Love or… Love? – 1.3

Recap: Nakul comes back from his trip and has to wait for a long time to meet Varnika at her home. Varnika regrets spending Nakul’s share of time with Haris. Anamika reminisces some beautiful memories of London.


After the office hours, Varnika and Haris were walking by the Thames eating a burrito and talking. Now that Varnika had started meeting Haris on a regular basis, her usual time of reaching home had increased by minimum an hour and sometimes Nakul’s timing had to compromise because of it. Every time Varnika did this injustice to Nakul, she regretted it but somehow she was not able to control her emotions and met Haris whenever he asked.

“Nakul is a Gujarati and is youngest in his family … he has been raised here in London.” Varnika told Haris and grabbed a bite from her Burrito and glanced at the Big Ben.

“Bengali and Gujarati is such a mismatch!” Haris said and Varnika instantly asked “Why?”

“Simply because Gujjus don’t even look at non-veg while we Bengalis will starve to death if we don’t eat fish and meat regularly.” Haris explained.

“This is the biggest misconception about Gujaratis.” Varnika clarified and further said “His entire family eats non-veg… though not as much as us… but they do.” Haris didn’t respond on this and Varnika sensed that Haris, though had no true feelings for her, used to get jealous whenever she mentioned about Nakul.

“He’s a great guy. A perfect man!” Varnika further said and took another bite.

“I sure hope so…” Haris quickly replied and ate his bite.

“So what does he do?” Haris shot another question and Varnika said “He is an architect like me and works in a… hey” Varnika got accidentally shoved on the shoulder by another man coming from the front and as a result of the sudden collision her burrito fell down on the street. She looked back at the person who was least bothered about the collision and simply kept walking his path. She looked on her left side to get a reaction from Haris and was surprised to not find him there. She looked in front for him but didn’t sight him and then looked at the back again and saw Haris holding the collar of the same person and pulling him towards her. He looked infuriated and Varnika got a little scared on his fierce action.

“It was an accident, Haris.” Varnika said in a very soft tone when he reached there with the man. But Haris ignored her words and told the man “Apologize properly to the lady.” The man, out of fear, instantly apologized to Varnika and Haris left his collar and he ran away abusing Haris but Haris didn’t go after him after his apology to Varnika.

The incident that had taken place just now left her perturbed. “Had Nakul been here with me, he would have told me to ignore that person and keep walking.” Varnika’s mind did a quick comparison between the two men in this scenario.

“We can share my burrito if you want.” Haris interrupted her thoughts and forwarded his burrito to her.

“I’m good. Thanks!” She replied and they started walking again.

“Oh come on. I don’t want any more of this.” Haris said and handed over his burrito to her. Sharing or rather eating his half eaten burrito gave her a tickle. Each bite of his burrito felt much tastier to Varnika as she felt that there is an amount of his unsaid love mixed in it. Haris lit a cigarette and started puffing.

 “So where were we?” Haris asked.

“Uh… Um… I don’t remember.” Varnika pretended to have forgotten Nakul’s topic.

“Great… because I don’t want to hear about your guy anymore.” He quipped and laughed and winked at her. Haris’s answer had startled Varnika and she preferred to remain quiet on it.

“Okay on a serious note….” Haris said and stopped as they had reached the end point of the bridge. Varnika looked at him and anticipated what next he was going to say.

“There is no such term as ‘a perfect man or woman’ in this world.”Haris said.

“I know… each of us has flaws… But what I really meant is that he is perfect for me.”Varnika clarified.

“Shhh” Haris kept his index finger on Varnika’s lips and on his action her breathing paused in that second and Haris further said looking straight into her eyes “He is plain lucky… know why?” and Varnika kept staring at him for his answer.

“Because You love Him.” he patted thrice on her left shoulder with his index finger that was on her lips one second ago. “Any man… that you will love is the luckiest man on this earth Varnika.” And those words did cast a charming spell on her. She kept looking at him with so much love in her eyes. A passerby laughed so hard at something said by his co-walker that it broke Varnika’s stream of romantic thoughts and she came back to her senses quickly and said “Now I know why so many women swoon over you.” she said and Haris upped his shoulders and tilted his neck in agreement to what Varnika had said and they both laughed.

“So I’ll see you tomorrow?” Haris asked.

“I’ll let you know.” Varnika replied and started walking but Haris grabbed her hand from the back and pulled her towards himself.

“Is that a No?” He asked looking into her eyes and Varnika was puzzled on his gesture. She did not know whether to answer in yes or no but kept looking into his eyes. Her throat went dry but she didn’t utter a word. Every single time she met him, he drifted her more towards himself. She knew she was wrong but never said No to him for a meeting. There was a quiet moment between the two and then Haris broke the silence and said “I hate it when you say bye” and moved his head closer to her. He brought his lips very close to hers when she moved her head. “Please Haris.” Varnika quickly said and released herself from his grip but he once again came near her and whispered “this beautiful weather, these surroundings, you and I… don’t you think we should go a step ahead.” He hinted about a kiss getting very close to her.

Varnika’s breath went faster but she controlled her emotions and said “I hate that nicotine smell” and stepped back.

“Bye…” she laughed and waved her hand and left.

“I’ll wait for you in my hotel room tomorrow.” Haris shouted from behind but Varnika simply waved her hand again without looking at him which was a clear hint that she will not give into his desires so soon.

Varnika boarded the tube to home and all the while she kept thinking of what an amazing evening it was. This was the first time when a guy had picked up a fight for her and then that moment when they were so close… It filled Varnika with fancy feelings once again. “How the hell can I tell him that I don’t like that nicotine smell… God, I love everything about him.” In between these thoughts, she reached home.


“Do you remember the date tomorrow?” Nakul asked Varnika who was leaning on his shoulders and their fingers were playing with each other.

“You bet I do.” She smiled.

“3 years!”

“Yeah… 3 years” she said and placed a small kiss on his lips.

“And two years of declaring it to Baba.” Varnika said and laughed.

“Yeah… I still remember you had told him about us on our first anniversary and within two days he had arrived to meet me. And he kept observing me from head to toe for the whole day.”

“Yeah because Baba has that knack of understanding a person’s behavior from the body language and I am lucky that you scored distinction marks in his test.” Varnika said and they both laughed and Nakul fondly kissed her head.

“How did you know that I am the one for you?” Varnika lovingly asked.

“Ah…. Aren’t you bored of asking the same question Nik?” Nakul pretended tediousness.

“Nope… I can never get over with this question….because…”

“Ehem” Nakul looked on for her answer.

“Because your answers are always different…. And more romantic than the previous ones.” Varnika said and they both laughed.

“So.. what’s the answer for my today’s question?”

“Hmmm…” Nakul pondered and said “well… all romantic songs had started making sense to me and it was you who I would visualize in them with me.”

“Awww…” Varnika said and they kissed.

“So how do you want to celebrate tomorrow?” Nakul asked her after their passionate kiss.

 “Um… haven’t thought about it yet.” Varnika answered placing her hand in her hair.

“Hmm…” Nakul pondered.

“What is it that we haven’t yet done… let’s do that.” He sought an answer from Varnika on his idea and they both started thinking.

“Honey, you remember I had once told you that we should learn a dance form.” Varnika said.

“Yea….” Nakul stared at her.

“Game for learning it now?” Varnika excitedly asked.

“Honey, I definitely want to do it for you but it will be feasible when we move in together. Our houses are in opposite directions and from morning till evening, we are busy with our job. So…?”

“Yeah… makes sense.” Varnika said but Nakul read her sad expressions. He regretted denying her idea without giving it a proper thought but before he could say anything more, his phone rang and he got busy on the call.

Next day, Nakul and Varnika wished each other in the morning and he informed her that he has booked a dinner table at a restaurant and he’ll pick her up. He also told Varnika to bring me along to which I agreed.

“Sorry honey… Won’t be able to pick you up from your residence. Please come directly.” Varnika received Nakul’s message when she was in the office elevator and was coming back to home.

“I have a longer queue of patients today and may get late. I’ll join you guys at the venue directly.” I informed Varnika after a while and our texts annoyed her.

Women pretend that they are not hurt but when they are, it lingers on their mind for more than anyone on this planet can assume. When Nakul had denied about joining the dance classes, Varnika did feel bad. But because his reason behind denial was also valid, she did not persuade him more at that point.

“*There is nothing special about going out for a dinner….. Everyone does that.*” Varnika thought. “*Why did he ask for an idea of doing something different or special when he had to go out just for a dinner?*” “*Anyway… this is our special day so let the dinner be also special.*” She thought and put rest to her disappointment. Varnika dressed up in a maroon skater dress which Nakul had gifted her a month back and reached the spot on time. When the restaurant manager told her that their table is booked on the first floor she climbed the stairs and upon reaching there she realized that the whole place was vacant, only the dim lights were lit and she could hear soft romantic music mixed with the clinking of glasses at the bar counter. She was surprised to not find any guests in this popular restaurant.

“Happy Anniversary Love!” Nakul spoke in her ear and grabbed her waist from behind and came in front and placed a small kiss on her lips.

“Hey!” Varnika delightedly said.

“Why don’t I see any guests here?” Varnika immediately asked and Nakul checked his wrist watch and replied “We have only half an hour for us so let’s start with our super romantic evening.” He said and shouted “Hey Pals! We are set.” And left Varnika bemused on his statements.

A young couple appeared on the stage and Nakul held Varnika’s hand and took her to the stage.

“Hi, My name is Brett and she is my partner Kelly.” The guy said and Varnika said “Hello” to them.

“Happy Anniversary!” the couple wished Varnika and she, still bemused, said “Thank you”.

“So…” Brett said and came forward to Varnika. “Are you ready to learn bolero?” he asked her and she gaped him on his statement and looked at Nakul who gave a wide smile to her.

Brett broke their moment and said “I’ll teach you some quick bolero steps and then both of you can watch us and dance with us.” Varnika’s delirious excitement was reflected on her face. In the initial five minutes, Brett and Kelly taught some basic turns and body postures of Bolero to Nakul & Varnika sans music.

“So now you can follow our steps and learn some romantic dancing for your special day. Ready?” Brett asked and they both nodded in sheer excitement. “Stay easy and enjoy.” Brett said and music got played and Nakul and Varnika started following some slow moves showed by Brett and Kelly. Both of them felt so romantic. After the previous day’s denial, Varnika had never imagined that Nakul would be doing something so exciting like this for her. She felt loved and proud of her man, both at the same time. Nakul’s regret about denying her dance classes idea was slowly vanishing from his mind when he realized that his lady love is enjoying this moment so much.

For about seven minutes they kept following the dance steps and when Brett and Kelly realized that the anniversary couple’s dance is in harmony with the romantic music, they stepped down from the stage to let them dance alone for a while.

After ten minutes, the music switched from romantic to hot and wild and again Kelly appeared on stage followed by Brett and she loosened up Varnika’s bun and said “Cum’on! Get hang of some Salsa now!”

“Hey… I wanted to do that..!” Nakul shouted that he wanted to open Varnika’s hair but because of the loud music, only Varnika heard him complaining and laughed at his cute whining and directed him to dance to their tutor’s tunes.

“Salsa is fun!” Varnika spoke loudly and they enjoyed the groovy dancing steps without realizing that their private time had got over. The manager arrived and politely informed them about the same.

Nakul, Varnika, Brett and Kelly, all breathing heavily, stepped down from the stage. Nakul thanked the manager for this arrangement and Brett and Kelly for their time and the dance lessons and the three departed and Nakul and Varnika sat down at their reserved table.

“So… did you enjoy?” Nakul sipped some water and asked Varnika.

“Hell yeah… like never before.” Varnika replied in a euphoric tone. She was still breathing heavy and Nakul passed on a glass of water to her.

“I Love you!” Varnika euphorically said and hugged Nakul and they kissed.

Nakul held her hand and said “ Honey, I am sorry for denying your idea in the first place…” Nakul said to Varnika and she interrupted “It’s fine… the way you organized it today was fantastic…. we couldn’t have enjoyed our day more in any other way.” Varnika said and there I arrived.

“Anna, you won’t believe what happened just now… you should have arrived on time.” Varnika exhilarated.

“Well, it will be unfair if I don’t give the credit to the person who really deserves it.” Nakul interrupted Varnika and she gave a clueless expression on this.

“Anna and I were together on this plan…”

“Really … How?” Varnika asked.

“The owner of this restaurant is Anna’s patient for a very long time so they know each other quite well. When I shared this idea with Anna last night, she suggested me about this place because it has this inbuilt stage and convinced me that we’ll have a gala time here. Upon reaching here, I was surprised to know that the restaurant owner has sealed the entry on the first floor for any guests for half hour so that we can have supreme fun in privacy… it was Anna who had requested the owner to do so.” Nakul said and smiled at me and Varnika gaped at both of us and said “I love you so much Anna… Thank you for this surprise.” And hugged me tightly and kissed on my cheek which spilled my water on my dress and I annoyingly said “Pagol Meye (stupid girl)” and they both laughed on my annoyance.

We enjoyed that evening and came back home midnight. Varnika checked her phone after laying in bed for sleep and read Haris’s text “You ditched me today.” He was online. She started typing a reply when one thought obstructed her “*but what if he responds in his usual way of showing jealousy about Nakul? His reaction will spoil my good mood… let it be!*” And this thought apprehended her and she kept her phone on the side table and slept.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

to be continued…

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