They were quite for a min…She stared at their ice cold coffee…Too many thoughts running in her head.
“Anandi say something” He pleaded.
“I don’t know what to say Shiv lot of things have happened since then. Glad you gave me the explanations”.
“I should have told you then but I ran away like a coward. I thought it would be easier for you to forget me that way. You would hate me and move on. But…”
“It’s Ok Shiv my marriage with Jagadish was doomed from the start. We were just not made for each other. I think it was our destiny. Just like it was destiny which separated us”.
“But Destiny has brought us face to face again isn’t it Anandi?”
“Perhaps to give us a proper closure Shiv”.
He looked intently at her. She had forgiven him but he would have to earn back her trust. Like a wounded tigress she was not going to forget so easily.
She looked at the watch it was 9:30.
“I should go now it’s late”.
He said “Ok I will drop you home. Its dinner time now would you like to stay for dinner?”
“It’s ok Shiv don’t trouble yourself. I can go by taxi”.
“Seems like I will have to eat out alone again. Ok as you wish” He said with a wry smile.
Anandi hesitated for a minute then said “Ok I will have dinner with you”
His face beamed into a wide smile “Good I know a very good place for that”.He took her to a nice cozy restaurant. Not too posh just a simple diner. She was surprised how easily they conversed about nothing in particular.
He seemed happy and relaxed after months.
“So when did you come to Bangalore?” He asked.
“Last year after the divorce”
“And you are staying here alone?”
“Yes coming here was actually an escape from the mess which I had created. Our parents were not very happy. In India when you decide to separate every known person and his brother in law, his maid, driver, everyone have an opinion about it, and they are not shy about giving free advice. I wanted to escape all that”.
He smiled “I can imagine the trouble it must have been”.
“Are you happy Anandi?”
“I guess I don’t have a choice. I am happy to be away from the old memories and mistakes which I did”.
“And you never felt the need to have u know another relationship?”
“After two broken relationships I am vary of anything of that sort. I guess I am not made to have any lasting relationship”.
She said in an almost accusatory tone. He fidgeted uncomfortably.
He had to be slow.
“Why didn’t you get married Shiv?”
“It just didn’t feel right”.
“What does u mean?”
“I didn’t want to make any further mistake of marrying the wrong person then regretting it later”.
Anandi looked uncomfortable. It was her turn to fidget in her seat.
“Shiv I married Jagadish for my parents happiness but life can’t run on a compromises. Eventually it gets on to you. I failed to carry it”.
He held her hands gently “I understand Anandi. I’m not accusing you. You didn’t what you felt right in the situation.”
After dinner he dropped her home.
She said “Thanks Shiv I really enjoyed the dinner”.
“My pleasure when can I see you again Anandi”
“Why do you want to see me again?”
“Just like that. I like being with you”
“Shiv what are you trying to do?”
“Nothing Anandi. I know its over but at least we can still be friends? All I am asking for is to be my friend.”
She looked uncertain.
“Please Anandi” He offered her his hand.
She smiled and shook it
At once he grinned like a school boy. She didn’t see his high 5 in air when she left his car. He had a smug smile on his face.
He was on the first step of reaching his goal. All he had to do was take it slow provided he managed to keep his hands off her and not scare her away.
Anandi’s mind was in turmoil. Why was she doing this? Why was she allowing herself to be manipulated again? She couldn’t lie to herself the fact was she wanted to be with him regardless of the duration. After a long time she was feeling whole and alive.
Anandi was busy tapping away on her keyboard when her manager came in accompanied by Shiv. She looked at them surprised.
Her manager said “Mr. Shekhar wants some information about our project. Since you are handling it I thought you would be the best person to explain.
Keeping a professional demeanor she said “Sure”
Shiv just looked at her with his half smile.
“What are you trying to do shiv?” She thought.
“Sir we are a team of 10 people developing Firewalls for the networks…”
She explained her project and he listened intently looking mesmerized. He asked a few questions. Anandi managed to explain everything flawlessly thought her heart was drumming. At one point he leaned in closer to look at the screen their hands went simultaneously on the mouse then touched and she froze.
Stopping mid-sentence she looked at him. He was looking back at her and they had an eye lock.
Few people had turned to look curiously at them.
For a minute they forgot about the surrounding. Then he immediately jerked back and stood up “Thanks Anandi”
“My pleasure Shiv I mean Sir” she responded.
“I think I got enough info for now. That will be all” He left
Anandi was left breathless “God I can’t work like this” she thought.
She saw his message
Shivraj : “Good presentation Anandi”
She replied “don’t do that again”
Shivraj: “what did I do?”
Anandi : “You very well know what you did…Don’t startle me like this I can’t concentrate”
He pinged back “Neither can I Anandi “
During coffee break Priya and Anandi were in the bay area talking.
Priya asked “If you don’t mind may I ask you something?”
“You and Shivraj Sir…I mean do you know each other from before?”
Anandi hesitated “He is an old friend from Pune”.
“Wow !!! You have billionaire friends !! And what about now ?? You are still friends ? You knew he was going to buy the company ?”
“Priya there’s nothing like that. We met by chance after years that’s all “
“You know few people saw you and him…u know going out”.
“We are just friends Priya people shld mind their own business”.
“I know Anandi I’m sorry I didn’t mean to be nosy but it’s difficult to ignore wen one can clearly see the sparks fly” and grinned.
Anandi looked stunned “No Priya there are no sparks or livewire for that matter”.
But in her heart she knew she was lying. She had been out with Shiv occasionally since that dinner.
Each time it was getting more and more difficult to resist the attraction
each time she resolved never to meet him only to be broken next time.
She was falling for him would have been a wrong statement. She was never over him.
Shiv never pressurized her or tried to flirt with her. He used to be his normal calm self. That was driving her even crazier. How could he remain so calm and composed whereas her heart was bursting to be in his arms again. To wake up each morning near him.She brushed aside the thought.
“Do you know people are gossiping about us” She said to him during dinner.
He replied ” Let them”
“But it’s not correct”.
“Since when did u start caring about what people thought. We know what the truth so ignore them is”.
“It will affect your reputation Shiv”.
“I don’t care… But would hate it if someone says something to you”
” No I don’t care either but please don’t pull such stunts in office”
“What did I do? I really came for the info”
“you could have asked anyone else. My manager could have told you”.
“I did but he took me to you saying you are the best person for that”
She said “Ok but please don’t distract me”
He gave an amused smile “hahaha really ? You still didn’t tell me what did I do?”
She said irritated “Uff No use arguing with you”
He laughed “So don’t argue”
“You don’t understand anything”
“Then make me understand Anandi” He said with a naughty smile.
“I don’t want to fight with you its useless”
“Stop fighting yourself Anandi” He said
She remained quite.
If only she could understand her inner turmoil. How difficult it was for her. Her mind screamed to run away but her heart revolted.
“All I care for is you shiv but can’t bring myself to trust you again” She said to herself.
To be continued…