During all this, Anu finished her course and became a pilot with the Ryan Air. ‘Wow, my sis is an international’, thought Ashok. Her visits to home became less frequent. However, she said she will be back in
Anu was based out of Chennai, but as so often happens with people in her profession she was always on the move. She was home for probably 2-5 days a month. She still loved spending time with Karthik. None of what they did in their professional life had a bearing on how they behaved with each other. They were still the same wide eyed, fun loving, knowledge sharing and gossiping kids. Their parents were also happy for them. Ashok could sense that their parents were seeing some future plans in this relationship. And for once, Ashok was happy about it too. Only the two protagonists were oblivious to this. Even Ashok liked Karthik. He was the ideal material, he felt. And then it happened. Out of the blue, Anu asked Karthik if he would marry her. He started laughing. ‘I am serious you stupid, will you marry me?’ reiterated Anu. He turned serious and kept quiet. ‘Have I pushed too fast? Oh shit!!’, thought Anu. Then he replied. What he said made Anu cry. With happiness. ‘Dubuku…why asking..will you marry me?. Plain ‘Marry me’ would just do fine’, was all he said. She hugged him tight and cried. When Karthik’s mom came there to give the usual refreshments, she saw them together and crying. She knew instantly. She was after all his mother. She too hugged them and cried. Hearing their soft sobs, Uncle came to the room. Looking at them he laughed. A loud, sonorous and happy laugh and let out, ‘Bloody happy news and you guys are crying? I am going to buy some samosas. Who wants?’ Everyone smiled. Certain people just don’t change. And the world is better off for it.
It was a happy wedding. In fact more than a wedding, it was like a get together. Everyone knew everyone. The major crowd was from Jambu. And they had seen these kids right from the time they were babies. Everyone was happy for them. Anu left her pilot career and along with Karthik started a company. This company was into customized low cost automation for small and medium enterprises. Both of them had enough knowledge of this field to succeed. And succeed they did. Within five years, they became the leader in automation solutions. They didn’t produce anything. They didn’t assemble anything. Their job was to look at the processes and offer a solution to the client along with what all would be the parts required to build the model themselves. In this way the clients were also happy. They didn’t feel fleeced as so often happens. And their business thrived.
Meanwhile, Ashok finished his Phd in Physics. He joined
He enjoyed teaching. And he was one of the most favoured lecturers in the college. Half the time he would be speaking of sports and movies. And even when he taught lessons, he always related them to some instances in movies and sports. This made it all the more easy and fascinating for the students. He exposed them to the latest technologies that were making the rounds. He made them think big and not settle for just a degree. He played with them in the evenings. He enjoyed and made the college life a memorable experience for his students. There was this lady, Shantha with whom Ashok was very close. She was teaching Sanskrit in the college and was as old as Ashok’s mom. He found her to be highly well read and perceptive in her thought process. In fact he was amazed when she recited some sloka from the Upanishads and related it to the Big Bang theory. He implicitly took her as his mentor and learnt a lot about life from her. She was a mother of two boys, both of whom died in a car accident about 5 years back. They would have been of Ashok’s age. She was hit hard. But she coped well. This was what she always told Ashok.
Vaasaamsi jeernaani yathaa vihaaya
Navaani grihnaati naro'paraani;
Tathaa shareeraani vihaaya jeernaa
Nyanyaani samyaati navaani dehee.
(Just as a man casts off worn-out clothes and puts on new ones, so also the embodied Self casts off worn-out bodies and enters others that are new)
One day when both Shantha and Ashok had a common recess break and they were all alone in the staff room, she asked him when is he gonna marry? Ashok said he intends to be a bachelor. She asked, ‘Am I seeing a Bhishma here? Or a confused child?’ Ashok smiled wrily and replied neither.