Arzee: An Unusual Love Story

Don’t act too smart, Mr. What’s your good name?”
“Arjun”.

This was the first conservation between the two batchmates, Arjun and Zeenat, who were meeting for the first time in the cafetaria of the training centre. Arjun was taken aback at her retort, he was clueless. He was asking his colleagues whether he had committed a blunder.

A fresh batch of officers had joined the Bank. A group of them was undergoing the induction course lasting for three weeks.

Arjun was by nature a jovial and outgoing person. He was a self-proclaimed poet and entertainer, ready with witty remarks for every occasion. As usual, he made some cryptic remarks about Zeenat, who had just entered the cafetaria.

Zeenat felt offended. She kept herself isolated and very sparingly talked to other batchmates. She used to be seen either alone or with another lady officer, Manisha, but never talked to Arjun again during the entire period of course.

The training came to an end, and all returned to their respective branches. The years went by. After three years, incidentally, both Arjun and Zeenat landed themselves in the same branch at Indore.

Arjun’s eccentricity had increased in the meantime, though his passion for poems and anecdotes remained intact. Once he cultivated fascination for crossword and started putting his mental cogs in motion, fully engrossed in the puzzles of almost all English newspapers throughout the day and night.

By nature, he also enjoyed adventure and accepting and throwing challenges. Once he took leave for one month and left for the Himalayas to have the first-hand experience of life and customs of Naga sadhus, as he had been challenged by a local newspaper to make a cover story on them.

His eccentricity or snobbish attitude at times invited wrath from his seniors in the branch, but he could impress anybody within minutes with his uncanny skill of eloquence. He was the most popular officer of the branch.

Zeenat, on the other hand, was considered the most beautiful girl of the branch, but she continued to remain as reticent as ever. She was unfazed by what Arjun was saying and doing. Nothing impressed her. He was in a different department. She was much too cautious and didn’t mingle with anybody in the branch. She would always look at her own colleagues with suspicion.

Both Arjun and Zeenat were poles apart in their personality and attitudes. The first conversations they had during the first training programme had always remained at the back of their minds.

But destiny holds upper hand. The branch had received the voluminous Audit Report and the irregularities pointed out therein had to be rectified with precision. Being the ones recruited as probationary officers, who were considered to be more ingenious in their approach and language, both of them were jointly assigned this task by the branch head.

The branch people knew that it was going to be a disaster, not only for Arjun and Zeenat, but also for the Audit Report. But a miracle happened.  No bickerings. No fireworks. They did their work silently in unison even by sitting late, and within two weeks, they finalised audit replies to the full satisfaction of the branch head. Ornate shawls and certificates were given to them by the branch head to felicitate their achievements.

But in the process, a relationship was budding and blossoming. They were seen together not only in the office, but also outside. Who knows if Arjun might have wooed her as a part of challenge. True to his name, he hit the proverbial bull’s eye. Both had diametrically opposite interests and personalities. He was like “fire”, while she was as cool as “ice”.

It was surprising as to how such a smart attractive girl with an excessively cautious approach could fall for Arjun, despite the fact that her family was dead against this alliance due to the difference in their religions.

Zeenat, true to her self, wanted to play safe, as she had come to know so much about his maverick ways during their courtship days. She therefore, proposed for live-in relationship initially for a period of six months. She called it “marriage on probation“. It was a bold step and unpalatable in a place like Indore.

In a way, it was a wise step for Zeenat, as she was looking for compatibility issues. Arjun used to wear the same pair of clothes for 3 to 4 days at a stretch. His personal hygiene was not up to the mark. As expected, Arjun readily agreed to her condition, though the protest was from his family too.

But they went ahead. No member from their families came to see them. Rumours about their conjugal life were doing rounds in the bank too, but they remained unfazed. However palpable changes were noticed both in Arjun’s appearance and Zeenat’s behaviour day by day.

And finally after six months, probably after ironing out their differences, they married legally and traditionally too with the blessings of Arjun’s parents. But Zeenat’s family didn’t approve and boycotted their marriage altogether.

It was Arjun’s eloquence and power of conviction that subsequently he met and convinced Zeenat’s parents as to how live-in helped them understand each other better to start a life-long relationship.

And that was true too, as both had changed themselves entirely for a better cause. Both of them subsequently left the Bank’s job and started their own NGOs- Arjun for child education in slum areas and Zeenat for women empowerment promoting women’s sense of self-worth.

Arzee (Ar+Zee) was a live example of how thesis and antithesis got moulded into a synthesis, as conceptualised by German philosopher, Georg Hegel. Craziness at times gives rise to creativity, utterly needed to bring about changes in this world.

–Kaushal Kishore

images: pixabay

22 Comments

  1. Like all your stories, Kaushal, this one is interesting on many counts. The onus is on “Destiny
    holds upper hand.” It would be good to know what happened after, and what was the difference in their religious beliefs, not obvious to a non-Indian reader?
    Thank you.

    Joanna

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m happy that the story has generated interesting in ‘what next’. I’ll share it after sometime. Thank you, Joanna for your thoughtful comment!

      Like

  2. Pingback: 💥Peace & Truth

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