Sunday, December 04, 2005

Chapter 2...contd.

Friday nights are the best. Raj thought as he tied his shoelaces. You can stay out late wake up the next morning and still have another day-off left. He was going on his first date with Neeta and he was really excited. Ever since he gave his GMAT, he was starting to feel a bounce get back in his step. The last few years had been tough, but now he felt that he was moving in the right direction. In less than a year, he would be studying in the US and the whole world would be at his feet.

“Hi, you look great!” said Raj as he picked-up Neeta from her hostel. “Thanks, I appreciate your picking me up.”

Rishi’s house was in a South Delhi neighborhood, minutes from Lady Sri Ram College, and they drove in silence to the party. By the time Raj and Neeta arrived at the party, Raj’s gang was already there. They were a group of five boys who had been best friends since childhood. Besides Raj, others in the group were Rishi, Anuj, Vikram, and Gautam. They had all met in fifth grade when Raj had joined the school. After a few years Raj had transferred out to another school, but the friendship had endured.

“Hey, here they come”, yelled out Rishi as he saw Raj and Neeta walk in. “Dude, what took you so along? Everyone is dying to meet Neeta.”

For the next half hour, Neeta was lost to Raj as she was appropriated by Rishi who went about introducing her to just about everyone at the party. Rishi was a low-key guy with a down-to-earth style that people liked and trusted. He had a large circle of friends, and his parties were always well attended.

“I thought you were lost.” Said Neeta as she walked towards Raj. “I think I’ve met just about everyone in Delhi today.”

“Yeah, Rishi’s parties get pretty crowded.” Sighed Raj. “Hope you are having a good time.” He couldn’t help thinking how beautiful she looked. Neeta was wearing a simple white salwar-kameez with a Rajasthani dupatta. She was standing close enough now that he could smell the faint fragrance of her hair. “God…how I wish I could hold her.” Thought Raj.

“I’m having a great time. My Friday nights usually involve some reading, and maybe a movie. So its definitely nice to hang-out with people I like.”

“Hummm…so you like me. That’s good to know”, gushed Raj.

“I like you. I’ll be honest about it. But this is all really new to me, and I’m not sure that I’m totally comfortable with it.” Replied Neeta. “My goal is to get good grades in college and hopefully get admission Delhi School of Economics for a Masters degree.”

Delhi School of Economics was a prestigious graduate school which was world renowed. Its graduates typically went on to become corporate executives, academics and world-class economists. Neeta saw this as an avenue of gaining financial freedom which would allow her to live an independent life.

“I respect that. I come from a professional family too, and I need to work for a living too. I’m trying to go to America to get an MBA so that I can get a good job and support my family.” Even before he finished the sentence, a pall seemed to descend between the two.

As evening wore on, both struggled to act as if they were having a good time, but both were thinking about their divergent goals and the problems it might present to them.

The party ended soon enough and it was time to drop Neeta back. As he pulled-up in front of her hostel, all Raj could think about was that he wanted to see her again. He really didn’t know what would happen tomorrow or day-after, but he could not bear the thought of not seeing her again.

“Hey listen, I had a fantastic time today. I would love to see you soon. Maybe…tomorrow?” asked Raj.

“Raj, I like you and want to see you again, but am not sure this is going to work out. I’m not sure we should see each other again” Those words felt like hammer blows to Raj. “I can see your point of view Neeta…but one can’t stop living out of fear of what might or might not happen.” Said Raj softly.

“Why walk down a path, which we both know leads to nowhere? You will be in the US in less than a year, and you will be there for at least two years. If you were going somewhere in India, one could still hope, America is too far away. Who is to say that you won’t find someone else there?”

There was nothing in what Neeta said that was unreasonable,”I’m not going to argue about anything you just said. There are a lot of ifs and I don’t have any answers. But I think there is a connection between us and the least we can do is to give each other a chance.”

“Raj, don’t you think it would be easier to break ties now rather than in six months? We’ve only known each other for four days and have been together for less than six hours. It would be foolish of us to get into something that can cause pain later.” And so saying, Neeta gave Raj a quick hug and quickly got out of the car.
As Raj saw her walking away, every fiber of his being told him that this was for the best, but all he could feel was a terrible emptiness in the pit of his stomach.


At 8:49 AM, Blogger dkjariwala said...

Where are the missing chapters between Chapter 2 and 3? ;)

Though I was waiting for our hero to arrive in US of A, I think he arrived a bit too early. I was kind of expecting story to build up a little in Delhi before the hero travels to US.


At 9:32 AM, Blogger Nachiketa said...

I skipped the entire section about the romance b/w Neeta and Raj. I thought, it might detract from the story.

But, you are right. My goal was to build up the characters a bit more. What's your suggestion? Should I write more about the time in Delhi?

At 11:16 AM, Blogger Nachiketa said...


I've modified the post. I'm going to build up Delhi a little before I bring Raj to America.


At 2:59 PM, Blogger dkjariwala said...

Hm... it's great to be back in Delhi! [Why do I keep typing 'Delphi' instead of 'Delhi'?]

As a reader, I think I should know enough about Raj's life in India so that I can make sense of his behaviour when he is in US.

Let the story roll!


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