“I need some more time….,” said a hesitant Vidya. The infinite rehearsals that she had been having over the past 2 days did not come to her rescue. Nervously she looked at his face.
She could see a flicker of disappointment swiftly passing through Durai Rathinam’s face. A trained politician that Durai was, he suppressed his disappointment in no time and regained his calm. He took a sip from the glass of water, before answering.
“I understand…Take your time. We can meet again…if you think it will help you take a decision….”
It was 9 o’clock on a Saturday night. They were sitting in an open air restaurant in ECR, Chennai. The restaurant had ensured absolute privacy for them. There was no one else in the pool side but the two of them.
After all, Durai was the Finance and Power Minister of Tamil Nadu and the son of the Chief Minister. Everyone was expecting that the CM would soon pass on the mantle to Durai. The restaurant would not like to lose a chance to please him, even if it meant foregoing the week end crowd.
Vidya rose abruptly from her seat indicating her desire to leave. A cool and composed Durai caught her by her hand and gently pushed her back to her seat.
“O..ho…Vidhu…we can finish the dessert and leave. It’s not that some coalition talks have failed and one party is walking out in protest…” He was smiling as if nothing had happened. She cursed herself. He was right. Why did she get up?
She viewed him from the corner of her eyes while tasting the ice cream. He must be around forty; 14-15 years elder to her; tall, dark, well built. For a change he was in T Shirt and jeans which showed him much younger. But for the thinning hair, one would easily put his age at 30.
After the dessert, he led her to the car. A pilot car was leading them and another one was following - the bare minimum security without which the DGP would not allow him to travel. He was driving the car himself. He started talking about his job, its pressures, and his party, frequently asking her views on certain issues. He was normal. She was not.
Durai had proposed to her two days earlier. She was supposed to give an answer that night. Everyone back home was waiting anxiously to hear her decision. Kaveri, her mother wanted her to reject the proposal outright while Chidhambaram, her father had left the decision to her. Younger sister Archana advised her to listen to her heart- a typical Hindi serial kind of advice. Uma, her friend was the vociferous of all; she had been advising Vidya for the past two days to say ‘no’.
Vidya has not been able to decide.
Vidya is a popular anchor in the Mumbai based national news channel, India Times TV. She was very good in academics and Chidambaram had given her the best education. When she wanted to do journalism, he sent her to the Graduate School of Journalism, Berkeley. After passing out from there, she joined the channel as a reporter in 2006. She worked her way up. At 26, she is one of the most watched anchors of electronic media. Her prime time debate, ‘My take’ is a TRP topper. Millions watched the programme to know her take on various issues plaguing the nation.
And here she is, unable to decide on the most important question of her life!