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Playing Cupid

Disclaimer : I'm a huge KPop fan and you will come across names and photographs of KPop idols in most of my stories. They are my muse and inspiration in so many ways. The incidents and characters are fictional and have no resemblance to any K pop idol in any manner.

Maya looked at the clock- 7 o'clock. It's been just 2 hours and she was already exhausted! Mornings are so hectic! From 5.30 to 7.30, she is on her toes- making breakfast, tiffin, lunch and even preparing something for dinner so that she doesn't need to cook at night! Honestly, she didn't like spending too much time in the kitchen.

But was there an option? Not really! She was looking for a good, reliable maid but still hadn't found one.

Meticulous and organised, Maya would chalk out a whole menu for the week and shop accordingly on weekends. A single working mother of twins, she barely had any time for herself. She also had an ailing father to care for.

As she helped her 9 year old daughters to board the bus, she realised that she had about one hour left, office hours being 9-5, she could quickly finish cooking and leave by 8.30. Her office was just a 10 min drive from home.

Dressed in a smart suit for a formal meeting, Maya walked into her office as everyone greeted her. She was the CEO of her own startup company. Being the boss had its perks! She left around 2, just in time to have lunch with her kids and then came back to the office again at 4. At 7 pm, she would lock the office herself and check on the guards. By the time she reached home it was time to have dinner, help the girls with homework and put them to bed.

Maya's father had built this beautiful house where she had spent her entire childhood and now her daughters are growing up in the same house! She was obviously sentimental about the house.

Young and naive, Maya had married Raghav inspite of her father's low opinion of him. When Raghav met his would-be father in law, he came across as a self centred, egoistic male chauvinist. Maya's father didn't like him one bit but for the sake of his beloved daughter, he had agreed to the marriage.

Raghav was a small time businessman and was extremely stingy. Maya was never a luxury loving person but her husband's miserly habits meant that she was living a difficult life. Raghav refused to keep any house help, which meant Maya did all of housework. He would abuse her verbally and physically every time he incurred losses in business! His recurring monetary loss made him an alcoholic and that added to Maya's misery. She was working as a house help in other houses to earn money.

Heavily pregnant and abused, Maya left her husband when he almost attacked her with a broken bottle. The neighbours saved Maya and put her in a taxi. She went back straight to her father.

Maya's father was livid, but all Maya wanted was a divorce from Raghav. Her father had to pay a lot of money to free her from the clutches of her abusive husband who wasn't willing to let her go! Her mother passed away when Maya got divorced. Seeing her pregnant daughter being abused by her husband was too much for her fragile heart; she couldn't bear it. She never saw the twins.

Mr Sharma, Maya's father, was her only support now. He was a doting grandfather to the beautiful little twins. He helped Maya set up her own business and also helped her to gain her lost confidence. He was happy to see his daughter happy!

A lot of eligible men wanted to marry Maya but she was not willing to take any more chances now! She was independent and had her life back on track. Lately she also took over her father's business as he had to be hospitalised for kidney failure. Now he was back home and a full time nurse looked after him.

If only she could find a maid, she would have more time for her father and her daughters! She had engaged a home tutor for her daughters because managing two businesses didn't leave her with much time!

Her father was worried about her. He was old and unwell. What will happen to her after him...? Typically, like all parents, he suggested remarriage, which Maya flatly refused. But he didn't give up and kept his eyes open for the right man to show up.

Today was Mr Sharma's turn for the quarterly check up at the hospital. He never missed it because it gave him an opportunity to leave the house! It's been 1 year since he was stuck at home because of his kidney treatment. He had the choice of getting stuck at home or at the hospital; he chose to be home with his 3 little girls.

As he went inside, he was surprised to see a known face.

Mr Sharma- Hello doctor.... You look so familiar young man. I'm sure we have met before but I'm sorry I can't place you! Blame it on old age!

Doc- Good morning Sir! I'm Dr Arjun. Yes, we have met before. I'm Maya's classmate from school and I attended the wedding.

Doc smiled as he introduced himself and Maya's dad responded with a smile of his own, as he remembered Arjun now! Arjun was in love with Maya and wanted to marry her, but Maya was totally obsessed with that brute Raghav!

Doc- Please lie down Sir. Let me check your BP first and then we will take your weight, followed by blood tests. How is Maya? Last I heard she has 2 little daughters!

Mr Sharma- Yes, two adorable naughty munchkins! Just like she used to be as a kid! Doc, Maya isn't the same anymore.... My princess has forgotten how to smile or to enjoy this one blessed life that we get! She works like a machine! She is divorced now and stays with me. That chauvinistic pig made her life hell!

Dr Arjun listened quietly as his patient rambled on. Maya's plight was indeed painful. He completely sympathised with her father as he broke down in front of Arjun. For the first time in all these years, Mr Sharma let the dam burst. Doc held him steady as quiet sobs could be heard for a long time.

Mr Sharma- I'm so sorry.... It's just that seeing you made me realise what a fool Maya was to have chosen Raghav over you.... I think I should leave now.

Doc- Sir, your blood samples have to be taken as well your ECG etc. If it's not a problem, why don't you stay here for the night? You can inform Maya. I don't think she'd have a problem! I'm here on duty tonight.

Mr Sharma agreed and called up Maya to inform her. However, he didn't mention Arjun at all. He knew Maya will turn up here soon enough. He wanted to see her reaction.

Dr Arjun got busy with his patient Mr Sharma. In about 15 minutes, Maya ran inside the room, looking worried. Doc turned and saw Maya. Both looked stunned as their eyes locked and then looked down, feeling awkward.

Mr Sharma- Maya, it's just for the night. Don't worry I'm fine! Arjun suggested I stay for all the tests and leave in the morning. That way, I meet the doctors with the reports at one go! I should be home before lunch, right Arjun?

Doc smiled and nodded- Right Sir!

Then he looked at Maya and asked about her girls. Maya remembered they were waiting for her at home.

Maya- Thanks Doc, I mean Dr Arjun! I will feed the kids and get back ASAP! Bye Pa!

Mr Sharma- See, that's her life! Shuttling between home and office, looking after her daughters and me! Ignoring herself completely....Arjun, please help me... Talk to her. She has no friends and she really needs to unburden her heart.... Seeing her like this is killing me.... By the way, are you married?

Doc- Errr.... Pardon Sir? No, I'm....busy with the divorce case my wife filed against me.

Mr Sharma- Why? She wasn't happy with a good man like you?

Doc- I probably deserve her dislike, Sir. I'm impotent. I discovered this during our desperate and futile efforts to have a baby. She claims I lied to her and got married. It was an arranged marriage I had agreed to because of my parents. I had no idea about my medical condition. But I can understand how she feels... I don't blame her.... I just wish she wouldn't call me a liar and a fraud!

Mr Sharma- Sorry to hear that... You are like a son to me. I hope things work out for the better soon....

Doc- It's ok Sir. I'm actually relieved.... Now please relax. I will see you after dinner. I'm going home to freshen up and have an early dinner! See you Sir!

His cheery 'bye' couldn't hide the sadness in his eyes.... Mr Sharma called Maya and told her she need not come right away because he wants to sleep. He purposely told her to get him some soup for dinner so that she meets Doc. The sly old man was playing Cupid now!

Maya came at 8 with her little daughters and some soup in a flask. She watched her father being fed by his granddaughters and teared up... Raghav had made her too wary of men. In any case, she had a lot of resposibities and no man would agree to shoulder that! Of course she missed having someone in her life.... It was only natural that she yearned for a companion..

When Dr Arjun walked in to check on Mr Sharma, he was pleasantly surprised to see Maya and her daughters there. He stopped to watch the little girls feeding their grandpa while Maya smiled with tearful eyes. She turned to wipe her eyes and saw Doc at the door. She excused herself and went to the washroom to wash her face. When she came back, the twins were busy impressing Dr Uncle with songs and poems. Doc was smiling and singing along.

Maya's father noticed and called her but somehow the scene made Maya so heartbroken that she ran out of the room, trying to hide her tears from her daughters. The little girls looked so happy and comfortable with Arjun and she felt guilty that they missed having a father... When she had almost given up on life, her father stood by her all the way.... But her daughters would never know what a father is....

Mr Sharma had sent Doc to call Maya back into the room. As Doc followed her, he noticed her crying, hiding behind a pillar. He didn't want to intrude, so he waited for her to cry out her pain... When Maya's sobs subsided, she noticed Arjun.

Doc-Maya, are you ok? I can come back later....

Maya- Arjun, thank you for everything.... Pa really likes you and my daughters are smitten with the handsome Dr Uncle!

Both of them smiled at the mention of the little girls.

Doc- They are really cute! Maya, Your father is very worried about you.... He feels you are too lonely and wishes you find someone to share your life with....

Maya- Did Pa really tell you my entire sob story? This old man won't give up! I hope he didn't ask you to marry me! Not one single man he meets escapes that question!

Doc- No, he didn't ask me to marry you but he did ask me if I was married! I told him I'm in the process of getting divorced.

Maya- Oh, I apologise.... Pa is always trying to play Cupid marrying me off to any random guy he meets! It's not like I haven't thought about it... I have gone for blind dates and been set up by my colleagues and company employees - sometimes openly and sometimes discreetly... But everything screeches to a halt the moment I mention that I have to look after my father and my daughters! The enormity of the responsibility scares them away.... I know Pa is worried and I know my daughters miss having a father... I have tried my best but haven't found anyone who is willing to love me and care for those I love.... If you were single right now, I'd have agreed to your ages old marriage proposal and asked you out....

Arjun smiled shyly and asked," Really? Are you serious? You know you were my first and only love! Don't tease me! I might take it seriously! Maya, I am so tempted to accept.... We aren't kids looking for a fling! I will happily shoulder all your responsibilities.... I love your little girls and I will be a good father to them.... I will take care of Sir like a son....But I feel you should know my present situation.... Do you know my wife filed for divorce because I'm impotent? She called me a liar and a cheater! In a month's time the divorce will be finalised and I will be single. Can you wait till then?

Maya- Arjun, I'm dead serious. When I saw you with my little daughters I felt like you are the one I was looking for... I'm not looking for a fling either... I'm looking for a dad for my girls! Of course having a handsome husband is every woman's dream! Do you want to tell the old man or should I do it?

Doc- Let's keep it secret for now and let him feel happy playing Cupid! Let's wait for the divorce to finalise!

Over the next few weeks, Arjun and Maya met almost everyday, sometimes with the knowledge of her father and sometimes stealthily! Not even once did Mr Sharma suspect anything! However he noticed Maya and Arjun getting closer and also noticed how Arjun doted on his granddaughters! He was happy that finally his match making had worked out! He had always liked Arjun and he liked the young man even more now. He felt at peace... Now he wasn't scared of dying anymore!

Arjun was at the court today, happy that the divorce was finalised. He wished his ex- wife a happy life ahead and called up Maya. She didn't pick up. Maybe she was busy.... So he left a message in the voicemail.

Maya's day was jam packed with client meetings today. She knew Arjun would call but she had missed his calls! She was suddenly nervous about seeing him.... Was it all happening too fast? All this time they purposely didn't cross the line because of the impending divorce and now that hurdle had been crossed. They were so close to the finish line.... Maya was excited and scared at the same time!

She was still thinking hard when the phone rang again. It was Arjun.

Doc- Busy? Finally, I'm free! Let's celebrate at home.... With the entire family! My parents are here too!

Maya- Really? Ok. Your place or mine?

Doc- Mine... 8 pm. Don't forget to bring Pa and my little ladies!

Maya smiled as she hung up. She couldn't wait to start her new life with Arjun!

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