Monday, September 1, 2014

Chasing the Rainbow! - Chapter Three

Chapter One: Pete
Chapter Two: Anagha

Chapter Three: The Past

Pete and Anagha first met at New York University when Pete was there giving a guest lecture on disaster management and Anagha was an attendee. At the end of the lecture as always Pete requested everyone to enroll in the United Nations Volunteer Program and gave his email id for any further clarifications.

Anagha enrolled in the Program and fortunately or unfortunately it was Pete who took her interview.

Pete after flipping over her resume mused, "So why informatics and not something more conventional?"

Anagha took a deep breath and replied, "I love patterns. I love finding patterns in data, analyzing it and watch how miraculously patterns work. 

The thing with patterns is - it is not right or wrong. Like we look at the same stars in the sky and yet see such different things. Still everyone is correct in their perspective. 

It is this love for patterns that has drawn me towards this domain."

While she was narrating this, Pete could see the sparkled passion in her eyes and sense the musical fondness in her voice. She was a completely transformed person when she was talking about patterns. Anyone in the room could have sensed her immense love for patterns. Pete thought to himself, 'Someone who follows their passion....just like me.'

He had made his hiring decision right there but to ensure the interview did not seem too short, he asked a few more questions.

Anagha joined the United Nations as a volunteer and started contributing over the weekends. Everyone around used to call her Ana but Pete always referred her with her full name Anagha.

Anagha and Pete hit off with their relationship in just a month. It was bound to happen, both of them complemented each other too well.

One evening lying on the sofa, Anagha asked Pete, "So what does Pete mean?"

The question baffled Pete because he never thought names have meanings. Looking confused he said, "I don't know, do names really have meaning? What does Anagha mean?"

Anagha looked at him and smiled, "It means 'sinless' or 'without any fault'."

And Pete instantly hugged her, placed a peck on her cheek and beamed, "You are indeed my immaculate girl".

Their courtship had all the moments of love - rose bunches; walks by the water, park and roads; lots of talking and sharing; cooking; reading to each other; date nights; Broadway shows; silent moments; quarrels; teasing; the gifts; in short everything!

The moment of truth arrived when it was time to meet the parents. Anagha met Pete's parents. Bill instantly loved Anagha with her keenness towards urban structures and reality estate business. Linda took some time to understand Anagha completely but post that she never looked back. They were like girlfriends sharing all the gossip and making Pete the target of their incessant teasing. Anagha even cooked an authentic Indian meal for them one day which was enjoyed by all. Pete and Anagha thought everything is falling in place.

Anagha introduced Pete to her parents when they had flown to NY for Anagha's graduation ceremony. Before that they had spoken on phone but this was the big day. This was the moment when things would get momentum or they might just fall apart. Anagha was nervous all time but Pete gave her reassurance that all will be well.

The night of the graduation all of them went out for dinner. Sheetal asked Pete a barrage of questions on UN, humanitarian work, his short stint in Somalia, his approach towards the disaster management and what made him take up this field. In return she also narrated her experiences as a social worker. She mentioned about one of her students from Sirohi Rajasthan who won a scholarship in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi in Social Sciences and how she came back to help other girls of her village post creating a mark as a renowned Social Science Professor. Sheetal spoke of all her students with the fondness of a mother for her favourite child. The dining table was humming with laughter and chuckles.

Mohan found Pete interesting but he had a few doubts in mind and he began his rifle shooting with the first question,

Mohan: "So how long have you known each other?"
Pete: "About a year now."
Mohan: "So you guys think a year is enough to make the decision and take the BIG leap?"
Pete and Anagha: "Yes we think so....."
Mohan: "Have you figured out where will you settle post marriage?"
Pete: "New York"
Anagha: "India"

And that was it! There was complete silence at the table post that and suddenly tension mounted. The dinner got over very soon after that and all went back to their homes having half filled stomachs but over filled minds with thoughts.

After coming home Mohan said to Anagha, "He is a good guy, but don't let anyone clip your wings and pet you in a cage. You are sensible, we will respect your decision."

Anagha did not call or meet Pete till her parents left for India nor did Pete try to call her.

They never imagined that the talk post Anagha's parents leaving would be their last talk. Anagha was ready for a mid way solution where she could stay the initial years of the marriage in NY and then later go back to India with Pete. She wanted to open a NGO in India in partnership with Pete once she had enough money to start up the operations. She wanted Pete to handle the humanitarian aspect while she concentrated on the planning and informatics. But Pete was hell bound on being in New York, not wanting to cut the umbilical cord with the place. He could not fathom a life outside New York.

Things went astray, bonds broke, poetry became venomous and Pete and Anagha went out their separate ways.

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