[READ THE PREVIOUS PART OF THE STORY HERE]
A million thoughts whizzed passed his mind, as Cyrus got down from the train at Kochi. He knew that Jennifer was a decade older than him, and she followed a different religion, both major hurdles if he was going to think of any long term relationship with her. He was aware that the society would never understand their relationship, his own family would raise a storm if they ever found out he was thinking of a Christian lady who was a decade older than him. But, his worries, his concerns, everything just disappeared when he heard her voice. He had fallen irrevocably in love with her, and all he could do was hope that she felt for him the same way.
Jennifer had said she would pick him up from the station, but there was no sign of her. A beep on his cell phone told him he had received a message. Pulling it out from his trouser pocket, he saw that it was Jennifer, she would be a bit late as she was struck in the traffic.
Cyrus sat down on the bench nearby and his thoughts, just like they always did, went towards Jennifer. This time he found himself reminiscing about how they came so close. How the occasional messages on his blog, had lead to adding each other on social networking sites.
How the likes and the comments lead to chatting..and how chatting lead to sharing of numbers and before he knew he and Jennifer had started being constantly in touch.
Suddenly someone came up from behind and closed his eyes.
“Guess Who?”, her playful voice sounded even more melodious in person. She smelled of fresh lilacs.
“Since I have a few girlfriends here, it’s hard to guess exactly who it is, na?” Cyrus said copying her playful style.
“How Smart!”she said, giving him a slight slap. Cyrus got up to face her, and she was every bit as he had expected. Her dusky complexion was glowing with happiness. As she adjusted a fringe of her hair, he noticed the tattoo on her right arm, and just like everything else about her, it too looked better in person.
“So, what are the plans now?” he asked as she drove them to her home.
“I have booked us a table at my favourite restaurant for dinner, then I supposed you would be tired with the travelling so did not make any other plans.”
“Sounds Good!” said Cyrus, smiling to himself. He loved the fact that Jennifer was so considerate of others. When he saw her photographs for the first time, it was quite evident that she was a smart, independent person, and he too had made the mistake of stereotyping her to be inconsiderate and heard hearted, the person who cared only about her independence and nothing else. But, as he got to know her, his opinion on her changed. He realised that just because some girl is strong, independent and career minded, did not mean she was not compassionate and caring.
Jennifer had booked a restaurant that had an amazing view of the Arabian Sea. Cyrus noted with glee that she had booked a candle light dinner for them. On their way, he could not help but be awestruck by the majestic beauty of Kochi. It was drizzling slightly, everything was so green and fresh. “Perfect for a romantic getaway” Cyrus thought eyeing Jennifer at his side. There was always mild flirting going on between the two of them, and the way Jennifer acted with him, he was quite sure that she too had feeling for him.
At dinner, he told her all about the International Symposium he had attended in Mumbai. The business class flight, the majestic Hotel, his suite with Jacuzzi, the conference and the people he had met. She was quite animated in her responses, prodding him to give her more details about it. As he started talking about his meeting with Aryan Ahuja, and his discovery about his knowing Shekhar, he saw Jennifer flinch.
“What happened? Something wrong?” he asked.
“Nothing, forget it.” she said, but her voice was no longer carefree.
“Arre, just tell me what happened, I know there is something, please”
“ It’s just that this Shekhar that you are talking about, I used to know him once.” She said, there was a strange look in her eyes. A look of longing and sadness.
“Seriously? God! How come you never told me? I am a huge fan of him!” In his excitement, Cyrus missed Jennifer’s look.
“I guess, it never came up in our conversation.”
“Can we meet him? Can you please arrange a meeting with him? His work has inspired me so much, it is one of my dreams to meet him.”
Jennifer smiled as she saw his excitement. It was this excitement, this happiness in his eyes that made her say “Well, I have lost touch with him, but let me see if I can contact him. If he says yes, we could go meet him.”
She was not sure if meeting Shekhar after so long was a good idea or not, but right now she knew that it would make Cyrus happy, and Cyrus’s happiness meant a lot to her.