Jagjit singh was at his melodious best on the CD playing in the background, laughs were adding a mood of celebration in between, glasses were clinking, cutlery were clunking indicating happy surroundings all in all. After all 10 years of marriage was worth some celebration to mark of the milestone. Samyuktha and Samyam were a couple to be envied of. Even now the fond looks that passed between them hadn’t lost its intensity in 10 years.
It was a small party with 4 closest friends of the couple. They were friends for a long time that felt more like family gathering rather than a party. The meal ended with many speeches and toasts, wishes and hopes. Everybody squeezed in a tidbit or two, once every few minutes someone became the butt of a joke. It was not like any anniversary dinner, it seemed that anniversary was being used as a reason for friends to meet up and enjoy.
Samyam took his two best friends of many years to have a drink of whiskey to mark the end of the day, while Samyuktha was pulled away from cleaning duty by her two closest friends for the gossip they wanted to spill.
They had just started to relax and enjoy the drink when Prakash looking over his drink asked Samyam
“10 years of marriage is commendable, but I don’t think I ever heard the story of how you guys got married?”
Aayush was taking a long sip unlike his habit. And Samyam was smiling when he said “I don’t think I was ever asked this question by you guys before this. But all in good time, it does make a good story for this day.”
Few rooms away…..
Radhika was spilling out the gossip of her boss having an affair with the intern, and she turned towards Samyuktha and questioned “Hey you know my cousin Aarathi right?? Even her boss is having an affair with his intern”
Before Samyuktha answered Ashwini questioned “Hey I just remembered, Sammu you never told us the story of your marriage”
Radhika was baffled, but with her back turned to Samyuktha, her expressions were visible only to Ashwini.
Samyuktha was trying to remember, when she smiled and said “I don’t think you gossip mongers ever asked me such important incident of my life, but then we were all caught up with our own at that time. Well it does make a good story for this day.”
The Official Version:
It was Radhika and Aayush’s engagement day. Being a love match between two business families, the engagement was more like a business party. Radhika was fanatic about her appearance while Aayush was still wondering how did all this happen so fast.
Samyuktha who was Radhika’s childhood friend was trying to calm her down, assuring her that everything is fine, she is looking gorgeous. But Radhika was hell bent of finding out a wrong in everything.
“Oh Sammu, look at this curl, it is not curling as I want. Oh this looks like it has a mind of its own and is trying its hardest to ruin my day”
“Radhi, a harmless curl can’t ruin your day. You are looking perfect and that curl is not making you look any less. Now stop fretting and calm down before you ruin your dress by walking here and there.”
Radhika sat down with a worried look and said “It’s not the curl, am worried about Aayush. I love him a lot, but sometimes it feels like he loves me only because I belong to a rich business family. He is more interested in my dad’s holdings rather than my likes. Am not sure I want to marry him feeling like this”
Samyuktha had a horrified look on her face when this was being told; she knew she had to set it right, anybody could see that apart from the family background Radhika and Aayush were very much suited to each other as individuals also. She sat down beside Radhika and said in a consoling voice “Radhi, you are thinking too much. These are just wedding jitters, you know you are getting into a lifetime commitment. And being a carefree independent person that is scaring you a bit. But listen to me, you will enjoy being married to Aayush, he is perfect for you. And there is no doubt he loves you”
Radhika tried to smile with the sad eyes and said “Yeah I think you are right, these are just wedding jitters. I have to snap out of it.”
Samyuktha held her friend and said “Ok, tell me what do you need me to do to make you feel better. Shall I get your favourite butterscotch icecream. Nobody has to know, I will bring it in secret.??”
Radhika looked at her friend’s teasing smile and thought for a minute and said “You know what will be better than the icecream. If I could just talk to Aayush personally before the ceremony starts.”
“Radhi… are you kidding, you are the bride you just can’t go walking around to the groom’s quarters and demand him to see you. Think what gossips it will create”
“I know, that’s why am not going there. You are…. You go and tell Aayush that I need to see him before the ceremony and if he doesn’t come, that means he doesn’t want to marry me and I will cancel this engagement”
“But that is downright black mail Radhi”
“Am desperate Sammu … please…. Can’t you do this much for me”
“But how can I go there and tell him directly all this, this is as worse as you going there”
“Hmm .. Ok do one thing, Aayush’s best friend Samyam will be there, and if you meet him, people wont think anything untoward. Tell him to tell this to Aayush and to meet me.. not me.. meet us on the terrace. This that ok”
“Samyam ??? ,.. Are you sure Radhi”
“Yes very much, now go fast before mom comes to drag me away for the ceremony”
“Ok, but you cant ask any favour for a whole year after this. Deal” said Samyuktha with a teasing smile.
Radhika answered in kind “Deal, now go.”
Samyuktha went off in search of Samyam, meanwhile in the groom’s rooms. Aayush was still in a daze when he questioned his best pal “Sammy do you think this will work out. I mean I know I love her and she loves me, but she comes from a very successful business family. Don’t you think there is a chance that compared to her brothers she might find me less successful?”
Samyam was on the brink of full blown laughter hearing these doubtful words from his friend, but he controlled his reaction and in a teasing voice asked Aayush “Are you telling me the great playboy Casanova of our generation “Aayush” is feeling insecure about his love life??”
Aayush was red with indignation, he straightened his already straight Sherwani and said “Sammy you just need one reason to pull my leg. If you haven’t noticed I have a good height, so stop pulling my leg now. Am serious. Am not sure I can go through this engagement, if I don’t talk to her before it.”
Samyam sobered up immediately on his words and said “What do you mean that you have talk to her before??”
Aayush was franatic now when he said “Sammy please help me. Just somehow arrange me to meet her before the ceremony. Please do this huge favour on me and I swear I will never ask anything of you ever”
Samyam was frowning listening to his friend’s childish behavior, but he knew he couldn’t say no to Aayush, especially when he is so serious. So Samyam went out to formulate a plan on how to make them meet, when he collided with Samyuktha.
Samyuktha was still drowned in her confusion when she collided with a brick wall, or it felt like that when she collided with Samyam. She took a moment to collect herself when she saw him, a big personality of a man holding her arm to help her and looking down on her with confusion.
Samyuktha gave him a bright smile and said “oh… I didn’t notice you at all. Well not that you are not noticeable, you are very noticeable, but I was thinking something and… I am not so clumsy normally… but you see with all this….” She was rendered speechless when he smiled at her and asked “And your point is…??”
Samyuktha had to think back what and all she said to realize she was blabbering away her confusion rather than apologizing “Oh I meant to say I am so sorry.”
“No problem, I understand. And I know it’s not that am not noticeable, as you said I am very noticeable.”
Samyuktha couldn’t believe that this guy was flirting with her already. Well as she didn’t know she was looking gorgeous in her lenga, beautiful enough to make the most logical person like Samyam to forget his surroundings and flirt with her.
Samyuktha still had to find that “best friend” yet, so she freed her arm which was still held by him, which had gone unnoticed till then and begin to walk away. When she passed him and went in the direction he came, Samyam couldn’t help himself from turning back and seeing her go away. And at that moment she turned back towards him and asked “By the way do you have an idea where can I find Samyam??”
He was shocked alright, and his expression was open with curiosity “Why do you need him?”
“Well that is something I will tell him, if could just point me towards him”
Samyam pointed a finger to his chest and smiled. Samyuktha didn’t understand his action for a moment and then she laughed out loud. A clear, blissful laugh so unlike the giggles the girls he knew did.
“So you are Samyam, Aayush’s best friend?”
“The one and only”
“Good, I have to ask you a favour”
“So soon, I thought you collided with me and in that regard am supposed to be asking you a favour. Which at this point, I do have to ask you a favour”
Then both of them spoke at the same time “Can you arrange a meeting….”
Samyuktha again laughed out and Samyam didn’t hesitate to join when she asked “You mean even Aayush wants to meet Radhika now??”
“Yes, to my bad luck, as I have to take care that they are not discovered together before the ceremony. His parents are very orthodox in all those things”
“Well join my boat, am in the same pickle”Then both of them formulated a plan and make the other two meet on the terrace, while they stood on guard. This was their first meeting.
After that day, whenever Aayush and Radhika met, these both were also inevitable present; both the families had strictly forbidden the future couple to meet alone after the engagement.
Samyam and Samyuktha became close friends and most of the time they were left alone to talk as the happy couple wanted some alone time. They came to know each other and three months later on the eve of Aayush and Radhika’s marriage, these two announced their wish to marry each other.
Samyuktha was transported back to her courtship days when she told this story to her dear friends when Radhika said “I was so busy with my wedding that I never noticed what is cooking between you too. And of course Ashwini was not available as she had fell in love with Prakash at that time and was spending every moment with him. But am so glad that you found your Mr.Right honey”Samyam was still smiling when he took the final sip of whiskey and he added “And that my friends is my love story. Quite boring and uneventful”
Prakash said with a tease “I don’t think it was as uneventful as you paint it, but dear friend am happy for you and here is a toast that you continue to give us free booze and food for your anniversary for many many years to come”
Aayush could only say cheers while he was looking bit uncomfortable with all the revelation.
The happy couple bid their friends goodbye for the night and watched while both cars pulled out of their driveway.
As soon as the cars turned the corner of the road Ashwini asked Prakash “So what happened?”“Nothing unusual”
“So do you think they know??”“Nah”
Ashwini sat silent for some time thinking. While in the other car Radhika was telling Aayush “I couldn’t believe Ashwini asked her, and you say Prakash asked Samyam. Looks like both the pranksters had planned it all along.”
When Aayush didn’t offer any comment, Radhika added “So what happened?”“Nothing which we didn’t know”
“So do you think they know??”“Nah”
All four of them remembered what had happened….
The Unofficial Version:
Radhika and Ashwini were waiting for Aayush, when Ashwini said “Hey Radhi, don’t mind I invited Prakash as well. I mean you both will start talking and I will feel like a third wheel, so I invited Prakash to give me company. Am sure you will like him and we won’t disturb you at all….”
Ashwini was still going on when she noticed Radhika wasn’t paying any attention, Ashwini poked her to get her attention and asked “What happened Radhi you look worried, is everything ok between you and Aayush?”
Radhika was rudely brought back to this word by Ashwini’s poke and she answered “Yeah Ashu, its nothing and I heard you. It’s ok that you invited Prakash. Am just worried about Samyuktha that’s all.”
“About Sammu, why what happened to her. I just talked to her in the morning, she was sounding fine”
“Oh she is fine, am not worried about her health. Am just worried about her future. You know that after her mother’s death, she is the one who is looking after the house and everything. And uncle doesn’t seem like he ever came out of auntie’s death. He is still in a world of his own and he doesn’t notice that Samyuktha has grown up. And of course for her, he is everything in this world. She is so busy in straightening out her dad’s world that she is not noticing that her life is slipping by her.”
“Oh you are worried in that way. Well two days back even I was wondering the same thing. She doesn’t seem the same now at all. She used to be so full of laughs and smiles, now days she is always so worried. I just wish she gets somebody to share her worries and laughs with”
Radhika’s face lit up with joy when she said “Ashu that is a brilliant idea. We have to find a partner to her, with whom she can share her life and who can share her burden of her father also.”
“Yeah but how are we going to convince her”
“Oh yeah, there is that problem…”
Both the ladies were deep in these thoughts when Aayush walked in and said “Sorry, sorry, sorry, I know am very late, but my car broke down. ..”
Radhika just smiled and said “Its ok Aayush.”
Aayush immediately sat down with a frown “What happened Radhi, are you feeling well. Is something worrying you. I came late and you are not even yelling at me?”
Even though Aayush was teasing, that was the only opening needed for Radhika to spill out her fears. By the time she had finished Prakash had joined them and was also appraised about the situation.
And Prakash exclaimed “We have to make her fall in love. And with the right person, only then she can be secure about sharing her and her dad’s life with him. Arranged marriages don’t offer that kind of personal security to her.”
Hearing prakash’s view Ashwini exclaimed “Which means we can’t openly arrange her to meet somebody, we have to make sure she falls in love with him on her own accord and vice versa with the guy.”
Radhika was grinning when she added “Oh that is a marvelous idea, I know exactly what kind of a man she needs.”
Aayush was not left behind and he added “Which means we have to only find the perfect guy and make them meet. Lets pool all the guys we know who might be eligible and we can shortlist the candidates.”
Ashwini was almost jumping with joy when she said “Oh this is so much fun. Just like a game”
Nobody took her comment seriously and started the shortlisting. Finally three were remaining. And it was agreed that all four of them will meet them one by one and pick one more suitable.
Finally after much meetings and deliberations Samyam was chosen. Samyam was Aayush’s choice, because not only he was his best friend, according to Aayush, Samyam and Samyuktha’s situation was very similar. He had also lost his mother few years back and being the only child of his parents, the responsibility of his father fell on him. Both father and son were very close to each other and very understanding. But unlike Samyuktha’s father, his father was not lost in his world but Samyam didn’t want to marry any woman who might alienate him from his father. And under these circumstances the friends decided that Samyuktha will understand the Samyam’s love for his father and Samyam will understand Samyuktha’s responsibility towards hers.
By this time Radhika and Aayush’s engagement was fixed by their parents and they were meeting freely one final time before the official announcement of the engagement.
Radhika was still pondering on Samyuktha and said “But Aayush we have to be very careful that they never come to know that we arranged it. We have to make them meet under unusual circumstances that would make them easily form a bond of comradeship. But how to do that. No matter how we both introduce each other, unless they meet on their own, they will always be wary of each other”
Aayush also thought about this for some time and said “What is the one common thing among them??.. We - they both are best friends of us. The future couple, which means they have to oblige whatever, is our wish. We will create such circumstance that we can alienate them from us and under this circumstance they will have to become familiar with each other. Rest we have to leave it to fate”
Radhika was proud with her beau’s smartness and beamed “Oh that is wonderful, I knew there has to be a good reason that I fell for your charms”
So that’s how they fixed the meeting before the engagement and pulled both the friends for every one of their meetings. Finally destiny did play fairly and made them fall in love with each other or so they liked to think.
When both the couples reached their respective homes, Radhika and Ashwini both asked their spouses “Do you think we should tell them?”
Even though they hadn’t discussed the issue the whole way Aayush and Prakash both knew what their beautiful wives were referring to, they both thought for a moment and said “Nah”.
Whereas at Samyuktha’s household, the party had separated but the celebratory atmosphere was still there. She was folding her saree when she heard her favourite song had started playing in the player and Samyam came behind her to hold her and start an impromptu dance then and there. Samyam was always like that, light hearted, smiling, teasing guy and in 10 years of marriage Samyuktha always tried to never to change him in any way. Because according to her he was just perfect how he was.
Samyam was twirling her and she was laughing with her whole heart. 10 years of marriage had been very kind on her, according to him she looked more young and happy. Now her smile was not an occasional visitor, it was always there at the end of her lips and he couldn’t get enough of her care and love, he didn’t want to change one thing about her. Because in his eyes, she was just perfect.
The song ended and both plopped down on the sofa laughing loudly with joy. They took a moment to calm their heartbeats and even their speed of breathing when she said “You know my friends were very inquisitive today. They wanted to know our love story.”
Samyam straightened up a bit and said “Is that so, what a coincidence that today even my friends were curious about our love story.”
Both of the them were lost in these unusual curiosity of their friends when Samyuktha asked “Do you think they know that we know?”
Samyam’s thoughts took a new direction with this question.
Samyam and Samyuktha’s friends tried to arrange their future and their plan went without hitch till the day of Radhika’s engagement.
Finally Samyam and Samyuktha made their best friends meet on the terrace on that day without anybody’s notice.
While the future couple resolved their issues, they both stood guard near the corridor leading to the terrace, to deflect anybody who might want to go to terrace. When Samyuktha thought enough time had passed for them to resolve their doubts she went to call Radhika to come back when she heard Radhika talking to somebody on phone.
“… Just now Ashwini, we have left them for almost half an hour now and we hope that their first impression be good…….. I know they are perfect for each other, but we also know that we cant neither of them that this is for their good…… no I won’t interfere between them, if they like each other they have to do on their own. Sammu is very perceptive, she won’t forgive me if she comes to know that we acted all this out so that she meets Samyam under different circumstance than normal……….. I know, I am super excited as to how their story will turn out, I just wish that they fall in love and marry very soon……. Oh don’t be so negative, am telling you they are just perfect for each other…… ok chalo I will keep you updated ok …… bye now”
Samyuktha couldn’t believe what she was hearing, but she gathered her wits and went forward to call her friend back and decided that she will not let Radhika know that she heard her conversation with Ashwini.
After the engagement ceremony, a party was arranged for the enjoyment of the guests. And whole through the party Samyuktha was lost in thought as to what to do about the situation that Radhika had put her, she knew she can’t ignore it because if Radhi thinks she didn’t react as she wants she will try to bring more circumstances for her to meet Samyam or worst bring more guys into it and eventually will make everybody uncomfortable. And more over Radhika’s marriage was to take place in 3 months’ time and being her best friend she can’t let that woman fret over her and ruin her time of celebration. Finally Samyuktha decided that she had to tell Samyam and then decide what to do.
At the end of the party she finally could get Samyam alone from prying ears and put forth the situation in front of him. Even Samyam didn’t like Aayush interfering in his love life and more over he didn’t like that they were pushing Samyuktha towards him. He had liked her from the first moment he saw her, but due to this unusual circumstance, there was a no chance that she will like him if he tried to woo her now. But he didn’t want to lose an opportunity with her. She seemed different from the usual girls who fell all over him to gain attention. She was here telling him that their friends think that they make a perfect pair and she wanted his help to deflect their plan with minimum hurt and disappointment rather than actually letting the play lay out like most women of his acquaintance. Samyam was of half a mind to go and blast Aayush for ruining his chances with this wonderful girl.
But finally Samyam put forth an idea, he said “Ok, I understand your problem and truth to be told even I don’t like their highhanded manner to try to push us together. I have an idea, if you agree, then we will let them think that their plan is successful, until Aayush’s marriage. Right after his marriage he will leave on his honeymoon and when they come back we can say that it didn’t work and go on our separate ways. In this way Radhika won’t try to create new circumstance and she will concentrate on her marriage and we don’t disappoint our friends gravely and also have our wishes. What do you think?”
Samyuktha thought for a while and agreed to the pact. And hence a parallel drama started unfolding.
In three months of meeting and acting. At some point of time Samyuktha had to acknowledge that she was charmed by Samyam to the tips of her toes. She had even met his dad and was in awe with the relationship he shared with him. He was every bit the prince charming she had thought and much more. But the plan which was supposed to have kept them away from binding to each other was the one preventing the very thing she wanted. And to her bad luck as she was the one who said she didn’t want commitments now in her life, she couldn’t very well approach Samyam in any way.
While she was swimming in her woes of dilemma, there Samyam’s worries were not much different. He had fallen head of heels in love with her. And because of these stupid circumstances he couldn’t approach her directly, but he had no other way. He had even made her meet his dad and his dad was very happy with his choice. He knew everything about her life and role of her dad in it. And keeping this in mind, he had made his dad meet up with her dad and gradually even their friendship was growing. But how to tell her that he did all this not because of a stupid pact but because he wanted to do it for her.
And in few days Radhika was getting married to Aayush and after that both didn’t have any reason to meet each other. And both were fretting over this fact, when Samyam finally decided that he had to take his future in his hands and approach her. He finally decided that no matter what her reply will be, he will not deceive her anymore and after this revelation, he will woo her for real.
It was on the eve of Radhika’s wedding, everybody was busy with preparations. Samyuktha was busy arranging Radhika’s clothes and ornaments when Samyam entered the room. She was a bit surprised to see him alone without Aayush or Radhika with them, but she was never scared around him, so she smiled and said “Do you need anything Samyam ?”
Samyam cleared his throat and said “I need to speak with you. Oh I know this is not the right place, so can you meet me on the terrace after dinner please. I wont take much of your time, I just need to speak to you for a ten minutes.”
Samyuktha thought for a few minutes and said “Sure why not. I will meet you there.”
After dinner when Samyuktha entered the terrace, Samyam was already there and was pacing back and forth in anticipation. She cleared her throat and He noticed her and gave her such a brilliant and fond smile, that she fell in love with him all over again. He took her hand and made her sit on one of the jute chairs put over there.
He pulled another chair to sit in front of her and said “Ok, I know what am about to say is unusual and something which you never expected, but before I say it I want you to know that I am telling you this with all the sincerity in my heart. I want you to take this very seriously and think over it before you give an answer. Ok?”
“Fine, I promise I will take this very seriously”
“Samyuktha, I know we decided we will play along our friend’s wishes till the marriage and according to that today is the last day available for me to be honest with you and say that I was not acting all of those previous three months. I swear I started out with the intention of following your wishes, but over the time when I came to know more and more about you, I couldn’t stop myself from falling in love with you. I know your objections, but am ready to face everything, if just you are my side.”
When Samyuktha didn’t say anything and just continued to look at him in awe, he said again “Please say something. Wait don’t say anything if you are going to reject me, because I need a chance to make you see about me. If you can’t accept my proposal to marry you now, then at least give me a chance to change your mind. Please”
Samyuktha finally found her tongue and said “Are you asking me to marry you?”
“Wasn’t I clear in that?”
Samyuktha was crying rather than answering and for the first time Samyam had no idea what to do “What happened, please don’t cry. Am not so horrible I swear, I am good, I will change anything you want to change in me. Please don’t be sad that I proposed you.”
Samyuktha smiled between her tears and said “Am not sad you dolt, am crying because I am so happy. I have also fallen in love with you and I didn’t know how to approach you. Am crying because I cant believe that my luck could be so good that you love me and I cant believe that I got you because our friends schemed against us.”
“So are you saying yes or no??”
“If you are going to be this dumb after we got married then I swear that I will hit you with a pan”
Samyam was grinning with happiness and he just picked her up and twirled her in joy. They announced their wish to their friends, who were beaming with satisfaction that their plan worked.
After two months Samyam got married to Samyuktha in a small ceremony.
Samyuktha came back to present day with a smile on her face, and saw her husband stretched out on the bed with a book in this hand, when she asked “Do you think we should tell them?”
Samyam lowered his book and took of his glasses, he knew what she was referring to and he said “Nah”