“Hi, I need to talk,” she said… on the phone.

She needed to talk she said. You know how if a girl says she needs to talk, the guy suddenly goes into instant flashback mode to find out where he might have screwed up. But wait! She said “I need to talk” and not “we need to talk” so this is surely not about him (while all this going on in the background of his mind). 

He smiled and confidently said “sure, I’m here for you anytime”.

Disha and Samarth were close friends, they shared a lot of things that either of them wouldn’t dare to share with their own siblings. If anyone saw them together, they could be easily mistaken for a couple, but only that they weren’t. This isn’t your typical love story. They were friends, good friends, close friends – without benefits. Disha and Sam practically grew up in the same neighborhood but drifted away by time and distance to different states, only to be re-connected on a mutual dating app they both apparently had registered for.

“I’m getting married”, she said, looking straight into Sam’s eyes. Not known to be the best when it came to sudden reactions, he took a sip from the glass of water kept on the table –

“Congratulations.. this is fantastic news….. (seeing her face fall)  no???”

“I’ve been single all my life, the unknown future looms before me, what am I gonna do? It’s not like I never thought of this day but 30 years of being single and now…”

“The fear of the unknown?”


The fear was evident on her face and yet she had only under 10 months to be prepared for it all.

It was time for Sam to pull out his vast knowledge of.. well… mainly internet researched and magazine read articles to be put to good use. He knew it would come in handy someday. He probably imagined himself as some kind of advice-giving expert on some column of some daily newspaper someday, but here he was… he felt he could help – the damsel in distress.

“Let’s go for a drive, I’ll drive” he suggested. He felt that way she could open up more and he’d get a better insight of what was actually going on. So it was decided, Saturday, the day after would be ideal.

There’s something about flying hair through the open car window, even if the temperature is at a high of 35 degrees of heat outside – driving on the expressway between Mumbai and Pune. He wondered if he would be able to concentrate as much. He didn’t need to ask questions or anything, that’s the thing with girls-they just start . . .

“Aakash and I met 36 months ago….” as she narrated her story, it reminded me of a Netflix series he had recently watched, not sure what the name was though… He smiled in between, taking his eyes off the road once every minute, to indicate that he was paying attention to her as well until she said… 

I am not sure if I really love.. love him.. like you know… or I love the idea of him

He smiled. She looked at me. Oops! He realized it was the wrong reaction. He nodded his head and she took that as a signal to carry on.. and went to list on a few more reasons why she thought that she wasn’t quite ready for the next step of her life.

Boy! Could she really talk! It was as if she had come prepared.. ..only this time, she actually HAD come prepared.

If ever there was a time he could use his newly acquired vocabulary and well-articulated language along with the keen sense of understanding, this would be the opportune time to display them.

He was already preparing in his head what to say when she stopped talking, which wasn’t far off, since she was almost out of breath, and sentences were now coming out more in the form of scattered words

“Aakash seems like a wonderful person”, he said… after all its someone who you’ve chosen to be your life partner and that has to count as special right? that said, you aren’t getting married to a stranger but a friend for life, besides if you look at it in the broad sense, it really isn’t about the marriage per se, but being worthy enough to hold your partner’s love for the long term, now that doesn’t sound too difficult? does it? 

She didn’t reply to that, and it wasn’t supposed to be a rhetorical question either. He does like the interaction of some form from time to time. 

She kept staring at the road ahead. She was silent, but it did seem like she was listening… he hoped that she was, because he was in the midst of the best talk he could ever give. He thought he’d throw in a couple of big words in-order to catch her attention, if she might have not been listening…

Expectations, Accountability, Navigation, & Uncertainties… (pausing a couple of seconds after every word) she looked at him and smiled. Okay, so she was listening after all. He wasn’t sure where he was going with that.. but decided to go with the flow anyway.

The expectation from ourselves and others around us, Accountability to a partner 24/7, Navigating closeness, intimacy and intensity, and Uncertainties – of the road ahead together is to be looked at with optimism.

He felt proud, he had come up with something as brilliant as that at the drop of a hat, he decided to drive home the advantage – He continued with a renewed confidence:

As much as we think we’re not good at making the right choice, we are voluntarily or involuntarily being better versions of ourselves, and someone out there is falling in love with us more every single day, in something only they can see in us, that we’d never understand. We’re moving from a solo act to a duet one, and we all know how much more a duet works better when in perfect harmony.

She interrupted “You know… Aakash said the same thing”A duet works better when in perfect harmony.

“What can I say? Brilliant minds do think alike” she playfully punched me…

And out of nowhere, just like in the movies..the radio broke out into our favorite song – a song we had danced to on our annual day at college. It was as if that one song acted as a time capsule, cutting down all the years when were apart and had lost touch – we got right back to being the goofy selves we were back then.

“I want you to meet Aakash, Sam” her face now radiant… or maybe it was just the sun shining through the glass, he tends to dramatize a bit sometimes, but he’ll admit he has never seen her so happy as she was at that particular moment.

“..and thank you”

thank you?”

“..for all that you were trying to say”


  1. “A duet works better when in perfect harmony” – lovely line and true it is. An engrossing starter, penned beautifully!


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