Thank U all for your feedback/comments. Here's Part 5
Gopi, was invited by Mrs.
Mehta to mentor a batch of brides-to-be on religious traditions and customs.
Gopi was reluctant initially but was encouraged by everyone in the family to
take up the challenge. She had to dedicate three hours each day for about 10
days. The classes opened up a whole new avenue for Gopi, her interactions with
the girls led her to forcefully acknowledge to herself the guidance she lacked
preparing for her marriage. She was happy to be assisting them in any way
possible and was a popular mentor with a small fan following. She also,
inadvertently, ended up learning about the power of feminine wiles during her stint
with the finishing school. The stint was a welcome break from her sessions and
provided her the much needed respite from being confined to the house and
involuntarily drifting towards Aham.
Gopi enjoyed mentoring the
girls and was spending as much time possible at the school. She looked forward
to hearing about issues and apprehensions of the brides-to-be. They all looked
up to her and this was one place where nobody judged her but recognized her for
her qualities. She got herself engrossed and was determined to lose herself in
it. This was her way of navigating around any Aham thoughts.
After the little going
away picnic they had one afternoon, the girls decided up on hanging out until
after dinner. Gopi called home and informed Papaji of her change in plans and
asked for the driver to be sent later, at about 8:30ish. It was for the first
time, that she was staying out so late and was apprehensive of what Maaji might
After she was done at
about 8:15pm, she saw the car approaching, bid her goodbyes and was getting
ready to get into the car when she saw Aham driving it. Her heart missed a
beat, she thought she was hallucinating. She blinked to clear her vision, but it
was Aham she saw. She wasn't
The car came to a halt;
Aham stepped out and moved towards her. She was spellbound, he came to her and
whispered "surprise!!" It was difficult to understand who was more surprised:
Gopi, for him showing up or Aham, at the thought of surprising her.
"What are you doing here;
you weren't supposed to be here until the day after."
"I missed you" he replied,
taking Gopi's hands in his and with a slow smile spreading across his face.
Gopi blushed and the girls started to giggle. Gopi made the introductions and
left promising them to catch up the next day at school. Gopi was getting really
uncomfortable, for him this was a charade, his way of keeping up appearances,
but her life depended on it.
There was an uncomfortable
silence in the car. Neither of them knew where to begin or what to say. Gopi
was still reeling from the shocking surprise and Aham was thinking about an
"How was the trip?" she
asked slowly looking straight ahead, trying hard to regain her composure and
resenting the fact that Aham had such control over her, despite everything.
"it was good" he said,
looking at her " I wrapped things early
and decided to head home."
"Hmmm" she said, seeming
to be at a loss for words.
"So how did your project
submission go?" he asked, looking at a very surprised Gopi.
"It went well, I had to
use a lot of research and the internet lessons definitely helped, so thank you"
she said smiling softly.
"So how do you like being
a mentor?" he asked.
"I started mentoring those
girls last week and have two more sessions with them, it's been interesting so
far." she replied. "When did you fly in?" she asked
"This afternoon" he said.
"Papaji should have told me
that you were home, I would have skipped dinner." She complained
"I asked him not to and I
did not want you to change your plans, I was at work and decided to pick up
myself" he said, trying to pacify her. It failed
" You should have told me,
you were flying in this afternoon" she said angrily. Aham could not remember
her ever being mad at anything. He was enjoying it and wanted to keep it going. Ruffling her up definitely held a charm.
"You were never around
when I called" he responded truthfully "never ever" he repeated for the effect
"Are you accusing me?" she
snapped back angrily "Why on earth would I avoid you?" she added staring at
him. And she realized her mistake the moment she spurt it out. Aham was smiling
to himself, for what he did not know yet.
**************** End of Part 5 ***************************
This part is a little shorter in comparison but then from now on the story will move faster.