Reading Time: 6 minutes

PREJUDICE

In the auditorium. Dr.Ramesh and his colleagues were waiting for Dr.Satish, the enthusiastic young research scientist to join them for the seminar.

“Did you remind Satish about this seminar?”

“Yes. Yesterday I had told him about this. But as usual, he had forgotten. When I called him today after lunch, he was apologetic and told me he would start immediately. That was at 2 p.m. It would take at least two and half hours to reach here, the Colaba terminus from Lonavla. He should be here any moment.”

Dr. Vidya had joined the institute recently just 3 days ago, soon after receiving her doctorate. One of the scientists Dr.Satish occasionally used to go to their laboratory in Lonavla to carry out some experiments. Vidya had heard a lot from her colleagues about Dr.Satish. She was eager to see him.

And just before the seminar started, Dr.Satish arrived. He was exhausted after driving through heavy traffic. Unshaven for three days. hair was unkempt. Vidya was disappointed to see him. She did not expect a person in the office so untidy.

“So, I could make it. Actually, my experiment was in such a state that I could not just leave it to come here. Finally, I started the process and instructed Pandu to monitor it and switch off the incubator after 3 hours. After the seminar, I will have to go back to Lonavla.” Satish explained Dr.Ramesh.

Dr.Ramesh said, “Yes scientist. I can imagine how entangled you must be.

Ok. Now meet Dr.Vidya, who joined us just two days ago.” Moving to Dr.Vidya Ramesh said, “Dr.Vidya, this is Dr. Satish. Sometimes he has to go to our Lonavla lab to carry out some experiments. You can see how involved he is with his experiment.” Vidya smiled and said “Hello.”

Satish responded with a nod. Vidya could not hide her disappointment. Each one took his place when the seminar started,

Satish thought Vidya snobbish. He found her reluctant to exchange a smile.

After the seminar was over, he started back for Lonavla. He said bye to his colleagues but refrained from talking to Vidya. Quickly, he got into the car and started off.

While driving back to Lonavla, Satish thought over Vidya.

“What a lady she is! Did not give even a simple smile to me. Appeared proud. Anyway, I don’t have to do anything with her.” He brushed off his thoughts about her.

Satish entered the lab and started looking at the output of the experiment he had started before going to the seminar.

Dr. Satish was working on the hypothesis of phytochrome that they can sense the far red rays. He was putting a posit that consumption of leaves of certain plants would restore the human ability to detect the far-red frequency by the human optical sensors, the quality which had become defunct during the process of evolution. Satish was very hopeful about his result.

Here, Dr.Vidya was working on the development of a protein that would make the skin transparent. The T-enzyme would make the skin transparent and so a non-invasive method can be used to detect the abnormal behavior of any part of the human body. 

Once Dr.Madhavan had called the young scientist colleagues to dinner at his residence. Vidya alone reached at the right time. Mrs. Madhavan got introduced to her. In a short while, Satish entered the scene. A handsome, attractive Satish impressed Vidya. She could not believe that was the same untidy Satish whom she had resented.  Satish gave a forced smile to her and started talking to Dr.Madhavan.

Vidya joined the conversation but Satish ignored her. Meanwhile, other colleagues arrived. The discussions came in full swing. Vidya tried to talk to Satish. But he did not respond. The gala dinner ended but Vidya could not establish contact with Satish. She was hurt. Satish was happy that he had avenged his insult.

Later Satish had finished his immediate need of experiments at Lonavla. So he started going regularly to Colaba. He was coming across Vidya too often. But both of them kept aloof from each other.

In the tea break, Satish used to find Vidya mingling so well with other colleagues. He could not believe that the same Vidya had behaved so snobbishly with him, had ignored him insultingly in their first meeting.

Dr.Vidya was wondering why this nice, handsome young man kept away from her.

 Days were passing. Satish and Vidya were doing great in their field. But they could not establish communication between them though both of them had got interested in each other.

That day while going through the scientific journal, Satish located a paper that was published in Austria, just the previous day which was pertinent to Vidya’s field. He took a snap of the paper on his mobile and decided to hand it over to her at the tea break. He was happy that he got some opportunity to mend with her.

During the tea break, he waited for her to enter the cafeteria. As soon as he saw her, he approached her. With a smile, he said,” You are working on melanin enzymes, isn’t it? I came across a paper on this published just yesterday, in Austria. I thought it would be of interest to you if you have not seen it already.”

Without looking for further details, she murmured, “I have already seen it.” And went ahead. Satish was deeply hurt. He put his mobile in the pocket and left the cafeteria, dejected.

He swore by not thinking of Vidya anymore. Went to his lab and got involved in his research work of Phytochrome.

After snubbing off Satish so badly, Vidya was very much upset with herself.

“No.No. I should not have behaved so badly. What is wrong with me? He came with a good intention to give some latest information happening in my field and stupid that I am, I brushed him off. How many times have I longed to talk to him? Whenever I saw him, I wished to talk to him, to establish contact with him.  And when he approached me I set him aside?

No. That was the silliest action. I should call him and apologize to him. I must tell him how I miss him if I don’t see him even a day. I want to be in touch with him always. I should admit that I like him. Or I should open up my heart saying I love him. I don’t want to do this in the office. I should do this in privacy. Nobody else should know what I say.

He may be so much hurt that he would not even talk to me. I would plead with him to meet me at some secluded place where I can talk freely with him.

I must do this. As soon as I reach home.” Vidya decided.

Satish left the office much earlier than usual time.

At home, he took up the reclining chair and started thinking over the matter.

“How bad she was! But how could she be so curt? I don’t think she was in her senses. Why is there so much hatred for me? Was I very bad with her at Dr. Madhavan’s place?  Maybe that had hurt her. And still, she is remembering it. I must seek pardon for that.

No. I can’t stay without seeing her in the office. How happy I get when I just see her!

Maybe this is a sign of my being in love with that lady. No. Vidya. Do not go away from me. I should tell her that I love her.”

And the mobile phone rang. He picked up wondering who that must be on the other side.

“Satish, this is Vidya. Please, do not hang up till you listen to me.

I want to apologize to you.” Vidya said in a choked voice.

“What for?” Satish acted as if he has forgotten the incident.

“I know, you are badly hurt. I am extremely sorry for it. Will you apologize to me for my stupid behavior?” Vidya could not utter the words properly.

Satish was happy that he got one more opportunity to express his mind.

“That is okay. I have forgotten that.”

“Really? Are you serious?” Vidya was delighted with this response.

“very serious. How can I prove that?” Satish hinted that he also wanted the same thing.

“Meet me at the Five Gardens, outside the Milan café. After an hour. That is at 7.”

Vidya reeled out whatever she had decided to tell Satish.

“Done. I will be at Milan Café at 7,” Satish said. He was exhilarated. Immediately got ready. Told his mother that he was going to see his friend and might have dinner together.

At 7 sharp, Satish was outside the café. He saw Vidya approaching. When she came closer, Satish said,” On the dot at 7. Nice.”

“Appointments are to keep,” Vidya said smilingly.

“Shall we take around in the park instead of sitting across the table in the café?” Satish suggested.

“Surely.”

They started walking inside the garden.

“So tell me,” Satish said.

“Why don’t you say something.” Vidya was shy to open up the topic.

“But you called me. That means you want to say something important.”

“You said you have forgotten. Have you pardoned me for my stupid behavior?”

“Otherwise, would have I come here? Ok. Let me tell you.

We have been cross with each other every time we interacted. But I know, we had different feelings for each other from within. Let us not look into history. Past is forgotten. Now I would like to tell you. Shall I say straightway?”

“Yes. Please. Let us be frank.” Vidya.

“My liking you is getting into love. In short, I love you. Will you accept me as your life partner?” Satish opened out.

“Oh my God! I also wanted to say the same thing. I am extremely happy. I am thinking of this since I saw you. But I was getting very tense whenever I talked to you. I am extremely sorry for my erratic behavior. I hope you have pardoned me and forgotten everything that misfired between us.”

“Vidya, I told you. We have forgotten our past interaction. And now we will start a new relationship filled with love.” Saying this Satish held her hand with his both hands and squeezed it. “I love you, Vidya.”

“I love you too.” Vidya put her other hand on the clasping hands.

“We will tell our parents today only about our decision. They can meet each other just tomorrow and start the preparations for marriage.” Satish said.

After taking a quick dinner in Milan Café, they departed with the dreams of a wonderful life together.

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