Monday, August 31, 2009

Speed Demon- The URO experience

The protagonist in this story is an old friend, who I shall refer to as R. Mister R had shown signs of his greatness at a very early age, and has now gone on to vindicate us with his lofty achievements. This incident that I will recount here, is one such proof of the great man that R would grow up to be.

It happened one evening, many years ago. We were all in our college, most of us being students of Engineering. Being budding engineers with a penchant for Science and all things related to it, yours truly and his good friend D were engrossed in a highly scientific conversation about scientific marvels, and unexplained phenomenon. I was narrating interesting anecdotes about another friend of mine who had claimed in school to have spotted a UFO on his first floor terrace. As shocking as that was to D, he proceeded to narrate another amazing incident that he personally experienced.

During one of the several internal exams that D had to take as part of the Engineering course, D had been to his friend's house on KR Road in South Bangalore, for a group study session. The compulsive smoker that he was, D had come out of the house to steal a quick smoke. He had checked his watch to give himself exactly 5 minutes to get back to studies. The watch had the time as 12:57 AM, on the 3rd of December 1998. And suddenly it happened. A streak of black and orange flashed past him, and before he could fathom what was going on, the streak had disappeared over the horizon onto the other end of KR Road. D was at a loss to explain what it could have been. When he sat down to think about exactly what he saw, he realized that the streak of black and orange had made a sound like that of a purring engine. But that was about all that he could gather of what he had seen.

It finally dawned upon him that he had just witnessed a rare spotting of a URO!

For the uninitiated, URO stands for Unidentified Riding Object, and if the apocalypse-watchers are to be believed, most future alien attacks will be through UROs and not UFOs, due to advancements in rocket science on earth.

D confided that ever since, he had been having sleepless nights. He had been having nightmares of the URO attacking him since he had seen it, and as depicted in most Alien movies, anyone who discovered their existence died an unexplained, untimely death.

When D recounted his URO experience, I was completely amazed and stunned at the same time. I was also a wee bit jealous for not having spotted the URO myself, since I didn’t live too far away from KR road myself.

A week had passed since this amazing revelation. I had gone out for dinner at a Dhaba with my group of friends. Since we were poor students then, our parties would almost always be at a dhaba. One such favorite was the Eden Huts dhaba on Kanakapura road. I can’t put a finger on the exact occasion for our partying, but nevertheless, I remember we had a blast that night. After finishing our dinner at the dhaba, we were riding our motorbikes on our way back home.

It was close to midnight, and some of us had driven a lot faster than the others, and so the faster ones, including myself, had decided to stop at one of the pan-shops and wait for the others to join. A and I (as in me) started boasting about the max speed we had touched on that night. A claimed that his Yamaha had easily crossed 100 KMPH, and I, not wanting to be left behind, retorted that my Samurai had also crossed well past 100 KMPH. At this point, the third guy, AS intervened, boasting that he had a Shogun which could easily do a 120 KMPH, leaving A and me with no option but to shut up. Just when AS thought he had won the argument, and the crown for Speed Demon, our dude R dropped the inevitable bombshell.

"Do you guys know I can do a 140 KMPH on my dad's Hero Honda?" R thundered.
"What? Dude, you've got to put a lid on your gasbag. There's no way you can do a 140 in that 4 stroke" A screamed.
"You bet. No way" I agreed.
"Yo R, get a life. Your Hero Honda is a sissy 4 stroke underpowered mileage bike" AS joined in.

There was a long silence. R was visibly unimpressed, and disgusted with his friends for dismissing his claims the way they did. So he decided to let the cat out of the bag.

"Do you know the speedometer on my Hero Honda is calibrated till 140 KMPH? Why do you think they'd take the trouble if the bike couldn’t do that speed?" R reasoned.
"And you, CK, your bike is calibrated only upto 120. So don’t you try to compete with me when it comes to speed" he continued pointing at me.
"And I guess it’s the same with the rest of your bikes as well. Just 120 KMPH. Isn’t it?" R went on, this time admonishing the rest of them as well, for their impudence, and the chiding they had given him.

At this point, A had somewhat recovered from the unexpectedly vitriolic attack, and he tried to counter-attack.

"But R, this is India. How the hell can you expect anyone to believe you did a 140 KMPH on Indian Roads? Do we look like no-brainers to you?" A thundered.

That was our cue. AS and I joined in and began to dismantle R's composure with our jibes and jokes at his overtly far-fetched claim. Not one to be undone, R then adopted the sentimental technique and explained the scenario to us.

"Guys, I can’t force you to believe me, nor am I interested in proving it to you. But just to let you know, that night my mom was very ill, and she needed some medicines urgently. It was well past midnight. 1257 AM in the night, to be precise. My dad gave me the prescription, and asked me to rush and pick up the medicines. At that time in the night, I knew there was only one drug store that stayed open. On KR Road. But even that stayed open only till 1 AM. I had just 3 minutes to rush and get those medicines. I got on my bike, and gave full throttle and within seconds, I was cruising at 140 KMPH. It could be more, but I have no way to know since the speedometer is calibrated only upto 140. And I managed to reach the drug store on time and get those medicines for my mom. If you were to be in my situation, I am sure you'd also probably push your bike to its limits. But maybe not 140 KMPH since your bikes are calibrated only upto 120." R concluded, with a lost-puppy look on his face, as if to add credibility to his story.
"hmm, I guess we were a little too fast to jump to conclusions. We’re really sorry." AS apologized, almost ashamed to have initially disbelieved R's story.
"Yeah dude, you’re right. When you have a family emergency, people do experience miraculous super-human powers" A agreed wholeheartedly.

I was, however, lost in thoughts. The mention of the word miracle had set me thinking. And the fact that this incident occurred on KR Road had really got my mind racing.

"What time did you say this occurred?" I questioned R.
"12:57 in the night" R replied, with an annoyed look on his face since he was expecting an apology from me, and he hadn’t got one yet.
"And was it on the 3rd of December, 1998?" I went on.
"Umm..Dont remember the date exactly. But it must be around the same time. Why do you ask?" R was puzzled.
"And what color is your bike?"
"It's black and orange."


The mystery of the URO had been solved. Just like that!

I stopped at the nearest phone booth, and called my friend D and explained the story to him.
That night, my friend D slept a peaceful sleep. Without nightmares. Finally.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Storm


"Think it's going to rain real bad", Rupert observed, looking at the dark clouds looming large in the evening sky. The mountains overlooking the horizon had become blurred, indicating that the clouds had already precipitated in the hills. The green view of the hills had turned into a mild shade of silver, due to the pouring rain.
"Looks like the floodgates to heaven have opened", quipped Kelly in reply.
"Did you say heaven?" he asked with a wicked grin.
"Huh?" shrugged Kelly, almost disinterested and lost in her thoughts.

It had been a long day for her. She had driven the whole day to get back to Albany, from Orlando. Her best friend Kate had finally fallen in love, and had decided to marry Steven Bloom, the suave Television anchor on Fox. The wedding was a grand affair at Steve's private ranch in Orlando. She was still reeling from the late night partying that followed the lavish wedding. Steve had just been confirmed for a reality Horror show, and had therefore based his party on the same theme. Dressing up like a Witch had been Kelly's favorite Halloween pastime, and she had enjoyed all the scares that she attracted at the party for her act. The only complaint had been that she had had very little sleep since she had to start at 6 AM in order to be able to make it to NY in time for Tuesday's meeting at work.

"This place is getting eerie" she mumbled incoherently.
"Shouldn’t that be my line?" Rupert grinned sheepishly, pointing at Kelly's mascara smudged eyes.
Kelly cursed herself for not being careful enough to remove the Halloween makeup. She had overslept due to all that alcohol, and had not had enough time for a decent shower. The wiry, permed hair and the dark mascara had looked funny in the morning. Not anymore, thought Kelly.

Kelly had been fortunate to have found shelter at Rupert's barn. Her 1986 Oldsmobile had died on her right in the middle of a desolate jungle. She had strayed off the Highway on a shorter road that allowed her to skip the Toll gates. And as luck would have it, her car had broken down right in the middle of nowhere. Rupert had seen her blinking lights, and had walked down to her from his barn up the hillock.

His lean frame looked weathered, yet his eyes had a distant sparkle of a man who had once seen a lot of joy. His face and hair were unkempt, but still left him attractive in a weird way. Beneath his rough exterior, his eyes seemed to betray his soft self. Kelly had almost immediately agreed to his offer of shelter in the wild.

Rupert had looked down the bonnet, and had pronounced the car "Impossible to fix". Kelly knew better than to believe him, but she knew that her Olds had run beyond its norm, and she had been pushing her luck. But nothing that a mechanic in Albany can’t fix, she thought.Rupert's barn was a huge cabin like structure built on top of a mound, just behind the peak, such that it would be completely hidden from the road. The dense vegetation also added to the anonymity of the place. Rupert must like his privacy, she thought.

Dinner was a badly cooked barbecue, which he claimed to be his game. Kelly hated the food, and therefore, seemed disinterested in discussing about his hunting habits. Must be a rabbit, she thought.

As the rain started to pour, the barn became very cold. Kelly was trying to keep herself warm by moving closer to the barbecue flames which were fighting a lost cause against the calamitous winds. Rupert had disappeared into his dungeon, right after dinner, and had not re-emerged for the next two hours.

When he finally came out, he had a coat of fox fur which he offered to Kelly.
This should keep you warm" he mumbled, and then disappeared into his dungeon.
Kelly tried to sleep, but had weird nightmares every time she sank into slumber.
She kept herself busy thinking about the great time she had had at the wedding. But somehow, there was always an uncomfortable feeling that she was being watched all the time.She found an old radio on the corner table, and decided that it would keep her company till morning.
"Anything to keep me awake in this weird house" she uttered to herself.

The newsreader on radio was announcing that the storm had worsened and a blizzard was heading south. There were warnings issued for people to take refuge in concrete, blizzard-proof structures. The announcement on radio worsened Kelly's fears since the barn did not look to be the safest place to be in, when the blizzard came visiting. She spent the next few minutes praying hard when Rupert re-emerged from the dungeon with a worried look on his face.
"You know the twister is headed our way" he spoke, almost startling a half-asleep Kelly.
"Maybe you should help me carry the food stuff down into the cellar, rather than just sit there and give me those looks" he continued, with an irritated shrug.

Within the next 10 minutes, Kelly and Rupert managed to stock the cellar up with food, warm clothes, and water. The radio predicted the twister to hit the jungle in another 20 minutes.
"This should last us for a couple of days, although am not sure if we would last till then" Rupert joked, pouring himself a glass of wine. Kelly noticed that the cellar had several bottles of wine stored.
"At least something good about this place" she consoled herself, while pouring herself some wine too.
The next 30 minutes were spent in silent anticipation of the twister. At 3:20 AM in the night, Kelly could feel a sudden stillness in the air. She knew right away that they were just seconds away from the twister.

And then it arrived.
The whole house began to shake due to the sheer force of the twister. Kelly could hear the thumping noise of the furniture being dashed against the floor of the house, from beneath in the basement. Everything above seemed to have been thrown about by the mad rage of the twister. Kelly and Rupert hung on to the iron hoops along the walls of the cellar, chanting silent prayers to allay their fears. The next few minutes seemed like an eternity, with the ravaging storm growing seemingly stronger in its pursuit of destruction, with every passing minute.

And then it all suddenly stopped. The madness. The rage.
"She's gone, and you’re still alive" Rupert sighed in relief.
"Thank God the dungeon held up against the brute force" Kelly mumbled.

She was, grudgingly, grateful to Rupert for saving her from an almost certain death.


Kelly got up, and walked up the dungeon. Her morning alarm had woken her up at sharp 5 AM, as had been her regimen everyday for the past 5 years.

The storm had passed, but had left a wreck in its place. The whole cabin had been ransacked, and furniture thrown everywhere. She could see that the little cabin had put up a fight against the might of the storm, but had finally given in. The storm had reduced the place to a few standing walls, amidst a wooden wreck of debris. The roof had been mostly uprooted, and there were gaping holes in the few walls that had survived the storm.

Rupert slowly managed to get up, and walk up to see the damage to his house. Unusually, his face did not betray any emotion. He seemed least bothered about the fact that his house had been wrecked.

"This doesn’t look good Rupert. This place is gonna take a while to be restored. Maybe you should live in the town till the barn is rebuilt" Kelly tried to comfort him.
"Don’t worry about me. I have friends around here. I will manage. What's more important is that you are fine" Rupert said.

Kelly knew from the look on Rupert's face that there was no point in trying to make him change his mind. Dawn was about to break. Kelly walked down the mound to see if her car had still stood its ground after the previous night's storm. Luckily for her, she had parked the car at the lowest point below the mound, a little away from the cabin. The storm had ascended too fast, and had therefore, miraculously missed the car.

"If I start early, I could still make it on time for that meeting" she figured.
Rupert was visibly tired after all the intense activity, and his old frame looked rather pale.
"Well, since I am alive, and all my bones are in place, I think I should start early, and go to the town to find a mechanic " Kelly said.
Rupert just nodded his head, with a wry smile on his face, which failed to betray his frail state. "Joe's Lubes is just off the first exit on the Highway, when you get on it. And it's open all night".
"Thanks Rupert, I am really grateful to you. And I didn’t mean to be, although I came across as rather rude" Kelly said, ashamed at her preconceived perceptions about the character of an old man who had saved her from a certain death


It was almost an hour till Kelly finally spotted the highway. She had hoped to hitchhike a ride till the highway. But had ended up walking all the way till the highway since she hadn’t come across any motorist on the desolate service road. Her daily routine of morning jogs had come of great use to cover the 6 miles to the highway.

When a trucker finally stopped to offer her a ride till the nearest Auto Service center, Kelly realized how tired she was when she gulped down an entire bottle of Gatorade to the amazement of the kind trucker.

"How did a girl like you end up on that weird road leading to the old mound?" he questioned her.
"I am looking for a mechanic to fix my car. Could you drop me till Joe's Garage, by the next exit?" Kelly pleaded.
"I could, if there was any garage there. I don’t think there is any garage for the next 4 exits" he said.
"Oh, I am told there is. So if you could drop me off at the next exit, I will find my way" Kelly suggested.
"Alright, I will help you find the place if there is one where you say it should be" he agreed.


As the truck got off the exit, Kelly could spot only a small old house a few yards from the road. She got off the truck, and walked to the house. She spotted an old woman, in her 80s, sitting on the porch reading her bible. Kelly walked up to her, and introduced herself
"Hello, I am looking for Joe's Garage. Could you direct me to it?

The old lady looked up for a moment, but went back to reading her bible the next moment.
Kelly tried talking to the lady, but to no avail. Finally, Kelly gave up, and walked back to the truck.

"Guess you’re right. There is no garage here"
"Let me take you to the Jiffy Lube at the fourth exit. They should be able to send a mechanic to fix your car" the trucker insisted.
"Thanks, I really appreciate your help".


As the car turned in to the little road leading to the mound, Bob quipped
"You really think your car would still be where you left it, after last night's storm?"
"Well, it survived because the storm was in a hurry to go to the top. Pity the barn was almost razed" Kelly said.
"What barn?" Bob was surprised.
"Old Rupert's barn. That's where I spent last night, and that’s how I survived the storm. The old man's a nice guy, although you wouldn’t know by looking at him" Kelly smiled.
"I have driven by this road several times, and I don’t remember seeing any barn. Are you sure?" he asked.
"Of course, but I have to ask Rupert about Joe's garage. There is no such place" she continued.
"Joe's Garage? That’s where my dad used to work. But how do you know about it?" he was surprised.
"I went looking for Joe's Garage off the first exit, and couldn’t find anything. Just an old house. And the old lady doesn’t even talk" Kelly complained.
"That's Joe's wife Martha. She used to be a nice lady, but now, she's so old that she hardly understands anything. After Joe's death, she closed the Garage and it is now just a small little house" Bob explained.
"Oh, so Rupert wasn’t lying. But when did the garage close?" Kelly asked.
"Right after Joe died. About 14 years ago" Bob answered.
"14 years? I wonder why Rupert didn’t know that" she was surprised.
"We'll ask your old Rupert when we get there. How much longer?" Bob was growing impatient.
"Almost there. I think I can spot the car" Kelly screamed.
"But shouldn’t there be a barn right about somewhere around here, as you have been claiming?" Bob asked, with a smirk on his face.
"Oh, but it is, right here, on that mound..." and she turned around towards the empty space where the barn had been the previous night.

"I don’t see anything there. Is that where you survived the whole of last night?" Bob quizzed.
Kelly was in a shock.She had spent the whole night at the barn, and now, there was no sign of the structure!

"How can it be? I swear there was a barn here last night. And now it’s gone. And what happened to Rupert? Where did he disappear?" Kelly turned to Bob in disbelief.
Bob's face had turned pale. There was an unusual quiver in his voice.
"What did you say Rupert's last name was?"
"Jones, I think. The family photograph that Rupert had framed had "Jones Family" written in bold" Kelly remembered.
Bob was sweating profusely, and a strange fear was written all over his face.
"There was a series of twisters that hit this town 17 years ago. Several houses and families perished to the storm. I had read that one of the families that got washed away included one Rupert Jones, who lived on a barn up the mound"

Kelly looked one last time at the barn that never was, as she got into the tow-truck. She knew her life had changed forever since then. A dead man had come back only to save her. She felt a strange sense of security. That someone up there cared for her. A lot of things had happened in her life, but this one incident put everything in perspective.

A dead man, who she had no connection to, had crossed the dimensions of death, to save her.
Although it raised a lot of questions in her head, she had a strange feeling of calmness.
Of someone assured with the knowledge of life. And beyond.

One Night at Tito's

The night was young, and had displayed immense potential. This being Goa, and a Saturday night, potential had to be, but, immense. And three hot blooded young men, in their early twenties had their hearts set out on realizing the potential that the night had to offer, if not their own potential.

Dude 1 was an impatient young man with an opinion on everything under the sun, and then some more. He wasn’t too good with women as history had revealed, but that didn’t deter him from wanting to hit on some more. And being an egoist, he wasn’t the kind who would hide his successes, if and when they happened. And Goa would serve as an ideal opportunity for our Big Stud to go wild.

Dude 2 was this lazy, self-consumed personality who could use some fun in his own life, but never really complained if it didn’t come his way. He'd just be happy cracking jokes, and enlivening parties up with his charm and humor. In short, the dude had spunk, but was not quite a hunk. But he did have his audience, and he knew his audience very well, and had mastered the art of playing up to his audiences when he spotted them. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t see too many audiences in Goa. The ones that were, were few and far between, and with the kind of competition involved, did little to interest our dude.

Dude 3 was really not a dude. He was more of an angel. The kinds that don’t see any evil, don’t talk any evil, wouldn’t even dream of doing any evil. But the angel did have a few dark sides which invariably helped him gel with the other two dudes. Goa, for him, was just a place with good beaches, and probably a few skimpily clad women to look at from a distance- distance being the keyword.

On this fateful Saturday, the trio decided to get wild in Goa, and headed to the most happening place in North Goa. Infact, they even took up accommodation in Bagha despite already having booked a room in Panjim for the next 3 days. All in anticipation. Once they got into Tito's, the place really started to rock. Although it probably had very little to do with these guys getting in. The trio was perched in different corners of the pub, sipping their little drinks, and staring down every girl that passed them, hoping to get lucky. Dude 2 and 3 realized it wasn’t to be, and decided to instead get together and talk software instead. But dude 1 was determined. Or maybe it was desperation. Call it what you want, but he wasn’t going to back off without a challenge.

And soon after, dude 2 and 3 spotted dude 1 sitting next to a strange looking chic. This chic had parked her cosmetic bag next to our dude, and was taking turns between warming the dance floor and the couch seat next to our dude. Not to forget, the frequent visits to the women's room, probably to touch her face up just that one extra time. Dude 1 looked extremely excited, and was dying to share his excitement with his friends. And so he started looking around to see if he could spot his friends. Dude 2 and 3 saw his plight, and walked towards the Big Stud, while carefully ensuring it didn’t become too obvious that they knew each other. Big crowds scare away strange single chics, you know.

Big Stud was waiting for his strange chic to rush to the toilet, to confide in his friends that the chic was undoubtedly giving him the hints. Before the chic came back, Big Stud also managed to convince his friends that true friends would never mind sleeping on the beach if their friend needed the room for himself. When the chick reappeared, she started whispering sweet nothings into the Stud's ears. Dude 2 and 3, being the pricks that they were, decided to stay back a while and watch the fun. Maybe they were hoping for the crumbs. No way to know for sure though.

As the strange chic walked back to take her hot seat next to the Big Stud, suddenly, dude 2 noticed something. Dude 3 confirmed his doubts. And to make sure, the dudes looked around to reassuring nods from the crowd around. Everyone in the crowd knew it. Dude 2 and 3 also realized it. Everyone except our big stud, who continued fighting for the strange chics attentions with some new guys who had just entered the pub, and were also equally enamored by the sight of an all too willing chic.

And then there were some more sweet nothings whispered between Big Stud and the strange Chic. Big Stud looked to be on Cloud nine, and came down to his "not happening" friends, and announced " Man, I think I am gonna get lucky today". Dude 2 could take this no longer, and screamed back “That chic is not good for you". Dude 3 nodded silently in approval. Big Stud, visibly offended at his friends' jealousy at his good fortune, quipped back "Jealous eh?". Dude 2 couldn’t hold back any longer. "OK, I won’t be jealous, if it makes you feel happy".
And then added "And gay".

Big Stud was stunned. Dude 3 who was silent all this while, revealed the secret that everyone else already knew.
"The strange chic is no chic. It’s a Dick".

The Homecoming

Rahul was returning home after four long years. He was returning home for the first time since he got married to Juhi. It seems like only yesterday that Juhi first came into my life, he thought. As the taxi sped through the bumpy roads that led to his suburban house, memories raced through his head.

It was an arranged marriage. Juhi was from a very affluent family of Doctors. Her father had his own hospital in Delhi, and was one of the most respected cardiac surgeons in the country. Juhi was in her final year of medicine. The proposal had come through Juhi's maternal aunt Reema, who knew Rahul's mom from their Kanpur days. Rahul had initially refused to even consider the proposal since he had eyes only for Sanjana.

Sanju and he had been the best of friends through childhood, although Sanju was a good 3 years younger to him. When Sanju stepped into her teens, and started getting attention from the rest of the guys in the colony, Rahul couldn’t understand the reason for all the hype. For him, Sanju was just his best buddy. The girl he could count on whenever he needed. She even played cricket with him when all his guy friends had shunned him after a fight over a silly stumping decision. Rahul had always been very bullish, and his friends couldn’t tolerate him any more. Sanju, however, loved the fact that Rahul was so brave, and was always the leader. She had always been in love with him.

It was only when she came home with a huge bouquet of roses, on the Rose Day in college, that Rahul had realized what a pretty girl she had grown into. That night, he had proposed to her. And she had been thrilled since Rahul had been her love throughout her childhood. Everything had seemed perfect. Rahul had taken Sanju to his medical college several times to show her off to his friends. He was the envy of all his friends. Sanju was quite a beauty, they had agreed.

Sanju trusted Rahul blindly, and would do anything he asked. She had even accompanied Rahul to dirty movies although she hated herself for doing it. When Reema Aunty came with Juhi's proposal, Rahul had just finished his degree in medicine, and had been struggling to earn a decent pay working as an assistant to Dr.Shreeram. He had already switched two jobs prior to this, within 2 months. All his school friends from the colony, who had completed their Engineering, had been employed at MNCs and earning handsome salaries. Rahul had been suffering from a low self esteem. Sanju had been his pillar throughout, and Rahul knew that very well. And that was the reason he had been reluctant to even look at Juhi's picture when Aunt Reema first came with the proposal.

"Rahul can become a millionaire if he marries Juhi. Her father owns a hospital in Delhi" she had said. A frustrated Rahul had finally given in and agreed to meet Juhi. He had tried to justify to himself that it was alright to just meet her. He loved only Sanju, and he knew he would marry only her. The dinner with Juhi had gone for 3 hours. Juhi had kept telling Rahul about their hospital, and the lifestyle that she had in Delhi. Rahul had been listening with keen interest.
Upon returning, when his mom had asked him about his decision, he had said "Yes" almost in an inebriated daze. In one month, they had been married. And he had shifted to Delhi. Luckily for Rahul, Sanju had been away for her summer vacations, and Rahul had somehow managed to suppress his guilt.

It had been four years since. He was now a successful Neuro-Surgeon. Juhi was a good wife, although she was not much of a companion, considering she was a busy doctor herself. Life had gone ahead at a brisk pace, and Rahul had not even had time to think of Sanjana, after the first year of marriage. He had received a call from his younger brother Rohit . Rohit had found his life partner, and was getting engaged. Despite his prodding, Rohit had insisted on keeping the details about the girl a secret. Rohit was only a year and half younger, and therefore, the brothers had shared a very friendly relationship. Since Rohit had found a software job in Bangalore, the entire family had shifted with Rohit. The engagement had brought them back to the little town where they grew up.

"We are almost home", said Juhi almost startling Rahul from his thoughts. The 40 minute Taxi ride had seemed very short. As the taxi turned left to enter the Nitya Nivas colony compound, Rahul could see his old house decorated with flowers and plantain leaves. After tipping the taxi driver for his help, Rahul and Juhi walked up the old stairs to reach their first floor apartment. As soon as the bell rang, Rohit ran out to open the doors.
"Welcome home bhaiyya, and bhabhi. I have a surprise for you".
And he called out to his bride, dressed in grand red, and looking pretty as a picture.
"Sanju, look who is here".