She Wanted It That Way - 2

She Wanted It That Way - 1

Vishaal walked to his regular spot but he did not talk to his friends. He stood there, looking in different direction. The silence was getting unbearable for his friends. One of his friends broke the ice, “C’mon we did not know you had soft corner for that girl” Even I did not know that Vishaal thought. “Look! We are sorry!”, his other friends joined in. “It is ok”, Vishaal said. One of his friends offered him a cigarette and when Vishaal said no they looked at each other and shook their head.
Vishaal was too busy to notice that. He was searching for the girl. He wanted her to see that he was not smoking. But she did not come. May be she has changed her route because of these idiots, Vishaal frowned.

Vishaal wandered around the society hoping that somewhere he would come across her. But she was not seen anywhere. He walked back home and entered his room closing the door behind him before anyone could see him and ask him the reason for returning early. He knew that once inside the room no one would bother him. He picked up the packet of cigarette from the waste paper basket and put it back in his jeans pocket. He stayed back in his room for rest of the day. His folks, including Vidya knew it was best not to disturb him when he locked himself in the room.
At night, he quietly sneaked out of the house and walked to the girl’s building hoping to see her in the balcony but the door of the balcony was closed. He waited there for some time and then returned home. He quietly entered the house and walked to his room but he failed to see that the table lamp in Vidya's room was glowing. After some time Vidya switched off the lamp and slept.

For the next few days Vishaal did not see her anywhere. Not even at her balcony and he started getting worried. He had tried his best to quit smoking, but in vain. The person for whom he had attempted doing that was not seen anywhere. Also, his restlessness prevented him from not smoking for long.
One day when he was standing at his regular hangout with his friends, he pulled out the cigarette packet from his pocket and placed a cigarette on his lips. He had just lit the cigarette when he saw the girl walking towards him. He immediately threw the cigarette on the road and extinguished it. Though Vishaal reacted spontaneously the girl had seen him do that because she had been watching him as she took the turn to the road at the end of which Vishaal was patiently waiting for her. When she walked past Vishaal thought he had seen her smile.
But before he could think anything further on these lines he heard a familiar voice calling, “Vishaal Da…” He spotted Vidya standing across the street. He crossed the road and walked to her
“Da, can you please come with me. Mamma wants me to buy some groceries”
“So! What I have got to do anything with it? I have never come with you before”
“Da, actually there’s a guy who teases me when I go there”
“Come lets go”
If anything could make Vishaal go buying groceries, it was his possessiveness for his sister and Vidya knew it too well.
“Da, I wanted to talk to you. There is no guy harassing me”

“I know. I know you better than this. You would have not told me if there was some guy. So what is it that you want to talk to me about?”
“Da, I heard papa talk to someone on the phone. He was talking something on the lines of your marriage saying that if you get married then may be you would become responsible” Vidya said stepping into the stores.
But Vishaal was not listening as his eyes were fixed on someone and his mind was somewhere else. “Da are you listening?”, saying so Vidya looked at Vishaal and then followed his gaze.
“Da! Is this the girl?” Vidya asked enthusiastically.
“Yes.” said Vishaal without moving his eyes from the girl. As if knowing that she is the topic of discussion she looked towards them. Immediately Vishaal looked away and holding Vidya’s arm made her walk deeper into the stores.
“Da! I know this girl”
Everyone turned their heads towards Vishaal because in his excitement he had been a little loud.
Feeling awkward, both of them finished their work in the stores and hurried out. As both of them were at a safe distance i.e. away from the girl Vishaal asked, “How do you know her?”
“I mean I do not know her personally, but she is my friend Janhavi’s new neighbor”
“Oh” that is all Vishaal could say.
But in her mind Vidya had already started playing her cards because she knew she had to do this for her Da. She had made up her mind when she had seen him return home dejected. At that time she did not have any idea how she could help him, but now … she knew.”
The same night when Vishaal returned home he found a note on his desk. He picked it up and read –

Sneha Dikshit graduate, working as accountant
Only daughter taking care of her mother, father expired.
Middle class family like ours, five stars – Unmarried

A smiley was drawn at the end of the note, which was the confirmation that no one else but his own sister was the detective.
Vishaal smiled as he folded the paper and put it in his shirt pocket. That night Vishaal slept peacefully.

The next day after her college Vidya happened to visit Janhavi when there was no one at her residence, what a bad luck! Or was it really? After some time she pressed the doorbell of the neighbor's residence. Sneha opened the door and let her in after she mentioned that she was Janhavi’s friend. The time Vidya spent waiting for Janhavi was well utilized in sharing of information.
“I saw you yesterday at the stores… remember … I was with my Da. I mean my elder brother Vishaal Da. He has done his and is looking for a decent job.”
In spite of herself Sneha realized that she was smiling.
“Do you want something to eat?”
“No thanks. My Da is the best person I have ever known. Apart from one or two bad qualities, he is a real gem.”
“You think very high of your brother, Vidya”
“Yes. He deserves it. Well! Da was telling me …” before Vidya could complete her sentence the doorbell rang. It was Janhavi who was supposed to come anyways, but her timing seemed to be a bit wrong. Making faces at Janhavi, Vidya walked out of the door but she made it a point to forget her book at Sneha’s residence and the book just happened to fall where it could be spotted only when Vidya was safe home.
Because of the embarrassing scene at the stores Vishaal made it a point not to come face to face with Sneha for a day or two. Instead he spent time at his favorite hangout amidst the nature and intensified his search on the computer for his job.
Next day when Vishaal as Vishaal got ready to go out, the doorbell rang. There was no one at home except him as Vidya had left early because she had to go to a friend’s place before college and Vishaal’s parents had gone out of town.
Vishaal was buttoning his shirt when the doorbell rang. When he opened the door he was shocked to see who it was. For some time he kept staring at the visitor and then buttoned his shirt immediately as he welcomed the guest. Sneha walked inside the house.

“Hi. Vidya forgot her book at my place yesterday when she was waiting for Janhavi”, Sneha said handing over the book to Vishaal.
Both of them were silent for some time unable to decide what to speak and who should break the silence. When the silence became awkward Sneha turned to go. “Please sit, I will get some water for you.”, Vishaal said immediately.
Sneha turned around and walked towards the sofa. Vishaal went inside the kitchen and brought a glass of water for her.
“Your sister is a sweet girl”
Vishaal smiled
“And she is very talkative”
Vishaal laughed
“She thinks very high of you…”
Vishaal could not believe that he was blushing.
Keeping the glass of water on the side-table Sneha got up to go.
“Nice meeting you Vishaal”, saying so, she left the house.
For some time Vishaal could not believe that Sneha had come home and then he spent time thinking how stupid he had acted in front of her and how he should have or should have not behaved.
Meanwhile, as Sneha walked out of Vishaal’s building she was smiling. The first time when she had seen Vishaal she had disliked him. But the next time when she had seen him hurriedly extinguish his cigarette she thought he was a good guy in bad company and the last time when she had seen him with Vidya she thought he was funny.
Now after being to his house and seeing his etiquettes she knew that she was right about everything and also she found him attractive.

There was something about Vishaal that fascinated Sneha. At work she could hardly keep him out of her mind. Never before had any guy affected her in this way. She had always made it a point to stay unaffected because she did not want to fall in love but she could not stop herself from being attracted towards Vishaal. He was just like any other guy, yet he was special. She knew that he had watched her the first time she had walked past him, she had seen his eyes and there was a queer look in them but there had been no trace of lust.
She had seen him stop abruptly near her building and stare at her. She was too occupied with her thoughts but still she had spotted him. At the stores too, she was aware that Vishaal was looking at her and she was the topic of discussion between him and Vidya. For a moment, without knowing as to why, Sneha had felt a pang of jealousy when she had seen them together. But when the next day Vidya had come to her house and mentioned that Vishaal was her brother she had smiled. When Vidya had come to her house and praised Vishaal she knew it was a sister’s attempt to see that Sneha does not have wrong impression about her brother. And the book... Sneha knew that it had been left behind on purpose. She knew all this and she could have handed the book to Janhavi instead of opening the book and looking for the address and personally going to Vishaal’s house to return it. She had to admit that she was attracted to this guy, something she did not want but could not avoid.

She could not concentrate in her work so she requested a sick leave and got ready to go home. It was dark outside, the dark clouds were spread like a blanket and had covered the sun. It was going to rain and she loved rains. But today she was not in the mood to get wet. She had not even brought her umbrella, as she had not expected that it would pour.

As she stepped out of her office it started raining. Somehow it was not a surprise for Sneha to see Vishaal outside her office and in spite of herself she liked it. What surprised her was that he started walking towards her with an umbrella. This was Vishaal’s first direct move towards her and she had to stop him before he got involved with her or vice versa.
When Vishaal walked closer to her, Sneha smiled and asked, “Hi! What are you doing here?”
“Nothing! I just happened to come in the neighborhood and saw you here. Here... take this Umbrella”, Vishaal said Sneha's surprise he handed over the Umbrella to her and moved back.
This guy must be really crazy! He is giving me his umbrella and getting wet himself, Sneha thought. Aloud she said, “You can walk with me” and she moved towards Vishaal and he walked under the umbrella. As they walked together Vishaal could smell her sweet perfume and he knew she would smell his cigarette and that was the reason he wanted to keep away but he had to admit that he liked this too.
Sneha found that her heart was beating louder as every minute went by and she was afraid that Vishaal would understand what she was feeling for him and that would be an open invitation.

Before Vishaal knew what was happening Sneha hailed a cab and as the cab stopped she handed over the umbrella to Vishaal and said thanks. She got into the cab and left. Vishaal stood there watching her go. He was sure that she had decided to leave because of the cigarette smell. He promised himself that he would give up smoking completely, for Sneha, for their future together. It was worth it.
Sneha’s mother was not only surprised but also worried to see Sneha return home so early. She tried to enquire what was wrong but got one line answer to the question “Nothing is wrong Aai, I am fine. Just a little tired.”
“Should I call the doctor?” there was a worried expression on the face of Sneha's mother.
“Aai please. There is no need to call the doctor. Really I am fine, I just need to sleep for some time. That is all and anyways I have an appointment with doctor uncle next week”, Sneha said and walked to her room and closed the door behind her.
Sneha knew that her mother’s concern was justified but still sometimes she hated how her mother worried about her unnecessarily and treated her like a delicate doll. She changed her clothes, dried her hair and walked to the window. Unknowingly she started thinking about Vishaal and the few steps that they had walked together. She hated to leave him like this. She knew he was shocked but she had no option.

In the next few days there were many such coincidences when Vishaal and Sneha came across each other. To some extent Sneha’s work was suffering because she was trying to do something, which was causing lack of concentration. She was desperately trying not to fall in love but day-by-day she found it becoming difficult. She was avoiding Vishaal but he just happened to come in her way. Sometimes it was a deliberate attempt from Vishaal but most of the times it was real coincidence.
Finally Sneha succumbed to her feelings and decided to flow with the tide and accept whatever was in store for her. She thought that being friends with Vishaal would release the bottled up pressure inside her. The fear of falling in love always existed but then she was ready to take the risk. She thought, maybe some day I will tell him that it is not meant to be. We can be friends but we do not have future together.
Making up her mind she gave up avoiding Vishaal.

On the other hand, Vishaal was very happy because he got a chance to spend his time with her. Beginning with being friends he would one day propose marriage to her and then they would have a good future together. The joy in his heart was clearly reflected in his actions. He had not smoked for a long time now. It did cause some minor troubles but he was okay with it as it was worth taking the chance. Vidya found that the smile, which had eluded her brother’s face for so many days, was finally on his lips. He wore much decent clothes than he did before. He spent some time with his friends at the corner but he returned home early and spent most of the time on his computer looking for jobs and submitting resumes. Vishaal’s father noticed this change in his son and he appreciated it. Finally I have succeeded in improving him a little, he thought.

Part 3