Sitting alone, fuming and muttering to herself, she made one more round paper quill. Strips of paper, glue, scissors lay all around her. Library was the only place where she could find solace and peacefully indulge in her passion of making papercrafts. The occasional visits from her Chitti-Appas were plucking her nerves. What’s with their obsession of finding her a groom?
Meet savvy Tam-Bram Darya Subramanium, famous for her edgy no nonsense attitude and amazing crafting skills, who is at a pitiable age when the whole neighbourhood’s only job is to find the perfect Amrican returned Mapillai .
As she finished making another roll of paper quill, she looked up to soak in the serene surrounding. Books all around … white flower vase on each table… a weird looking guy with earphones plugged in … and … wait .. her eyes moved back to the guy. He had short spikey hair with gel smeared all over it, and was wearing two studs - one on the eyebrows and other just above his chin, which kind-a matched his fair complexion.
Darya’s eyes were glued on his studs. “Wow” she thought, “how delicate my quilling has to be to make a flower for that stud. If only more girls start piercing, I can target a whole new market”
With that her gaze fell on the golden stud on his chin.
While Darya was lost in her world of counting cash and quilling flowers, the weird guy looked up to find a strange slender girl staring at him, as if in a trance, which slightly scared him.
“Can I help you Mam”
She was too late to avert her gaze. Her heart skipped, stumbled and fell face flat as Darya gazed into his grey eyes. Embarrassed, she could only shake her head and look down. His smooth accent was still ringing in her ears.
“Swaraswati of English must have blessed him herself”, she thought.
After some awkward silent moments, Darya felt someone standing next to her.
“What’s with all the freaking paper?”, he asked, a little amused.
“umm.. it’s called quilling … you see it’s a technique…” she went on to explain.
“No thanks” he interrupted.
Darya shot him an angry glance. No one dares to stop her in mid-sentence, even if it’s a boring rattling of definitions. She had almost made up her mind to pluck his eyes out and stick them on the flower vase.
“Don’t you have somewhere else to be?” she snapped at him.
“Unfortunately no … do you mind if I sit here?”, without waiting for an answer he sat down next to her. This was the strangest thing that had happened in Darya’s life off-late.
The guy casually took one of her paper strips and started rolling it around his fingers.
“I don’t like weird guys with studs”, she said calmly. In other occasion she would have punctured a hole in his hand for playing with her precious metallic paper. But today, everything felt different.
“I don’t like weird girls staring at me”. He replied, just as calmly. “Besides I don’t think any one’s crazier than my Mom today.”
“Ahem... T..M..I”, Darya said, stressing each letter.
“Too much information”.
“Wow lady … you are something huh. Anyway I won’t be here for long. I am just hiding here from my 4-day to-be-fiancé. Doesn’t hurt to talk to some weird girl? ”. His down-to-earth style of talking was doing some strange things to Darya’s heart and stomach.
“I am hiding here too” . Unknowingly she blurted out.
“aha T..M..I”, he said mockingly.
For some reason, unknown to her, Darya smiled.
“So what’s your story then”, she enquired quietly, trying not to sound too eager.
“Well, I live in Seattle. My mom fixed me up with some girl 4 days back and today she asked me to meet her dad. Can you believe that? She’s asking me to marry a bloody stranger. ”
“4 days is a long time weirdo.” Darya replied back, and started sticking two round quills together.
They sat in silence for a while.
“What’s your story?” He asked, picking another paper strip.
“You take one more paper and I will stick flowers in your studs!!”
The weird guy initially stared back and then burst into laughter.
“You stay away from my studs lady... anyway…so your story?”
“Nothing much… you get 4 days, I get 4 photos. Select 1 2 3 4. Date fixed. And before I can even say Mandapam, I will be serving breakfast in bed to a man with whom I am supposed to fall in love with.”
“Really… 4 days don’t seem so bad now!!”
Another minute passed in silence.
“Well I gotta go”, he said, “Mom must be losing her mind.” He stood up slowly, shuffled a little as if uncertain, opened his mouth to say something but stopped.
Darya was staring at her unfinished paper petals, wondering what to say.
Finally he put his hand forward and said,” Nice to meet you …. ummm”.
“Darya”, she shook his hand,“Nice meeting you too….umm ”. She looked quizzically at him.
“Darry”, he replied, flashing a mischievous smile that set two deep dimples on his cheeks.
Before walking away he leaned a little closer and whispered, “I might be hiding here tomorrow as well”.
High up, Destiny smiled. This was just one of the many meetings to be followed.
Chitti - Appa - uncle aunt
Mapilai - son in law