Hello guys!

Hope all are doing well. It’s a very grim and unprecedented situation across the country. None of us are able to free ourselves from the firm iron clutches of the Corona virus! Hoping to lighten everyone’s mood, I have penned a small story. Hope you guys enjoy reading it!

Arpita is a young woman in her 20s working as a software engineer in a large tech company in Bangalore. She stays by herself and leads a totally independent life with no one to control her. Outside of work, she loves to do outdoor activities like swimming, jogging and traveling and loves to watch movies, web series and documentaries. But……she doesn’t have a boyfriend yet. Arpita has been dodging her parents’ request to get married for quite some time. Her mom often asks her, “Kab karoge shadi? Umar beeth jaa raha hai beta.” in a very soft sweet tone so their beti does not get offended. The usual instant reply from Arpita is, “No Mama! Not now.”. The parents then try harder and ask, “Koi Boyfriend hai kya beta?”. And as expected, they get a firm “Nope!” from her. Her parents are aware of all the different matrimonial sites they visit to look for prospective grooms for their daughter. But since Arpita has said she wants to find a partner by herself, they are not suggesting that route for now. Arpita too, is well aware of all the dating apps out there to help find her a boyfriend. When she first started

downloading them, she was amazed by all the choices of potential boyfriends she had at her disposal. She thought to herself, “Awesome! It should be very easy for me to find a boyfriend now!”. Unfortunately, it did not work out so easily. Many months passed by and she still couldn’t find a suitable partner for herself. Though many people were impressive, for some reason or the other, they failed to materialize .In the meantime, the COVID -19 struck and Arpita was forced to move back home and stay with her parents in Chennai. She was instructed by her company to work from home (WFH) for the foreseeable future. Her WFH started quite smoothly with yummy homemade food, lots of sleep and not to mention the daily dosage of corona virus news.

Finally, about a year later, a vaccine for the corona virus was developed and soon people could make appointments to get their shots, colloquially known as “Jabs”. “Jab” appointments first opened to people older than 60 years. Accordingly, Arpita’s parents scheduled their appointments and got both their shots before she even got one. Eventually on one fine day, news broke that people above the age of 18 could now book appointments for their “Jab”. Arpita leapt at the opportunity and booked her appointment for a few days later.

Soon the D-day for her to get her first “Jab” came. Wow! She felt that it was a chance to go outside the house after a really long time. “So what if it was for the vaccine, it is still refreshing to be outdoors after such a long time”, she thought to herself. She chose her favorite jeans and a beautiful tie and dye ethnic fuchsia pink top. She made a ponytail, put on lipstick, gave herself a quick look in the mirror and set off to the hospital. When she arrived at the hospital, she saw a long queue of people ahead of her. Most of them were her age, anxiously waiting for their turn to finally get vaccinated. She also joined the queue to wait for her turn.

“Wow. Such a long queue. ”, a voice said from behind her. She turned back and saw a man standing behind her in the queue. He was smartly dressed and probably in his late twenties. A few minutes passed and then he introduced himself. “Hey! I’m Rahul. What’s your name?” in a gentle voice. Arpita was pleasantly surprised and replied, “My name is Arpita”.. Great , to chat she thought in her mind instead of simply waiting. Now the queue started moving and they slowly started their tete tete. Rahul started the conversation by asking how she liked the WFH concept. She replied “Initially it was a welcome move, but not anymore with a grin in her pretty face. Rahul agreed with her.And they started discussing the pros and cons of WFH. And both apprised each other of the MNC they were working for, as software engineers.Both of them found to be working in Bangalore and had shifted to Chennai due to pandemic. And also they found both were staying in the same area just a few metres away in Bangalore.”This is Amazing Small world !!! “ exclaimed Arpita.So by now they were comfortable with each other and they started asking about each other’s hobbies and interests. Do you watch OTT platforms ?Rahul asked her which she nodded “ yesss”. .As the conversation grew they found that both had the same interest in watching documentaries in OTT. Soon the queue moved and they were given a token. And they were asked to sit in a chair and wait for their turn. The chairs were slightly apart as per COVID PROTOCOL.They got their “JAB” .

After they got their “JAB” both came out and entered a grocery store as they wanted to spend some more time. Arpita bought two bottles of her favourite raw Aloe and orange juice. The shop had a bakery section too with tables and chairs, so they sat and Arpita gave the juice bottle to him and Rahul gave her a cadburys bar which he bought and told “Kuch Meeta Ho Jayein ‘’ with a smile on his face. They could sense some unusual excitement within themselves which was very novel for both of them.Rahul slowly asked Arpita ‘ Are you single? Arpita replied ‘’Yess’’. “Oh” exclaimed Rahul. Arpita posed the same question to him and he replied “Yesss”. Rahul asked Arpita,”Did you ever try finding a suitable alliance/ boyfriend for herself through matrimonial sites?” Arpita nodded her head in denial. To this, Rahul replied saying that once or twice he thought his efforts were going to be fruitful but all in vain. She asked’’ why?” He said because the girls he met had put out false information. He could find out that only after meeting them in person.``Fake to the core “ he said with a grin. Arpita told Rahul that she couldn’t even manage to meet any boy in person as none of the profile fascinated her that much.It was already late, thought Arpita, as she saw the time.Both of them wanted to spend some more time but time constraints they had to say bye to each other.

On the way back home Arpita could feel some ripples in her heart , like pebbles thrown deep into the calm water.” What is happening to me ?” Arpita thought. Rahul too felt the same on his way back home. “Kuch Toh Hua Hai !” He sang to himself in a happy mood like a Movie hero.Love is in the air! Back to their WFH routine time passed. Both started eagerly waiting for the 2nd shot to be taken. Lock down prevented them from meeting in person . The yearning to meet was gradually growing inside them .Arpita successfully registered herself in the same center for the 2nd “JAB” . “Isn’t it awesome?” thought Arpita with a smile on her face as if she had got a Best Entrepreneur Award of the year. With a sparkle in her eyes, Arpita told her parents about the same. Oblivious of anything, her parents were surprised to see her joy to the brim that too for getting a’’JAB”. Distance makes the heart grow fonder was very much applicable to Arpita. So the D-day came. Arpita, this time she decided to wear an ethnic sleeveless orange kurti and a matching palazzo,with big hoops on her ears and a matching sling bag. With a suspense in her mind, and fingers crossed whether she will get to meet Rahul again or not, Arpita reached the center and joined the queue.

The queue started moving. After sometime she could see a familiar face like Rahul ,ahead in the queue.She could not believe her eyes. So, again zoomed and saw to confirm. “LOL” it was Rahul. At once she could feel butterflies in her stomach. What a pleasant surprise to see him in the same place Arpita thought..She requested the person next to her for a second and went to say a hello to Rahul. Rahul on the other hand was busy with his mobile. Suddenly he could feel some familiar voice saying ``Hello” to him from his back. He turned to see Arpita. Dumbstruck , he smiled and asked “So, you also got the slot in this center is it? “ Arpita nodded her head with a blush on her pretty face. .Both of them were very happy to meet each other after a long time. Arpita said “I am at the back of the queue. We will meet after we are done with the “JAB’’ okay” Rahul agreed. Rahul got his “JAB”.done and was eaerly waiting for Arpita . He was wearing jeans and T-shirt with the caption “FOMO” in it. What a coincidence Rahul thought. After sometime Arpita came out .Both of them had a broad smile on their faces.”So nice to see you here today.”Rahul told Arpita. “Same here”replied Arpita in a soft tone. “Whats up?”asked Arpita to Rahul. “All good till now but looks like it’s going to be better from now onwards” he replied. Arpita could understand what he tried to convey and she was delighted.

Rahul asked “So,It calls for celebrations for two reasons , First for us getting “JAB” successfully and second, For our meeting again in the same center, shall we have some snacks and chat?” asked Rahul. “So much to catch up indeed !’’ At once Arpita agreed and pointed to a Chai point nearby and told “Let’s go and have tea” with a smile. Chai point wasn’t crowded, so they could get a cosy corner to sit. Rahul ordered Arpita’s fav VadaPav, Masala chai and a chocolate truffle cake to relish. “We forgot to exchange our numbers last time when we met, “ said Rahul to Arpita. She replied “I wanted to, but , as we were both busy chatting I too forgot to give my number. But after reaching home I realised the mistake “ Rahul replied “ I was remembering you a lot. All these days. Today I was also praying that we should meet “.Arpita replied with a sweet smile “I agree with you. The T-shirt with the caption “FOMO” says it all”. After they were done with the grub, Rahul slowly popped the question to her “ I WANT TO GROW OLD WITH YOU !!! Arpita,elated with joy told “YESSSSSS I too don’t mind growing old with you “ with a grin .Rahul too was in cloud nine to hear the same. Rahul held her hands and both had a hearty laugh.

Both wore masks followed Social distancing but still hearts became fonder!!!