05. They got it wrong! | Unconditional

August 16, 2020 Sujay Sarma

The next morning, I found her already in the kitchen. She was endlessly stirring a cup of coffee. “J…” I said softly, going up to her and taking the spoon. She turned with a start. “Uh?” “What’s wrong? You’ve been silent since last evening.” She blushed. “Is it about the children’s rooms?” I asked. Bringing…


The next morning, I found her already in the kitchen. She was endlessly stirring a cup of coffee.

“J…” I said softly, going up to her and taking the spoon.

She turned with a start. “Uh?”

“What’s wrong? You’ve been silent since last evening.”

She blushed.

“Is it about the children’s rooms?” I asked. Bringing it up but hoping she would not clam up again.

She nodded.

“Is it too soon?”

She shook her head and gave me a hug instead.

“Are you already…?” I asked with a smile.

She shook her head and looked up at me.

“I know I want them with you.” She said, shyly. “I was thinking about those rooms too. When you brought it up in the car, I just…” She shook her head violently and buried her face in my chest.

“Ah! So, this is all romantic shyness.” I teased her.

After breakfast, I was getting dressed.

“You know, the other day I was going to talk to you about me finding a job.”

I stopped and looked at her. “I know you want to. I know you’re plenty bored. But on the visa, you are on right now…” I shrugged. She was on a tourist visa and she should not find employment with that.

She swallowed. Then smiled wanly. “I guess shifting and all that might keep me busy for a while.”

“Look at stuff on the internet.” I suggested. “Then we’ll go to the shops together and buy what we need to. Okay?”

She grinned devilishly and said, “Sure.”

I knew she would do a lot more, left to her devices. But I was getting late for work. My carpool ride was here, and he was honking away on the street below. I took her leave and rushed down the stairs.

Winter was setting in. Since there had been no plan of her ever being with me at the time I had got my Visa, things turned out to be a bit complicated to process her papers. Finally, we found a way through and she was now finally with me. We had moved to the new house and set it up. She was now allowed to work in the country and she quickly found work as a food blogger with a local media house. She did a great job too; she was eminently recognized wherever we went.

I had got home early. The previous night had ended with many twists. But happily. The lights were out. I could not find her anywhere. Not upstairs, not in the backyard. Then I went to the garage. We had a single-car garage. I usually parked out and she put her car in. Her car was there. Where was she?

Concerned, I tried her number. It rang. Somewhere near me. Searching, I found her phone on the coffee table in the living room. Her handbag was there. Then I noticed a newspaper. The hair at the back of my neck bristled and a chill ran down my spine.

The previous night, I had proposed to her, at a restaurant. In full public view. The celebrity she was, a lot of people had paid attention. The local newspaper had carried our antics on its front page, with large photographs.

It was titled, “Eminent food blogger turns down long-time partner”. In big bold Times font.

The paparazzi had got it completely wrong. She had said yes. She had in fact enacted a scene from a famous Indian movie where the female lead accepts the male lead’s proposal in the negative – she was acting out a “No” while saying all the things that meant “Yes”. The folk that had been the nearest to us had enjoyed the performance and had clapped. Of course, the photographers who were outside the glassed windows had no way to know.

I had called them earlier in the day and had some strong words with them. They were going to fix it in tomorrow’s paper, with an apology and the actual story.

But evidently, Juhi had seen today’s article.

I ran out of the house in search of her. Finally, I found her seated in the dark, in the community cricket stadium. She was sitting at our favourite seats.

“The paparazzi!” I shrugged, sitting down next to her and embracing her tightly.

She lay her head on my shoulders and sobbed.

“Don’t worry about them. Let’s not destroy what we have built between us.”

“It’s all because of me.” She sobbed.

“It’s not.” I consoled her. “First, come, let’s go home.”

She rose reluctantly and came back home. On the way, I explained to her how I had called up the newspapers and given them a piece of my mind. And told her it would be set right in tomorrow’s edition. Unlike the online media, print does not have an ‘undo’.

“Okay.” She mumbled.

We ate a solemn dinner. Which seemed strange, given we had much to celebrate. And talk about.

“I can’t imagine what they would write about if they found out…” She said as we turned in.

I shivered. It was not something I wanted to contemplate.


About the author:

Sujay Sarma is an IT industry veteran, about 43 years of age. He has spent 25 years in the IT industry and has done it all, and seen it all. Now, his passion is writing [blogs, stories, novels] and music. He has his own YouTube channel called "Sujay Sarma's Musical Adventures" where he posts his covers and originals, and a Podcast named "Interesting People Interesting Stories".
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