The next weekend Snehali came back to Delhi after 6 months. Everyone who knew her in the company was now impressed with her work in Mumbai and wanted to catch up. Everyone wanted to hear to her stories and how she went about her work. She was also awarded a promotion. She was now a Project Manager and assigned to a totally new project that was in tandem with the work related to office communication that she had done in Mumbai. Her company now wanted to sell the same as a product customisable per customer’s needs.
Not only on the official front. It was like her personal life also wanted to catch up in Delhi. Her best friend Kanu who had went to UK for a phD was now back and she wanted to meet her and get all updates about her. Her parents and her brother who had missed her now were looking for some undivided attention from her and she also understood that fully.
That week passed in a haze and all Snehali and Neerav could do was greeting each other in the mornings and evenings in the name of communication.
That weekend was the first weekend after Snehali was back from Mumbai and her Parents wanted to make the most of it. After all their dear daughter had been away from them for so long. They had planned for a family weekend getaway.
The decided destination for their trip was Mathura and Vrindavan. They had arranged to stay in the Radha Ashok hotel in Mathura and visiting the various temples in Mathura and Vrindavan.
It was 7am in the morning and they were on the newly constructed Yamuna Expressway for the first time in their car. They were enjoying driving on the expressway and were discussing its advantages and disadvantages.
The conversation was interesting and Snehali was thoroughly enjoying herself but Lavit wanted to steer the conversation to some other topic. What he said was a bit confusing for Snehali “Hmm so, Mom what are your plans for Vrindavan.”
“Nothing, we will just visit few temples there. Snehali has got promotion, we will thank God for it. Also, most of the people from our society have already been to Vrindavan so I wanted to see it for myself.”
“Ok, is it just that?” Lavit said feigning innocence.
Snehali’s Mom Kavita looked at her Husband Ashok, they seemed to talk to each other through their eyes. It was Ashok who said finally, “Its ok Lata, let us discuss with Snehali now. We don’t need to wait anymore.”
“What is it Papa?”, Snehali had asked curiously.
“Snehali, the time you have been in Mumbai. Your Mom got a few proposals for you for Marriage.”
“Oh, Why am I hearing about them now?”
“Just that we did not want you to bother about it while you were alone in Mumbai. ” her father answered her while driving the car.
Her Mom took over “Yes Dear, you are already 26 years old, have already done your MBA and are pretty settled in your job. Its time you start looking at the proposals for marriage. Its a good age to get married.”
But her father added to her relief, “Only if you are ready Snehali, we don’t want to pressurise you ever. Marriage is supposed to be next step but only when you feel the same way. Think about it and let us know if there is anyone in your mind already or you want us to help you in that.”
Lavit was again looking at Snehali and teasing her “So Di, is there someone you want us to know about?”
Snehali acted getting angry and ignored him. She thought for a bit and said “Give me sometime, I will think about it and will let you know.”
Both her parents agreed. She knew the timing was perfect. It was the thing she wanted to discuss with her parents anyways. But it was Neerav who wanted to talk to them first so she thought she could wait for a bit. While thinking about this she dozed off with her head on the window.
Neerav had not met Snehali for about 2 weeks now. 1 week in Mumbai and 1 week in Delhi. They had been in touch on messages but calls had not been possible. Snehali was busy packing her stuff in Mumbai and then her parents had reached their to help her. Then in the office she had been busy and almost every day she was late to reach home and then she was dead tired. Neerav was understanding enough to not pester her for a call or time when she was clearly busy but that did not mean that he did not miss her.
Snehali had gone for a weekend trip with her parents and Neerav did not have any plans. So he decided to sleep in till late. The moment he got up he sent a good morning message to Snehali to which he received a sweet reply
“Good Morning Sleepyhead. We have reached Vrindavan and already missing you like hell. Hope the next trip we have, you are there with us too.”
“Enjoy the trip, I hope so too Baby. I am off to fixing some breakfast for myself.”
Neerav prepared breakfast for himself. Omelette with two eggs and a cup full of strong coffee.
He sat on the table and finished his breakfast. He decided to watch some show on Netflix. He could not find anything interesting and switched it off. He again started thinking about Snehali, after all he was missing her badly. And then he realized he needed to plan a trip to his home before he could a plan a trip with Snehali so he dialled his Mom’s number.
“Hello Beta, had your breakfast?” His mom chirped happily.
“Yes Mom, just had it.”
“Let me guess. Mmm… Boiled eggs and strong coffee?”
“You are right about the Coffee but wrong about the eggs.”
“Oh” his Mom said acting sad “did you order something then.”
“No Mom, I made Omelette”
“Great, so you have time on your hands today.”
“Yes, Mom” Neerav said smiling.
“Ok, so what are we discussing about today?”
Neerav rolled his eyes. He loved it when his Mom acted this way, that meant she was in good mood. “Nothing Mom. Just tell me what have you been up to?”
“Karuna came over last night, and I am preparing chidwa for her.” It was her favourite, Karnua loved snacking on chidwa. Neerav thought lovingly.
Karuna was Neerav’s elder sister who got married few months back in the same city of Aligarh.
“Wow, she is back, I am also planning to come. Actually I called for that only. Next weekend looks good?”
“You forgot Neerav, I told you already, next weekend we are going for Karuna’s brother in law’s engagement that will be on Monday. But Karuna’s in-laws would appreciate if you could turn up there.”
“Oh yes Ma, you told me. A leave on Monday is tough for me, there is a release to go next week which I am handling. Sorry.”
“Okay, no worries. So then you can come the next weekend after that. I will ask Karuna to come over that week.”
“Yes, that will be good. I will do that.”
“And what’s up with you?”
“Nothing much. I will get the tickets booked for next weekend.”
Mother and Son continued their banter for sometime. Neerav booked the tickets soon after the call was over.
He also messaged Snehali that he is going to go to his home next weekend to talk to his parents.
On Tuesday next week, Snehali met Kanu after about an year. Snehali told her everything about Neerav and how her relationship evolved.
Kanu was genuinely happy for her.
“Oh my God! So much happened Snehali and you are telling me now?” kanu looked at her with surprise and mischief twinkling in her eyes.
“I did want to tell you Kanu, you know that. But I wanted to tell you in person. ” Snehali said with warmth for her best friend.
“You know I am so happy for you.” Kanu was grinning from ear to ear “and whatever you have told me about Neerav. I have become his fan.” Kanu thought for sometime and then said “I need to meet him.”
“I know. I want him to meet my parents too. He has proposed but no one knows yet.”
Kanu opened her already big eyes wider “Your parents don’t know yet?”
Snehali nodded her head with a sad face.
“But why? They would love it. You should tell them now.”
“He just proposed last week and then he himself wants to tell them.” Snehali shrugged. “I do feel bad that they don’t know yet but I guess it would be better if he tells them.”
Kanu again resumed her happy face “Oh! Chivalry!” He clapped her hands and said “It will be the best surprise ever and then You getting engaged.” and she jumped on her seat in the cafe.
Snehali looked at her sternly looking all around “Control control!” she said in a whisper.
“Anyways I want to meet him!” Kanu was stern.
“Ok ok, this week Saturday?” Snehali said finally giving in.
“Perfect!” Kanu grinned
It was Friday night and Snehali had been very busy. Neerav was missing her and had messaged her “Call me when you are free tonight.”
It was about 11.30pm when Snehali finally felt everyone was sleeping, she closed her room’s door to avoid any noise to wake them up and dialled Neerav’s number.
Neerav picked up the call on its 5th ring and said sleepily “I thought you would not call today.”
“But I promised.”
“Mmmm.. Yes you did.”
“And you slept?”
“I was thinking about you and just drifted off. We were always on the call at night remember?”
“Yes, I do.”
“I miss being with you. This week we could not even talk. These have been very testing times for me.”
“And what do you think? Was I enjoying? I am waiting for that day when we could be together forever.”
Neerav just held the phone and Snehali could hear the sound of his breathing as if deep in thought.
“What is it?”
“We should get our parents involved now.”
“Really? I was thinking we are going to elope.” Snehali joked.
“If you want to, I am game.” Neerav teased.
“Ok then, tell me when?”
“And where are we going to elope? You do know we have our jobs here that pay for our bills?”
“Yes, I was thinking about that, it would be hard to run away from this city. Plus our parents would be worried too.” Neerav said as if he was seriously considering eloping.
“Hmm, you are right, might be we should talk to them.” she giggled and then continued. “On a serious note though Neerav, when are you coming to talk to my parents.”
“Soon baby. I am going to talk to my parents next weekend. Hopefully then I will come to your parents to finally ask for your hand.”
“Neerav?” Snehali said with a bit of apprehension in her voice.
“Everything will turn out fine na?”
“I am counting on it.” Again this was the time Neerav should have told his reservations to Snehali but he did not. He told himself that he will get it to work.
“Ok, so let’s meet tomorrow?”
“You read my mind.” Neerav said grinning.
“I told Kanu about us, she is going to meet you tomorrow. She was adamant about that.”
“Should I be scared?”
“No, nothing to be scared of. I told her all about you, she is already your fan.”
“Oh! What have you been telling her? Now I have a high standard to live upto.” Neerav acted hurt.
“Nothing but the truth. Anyways, Mr. Neerav, she is my best friend, make sure to leave a good impression.”
“Yes, Ma’am.” and they both laughed.
Snehali was getting ready to go to meet Neerav and Kanu on Saturday.
She still could not tell her parents about Neerav so she told them partial truth. She told them she was going to meet Kanu because she was back after a long time and she wanted to go shopping and that they might even watch a movie together too.
Her brother Lavit was playing with a tennis ball in his hands and said “Earlier, you never went outside for so long.”
“Yeah, I am going to meet Kanu after a full year and she needs to do some shopping for her cousin’s wedding. She has a lot to catch-up on so she suggested and I agreed.”
“But, since when have you been so enthusiastic about shopping, even Kanu Didi – I don’t remember her doing so much of shopping.
“How do I know?”
The ball fell out from Lavit’s hand and he got up to catch it. “Yes, how would you know.” He looked back at Snehali. The glint in his eyes and that goofy smile told Snehali that she had guessed the reason but decided to let it be for a while.
“Oh, come on Lavit, I would of course tell you if anything like that happens.”
“Okay!” and he went out taking the ball.
She heard him saying “Mom, have you ever seen Snehali Di going with so much makeup on with Kanu Didi?”
Snehali rolled her eyes “Oh God! This boy!”
Kavita reprimanded him “Leave her alone Lavit” while she was taking out clothes for the dry-cleaner.
To be continued….