Chapter 4

Written by: Anna Zhigareva

“You got the postcards?” Gaurav didn’t know how ridiculous his words sounded until he saw Mahak bend over in fits of laughter before she once more centred her attention on him, twisting her slender arms around his neck, her long fingers in his hair.

“Yes, I got your postcards,” she murmured, smiling. Gaurav could see the twinkle in her eye which gave away mischief, but also…genuine, utter joy. At seeing him. Gaurav!

“You came to Montana! You found me!”

Mahak giggled, her white teeth glistening as they reflected the indoor light. “Yes, well.” She looked around at the others, all eager observers of the amorous scene unfolding before them. “It wasn’t hard with such friends as you have.” She giggled again and Gaurav wanted ever so much to pull her into a kiss, but kept still, savouring the incredible moment.

He still couldn’t believe it. Couldn’t understand it. Mahak was here. How? Had she loved him all along? Wanted her to focus on her studies? To mature and become his own person before they could build a life together? Millions of questions with no concrete answers raced around Guarav’s mind, finally releasing it of anxious memories of sleepless nights and love-sick letters he had never sent, fearing his own deep words.

“Are we staying here, are we moving? What…?” Words tumbled out of Guarav in crazy bursts of energy and spit, and he worried Mahak would turn around and disappear just as suddenly as she had appeared. He wiped his mouth and tried to smile his most charming smile.

“Silly, we can’t stay here!” Mahak was outright laughing now as she led Guarav to the veranda of the lodge to survey the view unfolding before them. “You have created this beautiful place in such a wonderful land of dreams,” she murmured into his ear as Guarav’s eyes scanned the horizon, letting the rays warm his skin. “But I have my studies to finish at home, and you your family, who is waiting for you to come back the grown man you have become. It was for the sake of giving you this freedom, to realise and accomplish your potential, that I stayed back, focused on my degree. I knew once you fell in love you would not leave me, be it months or years that it took for us both to grow into the people we wanted to become.”

As her breathing settled, her head came to rest on Gaurav’s shoulder and, for a while, they stood like this, arms wrapped around each other, heads tilted together, proudly observing the work Saumya and Gaurav had accomplished, the work Mahak had given Gaurav the opportunity to accomplish…

“What will happen to Saumya now that everything has been done? His contract is at an end…” Mahak’s worried eyes had suddenly turned to Gaurav’s.

But he realised in that moment that his thoughts had been filled by her alone. Gaurav had no answer to give her about the future of their friend.




Hi Anna You picked up Kalli's change in location and gave us a reason to believe in it. I liked the way you described the disbelief and mixed emotions...beautifully done.
Anna, you seem to have read the Indian mind very well. It's all about family most of the time...