Challenge – A Love Story

By Rajesh Dhiman (L&T MHPS)

Taniya! My classmate was different from other girls of the class and I loved her so much since my college days that everyone in the college knew about my feelings, except her. I could not utter a word more than “hello, hi” whenever I tried to interact with her. May be the reason was communication gap. She had a brilliant command on English and I was a Punjabi medium guy. College was completed but I could not tell her my feelings for her.

We had farms in her village, so passing by her street became my frequent routine. That’s why most of the people of her street & village were known to me including her parents and two brothers. Her warm smile made my day whenever our eyes made contact.

One day when I was passing by her street, her mom stopped me and asked, “Why are you doing farming after having engineering degree!”, and then she said, “There is nothing in farming and you should try something different”.

I answered her in a one line. “Engineering was my hobby and farming is my passion.” After getting this unexpected answer, she smiled and said, “Don’t try to be a philosopher.” When she was moving back to her gate I asked her about Taniya and she said, “She is planning to start IELTS classes in Chandigarh from next week as she wants to settle in Canada”.

This is one of the major problem of 65% of people in Punjab. They don’t want to settle in Punjab or India. First, they do not leave Punjab! And if they will do, they will directly jump to Canada. However, for me this was great news. It seems as if God had given me second chance to tell her about my feelings.

I had decided to join same course with her. But first I had to convince my father to pay my fees for this course. Therefore, I approached him. First, I explained to him that it is the course for better communication and necessary to move to a foreign country. It was ok up to communication, but when he heard required to move to a foreign country”. He shouted and said “if you will move out of India, then who will take care of the buffaloes?… Who will feed them?… Your father?”

My mother who was standing nearby listening to us remarked “Don’t you know your son after engineering who made him DC (Deputy Commissioner). So now you think after completing this crap, he will break the mountain!

Here, I was bit confused. I could not understand point of my mom. Was she on my side or just insulting me………..ok fine whatever that was.  Finally, he was convinced.

Now second person to whom I had to convince was Joggi, my childhood friend. From first day of my school to last day of my college, we studied together. “Then IELTS without him… No chance…” So I told him about this second chance.

“Do you know Heer? She left the crying Ranjha behind and got married to someone else. Do you know about Sahiba? Seeing her brother coming, she broke arrows of Mirza and let her brothers to kill him. Do you know about Mahival….”

I interrupted him and said, “Did you hear about Karan? He knew about the result but still he stood till his last breath for his friend. I don’t know what Taniya will do, but I know my friend will never leave me alone”

He said “Please don’t blackmail through emotions, tell me when we have to join!”

“Let Taniya join then we will join”

On our first day she was surprised to see us there because we did not tell her anything about this earlier. After class she asked us about this unexpected meeting. I lied to her that we were there just to improve our communication skills.

During class her full focus was on learning and my focus was on her. She was concentrating on American accent and vocabulary. And I was concentrating how should I propose her? And which time and place would be better to propose her.

 “Now you have only one month so whatever you want to say.. Just tell her. If after getting Visa, she left for abroad, then please don’t ask me to come with you to follow her”, Joggi said.

Joggi was right, now I don’t have much time. I already spent a month but could not say anything.

Next day after class, when she was leaving with her friends I caught her hand and asked her to come aside.

“What’s wrong with you Raj?” She asked.

“I want to talk to you Taniya.”

“Ya, tell me.”

“Everyone in the college was aware about my feelings for you that I love you, except you! I don’t know why you do not feel it?”

“Raj I know everything since our college days. Even I know why you joined this course. But we have no future together! Our destinations are different”.

“Your destination could be different Taniya but my destination was you forever.”

“Raj try to understand. Nothing can happen between us”. She got irritated and tried to release her hand.

My mom is looking for a girl for me and I cannot think of anyone else except you

“Oh Really?” She said, “Ok then I challenge you if you say the words that “Taniya I love you” in front of my brother then definitely I will say YES without thinking any long. And listen… one more thing don’t try it front of Sunny, he will kill you for this. But you can try it in front of my little brother, Hunny.”

“Ok I accept your challenge and I will say these words in front of Sunny.”

She finally freed herself from my clutches and walked four steps ahead, then she turned towards me and said “One more thing…. ask your mother not to find a girl for you”.

“Oh then you are ready to marry with me?” I asked

No… When you say these words in front of Sunny, I don’t think he will leave you alive. Then why your mother should waste her time to find a girl for you” She said with an artificial smile and left.

Joggi who was standing aside burst into laughter and he said, “Don’t you think she said no in an indirect way?”

“Don’t you think she said I am ready just convince my brotherIndirect way?” I replied

“Dil behlane ke liye gailb khiyal acha hai” he said mocking me further.

Shut up!” I said and left the place.

Now whenever I go to our farm I ask Joggi to come along with me.  While passing by her street I keep a look out for her family members. If her family stood there, then I would turn my bike back. If not then I would cross her street. On one such unfortunate day when I was passing by her street, she stood outside her house with her elder brother Sunny. It was too late for me to turn my bike, since she had already seen us. Now I didn’t have any choice but to pass by her street. She seemed amusing at my nervous state. She was saying “say say” with lips movements only without uttering words. Her Naughty smile increased my heart beat. My soul prayed to God.  “Please save me! Please save me!” When I was about to cross her home, her brother stopped me.

I stopped my bike. Joggi who sat behind me whispered, “Don’t get off the bike.”

“How are you Raj? Where were you? I hadn’t seen you since a long time?” Sunny asked.

“Actually I was little busy with another work.”

Do you know Sunny, Raj is in love with a girl”, Taniya said who was standing behind him.

She is totally a mad girl. Put the gear.” Joggi again whispered in my ear.

Do you know one crazy thing? She has given him one challenge and he accepted.” She said.

“O really?” Sunny asked.

Yeah…” I said, now my heart was beating fast enough for the heart beats to be audible.

What kind of challenge? “ He said while placing his right hand on my shoulder.

Tell him Raj, he may help you.”  Taniya said. It seems like her naughty eyes & smiley face was celebrating my current poor condition.

“Her challenge was I have to say…….  In Front of her brother……… for example……. like Taniya is your sister and she is standing with you……  And I have to………… (My voice was quivering) I have to say this in front of her brother only……I have to say only like you & Taniya both are standing… I only have to say….. that Taniya……. Means front of her brother………..assume she is his sister… that guy”

“Ok Raj. Go ahead what you have to tell her?” he asked, both irritated and impatient at the same time.

“Actually I have to say only that “Taniya I love you” ……..front of the girls’ brother…..ok? …….. That girl’s brother only” I said and I was mumbling. My tongue and my mind both were running in different direction.

Oh that’s it? Then have you said or not?” Sunny asked to me.

“Yeah almost done… now just waiting for her reply”, I said while making eye contact with Tanya. Now her naughty smile was gone from her face. She was totally numb. Her eyes froze, dumbstruck at what had just happened.

“Oh really? You did that?”

“Yes I did”.   

“Her brother left you alive?”

Yes. That’s why still I am breathing” I smiled.

“Don’t worry… if she understands your love then definitely she will answer yes”.

“Let’s see”… I said. As I was about to leave, I looked at Tanya who was still giving me a blank gaze. I winked at her and left the place with a sense of triumph at having successfully completed the challenge.

Next day I was waiting in the parking, at the back of the coaching center. I knew that she would pass form this way, as it was her usual route.

She was with her friends. However, I noticed she was gradually making a little distance from them. When she was close to me, I asked, “So now should I assume it’s a YES?

She said nothing and simply walked away. In a minute, she stopped and turned to tell, “Tell your mother not to find any girl for you”.

“Still you want to give me more challenge?” I asked.

No, because now I will come to your home” She said with smile on her face and moved towards the coaching center.

I kept staring at her as she walked away it feels like a surge of happiness was running through my entire body. On every moment, Joggi was with me, but today when I wanted to celebrate this moment, he was on leave.

“Don’t you want to join the class today?” She yelled from a long distance.

“Yes coming”…. and I left to join the class.

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