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Realistic Fiction

Function (Love)=Generation (X+Y)

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Dear reader,

Have you ever fallen in love…? Yes!!? Once or Twice? Fine, thrice?! Oh, come on you’re blushing… With whom you had ever fallen in love? Might be with your school mate (Puppy love) or your college mate (Teen-crush) or might have fallen for your colleague in your work spot (that matured love). And if you are god damn lucky (or maybe not, LOL) with your love, you would have even got married to your lover and might be having a few kids. Similar to your love story, even Narmada has one, where she falls in love with her office mate but who was around eighteen years younger to her! Read the story to know whether their office love became a success or a failure.

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I am finding the dress to be quite comforting, yet my designer Lehenga is covered with too much of jumkas that is making me feel an itch under my arms. Huh… I have to bear it anyway since this dress was his choice though!? And in addition to all this, Mom’s hands are adding more necklaces onto my neck to cover my deep cleavage which is barely visible through my blouse. You know Moms, right? But anyhow just for a few hours right, can’t I adjust with all these?

***

BTW, Hello! You can call me Narmada. I’m 47 and working as a Deputy Manager in ARV insurance company. I hope you’ll not mind about my personal life much, but I have to say that since it might not make you create a bad impression on me later.

I belong to a lower middle-class family (Not anymore), living in Chennai. I’m both my parent’s sole daughter and the sole divorcee daughter who still is in charge of securing a bad name for myself and my family for staying single for around twenty years. You guessed it right. I had a terrible married life which had been arranged by my parents. As soon as I turned twenty-five, I was urged by my parents to get married sooner since my grand-dad who was in his death bed had wished to see me as a bride. His wish got fulfilled as I got married with Mohan who was five years older to me.

Even though our marriage wasn’t decided by us, we were having a nice life together. He was a wealthy man since his parents were landlords. So, I was treated like a queen out there since my husband had immense money to buy me whatever I asked for. Which dame would not be happy if she has a well –heeled spouse? No one! Except for me…

Soon my life turned miserable as Mohan’s parents started to expect a grandchild from their son as well as daughter-in-law. Where, I was too ambitious and was damn focused towards fetching an ideal career platform for myself rather than becoming a proud parent. But my husband’s parents didn’t understand my ambitious spirit and started to ill-treat me as I wasn’t obeying them regarding their wish. And I got completely dejected as Mohan too didn’t stand by me then.

Soon, I felt like having no choice other than choosing my freedom rather than being a good daughter-in-law to an unsupportive – dominant family. I asked for a divorce with a valid reason, and soon got it with the help of our lawyer. Indeed, after getting divorced I fulfilled my career dreams. I got a good job in ARV, soon got more promotions and now I am in the seat of a deputy manager of the whole IT department. Even though I had succeeded a lot- bought a house as well as two cars, I felt empty within myself. It was the feeling of the need to get a support – some love and intimacy.

Even though my parents gave all their support and wholehearted love, I was craving for someone else’s heart to be mine. Since I had fulfilled all my career ambitions, my mind got free! I have nothing more to dream of rather than having a beautiful romantic life, a good husband, and cute little kids! But to the sad reality, I was too old to get all of them. Yeah, of course! Mom and dad tried their best to fetch me a good partner – another divorcee indeed but I couldn’t find a match with one among their choices. And that loneliness remained within me for years until that special day came, which turned over my life more beautiful than ever.

It was exactly on the 8th of November 2017, a wonderful Wednesday though, since from then I was to assume charge as the deputy manager of the IT department under the same Chennai branch of our company where I had been working. I was way excited since I had worked really hard for this promotion and was too contented that I would be working again with my same dear most colleagues. I didn’t feel much of grooming myself up for on a special day, just draped a simple silk saree and had tied my hair into a bun. The same kumkum bindi was placed on my temple before I got into my car for helping myself reach my workplace.

***

A fifteen-year-old mindset jumped within me as I was given a wonderful welcome. I tried to hide my glee when my team mates congratulated me on my promotion. Finally, the time had come to enter into my cabin. I had seen it though, when my predecessor was occupying that position earlier. It was a complete air-conditioned cabin with a translucent glass door. And he had been given a personal computer along with a printer.

Racks of books were piled up in his bookshelf which he had never touched in his whole tenure (at least according to my knowledge). And that one thing for which I had dreamt all the time was- the name board! He had a wooden name board having metallic imprints displaying his name as well as his designation. I had wanted to have my name on it whenever I saw it. And finally I was about to get one for myself!

After meeting my present team-mates, the peon led me to my cabin – MY CABIN. Adding on more to my bliss, the cabin looked a little bit renovated. I could see a new model air conditioner being fixed up for me as well as the system got updated and I’ve even been offered with a bottle of packaged mineral water. “Thank you…” I said as the peon moved out. I felt like a queen as I swiveled in my chair, caressing my name board.

Narmada Nandhagopalan

Deputy Manager, ARV

Seriously, guys, the feeling was inexplicable! There are no words to explain how a person could react if he achieves his longtime dream of getting a better position either in his life or career. And I’m sure that you’ll get my feelings once if you face such moments in your own life.

Soon I had to pack up my emotions as I realized that I had tons of work to proceed with. I had to delegate some work to my subordinates as well. So, I took my mobile to check my subordinate’s name *list as well as their quality. As I fingered through the list, I came up with an unfamiliar name- Adharsh (27 years), which I hadn’t got introduced in the initial meeting.

“Why didn’t he attend the meeting? These people are becoming too lazy nowadays!” I soon calmed down as I could read all the positive qualities which he possessed below his profile – Prompt at the provision of support to other departments, welcoming communication and he was good at deadline working.

Soon, I took the receiver and made a call to the peon. “Yes, madam?” he asked.

“Could you please bring Mr. Adharsh to my cabin?”

I hung the phone as he agreed. Within minutes, I could barely see an image of a person walking closer to my cabin. Soon I could see a white sleeved arm pushing the door to get inside. “May I come in, ma’m?”

My eyes widened as I saw him. He was too young to be almost like my son (Sigh, if I had had one)! He had a funky hairstyle with the strands of his hair in the front all colored red.

His odd appearance irritated me even more. Who the hell comes to a corporate-like a funky bartender? As I was about to yell at him—

“Happy to see a woman in this place, ma’m…” He shared a bright smile which I had ignored even though it was a little bit impressive.

“Are you a fresher?” I tried to sound polite as his wavy red hair enraged me again. “I didn’t see you in the meeting by morning.”

He widened the gap of the door as he started responding me–

“Actually, I belong to Coimbatore branch and had just joined in my post a few moments ago to this concern. Since I had to do the joining formalities, I had been unlucky to miss your morning motivation speech this morning…” I could still find his lips being widened a little.

That indeed was impressive! I have faced more rigid young adults in my career – who were all dressed perfectly, been perfect, and even worked perfectly. But that was the first-ever time I was dealing with a guy who indeed was looking rigid, but was wholly PERFECT.

“Please come inside…” I said in a soft voice. “How do you know that I am a good speaker?” I asked out of curiosity.

“Heard from my colleague, ma’m.” He sounded damn cheerful and way smart that I couldn’t help myself from getting jovial with him as he spoke more.

I offered him a seat as I explained the work to be get done by him. Soon as our discussion got over, he stood up from his chair “Thank you, ma’m. I will report to you within an hour.” He said as he was about to leave my cabin. All of a sudden, I could realize the same strange feeling of emptiness within myself as I saw him walking away from my cabin.

It felt unusual. I wasn’t behaving myself. My heart wanted to stop him – he wanted to spend more time with him. But my consciousness stopped me from doing that. How can I even do that!? It won’t be ethical either in the eyes of the society or the company!! I was staring at him as he walked which I shouldn’t do with him who was around 18 years younger to me!

As time passed I got involved in my work by consoling myself that such weird feelings are quite natural for a woman who had been single and craving for love for years! But my self-convince didn’t last long as he was again on his way to impress me. Within an hour I saw his arm again pushing the door open “Finished it, ma’m. Please check my reports.” He said as he entered inside with my permission. I could find all his reports were good to go. “Thank you, ma’m.” He blushed as I praised him for his work.

Soon, as he was about to move out, I got a similar feeling which pushed me to stop him. And by then my conscience didn’t support me,

“Adharsh?” I called his name which made him give an instant turn towards me “Yes, ma’m?”

His response made me get a little jerk. I remained silent, staring at him with my eyes being widened. “Anything else to be done, ma’m?” I could hear him, but barely could respond. I could see his eyes getting narrowed towards me. All of a sudden, I couldn’t get what I was talking, but just did what my heart wanted to do-

“Will you mind having your lunch with me?”

I bit my tongue as soon as his eyes widened at me. “Just… to…” I blabbered to fix up my messy proposal. I could see his eyes getting relaxed as he interrupted me “I would love to, ma’m!” He responded as he smiled at me. I took a deep breath realizing that he wanted to become friendly with me either, as I approached for it.

As days passed, our lunch partnership became frequent. Soon it led to thickening the bond between us by paving a way for weekend meetings too. I got to know more about him, his parents, his crushes as well as his ambition and he got to know quite more about me. Since he was way too younger he had thrills for weird things and he made me explore them too. I soon started acquiring a cool attitude as I started to go to parties and beach rides, instead of going to restaurants and yoga hubs. I started to wear jeans pants and of shoulder Kurtis rather than a silk or cotton usual drape. The changes were unsuitable for me initially though, soon I got addicted to it rather than getting used to.

You know me, I’m not a person who gives up my taste easily for new stuffs. I too had shown him how a mid-forty’s recreation would be. Weekend visits to the temple, singing bhajan and having masala Dosa from Iyer Mess soon had become his choice too. In fact he loves to pick me up to the Siddhi Vinayakar temple every Sunday morning.

But to be honest, he had completely changed me more – like a teenager! I felt like I had just begun my life starting from the beginning. It was like re-living my olden days with the same anticipation of finding a sort of thrill in everything which I explored into. Soon our mere hangouts became a habit and each other’s company had slowly turned into an addiction.

By then, we both could feel it – the feeling of the rush of our hormones within us. Soon, we started to convert our planned meets as planned dates as we started feeling like we had a spark between each other. Life was magical for a couple of days, until Adharsh was expected to get married by his family.

***

One day we were sitting in one of my favorite restaurants for having lunch together as usual. “They aren’t as I had imagined, Mam. What shall I do?” Adharsh sighed as he stuffed a spoon full of curd rice into his mouth. “Aren’t understanding me… how can I leave my family alone… It won’t be right…” he spoke between chomping his food.

I let out a soft giggle. “Relax… just try to make them understand your situation. Explain it clearly, naa!” I said. Soon, he rolled his eyes “What to explain even more, ma’m? All those girls want to lead a nuclear life after marriage. Where, I am in a situation where I can’t leave my parents alone… You know my things, right?” He asked for which I nodded in silence.

Adharsh’s mom is a physically challenged person and his dad is too old to take care of his wife. In addition to that, their family isn’t that much economically well-to-do that can help them appoint a caretaker for his mom. So, the whole family was dependent on Adharsh’s assistance. And if he leaves the house for leading a nuclear life after his marriage, their parents would suffer due to lack of care, and Adharsh doesn’t want to make such a situation happen to his parents.

He too wants to get married and start a new life but with a woman who understands him as well as his family situation. Unfortunately he was struggling to find a girl of that type. Since every girl he met wanted to focus on their own needs and satisfaction rather than helping that poor old woman with her basic needs and moral support.

“Why can’t they take them as their own parents? What’s wrong in giving their support to them?” he almost yelled in frustration.  I caressed his hand, to comfort him a little.

“I think they don’t know the worth of being in a joint family. A guy only has one Mom and one dad, where a girl gets another mother and father in the form of her husband’s parentswho fixes up her messy decisions she takes in her life, takes care of her health as her parents did, listens to her grief and supports her and at some points, she even starts loving her daughter-in-law more than her own son. Even though my parents-in-law had messed up a lot with me, I’m still longing for the care and support they had given me during my initial stay at their home. I do miss them…”

He took a deep breath as I finished. “Ma’m…”  I could see Adharsh eyes getting moisturized a little bit more than usual. I wiggled my brows as I stuffed in some food into my mouth. Where, he remained staring at me without continuing either with his speech or his lunch.

All of a sudden-

“From now on, I don’t think like depending on my parents to fetch an ideal partner for myself. Since I had just found the best one for me…I was looking for a woman like you all these days, ma’m…”

My eyes widened as I tilted my head towards him. His eyes were all wet, by then. “I know you have a bad past and I don’t want to have a bad future. So, please marry me…”

I felt numb – just couldn’t react anything out even though my heart pumped fast to accept his proposal. But, you know about my stupid conscious mind, right… Errrhhh!!!

“Wh… What are you asking for, Adharsh? Are you out of your mind?–”

“Not at all… I guess I’m going on the right track.” He gave an instant reply.  “Guess what, I know you love me and you always love to hang out with me. You care for my family. You always give us support. Even you were the one who paid most of my father’s medical bills. Now why are you hesitant to make him your father-in-law?”

I could see him taking deep breaths as I spoke “Don’t be silly! I’m forty-five where you are just about to turn twenty eight!–”

“Just ignore that!” he stared into my eyes deeply, as he continued“You are single and so I am. You always wanted a supporter, where I want a care-taker which we both could find within each other. Then what else a person needs to make his/her life beautiful if he/she gets a partner of her choice – who can completely understand him/her and his/her situations?” He whispered.

He slowly reached his hand to wipe off my tears- flowing down from my cheeks.”I wish I become twenty or twenty-five right now…”  Soon, the gentle caress of my fingers between his turned into a love-filled tight-grip. I saw his lips, widening a little bit—

“I wish you remain in your forties forever, mam” he let out a soft giggle as I gave him a friendly hit on his arm “Seriously, look at you! You’re damn gorgeous…” he said.

Soon, our fingers grip turned into a tight hug.

***

And yeah, it wasn’t that easy to convince both of our parents. Mom started calling him her grandson as soon as she met him for the first time! Things weren’t good as I had imagined. Guess what, would any granny allow his young grandson to marry a forthcoming senior citizen like me?

On the other hand, Adharsh’s parents became furious upon me as soon as they get to know that his love wasa woman in her forties and whom his son wanted to marry. They found our love to be stupid since we had a huge age gap. And that too being a woman, I shouldn’t be elder than my groom, where according to me I was almost aged as his mom of my groom (LOL). Yet, I somehow tried to convince them by proving that I was the one who could fit right into their family. Never even think that was quite easy… I had been even verbally cursed by his parents during that convincing process…

Anyhow… the marriage is fixed by now.

How am I looking? (Looking myself into the mirror). Adharsh loves this hair bun, you know (I giggle). Now all set to go!

Except this one…. “Maa! Can you get me a pen?” Mom always forgets to do all these tinkering works, you know… (Soon I receive the pen)

Happy married life,

My dear Adharsh and Ananya…

                                 Best wishes from your beloved Narmada madam           

(Tossing the pen away as soon after filling up the label of my present)

This contains a cheque of Rs 80,000… I could never become a useful part of Adharsh’s life, at least my present should play that part, I guess…

Subhashini Venkataramanan

Subhashini Venkataramanan was born in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. The twenty-year-old young adult is a student and a writing aspirant who had just started with her writing journey. The involvement of new concepts and motivation following the modern lifestyle is the main motive behind Subhashini's writings.

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