Aprajita was on the way to the airport. She was catching a flight from Delhi to Goa. It was her first time traveling alone to meet her best friend, Aditi, who studied in Goa. She somehow managed to pull a few strings and convinced her parents that it was alright to travel alone even though she was only 18 years old. But Aprajita’s family was apprehensive. The only reason they agreed to send her for the trip was knowing that Aditi was going to be there.
Aprajita and Aditi go back a long way. They both studied at the same school and have stuck by each other through thick and thin since 1998.
“You need to keep us informed all the time,” said her mother, indirectly giving her a warning.
“Keep your phone charged, I don’t want to hear any excuses,” she continued.
Aprajita being the elder one in the family among her other two sisters, assured them that it would be a fun trip with no hanky panky!
On the way to the airport, Aprajita called her boyfriend, Rahul.
“Hey!!” they both said at the same time, enthusiastically.
“Where are you?” she asked and giggled.
“I’m on the way to the airport,” he replied.
“Great! I’m also on my way. I’ll see you there in about half an hour,” she said and disconnected the call. She always got butterflies in her stomach before meeting the love of her life.
It all started in August 2006 when both families were on a trip to Vaishno Devi by train. Being family friends for long, Rahul and Aprajita never actually interacted with each other. He was much older than her. So, it was usually a formal hi-hello!
Aprajita was young and had just about started college. She has thick long silky hair, big almond eyes, and a sweet smile, giving one a feeling of love and comfort. She was always well dressed and looked her best.
Rahul was 30 years old and was working for IBM. He is a simple down to earth man. He is known for his chivalry and kindness. Although he has a timid smile, he didn’t turn out to be so shy after all.
Both families went for a trip together to Vaishno Devi. But many things changed during their journey. On their way back in the train from Jammu to Delhi being an overnight journey, Aprajita was wide awake like an owl. The gang of friends' chatty banter was never-ending. Rahul was also a part of the gang living the moment. Eventually, each gang member got sleepy and went to their berth to sleep for a couple of hours. Only Rahul and Aprajita were left. They both looked at each other and paused for a moment. Rahul smiled shyly and asked, “do you want to have a cup of tea?”
“Yes! I would love a cup of tea,” she said as she flaunted her thirty-two teeth.
It was 2 am when these two crazy people hopped off the train, got on the platform, and sipped their tea. They finished just in time and bounced back on the train. They both gossiped till 4 am when finally they decided to go back to their seats. But that was not the end of it. The phone texting continued till 6 am. It was the first time these two got down chitchatting.
After a long night of chatting with Aprajita on the train to Vaishno Devi, Rahul realized that he wanted to know her more. He found her to be mesmerizing. There was something about her that just clicked. Even though the two of them were poles apart, something special ignited that night.
It was a new beginning for both of them. After Rahul and Aprajita got back from their trip to Vaishno Devi, neither could stay apart. The next day, Aprajita had gone to college in Noida. After Rahul finished his day at work, he drove from Gurgaon to Noida to meet her for some time. As time passed, they both just had to meet each other now and then.
Months passed. Their relationship became stronger. They both would secretly meet each other, go out for dinner dates, movies, window shopping, and make the most of their time together. Although they both knew that their age gap between the two would be an issue, they both decided to live for the moment. Aprajita knew deep down; they would make it work.
As Aprajita reached the airport, she called Rahul to give him an update. They both bumped into each other at the check-in line after Aprajita had checked in her luggage.
Both of them had some time to spare before catching their light. Rahul suggested that they both catch up on a cup of coffee and enjoy the time they could spend together before he flew out to Bangalore.
“Can’t you come to Goa on your way back from Bangalore?” She lovingly requested.
“No, babe, I have a ton of work back in Delhi. It isn’t going to be possible,” he said as he held her hand to comfort her.
Soon enough, it was time for Aprajita to board the flight to Goa. There was still an hour left before Rahul had to board his flight to Bangalore.
They both hugged goodbye as he kissed her on her cheek and said, “I’ll see you soon!”
Half-heartedly, Aprajita left him standing at the counter as she made her way to the passenger bus to board the flight.
As she boarded the flight, she found her seat and made herself comfortable by the window. She took out her phone to inform her mother and Aditi. She texted them both saying “BOARDED! :)”
Aprajita took out a novel to while away her time.
About 10 minutes later, she was lost in her world and buried her nose in her novel. She heard someone say, “excuse me, you’re in my seat.”
She looked up, and her jaw fell. It was Rahul standing in the aisle smiling ear to ear.
She couldn’t believe her eyes. She jumped out of her seat and gave Rahul a tight hug.
“You have no idea how much this means to me,” she said.
They both sat down and fastened their seatbelts. Aprajita locked her arm in his and rested her head on his broad shoulders.
“What about your important meeting in Bangalore?” She asked curiously.
“Oh! Ummm, that! I can do it all again just to see the look you had on your face,” he said and laughed.
“So you are saying it was all cooked up?” she questioned as her eyes widened.
“Yeah!” he said and laughed some more.
Goa was their first trip together. Aditi was delighted to see both of them. She had planned their entire stay. Starting from where to eat, what to drink, and the best places to visit. They partied till the wee hours of the morning. And since it was their first time in Goa, Aditi insisted they should go for a cruise. They all drank the famous Goan drink, Fenny, for the first time and spent a lot of time under the sun lazing on the beach. Aprajita ended the trip well by getting inked for the first time.
But the good times ended fast as soon they both flew back to Delhi back to their everyday lives living apart.
They both spent two years keeping their relationship a secret from both families. But a time came when they felt it necessary that they needed to know.
In 2008 they broke the news to both families that they both were in a relationship and wanted to move forward. Unfortunately, neither of the families agreed. They never believed that it would work as there was such a vast age difference between them.
There were endless discussions between the parents and the two love birds. Aprajita and Rahul decided to hush things down a bit and wait for everything to sizzle out. They patiently waited for Aprajita to finish college. She also cleared a job interview in her final semester. But the two lovebirds kept meeting now and then. Secretly.
On February 14, they decided to take the plunge and get the ball rolling once again among both families. Aprajita was adamant. She never gave up on her relationship, and neither did Rahul.
As time passed, both families lovingly accepted them. They saw the love in their eyes for each other and believed that it was true. They admitted that age was just a number, and if two people love each other, who are we to stop them?
In December 2010, Aprajita and Rahul took their seven pheras together. They had a beautiful wedding surrounded by all the people they love. In the end, that’s all they ever wanted.
Today, the two of them have been married for almost a decade. Rahul and Aprajita had a beautiful baby boy, Riaan. He is going to turn six and is perpetually up to something or the other. When they look back over the years and all the hurdles they overcame together, they can’t be more grateful to have each other.