I am afraid of heights of all kinds—valleys, mountains, rivers, railway station bridges and
even relationships make me sick. And today I am going to experience all of them.
‘Krishna, come fast, we will miss the train!’ Mom shouts, breaking my train of thought.
‘I would be glad if I could,’ I mutter, putting on my dark brown blazer.
One more addition to my Hate List is this goddamned winter season. I am very sensitive
to getting a bad cough in this season and I cannot bear the chill. So I have put as many
woollens in my bag as on my body.
Here comes the auto rickshaw.
‘Come, come, everyone get inside,’ Dad says.
‘What the hell, Krishna! How many clothes have you stuffed in your bag? It is way too
heavy!’screams Anoop, my brother.
‘Don’t worry, I will take my luggage myself. You don’t have to bother about it.’
I immediately regret the sentence after saying it. It is heavy! Uff!
Soon we are in front of a big—no, actually a monstrously huge—railway bridge.
‘Okay, I can do this.’
I try to be a brave girl. I am not going to look down. But the combination of loudly
hooting trains and my immense fear of heights makes the situation more horrific. When it
comes to heights, I can be a total freak.
‘Here are our seat numbers,’says Mom when we board the train.
I take my laptop and climb on to the upper berth. As it is an all-night journey, everybody
will be asleep soon and I am going to watch the Korean movie My Little Bride. I love
romantic Korean movies.
By the time it’s 3 a.m. I feel sleepy. But first I have go to the loo, so I just wait for the
train to stop at any station. That’s one more addition to my list of phobias—I cannot go to
the loo when the train is moving. Now you must be getting a clearer idea of my freakishness.
I doze off later. Then suddenly it’s raining and I’m all drenched; a wave of water comes
to drown me and I’m awake!
‘Holy shit, Anoop! Are you fucking out of your mind!’ It turns out to be part of a dream,
and Anoop was trying to wake me up by pouring water on my face.
He laughed stupidly and said, ‘We are almost about to reach Ambala.’
Yes, we are going to our village which is located in Ambala. It’s always been very
exciting for me to go there but this time it’s a little different. I am going to face my fear of
We are going to meet D.S. Sharma Uncle and his family. And I am sure of the real reason
we are meeting the family—they want me to marry Sharma Uncle’s one and only son who
lives with them in their farmhouse. Their family is very affluent but I never wanted a man
who lives in a remote area and is a farmer. I think he must be barely a graduate—a narrowminded control freak. Men in villages want housewives, not working girls.
The train arrives at the station. Coolies are competing to get into the train. Everybody
rushes out of the train except me. I am struggling with my bag and suddenly I tumble on to
the platform, head over heels. Shit! I just fell from the train. God! Can I do this any better?
Fuck, fuck, fuck …
Before I can manage to get up myself, a hand comes through the crush of bodies to my
rescue. Without looking at who it was who offered to help me get up, I grab that hand and
pull myself up. Having stood up, I immediately start brushing my clothes. Then I look up to
thank the man who helped me … I’m struck dumb. He is dangerously handsome.
‘Thank you.’ This is all I manage to say.
He is wearing a white kurta–pyjama. The top buttons of his kurta are unbuttoned. His
perfectly trimmed muscles can be seen; his biceps give the perfect shape to his arms. Is he
not feeling cold? May be he is already too hot.
Suddenly his voice breaks the spell, ‘Are you okay?’
‘Yes, thank you again,’ I say, hesitant and embarrassed.
‘How many times I have to tell you to be careful!’ chides Mom.
My brother is laughing as usual. Now he has got my ‘new train scandal’ to talk about for
at least this month.
I then realize that Sharma Uncle’s family has been there all this time. And the handsome
man is none other than his one and only son. I still don’t know his name. Now this is more
‘Please give me your bag,’ he says softly.
‘No, I can manage,’ I muttered.
‘Yes, I have seen that already,’ he grins as he almost snatches my bag from me.
Soon we are in their car—an Endeavor. It is cozy inside. He is driving the car and I can
feel butterflies in my stomach. I still don’t know his name.
Finally we have arrived at the farmhouse. It is beautiful, completely surrounded by
nature. The entrance gate is covered with some kind of flowering creeper. There is a
nameplate: SHARMA’S RESIDENCE. The building itself is breathtakingly gorgeous. Could
there be anything else that one can want in life?
We are in our separate rooms now. I am feeling very sleepy so I just snuggle under my
quilt and sleep.
When I wake up, it’s dark outside. Looking out the window, I’m trying to recollect my
thoughts and then I realize that this is not my room. I get up and go downstairs to the main
Everybody is there having dinner. Crap … I realize I slept all day.
‘Come, dear, have dinner,’said Aunty.
Mrs Sharma is a beautiful lady and anybody can see where her son gets his good looks
Mr Perfect is also there, sitting beside my mom and talking about his work. Huh, what
attitude … He didn’t even notice me? As if I care …
After dinner, we return to our rooms. Now everybody is going to sleep when I’m wide
Thank God I have my laptop with me.
Somebody knocks at the door. ‘May I come in?’
‘Yes,’ I answer,
And here he is—Mr Perfect.
‘Mom has asked if you need anything.’
‘No, thank you,’ I say, smiling.
He is about to leave when he suddenly turns and asks, ‘What are you doing on your
‘Nothing, just watching a movie.’
‘Can I join you?’
‘Oh! Okay,’ I say. I’m surprised, especially after how he totally ignored me at the dinner
‘Korean movie, haan … That too romantic?’ he says, grinning.
‘I like romantic Korean movies,’ I say abruptly.
‘Don’t you have horror movies?’
Okay, I got you. You are trying to flirt with me. Although, I think, he has succeeded to
some extent. I am impressed.
‘Yes, I have them, but it would be better if you don’t watch it with me. I scream while
watching horror movies although I don’t even watch most part of the movie. I cover my eyes
all the time so that if any thing shitty happens I can close my eyes immediately.’
‘Okay, then let’s watch your romantic Korean movie,’ he says, grinning again.
‘By the way, what is your name?’ I ask.
‘You don’t know my name?’ Now he does not seem very pleased.
‘We didn’t have a moment to get properly introduced before,’ I explain.
‘Hmm … Okay … My name is Daksh,’ he says, stretching out his hand towards me.
‘And I am Krishna,’ I say, reaching out to shake his hand. As I touch his hand, a quiver
runs through my body. His hand is warm, in sharp contrast to my cold hand.
It is always risky to watch romantic movies with parents or with a hot guy like him.
Suddenly, the hero and heroine are getting closer on the screen, and I begin to feel very
conscious, even embarrassed. I try to move so that I can fast forward the movie, but I just
cannot. Now they are kissing each other ferociously. The hero unzips the heroine’s skirt and
moves his hands all over her thighs. The heroine then helps the hero to unbutton his jeans,
after which the hero mounts her, and is then inside her. And after both of them are fully
exhausted, they fall into bed and hug each other tightly. The hero kisses the heroine gently on
her forehead. Oh … this forehead-kissing scene is my favourite. And thus the movie goes
Slyly, I try to peek at Mr Perfect’s face. He is calm but I can see his facial muscles
clenching as he tries to hide his smile.
The movie finishes at 1 a.m. He gets up to leave.
‘Goodnight, Mr Perr … err … Daksh.’
Narrowing his eyes, he leaves the room.
The next morning I get out of my room, brush my teeth, pick up my sneakers and head out
to the fields. It is a very cold, foggy December morning, so I’m wrapped up in thick
What was I doing last night? Talking to myself. Even now, my thoughts are focused on
him. I know he is handsome but still I’m sure he is a narrow-minded control freak.
As I remain lost in my own thoughts, my foot suddenly slams against a heavy stone. I
stumble into a slushy part of the path. Apart from landing like a fool into the slush, I realize I
have hurt my foot.
‘Need any help, Miss?’
Oh, it is him! What is he doing here? Why is he always there to rescue me from my own
I clear my throat. ‘I can manage …’ I say, trying not to look at his face.
‘You are very stubborn, Krishna. Just give me your hand.’
I offer my hand hesitantly. He clutches it tightly to help me get up; again I can feel the cold
even more …
I stand up, stumbling, holding on to his shoulder for support.
As we enter the house, everybody is surprised to see both of us.
‘Hey, what happened?’ asked Mom.
‘Nothing, Mom. Your dear princess fell again,’ he says, grinning. Everybody laughs at
Huh! How dare he? And why is he calling my mother ‘Mom’?
Oh, my suspicion was right!
Or maybe not?
I must know for certain. So the next time I find him alone, I confront him. He is sitting at a
desk, doing some accounting work.
‘I want to talk to you,’ I say.
‘Krishna, I am busy right now. Can we talk later?’
My big negative point is my egoistic attitude.
‘Why did you call my mother “Mom”?’ I ask.
He looks up. ‘Is that a problem?’ he asks, keeping his accounting book aside. Standing up,
he then comes close to me.
‘Yes,’ I said, stuttering. ‘She is my mom, so you cannot call her that.’
He walks a little closer. Crap! I cannot move … I want to step back but I find myself
simply unable to move. I need water; it is getting too hot here.
Suddenly he pulls me into his arms. My mouth is so close to his. He is looking into my
eyes. I am trying to look down, afraid that he can read my eyes and can see into my soul. He
lifts up my chin and gently runs his thumb over my lips. For that moment I forget everything
around us. All I can focus on, apart from the sensation of being held by him, are his dark
brown eyes. Oh boy, he is the only man around whom I can feel mushy without even
watching a romantic movie.
‘Krishna …’ a voice comes suddenly from another room.
I push him away and manage to calm myself.
It was Anoop asking me to come to the hall. ‘Mom is calling you.’
In that moment, my heartbeat thuds very rapidly. I rush to attend to my mother.
Later in the evening, we all make a plan to go to a famous restaurant in the city. As we get
ready for the outing, I consciously try to ignore what happened with Mr Perfect that
afternoon. But still I ensure to put on my best dress—and I realize how very pleased I am to
have taken the pains of bringing so many dresses with me on this trip.
Am I trying to impress him? No way! Everybody is trying to look their best, so why
But I find that I’m more nervous than usual.
Soon, everyone is ready and it’s time to leave.
‘You two, go in the other car,’says Mom.
‘What?’ I am surprised. Mom is asking me to go alone with a boy! I insist, ‘No, I will
also go with you.’
‘Yes, Mom, there is no need of another car,’says Mr Perfect.
Thank God! I cannot bear landing in one more scandalous moment after that afternoon.
‘No,’says my mother. ‘You will go in separate car. That’s it.’ No more discussions.
I know what mom is trying to do. Seriously, Indian mothers can be such a headache
We take another car—this one’s an Audi!
The streetlamps look beautiful this foggy evening, between the mist and dark night.
Mr Perfect doesn’t say a word. So to end this awkwardness I start a conversation.
‘How about your higher studies? You don’t want to study further?’
‘Krishna, I have already done my MBA and I have also been a research scientist at the
Indian Institute of Agricultural Sciences. So now I am working on increasing crop yield
methods while simultaneously learning the ropes of my father’s business and also doing
some actual farming. What else you want me to do?’
My jaw almost falls to the ground.
‘Oh!’ I said. ‘So you would want a wife who can stay with you? I mean, a housewife.’
‘Yes, I would definitely want a wife who can stay with me, Krishna.’
I knew it! A narrow-minded control freak. Huh!
‘But, he continues, ‘if my wife wants to work, she can work with me in our business.’
He never ceases to surprise me. I am feeling good about it. But still I am confused about
why he wants me to marry him? He can get any girl he wants.
Suddenly, the car stops and I notice that we are near a hill.
‘Where are we? Don’t tell me that the car has stopped working.’
‘No, Krishna. Please stop watching those romantic movies in which the hero–heroine get
stuck in a car and then their romance starts,’ he says, grinning.
‘Whatever! Just a thought; it has nothing to do with romantic movies.’ I say, annoyed.
‘Up there. To the top of the hill.’
‘Are you kidding me? I’m not going there.’
‘Huh! Stubborn girl.’
He takes my hand and we move towards the hill. As we reach the top, I can see the river
on the other side. This scene is breathtaking. Although it is far below us, the sheer height
does not seem to scare me. Instead, I feel great—so amused and thrilled.
A cold breeze blows my hair over my face.
‘It is so beautiful, nothing can be more beautiful,’ I say.
‘I knew you will like it.’
Suddenly, Mr Perfect gets down on one knee, pulls out a ring and says the world’s most
magical words: I LOVE YOU, KRISHNA. WILLYOU MARRY ME?
I am dumbstruck at that moment. Here is Mr Perfect—and that too on his knees, asking me
to marry him!
This cannot actually be happening. All this only happens in the movies. I wish I could
hold on to that moment forever.
‘Krishna, please reply, my knees are hurting and it’s very cold out here.’
I smile, my eyes wet with tears, and say, ‘YES!’
Thrilled, he gets up and slips the ring on to my finger. He then hugs me tightly. I can hear
his breath in my ears as he says, ‘I liked you when Mom showed me your picture … And I
liked you even more when you fell from the train.’
‘Then I should fall every time,’ I laughed.
‘I wanted you right there while watching that movie,’ he whispered in my ears. ‘I love
you! Be mine. Be my wife.’
I look up at him. He lips come close to mine and then he softly kisses me on my lips.
‘I love you too,’ I responded gleefully.
And, like every other love story with a happy ending, ‘we lived happily ever after’.
I am afraid of heights of all kinds—valleys, mountains, rivers, railway station bridges and