Kunal Kusho had done India proud. He had bagged an Olympic gold medal in archery filling every Indian heart with joy. The media had gone crazy and every news channel had interviewed Kunal. Pretty soon every Indian knew who Kunal Kusho (KK) was by now.
I have won! I have won! Now I can approach Mr. Singh with confidence. I love Guddi dearly but her family is rich and well known in Punjab. I am afraid they may not have a high opinion of me. They may consider me a country bumpkin or worse a simpleton. Yes we are simple folks who have kept our ethnicity culture and traditions alive despite encroachment by outsiders in the name of progress.
Sikkim, my beloved home is indeed a Shangri La and it is doubly dear now that I’ve met my love here. Thank God for the swine flu outbreak overseas that made Sikkim her choice for vacation instead of Europe.
Sunaina (Guddi) was aptly named as she had large doe shaped eyes with gold flecks, light brown hair to match and a svelte figure. Her coloring was wheatish with a perfect nose and lips. Overall her features were well sculpted and hailing from a robust sport loving family from Punjab, she was in fine form and disgustingly healthy. Even her back breaking routine as a medical student had not made a dent in her stunning looks. She was a beauty in every sense of the word and was used to guys falling head over heels in love with her. Tom and Jerry as she lovingly called her two older brothers Sunil and Kapil both hockey players kept her under their watchful eyes and no one dared to misbehave with their little sister “Guddi” (doll). Guddi was effervescent and bubbly and her only fault was she loved challenges so much so that she got into many scrapes.
Kunal (KK) was from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. He found the spirit of sports all around him as he was born into a family with many well known sportspersons including Sikkim Royalty. KK took up the game of Archery at a tender age and emerged as an excellent Archer and his illustrious career culminated when he was honored with the Arjuna Award by the Government of India. He became a household name after winning the Olympic Gold medal. KK was quiet by nature. He was fairly tall at five feet ten and had an athletic body due to a five mile run every morning. His face had a haunting quality, with dark brooding eyes that had the stillness of a deep thinker. His looks were swarthy and his eyes had a hint of slant that added to his intriguing persona. His looks beckoned and held yet did not encourage. He was an introvert yet once people got to know him they loved him lifelong. He was true and loyal to a fault. Unspoiled by his success, he was down to earth and took it all in his stride. Besides archery, he was a writer and had written many books under the pen name “Shivam”. His books sold well and fetched handsome royalties. Besides which his family owned property and a couple of restaurants and travel business in the state. They were an entity in Sikkim. He had one elder sister Pema Kusho who was married and lived in Katmandu, Nepal. One odd thing about him was that even though local girls and others chased him around and sent alluring feelers, he did not trust anyone. He had a deep seated fear of betrayal in love. His parents knew better and did not force marriage on him either. They felt he needed to find a soul mate himself. They however hopefully rang bells and made wishes whenever they visited Buddhist monasteries. They were eager for a grandchild.
Guddddiiii! Her friends jeered. “We dare you to make that runner fall in love with you! They had challenged. None of them was aware of KK’s identity and had only seen him run every morning like clockwork and they had seen his agile body and impassive face and had fallen for him. Guddi (Sunaina) was here for two weeks with her childhood friends Pia and Sia who were fraternal twins. Together they created quite a ruckus and folks usually smiled at their boisterous ways. Guddi said “No Problem. He will be eating out of my hand long before our vacation is over!” She planned well for her “love game” (shikaar).
Next morning wearing her jogging suit, light makeup and ponytail she ran headlong into KK. Her onward rush knocked them both off their feet and they fell down in a heap. Brushing themselves they got up and apologized profusely to each other! KK said “Please let me make up for this and take you out for lunch!” Guddi was delighted! Her plan had succeeded. KK had thought it had been his fault! She shook hands and promised to meet at the nearby restaurant and triumphantly entered her hotel. Pia and Sia pounced on her and seeing her gloating smile they understood. She said she had been invited for lunch. They giggled collectively. Guddi wanted to look her best and hence pulled out the beautiful sheath dress that she had purchased in the local market that enhanced her beauty manifold. She was a knockout in that dress and soon went for her rendezvous.
KK could not stop chiding himself. “Why did I have to call her for lunch? What has come over me? I should’ve apologized profusely and come away! Why can’t I stop thinking about her? He questioned himself. He decided to be polite and not give away to his feelings. He had to collect himself and be calm. His heart seemed to have a mind of its own.
Lunch was an eye opener for the both of us. After I had literally floored him with my brush, why do I feel floored now? I seem to be drowning in his deep mesmerizing eyes! He is an exotic bird of this wonderful Shangri La and I know the family back home would be shocked by my choice! But this time, I feel I have really fallen hard. I have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, my hands and eyes are fluttery and I cannot stop wondering about him. I wonder how he feels about me. O God! What is happening to me? Is this love? It is painful, so it must be real.
I was so excited that I was finally going to meet her. Now my tongue is tied in knots. Am I psyching myself to shine in her eyes? Why can’t I string two words together? And I consider myself a writer. If this is love then I am surely doomed!
KK and Guddi had a silent lunch broken by intermittent monosyllables
Both felt strong emotional undercurrents.
The only good thing that came about during lunch was that Guddi came to know KK was a national hero and a celebrity in his own right and the restaurant staff and owner felt honored by his patronage. This fact filled her with joy. She also felt relieved inside!
During the next ten days, KK and Guddi came to know each other well and shared all their feelings and emotions. They became inseparable as they were totally in love. KK’s parents were delighted and came to love and accept Guddi wholeheartedly. Pia and Sia tactfully left them alone and were secretly happy for their beloved friend. They too came to know and love KK. Now all of them were keeping their fingers crossed as the last hurdle was to get a blessing from Guddi’s family. They felt that would be a hard nut to crack!