Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Mistaken identity

“Oh my god, what have I got myself into” wondered Tanushree. She was going to act like her perfectly identical twin, Anushree to her fiancée, Adithya. Because, Anu had to go to Australia for an important project and Adithya said he would agree for the marriage only after seeing Anu in person and this was the time when he was free. He said it is a life time decision, and it can’t be taken by just seeing the photos and chatting on net and via phone.

Well you may wonder why Tanu has to act like her twin, and they could just say to Adithya that Anu was out of the country, and they could meet after she returns or plan something. You might think this to be an absurd reason, for switching identities for such a crucial thing in ones’ life like marriage. It would lead to fooling the people around them. Well the reason for this decision is that Adithya’s parents did not want Anu to work; they wanted their daughter in law to be a good house wife. But Anu loves her interior deigning work, and she could supplement Adithya’s work as an architect. But they did not agree to it. And they made her leave her job 4 months before marriage.

Well, now you may wonder, that Anu has left her job, now what was this trip to Australia for. Well this was her last project she was assigned 6 months back, and finally the deal had finalized and her company needed her to represent them. So they did not bother to explain the situation to Adithya’s family. When he mailed Anu he was flying down to Chennai from Bangalore she was aleady in Australia. So she had no option but to beg Tanu to act like her, as they were perfect identical twins. Tanu was completely against the idea, and said it was ridiculous that she can’t act like Anu to her fiancée, had she gone nuts. But with so much of persuasion from Anu and her parents, she agreed at last.

Here starts our story…

Tanu was waiting in the lobby of ‘god’s residence’ where Adithya was staying, she was cursing Anu under her breath that she had to pay back her sometime for this embarrassing act they had pulled up. She almost got blasted in her office “day today” where she was working as a journalist, that she couldn’t cover the evening story because she is going home early. She was very nervous to meet Adithya whom she had only seen in the photo and has never even spoke to him or mailed him. This was sounding weird, she had tangled herself into a mess, and now it was difficult to entangle now.

He came down the stairs, in a white T-shirt and jean. He looked….she couldn’t express how he looked in words. She stood there staring at him. He looked even more handsome in person, than the photo. He waved at her with a smile, she didn’t dare move. She was rooted to her place. He came to her and waved before her face
”hey Anu, what’s up”. She coughed back and looked around her. He said “Anu, I’ m talking to you only, are you there in this world”. She finally found her voice “yes, sorry, hi” she stammered. He mocked at her saying “this indeed happened to girls when they see me” and gave a chuckle. She managed to smile. Then he said we could grab a bite and led her to the restaurant.

He asked her whether she felt bad for leaving her job. Tanu was about to say she would never leave her job, just to get married but bit back her tongue just in time and replied “ugh... at times, but it doesn’t matter anymore does it”. They had a wonderful dinner with all the candlelight and all; she felt how lucky Anu was. She wished that the person sitting in front of her was her fiancée and not Anu’s, “oh my god, I mustn’t think like that, then I can never forgive me” she said this without knowing that she did so, and Adithya gave her a puzzled look and asked her “what’s wrong”. She stammered again and said “nothing”. Well a girl would stammer a little if a guy squeezed her hand to assure her everything in this world was right. She than worked her hand out of his grasp. It did feel wonderful to have his hands on hers; she again cursed her not to have such thoughts and reminded her again and again that this was Anu’s fiancée and not hers. She had to work on this thought harder she guessed.

Then she reached home, she recalled the events in the evening, and it was all so pleasant, except for the fact that Adithya said she looked so different in person; she was worried that he would have found out their act. But then she still had 6 more days to go, in which she would be hidden under the identity of Anu. Tanu then sat to do her story for ‘day today’, which her editor wanted on his desk sharp at 9:00 am tomorrow. “Oh my god” she said again, Adithya wanted her to wear the watch that he had sent to her on their birthday to Anu. Anu had taken the watch, what was she supposed to do now. She panicked. There has to be some way, she wondered…

They were meeting for lunch that day at “dhabba express”...

She reached there 5 minutes late. He was waiting for her by the car and went in with her. When he saw that she was not wearing the watch that he brought her, and asked her about it, she replied that the watch needed a change of battery so it was in the watch shop, and she said she was sorry that she couldn’t wear it. He said it was ok. They then talked about nothing much in the next half an hour. He again asked her if she missed her job. Tanu did not know what to reply. He continued saying that it was because of his elder brother’s broken marriage that they did not want a working daughter in law. His brother’s wife was working and had an affair with her boss and left his brother, due to which his parents were against that idea.

Tanu then argued against it saying not all women are like that. When finally Adithya said he was sorry, he did not know that she missed her job so much, he indeed liked her work at the hotel pasha, which was her best according to him. Tanu did not know much about Anu’s work, so she just nodded to all that Adithya was saying. He said infact she and her twin sister were ideal working women, he knew what a good interior designer Anu was and what an eminent journalist Tanu was. He said he had read her articles in the magazine, it was very good. Tanu went on to describe her work in detail. When Adithya caught her off-guard saying that, she knew more about her sister’s work than her own. Tanu gave a stupid grin and covered her mistake of blurting too much about her by saying that, indeed she and her twin shared a great relationship. They knew each other inside out, and had this invisible connection between them.

She then went on to talk about her relationship with her sister so far, and how they switched their identities for an exam, and the fun they had fooling people by switching identities. It was all going good, when suddenly Adithya laughed and said “hopefully you have not switched identities now and fooling me”. Tanu went pale on her face, while Adithya said he was just kidding, he knew they wouldn’t do it. At last Tanu understood he was just joking and not serious. She found her voice.

Adithya called her that evening saying that, he wanted to see both Anu and Tanu together. Tanu said it wasn’t possible, as according to her Tanu had gone to Australia. When Adithya asked her how come the articles she was writing are published in the magazine daily? She replied that this was the 21st century, and Tanu’s articles reach the magazine through mail.

After talking to him, Tanu felt so bad for fooling him. She thought she could say the truth to him, when she asked Anu about it, Anu begged her not to spoil her marriage. So Tanu kept quiet, but she always felt guilty to fool him, and cursed herself.

The act they pulled went smooth for 4 days, then when Adithya and Tanu went to hotel pasha. The hotel manager on seeing Tanu enquired about Anu and how she was doing in Australia. Tanu tried to evade his question, but he was persistent and required an answer. He wanted Anu to visit him for decorating one room. When Tanu tried to tell him, she was Anu and Tanu had gone to Australia, aroused doubts in Adithya. The hotel manager half convinced that he was talking to Anu led her to the room, which needed redecorating. Tanu knew nothing about this redecorating business; she went to the room and embarrassed herself telling all the wrong things. All this time Adithya looked at her confusingly, not understanding what was happening. At last Tanu said she couldn’t concentrate on the job, and pretended she had a headache and said she would leave now, and come back tomorrow.

Adithya left her at home without a word. He wanted sometime to think over what happened in the evening. From the first day, Anu seemed to be a different person, than the one whom he had spoken on phone and the net. Tanu went home worried to the core. She wondered what would happen if Adithya found their little act? Would he break the engagement? She had a severe headache when she hit the beds that night.

When she went to her office the next day, it was only to find out Adithya standing in the lobby. She decided that this was the end. When she reached him, he glared at her. He welcomed her as ‘Anu what a pleasant surprise to find you in your sister’s office’. She pleaded to him, not to say anything now. She asked him to go the car park, and said she would be there in 10 minutes, and then they could go to some place and discuss this issue. He agreed reluctantly, as there was no other option for him.

She got permission for the day off that day, and met him in the car park. He was furious and both of them did not talk till they reached the drive in restaurant. She got down, and he ordered them both coffee, and demanded her for an explanation. Why did they switch identities? Where was Anu now?

She explained everything from the first to him in a calm way, and said she was totally against this idea, but they made her do it for Anu’s sake. And pleaded to him, that this was not Anu’s fault and she understood that he was angry, anyone would be. But asked him to forgive them this time, saying it won’t happen again. Adithya reasoned with her, how she could be so sure, that this won’t happen again. He said Anu had lied to him before marriage and how could he trust her after this. Tanu tried hard to pacify him, saying he could talk this directly to Anu, who would be coming tomorrow, but Adithya said he had made his decision; the marriage would be called off.

At the Airport…

Anu had landed in Chennai. She came down the stairs that was when the blood from her face drained. She saw both Adithya and Tanu waiting for her. She couldn’t read the expression in Tanu’s face. She then thought, maybe she had invited Adithya to receive her, maybe he believed that it was Tanu coming from Australia. And they had come to receive her. She thought she was right when Adithya said “welcome back Tanu”. But was stopped by Tanu’s “please Adithya”. Anu was cofused, she looked from Tanu’s face to Adithya’s face. When finally Adithya turned to her and said “why did you do this Anu”. That was when she could hear her heart beating hard in her ears.

She blinked and said “what are you saying” to Adithya. When he raised a hand and asked her to stop acting, he said her tiny little act did not work out anymore, and he was calling off the marriage and walked off. Anu could not believe her ears, she ran after him saying she had an explanation for all this. While Tanu just slumped back in a chair, muttering to her that this was too much for her act.

Tanu and Anu both reached home. Anu was crying all the way home. She even cursed Tanu that she did not act properly while Tanu thought to herself, this was the most ridiculous thing she had done in her life. They reached home and repeated the news to their parents. They were so worried about Anu and went to console her, leaving Tanu alone. Tanu said to the now empty room in her house “thanks god, you did help me a lot to break Anu’s marriage and now she blames me for that” and she hit the chair with her leg out of frustration and went to her room.

Tanu got up in the middle of the night all sweaty. She had been dreaming about Adithya. She wondered what he was doing now, and regretted she would never meet him again. She then went to sleep with a vow that she will not think about the person who broke her sister’s marriage.

Adithya couldn’t sleep that night. He couldn’t stop dreaming about her. No it was not Anu he was dreaming about, it was Tanu. He always liked her articles and was in fact so happy that he was going to become her brother in law a week back. The world had turned upside down in the past week. That week was the most happiest in his life. He thought it was ridiculous to think of her. He had nothing to do with their family. They had lied to him and fooled him. But deep in his heart, something said it was not Tanu’s fault.

He was going back home the day after, he thought he would see Tanu before he left. Then he decided against it. He will never meet her again in his life. But he very much wanted to meet her. He was thinking what she was doing now.

Tanu was thinking the same. She wanted to meet him before he left. She found no fault in his outburst, only Anu was cursing him. That because of him, he left her job and everything, and now he walks out of the marriage. Tanu did not support him, as each time Anu said this she threw accusing glances at her.

The day Adithya was going to leave Chennai came; Tanu was restless in her office. He was going to leave in 2 hours. She decided she will go and meet him for one last time. And left her office to go to the station, at the same time, Adithya started to go to her office. She reached the station and could not find him. When Adithya reached her office, they said she had gone on half a day’s permission. He went back to the station disappointed.

Tanu seeing him walking dejectedly towards the station, called him excitedly. Adithya hearing his name being called searched the crowd of faces in the station. He finally found the face to which the voice belonged. And gave a silly lop sided grin at her. He approached her. They did not say anything for a few seconds.



They both said at the same time and laughed at it. They were grinning like idiots at each other. Finally Adithya said “so what’s up’. She smiled at him and said she wanted to meet him for one last time and thank him for the wonderful week they had. He asked her if that was the true reason she was here. She did not reply back. He lifted her face towards him and said “do I have to believe that”. She just looked at him; he then suddenly kissed her gently.

At last Tanu pulled back and said that they were in a public place. He laughed and let her go. And then he proposed to her, and asked her to marry him, or else he would become a saint. She laughed and said “definitely Adithya, but on one condition”, Adithya said “shoot that one”. She said she will not leave her job. He laughed and said, he will make sure of that, as he himself was a follower of her writings and articles, and for no reason will she stop writing for the magazine.

They married 4 months later. Anu said she did not mind, and it was her fault and she had again started to work, and she hoped Tanu will be happy with him. Adithya had made his parents accept a working daughter in law.

Thus, there at last I gave a happy ending for the first time….

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