You know I’ve always thought July was the most significant month of the year for me – but it turns out that so is March. When I think back over the past few years, Mi, I realize that so many life-changing events were triggered in March, then crystallized into the new beginning around July.

Do you remember that day in March 1987 – when life had reached an absolutely miserable phase for us? Grandma passed away in the end of January and by the time all the rituals were done, and the last of our house guests had left, we were well into February. We were going about our jobs, you at your school and me at the advertising agency with no idea of what to do next. All I knew was I was meant for more – but I had absolutely no inkling of what that “more” was.

That was when we had a new recruit at work – and much to my annoyance, I was assigned as his assistant. As I grappled with the pressures of work – this guy had a penchant for staying late – I also struggled with my evening classes at the ICSI. I would return home at 10 pm – and then would face the daily tirade – that included some mild character assassination. Each night, as we huddled in bed, tired and sad, and sometimes hungry, we’d assure each other that something would happen that would change our life – transform our life. With all the talk of getting me “married off to a suitable boy”,  the future looked bleak. The last time the family had “arranged” for a 40-year old to come and “see” me, what a disaster that was!

As if all this weren’t enough, we’d have the additional madness of being summoned to “their” house every other day. To be humiliated, used. Talk about the final straw!

Funnily enough, this guy at the office turned out to be quite nice and we worked well together. We got into the habit of a coffee together before we left for the day.  We became friends.

So when he suggested we went out for a movie after work on a Saturday afternoon – I pretty much looked forward to it.

And that afternoon was probably one of the best I’ve ever spent. We went for a movie – I remember it was “Against all odds“. We eagerly waited for the Phil Collins song and were totally cheesed off that the title song only came with the titles. Laughing our heads off, we went to Grand Sweets, which was next door to the theater and ate jalebis. He also wanted to buy some sweets as he was going home the next day.

We then took a leisurely stroll along the main road, stopping at a supermarket. I recall I bought moisturizer…and he added a huge bar of chocolate to it, saying I deserved it.

Then, we decided we needed a coffee and headed to the cafe. We had two fabulous mugs of coffee. Suddenly I saw him looking very uncharacteristically nervous – and he said he had something to ask me. I had no idea that the question I was about to hear would directly transport me to Cloud 9.

He asked me the one question I wanted to hear.

He asked if I would like to be transferred to Hyderabad.

I can’t tell you how I felt!

I hugged the question.

I savored it.

Optimism wove a web around me and held me in its grip.

The possibilities!

Then doubt crept in – would I have to go alone? I asked him. He said, “Your Mom would go with you, right?”

Oh, Mi – suddenly the Madras sun shone brighter. I almost felt like Superwoman.

There was the answer to our prayers every night after Grandma passed away.

He said the position at the new branch would be open in July. Which gave us three months to move. Perfect! It gave us enough time to look for housing.

Even today, when I think of what I could have missed had I made an excuse to opt out of that movie, I shudder.

It was perhaps the best #together ever. A lovely afternoon followed by great news. It changed our lives forever.

The next three months were filled with so many secret happy moments as we treasured the thought of moving. The trips to Hyderabad before we actually moved were such fun – staying with T and house-hunting together and – the thought of living in the same city again and meeting every day – awesome!.

Freedom tastes delicious, doesn’t it? Oh, Life was definitely looking up for us!