, but she felt shy. For the first time in her life, she was not just mousy, but her heart beat felt a bit rapid too. As many guests were there and all had talks to give, they had to sit for three long hours without breaks.

She was sitting with her legs stretched under the front row,suddenly she felt his foot beside her. It made her red in the face,She could not understand why she suddenly started feeling hot. To ease the tensions in her brain,she moved her legs back and sat straight. He also moved back his feet and again the sides of their footwear touched. Deep down she liked it,but could not understand if it was intentional or just a mischance. Out of reflex or God knows what,she moved her hand and kept it on his thigh.

He made no reactions, and for whole sixteen seconds she kept it there. He kept on listening to the talk, keeping his head high. He did not stir or blinked, but the girl sitting on the other side saw and frowned. The talk was over and break was given.

In the second talk,he went and sat in the front row,this made her regret her action. She could not realize, why and how such salacious thing she could do to him. Another boy,sitting with them,called him back,which meant they had to sit together again. She left the room immediately.

She could not go to the training in the last week because her parents had come,she was busy with them and took leave. When she joined back, Aachman was nowhere to be seen.

She got recruited as an assistant manager in the main branch, but she had no nerves to ask about the whereabouts of Aachman. She regretted doing what she did in the conference. She wanted to apologize for her behavior. She played that scene time and again in her mind. Did he like her? She made a terrible mistake. Why all this happened?

She realized this would never disappear from her conscience. And also that the pangs of remorsefulness is agonizing.

Charu Sneha Jha

I am a nonconformist. My favorite quote is "The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth"

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