Arranged Disaster – Part 4 {{Courtship}}

He began writing to her as well – in Hindi, of course. They had a plan – she would step out into her veranda, or porch, and leave behind a cup of tea. He would walk by, pick up the coffee, and leave her a letter. They were not love letters, and sometimes, there was no more than a short couplet, but whatever it was, it fueled their romance, the intensity of which was heightened because of its secrecy. Nobody noticed an extra cup of tea – in fact, tea was so commonplace in Indian households that, were a kettle not boiling on the stove, it would be more conspicuous than the extra cup she made for him. She cherished each and every single note he had written her – one for every day they had been secretly courting one another. Theirs was a simple romance, fulfilled by the simple gesture of writing to one another and drinking tea. He would sit on his bench, writing and sipping the chai that he’d made her. And she would sit on her chair, reading what he wrote to her, and writing more in her mysterious journal. He loved watching her write; the look of intense concentration on her face was exquisite. To him, she was a goddess.

The girl, she really enjoyed scrapbooking. Each day, she would attach his note to a fresh page of her book, and the steadily growing pages reminded her each day of his devotion. She hoped their love would overcome their social differences. If her parents did not buy into her romance, then she was doomed, and would be sent away unflinchingly to marry another man, one from her own caste and status, but one who had no feelings for her, save for lust. But he…he was different. He did not lust for her, he merely craved her presence. She did not need to do anything. He came and sat on that bench, reading and writing, to her. And he came regardless of whether or not she had made him tea. Even if she did not step out into her porch or balcony, she knew he was there, reveling in their proximity. And the more she saw, the more she wanted to escape with him.

From the village, marriage outside of parental parameters only meant one thing – elopement. There was no other way she would be able to live with him. He was too far below her in caste, though far above any other suitors she’d had. He had an amazing smile – she had seen him smiling as he sat on that bench – the epitome of patience. And his eyes, she could get lost in them. Or maybe that was the cliché movies she watched that made her feel this giddy. How could she, a plain simple girl in unknown village have a perfect Prince Charming? Something was bound to go wrong – it had to, eventually.

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