DR AVNI SINGH
How strange it is, that sometimes, what you run from the most, turns out to be something that you fall so dearly in love with! I was running from marriage, thinking it to be an unnecessary burden, and something that would ruin my career. But here I am in Kerala, on a vacation with doctor Ishan, and I’m loving each moment of this trip!
If you ask me whether I love doctor Ishan or not? I don’t know, frankly enough, I don’t. But I don’t hate him either. It’s about a week old thing that we went to JW Marriott for a lavish dinner that doctor Ishan asked me for a vacation to change my mood and environment which was suffocating enough right now, and I readily agreed. One single dinner in a restaurant had made me feel so good, then what would a vacation do? I thought, and couldn’t resist from saying a yes!
So, today, here we are in Kerala, on the first day of our week-long trip! Kerala is a beautiful place to visit. The peace, the serenity, natural beauty, coconut trees, the beach, the backwaters, everything will make you fall in love with this place and you won’t want to go back, especially not to Mumbai where you hear more noise than birds chirping! We landed today morning, and doctor Ishan has booked two rooms in the hotel I am right now. I asked him to wait for me, for I had to change my clothes. I didn’t want to roam around in a thick pair of jeans and an equally warm tee. I wanted something lighter, something that would free me, something like a spaghetti and a pair of shorts!
I walked out of my room wearing a sleeveless top and a pair of shorts that I found doctor Ishan staring at me in the weirdest possible way.
‘What? Isn’t it okay?’ I tried to cover my thighs which had caught extreme attention of doctor Ishan.
‘No, no…It’s completely fine! You look great in fact!’ he gulped.
‘Please don’t be formal, if it’s not good, I can change it.’ I put forward a suggestion that doctor Ishan rejected right away by saying that it was the best outfit he had seen me in. I knew in what sense he was saying, but I didn’t mind.
‘So, where are we going today?’ I asked out of excitement.
‘Pack your bags, we are checking out of here.’
‘Because we are going to Munnar and we will stay there. I booked this hotel so we could have a place to stay after landing here. We couldn’t travel right as we got off the flight, right?’
I smiled and thought about the bills that doctor Ishan would have to pay after the end of this vacation, but then when I thought about his pay-checks containing so many zeroes, I let out a sigh of relief. It’s strange that when you’re a child, your parents would kill you for getting a zero, and when you’re an adult, your parents would want you to get as many zeroes on your pay-check as possible!
It had been a long time that someone took me on a vacation, and that too on a far off place. I remembered the last time I went on a tour was when I was seventeen, and it was a religious trip to Mathura-Vrindavan-Barsaana and that too with my parents. It was first time I was this free and open and I was turning into the real me. I had concealed myself inside for a long time, and the bad times I had seen had made me quiet, but it was time to open up, for a friend who did so much for me, for someone who, without thinking about his reputation in the hospital or locality, said a yes for a marriage just because my parents wanted me to get married. What kind of friend would do that for you? Only one kind of friend would do that, either he knows you from childhood and is too good friend of you, kind of a best friend, something that doctor Ishan was not. Or, he loves you too much to let you get married to someone else. The thought struck me like a lightning and I was frozen!
What if doctor Ishan actually loves me and is scared to let me go, which is why he got married to me in the first place? What if there is some soft corner in his heart for me that he is doing all these efforts for me, to impress me? What if he actually wants me to be his wife for the rest of his life? Oh my God!
‘Doctor Ishan…’ I called his name out.
‘Yes?’ he turned around and stopped for me. We had reached the entrance of the hotel and were about to catch a cab for sightseeing.
‘I…I think I forgot something, can you please wait for me for a moment?’ I couldn’t shoot a direct question on his face – hey, tell me do you love me? That would have been too indecent. So, I changed the topic and asked him to wait for me while I rushed back to my room and took out my camera from my handbag and wrapped it around my shoulder. I enacted as if I forgot my camera in my room.
‘I’m back…I forgot my camera, let’s go!’ I hopped into the back-seat of the cab, while doctor Ishan chose to ride in front seat with the driver.
‘You may sit with the lady, Sir!’ the driver suggested, but doctor Ishan chose to remain where he was.
Imbecile. I thought and the driver took us to Munnar, which was roughly sixty kilometres from our hotel. The place was second heaven on earth after Kashmir, though I hadn’t visited Kashmir ever, but I had heard a lot about it.
‘Where exactly are we heading to?’ I asked in anticipation as I couldn’t control my emotions in such a beautiful place. Beautiful was an understatement for such a place!
‘Idukki Arch Dam, it’s the first Arch dam of Asia, you simply cannot miss it!’ the driver spoke in a typical south-indian accent of English.
‘Wokay!’ I tried to imitate him, doctor Ishan looked back and smiled.
We stayed in Alapuzha Backwaters, in a houseboat. It had only one room and we had to adjust in it somehow. The rest of the houseboats having two or three rooms were all booked.
‘I had talked to the manager, what do you mean you don’t have a two room boat?’ I could see doctor Ishan flaring at a boat owner.
‘What manager, sar? We are the wonly managers of ower boats! This is my boat and I am the owner, you have a prablem? You can always take a bamboo shed and float in the river on your own!’ the owner didn’t seem much pleased with doctor Ishan’s request.
‘What kind of behaviour is that?’
‘Hey, it’s okay. I will manage, don’t worry!’ I walked in and asked him to pay for what was available. We certainly couldn’t go back all the way and spoil the fun. We had only seven days and we couldn’t afford to waste an entire day like this.
‘Are you sure? You will have to share a room with me, and you know, I’m not hygienic or a managed person!’ doctor Ishan raised his brows.
‘It’s okay, doctor. I said I will manage…’
Soon the sunset approached and the water was shining like sea of gold. I admired the beauty of the place for some time and walked inside the boat after I sensed the weather getting cold. I grabbed a muffler and wrapped it around my shoulders.
‘Are you okay?’
‘Ah, yes! You need something?’ I asked doctor Ishan who wasn’t wearing many clothes.
‘No, I’m okay this way.’
‘Okay? Its not okay, it’s ‘wokay’!’ I giggled.
‘Alright, I’m ‘wokay’!’ doctor Ishan laughed with me and it was the first time we shared a laugh. I felt good inside.
‘Thank you, doctor…’ I couldn’t resist, so I hugged him. For a moment, I felt as if it was me who was hugging him, and he stood still and motionless. After a moment, I could feel his hands crawling on my back and he hugged me tight.
‘You know, Avni, I don’t know how will you react to this, but I love you…’