Cupid’s Ball

Arjun looked around at the lush greenery, soaking in the early morning sun rays. It was good to be back home, he thought, as he jogged down the cemented path, which was flanked by shrubs and flower bushes.jogging path

He had had to modify the exercise regime here. The neighborhood gym wasn’t anything like the one at his place in Melbourne and he hadn’t wanted to use the run down, badly maintained machines.

On the way home from the International Airport last night, he’d absorbed how Delhi had transitioned– flashing hoardings, skyrise buildings, winding fly-overs, fluorescent lights etc all gave it an international look and feel. Delhi had changed; become bigger and better. There was also a beautiful park close to his parents’ home, which he had first noticed while unloading his suitcases from the van. It wasn’t there when he had lived here, 12 years ago. It was quite big and spacious, he noted. Even at that late hour, there were a few couples strolling around leisurely, probably on a post-dinner walk.

At this time, the park was buzzing with activity. Done with his jogging, he sat down on a bench and took in the various sights – early morning walkers hurrying down the designated path, yoga aficionados practicing their asanas in the green grass, adolescents playing football, friendly dogs prancing up and about at the kids who squealed in a mix of delight, fear, and amusement. The laughter and positivity hit him hard and he realized how much he had missed this friendly neighborhood that had been his home in the growing up years. It was certainly good to be back, he thought again.

It had been a long but fruitful time away; initially studying in Australia’s best college for design and later doing an internship followed by a permanent job with a renowned architectural and design firm. He was valued and well respected by his peers, not only because of his dedication and innovative design ideas but also because of his positive attitude and pleasant demeanor.

He was well established and had recently received his Australian citizenship as well.

Now, he was back home for a short holiday for his parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. It had helped that it coincided with the Christmas vacations and he was able to take more than a week’s leave from work. But this was not the only reason for this trip. Sonika Mehra – his one true love and inspiration. It had been 12 years since he had last seen her also. She had been 14 years old then, about 3 years younger to him. They had grown up together but even after many years of knowing each other, they hadn’t really become close. Sanjit; her brother and his best friend and classmate, was the one Arjun would hang out with. It was only in the last two years, when Sanjit and Arjun were in the same section at school that the boys started spending more time together.

The memories came flooding back to him now – playing basketball in the school field, walking back from school, playing video games in Sanjit’s room and even studying together. Sometimes, Sonika would join them. Sanjit and he would compete on who would solve the equation first while Sonika labored over her homework. She often sought help from them whenever she got stuck in Math. Their parents also knew each other well and they would all occasionally go out for movies or lunches together. Festivals were extra special when all the residents would come together and celebrate with much fanfare. There were other kids too and they would all play cricket or football together. Sonika wouldn’t join them those times. She didn’t like football or cricket. She wasn’t a tomboy, to be jumping off rooftops and playing football with the boys. She wasn’t the dainty damsel in distress either, who would fret over walking a short distance. She was a regular girl, who like some sports, disliked others, liked some girly stuff and hated others. She liked badminton and played it well too, he remembered. She had always been special to him. “Soni Kudi”, he used to tease her affectionately. And that she was, a beautiful girl. Even then, her innocent smile and sparkling eyes were bewitching. To him, she was more than the regular girl next door. She was the one you would lose your heart in an instant to.Sonika.jpg

At 14 years, he was the perfect example of the lost, confused teenager. By the time he was 17 and in high school, an interest in designing led him to become more focussed. One could be correct to assume that the transition in those two years had much to do with Sonika. She was the one, who albeit unknowingly, inspired him to take control of his life. But he hadn’t ever let her know that he thought of her as anything more than Sanjit’s sister. They had been too young and immature then and it probably wouldn’t have been appropriate either. She  looked upon him as an elder brother and they had been just kids, after all. But the truth was that it was for her that he had decided to go abroad and come back a successful man. Not that he could not have done it here in India. But he had wanted to travel and study abroad. His outstanding grades in high school further made it a cakewalk to get admission in an International college of his choice.

But now, now was different. A lot had changed now. Including the badminton court, which was now replaced by a small garden and fountain.

He had kept in touch with Sanjit over the years and they had exchanged quite a few emails and kept up with the events in each other’s lives despite the distance. On a few occasions, even Sonika had written to him. Once, after his graduation to congratulate him at his topper rank at the university and another time, to ask for some information about some courses at his university.

As he sat on the bench and realized how time had flown, he wondered what she was like now. He certainly knew what she looked like.
A couple of years ago, Sanjit had sent him a few pictures of their last family holiday. The first picture was of Meeta Aunty and Jaideep Uncle, Sanjit’s parents. They still looked just as graceful as ever. And although the image was blurry and shaky, he could still figure that the tall, slender girl in the background was obviously Sonika. He could only see her side face. Her hair was tied up in a bun and she was wearing a sleeveless top and well-fitted jeans. The picture was taken from a distance and in cloudy weather, Sanjit had explained in his mail. In another pic, taken in bright sunshine, she was facing the camera. Her hair, left down loose, was blowing over her face. She was laughing and her hand was up in an unsuccessful attempt to hold it in place. She had shoulder length hair, he’d noted, a far cry from her blunt cut back in those days. It was a candid shot. Right beside her were Sanjit and Meeta Aunty. Arjun had pondered over it for quite some time, noting every detail and feature in Sonika’s face. Her smile was just as bewitching, and Arjun had lost his heart to it again.

He wondered whether she still liked the things she did back then. Whether she would recognize him, if they were to meet as strangers. Probably not, he figured. How would she? After all the lanky kid with floppy hair had transformed into a well-built man with neatly styled hair, he reasoned. Not many would recognize him now, he realized. He was worried, though. What if she didn’t feel the same as he did? Or worse, what if she had found someone. His brow furrowed in anxiety. Even if she did, it probably wouldn’t be serious. Sanjit would surely have shared with him had it been so. He relaxed a bit though well aware that he could not be sure. He decided to leave it up to fate and take things as they came.

Just as he was about to get up, someone whizzed past him. The tall, slender frame and side profile was familiar. Her hair was tied up in a bun. Sonika! He fell in love all over again and felt something stir up in his chest. “Look’s like Cupid’s arrow just shot through my heart,” he muttered, grinning ruefully. She hadn’t recognised him, he realized with a start. “Oh, well…” he sighed and stood up.

 “Arjun?” Someone excitedly called out. He looked up to see Sonika had walked back to him and was now standing in front of him. Her shoulder-length hair, left loose was falling over her face and she tried unsuccessfully to brush it away. “Yeah, hi,” he smiled, secretly pleased footballthat she had infact recognized him. He vaguely heard some warning shouts of “Watch Out” from someone but nothing would distract him now.
He refused to look away and continued to gaze smilingly at the beautiful girl in front of him. And, she smiled right back at him. This was paradise. She was in love with him too, he thought. He could die and go to heaven, right then.

“Thwack!” a loud whack on the head broke him out of his reverie. He looked up to see that Sonika was nowhere around, but the footballers staring at him. He picked up the football that had ended his dream so cruelly and tossed it back to them.

“Cupid’s Ball just hit me on the head,” he corrected himself. Hoping the fantasy would come true soon, Arjun walked back home, looking forward to visiting the Mehras’ in the

No Comments
  • nerdsakhi
    Posted at 08:14h, 07 January Reply

    It’s really good! You should participate in the Write India Campaign.

  • Hira
    Posted at 20:07h, 16 January Reply

    And then? aage kya hua! Don’t leave me like this ..

    • Wandering Soul
      Posted at 05:20h, 17 January Reply

      hahaha! Hira, aage wahi joh manzoorey Khuda! 😀

  • Nelson Cardozo
    Posted at 14:34h, 02 February Reply

    I don’t only like your blog, I like the structure, the content (excellent writing!) and everything. I’m following since now. Greetings from South America.

    • Wandering Soul
      Posted at 14:46h, 02 February Reply

      Thank you so much for your appreciation and kind words. 🙂

  • lovehappily
    Posted at 20:45h, 02 February Reply

    I liked the story-line and your author’s voice.

    • Wandering Soul
      Posted at 07:09h, 03 February Reply

      Thanks so much! Also, for the constructive feedback. Shall work on it. 🙂

      • lovehappily
        Posted at 15:12h, 03 February Reply

        My pleasure. It will be a good move. 🙂

  • Dr Meg Sorick
    Posted at 18:06h, 03 February Reply

    This is really good, little sister! Narrative writing and description are definitely your strengths. And I love the little bit of humor tucked in at the end! I hope we will hear more of this tale!

    • Wandering Soul
      Posted at 18:53h, 03 February Reply

      Hadn’t planned that 🙂 This was the end of it 😀 But you’ve surely made me ponder about it. 🙂

  • what sandra thinks
    Posted at 19:37h, 03 February Reply

    😀 Love the last two paragraphs! Totally made the story for me! Nice job!

  • Anand
    Posted at 13:54h, 04 February Reply

    Waiting for the next part with baited breath. That’s quite a story you’ve started weaving here. We now wait to meet his dream girl – the tall and willowy Sonika. (Why are the heroines always tall and slim? What if it turns out that she’s got a BMI between 25 and 30? What then?)

    • MindandLifeMatters
      Posted at 16:43h, 04 February Reply

      That’s the problem, no one wants a voluptuous girl even writers prefer slim and tall! Says something about society’s perceptions about women and even men…..always tall, dark and handsome!

      • Wandering Soul
        Posted at 17:44h, 04 February Reply

        At least in fiction we can be who and what we aren’t in real life 😛

      • Anand
        Posted at 02:02h, 06 February Reply

        I trust that’s women’s perception of the kind of women that men find attractive. I’d love to read a story where a normally proportioned regular looking smart, honest, and bright girl is the heroine. Who knows what turn this story takes, and actually your hero falls in love with a completely different kind of girl. Perhaps he’d realize that the girl of his dreams had now changed into a harridan. Who knows, except of course, the storyteller?

        • Wandering Soul
          Posted at 05:08h, 06 February Reply

          That’s why she isn’t slim because she doesn’t eat cheese or chips but instead because of her sporty interests – Badminton and Jogging do keep you in good health. 🙂
          No, I don’t think he’d fall in love with someone else. Their love story is the stuff dreams are made of 🙂 😀 You sure are doing your bit in making me take the story further, aren’t you? 😀

          • Anand
            Posted at 07:24h, 08 February

            This never worked for my cousin Pinky. The more she played, the more she ate. Fortunately her newly acquired hubby balances the scales for her – provided they both stand on it at the same time. Actually, I don’t think their love story is going to work out – the guy is in love with the girl she was…and people change – so who knows. Won’t you write rest of your story and tell us what happened?

          • Wandering Soul
            Posted at 07:48h, 08 February

            oh. I hope their story works out beautifully!
            What happens next is left to your imagination 🙂 Feel free to take it in any direction. 🙂
            About writing the next part, shall certainly give it a thought. 🙂

          • Anand
            Posted at 08:31h, 08 February

            Storytellers don’t do that. You must take the story to its logical conclusion or your readers will be left dissatisfied. (At least one reader would.)

          • Wandering Soul
            Posted at 08:32h, 08 February

            hahahaha! ok. I shall write the next part. I promise. 🙂

          • Anand
            Posted at 08:33h, 08 February

            Good girl, Peeeeeyoooouuukkkkkhhha!

          • Wandering Soul
            Posted at 08:41h, 08 February

            EEEKKKSS!!! Is that Tropilija making an appearance again? I need to hide under my blanket. Catch you later, Anand!

          • Anand
            Posted at 02:56h, 11 February

            Troplija refuses to leave that Amazon box we gave him for a bed. Wifey wants me to give it to the raddiwalla, but the raddiwalla wants it empty – so I am stuck with a lovesick alien, all because I tried to help.

          • Wandering Soul
            Posted at 03:29h, 11 February

            Lol. Find him his mastani, no. He had gone

          • Anand
            Posted at 03:31h, 11 February

            What mastani? He’s got eyes…oh, eye only for you!

          • Wandering Soul
            Posted at 03:32h, 11 February

            Eeeekssss! Not that scary one-eyed one again. (Running away)

          • Anand
            Posted at 03:34h, 11 February

            Run away all you want, he’ll find you 😀

          • Wandering Soul
            Posted at 03:35h, 11 February

            Jadoooooooo! Forget dhooooop, save me! Aaaaaaaaaaa….. (Running around in mad circles)

    • Wandering Soul
      Posted at 17:42h, 04 February Reply

      Then I’d have to name her Piyu 😀 Haven’t thought of a next part yet. This was just this one part 🙂

      • Anand
        Posted at 02:03h, 06 February Reply

        Nice name. Perhaps Piyu would be the real heroine.

  • MindandLifeMatters
    Posted at 16:40h, 04 February Reply

    Narrative writing is definitely your strength.I love the beginning of this story, hoping to read more. 🙂

  • Josh Gross | The Jaguar
    Posted at 16:57h, 04 February Reply

    Very clever, especially the part at the end 🙂

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    […] I have been featured at Qwerty Thoughts – a website for original and curated content. Thanks, Jasleen. The articles that have already been featured are My Best Day of 2016 and Cupid’s Ball. […]

  • oneta hayes
    Posted at 01:23h, 27 February Reply

    Love the story, Wandering Soul. I be watching for another episode. I am here because of my BW resolve. I’m so glad. I can’t believe I have not been following because I see you quite often. I guess only because of BW. Well, I’ve corrected that little oversight. I’m following for sure now. This blog is wonderfully constructed; it is obvious that you know how! About was so inviting. I’ll be back. And I’ll also see you in BW.

    • Wandering Soul
      Posted at 01:58h, 27 February Reply

      Thank you so much for the visit and the wonderful words, Oneta. Value and appreciate it a lot. 🙂

  • BellyBytes
    Posted at 19:06h, 09 September Reply

    Hey I couldn’t get the link to your finding Mr. Right. I do hope Cupid’s Ball has a happy ending. And I love your blog. It is engaging and fun!

    • Wandering Soul
      Posted at 22:32h, 09 September Reply

      Which post are you referring to? There’s one where I’ve written a letter to my future husband. Is that the one you want? I can share the link here or you could use the Search box too. I should totally write the next part to Cupid’s Ball, should I not? 😀 😀 Thank you so much! So happy you liked the blog.

      • BellyBytes
        Posted at 23:02h, 09 September Reply

        The text that you’ve linked to a post in your home page intro. I get a message page not found

        • Wandering Soul
          Posted at 23:08h, 09 September Reply

          Would you please try it again and see if it is still not working? Would be a great help. If it still isn’t, please do let me know which post (what text is it?) you are talking about.

  • Apeksha Solanki
    Posted at 20:22h, 10 September Reply

    Wonderful story! 🙂

    • Wandering Soul
      Posted at 07:57h, 11 September Reply

      🙂 Thank you! So glad you think so. 🙂

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