LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
Rengarajan T S, Workshop 4
Lalitha was visiting Kalakshetra for the first time. It was her childhood dream to learn Bharathanatyam here. It never happened. Reminiscing about it, tears welled up in her beautiful eyes. Some dreams don’t come true, even if there is no reason for it.
Suddenly, she heard someone say, “Hello”. Turning around, she saw a tall, lanky man smiling at her. Must be in his sixties, but handsome and well built. Lalitha responded by saying, “Hi”.
“I am Raman”, he said.
“I am Lalitha”.
Raman was in the mood for conversation.
“Are you here for the first time?” he asked.
“Yes”, said Lalitha. “I was all along in Singapore, although I spent my childhood in Mumbai. After, the demise of my husband, I decided to settle here. I have my husband’s ancestral home in Adyar.”
Raman said, “Oh ! That’s nice. Even I live in Kasturba Nagar, Adyar. I have been born and brought up in Chennai. My wife passed away last year.”
He looked into the distance, then added, in a softer tone.
“She loved to dance. We often used to come here. Even now, I come here occasionally. This is a such a beautiful place…”
They sat in silence for a while, enjoying the sunset.
“Will you join me for a cup of coffee”, Raman asked. It was such a natural request, as if coming from an old friend. Lalitha could not refuse.
Both of them went to a nearby restaurant. Raman ordered 2 cups of filter coffee, with medhu wada.
“Do you like the wada in the sambhar, or separately?” asked the thambi, taking the order.
Lalitha was momentarily flummoxed. It was a strange experience for her… For she had never spent time with an unknown person. More so, after her husband’s demise.
Raman was talkative. In the short span of an hour, he told her snippets of his life, from childhood up to the present. Lalitha spoke very little, except answering his questions. They both realised that they had similar interests. Suddenly, she looked at her watch. It was six o’ clock. She had planned a video chat with her grandson in US at 7. She took leave of Raman.
Walking up to the entrance, Raman asked, “Why not we meet again ?
Lalitha nodded her head, “Probably some other day”, she said, shyly.
They exchanged mobile numbers and parted.
Walking home, Lalitha felt a sense of happiness and awkwardness. She couldn’t fathom what was happening to her. Although she was not comfortable, she felt happy.
Her inner voice, said, “May be this is what people call, Love at first sight!”
“Not at my age and stage of life”, Lalitha murmured.
Pushing, the thoughts away, she walked back briskly.
Lalitha felt alive after a very long time.
Rengarajan, an MTech from IIT Madras, served in the oil and gas industry for 3 decades. He attended Short Story Writing Workshop 4.