Snehali and Neerav, Part 12 – Back to Delhi

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?”

“Tomorrow?”

“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.

“Yes?”

“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.”

“Promise?”

“Yes, Promise!”

“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….

Snehali and Neerav, Part 11 – Time for confusion

Photo by Adonyi Gábor from Pexels

They reached the venue where Manas and Nisha were throwing the wedding party. It was a beautifully maintained open lawn, the grass was trimmed to the perfect length and the morepankhi plants were symmetrically placed on the borders , in one corner stage for orchestra was set. Covered food stalls were arranged on one side, on the other end where the rooms ended there was a porch decorated heavily with pink and white roses which set the entire theme. Such pink and white flowers were used throughout the sitting area which was interspersed with circular tables.

As soon as they entered the venue, they spotted Manas and Nisha, Nisha was sitting on one of the tables talking to someone on the phone and Manas was standing near the stalls checking the arrangements. They both looked tired and not dressed for the event. They had called Neerav and Snehali early to help out with the last minute arrangements.

It was Manas who saw them first and walked towards them, Nisha joined soon. “Thank God! You came.I have never organized a party at this big scale and I feel like nothing is getting wrapped up. I don’t know why I needed to act like I will get everything done. Nisha’s brother was offering help too.”

“I know you wanted to act like a hero. Not your fault bro.” Neerav consoled him tapping  his palm on his shoulder and also winked.

Manas did not let a minute go to waste and started giving him account of everything that was happening around “These flower arrangements should have been completed and they are still working on them. The cook is now complaining that he needs more gas cylinders, I don’t know what he was thinking when I asked him yesterday about what he needed from us. The orchestra people, please remember to call them up. I am just sending you their number they should be here within the next hour. And Neerav, I need to be ready too.”

Neerav was trying to placate him “Its ok bro, I will get all of it sorted.”

“I just hope that we get through this party in one piece.”

“Don’t worry bro. How can it be an event if some complications don’t happen at the end time. How will we remember it? Be happy that now you have so many stories to tell.”

“You are right, I do love telling stories.” and with that Manas was laughing again. And so was Neerav.

The bond and energy they shared was infectious and Nisha and Snehali could not stop themselves from giggling too.

Manas started “And what are you doing here Ma’am. Aren’t you supposed to get ready and look the most beautiful today?”

“Oh yes, come Snehali.” Nisha held her hand and took her to one of the rooms attached to the lawn.


Inside Nisha told Snehali that she was talking to the beautician who was already late.

“The beautician is stuck in a huge traffic jam at her place. Mumbai and its traffic are always the worst. I just told her no need to come now. But you will have to help me with my makeup and dress.”

“I do want to help you Nisha, but I am the person who knows just the basics of makeup and nothing else.” Snehali said with worry writ on her face.

The expression on her face made Nisha laugh “Don’t worry, I am fine with makeup. I can do myself. But you will have to help me with the hair and dress.”

“Sure”

Nisha did know what she was doing in terms of makeup and her dress and Snehali had to just follow her instructions. Within 30 minutes Nisha was all ready and looking radiant as ever. She also did some touch ups for Snehali.

“I wish you could have stayed in Mumbai for some more time. We are going to miss you guys.” Nisha told Snehali. They had become good friends chatting on whatsapp sometimes. Nisha even took her advice for some of the shopping she did for the new home they were setting up for themselves.

“I know, I would have loved too. But I am employee only. I will keep visiting you guys for sure. Also, Manas’s parents live near Delhi only right. If and when ever you go there, make sure you let me know.”

Snehali realized what she had said after she said it.

“Oh, I am sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” Snehali could see tears that had appeared in Nisha’s eyes.

“Of course I know you did not mean to hurt me. It’s just that it is a weak point. I am not even sure if doing a marriage without them was a good idea. Just Manas was so sure he wanted to go ahead with it.”

“Why are you saying this now? Is everything okay?”

“I don’t know. I just hope whatever I am thinking is not true.”

“What is it? Oh, never mind, I am sorry I am being too intrusive.”

“No dear, you are not. You are my friend. It’s just that the 5 years I have been with Manas, I have never seen him like that. He was never the one to hide anything from me. He always had things to say. Even when we were having fights. He never stopped talking to me. But since he realized his parents are not supporting him in the marriage I have seen him zoning off. I have tried to talk to him about it but he just does not let me know what is going on in his mind.” Nisha was looking at Snehali with expectant eyes as if asking her to say something comforting.

Snehali felt bad for Nisha, this was not something she was expecting to hear, but she had to say something to cheer up Nisha. “I am sure you guys can sort this out. Manas is a very nice and simple man. He will share with you whatever is bothering him, give him some time.”

Nisha just nodded her head. “You are right, anyways I should be happy today. It is not everyday that someone gets married” she said winking.

Snehali let out a laugh and hugged her.


Soon people starting coming for the party.  Her friends and relatives were all coming to meet her. Nisha was meeting all of them and smiling her best.

She did not let Snehali out of the room and insisted that she would go with her. She also introduced her parents and relatives to Snehali.

Soon Snehali came out with Nisha on her side. When Snehali looked in front she saw Neerav standing beside Manas, she was sure Manas would be looking at Nisha but she could not take her eyes away from the way Neerav was looking at her. His look told her what he was thinking. Snehali had never felt happier. She gave him a smile which he acknowledged with an affectionate blink of the eye. She knew he loved him but the care in his eyes made the world a better place. She wanted to tell Neerav how he made her feel but she knew this was not the place and not the right time. This day was for Manas and Nisha and she wanted to help Neerav make it as special as it could be.

After initial round of drinks when everyone was seated. Neerav took the mic and stood under the porch. He was all praises for Manas and had everyone’s attention when he said

“I grew up with Manas in the same city and same school. We shared our lunches while we were in school and had many play dates with each other. We were not in contact in our colleges but when we connected it was like we never lost touch. It is Manas who I can count to always be there without any conditions. In him, I see a grown up man whose heart is filled with love and compassion and what makes me the most happy is the fact that he has the best companion he could have ever asked for – Nisha, who has been with him in all his highs and low. Friends, a relationship cannot survive for 5 years so beautifully as there’s has. For this beautiful couple, I just wish that their love for each other continues to grow. They become strength for each other every part of the way of their beautiful journey together. Wish you a very Happy Wedding Guys!”

Neerav toasted his glass to them and sat at his designated seat beside Snehali. After him a couple of more people – two of Manas’s friends gave their toasts and the orchestra started playing a Bollywood tune “Tum Dena Saath Mera…”

Neerav and Snehali got up and pulled Manas and Nisha to the dancing area. They both started dancing and then were joined by others. Neerav and Snehali too danced with all of them. Soon the food had to be started and Neerav took off to have a look at the arrangements, Snehali took her seat and removed her sandals.

Soon Snehali was joined by Nisha and Manas. They all had dinner together and it was time to leave.

———

When Neerav sat in the cab with Snehali. He was quiet and thoughtful. Snehali kept looking at him but he was looking outside the window as if something was disturbing him. She waited for sometime but when Neerav did not seem to move she kept a hand on his shoulder and asked “Are you Okay Neerav?”

When Neerav looked at her, she saw pain in his eyes and she was filled with dread. She did not understand why she was feeling this way. She kept her hand on his cheek to comfort him and asked “What is it?”

Neerav took her hand and kept it in his other hand. At that moment he decided to let Snehali know, “I am worried about Manas. He is sad that his family was not a part of the celebration and I can understand. He has always been a family man, he always took care of his parents and they shared a great bond, I am not sure what went wrong. Why uncle aunty are not at his side now.”

Snehali understood what pain it could be to not have parents to share such an important moment of your life “I hope they will soon be with him. After all they are his parents, how long can they live away from their own son.”

Neerav squeezed her hand in his as if reassuring himself “I hope they do.”


Neerav was sitting on the legendary sheesham wood Dining Table that his family had for 20 years now, his father was sitting beside him at the head of the table and his mother was serving fritters, his two sisters Karuna and Aarti were sitting on the table giggling at some private joke. Neerav was observing all of them and was thinking how to let them know about Snehali.

His mother was coaxing him to eat the fritters which he had not started yet.“Start eating Neerav, why are you not taking any? As it is you look weak.”

Well, how could she be his mother if she did not complain about him getting weak every time he visited.

Without saying anything he took few potato and onion fritters and put them in his plate along with the green chutney. He thought to wait for his mother to arrive.

After about five minutes, she came with a big batch of fritters in a big plate again, kept them on the table and sat on the other side of his father. She started serving on her own plate.

Neerav thought this was the right time and addressed his parents with a feeble voice “I need to talk to you guys.”

His father said “Yes son, we are listening.”

He was looking at his mother who was busy eating.

“I love someone.”

His mother stopped moving and looked at Neerav. “Did I hear it right? Did you say you loved someone?”

Neerav was looking at the expression on his mother’s face feeling a fear grip his heart and said “Yes”

His mother’s eyes were getting bigger and bigger. He moved his eyes towards his father and he looked confused.

“Okay so after everything we have done for you, you decide to rebel. I never thought you would turn up that way.” He looked disappointed.

Neerav felt sad listening to his words, All he ever wanted was to make his parents proud, how did he become the person to disappoint them. But he could not understand how loving someone was rebelling. His brain was buzzing.

“No Papa, I am not rebelling. I seriously don’t intend to be any kind of rebel. But how is loving someone being a rebel?”

“If you can’t understand then I don’t have any hope from you.” His father got up and left without finishing the food on his plate.

His mother was giving him a pitying look.

“But..”

His mother too got up and left taking his father’s plate. He was looking at his sisters now who had stopped giggling and were looking at Neerav as if he was an alien.

He heard the sound of an alarm, soon he opened his eyes and realised this all was a dream. He sat up on the bed holding his head in his hands.