“How long has it been?” Maya asked, pushing another mouthful. “How long since what?” Yuva asked. It was an amazing contrast, and a weird one at that. Maya, being the woman, was galloping down her food merciless while Yuva wasn’t doing any justice to the food’s existence as he scribbled at every grain of rice and hardly ate any of them. “Your love story…I can’t believe you hid it from me,” she said.
“No, we are not together,” he said.
Maya blinked and stop eating.
“Wait…what have we got here?”
Yuva looked down on his plate and sighed. Maya drank a little water, and choked halfway seeing his reactions.
“What?” he asked.
“One-sided love? Oh my…what has happened to you? What’s up American boy? What’s with suddenly being filmi?” she asked.
“Please, it’s not one sided, don’t underestimate me,” he said.
“Oh, then, what are you waiting for?” she asked. Now Yuva looked at her, and carved a smile on his face, a very wide, cheesy one.
“Here?” Maya asked, looking at the studio from outside. Yuva nodded. They walked slowly inside. “I’ve got nothing to do with this place,” she said as they were walking.
“Neither did I.”
“What made you come here in the first place then? You knew you were going to fall in love the only time you would ever venture to cover an entertainment news?” she asked.
“Please don’t tell me you believe in destiny now?” she continued before he could react.
Yuva chose against his urges to react to her mockery. He had mocked her one too many times to make a fuss about this. He pushed open the door to the almost-empty studio, and there, at one corner, practicing dance with her colleagues, was Priyanka.
“I suppose this isn’t an official meet?” Maya asked Yuva. Yuva still chose to remain silent. He even chose to remain silent by not interrupting Priyanka from her dance. Both of them looked at her from a distance until she noticed their presence and froze in her tracks.
“Hi,” she said, sweeping her sweat using a considerable large towel as she approached them. Maya smiled. “Not bad macha,” Maya said.
“Remember I told you that I have someone that has to say okay after meeting you first before we can go ahead?” he asked to Priyanka, while putting extending his arms across Maya’s shoulders.
“She?” Priyanka asked.
“You didn’t tell her?” Maya asked.
“I think I’ll leave you guys to it,” Yuva said, and started walking away. Both of them tried calling him to come back, but decided against it as they started to open their mouths, before looking at each other and releasing an awkward smile.
“You want to go first or…?” Maya asked, realizing there is something they need to clarify each other with before they can continue with their casual conversation, which has been going surprisingly good for the past half-an-hour.
“Do the honors,” Priyanka said. “He hadn’t told me much, except that he is from the US, and wanted to be a cop and ended up a journalist,” she continued.
“Well…we are not actually Americans. Both of us are Indians. We were born in India,”
Priyanka started reacting with interest.
“We were adopted by the American government because of an arrangement they had between these two countries back then. We were guinea pigs basically. They wanted to train us in the US, breed us as cops, and send us to back to India at a certain age, with a set of skills that can be better than local Indian cops. So basically we were at our foster home all these years, and now we have come back to home. Only that it hasn’t quite felt like home yet,” Maya explained.
“And he didn’t end up being a journalist. He resigned. He was pretty good at what he did, but there was plenty of attention on us, in a negative way, especially when your colleagues are jealous of your special position, it isn’t easy. He cracked, and he resigned. I’m still here, weathered the storm, and am the police chief now,” she added.
“Well, that basically means the program did work then. I mean, you guys came out good,” Priyanka said.
“Not necessarily. He was there for barely months. It’s a failed program anyway, they have decided against continuing it after I wrote an official latter making it public,” Maya now looked intently at Priyanka. The tables have turned for the storyteller role.
“Well, I can’t believe he is asking me to meet you and approve you before he wants to start a relationship with you,” Maya said with a grin.
Deep inside, she is flattered by how important Yuva had considered her to be in his life that would to put a relationship on hold so that she could give her stamp of approval.
“Did he say its about making me his girlfriend?” Priyanka asked curiously.
“Yeah, about being together,”
“I thought it was supposed to be for marriage,” Priyanka said.
Maya looked stunned.
“I would have killed him if he had said wait, someone needs to approve before we got into a relationship. I mean, he was literally chasing and wooing me all over. I thought I can never trust someone of American lifestyle that easily so I wanted him to commit further. And, here we are, for that reason, I guess,”
“That son of a…,” Maya started.
“Please, no bad words,” Priyanka retorded.
“Oh my, he found himself a damsel,” Maya exclaimed.
Priyanka mustered a smile.
“Oh my god, you two are going to be so mushy,” Maya added.
To be continued..