Priya entered the bungalow and headed straight to the main door. The door was still closed and despite an intimation, there was nobody to receive her. It was little unsolicited for her. She expected someone, probably Nayana herself, as she had already introduced herself to be Vijay’s friend. But there was no sign of acknowledgement. She halted at the closed door.
Probably Nayana must be busy in some work. For that reason, she is taking time to come. Priya presumed.
She had waited for a long time, but nobody came out. So Priya had to press the bell and wait for the door to open. Meanwhile she took a glance at the verandah wherein she was standing. Here also she could find expensive furniture and fixtures…evidently matching with a manager’s status and life style. After a while, she could hear someone opening the door. A beautiful lady was standing in the door. It must be Nayana. Her beauty was charming enough to fascinate someone. Priya felt little jealous. Though she was also good looking, but Nayana’s beauty was even more adorned by her life style and standard. On the other hand Priya was so busy that she was not able to pamper herself.
“Hi…This is Priya….Vijay’s friend.” Priya introduced herself. “And I guess you are Nayana… right?” she continued.
“Yes… I am Nayana.” Nayana confirmed. “Please come in.” There was a subtle humbleness in her voice.
Everything inside was demonstrating the high class status of Nayana. There was a middle aged person reading newspaper in the drawing room. He must be Nayana’s father.
Nayana gestured her to sit. Priya was feeling awkward in front of that person. Nayana guessed that and whispered, “He is my father.”
Priya could easily observe a discomfort on Nayana’s face due to her father’s presence. Her father probably guessed that, bunched up the newspaper and went in. Priya was sitting on the sofa and Nayana was sitting next to her.
Priya was little hesitant to start. At last she broke the silence and asked, “How are you Nayana?”
Nayana also answered with a smile, “I am fine, thanks.”
Priya continued, “I am coming from Vijay’s house.”
Nayana was just listening to her.
Priya expected that Nayana will take the conversation further by asking about Vijay and show her concern. But she was wrong. Nayana was very cool as if nothing had happened. Priya was confused whether it’s the same Nayana she wanted to meet and whom Vijay loved so much. She also doubted whether she is at the right place. Nothing was going as Priya expected.
Priya was very restless, but she suppressed her emotions. She knew that they are high class people. And loud emotions do not suit them. Yes, it should be the case. Priya was quite uncomfortable with Nayana, but she started the topic straightaway.
“Can I ask you something?” asked Priya.
“Yes please.” Nayana replied calmly.
“I will be very honest and straight forward… do you love Vijay?” Priya hit the bull’s eye.
Nayana waited for a moment. She made herself comfortable and answered to Priya’s question in very subtle manner. She said, “Look Priya, Vijay is very nice and talented guy…We used to work on same project…I always saw him as a good friend of mine. But I think he misunderstood.”
Priya was shocked. As if it was Vijay’s reaction. She could not understand what to say next. But she wanted to leave no doubt hence she continued, “It means, you don’t love him?”. Priya was firm in her voice.
“Frankly, I do not love him…On the contrary…I do not believe in love”. Nayana was frank enough.
Priya was more and more confused. Priya came here to sort any misunderstandings. But the truth was something else. Still Priya wanted to give it a try.
“But Vijay says that you love him….means…he heard you telling this to your friends. And your father also knows about it. He had approved of this.” Priya defended Vijay.
Nayana looked in void and she said firmly, “He is lying.”
“Vijay can’t lie.” Priya immediately responded. “It is not true. He never lies… not even in dreams….how can he lie on such a serious issue?”
Priya found no meaning in further probing Nayana as she was sure that something is wrong somewhere. She was absolutely sure that Vijay won’t lie. On the contrary Nayana looked little boggled as if she is under pressure of her father. Probably because of this, she must be lying. But Nayana’s father also was ready for this marriage. Then what made her disapprove of the fact which Vijay told. Priya was tired of thinking.
“But why is Vijay lying?” Priya again probed Nayana.
“How do I know this?” Nayana was very casual. Now Priya was irritated of this casual attitude. She wanted to grill her with tons of questions. She wanted to ask why Nayana played with Vijay’s emotions. If she never had any feeling for Vijay, why did she provoke him? Why didn’t she stop Vijay when she got first hint of it? Or she wanted to see Vijay hurt and broken.
Priya controlled herself and as there was nothing more to talk, she concluded, “Ok then, I should make a move.”
Nayana also escorted her to the door. Still Priya had a streak of hope. She stopped for a while and said, “Look Nayana… Vijay is very nice fellow and….. you yourself have admitted that. Then why do you want to spoil the relationship? Vijay is a perfect match for you and you will loose him.”
She waited for Nayana’s response on that, but all in vain. She continued, “Don’t you think you are at fault?”
Nayana opted to be silent with a straight face.
Original Novel by – Sunil Doiphode
English Version by – Mugdha Apte