Life at college was very demanding. A diligent student, Pradeep hardly had time for anything but his studies.  He missed the carefree days of school when he could come back after classes and play cricket or football. He missed lazing around during weekends. There seemed to be some sort of drive in him that was making him focus all his energy on his studies.

He spent his vacations in campus working on assignments way beyond the requirements of his course work. His parents and his class mates felt that he was overdoing it. His visits home were very brief – he always made the excuse of having to go back to those extra assignments.

He continued to receive letters from Rinku- letters that he never opened! He put them all into a folder and stuffed them into the back of his cupboard.

But not opening those letters in no way prevented him from hearing about her. His mother was constantly updating him through her letters about the various happenings in the neighbourhood. He learnt through her that Rinku had joined a degree in fine arts at a reputed college. He also heard about Rinku’s mother’s gall bladder operation and later about her father’s knee replacement surgery. His mother chided  him in her letters about not writing to them and enquiring about their health.  “After all they are our old neighbours” she scolded him.

But somehow, he was reluctant to write to them.. He was very uncomfortable about having anything to do with Rinku or her family these days.

He often wondered why he felt like that? After all, he and Rinku did not exactly have a girlfriend – boy friend sort of a relationship. But somewhere at the back of the mind he could not deny the fact that he felt deeply for her – a feeling that refused to go away!

He tried meeting other girls. But somehow he could not feel the same degree of comfort that he experienced when he was in Rinku’s company. He often felt irritated by them.

Therefore, he was quite relieved when he graduated because it would give him the flexibility of living his own life of isolation in peace without having to keep up with the niceties of being part of a campus group and having to entertain girls.

But things did not exactly go as he had planned..!

He never expected when he answered the door bell on a rainy night nearly a year later that he would be face to face with this girl from his past. He started at her speechless! To say that she was beautiful would be an understatement –the girl standing at his door step was gorgeous!

“Aren’t you going to invite me inside” she asked softly. He opened the door wider helping her with the suitcase that she had with her. His mind was full of questions…

Why was she here?

“Pradeep you’ve   got  to help me” she said coming to the point almost immediately.

He raised his eyebrows questioningly.

“I have run away from home” she said dramatically! He stared at her with his mouth open.

“Mummy and Papa were completely against my marrying Sudhir. So we decided to get married without their blessings” she said by way of explanation.

He wanted to ask her why she was here at his door step if she had eloped with that fellow. But he could not. All that was working in his mind was that she was here in front of him-that she had chosen to come to him when she needed help!

“Pradeep, there is nobody that I can trust in this world except you. You know me for so long and you are my best friend. So can you help us?”  she asked him.

He took a deep breath! He did not want to get involved in this. But was there a way out? Not when she asked him like this. Somewhere at the back of his mind he wondered where was this Sudhir chap? But another part of him was glad that he was not there.

So, the next afternoon, he went shopping with her as she bought herself a new sari and some flowers. A day later he waited outside his bedroom door as she dressed herself inside to become Sudhir’s bride. Then, he drove her on his motorcycle to the registrar’s office where she was to marry this fellow.

He was hoping against hope that this Sudhir may have changed his mind. But he obviously hadn’t. So, Pradeep saw for the first time the man who he considered in his mind his rival. He was deeply disappointed that Rinku had chosen for herself this sly and shifty eyed man. He was angry that she had thought this fellow to be better than the boy who had loved her from the time she was a child..! But he voiced none of these thoughts.

He stood silently through the brief ceremony at the end of which he signed against the spot on the marriage certificate under the word “Witness”.

“Thank you Pradeep” she said giving him a hug. The “groom”  nodded and shook his hand.

Pradeep suggested that they all go out together for a meal. But Rinku’s husband did not seem to like the idea.

So Pradeep watched quietly as she got into an autorickshaw with her lawfully wedded husband. The auto started and all he could see was a hand with red glass bangles wave out to him

“The bride had consented, the gallant came late” were the lines that kept ringing through his mind as he started his motorcycle and made his way homeward.


16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. KP
    Jun 22, 2012 @ 18:37:48

    Even now as I read the story and Sudhir guy was missing,I was wondering whether Rinku was playing a ruse of an imaginary Sudhir and finally let Pradheep know that he is her ‘Sudhir’. A foolish girl she is and you didn’t help her make a good choice..


    • Meera
      Jun 22, 2012 @ 21:20:45

      KP.. unfortunately my story lines are rather predictable. And about helping Rinku make choices.. sorry she is her own mistress ( though I may be her creator


  2. Shomoita
    Jun 22, 2012 @ 21:01:18

    Pradeep should be glad as that stupid girl is out of his life! He should move on now and check out other girls in the town! 🙂


  3. Jack
    Jun 22, 2012 @ 21:07:27


    Now you have made me wait for next part. Please do not delay too much.

    Take care


  4. renu
    Jun 23, 2012 @ 09:50:16

    I agree with KP sir.


  5. Anilkumar Kurup
    Jun 23, 2012 @ 14:46:35

    M, honestly, I think that this is the only story I read of yours that may beg to stay in mind.Perhaps you did not do your homework well, or rushed with the plot!


  6. Bikramjit Singh Mann
    Jun 23, 2012 @ 15:40:43

    Good for him .. I hope he understands if not , ask him to have a word with me .. better off without her.. look at me in Real life I have done so much better once it got over ..

    one door closes many more open up FOR SURE …

    good one


  7. Gayu
    Jun 25, 2012 @ 18:00:53

    I thought that Pradeep would be Sudhir. But now lets see how her life unfolds. ” a hand with red glass bangles wave out to him”, i could imagine the scene. Lovely narration Meera.


  8. Sharmila
    Jun 25, 2012 @ 20:25:57

    i agree with KP …. u r so bad – it’s suppose to be a love story !! But anyway as usual ur writing is good … may be it’s good to have unusual love story with unusual ending – Life is not always perfect !! Waiting for the next “Love Story” 🙂


  9. theextraaamile
    Jul 18, 2012 @ 20:49:45

    O’ Boy…poor guy Pradeep!! Btw, I love the names you give ur characters 🙂 As always enjoy reading all the stories….. am a big fan of meeratales 🙂 keep the excellent work going on 🙂


    • Meera
      Jul 19, 2012 @ 13:29:01

      @ Extramile- so nice to see you back here again. Thanks about the comment around the stories and the name.. I sometimes get totally stuck. So if you have some nice names remember to send them to me 🙂


  10. Scott Utley
    Jul 21, 2013 @ 11:01:43

    This one part is a totality. I never read anything other than what is before me, so if there is a first part, I cannot imagine how it would make this any better than it already is. But, not “in campus”, I think ‘on campus’. But that may be just my Amerikan preference. 🙂

    It is a flawlessly told story and I am very happy to have read this. This is my idea of a short story. Short stories are the greatest art form as far as I am concerned. I love it!


    • Meera
      Jul 21, 2013 @ 14:15:04

      Thanks for pointing out that grammatical error. I wish sometimes that someone else would do my spell and grammar check. I usually write late in the night and by the time I am done I don’t have the energy to run a spell and language check.
      Glad you like this story. It is not among my favorites though. My personal favorite is “A star crossed love”. It was strange, the way I got round the writing it. It was a rainy afternoon and I was at work. And I suddenly HAD to write this. So I closed that EXCEL sheet I was working on wrote this. Needless to say I had to stay back until 7.00 PM that evening to compensate for that lost time.


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