Vivah kept her book aside, looking out the double panelled windows; a vital viewpoint. She could see the eye of the market. The Ambika Mistan Bhandar flocked with people and kids, eagerly waiting for their turn to get the limited special Jalebi and Rabri. Fatima Bai with her daily produce of vegetables, fruits, homemade ghee, butter and milk, spread out in the corner of the sweet shop’s doorway. The Annapurna guest house filled this time of the year. The season of tourists; far and wide. Mishraji had a group of foreigners packed into his shop by the right-hand corner of the guest house; serving local snacks and delicacies with fervour and mirth in his step. Bulbul Jian Bajia’s ‘Garment Locale’; her hands full with patrons stepping into her humble local attire shop. A trip coordinator out on the visits of the day with the package bought by honeymooning couples.
The people, the stalls, the roads were a part of her life, but she lacked the symphony. Her thoughts chimed into the false crescendo of beginnings and endings she failed to register. Sounds never her companion. They passed her by, whispering sweet nothings she could never comprehend.
Vivah had always felt like a cherished guest of the Saxenas; their bungalow a dream for creators. The same room and the same view. This was her writer’s retreat. The very spot of creation. The well-maintained vacation bungalow, a lavish garden and an extremely well-managed set of caretakers upped the hospitality. A definite 6 on the 5 point scale. She had peace and the much-needed solidarity to write.
The guard opened up the gates for an orange and white KIA Seltos that rolled onto the driveway. Minutes later, Ruhil appeared at the study with a wide smile followed by the housekeeper, Jula; a trolley with a variety of light appetizers and palate cleansers, a bottle of fruity white wine and two glasses. Vivah waved him in. She was cosily seated on the bumped-out window seat. The seats complimented with soft cushions and pillows. Ruhil plopped down beside her and gave her a questioning look; his eyebrows hunched together. He picked up the book by her side and read the title, Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami.
“What happens when people open their hearts?”
"They get better.”
Vivah smiled at his words; Ruhil meant well. He had been a constant in her life since she started out her career. A man who treated everyone as an equal; a well-respected, hardworking, kind person. He had dropped hints about his infatuation, but her heart wasn’t ready. How could one know love with a vital sense barred for life? What are the indications it is more than admiration for your publisher? She crossed her arms, signing.
“She's letting out her feelings. The scary thing is not being able to do that. When your feelings build up and harden and die inside, then you're in big trouble.”
Ruhil smirked and offered her a glass of wine. He took a sip from his glass and looked up at her. He had taken over his father’s publishing house and turned it into a huge profitable empire. He recognized the master wordsmith Vivah was. Her beautiful words were meant to be sung by the lovelorn out there. Finally, she had taken his advice and was arching herself to work towards the romance genre.
“Love. I don’t understand Love. It is such an ambiguous concept. The books have such vivid and wild descriptions, they don’t help. Heartbeats match and you suddenly have superpowers. You know your beloved’s feelings without her noticing!”
An amused smile plastered onto his lips, Ruhil answered, “You can’t sense feelings; at least initially you can’t. You become accustomed to the person’s behaviour, you know how they react to situations; how they react when they are happy or sad or amused or excited. The behavioural pattern is so predominant you slowly ease into the concept that you can sense their feelings. Hence, the answer to your doubt, the gained superpowers.”
“Are you sure? How does it sound? Science says you can associate every emotion to a frequency of your heartbeat. I think I will never understand.”
The complex concept of adoration. Ruhil sighed. His persistent efforts to drop hints weren’t subtle but, he had failed miserably. Maybe this could be his chance. Strike while the iron is hot. He sat up from his relaxed position excited, “Actually, you are already familiar with the concept; I mean the sensing feelings. Everyone is. Like, I know you despise crowds, especially if you are tired. You like sipping on fruity wine whenever you are contemplating. The actual writing always happens in your bedroom, and the study is for when you are working on the outline. So, how do I know such things? I am sure you can sense a few of mine.”
“That is possible in every relationship. We have known each other for some years now. What I meant was love in the romantic sense! Even if it was, how do we set apart infatuation and love?”
“Like is when I knew you preferred white wine over red; when I knew you loved the calm and avoided crowds; when I knew you write in your bedroom. Love was when I started drinking white wine, but only in your company. Nothing surpasses the joy of sharing a glass with you. Love was when I scheduled small gatherings for you to interact, so you get time for some peace and quiet. Love was when I knew you write in your bedroom and prefer to keep you company, answer your questions when you contemplate on what to write; have a writer’s knot. Just the rescue team, but completely yours.”
Vivah smiled. She had her millionth doubt fly out the window. Her breath hitched; senses that seemed to run on fatigue limit, energized by the flush of emotions in her heart. She heard her heart and his match into one. She signed, “From what you told me, I presume you love me.”
Ruhil looked at her, “Well, then I would like to know your answer.”
“Let’s just say. You cleared my doubts. I know it’s not just admiration or infatuation. I Love You Too.”
The blind can see love, the deaf can hear love, the mute can express love, and the disabled can carry love.
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