London School of Economics Alumini and Emeritus
Third year BA
Plot line: It's the last day of the final year after exams and Shuarya is waiting for Anokhi to fill her forms for Master of Arts in Applied Economics but Anokhi seems to have other plans.
Shaurya was left speech less upon hearing her future plans and he had bitter sweet moment of relief and destitution. Relief of not burdening her with his confession and the responsibility it would have brought her while he felt a huge void seeing her planning a future without him in it. She succeeded where he failed miserably, not being able to exist fully without her these past few days. He hated to admit it to himself but he kind of sort of started getting Shaan's despondency for 25 years. He hated this feeling of not being able to grapple this waspy thing called "Love". He gazed into her wet shiny eyes, clear and deep like an ocean after a storm. Shaurya held her chin in the cup of his palm and said, "Are you sure that's what you want?" To which Anokhi retorted, "Are you sure you really want to move to Delhi?"
Shaurya shrugged in an angry frustrated gesture and snapped, "Why does any conversation with you turn into an argument or a debate? Can't you answer this thing honestly?" "I don't think you need any answer from me since I was the one with question. It's you who need to look deep for answers ", said Anokhi in a deadly silence. Shaurya lowered his eyes in that response cursing her astute assessment of his dilemma. He gently pulled let her off his lap and got down from the bed in a seemingly restless way. He figitated around unsure of his next move and said, "I need to go. Good luck with your future plan Ms. Bhalla. I hope you do well and I really wish you all the happiness." Anokhi gave him a blank look quickly masking her disappointment and said in a tight lipped tone, "Wish you well for the stint at MoF. I am sure you'll do well for the country. Anyways I am very tired I need to prepare for my admission essay and internship documents so if you'll excuse me."
Shaurya looked as if he wanted to say something and then decided not to leaving her room in a trance. He suddenly felt wetness in his eyes shocking his own conscious while on the inside he felt like bawling and trashing unrestrainingly. He felt a shoulder on his hand as he was about to open the door to his car. He turned around, looking guiltily at Shaan who had love and concern reflecting from his eyes for his only son. Shaurya hugged and clung to his father like an infant with tears streaming down his eyes mumbling, "I am sorry. I am so sorry Dad. I always judged you and thought of you as a lesser man for behaving the way you did all these years. May be Universe is laughing at me right now for being so cruel to you and Mrs. Astha Saberwal. Now that I felt only a tiny fraction of what you have gone through for 25 years I don't know what to do."
Shaan tugged at Shaurya's arm bringing him to sit on the swing set in Astha's garden where, couple spent a significant amount nurturing exotic flowers. Shaan patted on Shaurya' shoulder saying, "You know what Shaurya, you may look like me physically but mentally and emotionally you have inherited your Mother's spirit. Her fighter never give up attitude. But there is one thing I would like to take credit for. When we Saberwal Men fall, we fall hard hook line and sinker. Our heart and brain stops registering other people when we find "the one". For me it was 32 years from yesterday when I first saw her on the first day of college. Looking at me judgemental eyes for being lazy and carrying a back pack. My Noor. She was different right from the start. I never had the chance. It's because she sparkled so bright, she blinded me with her brilliance. That's what kept me alive all these years. The hope of finally being with her. Don't get me wrong. I do regret how I managed my relationship with you and disappointing you. But I was a coward. I could have done what I did last year, all those years ago. I wish I had the strength and courage your Mother had. Now you decide. Do you want to be like me and sit here 25 years down the line wondering what could have been or be like your mother and take that chance giving in? I know it's not going be easy for both of you. But if you have love for one another in your life , each other's hand on your hearts you will make it last forever. Trust me my wait for all those years are worth all the smile Astha bestow upon me when I call her Noor and she blushes. Now go get Anokhi, Son."
Meanwhile, Anokhi was mopping in her bed trying to read her transcript but was failing miserably unable to read through haze of tears swimming in her eyes. She angrily brushed them, scolding herself for wasting her tears and heart for such a calous selfish man. Astha knocked on Anokhi's room as she was brushing her tears off in hurry. She tried standing up but Astha signaled her to sit. Astha gave Anokhi a knowing smile and said, "I was just like you. May be that's why I consider you my daughter like. I see my younger self in you. Determined. Independent. So much so that I shunned my love and family for these principles. Sometimes I wonder if I the it too far? What if I had just not let my pride come in the way of being with my Son? Don't get me wrong. I don't regret leaving that house. I just regret the walking on egg shell relationship with my son."
"Ma'am, I am not a coward nor do I believe in societal convention of women not expressing their feelings first and waiting for the Man to make the first move. But I do have my self respect if not pride. I can't force my feelings on a Man who doesn't want me around him. In fact who is actively trying to get rid of me. I certainly am no pushover" said a visibly agitated Anokhi to which Astha gently replied, "I'm glad you love him so much Anokhi. But sadly you are not the only one with my stubborn pride. It's my Son too. And more than pride it's his insecurities and inability to trust someone with his heart that's forcing him to hold back. He might not say it but he still misses me such much. He thinks I don't see or notice that he always call Shaan around the same time when we both are together in our Garden knowing fully well I'll be around and I too talk loudly so he can hear my voice clearly over speaker. One time I deliberately didn't join Shaan on his call and he noticed my absence sounding disappointed and cut his call short citing work. My point is he may look and act tough on outside but he is a giant gentle on the inside. I am not one of those mother who would always take their Son's side, hide his mistakes or excuse his behavior. And I am not asking you to understand him or forgive him. All I am asking is if he comes back as I have a feeling he might, try to forgive him and accept him. Don't punish yourself to torment him. You are a smart sensible soul. I know you'll do what's best for both of you. Now you try and sleep. Good night."
Anokhi tried sleeping in bed, kicking the pillow in frustration. She finally got out of bed and went towards her Window to stare at the night moon. She almost had a heart attack when she saw Shaurya sprawled on his Car's bonnet. She hurriedly went out and nudged him from his slumber fearing he'll catch a cold in the North Indian Winter night. She almost shook him, when he woke up and whispered lovingly, "Am I dreaming?". Anokhi dug her finger nails on his arms making him wince in pain and answered , "No sir. I am very much real. As real as the pain you felt. Now what the he'll are you doing her at this time? Weren't you suppose to leave for Chandigarh?"
Shaurya snapped and pulled her on top of the bonnet of his Range Rover and said, "You'll pay for this marks in some other way. Most probably with marks of different kind. Very versatile different. As for what I am doing at this time I wanted to wait. Wait for a better time of the day and not in the dead of the night at 2 am. I wanted to prepare a long fancy heartfelt speech with Romantic poetries and make some sweeping gesture. But I guess this will have to do. Have you read about Gary Becker and his economic research article series of 1970s?" Anokhi who was looking at him expectantly gave him a shove and yelled, "Are kidding me? Seriously? You want to talk about Economics right now. You want to give me a lecture on Becker's hypothesis right now? Oh God what was i thinking? You'll never change. You are the most ...pathetic...most callous...most devili..." repeatedly delivering solid punches on his shoulder not making even a dent on his sturdy shoulder while smiled at her amused riling her further and he increased the pace and intensity of her punches squirming in pain while Shaurya blocked her another blow putting her arm back and bringing her closer to him hooking his one arm on her waist. He whispered, "Stop it. You'll do me no harm but you'll get hurt. Now now calm down. I asked about Becker's concept because I swear it's important to understand what I want to say. Becker for the first time laid out a framework to analyse love and marriage in a series of research papers." Anokhi relaxed a bit in his arms and said, "Carry on. This might as well be your last lecture you can give to me Professor Saberwal. Unconventional place and way to give Econ lessons but okay. Go ahead. "
"Becker’s analysis was based on two simple principles. First, given that marriage is almost always voluntary, either by the couples or their parents, the theory of preferences can explain marriage and couples (or their parents) can be expected to derive more satisfaction (or higher utility) from being married than from remaining single. Second, Becker held that a market in marriages can be presumed to exist since many men and women compete as they seek mates. Each person tries to find the best mate subject to market conditions.
Based on these two principles, Becker draws out a theory of marriage that says that each person will tend to pair with someone with whom the chances of maximizing their household production of goods and services are the highest. The set of household goods and services include tangible goods the market provides as well as non-market goods such as shared pastimes, or the joys of raising children. The couple’s level of satisfaction is determined both by market and non-market earnings. But, given that time and effort spent on raising market earnings can diminish non-market earnings, each couple uses economic principles to allocate the scarce resource of time.
Becker argued that the division of labour within the family is driven by the differences in market earnings, which in turn are determined by the marginal productivity of the two partners. The partner with a higher wage then specializes in the production of market goods and services, while the partner with the lower wage specializes in the production of non-market goods and services.
The gains from marriage are determined by how the division of labour occurs. The gains also depend on whether a sizeable fraction of the output generated after marriage can be jointly shared.
Love accentuates the gains from marriage because each partner then cares about the satisfaction (or utility function) of the other. Consequently, with love, transaction costs are lowered and the gains from marriage increase. Love also increases the likelihood of increased production of shared family goods, thereby raising the gains from marriage further.
Till now, I always would argue for the first hypothesis of Becker about Division of labor for a successful marriage or a relationship. It was one of the most significant factor in choosing Shagun as life partner. We had that sorted with me being the High wage bread winner and she being the lower wage home maker raising a family and taking care of my home and by extension me. But as fate had it. You came in to my life and pretty much forced me to change my whole outlook and perspective on things and making me question my ideals and belief.
Now I want to test the specificity and sensitivity of the second theory to see that could leave to a successful relationship. What say Ms. Bhalla? Do you want be be with me this this real life experiment?" asked Shaurya in a teasing tone after giving a long speech explaining the concept of love in the most boring way possible. "As far as proposals go this is the worst ever hands down in content, execution or effort. But I would give you a point for sincerity and gesture. How do you propose we conduct this experiment? The aims and objectives are quite clear. As is the null hypothesis. But what about Methodology?"
Shaurya tugged her even closer seeing she was game in this ruse and replied, "How about you make a tiny compromise and move to Delhi and get admission in NLU Delhi instead of Bangalore?" Anokhi pretended to give it a serious and teasingly said, "Okay and what compromise will you make?" Shaurya playfully patted on her derriere saying, "I am the one who is the making the biggest compromise and am waiting for three years before whisking you down the aisle like I want to. Don't test my self control." Anokhi moved closer to his ears and whispered, "Then who is asking for you to control?" She winked at him naughtily while he looked flushed.
Shaurya waited with anticipation crawling his skin as kept his nerve for her answer. Anokhi in reply hugged him and said ,"I love you and I too want to give this relationship a fair chance. I won't lie and tell you that's I'll move to down the earth to be with you. But I will move with certain Geolographical area so moving to Delhi is fine. But I won't move in with you. I'll move to the campus hostel and we'll take it from there. Nice. Steady and slow." Shaurya gave an annoyed expression like a petulant child and said ,"No hostel. I can't handle curfew times and other restrictions. It would be the same with an Girls PG. You'll have to move in. I'll be staying Lutyen's Delhi near Lodhi Garden. You'll have everything you want there. Why stay at a hostel?"
"You know that I don't want to live off you and your money. And any ways I like living in a hostel with a roommate. And just imagine the thrill and excitement of sneaking around and the anticipation of meeting and hiding the fact that we are dating. Don't get me wrong I am not ashamed or embarrassed. But I don't want to be beholden to you just yet if it makes sense." "It totally makes sense. Don't worry. I'll promise you. You'll be beholden to me. Soon." Gently tucking in a hair behind her ears, Shaurya uttered those words and slowly brought down his lips on her making her close her eyes in breathless anticipation. She always imagined fireworks and butterfly in her tummies when she imagined her first kiss. The real deal was way more than her imagination. Shaurya very firmly but slowly moved his lips like an expert teacher coaxing her and guiding her, encouraging her to touch him any where to which she tugged at his hair making him groan and he deepened the kiss while Anokhi was still grappling with the gentle lull not prepared for the high tides of passion Shaurya rode with her. By the time Shaurya let off Anokhi she was completely desleved flustered and her usually tamed hair flaying around giving her a car crash victim look. She smiled in embarrassed amusement while Shaurya looked at her sheepishly. She was about to get off the bonnet of the Car where they shared their first kiss under the blanket full of stars. Shaurya tugged at her waist preventing her from getting down while she silently begged for him to let her leave as she feared someone might wake up and catch them in an embarrassing position.
"Since we have already began our littel experiment, I think we should establish some ground rules partner " said Anokhi trying to skirm and skittle out of his firm grip. " We are not partners. In the Division of labour I am still the high wager so by that extension I am the faculty in this experiment", replied Shaurya teasingly making Anokhi blush. "Acha, then what will I be? Co author? Assistant" asked Anokhi playfully pouting. Shaurya was quick to respond and kissed her again while she was pouting replying, "Intern. You'll be my Intern? So Ms. Bhalla will you be my intern?"
I would like to issue an advanced apology for such a long chapter. I usually keep them to the point but I didn't want to keep the readers in suspense so hope you forgive the length. I hope you all liked reading this one and looking forward for the criticism and feedback regarding the arc, plot or the end. Thank you and much love to everyone.
P.S. Being a Medico I have limited knowledge of Economics or Commerce in general so I try to keep it real. Here the Becker concept Ref was from an article published in Livemint: How economists view love, marriage, and Valentine’s Day. Here is the link https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.livemint.com/Opinion/R7yI19uSXGHaJbi34jBDIL/The-economics-of-love-and-marriage.html%3ffacet=amp
Anokhi quickly changed into a powder blue kurta with white tassels on sleeves matching with her white pants. She went to the terrace where Shanti kaka had served some tea with other refreshments. She sat on the chair sipping from her cup while Shaurya was staring at her. She gave him a puzzled look signaling him to proceed. Shaurya abruptly stood up no longer able to contain his energy and said, "Look forget whatever happened. You should focus on your education. Why didn't you apply for the MA in Applied Economics course at SIAC? Was it because of what happened between us? You don't need to feel embarrassed about it. Anyways I won't be at SIAC anymore in few months so you shouldn't worry about it anymore." Anokhi paused for a second processing what he said and laughed.
That was not the reaction Shaurya expected and he gave her a baffled look like she was dancing like a purple leprechaun. She gave him a dry smile at last and replied, "First, you are right. I don't need to be embarrassed about what I said. I am not. Because what I said what truth about how I felt and it's not embarrassing for me. Second thing, I don't plan on not focusing on my education especially after going through literal hell for to gain it. I don't plan to give that up ever. I didn't apply for MA Econ because I want to pursue LLB and practice law. I love helping people especially those who have no one to fight for them. I want to be a lawyer and help those people get justice. I may love you but not enough to give up MA Econ if I wanted to. You flatter yourself too much Sir. And why do you think I mustered all that courage? Because I knew for a fact that I won't be your student anymore and if may be by any chance there is a slight sliver of hope between us. I was certainly crazy to think that you would agree. So no need for you to feel guilty anymore. I am moving on now. I am taking CLAT and by the end of Summer I will hopefully get into a reputed Law School. Since you no longer are Professor Saberwal to me and I don't need to pretend to be polite, I can finally say Show yourself out and don't come back."
Anokhi was about to leave when Shaurya yanked her closer to him refusing to let her go and asked her to listen to him calmly for once. "Sorry I assumed you wanted to do MA in Econ. Dad never mentioned your plans and I was pretty sure you would go for it since you are good at it". Anokhi glared at him from the captivity of his arms saying, " I hated Economics. I only did well because I am academically good at every subject. But I wouldn't want to make career out if it. Anyways I would appreciate it now if you let me go. I have nothing more to say." Shaurya in return tightened his grip further and brought her even closer and whispered, "Like you said I am no longer your Professor so I too don't have to pretend politeness and do whatever I want. Don't you think?"
Anokhi stared at him blankly while he was gently leaning in staring into her eyes making Anokhi breathless in anticipation when they heard Savitri Kashyap called out Anokhi and Shaurya for lunch. They both awkwardly broke away with Shaurya muttering some tasteful slangs while Anokhi thanked her Mata Rani from saving herself from muddying the already murky water. They both went to the dining table when Shaurya politely tried to excuse himself saying he was not hungry. Savirti gave a disappointed smile and asked if she could pack some ladoo she made for him. Shaurya blinked hard to prevent himself from getting emotional and said, "I changed my mind. Set my plate. I'll have lunch too." He smiled seeing the delighted look on his Grand parents face who started fawning over him and over loading his plate with food. Savitri said, "Beta, have some Rajma. Anokhi made it with so much love. I am seeing you are not eating enough. How will it do? A growing boy like you should eat properly. See how thin you are looking."
Anokhi gave a sarcastic smile and said, "Nani he is no "growing boy" but a full grown Man way past his marriage age. Also he doesn't like all this home cooked meal. He prefers fancy food from restaurants which he can eat with proper cutlery. He doesn't like dirtying his fingers." Shaurya gave her an annoyed look and said, "I am not in my dosage yet Ms. Bhalla. And trust me I am mentally and physically in my prime. And you don't know this about me but I am a Punjabi Man at heart. I do relish an exquisite Rajma Chawal. Watch." Challenging Anokhi Shuarya destroyed that entire pot slurping and licking his fingers in appreciation making Anokhi feel like she had entered a parallel world as she watched him with fascination.
Devi Lal and Savitri were gushing over their "Sona Munda" when Shan and Astha walked in hand to hand laughing at something and stopped abruptly in the track when they saw the sight on the dining table. Shaurya too awkwardly stood up to move towards wash basin to clean his hands when Anokhi came with hand towel. She smiled at him and said , "I didn't know you loved Rajma Chawal so much. I always thought of you be Caviar Coq au vin kind of guy." Shaurya leaned in and whispered in her ears, "As I had once mentioned it to you earlier. You don't know me and what I am capable of. Yet." He winked at her and went on to hug Shan. He asked about his trip and enquired about the reason for them coming back so soon. Astha let the father son duo to be and served Shan lunch while she and Anokhi too ate in silence.
Shan asked Shaurya, "So Son how is the move to Delhi panning out? What did Tej Bhai Saab say when you told him?" Shaurya looked at Anokhi who gave him a pained accusatory look who had now abruptly left the table with her plate half eaten. Shan gave Astha a puzzled look who just shook her head and asked Shaurya to take Anokhi's plate to her room. Shaurya half acknowledged her firm request and took Anokhi's plate to her room. He saw Anokhi lying down on bed with her face in pillow hiding her tears making him ball up his fist in anger as he moved towards her picking her up like a doll and depositing her on his lap while he gently rubbed away her tears. He brought a small morsel to feed her but she turned her face away in anger refusing to eat and struggled to get off his lap as he had locked her in firmly with one hand on her waist.
He cupped her chin and fed her forcefully like a child while he tried to pacify saying, "Calm down. I can explain. I know what you are thinking and you are wrong. Let me explain. Last year I got a call from the Joint Sec. from Finance Minsitry of GOI. He said the FM and Chief Economic Advisor had been keeping tabs on me since last 3 years after following my work and research articles published in Ecometrica about my module of Free Market in a Middle Income Poverterian Economy. They liked my work and they want me to join them in North Block. I didn't accept that offer at that time. I was unsure. But then last month the Finance Minister herself called me and we had a long discussion at the end of which I agreed to move to Delhi." Anokhi shoved at his chest and got off from him. She patted her eyes dry and said, "Congratulations for this wonderful opportunity. I am glad you got this position and frankly I am relieved that you are not running away to Delhi just to get rid of me. You didn't need to worry about me chasing you now. Anyways I am hoping to get in Bangalore NLU so you don't need to worry on that score."
Shaurya was looking for Anokhi who seemed to be avoiding him, but he was determined to find out the cause of this hide and seek. He saw Reema going to Library and called out for her, "Reema, have you seen Ms. Bhalla around?" to which a confused looking Reema answered fumbling for words and said, "Sir...sir she is unwell. She has gone back to Kapurthala after the last exam yesterday. "
Shaurya looked annoyed and reprimanded Reema, "Ms Kapur, you and Ms. Bhalla needs to get your stories right the next time before you try to fool me. Now out with it." Reema finally revealed the truth to Shaurya who looked mighty pissed at Anokhi and Reema was glad for once she was not on the receiving end of Shaurya Sir's temper. Shaurya kept on playing their last encounter in his head and he wished he could have reacted differently.
"The year is about to end and the exams are approaching. I want to confess something before I lose my courage. You know me well by now. As a student, as a person and may be just as a ward of Astha Mam and Shan Sir. I don't know how you will react or even if you remotely feel the same way...I know it's ethically wrong since you are my teacher and I am your student. It's this fact that has made me keep quite for so long shoving my emotions down in a corner but I can't any longer. I... I love..." expressed Anokhi with Sincerity and honesty shining through her eyes which made Shaurya's heart flutter and he cloaked his emotions and said in a tough voice, "Let me stop you right here Ms. Bhalla and save you from embarrassing yourself. I don't feel the same and never will. And trust me you don't have any feelings for me. It's just a crush. It will pass. I had a crush on my History AP once and now I laugh at myself for having such thoughts. Trust me it's just a phase. It will pass. Now tell me why have you not yet filled the forms for MA here? The last deadline is in 15 days. Make sure you fill that form. Okay? Now pull yourself together and focus on your exams." He gently patted her shoulder in a condescending manner making Anokhi who had unshed tears in her eyes violently shaking his hand off and leaving his cabin before he could see tears in her eyes.
He reached Kapurthala lost in Anokhi's thoughts looking for a way out of the mess he made with her. He had already suspected she liked him but how was he supposed to deal with the fact that she might like him while he loved her. Being in love in your 20s is totally different than being in love in your 30s how is he supposed to explain it to her. She is young and fickle and she might have a huge crush on him but he did love her. How could he be selfish and expect her to love him without letting her explore the whole wide world and experience friendships, relationships and heartbreak to tie her to him and his extended Conservative family? He couldn't do that to her. But what if she really loved you? Are you ready to let her go in this world unguarded without your protection? And what if she really found someone special? Would you be okay with that? Shaurya was grappling with a swamp of emotions and was totally lost to his surrounding when Makkhan short of yelled, "Sir, we are here." He thanked Makkhan and told him to get something for himself while he gathered courage to walk up to that door and press on the bell. "For Anokhi. Do it for her" murmured Shaurya while he pressed the bell for Prof. Astha Shaberwal's place pulling himself together. Shanti Prashad the house help opened the door instantly recognizing him welcoming him warmly and asking what will he have. He denied being hungry knowing the truth that he had skipped breakfast to be here and it was lunch time. He asked for Anokhi. The servant went inside to call Anokhi while a frail looking couple walked into the room, with the wife carrying her husband in a wheelchair. He instantly stood up and looked away in guilt while they smiled at him lovingly. "Nanaji Nanaji, how are you both doing?" asked Shaurya to which Devi Lal Kashyap replied, "I am well Beta. But I am sure you know. Since you every day keep on asking Shaan about our health and what we are upto since he moved in last year with us. However much you pretend you don't care about us or Astha we know deep down you love her and us and care about us. We just hope you come here frequently to visit us. We know you are here for someone else but stay for lunch. It would give this old couple immense joy. Don't worry Shaan and Astha will not be joining us. They are out of town. Anokhi is in her room. Why don't you go in? You'll get the privacy there" saying this the old man was wheeled out of the living room leaving behind a astounded Shaurya gaping seeing the humor in the eyes of the older couple.
He went to Anokhi's room and knocked twice. She didn't answer and so he entered the room with the suspicion of her avoiding him. As soon as he entered the room Anokhi came out of the washroom dripped wet freshly out after a bath with a pink towel wrapped around her torso snuggly with a hint of cleavage on display. He looked stunned seeing her in that state messimerised, breathless with his pulse racing at the speed of a testosterone filled teenager rather than a sophisticated mature Man. Anokhi was speechless too with her tongue tied to the roof not registering her semi naked state shifting from one foot to another with her cheeks flushed in embarrassment. Shaurya snapped out of his trance and looked away, muttering "Sorry. I entered without knocking. You change and come outside on the terrace. We need to talk."Edited by Nomadic_Vibe - 4 days ago
O GOD! She already confessed.😍
He loves her and already admitted that to himself.
Wowww..... And this is soo Shaurya to dismiss it as a crush. He is finally at his mother's place for her.
He is going to take her back and make her his intern ?😀
Wonderful concept. I'm already waiting for next part. Looking forward to read more on Shakhi from you.
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