After hearing the announcement, Malini started walking towards Gate number 2. She was one of the passengers boarding the Mumbai - London flight. Tall, dusky and sleek, Malini worked for India Daily as a Journalist and was travelling to London to meet her parents. Malini was born and brought up in Tamil Nadu and completed her graduation from Mumbai. Her parents shifted to London to stay with her brother. She landed a job as an intern in India Daily immediately after graduation and was offered a job on permanent basis. A smart South Indian with a dash of intelligence, she was a complete package.
Seated in the airport lounge, Malini was eagerly waiting to board the flight, after all she was seeing her family.
"Excuse me, are you waiting here to board the flight for London?" said a husky voice. Malini looked up and saw this thirty something handsome man standing right in front of her, killer looks and very attractive.
"Yes I am" she said softly.
Ok! said Malini with a bit excitement in her voice. After all he was pretty good looking hunk.
"Hi, I'm Malini. I work as a journalist with Mumbai Daily. I'm visiting my family in London. My parents and my brother are settled there. I'm here due to my job."
"Interesting. Would you like to have some coffee, I'm planning to get one for myself."
"Sure, I'll accompany you." saying this she got up from her seat.
"So how do you like the city? I mean I keep visiting Mumbai quite often, I think its a great place - a city that never sleeps." asked Siddharth.
"I'm living here since the last 5 years. I completed my graduation and then got a job as well.Though I have lived in various cities, I like this place more. It has it a different aura, the people here are working round the clock and being a journalist we too need to be on our toes all the time. I can relate to this place."
"And what about your family? Asked Siddharth with curiosity.
"My parents were living in Tamil Nadu. My dad had a small farming business. We used to grow vegetables and sell it directly to the consumers. My mom helped dad in business. They had over 20 people working in the farm. I was born in Tamil Nadu but completed my schooling from Mussoorie. My brother Rama and I studied in the same school. He headed to London to complete his masters and then found a decent job there. He has been in there since the last five years."
"Sounds very interesting" saying this he ordered for his cappuccino and a latte for her.
"So what do you do Siddharth?
"Im into textile business. I export all over the world...Going to London for a trade exhibition. You seem to be pretty young. Hmmm out of college right?"
"Not exactly, its been one and half years that I'm working now.What about your family, as in wife, kids?"
"Ahhh noo. I'm still single, I live with my parents."
"Oh, I thought you were married. I'm sorry, it was a personal question."
"No. that's fine I am 35 years old and not married, enjoying my life the way it is. I have friends and we party over the weekend, take trips around the world, I work hard, earn big money and live life on my own terms."
"Ok. So your happy to be single and not have any one? Would you be like this all through your life?"
"Yeah may be, may be not. I don't know, not sure. I live in the present moment. Actually I was close to getting married thrice."
"Thrice?" Mailini said surprisingly.
"First time when I was 25, then second time when i was 28 and third time when i was 32."
Malini had a confused look on her face. "Interesting I'm curious to know what happened all the three times only if you wouldn't mind."
"Absolutely not. Its a long story." Siddhartha was pretty relaxed and didn't mind at all sharing this with Malini.
"I wanna hear." she said.
"Ok, we still have some time and our flight has not yet landed." saying this they picked up their coffee cups and headed back to their seat.
"The first girl was my college sweetheart. I was marrying the love of my life. We were great friends, fell in love and decided to marry. However just a week prior to our marriage, I decided I didn't want let go off this freedom....freedom of being single and thought I to myself that I was just 25 years old and wasn't prepared to take on this responsibility. I started feeling awkward, restless and weird, like I'm not ready for it. I know it was my fault of saying yes to marriage at first. I thought that its the girl I know and things would be the same but then I realized that I didn't want to get committed so soon and hence called off the wedding."
"What about the girl?" asked Malini.
"Well I just apologized and moved out, didn't see her ever again! I know that was very rude but didn't have the courage to face and say anything to her. I knew it was my fault." he sounded pretty cool.
"Ok..What about the second time?"
"I was 28 then. My parents were trying to convince me for marriage. My mum had seen a girl of her choice and I liked her. We spent time together, got to know each other and then I thought that she was the one for me. I said yes after few weeks and then we got engaged. Just few days after the engagement I again got the same feeling which I had experienced during my earlier breakup - of being COMMITTED, RESPONSIBILITY, NO FREEDOM and I felt like this whole thing was a burden. I instantly called off the engagement and explained to my parents I wasn't ready yet."
"Are you kidding me, you called off your marriage twice because you thought you were not ready and didn't want to get committed to anyone?" Malini was shocked and not so convinced with the act.
"Yes, I was happy with many girls around, dating, flirting, enjoying my life the way I want and living on my own terms but didn't want that life long commitment with one girl."
"Ok and the third time?" the conversation was getting intense.
"Hahaha..well I turned 32 and my parents were emotionally blackmailing me. Dad warned me that he would kick me out of the house and business and I needed to settle down as soon as possible. In spite of making them understand and telling them that I was not ready, they didn't seem to budge. This time they just fixed my marriage, I told her that I wasn't interested and loved my bachelorhood. I didn't want to let go off this freedom.Well after hearing about my past and two marriage breakups that girl immediately said no and I was saved again. My parents stopped pestering me after this incident and I'm living a peaceful life."
Malini was not so impressed after listening to this."Do you feel happy about doing all this and hurting your parents emotions?"
"See I'm not hurting anyone, neither I'm cheating on any one. I have made it very clear to them, that unless and until I don't feel comfortable or I'm ready for marriage, I will not take this step. I want to be 2000 percent sure before being committed."
"I have seen so many marriages breaking-off, relationship ending on petty issues, what sense does that make? You promise to be there for each other and then everything is over within no time. I don't wanna got through all this. I'm happy the way I am. I'm not hurting anyone's feelings, just living the way I want to."
In the mean time there was an announcement. 'All passengers flying to London via flight AI506 are requested to head towards Gate number 2."
Siddharth got up. "I think we must get going otherwise we will miss this flight."
Malini was mum, she didn't know what to say or react. Though Siddharth was way elder to her, she had a right to voice her opinion.
"Ok Siddharth, lets finish the security checks and board the flight we shall speak later."
Saying this both of them headed towards security counter.
Siddharth was travelling in business class and Malini in economy. She was thinking what Siddharth spoke to her. She thought may be he was scared or has some kind of marriage phobia or may be he is really not interested to settle down in life. He is scared of something and there's something that pulls him back from being into a relationship and that something was none other than COMMITMENT. Yes, he is afraid of being committed to one person all his life. He is giving all false excuses for not marrying. At the end he doesn't want to take up any responsibility or be in this institution called marriage. But if you ponder over to what he says, he could be right or may be wrong.
But why was Malini bothered so much. She barely knew him, its his life let him live the way he wishes. She shut her mind and tried to sleep.
"Excuse me Ma'am" said the air hostess. "Our passenger from the business class wants to have a word with you."Mailini knew it was Siddharth. "Ma'am could you please head this way."
She got up and walked towards the business class area.
"Hey pretty lady, didn't you sleep yet?"
"No, I was trying to but couldn't." said Malini. "But how did you mange to get me her?"
"See around, we are just two here in business class. So I requested the air hostess and told her that you were my long lost friend and we were meeting after ages. She agreed to let you in but only for some time."
"Ok. Looks like you have a good rapport with the air hostesses." Malini chuckled.
"Siddharth I was thinking about you, I mean about what you shared some time back. I'm not sure how correct you are but this is just my opinion. Settling down and having a family is the best thing ever. You have some one to be with to at the end of the day, some one to take care of you. When you are in trouble its this one person that stands by you, when you need love, its this one person that loves you till eternity and when you fall down, its this one person that lifts you. Think about the time when you grow old, you will be all alone, you will have no one by your side then, no parents no family, no relatives and no friends. You will live alone and die alone. Your friends are not going be there all through your life. Each one has his/her own priority, at some point in life, they all will go their way. This could happen 5 years down the line or even 15 years down the line. But nothing is permanent in life. Remember being committed doesn't mean you will lose your freedom. It gives an assurance to the girl that you are her's forever. She will give you space and time to do things you want in life. You can off course party even after marriage no one will stop you but the loneliness will haunt you during your end days. I'm no one to say anything or judge you, you may be right in your way, its your feeling and your thinking but if you flip the coin and think over what I'm saying probably you might understand. Having some who will love you unconditionally is the best gift. Probably you have never fallen in love at all. Give it a try, may be something might just change your life forever. I think I should leave now and go back to my seat. Good night."
As Malini got up to leave, Siddharth called out to her "Hey Malini, you seem to be very mature eh! I can buy your point but I need some time to think over it."
"Can we catch up in London?"