He sat at his desk, looking at his computer and muttering to himself. Doing the same work day after day for years now, was not fun. Especially not if he got blamed by almost everyone for just doing his work.
Hope came floating down the clouds to his desk. "Yo Fate, Wassup dude?"
"Hope, nobody speaks like that anymore. I wish you would stop watching old teen movies from the 80s and then talking like them!"
"Oh come on Fate! Don't be such sour puss."
"You are one to talk Hope! You got it so easy. All you have to do is go to people when they are depressed and just promise them good things in the future! I am the one that has to make things happen according to this big fat book of rules! You think that's easy?"
"Take a chill pill dude" said Hope before floating away to find someone cheerier to talk with.
Fate rolled his eyes and opened the huge book. "14th September, 14 September", he hummed trying to get to that page, flipping furiously. He put on his bifocal glasses and peered down at the first entry.
"Make Sandhya Krishnamoorthy meet Mark Danial Raj so that they can fall in love and get married." His first reaction was one of relief. It was no fun starting the day with making someone fall in the bathroom and break their leg and hearing the entire household curse him the entire day. Making people meet was much more pleasant.
He quickly looked up their stats on his computer. He sighed with relief on knowing that they both lived in Chennai. At least he didn't have to hijack planes and cause train breakdowns to make them meet. Yeah Fate liked this sort of work better. Unfortunately, he wasn't a romantic, so he made soul-mates meet at the line to the restroom, at the auto stand where he was haggling with the auto driver for 5 rupees, or in the early morning when she didn't have her makeup on. So when people tell you that they met when they were reaching out for the same program guide at a concert or when they were both enjoying an early morning swim, you know they are lying sometimes.
Fate's first instinct was to make them meet at a temple before they left to work, but then he remembered that Mark wouldn't want to do that. He then looked up more details about both of them. Sandhya worked as a software engineer in one of the big MNCs in Sholinganallur and he was into sales and moved all over the city. This is easy peasy, Fate thought. He would just make Mark go to Sholinganallur on work and he could bump into Sandhya when they both go to the same restaurant for lunch. Maybe he could spill some coffee on her or something. He started tapping on his computer to set that event into motion.
To say Mark was irritated was an understatement. He had been with his company for a longish time and he had a set of fixed clients. Today his boss had been adamant that he go to this company in Sholinganallur and give a sales pitch. He had been to that company many times before and they had expressed no interest whatsoever in buying anything. He didn't understand what had changed for him to go and try again. His boss must be getting senile, he decided. To top his misery, his bike had been with the mechanic for the past 2 days and he had to use a call taxi to make his rounds.
"Pradeepakanth Down Down" Mark was jolted out of his reverie. He noticed that the taxi had stopped and there seemed to be a huge crowd with pickets and signs blocking the road. He got down from the taxi trying to see what was happening. Pradeepakanth was a leading star of Thamizh cinema who couldn't act to save his life. His movies always had heroines who were half his age and most of them were Bollywood rejects. And for his latest venture, which was to be a huge budget colossal one, he had managed to convince a leading Bollywood actress (after whom he had been lusting for almost 7 years) to act with him. Now these people were protesting that he doesn't encourage Thamizh actresses and were blocking the road until he changes his heroine.
"Saar, these people will not let us pass. Let us take a U Turn when we can and get back into the city. Otherwise we will be stuck here forever." Mark agreed with the cab driver and they turned back into the city.
Fate's face crumpled. He hadn’t accounted for dharnas and for Indians' talent of protesting anything and everything. He had wasted half a day because of this. Maybe he could have them both eat some roadside pani puris and then have diarrhea and meet at the hospital. (Like I said, practical but hardly romantic) But then, if one is writhing in stomach pain, one would hardly be disposed to conversation with strangers. Then a (figurative) light bulb light up over Fate's head and he started typing furiously on his computer.
Sandhya received a call from reception "Ma'am there is a flower bouquet for you." She was surprised; no-one she knew would ever send her flowers. When she went to the Reception desk, there was a glorious bunch of flowers - lilies, carnations, gerberas, roses all arranged beautifully. She took it to her desk and examined it. It came with a card that said "From your admirer M" and a cell number following it. Sandhya smiled and picked up her phone.
"Dei* Mahesh, I know it's you who sent me flowers!" Mahesh was her cousin who was 2 years younger and was one of her best friends. He had a misguided sense of humor and had tried to pull her leg on various occasions. Once he had his friend call her cell and pretend to be her boyfriend. Unfortunately she got scared and gave the phone to her father and much confusion had ensued. She found it hard to believe that a third year engineering college student had so much money to blow on a prank, but who else could it be? She smiled at the thought that, she hadn't fallen for his prank this time. She crumpled the card and threw it away, convinced that the number belonged to one of his friends.
Fate threw his hands up in despair. He was angry with all the Maheshs of the world whose sole purpose of existence was to thwart his plans. He mentally made a note to submit a written request (in triplicate no less!) requesting that Cupid take care of such matters in the future. Most people credit such things to Cupid anyway and only take Fate's name when something bad happens.
He chewed on the back of his pencil, thinking of some sure shot plan for them to meet. Then it dawned on
This was a Friday and that they both might seek some form of entertainment that night. He dug into both their Orkut profiles and learned that they were both kamal Hassan fans. A quick check of the Satyam Cinemas website showed that there was a new Kamal Hassan movie that they both hadn't seen. Fate smiled gleefully and tapped out some instructions.
Mark's cell phone rang cheerily and even vibrated for an added effect. "Machan**, do you want to catch Unnaipol Oruvan tonight at Satyam?" Mark gave his assent almost immediately, he was always ready to watch Thalaivar's movies!
Sandhya got a text message from her best friend "i m bukin tics 4 unaipol oruvan, u in?" and she replied in the affirmative too.
Fate was happy with what he had done so far. Now all he had to do is make sure Mark's friend bought 2 extra tickets and Sandhya's friend be unable to get tickets. This way she could buy the extra tickets from Mark and they could sit next to each other.
Mark's friend got off from work early and surprisingly his boss didn't have anything snarky to say. Thanking Luck (and not Fate), he zipped off to Satyam to book tickets. But when he went there he saw a huge red "Houseful" board for Unnaipol Oruvan. Fate was surprised. He didn't know that Kamal Hassan's movie was a big hit (considering that in the past, Thamizh people never had good taste and preferred no-brainer masala movies over intelligent meaningful cinema) All was not lost though, he remembered Luck owed him bigtime and thought this was a good time to spend his favor chips. He went to find Luck and persuaded him to get Mark's friend some good tickets for the movie.
Sandhya's friend Preeta stormed into Satyam in an auto one hour before the movie was supposed to begin. She surveyed the "Houseful" sign and thought about what to do. She had spent her first twelve years in Delhi and fancied herself to be half-Hindi (much to the amusement of many people whose real mother-tongue was Hindi) She had a propensity towards "Indhi" movies and looked longingly at the poster of "What's Your Rashee?" She resolutely stood in line to get tickets for that movie and assumed Sandhya would understand.
Fate was trembling in his seat now. Not only did he have just 4 hours to make them meet, he had also wasted the favor that Luck had owed him by getting tickets for Mark. As he was contemplating his options, Preeta had an inkling of doubt. She knew Sandhya loved Kamal Hassan and might not be pleasantly surprised when she got here and found she was watching a different movie. She whipped out her phone and called Sandhya. "Hey tickets for UPO is sold out, want to catch a Hindi movie instead?" She was greeted by loud vociferous expletives from the other end and she discreetly moved out of the line to get tickets. Mark's friend saw her and finding a way to flirt legally, approached her and said he had some extra tickets to UPO. (Although he didn't have 2 extra tickets technically, as 2 other friends were now on their way to Satyam after he called and invited them saying he had 2 extra tickets. Yeah he had never heard of "Bros before hos") Preeta fluttered her eyelashes and happily accepted.
Soon the curtain fell and everyone was seated. Sandhya smiled at the clean cut young man sitting next to her and Mark was thrilled that the pretty girl sitting next to him was smiling at him. Fate heaved a big sigh of relief!
After a year, the wedding reception of sandhya and Mark was happening at the Grand Ballroom of GRT Grand Days. They both stood at the dias, greeting their guests and smiling for pictures. A friend who had come upto to the dias to give them his gift, asked "So how did you guys meet?" to make small talk. Sandhya gushed and said "Oh it was just a simple twist of Fate actually!"
Far above the earth, Fate started laughing hysterically at the irony!
* - Sorta translates to "Hey you guy"
** - When translated, it means brother in law. But for unknown reasons, it's a term of endearment among Thamizh males