Chapter 6

Written by: Hemali Ajmera

“Excuse me?”

That a complete stranger would propose such a thing seemed preposterous to Chetna’s middle-class sensibilities. This display of familiarity made her uncomfortable.  

Growing up, Chetna’s highly conservative upbringing had always stood in the way of her establishing even basic communication with a member of the opposite sex. Her parents had always disapproved of her natural inclination to befriend boys. In her teenage years, many neighbourhood boys and classmates had tried to woo and court her but she had always underplayed their interest and suppressed her emotions fearing her parents' reaction. Consequently, masculine company made her feel awkward. Even after being a working woman for many years, that childhood edginess had never really left her. It had taken her a good amount of time and effort to learn to work compatibly with her male colleagues and customers.      

“You know how Delhi taxi drivers are. Your driver has probably picked up a more lucrative fare and driven off. You might have to wait here all night for another ride,” said the charmer in the grey suit. 

Just at that moment, a taxi came to a screeching halt right before the couple. 

The driver leaned forward, rolled down the creaky passenger window and yelled, “Doctor saab?” 

“Yes, yes. That’s me,” said the doctor as he made his way to the back of the taxi to deposit his black leather briefcase in the trunk.  

It was getting dark and the rain had refused to relent. Chetna grew anxious with every passing moment. She did not want to be stuck at the taxi stand in this downpour. She needed to be at her mother’s bedside. She also knew that as the evening passed, the notorious Delhi taxi drivers would demand an exorbitant fare to take her to her destination. 

“Wait, I am coming with you. We can share the tab,” Chetna cried out despite her reservations and shoved her overnight bag in the trunk.     

The stranger quickly opened the passenger door and putting his hand firmly on the small of her back, gently guided her into the taxi. He then walked around and got inside from the other door.  

Chetna had trembled at the warmth of his touch. It was as if a hundred electrical bulbs had suddenly lit up inside her body. She had never felt this way before, not with anyone. Instinctively she blushed as the stranger took his place next to her.      

The stranger seemed to have perceived her flustered state. 

“Sorry, I should have introduced myself first. I am Dr. Ravi Batra, the Director of Batra Hospital. Do you have someone admitted at the hospital?" 

So he was Dr. Batra, the famous cardiac surgeon of Delhi!    

“Yes, my mother. I am going to see her. My name is Chetna, Miss Chetna Iyer.” Why she had inadvertently added the prefix Miss to her name was beyond her.  

“Then we shall get the chance to see each other often,” said the doctor, his eyes lighting up.       



Oh, Hemali, what a fantastic chapter! I loved Chetna's back story explaining her reluctance to be around strange men. And yet when she did accept his offer, you made it sound completely understandable. You have beautifully paved the way for a budding romance. Loved it.
Thank you Rosemary. You kept the mystery man alive and he seemed to please many. So it was natural progression that I brought him to the forefront of the story.
Hemali this is a superb chapter. You hooked me in and I loved the way you introduced Dr. Batra as a calm and assured man. I could see their interaction so clearly. You also gave us back story which gives us another perspective on Chetna. It was totally believable. I liked the way he touched the small of her back and the impression that left. You had me soaking up every word. Fabulous.
How natural it all seems! The story moves on.....