My Noiseless Memories – Chapter 23


Not long ago…

4 Years later…
Zoya was working in Orange County and I was shuttling between Boston, NJ and Connecticut as my work demanded travel. My weekdays were hectic and my weekends were busy with Zoya. During our college graduation day, everyone from our batch made a pact that no matter what happens to us and no matter where we are, every year we would follow the tradition of spending the July long weekend vacation with our friends and their families. It was amazing…

Our parents finally started to understand the gravity of our love as well as our dedication and respect to them. One day, my dad called me to check if I was fine and whether I was taking care of myself. To my surprise he asked me something else…

‘Arjun…’

‘Yes Dad…’

‘Do you really like Zoya?’

I was speechless for few moments. I had never expected him to ask him this…Never! But he did ask and I didn’t know what to say. I took time to sink the question in and then said,

‘Yes Dad…I love her the way I love you and mom…’

‘Do you want to get married to her?’

‘I will not get married to her without you or mom’s consent dad…’

‘Then son, go ahead and marry her. We will travel to America to see our son get married to the woman he loves… I don’t know how long we have left to stay in this world. By stopping you from getting married to a girl whom you love, we are denying our own love. My denial was not because I hated you or the girl. My denial was because of the fear that we went through of what would happen to you or Zoya. I don’t see that anymore. You and Zoya have stood behind each other when it mattered, the most and not for a split second, you disrespected us. I guess I acted pretty hard on you and Zoya. I am sorry…’

couldn’t believe if it was my dad or someone impersonating by dad! ‘Dad…! Is everything ok?’ I asked in surprise…
‘Of course everything is OK you idiot!’ he said and I could hear him laugh loud over phone!

It just took my dad five minutes to drive me down the madness lane.

‘But listen son; will Zoya be happy to see us? After all, we broke her heart when she so pleasingly and desperately begged us…’

‘Of course she would be fine with it dad! Let me get her connected so that you can talk.’

‘No… Wait! An occasion of this magnitude cannot just go unnoticed. Surprise her… Give her a gift and then break the news! Once when you have told her, you can call me. We will talk to her…’

That was incredible news. I surprised Zoya by flying the very afternoon to Orange and broke the news. She was in shock, awe and at the same time, felt a sense of completeness. My dad spoke to her, apologized for his behavior. In return she asked him not to apologize to someone who is younger than her. What impressed him was that, she called him papa right from the time she met them during our graduation day 4 years ago…
My mom, who was already fine with my choice after a couple of years, was really happy that Zoya had picked up some Tamil and Telugu words… But frankly speaking it sounded Chinese to me…  For now, Mission Impossible – Part 1 was over…

After a couple of weeks, I secretly called Zoya’s mom. First she wouldn’t talk to me, not out of hatred but out of fear for Zoya’s dad. I explained her how much it matters to take her daughter as my wife. I promised her that our love for each other was more than religion and national boundaries.

It took the next 3 months for me to first become friends with Zoya’s mother. Then another month went by to showcase my Urdu skills and my love for her daughter. I even spoke broken Urdu to keep her interested in my conversations. She was old; she could sense the desperation in my tone to please her in accepting me as her Son-in-law.

5 Months later…
On a pleasant Sunday evening, I was at Zoya’s apartment and we were having a good time watching the Spurs play. Her phone rang. She took the call. It was her mom… Zoya had not spoken to her mom nor did her mother tried calling her in all these years. They spoke in length for almost 90 minutes. In between the talks, there were usual pauses, inconsolable sobs, surprise chatter and heartfelt laughs. It was reunion after all…

Zoya’s dad didn’t want to talk to her. His ego was hurt but at the same time, he didn’t stop his wife from talking to Zoya or letting Zoya’s mother travel to America to attend our marriage. I tried talking to her dad but he never answered. In a way, Mission Impossible 2 was a partial success…
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