Reality has a way of playing games with our dreams. Its nothing new, its been happening for ages now and it keeps going. Tara knew this, yet the hope that someday she would be married to Hari had held so true that she never doubted it. Knowing someone whos been there from the beginning of your memories kind of has that effect on people. We all tend to ignore the idea that people meet to part. Some people come in unnoticed, add meaning, often change you in ways you cant and then fade away. Hari wasnt fading away. Tara never expected him to. “Until Death Do Us Apart” – all those times she had heard it in the movies, she had pictured Hari being the man holding her hands. Not that she would be having a christian wedding, but the sentiment of it remained.
And now fate had thrown a curveball. Hari had somehow, out of half a billion women in the world chosen the one girl Tara hated. Why ? Well, the answer would be life. Sometimes there are no reason as to why we dont like somebody. Maya was actually very likeable. But Tara just didnt. From the first moment they had met, Tara and Maya had always been wary of each other. Okay, okay, I wont beat around the bush. Tara didnt like Maya because she thought they were similar. Not just similar, if they werent born to different mothers they might have been twins. They were both exactly the same height, they both had the same bone structure (the shape that turned heads in traffic) and they both excelled at one thing. That one thing that Tara loved – Basketball. Only problem was Maya was debatable better at it. Call it coaching, more natural ability or plain old luck every time the two had come face to face (and it was a sizeable number) Maya had beaten her. Often by a matter of points but it had happened. And somehow sport had a spillover to real life. The few times they had met off the court, there was a chill that both felt. Both avoided such meetings if possible. Each kept track of the other, knowing where they worked, what there common hangouts were and avoided these places. So yeah just as I said, Tara knew Maya. And when Hari described her, the hair, the eyes, the face – Tara felt that fate had played her a real bad hand. God had a wicked sense of humor and she wasnt finding it funny.
“So.. Do you think I can find her ?”, Hari asked, those brown eyes of his pleading her to say yes, “Do you know her ?”
“Why do you want to see her so bad?”, Tara said, avoiding the question and pleading with her own black eyes, ” Are you sure you even remember her properly? You just saw her once. That too under the influence of alcohol through a cloud of smoke.”
“I… I cant explain it. I havent felt this way before, ever. Its like one look at her and I wanted to take her into my arms and protect her from everything. Not that she looked like a lost puppy. But you know she just.. she was.. she… Oh how do I explain it to you?”
“Try”. One perfect eyebrow went up into an arc that all her male friends found cute but Hari didnt even notice.
“Well, you know how I am always cribbing about how my websites are still missing something. How they could be better? That your idiot brother was making me mad. Well, she was like that. She seemed almost perfect, like the true idea of a woman, at least my true idea of a woman, except that there was nothing I wanted to change in her. I just wanted that moment to freeze, wished that time would freeze, that was the one memory I want to take to my grave.”
“Stop being so melodramatic. You arent dying yet. The moment is gone, you are alive and she probably doesnt even remember you.”, Tara wanted to run away but this man held her in a spell. Him pining for someone else but her was pure agony but she couldnt leave.
Maya remembered him. His face, his hair, that darned half smile.
Chapter 5 : Here
Tara Nambiar is your average urban girl except for the fact that she was a star. A rising star in the world of TV, Tara hosted a popular travel show for one of the hundred channels that are usual fare for the Indian diaspora. The camera loved her, the audience loved her. She was a darling of the masses, an angel in human form. Her career was taking off and bigger names in the industry watched her rise carefully. Protective but liberal parents had given her the freedom to make her choices. There only condition was that in becoming a well known face, she should also maintain the reputation of the family, like her brother had.
Her brother was the first kid on the block to establish his own business. He was famous in the locality as a bright one, the one child that grows in the hearts of all mothers of the neighborhood as their own. We have met him earlier, this boy wonder. Vijay Nambiar. Yes, the yin to the yan that is Hari, our lead. And it was Tara that Hari was helping across the street. Tara had always been a fixture in Hari’s life. Hari and Vijay were used to her being somewhere in the periphery of their existence. Both the men were fiercely protective of her and Tara enjoyed making them tear their hair out.
Tara had innumerable suitors, most of them ended up wishing they never asked her out in the first place. The two men in her life from when she was born set the bar so damn high that no one could match it. Tara worshiped Vijay and Hari, and couldnt (didnt want to) bring in another who couldnt compare to her knights. Also, Tara had had the biggest crush on Hari and still silently was infatuated by him. The few men she did take out were used as objects to draw his attention. Hari was oblivious to the fact that Tara had grown up. He still saw a tiny girl in ponytails dressed for school. For Tara, Hari was the man she saw her brother admire, her mother love and her father speak proudly of. For Tara, Hari was the only man for her.
She had watched silently the various bimbos and intellectuals that had passed through his life, first with hatred, then with jealously and now with pity. She knew they were just passing fancies. They had stopped worrying her. Plus they also opened up a side in Hari she didnt know. Tara was the confidante Hari needed whenever he had girl troubles. Tara had learned what this man liked, what he hated and what he plain didnt care about. Tara had Hari to credit for making her a woman that men fell head over heels for. Through the long coffees and conversations, Tara had transformed slowly into a woman that most men find irresistible. Most men that is excspt for Hari.
Today was no exception. Hari had invited her for coffee and had poured his heart out. Where Vijay was clueless, Tara had always had answers. Tara would know how to find this girl. Tara would know where to look for her.
Tara didnt want to. Tara had met Hari and had seen in him something she never expected. She saw that this time Hari was gone for good. Her Hari, the one true love of her life, was not hers anymore.
Tara’s problem was she didnt have to find her. Tara knew Maya.
Chapter 3: Here
Chapter 2: Here