Persistence in Silence

PART 1

He just started his job at MindTree. He came out of college with big dreams to build software systems. It has been a year into this role and he was doing donkey work, which needed no brains. He knew he could not grow if this was the case. This is the case with most of the freshers, but being an ambitious boy since childhood, he thought this is the end of his career and went into depression. He would sit all alone at his window after he came home from his 7am – 4pm job and keep thinking.

He lost his dad at a young age and took the responsibility of his mom and younger sister. He shared a good bond with them, and his mother was happy that he became a responsible child but they did not converse with each other much. He wanted his personal space most of the time and his mom and sister respected his choice. They were living on income from their fields from their village. They sold their house, cleared some old debts, and moved for rent in a decent 2bhk in Kondapur as it was near to his office and for his sister’s college. He promised his mom that he would soon buy a flat by taking a loan after his salary increased. He did some freelance projects while he was in college and earned a good amount of money. He could easily shift job if he wanted to, as he was technically very strong, but depression did not allow him to focus in that direction. He thought that all jobs would be the same, as he would be considered a fresher. He got frustrated at the office every single day. He started distancing himself from stupid people around him who gossiped all day and were hardly productive. Soon, he was left alone even at the office. He became a horrible introvert and an anti-social person.
On one weekend, he sat as his window, as usual, thinking about the future. He overheard a conversation.
ఊరికే ఆలోచిస్తూ కూర్చుంటే ఎం రాదు, అమ్మమ్మ. తర్వాత ఏమవుతుందో అనే భయమెందుకు ?బెంగాఎందుకు ?ఆలా ఆలోచించినంత సేపు ఇపుడు ఉన్న సమయం వృధా అయినట్టే కదా ?ఇపుడు చుట్టూ ఉన్నవి మనస్ఫూర్తిగా ఆస్వాదించలేక పోయినట్టేకదా? [Don’t overthink, grandma. Why are you worried about the future? You are unable to enjoy the present, thinking about the future.]

నిజమే లే [I know] said a feeble faint voice, which seemed half convinced.
He jerked suddenly and looked around, he could not see anyone. He was so low on energy to go till the window and look outside properly. Those were just the words he had to listen at that time. He understood that some girl was talking to her grandmother. He awed at her maturity. Who could speak such pure Telugu these days? he thought. It is some aunty who studied in Telugu medium, he thought. The conversation continued.
అన్నయ్య కి వయసు అయిపోతుంది తొందరగా పెళ్లి చేసేయాలి అనేది ఒక్కటే ఆలోచిస్తున్నారు. మనకి మంచి అమ్మాయి రావాలా వద్దా?నేనువెళ్ళిపోతే కదా నాకు పెళ్లి అయ్యాక ,మరి నిన్ను తాతయ్య ని నేను చుస్కున్నట్టు చూస్కోవాలా వద్దా?మన వాడు కూర బాలేదు అంటే మొట్టికాయ వేసి అదేంటమ్మా అని నువ్వు అడిగితే నిన్ను కూడా మొట్టికాయలు వేసే అమ్మాయి ఒద్దు కదా మనకి?
[You are only thinking that brothers are growing old and must get married asap. But we must get a good daughter-in-law who looks after you like I do, right? We don’t want a girl who boxes brother’s ears when he says that what she cooked is not good, and boxes your ears too, when you ask her what is this, right?]

అల్లరి ఎక్కువైపోయింది నీది, Her grandma boxed her ears lovingly, before they both laughed.
From her firm but sweet voice and childish nature, he thought it must be a girl aged 16.
He did not see anything so far, he only heard but it felt so refreshing for him.
He didn’t even realize when his legs took him to the window, searching for those, whose conversation he overheard.
His apartment was on the first floor and the voices came from the terrace of the independent house beside his flat. In the penthouse, stayed an old couple. Amidst the trees, he found two figures, still laughing. The girl was sitting on a chair and he could see her from behind. He could see her grandma’s face.

Their conversation continued.
చూడు అమ్మ ఎంత మంచి పదకోడిలు వేసిందో. ఆహా ఎంత బాగున్నాయో. ఉమ్మ్మ్ [look at the delicious savories mom prepared for us. They are so tasty, mmm!]
She put one piece in her mouth, closed her eyes, and looked up, as she enjoyed it. Her grandma looked at her face and grinned as she watched her granddaughter enjoy the food. She was completely out of the mood she was in earlier and appeared very cheerful now.

He turned back to sit down and continue listening, he caught the sight of himself in the mirror. He was shocked to see that he looked so happy after so many days. He found it amusing and surprising that some girl’s conversation would leave such an impact on him. Someone can be so mature and so chirpy and cheerful and at the same time? What a rare and wonderful combination! he thought.

He waited the next day also for her to come and talk but she didn’t.
He forgot about her the following day and continued with his daily routine.
The following weekend, he heard her voice again and ran to the window. She was out of sight, on the phone apologizing to someone.
Sorry, anna [brother], phone [was in] silent లో ఉంది.
He thought it was her brother.
Ha, akkada left thiskondi, 3rd house left side lo. [Yes, take left there, it is the third house on the left].
She’s giving directions to her place, it can’t be her brother.
Gate లోపలి కి ఒచ్చి door దెగ్గర పెట్టేసేయ్ anna, నేను తీసుకుంటాను. Bell కొట్టక్కర్లేదు.
[Come inside the gate at the place it at the door, I will pick it up. You need not ring the bell.]
She was apologizing a delivery boy? He was shocked.
Thanks, anna [Thanks brother]

Not many people treat delivery boys with respect. She was talking to him like her equal.
He ran to the other window and found the delivery boy get on to his bike with a smile.
He couldn’t help admiring the girl for her personality and character.
He felt so happy that people like her existed in this world. Such people spread positivity and happiness very easily around them.
By the time he got back to his side window facing her house, she disappeared.
He couldn’t contain his curiosity to see her. He waited for her every day from then and looked around for her in vain.

The following weekend, he heard her voice again at 10am and was stuck at his window. He sat just far enough for him to get a good view of their terrace and was careful that he won’t be visible to anyone.


 

PART 2


కొంచం చింతపండు వెయ్ నూనె లో, పొంగకుండా ఉంటుంది, [Add some tamarind in hot oil, it can stop oil from rising in the vessel] she said.
నిజమే నే, మా అత్తయ్య నాకు చెప్పింది పెళ్ళైన కొత్తలో. నాకు ఇపుడు గుర్తొచ్చింది. నీకెలా తెలుసే అయినా? నాకు బామ్మా లాగా తయారయ్యావు. [True, my mother-in-law told me the same in the early days of my marriage. How come you know it? You are like a grandma for all of us, so knowledgeable.]
Her grandma put her hand under her chin, as she was astonished at how her granddaughter grew up to be such a knowledgeable girl.
తెలుస్తాయి లే అమ్మమ్మ, cellphone ని అడిగితె అన్ని చెప్పేస్తుంది google aunty. ఆ రోజు దసరా ఏ వారం ఒచ్చిందో అని చూసాం కదా, అలానే. [Google aunty will tell us, grandma, just like how it told us on which date Dussehra fell, this year]
చీరలు లాంటి పెద్దవి నేను ఆరేస్తా, చిన్నవి నువ్వు వేస్కో. న్వువ్వు చిన్నపిల్లవి కదా, she said and laughed, to get another మొట్టికాయ [hit on the head] from her grandma.
She was busy hanging a saree on the stands for drying, she was again facing away.

Oh no! He thought as she lifted the empty bucket to go inside. They went inside after drying all the clothes. He did not get a glimpse of her face yet.
He went out of his room and opened a book from the rack. He heard her voice again and ran into his room. He was being obvious and his sister told his mom,
చూసావా? [you saw?]
They both giggled.
She just came out of the penthouse and was on phone. He could finally see her beautiful face, amidst her thick black hair tied in a messy bun. She wore a royal blue t-shirt that accentuated her color, paired with grey tracks. She looked like the bright full moon, with sharp eyes and a beautiful smile. He admired her beauty but his heart skipped a beat as he suddenly realized that she was way too out of his league! he blindly ruled out the possibility of her having a boyfriend, seeing how much time she spent with her grandparents at the weekend. And he was right! He still wanted to know more about her.

There is one minor issue that I can fix tonight and it will be good for the release tomorrow,
She said on the phone.
She’s an IT employee? He was shocked.
Yes, I will drop an email, thank you.
She went into the house.
With the way she was talking it appeared as if she had considerable experience.
Is older than him?
It felt like a nightmare.
He decided to bring his mom into the picture.
He went out and asked casually, అమ్మ ఇంటి పక్క వాళ్ళు పరిచయం అయ్యారా? [Mom, did you get acquainted with the neighbors?]
అందరు నా, నీ room side వాళ్ళ గురించి మాత్రమే అడుగుతున్నావా? [All neighbors or only those whom you can see from your room?] His sister who was eating in the hall pulled his leg and giggled.
నువ్వు ఆపవే, [stop it dear] his mom continued,
మాట్లాడా రా మొన్న వాళ్ళ అమ్మమ్మ పలకరిస్తే. మంచి వాళ్ళ లాగా నే ఉన్నారు. వాళ్ళ మనవడికి మనవరాలికి సంబంధాలు కూడా చూస్తున్నట్టున్నారు. [Ya, I spoke to the grandma. They look like decent people. Looks like they are looking for alliances for their granddaughter and grandson.]
He went back to his room without a word.
He didn’t know what was troubling him. He closed his eyes thinking about her and slipped into his afternoon nap.

The next day, his mom came from the market while he was watching tv and said,
నువ్వు ఎక్కువ ఆలోచించకు రా, అమ్మాయి చాలా చక్కని పిల్ల. చీర కట్టుకుని ఉంది. ఎవరో వెళ్లారు వాళ్ళ ఇంటి నుండి ఇపుడే. అమ్మాయి ని చుస్కోటానికి ఒచ్చిన వాళ్ళనుకుంటా. బాగా ఉన్న వాళ్ళ లాగా ఉన్నారు.
[Don’t think much, son. She is a beautiful girl. She was wearing a saree. Someone just left their house. I think it is a prospective alliance.]
He stopped watching tv and went to his room. Tears rolled down his eyes as he stared out of his window.
He told his mom after a few hours, Sneha ని నాకు ఇస్తామన్నారు గా మావయ్య, చేస్కుంటా అని చెప్పు. [uncle said that he will give Sneha in my had, right, tell him that I’m ready.]
నచ్చలేదన్నావు కదరా, [but you said you didn’t like her?] his mom tried to question, he left already.

His sister was watching all this and came to his room.
నన్ను ఆ అమ్మాయి తో మాట్లాడమంటావా? [shall I talk to her?]
పెళ్లి card ఇవ్వటానికి ఒచ్చినపుడు మాట్లాడ్తావా? [When she comes to invite us for her wedding?] He asked, indicating that it is too late.
చూసి వెళ్తే fix అయిపోయినట్టే నా? అయినా high-class లా ఉన్నారు మరి పెద్ద వాళ్ళని respect చేస్తుందంటావా? [Just because someone just saw her, it doesn’t mean that the marriage is finalized. They look like rich people. Do you think she will respect elders?] She asked to divert him.
Nadi guarantee. Ilanti ammai ni chudaledu asalu ippativaraku. [I guarantee that. I have never seen a girl like her.]
He continued telling all he saw and heard.
His sister was all ears.
She couldn’t give him hopes. She couldn’t ask him to stop thinking about her either, as realized by now that this was the only thought in life that made him happy.
That night, he told her,
నువ్వు మాట్లాడొద్దు లే, నువ్వు మా అన్న అన్నపుడు తాను కూడా నన్ను అదే అంటే? ఆమ్మో! ఒద్దు. [You don’t talk to her. What if she calls me brother, just like you do? No!!] He smiled at her.
His sister was happy that he didn’t lose hope.

Soon they heard that they said no to the guy who came to see her.
He continued admiring her from his window.
He stalked her day and night after office.

He took leave at his one day to stalk her and came to know that she worked in a different shift and the cab dropped her home.
He searched all over the net looking for the logo on her id card and found out her company. It was easy to get her name. He saw that she was 25 years old and held his head with his hands feeling disheartened. He was 23.
He did not give up.

He dug social media and found it amusing that they worked in the same tech park but did not come across each other. He found from common friends that she liked dogs and brought one. He went out only to get the dog a walk. When she was at the gate and he came out with the dog, he expected that she would notice him, as he had a dog. But she looked only at the dog!! He was disappointed that all his efforts went vain and she still never knew about his existence in the least. On weekends, he brought the dog to his room when she was on the terrace and she would look towards his window whenever the dog barked. It was a good idea to look at her face for a few seconds. As there is less light in the room during the day, anything inside the room was not visible. Finally, it is worth having a dog, at least to see her beautiful face, he thought.
His lunch place changed from his office desk to the food court beside her building.
Luck did not favor him.
He figured out some common friends and found that she came there only at 5pm on Fridays for icecream, as her cheat day.
His Friday evenings in office extended automatically.
The following Friday he found her with 2 other girls, eating icecream. He finally found her in the tech park. He was elated. He grabbed a coffee and sat in some corner, looking at her once in a while, careful not to be caught.
This continued for 7 Fridays, meanwhile, he started eating ice cream too.
On the 8th Friday, he came on time, looked around for her in vain, and came to the outlet to place his order as usual.

Card swiping machine పాడైందన్న [is not working]. [pay] Cash ఇవ్వండి, the store guy said.
Gpay? He asked.
The store guy shook his head meaning no.
He held his head again as he did not have cash.
He heard from behind,
Can I help, Surya?
He recognized the voice and looked around in shock. It was her. He was still figuring out if he must be shocked about how she recognized her or how she knew his name.
She repeated.
He could not answer, this was so unexpected.
She paid for him before he could even say anything.
You came alone? She asked as she handed him the bill.
He nodded yes.

You can join us, she offered, as her friends looked in with question mark faces.
He felt intimidated but still joined them at their table.
నా పేరు ఎలా తెలుసు? [how do you know my name?] He asked.
పక్కింట్లో నే ఉంటారు గా, ఆంటీ Surya Surya అంటూ నే ఉంటారు. ఇంకా మీ WiFi signal వస్తుంది మా ఇంట్లో కూడా, దానికి కూడా Surya అనే ఉంటుంది గా, [You are my neighbor and aunty keeps calling out your name all day. Moreover, I can see your WiFi signal on my phone with the same name] she smiled, clearing her friends’ question too.
Fluffy ఎం చేస్తుంది? [what is fluffy doing?] She asked.
It was his dog. And it triggered a good conversation.
Before they left, he asked her how he can pay her back and she shared her number to gpay the amount.

He started walking back to his office slowly unable to believe what just happened. He reached office and gpayed her but did not contact her at all. He was a nice introverted guy.

** 4 Fridays later
He got a WhatsApp message from her. It’s a long weekend and my friends are on leave. Are you free to have icecream?
He was waiting for such a moment.
They met at the icecream outlet.
She insisted each pay their own bill.
They sat down to eat.
He came to the point and confessed his feelings for her.
She scolded him saying,
I didn’t think you are like everyone else. You spoke to me just twice.
He told her the cover story.

She became very angry and asked him not to talk to her again and left.
He did not regret and he was honest and was happy he told her what he felt.
She came home and asked her mom about him.
Her mom said,
బాధ్యత గల అబ్బాయి [Responsible guy he is].
She gave some more details she knew but was curious why this question came all of a sudden.
మంచి అబ్బాయే మరి, నాకే అన్పించింది, పక్కింట్లో నే ఉంటావు హాయిగా, ఆలోచించుకో. [Nice guy, he is. You will be just in the adjacent house, think about it] she said, after hearing the story.

చిన్నోడమ్మా! [he’s younger than me!] she exclaimed.
అవన్నీ మేము అనాలి. నువ్వు కాదు. బామ్మ వి తయారయ్యావు. పాతకాలం ఆలోచనలు నువ్వు ను, చుస్కోవే నీ ఇష్టం అని చెప్పినా మాకే పెడతావు ఈ వెతికే పనులు.
[We elders must say such things, not you. Grandma for all of us, you became! We left the decision to you and you still give this work of searching a groom on us].
her mom left the place with a frown.


PART 3


She was mad at him. She had no feelings for him. Neither like nor hatred. She was fed up with getting such proposals often and hence avoided boys in general. He had her number but never took advantage; she felt confident that he is not like the others. But this proposal simply irked her a lot. She ignored him and decided to keep a distance.
The next Friday, she went to have ice cream as usual. He was already there, having his ice cream. She got irked again and asked her friends to monitor him after telling them what happened the previous Friday. She found it hard to believe that he hardly stole a look at her.

He actually stole three looks, two of which her friends didn’t notice. She felt a little safe but still could not stop herself from being suspicious.
Exactly the same thing repeated the next Friday and she was happy that he wasn’t troubling her at all and dropped all suspicion.
But she thought of him many times during the week. His behavior seemed puzzling, as he neither ignored her nor approached her again.
On the third Friday from there, she felt sad for him. She asked her friends to leave and went to join him at his table where he was sitting alone.
ఎందుకు time waste చేస్కుంటున్నావ్? [Why are you wasting your time?]I feel pity for you. నాకు చెప్పేసావ్ కాబట్టి [As you confessed to me] you can hardly look at me properly. [You will be scared that]I will keep an eye on you అనే భయం ఉంటుంది కాబట్టి. This is not going to fetch you anything. Stop going behind me.

He heard her without a word and ate the last bite of his ice cream.
You know how happy I am in the sea of my feelings for you? I’ve never been so happy ever in my life. I come here just to enjoy the feeling that you are around me for a while. నేను నీకు చెప్పిన వెంటనే నువ్వు ఒప్పేసుకుంటావు అని నేనేం expect చేయలేదు. [I did not expect that you are going to accept my proposal as soon as I confessed] I have always been conscious of the fact that you are way out of my league.
She was listening to him attentively for the last two minutes and it increased her respect for him, but his next line brought a frown on her face.
నువ్వు no చెప్పినంత మాత్రాన [Just because you said no] my feelings for you will not change. He said.
అంటే ఇలాగె stalk చేస్తూ ఉంటావా? [Are you going to stalk me forever?]She almost shouted at him.
He kept his cool and said in the same tone,
నీకు ఇంకా అర్థం అవ్వట్లేదు. [You are unable to understand me.] What I have for you is a very strong affection. or rather powerful admiration? చెప్పటం కూడా రావట్లేదు నాకు. కానీ literally pooja చేస్తా నీకు mind lo. అలాంటిది నీకు నచ్చని పని ఏది చేయను. నాతో మాట్లాడొద్దు అని నువ్వు చెప్పాక నేను ఒక్కసారైనా ఆ ప్రయత్నం చేసానా? [I’m not able to tell you properly. I literally adore you and offer prayers to you in my mind every day. How did you think that I will do something you don’t like? After you asked me not to talk to you, did I ever disturb you?]

He had a point. She felt sorry for shouting at him.
He continued,
నువ్వు చాల మంచిదానివి. ఈ కాలం లో నీ లాంటి traditional and family type అమ్మాయి ని చూడలేదు. Time దొరికితే ఫోన్ లో మునిగిపోతారు. నువ్వు మీ అమ్మమ్మ దెగ్గరుంటావు. పనులు ఎగ్గొట్టి పాడుకుందాం అని చూస్తారు. పెద్దవాళ్ళని చేయనివ్వకుండా నువ్వే చేస్తుంటావ్ పనులు. arrogant ఉంటారు జనాలు. నువ్వు humble and considerate గ ఉంటావు, amazon delivery boy included.
[You are a nice girl. I haven’t seen a traditional and family type girl like you in this generation. People are buried in their phones if they have time, but you spend time with your grandmother. People try to skip chores. You do as much as you can, not allowing elders in your house to do them. People are arrogant. You are humble and considerate with everyone, including amazon delivery boy.]

People have so many complaints about life. You are very positive and spread positivity around you. నీ చుట్టూ ఉండేవాళ్ళని నువ్వు effortless గా happy గా ఉంచగలవు. [You can keep people around you happy effortlessly]
She heard him looking into his eyes and turned away, unable to counter him.

[You think] I’m so selfish అనుకుంటున్నావా? నీ గురించి కూడా ఆలోచించా. నీ financial status ని నేను మ్యాచ్ చేయలేను. [I thought about you also. I cannot match your financial status.]
But that is not what you need. Caste, age differences ఉన్నాయి. They will not matter. You are very attached to your family and you will miss them if you move out after marriage. పక్కిల్లు అయితే [As it is the adjacent house] you can talk to them from the window. You can attend to them immediately, whenever you feel like, instead of waiting for the weekend to travel. You are so precious. నిన్ను ఆరాధించే వాళ్ళు అవ్వాలి నీకు better-half. [Someone who adores you must become your better-half.] You simply deserve it. I’m sure I can be that better-half, effortlessly. We can be very happy together అని నాకు అన్పించింది [is what I feel].

She didn’t want to hurt him anymore. She asked him softly,
What if you are not at all what I want and I get married to someone else?
As I said earlier, my feelings for you will not change. It is not wrong, as it is a very pure and pious feeling, that I have for you. I will definitely feel bad for myself but will also happy that you made your choice according to what you want in life.
She got a call from her friends asking her to come as they were waiting outside. She had nothing to talk to him and wanted to walk away quietly, so she got up and said she must leave.

She kept thinking about him all night. She felt like talking to him.
She was tough. She was not going to message him at any cost.
The next Friday, he was there again. She smiled, subconsciously.
His naughtiness nerve was activated.
She got her ice cream and sat staring at him, hardly paying attention to what her friends were saying.

He tried to steal a look and was surprised to find that she was looking at him. He looked back to check if it was someone else that she was looking at. She couldn’t help laughing. She was being obvious now, as she didn’t even bother to answer them.
One of her friends decided to pull her leg and said very loudly,
New icecream parlor పెట్టారంట దెగ్గర్లో [has opened nearby]. Let’s go there next week.
She jolted and said with a frown, ఎందుకు? [Why?]
Her friends burst out laughing and one of them said,
మీ ఇద్దరికీ privacy ఇద్దాం అని. [To give you guys some privacy]
She turned red in embarrassment.
It was too late to cover up.

She quickly revived and said with a devilish smile, అలాగే కానివ్వండి [go ahead] and stood up from the table to join him with her icecream cup.
Her friends gaped behind her, at her sudden move.
At his table, there was no formal greeting. Her first line was,
I cannot fix bulbs.
He quickly caught her context, blushed and replied,
I can, you don’t have to do it.
I cannot drive.
I will drive for you and teach you too.
నాకు బట్టలు iron చేయటం ఇష్టం లేదు. [I don’t like pressing clothes]
నాక్కూడా. బయట ఇద్దాం. He laughed. [I don’t like it too, we will get it done outside]
first kid కే job మానేస్తా [I will quit the job after the first kid]
I can’t be happier.
She took a bite of her ice cream.
Knowing that she can cook well, he said,
నాకు వంట చేయటం రాదు. [I cannot cook.]
She couldn’t say the line on her mind, నేను వండిపెడతా. [I will cook for you.] She blushed hard, smiled, and looked away.
He understood what that smile meant.

 


 

Copyrights_Anitha_Kolli

[Supari26 (Pen Name) – Guest Author on my Blog who belongs to this rare species of humans who believe in writing stories strung straight out of her heart. A well-versed story writer, and an intelligent human with uncountable achievements in Professional Life & Academics. She barely puts her stories out for people to read. Enjoy her creation with a little bit of imagination on your plate. Perfectly presented, beautifully executed.]

9 thoughts on “Persistence in Silence

Add yours

  1. This is such a moving story. So close to every day life and genuine. It definately had the raw ingredient of telugu vibes. I simply enjoyed reading this. So perfectly written

    Liked by 2 people

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