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Moonlight and Chocolates: Chapter 4

On January 26, Republic Day was being celebrated at Arjun's college. After the traditional guest speech and flag hoisting, the college's youth club organized a day-long event. Participants were divided into small groups of 10-12 members. They were given patriotic themes, and each group was tasked with decorating a classroom based on their allotted theme. It was during this activity that Arjun crossed paths with Reena.

Reena, a young woman in her early twenties, wore a white Kurti paired with blue jeans, and an orange stripe adorned her left wrist. As Arjun approached her to share an idea, she recognized him from the list of team members she was leading and asked, "You're Arjun, right? Do you draw?" He nodded in affirmation. "Great! Let's get started then," she said with enthusiasm. Reena explained that their team's theme was the 'Chauri Chaura incident.' The plan was to cut out gun shapes from paper, create paintings that looked like flame, and craft slogans to display on the walls using sheets of paper. She assigned tasks to everyone and actively joined in to help them with the project. Despite her intense focus, Reena didn't smile much that day, leading Arjun to perceive her as somewhat stern and demanding. But little did he know that this initial impression would soon change.

In the following semester, they found themselves attending a class together, and it was then that Arjun discovered Reena's cheerful and pleasant nature. He couldn't help but be drawn to her warm and caring personality, a perfect complement to his friendly disposition. They spent more and more time together during regular classes, breakfast, lunch, coffee breaks, and occasional dinner. The bond between them grew stronger with each passing day.

During one of their conversations before graduation day, Arjun confided in Reena about being adopted and raised by a single mother. He shared how he had learned about his adoption at the age of 10 from his mother and how he had come to terms with it, working hard to make his mother proud. Arjun expressed his unwavering commitment to his mother, stating that she would always be his priority and the most important person wherever he went. He asked Reena to keep this information a secret when they met his mother the next day. Reena listened attentively and promised to cherish and care for his "first lady" throughout their lives, playfully referring to it as their "dirty secret" as Arjun tickled her mischievously.

Later that day, Arjun and his mother, Kiara, were returning home, and he mustered the courage to broach a sensitive subject. "Maa, I've been thinking about Reena. What are your thoughts about her? Do you believe she would be a good fit for our family?"

To Arjun's surprise, Kiara responded without hesitation, "I quite liked her, beta. Why don't you consider bringing her home for a nice meal? Would love to know her more."

After a few days, Arjun decided to invite Reena to his home. A delightful surprise emerged as Kiara and Reena conversed - Reena's father had graduated from the same college as Arjun's late father, Aman. This unexpected connection brought immense joy to both Reena and Kiara. Reena couldn't contain her excitement and couldn't wait to introduce Arjun to her father, who was eager to share this newfound bond. It was evident that Arjun's personality had a captivating charm, which endeared him to Reena's parents. Reena was their only child, so they wholeheartedly welcomed Arjun into their lives, embracing him with open arms. The couple got married in a private ceremony.

Reena was welcomed by her new family with enthusiasm. She redecorated her new house and moved her stuff from the old world to the new small yet affectionate world. "Where should I put this, Maa?" While unpacking her luggage, Reena asked curiously, with a well-decorated but empty cage in hand.

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