Girish was held up in the office with some pressing work.It was 830pm when he took the bus for home.Luckily the bus was almost empty and he got a seat to sit.There was none by his side.It was a long journey home that would take an hour.He reclined in his seat and closed his eyes.He could not sleep as the passengers in the seat just behind were talking in whisper but was clearly audible to Girish.He tried to ignore till he found the whispers were romantic in tone and content.He peeped thro the opening between the two seats and saw who the passengers were.He got a shock of his life when he found Sanjana, his best buddy Gopal’s sister, sitting close to some young man.He was less than thrity and looked quite handsome.Girish did not like it.He sharpened his ears and started listening carefully to the conversation.
Man: “Sanju, we cannot continue like this finding time to be together only during lunch break and bus journey back.Only rarely do we get the time to enjoy. We must find a way out”
Sanjana:” I agree but what can I do, Mukul.Even now I go late waiting for you to start from office and my parents keep asking me why I take so much time when the office closes at 6 pm.I bluff them daily that some extra work was there or the bus did not come.”
Mukul:” Sanju, why don’t you tell your parents that you love me and that you would marry only me.Am I not well qualified and decently employed? True I belong to a different caste.But does it really matter? Tell them finally of your decision or should I talk to your brother?”
Sanjana:”My brother has no voice.He will complicate matters.Don’t tell him.I have a younger sister.My parents will not allow me to marry outside the caste fearing her marriage would be delayed.They will not agree, I am sure.I have no option except to remain a spinster or commit suicide.I cannot think of marrying anyone other than you.We are in deep love and have been very intimate for nearly a year.”
Girish was shocked at the revelation that his friennd’s sister has been secretly loving someone and is on very intimate terms too.He felt that he must break the news to Gopal in time.He decided to follow the conversation keenly and did not get down at his regular stop.
Mukul:”What crap are you talking about, remain a spinster or commit suicide to enable your sister marry? Your sister wil get married even if you marry outside your religion.Who cares for such things these days? I wll tell you one thing. Let us not wait for their approval.Let us elope and get married in a temple.We can take a transfer to another city and live happily.”
Sanjana: “I am terribly afraid, Mukul, though I like to be with you for ever.”
Mukul:” What is there to be afraid of?.We are not doing anything illegal..We are both unmarried and major.We don’t need anybody’s permission to marry though would be happy with elders blessings. Do not carry any money or jewels from your house .I can take care of you.Let us apply for long leave tomorrow and in the afternoon go to a nearby temple town and marry .We can buy dress and all the other things we may need on the way.We will stay in a hotel for a few days till we get the transfer and settle down.I have enough money .Do not worry.I will never let you down.We can register our marriage soon thereafter.Trust me.Will you?”
Sanjana:”OK Mukul.I agree.I am in deep love with you and cannot think of any other way.I only pray and wish my parents would get reconciled to our marriage in due course and bless us.”
Mukul:” You are a sensible girl.Give me your hand.Our stop has come.”
Girish saw both of them getting down. He felt his head would break if he did not convey the news to Gopal immediately.He got down at the next stop and rang up Gopal on his mobile.
“Gopal, Girish here.I have something very important and urgent to tell you.Are you in a position to listen carefully?”
“Girish, what is the matter.Tell me I am all ears” Gopal said
“I was travelling in the bus from my office.I saw Sanjana sitting in the back seat with another young man talking very intimately”
“What if, Girish? He may be her colleague.Don’t be always suspicious”replied Gopal
“You don’t allow me to complete.She and the young man are planning to elope tomorrow in the afternoon from their office to get married.I heard their plan”
Gopal asked “Was the young man tall and slighly bald with specs?”
“How do you know? Were you aware of their secret love already?”asked Girish
Gopal laughed uncontrollably to the chagrin of a perplexed Girish.Finally Gopal said“Listen, you silly fellow.They are acting in a drama in characters that are eloping.They do not have time for rehearsal and do it daily in the bus on their way home.I know Mukul, a nice chap. Even if they marry they would have our blessings.Go and sleep in peace.Stop eavesdropping in others whispers” chided Gopal gently.