There was no such thing as love at first sight. At least that was what Kalpana had been taught from the cradle. Your parents help you choose the perfect match; you marry him, abide by his wishes and grow to love him. And Kalpana Sen never once thought to think otherwise.
That was until she met Mark Briggs.
“Excuse me, where do I get a glass of that juice you keep sipping on?” she heard the voice and knew the face of the speaker would be as magnetic as the voice.
Despite having prepared for it, she was still blown over by the intensity in those blue eyes. “Ah…Ah, ” she found herself stuttering and was left feeling embarrassed.
“You don’t understand English?” He asked, starting to look embarrassed too.
This quickly healed her tangled tongue. “It is just yogurt spiced with ginger, cloves and turmeric”, she managed to say, at last.
He smiled gleefully. “Oh! How lovely! Such perfect intonation you’ve got, to think I thought you did not understand English, my apologies”. He curtseyed and she was at a loss for words. Without waiting for her reply, he grabbed her elbow, “Let me make it up to you by getting us both more of that, I bet it tastes heavenly”.
And that was how it all started.
Kalpana had never experienced love. She had no examples to learn from. She did not know who to talk to nor what to do, so she avoided passing by his office in the street along the road to her Ma’s spice shop in the market. This was all a new feeling for her and she was confounded.
Tonight, he had invited her to his friend’s wedding feast. She was in a state of anxiety because she so much wanted to go. The only problem was that she could not think of the perfect excuse to leave the house so late at night. Why so late at night? Why couldn’t it have been morning when she could pretend to go to the stall or the corner bookshop?
At the feast, Kalpana was beginning to wish she had not come. There were so many of her papa’s friends in attendance that she had to hide out on the rooftop. The bride was Indian but the groom was English. From rumours flying around, it seemed some members of the Free India Party, to which her father was a prominent member, wanted to cross over to the side of the
English. The bride’s parents were part of this faction.
She was sure if she was seen around and the news got to her papa, she would have more than her secret love to worry about.