Drama Fiction Romance

“Hello Darling! The swimming pool is calling us. Come on Let us go.”

Raman gave a call to Vinaya. She too responded.

“Yes, my dear. Just a minute.” She was out there with her swimming costume and accessories, like headcap, eyewear glasses, change of dresses and minimum make-up kits all tucked in a bag. She joined him, clenching his fingers into hers. There was a small sprint in her stylish steps showing off her ecstatic mood.

Raman too had his bag filled with his requirements. At the swimming pool there were some easy cosy reclining chairs --- a few occupied and many vacant. The sweet couple dropped their baggage and plunged into the water. A few strokes of neat swimming, then followed by different styles, including butterfly stroke, swift stroke, underwater submarine stroke. Call it any name for their strokes, they enjoyed their time in water, often criss-crossing each other and at times clashing and occasionally chasing each other.

An onlooker on the banks of the pool suddenly asked,

“Why don’t you have a race? Both of you are swimming well.”

Raman wanted to try. But Vinaya whispered to him.

“He must be from the Organizing Committee. He wants that we should split and get divided. Don’t pay heed.”

She told the man “Yes. Yes. We both will do it together and break records if anything is already set. Any idea about fastest swimmer’s timing?”  Raman also echoed. “This swimming pool was already in the Sports Club’s list of approved ones. They must be having some record for reaching end to end at minimum interval. We both don’t claim to be sport personalities. So surely it will be a fun to aim for record speed of swimming.” He turned to her and quipped, “Isn’t it dear?”

The onlooking man wen away without a word. The romantic couple in the pool dipped down and moved along creating ripples and splashes for some more time. They came up, had a shower, then dressed up and headed towards banquet hall. Already a bunch of couples were seated here and there. The hall was yet to be filled up. Raman gazed around at other couples. It appeared many of them were trying to over-react by clinging to each other, cajoling and caressing. Afterall he too was quite similar to them till a while ago, as far as attitude was concerned. One thing. He was aware that very overdoing of an action would dispense the act of doing that particular deed. Slowly the hall got filled up.

Meantime the panel of judges came and occupied their seats on the dais. As a mark of respect, all contestants stood and then sat down. The onlooker at the swimming pool was indeed the man of the Organizing Committee. He came to the podium and started the proceedings. After the welcome address and formal introduction, he spoke about his company which had organised the show. In order to be unique and entertaining, this time his company chose to have a different type of contest. Usually a fashion show, a talent-hunt show in music or dance, quiz show and even game show were all conducted earlier. Of course, they were all well received and very well responded. But they did not want to repeat the same event show again.

The Committee man, the Secretary continued. “This time we wanted to be unique. We wanted to select a romantic couple and grade them and recognise them as highly romantic. The contestants were housed in this resort at our cost and we kept watching them without their knowledge.” Some one from the audience muttered “Big(g) Boss”.  

Secretary acknowledged, “Yes similar to that. As you had already noticed, there were quite a few rounds. The couple’s visible closeness alone was not the only criteria. Their adjusting capacity, intensity of warmth expressed, verbal conversations, their attire attitude and expressions in as many ways as possible, all in all, a mix of many. We had broadly grouped them in five categories and given marks for each category. Our esteemed judges had gracefully completed their evaluations. They will be announcing the result in a while.”

Secretary went back to adorn his seat. The hall was filled an eerie silence as the contestants were eagerly waiting for the result. Needless to say, that every single pair was very-very confident of themselves as winning the coveted the prize. Only one prize and no runner up either. After a few minutes of mutual debate and discussions, the judges got settled. One of them holding a paper, rose and came to the podium. People thought he would read out and announce the name. Instead he chose to speak on varied topics --- usefulness of media, some channels airing on TV only certain type of entertainment programmes, rubbish slap-stick comedies, bizarre advertisements, broadcasters’ concern for TRP rating etcetera. The audience almost lost their interest in listening to his boring lecture and lost their grip. They were gossiping and chitchatting to themselves. Suddenly they were startled to get announcement of winners. When they eagerly waiting for it, it was not announced. But when they turned aside and did not pay attention, it was announced.

Raman and Vinaya were declared as the best romantic couple! They stood up. They were asked to come to dais. As they proceeded, a single clap at first and then followed by innumerable thunderous claps was hitting in the air. They jogged and hopped on to the dais and waved the cheering the crowd thereby acknowledging their wide applause. The Secretary too joined the couple. A waiter came up there with two garlands.

The Secretary wanted the couple to exchange their garlands in front of the audience which he thought would be a climax of their romantic courtship. But Vinaya refused gently. So did Raman. Secretary had to be satisfied with just offering the garlands individually. Vinaya said exchange of garlands amounted to solemnizing a marriage which should take place not in a resort and certainly not in front of some unknown couples. A holy event supposed to be performed in front of holy fire with chanting of hymns and prayers amidst close relatives and friends with kith and kin should not be degraded to a mere exchange of garlands amidst claps from unknown onlookers. Seeking blessings from parents and relatives mattered most.  

The final program of the event was the prize money to be given away to the winners. The senior man from judges was ready with the money bag and asked if they had any objection in receiving it collectively. Both happily and eagerly collected their coveted prize money. He jokingly commented, “United you stood and romanced and got the prize. Now that the job done, don’t start quarrelling.”

Raman nodded his head approvingly. “I am open to all advices. Will follow your tips.”

Like all good things have to come to an end, their stay in the resort, courtship, romance, were to come to an end. It was time to wind up and get going. Vinaya and Raman decided to share the prize money 50-50. While giving Vinaya her share, Raman said, ‘If there in any development in next three months, call it ‘Supriya’. He expected that she would react and say why Supriya and why not ‘Saket’. But Vinaya looked at him with a blank stare and said, “If there is any development then call it VD”.

She heard him call out, “What!” and he fainted.

She sprinkled water on him and consoled. “When we did not have any intimate relationship, you coolly imagined I would conceive Supriya and such a sudden news would terrify me. But, you silly friend, couldn’t you think on same lines that you too cannot contract VD without any intimate relationship between us?”

She kept her sermons going on. “Do you know? I was sent here by my husband to ward off my depression. I must admit that this contest helped me to retain me in my full form and you kept me well entertained. Others may call it flirting. But we both knew it was just enacting. Thank you, my friend. Thanks a lot for a good time-pass.”

They parted and went back to their respective homes. Her husband was waiting there to receive her. A renewed and revived wife. As soon as she got settled, he slowly whispered into her ears, “Congrats my dear! For getting the prize. Where is the grand prizemoney?” On hearing these words from him, she fainted. It was her turn to faint. Least she expected that he would be aware of what happened at the resort. He consoled her. Then unfolded the mystery. The entire programme was shown on the TV – particularly the Award ceremony. So, there was no surprise element left for him.

Regarding the prize money she said, “Entire money is with me only and my co-partner in the romance drama wants that it must be spent on our daughter who is now under treatment for autism. He being a doctor by profession, will be coming soon to see you in person.”

She did not realise why her husband was suddenly so silent.

He fainted. It was his turn.

It was beyond his imaginations that a guy would give up totally all the amount he received as a prize and on top would pay a visit to meet the friend and her husband. What an open hearted and a broad-minded fellow!

It still rains because of such kind hearted people. Heavenly showers on blessed people. Both husband and wife wanted to say in chorus and they did say in one tone.

Hail friendship! Hail humanity!                                     

November 13, 2020 19:04

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