An Engagement- Mills & Boon Style!

on Wednesday, December 22, 2010

(It happened in Delhi, roughly a year ago. Part fiction, part reality)


She waited anxiously for the clock to strike twelve. "Today, I will reserve him for myself"- she thought to herself. She ran her fingers over the smooth, lustrous surface of the silver band, and conjured up happy images of the day to follow.


She clandestinely tip toed up the stairs. There he stood, his frame slightly blurred by the thin layer of fog which wafted through the distance between them. She moved closer, beguiled by the casual, easy manner in which he was reclining against the terrace railing. She gave him a gentle smile, which almost immediately conveyed a soft "happy birthday". He smiled back, acknowledging her wishes. It was then that her heart skipped a beat. His smile. Ethereal. His eyes. Dazzling. His sharp features. Irresistible. And his fair face. Resplendent in the soft glow of the moon.

She motioned closer, firmly locking her eyes on him. He slipped his arm in one swift moment around her waist, and pulled her closer. She let out a sigh. She was bare-feet. He pulled her up, made her climb on his shoes; he promised to protect her from everything that hurt her- cold definitely was one of them.  With one hand pressed on his chest, she slipped her other hand in his warm clasp. He could feel the ice-cold metal band pressed between their palms. Before he could inquire, she strengthened her grip on his hand, and pressed her cheek on his.

It was time now for him to let out a sigh. His grip on her waist tightened. The inquisitiveness evaporated in the fog, protecting them from any prying eyes. She withdrew, replacing the softness of her cheeks, with that of her lips. It was only a moment that she pressed her lips on his cheeks that she heard a faint sound coming from somewhere near. She broke free from his arms as a reflex. The chill felt unbearable as she once again touched the cold floor with her bare feet. She ran back downstairs, not looking back a moment. The craving in his eyes would have weakened her.

She closed the door of her room behind her. She was safely back; but the pace at which her heart was beating, it was definitely running back to him. She left the silver band with him. She had conveyed what she intended to. Had he understood?


She woke up rubbing her eyes. The smile on her face was instinctive. In that state of semi-consciousness, she knew something big was in store today, something was going to change; but what, she did not quite know. She let the pleasant disorder persist. She closed her eyes. She lived those memories again.

She had known him since she was sixteen- at the threshold of womanhood. A tryst on an enchanting evening, and that one defining moment when she, without a care in the world held his hand and danced, changed a lot for her. She had been bold and protected; she now wanted to expose her weaknesses to him. She had always led in life; she now simply wished to follow. She had been afraid of all these feelings, she now wanted to risk the lethal.

And all this when she did not even know the spelling of his name!
A month and ten days later, she risked the question. At that time, she could not recall his physical image to brain. Today, three and half years later, she can recognize him by his smell.

Today, she will take care of the remaining fears she had in her heart. "We can't be together for long", she mulled, "But our own commitment, we'll make firmer". She wanted to cement their bond till a point of no return. She believed in rituals; and so she selected the simplest, and more meaningful to assert- "I'm here to stay. I'm your's for life".

They met in the heart of the city, and this time could exchange hugs and wishes more openly. He had a curious smile on his lips, and she knew what he meant when he said-"It's my birthday, and I want to buy you a gift". He dragged her into a shop selling silver, and after trying several, bought that one ring, which made her humble fingers look royal. She could not contain her smile. She wondered what the passers-by must be thinking; but she knew her smile made her look pretty. So, hand-in-hand, away they went.

It was now time for rituals.
Rings: Selected, bought.
Dress Code: Winter Casuals.
Witnesses: Not required.
Venue: Big Problem! Where? No idea. What to do? They walked, and mulled, and walked, and mulled, and eventually got tired. They were treading on the grandest road in the capital, connecting the India Gate with the magnificent President's House. Lutyen's architecture is a beholder's delight! Finally, when they could walk no more, they sat down on a foot path, right in front of India Gate. Cars were whizzing past at brilliant speeds. "This is it!" -she exclaimed. "What can be a better place to engrave in our memories forever?" True. They were against the most majestic backdrop that this city could provide- Grandiose architectural wonders; almost invisible sun, its balmy rays cascading down the layers of mist, right in their direction; and the two of them, lost amid a crowd of pedestrians and vehicles, yet secure in their place beneath the sun.

Now was the time to solemnize. They prepared to slip the rings. Wait. Ring finger, but which hand? They shared a moment of humor when they both took out their handsets, and tried to understand tradition from the point of view of technology. With 'engagement+rituals' as the key words, they went through numerous search results, all in contradiction to each other. They looked at each other, shared a hearty laugh, and then, decided to trust their instincts.

First she, then him.

Holding hands had never been more special.

They headed home in an auto, a luxurious ride, given their humble backgrounds. She chatted incessantly. He, like always, was the patient listener. Their clasp did not break for a second. Yes, they did spend a moment or two just looking at those intertwined hands, wondering how long will this dream last. Then, they averted their gaze. In their hearts was a brief fear. This fear, they refused to share with each other.

May be nothing had changed. May be, a lot had.