Veena….a short story on ‘Love’
The Shatabthi express promptly whistled off at 6AM from Central…
Sreenivasan was comfortably seated by the window and reading the Hindu’s Sports Page..when he was alerted “Hi!I think that’s my seat?”
Cheenu,was stunned by her Beauty,but politely said My seat No is 7?”
Veena: “You are Right..Mine is 8..thats Window seat.”she promptly showed her Tickets..Cheenu got up and allowed her Window Seat…
Veena,expected a small quarrel at 6:01 AM but was disappointed!
The Train crossed Katpadi and Veena’s concentration on her Laptop,shifted from the school going children of a village to slowly ‘what this guy is upto?’in an expression of total detachment
but at the same time,cunning curiosity..
Curiosity because never she had come across such an eligible young man,that too so near her,never even bothered about ‘her’ at all!
Cunning because,her looks wd wander as tho’ admiring the Tanjore Paintings on the front, but only to know
‘what page of the Hindu this guy is reading..’
She found out that from Cricket page he had elevated himself to theReligious Page and ‘what happened 50 Years ago..’ column…
Her curiosity multiplied many times..
“what sort of ‘character ‘ is he,reading ‘Religious Reviews,meant for above 60s..at this age..Gone case!”…
After a few minutes,again,Cheenu was re reading the same Religious Review..and Veena,being a software soprano,cdn’t take it any further..
“How come you are so engrossed in that Religious Review page for so long?”
“Because today it is a bit more interesting than the normal days?”
“I thought that page is being printed exclusively for above 60s!” the sarcasm of a well moneyed software Pro!
“You may be correct and I will be happy if any of our above 60s,even make use of that page at all”
Veena,being so upset,that her companion is totally nonchalant about anything she does,lost her cool and asked: “Whats your name?”
“Are you employed or?”
“My God..I am also working there too..”
“That’s Good..It is a nice Organisation”
She felt the train was running faster than normal and
Einstein’s relative theory,was actually acting Now…‘Pleasure makes it faster,Pain makes it Slower’
Bangalore Cantonment…She asked “Are you getting down here?”
“No at City.”
“Where are you living?”
“Oh!I am also in Malleswaram..I can drop you if you wish..My car will be waiting..”
“No Thanks..I can take an auto..”
It was accidental that Cheenu saw her driving away in a BMW when he was waiting for the auto!
Cheenu was taking his lunch with his friends in Infosys Canteen..He suddenly heard a voice “Hi..Sreenivasan?”..all his friends were taken aback a pretty young thing,calling their Cheenu with such a lengthy name ,which even his parents have forgotten!
“Hi.. Do you remember me?”
“You know with very great difficulty I found out your dept..you are in HRD..Right?”
“Yes…Nice of you..You must be in Market Research,I guess!”
“I like your humour and also your accuracy..!”
“This is Raman,Jerry Montario,Anil..”
The lunch interval seemed to be flying for her,whereas,Cheenu was enjoying the Tomato soup at a lethargic pace..
All of a sudden the selected,youthful,dynamic, meritorious crowd of India,looked at the fast paced Narayanamurthy and a Co-Director walking across,unmindful of the comments and arguments amidst these softpros!
Narayanamurthy,realisd after crossing Cheenu’s table,retraced a few steps and to the wonder of the entire eagerlooking youth,asked him:
“Aren’t you the one who ‘corrected me’ on my lecture at Vedantha Institute the other day..”
“Yes Sir..but that was not a correction..”
“NO NO it was a wonderful point you made on Budhism Vs Advaithm and I was trying to look out for you to lay my hands on that book you mentioned too..”
“Upadesa Sahasri..by Adi Sankara..I can get it for you,Sir”
“Don’t worry..I will find it out..Thanks a lot..Enjoy your lunch,Cheenu..”
Veena’s estimate of Cheenu multiplied by another 100 Times..
Jerry made fun of him: “So you have tried to ‘fool’ the Chairman himself with ‘your’ Sankara’s Philosophy?..mmmm…Promotions assured?”
“No not at all..it so happened when in that lecture he misquoted Sankara’s work and as usual I cdn’t stand it..Thats all”
Veena: “I don’t know what language you are talking about..”
“See Veena..this is a different subject from our usual Software..but I enjoy it..”
While leaving she took his mobile no too….
One evening his mobile rang..It was Veena.. “Can I pick you up for a dinner ?”
“Why suddenly a dinner..I am just now cooking for me and for my 3 other roommates,as it is my turn,in our apartment?”
“Why not tomorrow,in my house with my parents?”
Cheenu cdn’t resist the invitation as she was really mad after him..
He saw an independent villa inviting him with a Bull Dog at the entrance,which ran into his cage on her command..Her parents greeted him with warmth and when he saw the Drawing room full of Swarovskis,he knew that he has run into a Millionaire!
Veena introduced him to her parents and her father said: “You know Veena,is our only daughter and she somehow has refused to get married to anyone,tho’ many ‘ well to do’ handsome guys have come & gone!”
Veena: “Pappa..He is our guest..coming for the first time..Why do you need to spoil our dinner with a topic of that nature?”
Cheenu “Your father is a bit frank..even anxious I must say!”
Mother: “You are right Mr. Sreenivasan.. after all what is there in our life excepting to get our ‘only daughter married’?”
Cheenu smiled and said “I feel we are just friends right now..Thats all..Pls donot feel embarrassed if I am not the suitable one for her?”
The topic shifted from 2G Scams to whether Manmohan Singh ought to have acted a bit more tough with Raja to dinner table when Veena’s father offered
“would you like to have Beer or Wine?”
“Sorry Sir,I don’t take drinks!”
Veena: “Surprising for a softpro..but I enjoy nice wines?”
Cheenu: “Each one must enjoy what they ‘feel’ gives them enjoyment..Pls go ahead..”
She dropped him at his house and asked “Can we meet again tomorrow evening?”
“I don’t mind but with a condition that it will be at the park near Malleswarar Temple..”
Veena: “ I feel you are a bit more religious than normal for youth of your age?”
“How do you say so..I might be interested in learning about all Religious philosophies,but have you seen me doing ‘Pujas’ all the time?”
“No..Why do you insist on coming to a temple,instead of Lalbaugh?”
“Shall I answer you with a concrete example..Look at that young couple with a 6 months old kid in their hands..”
Veena saw a very poor couple,with their kid in their hands were about to get into that Malleswarar Temple..Cheenu said “Just time them till they come out of that Malleswarar and watch what they are doing..”
She saw them keeping the little one infront of the famous 1200 yrs old Malleswarar,and prostrated and went around and came out chanting ‘Namachivayaa…’
Veena said “It took them only 6 minutes..”
Cheenu said “That’s Faith..in 6 mts they ‘feel’ by bringing their child for ‘the first time’ to this temple,they ‘feel’ that their boy will prosper and explore the world..shear Faith..”
“You come here everyday only to witness such a thing?”
“I am a bit curious about people..including you,your thoughts,actions..?”
“What do you think of me,then?”
“You are a type who typically ‘suspects everyone..including me,whether,this man will be sincere to you for ever? or not”
“Oh!God..I was thinking exactly like that,Cheenu..sorry for my frankness..but that’s the real problem for me..sorry..very sorry..”
“What is there to say sorry..each one has a ‘right’ to their own thinking..some express frankly..I appreciate your frankness..?”
The day was nearing the night and they decided to meet again on Sunday for a further discussion..In the meantime a few calls from her made her a bit more happy about Cheenu’s family..a retired Railway Clerk’s only son..parents living in Chenglepet with an old Grandma to take care..but she was very upset that Cheenu never even bothered to ask about all her family details!
“Cheenu..I am totally amazed..even my parents.. about your unattached behaviour?”
“I don’t understand?”
“You are absolutely behaving like a saint?”
“You are wrong..otherwise I wdn’t be running around everyday for earning a living?”
“Shall I ask you one thing..Do you Love me?”
“Do you know the meaning of ‘Love’?”
“Yes I suppose..but I wd be wise enough to wait for your explanation..”
Cheenu knows fully well that Veena has started giving so much space for him in her heart that she doesn’t care about anything else in life..so he thought that he can explain about.. ‘Love’
“You remember that Religious page I was re-reading on that day in that train..”
“Yes..meant for above 60s”
“It was on ‘Love’..explanation of Swami Vivekananda in a Ramakrishna Mutt Lecture…I was so touched by the explanation that I started re-reading the same..!”
“Oh!Indeed..what was it about?”
“First youngsters like us must know what is ‘love’ and how it is different from ….‘lust’…..”
“Cheenu..you are hitting at the very point on which I had always doubts..tell me more..”
“Have you heard of Lee Kuan Yew?”
“Who wdn’t know him..the greatest who changed Singapore upside down?”
“Did you read what he said about his wife,Kwa Geok Choo,when she passed away on Oct 2nd,2010?”
“No..I don’t know she passed away..”
“They were married for 63 years since 1947..He gives all praise for her ability to manage him to become a great Primeminister..longest PM of 30 yrs in the History of the world..For anything and everything,he says,it was ‘she’ who nurtured him..The beauty of the union is she fell ill in 2007..became a vegetable..unable to speak..a mute..for 3 yrs …since she was bedridden,Yew,methodically used to read out to her,his diaries every day..informed her of his programmes every day..read out Bible every day..He used to feed her every day…then only he used to attend to his work…He says she told him only ‘one wish she had in her life and that when Yew passes away,his ahes also must be by her side..thats the only wish she has for her sons..When I read that ,I was wondering,whether it is a story or True?”
Veena cdn’t control her tears..She fell on him saying
“I love you too much,Cheenu..”
“So the meaning of Love is totally different..It is certainly ‘not Lust’..all our problems today in this wold is because of …’lust’.. only..we ..‘love’.. our parents till they die and even after..same way,like Yew the great,we must also ‘love’ each other..otherwise,the meaning of marriage is useless..it is better to be single..why create a problem for another individual and deprive him or her,of their liberty?”
After a few years of their marriage…
Veena’s parents gave a ring to visit her for lunch..
Veena and Cheenu wre living on a nice cottage on the outskirts with trees all around..Veena’s parents greeted her when she was teaching some ‘autistic kids’ in her school along with a helper..They were having lunch .. a simple lunch with ‘Vatha Kuzhambu Satham’ she had made….
Her father always felt that she deserved, for her age a ‘much better’ living..but he was silently enjoying the lunch when suddenly this happened….
An autistic child ran towards him and with a marker in his hands wrote
‘AA’ on his pure white pants!
Veena cried with Joy..
“Oh!Khader has witten ‘A’ ”..she shouted so that her helper came and saw the same..Immediately she dialed his mom..
“Zarina..you know Khader has written ‘AA’ ”
“Is it so..Oh..How shd I thank you Veena..I am just coming right now..”
Veena disturbed Cheenu also,at Infosys, about this Joyous News….
Veena’s father while traveling in his BMW decided ‘that today I shd carry out the long pending request of Cheenu to keep a majestic Portrait of Swami Vivekananda in the cupboard decorated with Swrovski Crystals!”