“He’s Not My Choice”
“I don’t want to get married!”
Lalitha slammed the kitchen door behind and walked out of the kitchen. She
grabbed her jacket from the sofa and stormed out of the house. Tears bursting, feeling
her heart burning inside over her father who was forcing her into an arranged
marriage. Walking along the road she felt the hot sun on her face, then, she spotted a
bench under a shady tree nearby. Wanting to calm herself, she went and sat there, to
decide on what to do next.
“I am here to make a decision. A decision, which will change my entire life.”
There was an invisible weight upon her shoulders. In her head, her father kept on
“A woman must wed and it's past time you made a choice.”
“But he is not my choice!” she burst in frustration.
Her resistance puzzled her father. “What else is there for a woman but
marriage? He has wealth and good looks.”
“I don't love him.” she looked deep into his eyes.
“I never hoped for such an offer for you, you know that we are not wealthy. If
you can't think for yourself, you must think for your sisters and brothers. You must
think of what you can do for them. I’ve chosen him for you and he is my choice.
“But, how about me? Am I nothing pa?”
Under the cosy shady tree, Lalitha wept in meek, but to no avail. He wanted
her to do her duty. And she knew even while she pretended to decide upon the cause
of her life, that decision was already made. She must think of her family. They will all
benefit from such a marriage. She knew it was irrational to believe in marriage for
“Marriage is a duty one performs for the good of others, she thought. She
thought deep inside, “I have to leave my home.” Tears filled her eyes again as she
recalled all that her father had said earlier.
With a decision in her mind, she wiped off her tears and walked back home.
The sky seemed dark and it was already drizzling, but it didn't bother Lalitha. Upon
reaching her home, she saw her father sitting at the veranda. He saw her approaching.
No expressions showed on his face. As she reached him, she sat beside him and
remained silent for a moment.
“I think you should start preparing for the marriage, shouldn't you pa?” She
reached over to her father’s hand and gripped it tight; assuring him that she has
changed her mind for the best of everybody.
Within a week’s time, Lalitha was married to Rajesh. The only thing she knew
about her husband was that he’s rich and that she doesn’t love him…
Sunlight shone in soft beams at the balcony. The wind tangled her hair. She
turned her face into it and closed her eyes, forcing back the tears. Leaving her home
had been as painful as leaving her heart. The wind tossed her hair. She shivered. She
was married now, a marriage without love but she had expected something;
friendship, warmth, laughter…
“Here we are,” said Rajesh. Husband and wife huh?” He smiled and glanced at
her. Lalitha smiled in mute.
“Give me some time Rajesh,” she turned and met his eyes hoping he would
understand what she meant. He locked his glance to hers and said firmly, “Take your
own time, meanwhile we can be friends.”
“Thanks Rajesh.” Lalitha nodded her head. “Hymn…not bad,” she thought.
“I’m going to prepare us dinner, would you like to join me? I’m a good
cook.” Rajesh asked trying to make her feel relaxed.
“Yes sure, I’d like too,” she felt more comfortable than she was earlier. Lalitha
began to like Rajesh for she found a friend, some laughter and the warmth she had
expected. She smiled to her self and remembered her father,
“Life is given and happiness is for us to choose, a woman must be wed and
it’s past time you made a choice.”
“Happiness is for me to choose” she whispered to herself. For the first time
she felt moved of her fathers care. Yet, she knew that life is much more meaningful
with the ones she loves.
“This is the kitchen” Rajesh’s voice washed away her thoughts.
“Now let’s see what we have” he opened the refrigerator and took some eggs
and salads. Lalitha looked at him; she was ashamed of her own inadequacy.
“I’m not much use to you, am I Rajesh?” He glanced at her, but this time he
“I don’t expect you to be, Lalitha. I know you are a lady, even if you are my
wife too, I couldn’t ask you to cook me mutton on the first day of our wedded life. It
wouldn’t be right.”
“Ah! He’s cute,” she thought to her self and began to like Rajesh.
“Nevertheless,” she replied, “you must tell me how I can help you.” Rajesh
smiled and said,
“Hymn…you can help me by eating what I cook and pretend it’s oyster and
champagne.” Their eyes met and they broke into laughter. Rajesh touched Lalitha’s
heart and soon after they became very good friends. Lalitha came to like Rajesh in
many ways, particularly his understanding.
After a long chat during dinner, it was time for bed.
“You can sleep in my room. I’ll just check on the doors.” She nod her head
and walked towards the room. She lay down on the bed and pulled the blankets over
herself. Before falling asleep she had a thought of the time she had just spent with
“He’s a nice, sweet too… It’s just you, irrational maniac!” She whispered and
“Arranged marriage isn’t that bad,” she smiled over her silliness. Lalitha was
happy and almost asleep when a stirring near her startled her into wakefulness.
She lifted her head, eyes wide, and saw that Rajesh was stretched out beside
“You can’t sleep here!” she gasped. He turns his head and looked at her in
“You can’t sleep here,” she repeated, wondering how he could be so obtuse.
A flick of impatience lit the dark eyes,
“I’m not sleeping out on the sofa, Lalitha. Do you think I’m seduced or even
interested on your beautiful figure? Excuse me!! I’m sorry if that’s indelicate, but I
don’t know other ways to put it.” He spoke in a practical manner but there was a
mockery in it.
“You are a lady not used to take care of yourself. I can see that. Don’t tell me
you are even unable to think positively! This is my room and you are sharing my bed,
you silly lady!” He was rather cynical.
“And by the way, if you feel so unsafe and uncomfortable here, than maybe
you should go out and make yourself comfortable on the sofa. No harm you know,
Long before he had finished, Lalitha knew she was wrong. She applied normal
rules to a situation that was anything but normal. She felt her face flaming, and hoped
he couldn’t see it. She shook jerkily and laid down. After all his kindness to her, she
should have known better. Who was there to see, anyway? Who was there to care?
“No one,” Lalitha whispered softly. “There’s no one.”
“I told him…I told him you’re not my choice, but he wouldn’t listen.”
“What?!” Rajesh gasped.
“I told appa, I told him you’re not my choice…”
“What am I groundnuts?! Finger licking good peanut butter?!” He was very
angry and reacted rather extreme.
“Look you brainless lady, you better go to sleep or I’ll make sure your father’s
choice is God damn bloody wrong!!” Rajesh pulled the blanket over him self, and
Lalitha’s eyes were filled with tears, but she held it. Not wanting him to know
that she was shaken. She tried not to loose her self. Trying hard to calm her self, she
“Goodnight, the sofa is in the living room,” he murmured in sleep. Shocked,
Lalitha turn looking at him and saw he’s teasing smile. She felt her face burning,
wiped off her tears and again she knew it was a sign to her that he had taken no
She smiled, “goodnight,” she whispered back.
“I want to go home,” she said in a slurred sleepy voice.
“I don’t like it here and I don’t love you, I want a divorce. Can I go home?”
she asked like a small girl.
A dark shape leaned over her; she felt his warm breath on her cheek.
“You can go home, Lalitha. We’ll look for a lawyer, now go to sleep.” Rajesh
said as if he’s going to get chocolates for her. But she was already drowned asleep
before he could finish…
Rajesh was still sleeping when Lalitha got up. She wondered wheather to
shook Rajesh because it was late and it’s pass time for him to leave to the office. But
knowing her well, rather reluctantly she voiced out…
“Hey Rajesh, it’s 8.15 am, aren’t you late to office?”
“It’s Saturday,” he murmured slowly.
“Uh okey, sorry.” She felt stupid,
“I should have kept my mouth shut.” There was silence for a while till the
“I’ll get it,” Lalitha said and answered the call.
“Good morning, is Mr. Rajesh there?”
“Yes. May I know who’s speaking?”
“Anjali??” Lalitha tried to get clearer explanation, wondering who was Anjali?
“Ya, I am Anjali, Raj’s secretary.”
“Uh okey, just hold on.”
“It’s for you “Raj,” Lalitha purposely gave a stress.
“Anjali your secretary.” She handed the phone to Rajesh and to her shock, he
reacted rather strange or perhaps extreme!
“Dammit!” he grabbed the phone from Lalitha and she just stared at him with
her eyes wide open,
“What on earth went wrong with you?” she voiced out as he reached for the
In a second, Rajesh cleared his voice and answered the call.
“Hey Anjali, I’m sorry…sorry… alright, I’ll be there in a while… okey, okey
just 25 minutes. I’ll be in front of your eyes.” He hung up, with a deep sigh and soon
got ready to leave.
Lalitha was confused, but couldn’t be bothered about it. She sat on the couch
“Raj …Rajesh” nice though, she thought to her self. Watching Rajesh as he
was struggling with his shoes at the door.
“Thought it’s Saturday, Raj?” for no reason she asked teasingly, thinking he
“Yeah, I know,” he glanced at her as he ties his shoelace and said, “SO?”
Lalitha felt taken back,
“So, so… nothing.” She said trying to feel it was nothing and soon after that
she felt very uncomfortable and wished her face was calm as ever. But it was not.
Before Rajesh could leave he noticed the change,
“Are you okey?”
“Yeah, I’m good.” But at the back of her mind, she was not. Lalitha smiled
wide looking into his eyes,
“Damn, he has gorgeous eyes!” she murmured softly.
“Good, than I’ll see you in the evening.” Looking at him she just nodded her
head, with her heart hooked to his gaze.
Soon after he Rajesh left, Lalitha sat on the cough and felt nice, special, a
mixture of flirty and fun. Not knowing the reason Lalitha felt happy for the first time
and was somehow impressed with Rajesh. Blushing away thinking about him, she got
up happily and unexpected coincidence, the receiver fell on her feet!
“Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Damn!” Lalitha cried in pain. Than tiptoed to place the
receiver, half way there she thought,
“Anjali, nice name, nice voice, nice looks??” She raised her eyebrows and
wondered. “Sure you must be…”
“I’ll see you, we’ll meet. Soon.”
Lalitha didn’t know why, but she just wanted to know. She felt silly over her
intention, yet it was a bit too early for her to realize the reason. As time passed by,
Lalitha grows to like Rajesh very much, yet her ego paste everything behind and
remained their relationship as good friends.
All the way through Rajesh often receives calls from Anjali and he would rush
out just like the same way he did the previous time. Lalitha disliked him reacting so
and later hated Rajesh as he does the same thing over and over, especially when they
were having their ‘friends day out’. Although she was disturbed, she never uttered a
word. And that was the point she was serious on her mission to know more of who
Nevertheless, Rajesh took good care of her. Lalitha admire Rajesh more and
often she notes his movements and began to adore everything he does except,
attending Anjali’s calls. She tried asking about Anjali but Rajesh never mentioned
more than she was his secretary and that she was an intelligent woman.
Three months later…
Lalitha was at home when her phone rang. It was Rajesh calling from his
“What are you doing Lalitha?” He asked quite in a soft tone.
“I was just about to go shopping.” In her head, wondering the reason he called.
“Uh, I just wanted to know if you’d had lunch, but if you’re going
“No,” she quickly said. “I’m sort of hungry. Would you come and pick me
“Would I what?” She has given him a shock. Lalitha doesn’t join him usually.
“Where, where are you, Lalitha?” He asked.
“At home. Maybe I’ll just…”
“Yeah. Okey. What time?”
“Don’t rush. I’ll be waiting.”
“Okey.” Rajesh said and looked at the rare mirror adjusting his hair and soon
smiled to himself.
“No use, anyway.” He whispered and drove straight to his house.
Lalitha felt it was a good opportunity for her to admit herself. There was
something in his voice that gave her hope for a chance. So Lalitha decided not to miss
“I don’t want to remain Lalitha, hymn... Mrs. Rajesh sounds so good.” She
breathed out a smile and cupped her cheeks in her palm. While waiting on the stairs in
front of the house,
“I’m going to let you know Rajesh; I hope you’ll accept me.” She whispered
and deep inside felt a little nervous along with a spark of love.
“Oh! I can’t wait to tell you,” and felt happy that things are as well as her
father’s thought’s was. At times she realizes that her attitude has coursed trouble to
many around her, specially her father. These feelings now reminded her of her father,
and she whispered to her self,
“It’s not yet past time for me to make a choice pa, because you have made the
right choice for me. And I’m in love with him!” She chuckle and clapped with joy.
“Thanks appa,” Lalitha miss her father, the man behind her every success.
Lalitha prayed to God from the bottom of her heart,
“Oh God give me strength and give him sense, let him know that I have fallen
for him.” No doubt she was married to him but they are yet to live their marriage.
In less than 25 minutes Rajesh was there, Lalitha was already waiting for him
at the door. He stopped his car. Lalitha looked at him and Rajesh at her. She was in
love and it was just about time for Rajesh to see it.
Rajesh couldn’t think of anything appropriate to say.
“Come on,” Rajesh said. “So what do you want to have for lunch?”
“Chinese, how about you?”
“Anything would do, no specification. As long as I get to fill my stomach.”
Sure enough he was hungry and Lalitha just raised her eyebrows and nodded
As Rajesh drove, Lalitha glanced at all chance that she gets, without him
realizing. They reached the restaurant in less than 10 minutes. While waiting for the
waiter, Rajesh started the conversation.
“What did you wanted to get, you said you were about to go shopping weren’t
“Yeah. I thought of buying a shirt… for you.”
Rajesh nodded his head looking around the restaurant and suddenly shifted his
attention ho her.
“For me?” Raj asked again to clarify that he heard her right, he was totally
“Hymn, it’s already three month since we’ve got married, you know?” Lalitha
smiled at him, but Rajesh wasn’t. He was stunned.
“Uh, yeah…yeah I remember, it has been three months,” he started to stutter.
Rajesh wasn’t able to understand,
“What’s wrong with this crazy lady?” He thought and remained silent for a
moment not knowing what would be correct as in to respond.
“I…I have got something for you too, something you…you actually requested
for,” he said in a deliberate tone.
“Uh,” Lalitha curved her lips in to smile and nodded her head. She was
actually trying to recall of what was that she has asked for. Rajesh took an envelope
from his coat and hand it to her. Not knowing for a reason, Lalitha had a very bad
feeling reaching for the envelope, wondering about the content.
“Divorce?” Lalitha looked into his eyes.
“You gave me a divorce, and here am I like an idiot thinking of a shirt for
you?” She held her hands up in despair and laughed aloud, and the next second tears
filled her eyes.
“I thought that’s the best thing I could get for you. You asked for it Lalitha,
bottom line you don’t even like me. I just don’t see our marriage. Do you understand?
It’s your call.” Rajesh noticed her tears rolling down her cheeks as he spoke.
“I never say I didn’t like you! I said I don’t love…and that was then, not now.
I like you…I like you very much!” Lalitha was very upset, she sobbed.
“I just don’t like her!” Lalitha added in a high pitch.
“Who her?” Raj asked, he was even confused.
“Anjali!?” Raj was blinking to his shock thinking what Anjali has to do with
“Yeah, yeah right, Anjali! She calls you five times a day on weekends! Who
the hell does she think she is?!” Lalitha lost control and started to pour her mind.
“Arrm…my secretary…” Rajesh answered rather blur, wondering what on
earth have gotten into her. Rajesh was lost at first, and then it dawn on him.
“Are you jealous Lalitha? Rajesh felt a sudden trill.
“Yes, I am!” then she kept quiet for a while and Rajesh kept on looking at
Lalitha. Deep inside his heart, he was very happy, his heart beat so fast and felt it’s
beat raise to know that he didn’t lose her after all.
“Uh! What the hell am I talking about?” she cried, feeling ashamed and very
little that she held her face with her hands. Rajesh didn’t know what to do. Lalitha
wiped off her tears and said,
“Look Rajesh, I should have told you earlier,” unable to hold her feelings, she
fell to her knees and weeped like a small girl.
“That’s okey, I understand,” Rajesh kneed down, trying to convince her.
“No you don’t!” she yelled and pushed him away. Rajesh just nodded his head
jerkily; he didn’t know what else to do.
“Okey Rajesh look,” she was reluctant, yet wanting to say,
“I’m just an ordinary woman, standing in front of a guy asking him to love
her. I don’t want a divorce… I love you.” She wanted to say more, but she couldn’t,
tears ran down her cheeks. Rajesh was delighted upon her confession. He pulled her
close looking into her beautiful big brown eyes,
“Come on,” he said.
“Where are you taking me?” Lalitha somewhat had fear inside her.
“I’m taking you on a journey,” Lalitha could hear the teasing laughter in his
“A great adventure.”
“What do you mean?”
“Wait and see.”
“Fine,” Lalitha just kept quiet and wondered what was waiting for her next.
Just than, they reached,
“Your office? Why on earth?” She held her hands up on the air.
“Yes, come.” He opened the door for her.
“No, thanks, I’m fine here,” she refused and Rajesh pulled her hand
“Oh yes, your coming.” Feeling uneasy Lalitha had no choice but to follow
him. Rajesh made her sit in his office and went out. She felt very uncomfortable
sitting there. After a while, he came in with a big smile.
“Lalitha stared at him.
“So, what’s next?” she was irritated and thought that confessing to him was
the biggest mistake she has done.
“The next thing is, you meet Anjali.”
Silence was all over when she saw Anjali. She was so cute; hair curled up and neatly
dressed. Lalitha saw an elderly lady smiling wide holding a file. Rajesh’s teasing
laughter reached her ears. She was terribly embarrassed and felt her face flaming.
“Hi Lalitha, Raj told me a lot about you. I told him to bring you once he wins
your heart and here you are. You are so beautiful. Do come to my place this evening,
we shall have a small party celebrating both of you. What do you say Lalitha?”
She smiled awkwardly not knowing to respond, and turn to Rajesh, who was
laughing and having fun.
“Oh, of course Anjali, we’ll be there. All my favorite dish, okey?” Lalitha felt
relieve that Rajesh interrupted.
“Oh ! Definitely, definitely.” And they both laughed.
“See you people later.” Lalitha couldn’t even reply, she just nodded her head
and Anjali left.
“So, that’s Anjali?” Lalitha looked at Rajesh and Rajesh at her.
“Yes.” Rajesh didn’t take off his eyes off from this beautiful lady. He could
feel her in him. Even Lalitha does.
“Let’s go some where else.” Rajesh pulled her hand and they drove off.
“Now what? Another adventure?” Raj said nothing, but just smiled.
Soon after, they got down at a nearby beach, sat by the shore. Lalitha lay down
and closed her eyes as Rajesh sat by her side admiring her sweet smile.
The moon sailed above, peering around trunks and through branches, as
though they were the mats and spars of a ship. Ahead was a clearing, and the
moonlight filled it like gold dust. And someone was sitting there by her side. Rajesh
admired her beauty so much.
The moonbeams warmed her hands and her arms. She lifted her face, and felt
someone kissing her, soft as misty rain.
“Rajesh, tell me it’s you.”
“It’s me,” he whispered, and caught her hand in his.
~ The End ~