This is my first FF.
It is the story of Ahem and Gopi within the backdrop of London, UK.
"Gopi, are you listening to me? On your way home stop over at the country estate to invite the guest of honour," Rashi
bellowed over the phone.
"But the weather is turning for the worse
Rashiben," complained Gopi, hoping for a respite from this task.
"No, Gopi. I watched the weather channel and you
will be fine for the next couple of hours. This will take no more than ten
minutes and you will be on your way home... Oh, another thing, mummy has already
agreed to your marriage to Kokila Modi's son, Ahem," spat Rashi.
"...will chat later," interrupted Rashi, "don't
forget go to the country estate and invite the guest of honour."
The line went dead. Silence fell around Gopi as
she looked at her phone and sighed.
She sat back on her seat in the bus that
just started to move from its terminal at Stratford upon Avon heading towards
London. It is going to be an interrupted journey with this unexpected stopover,
she exclaimed to herself.
Many things in Gopi's life weren't easy but she
braced herself and coped with it, no matter what. She had to make adjustments
in her life from the time she was five years old after her parents had died suddenly.
She moved into her mami's home, Urmila Shah, only to live within the basic
needs that were given to her. Her schooling days were mundane which brought on
slightly interesting college years. She opted to study drama hence her visit to
Shakespeare's home town.
It was a Saturday course which was now over. She
loved her time away from home and to lose herself in her studies. She enjoyed
role playing a lot and being in another person's shoes, even if it was for a
while. A deep sigh left Gopi's mouth as she thought about her role as the young
Elizabeth the first. She had to be fierce, bold and cold, something that she
was not. Her tutor's coaching worked well only for that time.
A while later the next stop was announced over the
speaker distracting Gopi from her thoughts.
Oh the invitation, thought Gopi.
She dug into her bag and drew out from her folder an envelope. It read
Ahem Modi, 10 Tempest Lane, The Downs.
Oh my God! She is going to see HIM!
She drew a sharp breath. Her blood turned
cold making her heart cringed. What am I to do?
Why Rashiben? She looked down at her clothes. Oh
no! How am I going to meet my future husband dressed in this outfit? wondered
Gopi was dressed in a short tight maroon skirt
with a two inch slit on the left side that ended just above her knee and a
white vest t-shirt with strappy sandals. She had her floral handbag slung
across her body.
It was the middle of late summer in early September. This
year had been a a dismal summer where it had rained quite a bit. Over the
last week the weather improved bringing sunnier days with warm temperatures. This is typical of an Indian summer.
She convinced herself it will only be ten minutes
as Rashiben said and not a second longer. She would tell him about the Yuvak
Samaj and all the work the youth group does for their community, invite
him for the youth conference and tell him that she looks forward to seeing him
there then will excuse herself.
It was simple. In and out in ten minutes.
Rashi and Gopi have spent the last five years
working in the samaj to encourage the youth to keep up their cultural values.
Rashi was the public relations officer and Gopi, secretary. Every year they
organised a one day conference with workshops and seminars. This year the focus
is on young and successful businessmen.
Ahem Modi was renowned for his successes as Chief
Operations Officer for Modi Enterprise. He had completed his MBA at Oxford and
had just received the Young Inspirational Business Leader of the Year award.
Moreover, his was a member of the local Wembley community. This was the reason
to have him as the guest of honour.
This should have been Rashiben's job inviting him,
thought Gopi. Just then the stop for The Downs was announced. Gopi gathered herself and her belongings, and
headed to the exit door.
She walked out into the muggy afternoon air looking
ever so ominous and tumultuous. The sky was turning orange and the clouds were
ramming together forming a darker shade of grey. The sharp wind blew her hair
away from her. This was not a day to go visiting and that too to meet him ' Mr
The bus moved away leaving her standing alone
nearby some shops. Forcing herself to remain focused she looked out for Tempest
The Downs was a tiny village with just a general
store, post office and a church and with the odd left and right turns into the
side roads. Perhaps it was one of those side roads, thought Gopi. She walked up
to the narrow road on the left and searched for its name. It read Furlow Lane.
No, it wasn't this. What about the lane ahead on the right? she asked herself.
Gopi walked briskly from the village centre along
the quiet road. There was nothing but grass on both sides and houses spread
apart. It was a typical English countryside ' green grass, rolling green hills
with random cottages dotted around all. Usually it would have looked pretty and
quintessentially English but not today with the storm brewing both outside and
As she approached the lane it read The Tempest. To
her relief, she walked on with a quicker pace wanting to get her task over and
done. Just a few houses all set into their land. The more she walked along away
from the main road the quieter the area became until she came upon a drive into
an estate. A rectangular plaque on the side of the pillar read Modi Estate
indicating the number.
This is it, acknowledged Gopi to herself.
She walked up the long drive lined with an avenue
of trees with branches that crept over the drive. It led to the entrance of the
quaint double storey thatched cottage which was surrounded by larger and older
trees that towered the house creating an atmospheric feel about the place.
The large gardens made it a great place for
children the run around and play outside in the long daylight hours during
summer whilst being kept under the watchful eye of the adult close by.
Near the door was parked an Audi 4x4. People are
in the house, she thought. That's good. It will be ok, she comforted herself.
Suddenly as she began to knock on the door the wind turned and began to pick
up, swirling in its wake.
"Ahem dikra the girl's aunty has agreed to the
marriage so it is set. Punditji said the next best day will be a week before
Navratri leaving me five weeks to settle all the wedding arrangements," Ahem's
mother, Kokila affirmatively spoke through the telephone line.
Just then there was a knock on the front door.
Irritated by the interruption, knowing this is the set up by Jigar, Ahem
complied, "Yes, mum. You know I leave tomorrow for Dubai, Mumbai and Singapore.
I return at the end of next month."
"Dikra, when you return that evening will be the
engagement party then the wedding is a week later," Kokila persistently
The knocking became louder this time round with
some insistence in it too. Why do I fall prey to Jigar's immature
activities, Ahem asked himself. Time and time again Jigar, his brother, sets up
a tart for Ahem's pleasure, thinking that all work and no play makes Ahem a
"Yes, mum. I have to go," Ahem responded.
Kokila, quick as a whip, interrupted, "but don't
you want to know her name?"
"I'll call you tomorrow from the airport," with
that Ahem slammed the phone on the receiver and strode in large steps to the
Gopi had knocked much louder now, this being the
third time. With no response she turned and started walking away as the wind
soared and twirled around.
Suddenly a gush pulled her backwards. Was it the
relentless heightening wind or something else when she heard a roar behind her?
Gopi turned around and stood frozen at the sound
of the booming voice taking in the figure standing at the door.
He was a tall, lean yet well built man with well
sculptured shoulders and chest. He was wearing a black suit trouser with a
white shirt tucked in and unbuttoned half way down his chest with sleeves
rolled up to his elbows. He was a sight to behold.
His face glowered and wildly matched with his
eyes that burnt with rage. His jaw twitched rapidly. He was not meant to be
messed about. His thunderous look gave way to his tense muscles making his
clean shaven look intensely appealing.
Gopi could not understand why her insides were
warming up to a boil. Her tummy began to flutter and her supportive knees were
turning to jelly. Her mind began to play havoc of new found thoughts of wanting
to feel his firm muscular shoulders and the desire to have his arms wrapped around
her with her head resting on his chest. What would it feel like to do this? she
asked herself as this wild thought popped into her mind.
With his hand on the door handle and standing at
its entrance, Ahem drew in this crazed yet petite figure. She sure fit Jigar's
tart category with her apparel and her hair wildly styled by the wind but there
was something about her that did not seem to add up. What was it about her?
Her eyes were like lasers that bore deep holes
into him leaving a tingling feeling in his chest.
He yelled out competing with the wind, "Are you
going to stand out there or come inside where it is still?"
Just then large raindrops began to fall. The next
second he fast approached her, grabbed her wrist and pulled her.
Gopi did not resist but followed as though she was
had just been commanded. His warm hand on her wrist sent an electric shock
through her system igniting her. She followed him up the stairs, through the
front door into the large main hall. She recognised the song playing in the
background ' Somewhere only we know by Keane. Suddenly she heard a mobile
He swung her around and released her making her
come face to face with him. She was completely drenched, he noticed.
"Go upstairs, turn right and walk into the room at
the end. You will find towels and clothes in the wardrobe," Ahem commanded, "I
have to take this call."
As he walked away into another room she heard his
fading conversation, "Good evening Mr Kapoor, I will be in Mumbai on Friday
morning. Set up the meeting at noon..."
Gopi looked around the hall. It epitomised
everything she had heard of the Modi's ' wealthy, opulent and warm ' except for
the welcome she had just received.
She looked down at herself and noticed just how
soaked she was and heeded his order.
Links to the next chapters:
Edited by swasthi - 13 January 2013 at 2:38am