Image from here

Karwachauth was on. They have never celebrated it in their ten years of togetherness. It was never important. But suddenly, it was something worth celebrating this year. Abhimanyu gave in finally. 

What could he do to make the night special? He was in no mood to stay hungry for the whole day. Both of them worked and had busy diaries that day filled with meetings. That was another reason he was against it.

“How will you manage to speak all day in meetings without even drinking water?”

“I will somehow. Let me at least try it. Let me see how much I can endure.”

“But why?”

“Because I want to. Ok?”

And that was the end of it. He finally decided to come home an hour earlier and make dinner and throw a surprise. That was the least he could do. 

Abhimanyu left the office at 5 pm and reached home earlier. He wanted to make something traditional and then decided upon Rajma Rice, Paneer Masala, naan and some wine. He took a shower and started the preparations. The Rajma went into the cooker and he got himself busy into making the masala. As he stirred the chopped onions, his eyes fell upon the pictures hanging on the dining room wall. He smiled as he scanned all of them. The last ten years have been blissful. There was a family resistance initially that manifested itself in all its ugliness. They were boycotted from both the families, thrown out of their homes. No one tried to kill them. Their families were not that savage. Abhimanyu got an onsite opportunity soon after and both of them moved to London. There was no contact from anyone for five years except for a stray call from their mothers. It was in their fourth year of togetherness that they decided to get married. There was another wave of resistance from their families as soon as they broke the news to their mothers. Until now, there was some hope but a marriage will seal their relationship. Abhimanyu’s father had a heart attack. 

Both of them got married in a court in London. 

Abhimanyu stirred the golden brown onions and added tomatoes and all the masalas as the past flashed by. The marriage did not change anything between them except that their love grew with each passing day. They sent pictures of their wedding to their families. There was no reply. The onsite opportunity kept extending and finally they were able to apply for permanent residency. There was no point in going back. Both of them loved their families but they could not be a sacrificial lamb. 

The dinner was ready by 7 pm. Abhimanyu looked at the sky. The moon would not be out before 8. He then looked at his watch. The doorbell rang. 

“Hey! How was your day?,” he said opening the door. 

“I am almost dead. There is cactus in my throat.” Both of them hugged and kissed. 

“Oh God! We can eat now. You don’t have to wait.”

“No. I want to do this. It’s just a matter of another hour. I’ll go and shower and change.”

Abhimanyu started setting up the dinner table. The plates, cutlery, napkins, wine, bowls were all placed in their respective positions for the surprise. A few minutes later, he looked out of the window again and saw the moon staring at him. 

“It’s out!” he screamed.

“Is it? So soon?” Kabir said as he came out of the bedroom. His eyes fell on the dinner table. He then looked at Abhimanyu with surprise. 

“I thought I should do something too,” Abhimanyu said as he smiled and scratched his head.

Kabir moved towards him and hugged him. “Thank you, my love.”

Both of them went to the balcony and Kabir looked at Abhimanyu through the sieve. Abhimanyu then gave him a glass of water to drink.

“Oh this is so good,” Kabir said and gulped down the water and then ran towards the jug of water on the dinner table.

“Don’t fill your empty stomach with water,” Abhimanyu said trying to take the jug away from him.

“Quiet! The jug is mine and mine alone. My precious,” Kabir said stroking the jug gently. Abhimanyu laughed.  

Both of them then sat at the dinner table and started eating. 

“I have a better idea,” Kabir said. He got up and switched off the light. The room was bathed in moonlight from the window. Then he sat down and raised his wine glass. 

“To love,” Kabir said.

“To love.”