Lakshmi found herself talking to Suresh almost everyday. She would call him the moment her parents were out of sight. The feeling was funny, exciting even. To hear his voice and share events of the day with him and hear him talk about his life. She would tell Durga and Preeti a little bit of what was happening, but she liked to keep somethings to herself. That evening, when her mother had gone to the temple, and while she was talking to Suresh, she found herself agreeing to meet him at the library.
"Why don't I see you at the library?"
"I told you this before, I cannot be seen with you anywhere"
"Ok, I'll sign up to become a member today. At least we can talk a bit in person rather than on the phone every other day. And in 6 months we will both be done with school. And then what if I go off to college in another state? I am going to write the exams for IIT and the RECs. At least that's what my father wants me to do"
Lakshmi paused for a minute not knowing what to say.
"Think about it. But I'm going to sign up at the library anyway"
"Alright. I will see you there sometime. I'm going there this evening."
"Ok. Don't be scared. Nothing is going to happen."
That evening, Lakshmi stood in front of her cupboard for half an hour wondering what to wear. She finally chose the light pink salwar kameez with white embroidery. As she carefully did her hair and lined her eyes with kajal, she wondered how it would be to meet him in person. Choosing her kitten heels and a matching bag, she walked out of the house before her mother could ask her too many questions. Her heart started beating faster as she neared the library.
"Hello!" She greeted the librarian at the desk and quickly walked to the section that wasn't clearly visible from the front. She chose a book from the fiction section and started reading it, the words not making much sense to her. Lakshmi usually liked taking time in the library. She would choose a few books from different sections and then narrow down on what she wanted to take home with her. But today, her mind was far from it.
Lakshmi turned around and looked at Suresh. He had the most beautiful chocolate brown eyes she had ever seen.
"Hi" she managed to squeak.
"Nice library huh. What are you reading?" Suresh took the book from her and looked at it, turning it in his hands "Judith McNaught"
"Yes, it's her new book. I've been wanting to read it"
"Interesting. I doubt I'll ever want to read this" laughed Suresh. "Whats wrong with this?" said a mildly irritated Lakshmi. She couldn't help wondering why he laughed and poked fun at everything. Are all boys like this?
"Nothing. It's just a girls book I guess. Anyway, I have decided what I want to read, so I'll see you outside the library in 10 minutes Ok?"
Lakshmi dint say anything. She just looked at him and Suresh left.
This became like a weekly thing. Every week Lakshmi and Suresh would meet at the library. Sometimes they would walk a little bit together. One day he even went with her to the new jewellery store. Lakshmi was surprised at her actions. She was becoming more and more gutsy. She would never imagined doing something like this. Everytime she spoke to Suresh on the phone and even in person, she felt her feelings for him grow everyday. She knew he felt the same for her too. She could feel it, especially when she would catch him looking at her when he thought she wasn't looking.
Lakshmi looked at the clock. It was almost 5 o'clock. Shruti was getting dressed to go meet her friends and Smriti was in her room. She decided to go to the temple and then quickly check out the new art gallery that opened a few blocks away. She changed her sari, instructed the maid on what vegetables she wanted cut for dinner and left. As she neared the temple, her thoughts slowed a little. She liked spending time at this place. This was a old temple, not too crowded like how most of them today are. She would do a small 'Archana' and then spend about 20 minutes sitting there before leaving.
As she was sitting there, she thought about her wedding day, something that she could not bring herself to think about, it still brought her pain even till now. But she should not feel guilty for feeling this way. She knew it, but couldn't help it.
........to be continued..............