On the way from Mumbai to Howrah, Jayanta reserved for a side lower seat in Duronto Express. It was Sunday and he was not at all prepared to leave for his home leaving his girlfriend Suhani. They had been dating each other for the last three years, living together since the previous two. Both of them remained busy at work for the entire week. It was only on Sundays when they could spend their entire day together.
As the train arrived at the station, the announcement assured that it would depart at the scheduled time. The couple hugged each other as tightly as they could. Jayanta kissed Suhani and left to arrange his luggage. Suhani left his hand unwillingly. Jayanta entered the bogie and searched for his seat. It was close to the door. He arranged his luggage and was about to get down when the train left. Helplessly Jayanta stood at the door. Suhani didn't want him to come down. Instead she flew a kiss and waved him as the train gained speed.
Jayanta was depressed. He wanted to take Suhani with him but couldn't. She wasn't ready this time as well. Plus, the plan was made all of a sudden when Jayanta heard about his grandfather's illness. Suhani explained to him that meeting then might put both, her and his family, in an uncomfortable situation. So, it was better for him to meet them alone. Jayanta was deternined to disclose about his love to the family. He sat and watched the trees whiz past as he made plans of facing his family about the affair.
Jayanta wasn't feeling comfortable. He put in his earphones and listened to some music. He wanted to forget about Suhani's gloomy face but it was difficult. He gradually shut his eyes and immersed in the monotone when he heard some noise. It seemed that there was a quarrel going on. He opened his eyes and saw a young lady was having a heated argument with another stout one with big protruberant eyes. He didn't bother much in the beginning but couldn't adjust for long as the noise grew louder. He finally interrupted in the quarrel.
"What's the matter with you two? Why are you shouting?"
The fat lady then narrated the entire incident stating that the other one had removed all her bags to arrange hers under the seat. The young lady who was busy pulling her luggage out, turned around and argued that the stout one was lying. Indeed, she had taken them out to arrange her luggage but she told that she would leave space for her as well. It was she who pushed her to the platform while getting up and again when she was arranging her bags.
She looked beautiful. She had curly hair that covered her entire back. Her dark eyes were engrossing and magical. Although melarto complexion, she had a beautiful figure and face. Jayanta was completely immersed in her beauty for a while. However he gathered himself and assured to solve the problem. He adjusted his luggage along with the two ladies' in order to fit them all. Having done such a big work, he reposed on his seat with the earphones again. The young lass however kept staring at him.
"Excuse me! Do you need something?", asked Jayanta.
"That's my seat", she replied.
"What? No! It's mine. I have my tickets."
"Oh no, I mean I am having the upper berth but I need to sit here so you like it or not, you have to remove your legs."
"Oh, I see! Well I can do that."
No sooner did Jayanta fold his legs, she jumped on the place and stretched hers. Jayanta was quite huffed up by this gesture. However he was preoccupied and hence, avoided to talk.
In some time when everything was normal, she opened her backpack and took out a tiffine box. It had a cake that she offered to Jayanta as well. She had a bright smile on her face.
Jayanta wasn't expecting this and replied, "Is that for me? Seriously!"
"Yes, it is! A peace offering. A token of gratitude...whatever you call it.", she replied.
"Wow, one moment you are crazy and the other you are friendly! Strange personality!"
"Sorry, I freaked out!", she smiled helplessly.
"It's ok!", Jayanta smiled back as he received it. They began chatting. Soon it was discovered that they both live and work at Andheri west. Jayanta was a photographer at the True Shades and she, a fashion designer intern at IFM-IFDT. Being from the same place, they had lots to talk about. It took no time to unearth the fact that they both were Bengalis. She had been returning to home on a vacation. After having some normal discussion, he asked her name.
"It's Sonali. Sonali Hazra."
"Haha. Thanks, what about you?"
"Am Jayanta. Jayanta Mukherjee."
They both smiled at each other. Time flew away like dust. It was night. Dinner was served and they went to bed after a long gossip when all the lights were off. It had been a long time since either of them spoke in their mother tongue. Both of them were relaxed. They had a nice sleep.
The next morning while they were chatting Sonali got a call. All the glamour of her face seemed to vanish after receiving it. She seemed scared and shocked at the same time.
"All good? What has happened?", asked Jayanta.
"I am in a big mess, Man! My parents have been arranging for my marriage! Without informing me!"
"Oh, I see. Why don't you tell them what you want?"
"They would never listen to me. They have been pushing my buttons all these years. It was only this one thing, fashion designing that I was allowed to do at my own will and now they want me to get settled as my course is over! They are strict, conservative and don't want me to work. I have been arguing about this since last year but they have been stubborn, so much that they began searching for my match since last month! Now that they have fixed one, they want me back. They tricked me! Gosh! Am stuck!"
"I must say that you are in a big trouble then."
Sonali began crying. Jayanta felt bad for her. He thought to help her and begun thinking for an idea. After a long time of brainstorming, he came out with a plan.
"You need to find someone who would agree to be your husband for the number of days you are here.", Jayanta whispered.
"What? But who is gonna do that? Who would sacrifice his self for me?", Sonali almost screamed at his words.
"See, that man has to act for a few days, that's it. Do you have any friend at Kolkata?"
"Ok, wait. Let me think.....No. Most of them are with me at my college. Others are all scattered in different parts of India."
"Anybody apart from your college friends?"
"Umm...don't remember any as such."
"Let me think then. You could pay somebody for being your hubby right?"
"Impossible! How can I pay right now? I don't work. I get no salary. Still living on my father's penny."
A long silence grabbed both of them. After a while, Sonali broke the silence and said,"You be my hubby for these few days, What say?"
"What? No no no. That's not possible. Am committed. Plus am already having a headache of my Daadu's (grandfather's) illness. Can't add anything more to that."
Sonali was irritated then.
"Why did you give me such a silly idea then?! I just hoped you would help but it seems you are of no use. They will get me married soon and settled here. All my dreams would come to an end." She began nagging. " Please help Jayanta. I need you. You are my only hope. Please. I swear I would never meet you once I am gone. Neither will I go to your house. Please don't say no. I beg you. Jayanta, please help. Do I need to fall to your feet and ask for this favour?"
"Hey! This is emotional blackmailing. Not fair." Jayanta kept thinking. After a long thought, he couldn't find any answer other than a yes or solution to solve her problem. Jayanta was perplexed and blank as well because it was a big risk that he was going to take. Managing might become difficult but he had been adventurous always. It was a part and parcel of his life. So he gathered his guts and dared to pretend as her hubby for those few days and sought to help her out. A new challenge awaited for the two birds with maybe, a twist in their tale.