‘Love! That’s what you and your husband remind me,’ Anuradha gives a hug to Tanya. ‘Happy Wedding Anniversary, darling. Rajesh is in Mumbai for some work. He asked me to apologise on his behalf.’
‘We are missing him too, Mrs. Desai.But I am glad you could make it at least,’ Tanya gives the smile which she knows needs to be on her face the entire evening.
‘And I must say you look ravishing in this red saree.No wonder your man is still head over heels in love with you,’ Anuradha giggles lika a child. ‘If I am not wrong both of you are together since school. Right?’
‘Yes, and…..’ Tanya gets interrupted by Vikram midway.
‘Hello Mrs. Desai,’ he says. ‘How are you, Anuradha?’
‘Hey,’ Anuradha exclaims and shakes Vikram’s hand. ‘Forget about me. Just look at yourself. You are getting more and more handsome with each passing day. Marriage definitely suits both of you.’
‘Really?Do you have anything to say about this compliment, Mrs. Tanya Batra?’ Vikram gives a charming smile at Tanya. But Tanya simply blushes in response and adjusts the red rose tucked in her side bun. How could he have this affect on her till today? Same charm, same wit, same intellect. Apart from his age, Vikram is still the very same guy Tanya fell in love with years ago.
‘Can you give me yesterday’s history notes?’ Vikram asked in the school canteen.
‘Who?Me?’ Tanya looked up in surprise with a heart doing some crazy gymnastic stunts inside.
‘Yeah,’ he replies. ‘I couldn’t come to school yesterday.’ Only if Vikram knew there was no need for him to clarify. Tanya’s eyes had noticed his absence yesterday even before the class teacher could mark a cross against his name in the attendance register.
‘Okay, no problem,’ Tanya replied briefly trying her best to maintain a calm posture. After all, it’s not an easy job to maintain harmony between heart and brain when the person you secretly love and admire is standing in front of you.
‘Thank you,’ Vikram gave his charming smile. Tanya saw something more than mere gratitude in his eyes. Else why would he need to borrow notes from her when he could easily get it from Abhiroop, Aman, Nandita or Prerna? She melted like a hot chocolate.
Off late, she had noticed a change in Vikram’s behaviour. Normally he hung around with his circle of friends. But since last couple of weeks, he had initiated talks with Tanya a number of times for some reason or another. Be it his enquiry about the science tuition classes Tanya enrolled herself into or the novels she was reading recently. There was no need for a student like him to know these trivial details about Tanya. Two weeks back, he even shifted to the desk adjacent to Tanya’s all of a sudden. And what more? Last week, Tanya discovered a heart shape drawn on a desk in the class which had V+T written inside it. These were enough hints for Tanya to realise that even Vikram nurtured the same feelings for her. Now it was up to them how they helped their love find it’s way.
‘You know what happened?’ Sana danced her eyebrows in the recess period, her usual gesture whenever she had anything to divulge.
‘What?’Tanya asked taking a bite from the sandwich. She caught a fever which made her bunk school for a week and lag behind the latest gossips.
Sana looked around the class to make sure nobody else was listening her and replied in Tanya’s ear, ‘Vikram admitted that he is in love.’ Tanya had to make a serious effort to swallow the sandwich as her heart was in her mouth. At last….
She took her eyes away from Sana and somehow managed to ask, ‘With whom?’ She knew the answer well enough though.
‘Nandita,’ Sana declared.
‘What?’ Tanya exclaimed hiding her shock, pain and disappointment at the same time.
‘Yeah…and even Nandita reciprocated the same feelings. No one had the slightest idea…..’ Sana went on with rest of the details oblivious of Tanya who was fighting hard to hold back her tears. That meant her mind was simply making stories about her and Vikram. But what was all that V+T about? Suddenly, it dawned on her that they had Vaibhav and Tanuja in the class as well. Yet her mind only imagined what it wanted to.
‘Hey, Tanya?’ Vikram’s voice came from somewhere. ‘I was looking for you the whole week. Here are your history notes. Thank you so much for the help,’ he gave away his charming smile. Tanya took the notebook from him without digging deep into his eyes this time.
‘How are you guys doing? I am sorry I was caught up with some people from work,’ Aman arrives from one corner of the living room and stands in between Tanya and Vikram.
‘There you are. I was searching for you,Mr. Batra,’ Anuradha smiles.
‘Me? What did I do?’Aman laughs.
‘You married this beautiful woman standing beside you ten years back. Happy Wedding Anniversary.’ Anuradha hugs Aman.
‘Ah! And I am proudly guilty about it.She cast a magic spell on me with her hazel eyes in school. Had to make her mine before anyone else grabbed her. Love you, Tanu,’Aman embraces his wife bringing her out of trance.
‘Love you too, dear,’ Tanya smiles at her husband.
‘Buddy, call Nandita. Where is she?’ Aman asks Vikram.
‘Good question. Let me see what my wife is doing. Just a moment guys,’ Vikram excuses himself and gets lost in the gathering without knowing that two kohl lined hazel eyes are admiring his every step. Tanya knows well now that love does not always follow the green signal showed by the heart. Love often decides it’s own way.