“Achyuthaaaa”, his mother called him in a pleading voice. His father was sitting right there in the living room and reading a newspaper as though he had nothing to do with what was going on there.
“What amma?” He turned around. From her voice, he knew it must be something he didn’t want to hear. But today he was in a good mood. The team that he was heading had done a great job and the day had turned out just perfect!
“Achu, I know you don’t like to do this, but Shiva uncle has brought a photo of a girl…” she hadn’t even completed the sentence when Achu continued in a sing-song voice “and you want me to look at it and say yes”. “Amma, when will you stop this? I don’t know how to explain to you, but I just can’t decide, I am yet to find a face that matches what is in my mind”.
“OK Achu, then you tell me what kind of girl is in your mind, is she tall or short, thin or fat, dark or fair, educated or uneducated, traditional or modern”… “Amma, take a break, take a breath! You sound like a waiter at the hotel telling the menu!” Even though his mother was upset, they all laughed!
Achu’s mother Lakshmi used this opportunity to push the photo under his nose for him to see. What happened next he could not explain however hard he tried. One look at the photo and it was like he was being dragged into a world somewhere that he had not been before, yet knew it well. Without even realising what he said, he said it “I like her amma”. Lakshmi was surprised as she did not expect this answer from him.
The girl in the photo, Krishna, wasn’t the most gorgeous girl in town. She wasn’t fair or tall. It was in sheer desperation that she had even thought of showing this photo to Achu and there he was, saying yes. She wanted to jump up and down and declare to the world that her son has said “yes” to getting married. Even Mathi, Achu’s father stopped reading his newspaper to see what was going on!
Achu didn’t even ask the girl’s name. He muttered something and walked away to his room. Lakshmi still couldn’t believe what had happened. She asked Mathi who was sitting there with the exact same feeling. At this stage he had actually given up on Achu getting married. Their older son Nanda had married without a fuss to the first girl that they pointed. He is happily married and settled in Delhi with two kids. Their youngest daughter Mekala was the same too, she got married to the first guy that they pointed and she is happily married with two kids in the US and here Achu was the only one that was creating a fuss.
Lakshmi was so happy that she called Mekala and Nanda to tell them about what happened that evening. Mekala was only waking up in her part of the world and was way too happy for her favourite brother. Nanda was happy too. He told his parents that once Achu was married the parents could come and stay with him in Delhi.
Mathi, the calmest of them all was the one who said, “He has just said yes, let things move on and then we will talk about other things.”
Lakshmi went to Achu’s room with a cup of coffee and asked him if she could tell Krishna’s parents that they would go and see the girl the next day. Achu was not a guy who believed in all the traditions and he didn’t want to harass the poor girl by landing up at their doorstep with ten other people. So he asked his mother if she could organise for him to meet the girl for a cup of coffee! Lakshmi was not sure if Krishna’s parent’s would agree for that, but she was ready to do anything for the sake of her son anyway.
She went back, called the girl’s parents and came back only in a few minutes to tell Achu that a coffee meeting was arranged for them to meet in a cosy coffee shop near her home. Achu asked Lakshmi if Krishna was given a photo of him, so she could recognise him, but Lakshmi said no! Because Achu was against marriage so far, no photos of him had gone out to anyone. It was Lakshmi’s policy to get his consent first before she send the photo out, no point in everyone else agreeing when the guy concerned says no, was her principle.
Achu decided that it would be more fun that way, let her find the right guy in the coffee shop. He was all excited next morning but tried his best not to show it. He had his breakfast and left at 9 for his meeting at ten. He reached the coffee shop early and sat down in a corner where he could see who was coming but the person coming in would have to look a bit harder to find out where he was.
He sat there reading a book. Achu loved his books. His mother had even told him jokingly that if he was looking for a girl like one of the characters in the books he read, it is going to be impossible to get married. Today, his mind was half in the book and half on the door. At exactly ten minutes to ten, he saw her walk in. The coffee shop was not too crowded, but there were few people sitting here and there. There were even a couple of men sitting alone at tables sipping their coffee. Achu wondered if she would find the right person.
Krishna didn’t seem to have any problem in finding the right person though. She walked in and as though on an instinct turned left and walked in with one glance she started walking straight to his table. It was as though she knew. Achu’s heart started beating fast. It was not like he has never been with girls. Because he has a younger sister, the house was always filled with her friends when they were growing up and he always studied in a co-ed school anyways and at work half of his team were women. So why was his heart beating this fast? He didn’t know!
Krishna walked confidently right up to his table, pulled the chair and sat down before asking him “Achyuthan, right?”. Achu smiled automatically. “What would you have done if I said no?” He asked with a wink. Now it was Krishna’s turn to smile. She said, “Don’t ask me why or what. But it was like an instinct asking me to turn in this direction and look for you and when I looked, I saw you with a book and I knew it was you”
It was as though on cue, the waiter appeared from nowhere and took the orders of coffee and samosa. After the waiter moved is when Achyut realised what was actually going on. He was sitting with a girl and going to decide if she was the one who was going to spend a lifetime with him. He looked into her eyes and the same feeling he had the previous evening came back to him.
It was like being dragged into an unknown world where he knew no one other than Krishna. He was there so was Krishna, but he could not recognise the place or the people around him. Krishna was quiet too. No words were spoken between them but still as though they were communicating with each other. This went on for the next five minutes till their coffee arrived.
Achu added a block of sugar to his coffee and was stirring it, his eyes were on the whirlpool that the stirring was creating and his mind was like that. He could not understand what was going on. He liked Krishna, no doubt. She was the one! But what was this unknown feeling? Is it some sort of connection. He knew it was the eyes. How can someone’s eyes even in a photograph have that effect on him?
He had to break the silence. He tried to talk, but his lips wouldn’t move, words wouldn’t come out. He slowly looked up, fearing that looking into her eyes would send him into another trance. That is when he noticed that she was also struggling with something.
It took him a few minutes then slowly he said “Krishna, I don’t know why, but I feel some kind of emotional connection with you. Something told me that you were the one when I saw your photo last night”. Every time I look into your eyes I feel like you are dragging me into this unknown world. Krishna spoke after a long silence “The same here Achyuth, I didn’t have any clue about your looks and I knew exactly who you were, and when I saw your eyes I got completely lost. I just cannot put my finger on it.”
They spent the next two hours trying to get out of each other what they felt and tried to analyse what happened. Finally the conclusion that they came to was that the emotional connection was probably due to past life connection. When they left the place two and a half hours later, they had not talked about what the were supposed to in the first place. He had not known anything more about Krishna’s present life other than what his mother had told him and She did not know anything more about Achyut than what his uncle had told her family.
When they left the coffee shop and headed home it was as though they were leaving a part of their heart with the other person. For two sensible, educated people what was happening did not make any sense at all.
Lakshmi could not wait to ask Achyuth what he thought about Krishna. He said he liked her and tried to escape, but Lakshmi would have none of it. She was prodding him to find out more information about Krishna and all he could say was that he didn’t ask her anything. Now Lakshmi was confused, here is her son who has agreed to the wedding but does not have information on the girl. Did he really like her or is he saying yes to make the parents happy?
At Krishna’s house, it was the same story. Krishna was lost too!
Things moved real quick. Within a month, they were married to each other. On the day of the wedding, the two of them looked so beautiful together and made for each other that nobody could take their eyes off them!
That night sitting alone with each other once again, for the first time since the coffee shop meet they were talking with each other again. He pulled her close to him and with her face on his chest, she asked him “Achu, what made you select me after saying no to everyone else” and Achu said “Krishna, probably as we already know it is past life connections and I was waiting for you to come all along. I never could make any connection with any of the faces that I saw that I stopped seeing photos of girls that my mother would bring to me. That evening when I picked up your photo, I don’t even know why I did it. The minute I looked at your photo, your eyes in the photo, I knew exactly that you were the girl. I didn’t even have to meet you, but I wanted to know if you felt the same about me. What happened in the coffee shop only confirmed what I felt.”
There started the beautiful life of Krishna and Achyuth in this life together. Wishing them a happy life of togetherness in many more lives to come!