19 September, 1988.
It was raining heavily on the day that I saw her for the first time. Kerala monsoons are beautiful! Especially after having spent most of my childhood in a city like Jaipur, the monsoons in my native state of Kerala never cease to amaze me.
I had to take the ferry to reach Achan's friend's house in Fort Cochin. Finally, Achan did me a favor by asking his friend, Mr Nagarajan, to recommend me to a position in the reputed oil and gas company that he works for. It's frustrating to see how difficult it is to land a job after having completed my BSc with a first class! Anyway, things are about to change now. Good things are coming my way. I just have to somehow stand on my own feet and get away from my parents. I'm sure they wouldn't care as long as I send them a portion of my salary every month. By next year, this time, I would have saved enough to rent a place of my own. 1989 is going to be a good year.
It was at Mr. Nagarajan's residence that I saw Latha for the first time. I knew immediately that she wasn't Nagarajan's daughter because she clearly didn't belong in a house like that. That girl belongs in a palace. She's the most attractive woman I have ever seen. Well, at least by Kerala's standards, she definitely stands out. Her poise, her grace, her height, her fair skin, her fashionable clothes, everything. The way she walked out of that house, smiling and giggling with her friend (Mr Nagarajan's daughter), holding her head high, and not even so much as glancing in my direction, made me fall in love with her. Or maybe it was the idea of her. Then and there, I decided that I would marry her. If not her, then someone exactly like her. It would be a privilege to be able to walk around with a woman like that! I really can't explain why exactly I feel that way. But something tells me that she would complete my life.
"I don't know if it's luck or fate or God that turned things in my favor but I couldn't be happier with the proceedings."
Two weeks later, Achan received a phone call from Nagarajan. He had a wedding proposal for me. The girl was a friend of his daughter's and I had already seen her at his place. I couldn't believe it when Achan asked me what I thought of her. He seemed genuinely happy at the prospect of me getting married. It could probably be because he trusts Nagarajan who claims that this is a perfect match. Considering how he knows both families, he is convinced that neither party would be disappointed by the other. I don't know if it's luck or fate or God that turned things in my favor but I couldn't be happier with the proceedings. One thing led to another and both families met, liked each other, and decided to proceed with an engagement. Latha is very shy and reserved around me and my family. Her widowed mother is sweet and simple. It is her older brother who takes care of the family and he arranged a meeting at their residence. I felt that we should invite them over to our house as well since they're paying for the engagement. But, I didn't know how to approach Achan with the idea. As it is, he complains about every single expenditure in the house. And I'm still unemployed. My interview is scheduled for next week. It's only a formality, the interview. I already have the position, thanks to Mr Nagarajan. But I don't start work until next month and the engagement is in 2 weeks. I can't possibly find the funds to host them. Moreover, this is Achan's house. It would hurt his pride if I were to invite people over without consulting with him.
But that's okay. I'll wait till after the engagement. And with my first salary, I intend to buy my fiance and her family some gifts. I could also probably take them out for dinner. And all would be well. Never in my life will I turn stingy like my father. That man hasn't lived his life. He has merely existed. I don't see the point in living like that. It's not that he's poor or completely out of money . He's just stingy by nature. That's all. I look at my future with Latha and see happiness, wealth and comfort. I will work towards that goal and achieve it for myself. This is my promise to myself and to my love.
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