Please read Part 1 of this fiction based on real life events here before proceeding to read this part. Continuing

 

So, on went the conversations, mostly honest yet carefully sugar coating the tricky scenarios. They wrote back and forth every day. As they got a little friendly, banter and jokes got added to their mails. Though, Gaurav said that he was the silent one, he was conscious of writing detailed answers to all her queries. Who knew what could irk a woman and make her clam up! They were beginning to enjoy the easy friendship they now shared. And slowly but surely, they embarked on this dangerously thrilling journey which neither was sure was leading where.

***

April had gone by. Avni and Gaurav had covered a lot of ground via emails that included anecdotes of their childhood, their siblings, parents and friends too. They spoke about their past heartbreaks, their dreams and aspirations. Gradually, they discovered many things common in each other. Avni was beginning to like this guy. He was funny and entertaining. He was sentimental too and valued family. Gaurav was feeling drawn to her as well. Both lived with their parents. And something which brought them closer was that each had a parent with health issues. Having been caregivers, they understood what the other went through.  Gaurav was becoming her single best friend. She was opening out to him much more than anyone else. It felt scary in a way! What if things did not work out? It would hurt.

Finally they exchanged photographs. He sent her one of his college ID snaps. He looked nice in a very clean sort of way. She found his boyish good looks appealing. Check! She sent him a few snaps taken in a couple of salwar kameezes and her mom’s sari with her own ill-fitting blouse. She hated saris. Gaurav liked her pictures too. Of course, neither of them cared about looks, did they!

So then, it happened!

They finally spoke over the phone. She had a lovely, ringing laughter, but he never mentioned it. He had a normal, masculine voice. Just like any two regular people. They were dying to meet face to face. And, the opportunity came pretty soon. Avni had an official tour planned for 1st week of May. It was coinciding with the launch of a brand. She was entrusted with dealer displays in Mumbai. She loved the city having spent a substantial part of her life there. She suggested to Gaurav to come meet her there.

Gaurav was game. Though, he had not been to Mumbai, he could take a couple of leaves and come down to meet her. She suggested a hotel where he could stay. She shared her guesthouse phone number with him. That was the only way they could communicate. She had no internet access at her guesthouse or in her Sales office. Remember there were no mobile phones in those days. Both felt a tinge of nervous excitement.

***

Avni got busy with work on her arrival in Mumbai, but there was a strange tension building inside her. The schedule was grueling, and the heat and humidity were driving her crazy. She and her team scoured the streets during the day putting up displays. After a really tiring day, she did not need much to hit the bed. On the last day of her tour, she had to be on the field only for half the day. That was the day when Gaurav was coming to meet her.

The Day

The day had arrived! Avni was finishing her breakfast and glancing at her wrist watch. She was a couple of minutes late. Cursing, she gulped the food. Suddenly, the phone rang. It was Gaurav. And, he was in trouble. He found that the hotel had no room available. What was he supposed to do now? He was stranded. She did not have Yellow Pages at hand, so she promised to ask a colleague and call him back. She quickly found another hotel and called Gaurav to give the address and the phone number. She was in a rush and it showed. She did not ask him how his journey was or how he was feeling. Gaurav was put off with her cold behavior. What was he doing coming all the way for her? They had begun on the wrong note. Avni was cursing herself while on her way out.

After a tough afternoon, Avni came back to the guesthouse. As discussed, she and Gaurav had decided to meet at the local train station. Dressed simply in a lavender churidar kurta, she left for the station. It was around 5 pm. The station was crowded. She waited for almost 10 minutes and did not see him. She disliked people who were not on time. And the butterflies in her stomach were getting worse. Then she saw him. He stood in front of her and asked hesitatingly, “Avni?” “Yes! Are you Gaurav,” she asked? “Yes,” he replied and offered his hand to her. They looked at each other while shaking hands. Avni thought he looked plumper than his picture and he was just a bit taller than her. There go the 6 ft. dreams! Gaurav was looking at her. “Is she the same girl?” Something looks different? “She looks rather plain!

Avni quickly bought tickets for them, and they caught a Churchgate local. Sitting across each other, they were quiet and immediately felt the strange discomfort that two people feel who have met in the virtual world but are meeting face to face for the first time. Slowly, hesitatingly, the conversation picked up. She started regaling tales of her infant niece who was the apple of her eye. He started telling her about this funny guy at office. They even discussed politics and the outsider issues. Both of them had faced it in their respective cities. Their conversations were interspersed with long silences. “He sure smelled great,” she thought to herself. “She has a great smile,” he said to himself.

Getting off at Marine Lines, they walked till Chowpatty. Avni had decided to take him to Marine Drive, the crown jewel of Mumbai. What could be better than sea and setting sun for some great conversation? They walked down Chowpatty and quietly watched an amazing sunset. Avni tied her hair that was blowing in her eyes and irritating her contact lenses. Gaurav instantly smiled. She looked familiar now. Almost as if unwillingly he whispered, “You must tie your hair more often, it suits you.” She looked at him and smiled back. And, they started walking down the Queens’s Necklace amid glittering lights, cars, vendors and loads of people. Two people lost in a crowd trying to find something special in each other.

At one point, they sat on the parapet facing the sea. He gave her his hand to help her sit; the touch of his hand felt good – electric and warm. Stop it! You are making it feel like a corny movie scene.

Gaurav loved to crack jokes, some good, some terrible. And his eyes glinted with laughter every time he did. She found that very amusing. They munched some groundnuts and chana from the vendors and continued listening to the sounds of their voices and their silences. It was a heady date on a muggy, Mumbai evening.

Casually Gaurav mentioned that he wanted to go to the US. His sisters were there. Being in IT, he wanted to experience working there. He had applied for his visa already. That was a rude shock to Avni. Where did that come from? He hadn’t mentioned it ever. She was dead against making such a big change in her life. Was it not enough that marriage was a huge upheaval? She looked at him very confused. Gaurav fell into silence sensing her discomfort. They hopped into a cab to go to Gateway of India, each quiet and reflecting.  Suddenly the magic of a beautiful evening had diminished.

***

 To be continued…

Read concluding part here

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72 Thoughts on “The knight in shining armor — Part 2

  1. Tempting story. You know how much I love love-stories. Part III as soon as possible please…:-)

  2. You had it all going fine until US came. This American always disturbs us 🙂

    Anyway, loving the flow. Go on.. make them marry each other, for more drama to follow!

  3. Good going. Loved reading this post

  4. Pingback: The knight in shining armor -- Part I - Rachna Says | Rachna Says

  5. It is turning out extremely interesting.

  6. waiting eagerly for the next part

  7. Nice normal interesting story without those artificial twists.I simply loved it.

  8. Towards the end, the story resembled my real life story. My husband was to leave for Japan soon after marriage and we almost fell apart due to this. Finally he did not go. And I sense your feelings when you say Gauravs boyish charm appealed to Avni. Gurudev, have you read this one?
    🙂

    • I didn’t know that part about your story. It is true that we actively oppose the unknown. Yes, G has read this story many months back when it was written. He found it quite amusing ;-)!

  9. Sounds much closer to your real life romance than just ‘inspired’ by it! 😛

  10. I read Part 1…and now this and trust me when I tell you this…I HATE ROMANTIC STORIES…JUST HATE THEM..But you have a way with words woman!! Part 3 !!bring it soon.

  11. Oye..ye kya hua….write the next part fast….you ended this on a low note 🙁

    • Kahaani abhi baki hai meri dost :). I wrote this story a year back. I put it in parts to make it easy to read. Will be putting up the last part very soon. Thanks for reading, Vinita :).

  12. Kya re thu…itna saare breaks breaks…sab kahani ek bar bol dena naa…I know your story 🙂 but still enjoy reading it in detail 🙂

  13. This is very interesting…this might happen with anyone! Good narration! Waiting to read more!

  14. Eagerly waiting for part 3.

  15. This is making me feel like writing a fiction based on our story as well. 🙂
    It became more spicier after we came to Czech Republic 😀
    I hope I will write it soon..

  16. Its better then reading a love story.waiting for tomorrow for the rest….

  17. Wow… this is getting interesting!! Looking forward to the Part III now! 🙂

  18. I could see it happening! I would have put the beautiful song Iktara from Wake Up, Sid for you guys to enjoy at the Marine Drive setting. Lovely! 🙂

  19. This is such a sweet love story…can’t wait for the next part! Your narration is superb 🙂

  20. You have me hooked, Rachna. Sorry for this, but I cannot help thinking all, just all of it is your love story with your husband. I’m hoping, one day, you will tell me fact from fiction. Love the end of this one, leaves us a little apprehensive doesn’t it? 🙂

    • Sakshi, you leave the sweetest of comments :). Like I already told you, all that is there here is mostly true. I sort of broke the story at this juncture. That was a huge apprehension back then :). Thanks so much for reading.

  21. In fact ,I read part 1 once again now so as to understand continuity.
    I loved it,it is superb

  22. Ah…such an amazing start of a sweet love story and ended with “to be continued”!!! Oh…can’t wait for the next part… 🙂

  23. How naughty of you to give us small installments like this, Rachna! And didn’t they have dinner on that first evening? Next, please! 😉

    • Corinne, it would be too long for a single read so I broke it up in 3 parts :). Yes, they did have dinner but I wanted to keep the tale to sub 4000 words so many details were skipped here :).

  24. Rachna ! Out with part 3 – jaldi se !!!

  25. Sounds like its your life. 🙂

  26. Love the simplicity and the reality :-)of the characters …and the flow of the story ..light hearted yet gripping …Waiting for part 3

  27. Interesting to know more about your love story through this one! Looking forward to the next part!

  28. दो दीवाने शहर में! 🙂

  29. Muses of the Heart on September 28, 2013 at 1:15 pm said:

    This story is turning out to be really interesting 🙂 looking forward to part 3!!!

  30. Really interesting

  31. Interesting. Individual careers in the well connected globe of today poses huge challenges to young couples right ? Waiting for more

  32. The story is becoming more gripping. You ended today’s edition on a note of suspense. Bring out the next part early. Waiting for it anxiously.

  33. Please tell me you were already half in love with him by the time you met him for the first time!

    • I was very confused, Purba. After all one can never be sure without meeting someone. I wasn’t really the impulsive kinds too. I liked him for sure after all the virtual interaction :).

  34. Ohh loved the details..I could feel I was there with them. Now off to the last part :)…PS: I am glad I already know about the happy ending, the last few lines made me wonder 🙂

  35. I can relate to the first time meeting. It was awkward for me and my wife too after all those phone calls. You have imagined the person in a certain way. Of course, now when I look back, it seems rather silly. 🙂

    • Yep, it feels funny but only for a few minutes. Since you know each other and have been interacting regularly, it is easy to hit common ground. On a different note, now I have met so many blogger friends in person, and it does not feel awkward at all. It is like we’ve always been meeting and interacting :).

  36. Muses of the Heart on October 22, 2013 at 12:33 pm said:

    The pleasure is all mine 🙂 You truly have a way with word and I like reading your posts!! Looking forward to many more interesting posts 🙂

  37. Pingback: The knight in shining armor -- Concluding part | Rachna Says

  38. Glad I’m reading them all together.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…Eat Seasonal, Eat LocalMy Profile

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