"At two different corners of the world, two persons with complete different personalities blossom, only to meet later on. Either their meeting bind them forever or hatred seeps in them."
"Student exchange program, students from different college of India would be coming here to work on an assignment, you will be paired in group of twos." Mrs Gelson informed her students.
"Wow Riya, people from your country." Her friend Freya said. "It will be exciting right?" she asked, joyfully.
That was how Freya was full of life, and excited about everything. Riya just loved her too bits. They had been friends since fours years now, when they were 16 years old and they jelled up really well.
"Yes, so very excited, I am so looking forward to it." Riya's lips curved in an ever bigger smile.
Excitment was must, people from her country, India were coming in her another country, London. She had multi-nationality and she completely enjoyed that. Although, they didn't not go often to India but still it was her country, half of her identity belonged to there and she completely loved that fact and didn't mind, for once, boasting about her dual identity. No; she was not a confused soul, divided in two, she had accepted both of them with open arms, she was a "London Desi".
Last time, that she went to India, it was when she was 10, ten years back and she had completely enjoyed her trip. Meeting her cousin and doing all the fun, the pani puri competition, the roaming in bazaars, the sight-seeing, she missed all of it and craved to have those moments back. Half of her elder cousins were married and they could not even go there due to financial problems.
"Arjun, pack you bag, I will not be packing you luggage all my life." An elderly woman in her late forties ordered him.
"Why not ma?" he hugged her from behind.
She turned to him;"Because you are 21 now. You are going to UK all alone for one month and in few years you will be married, so start taking your responsibilities." She said pulling his ears.
"Oww Ma, it hurts. If it is so, I would not get married. I want you to do all my chores." He said adamantly.
"People don't stay here forever." Her mother said in a low voice.
"Ma! No speaking nonsense." He scowled, not liking at all her conversation.
"Then, start being responsible person." She patted his cheek.
"Ma! I will." He kissed on her forehead.
"Now pack your bag, before you father starts scolding you." Informing him, she left the room.
"Had the prince prepared for his trip?" His father asked, as he exited his bedroom, freshen up for dinner.
"He is preparing. And please stop taunting him all the time." She frowned at him, as they both laid the food. The only few moments of the day, where they could be together, they cherished that time.
He sighed. "Ashika, I am just fed up at times, he never takes life serious. His flight is early in the morning and he has still not packed. I just hope this trip for his college goes well. I am not to sure to let him go alone though." He shared his worry.
"Don't take tension Ravi, he will be fine. Such assignments are important for him to realize what life is about." She assured him, squeezing his hand.
"I Pray so." He sat as she joined him, on the next seat.
"Now forget about it, taste the food made by your wife." She cheered up his mom.
"That for sure is my favorite task." He smiled at her as he started eating and praising her, "you are the best cook."
She smiled at him, feeling satisfied.
"Good evening Dad," Arjun quipped in, sitting on his chair and filling his plate.
His father wanted to say a word or two but refrained, not that it would change his carefree life. "Good evening Son."
Pin drop silence resounded in the large classroom, students noting down in their notebooks the sentences on the blackboard, with utter attention. Mrs Gelson, their teacher was very strict when it came to work. She wanted them to give there 100% and if they didn't succeed, she would willingly help them, she didn't like the students, who didn't do their work and then waited for others to do on their place.
"So students we have the list of students coming." Mrs Gelson announced the names and Riya was paired with some Vishali, she hoped she would be a good partner to work with.
"I want you all to get in order some ideas and not be blank when your partners are here." All nodded and dispersed as the bell rung.
Riya took the bus home as it was more convenient, although she knew driving but didn't possess a car, and she enjoyed the travel in bus, her earphones plugged in, admiring the scenery out of the window. It was soothing.
"Ma! I am home." Riya announced as she entered in her heaven.
"Hello dear!" Her mother greeted her, kissing on cheek and Riya kissed her back.
"Di! Thank God you are home. I need your work in homework." Aliya said, bouncing on her sister, not even letting her sit down.
"Bacha, calm down, let me at least sit down and have some water." She scolded her sister slightly.
"Sorry di!" Aliya bit her lips, she always was very energetic, jumping from one corner to another.
Riya gulped down the water. "That is ok, let me just change into my nighty and I will call you in my room." Riya said and stood up to walk up to her room, on the first floor of the house, right next to her little brother Shree and opposite to her sister, Aliya's room.
Stepping up, she stopped at her brother's room. "Hey Shree." She greeted him as she entered in.
"Hey di!" He welcomed her, raising his head from his science book. Eye glasses on.
"Working on science?" She asked, although knowing it well.
"Yes di! project on way." He breathed.
"Don't take tension, I know it will come out great." She ruffled his hairs, while he wrinkled his nose.
"Don't do that." He reprimanded her.
"Why so? You are my little brother and I can ruffle his hairs, right?" She said with a pout.
"Yes di, you can." He gave in, not wanting to hurt his sister, he loved her a lot.
"Very good. Ok, I will catch up with you later, have to help Aliya." Saying so, Riya went in her room.
Her room was nothing extra-ordinary a normal girl's room. Her bed, her wardrobe and her desk, having everything she needed. From CDs to make up, from books to gadgets, her heaven.
Freshening up in the common bathroom, she called Aliya and they sat on her bed to discuss the homework.
"...So that it is." Riya said with a sigh as they got done with Aliya's work.
"Di, is it ok to like someone?" Aliya looked at her sheepishly.
"You are 17 and I guess, it is ok to like someone but just like." She warned her with a smile.
"I know di, no doing romance before marriage." Aliya shied.
"Yes! Who is he?" Riya asked her.
"Aman, a class senior, but he has a girlfriend." Aliya pouted.
"Then maybe he is not for you kidoo." Riya caressed her hairs.
"Di, but still he is special. Although, they are in relation and I hate that girl, but I have never seen them getting clingy, they are always at least at 60 cm's distance." She said, sounding proud.
"Still, be careful. Any problem, do come to me. Try to stay away from him though, since he is in relation." Riya explained her sister and they went for dinner.
"Good evening Dad!" Riya greeted her dad, who looked tired, coming from work.
His dad lost his last job, when the company got took over. The owner was a racist, he fired all the Indians and Pakistanis, for every single reason he could. He was a terror. The owner's 10 years old son got killed in a riot, the criminals were unidentified, they didn't know if they were Pakistanis or Indians, or maybe someone else, so he did the best thing he could, blame the entire community of India and Pakistan. He had sacked all of them, for one or another motive, making it look completely valid.
After that, his dad as well as other Pakistani and Hindu fellows faced some difficulties to get a job. He did get but since it was a new job, he needed time to settle down and thus, no trip to India. Financial wise, they got to see ups and downs often, from the day his good paying job ended and he had to compromise with a decent job two years back, he just could not keep ignoring every single offer in wait of the best one, because he had his family to feed and thus he accepted.
"Good evening bacha!" He hugged her, his princess brightening his day. He would forget all the miseries just looking at his children.
They all sat down for dinner and the sound of cutlery could be heard. Being done, they cleaned the table.
"Any chance of promotion?" His wife asked, as they sat down to watch TV.
He sighed. He hated that question because he knew the answer was heart wrenching. "No, don't look like." The current job crisis were no help either, he had tried to postulate in some other companies as well but no positive reply.
"Don't worry, all we be ok." She comforted him, reprimanding herself for having asking him that. But this question kept bugging her and she wanted a positive response of that. It had been ten years going to India, of meeting her parents but she didn't complain, she knew the situation.
"I hate it. Ten years tat I could not take you all to India, our homeland. We had not met our relatives since so long. I just hope I get a promotion, only that would help us." He said with moist eyes.
"Papa, we all are together, it is ok if we can't go to India right now, we will go soon." Aliya told her father and Shree wiped his tears, they all got in family hug, boosting their father's spirit.
Even though, Arjun had a flight to catch in the early morning, he sneaked out of him home to meet his friends in their routine club, Jashn.
"Hey Raj," Arjun hi-fived him and hugged his other friends.
"So going out for a month, student exchange program. Going to hawk all the foreign chicks?" Arav teased him.
"Other way round man, they are going to drool over me." Arjun said arrogantly.
Vicky rolled his eyes, "You are such a conceited man."
"That is the way I am, take it or leave it." He winked at him.
"Baby!" Someone hugged him from behind, he turned around and found Amisha, his girlfriend since the last six months.
"Amisha sweetheart, how are you?" He hugged her.
"I am good, I will miss you so much, you are going for one damn month." She exhaled.
"Let's dance." He took her on the dance floor. He didn't want to make any announcement to her and get insulted at in front of his friends.
They were swaying to the music. Arjun looked at her and gulped down. He was bad at this, very very bad yet when he did, he did good.
Amisha kept looking at him lovingly and blushing under his gaze. She loved this man a lot. Further more, she loved the fact that they never had anything more than kisses.
"Listen Amisha, we have to end this." He said out of the blue.
"Arjun." She gasped, unsure of what she just heard.
"I can't continue this, please. I don't find the special factor between us. Nonetheless, you are the most amazing woman but I can't feel at ease with you. It is over for me. Move on please." He said gently, kissing her forehead he left her there in tears.
That was Arjun Suryakant Rawte. He could not stay in a relation for more than six months yet he never slept with them. He just needed and arm candy to show off to his friend, or to kiss. Now that he was going to London, he didn't want any guilt in him for cheating on his girlfriend back in India. So cleverly, he broke up with her.
...To Be Continued.
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