"Hi! The regular right?" The waitress took the lady's order and went on to the next table. The woman sat still at the table outside of Garden Café. After a few minutes which seemed like eternity, her order came. "A French-vanilla Cappuccino just as you like it!"

"You seem to be in a good mood today Maria." The lady observed.

"I am. I'm going to have a raise in my salary today!" The waitress responded.

"That's nice. Have fun." With that, Maria went back to doing her work. The Lady stirred the coffee with her straw instead of drinking it right away. As she was stirring it, her dark brown eyes stared at the white swirls her straw was making in the liquid. The swirls moved backward taking the woman's thoughts back into the past… before the accident, before the dream, before everything.

We were both young, when I first saw you,

I close my eyes and the flashback starts,

I'm standing there, On a balcony in summer air

Dawn's golden rays came through the blinds and gently kissed Hasini's closed eyelids as her alarm went off with Taylor Swift's Love Story ringing. Without opening her eyes, she pushed aside the covers and sat up gracefully. She stretched her arms and neck out slowly as if embracing the beauty of the sunrise. Suddenly, her wake up song was cut short. Her eyes flashed open and looked sharply at the intruder.

"Why'd you stop it Vidhi? Won't you let me enjoy my few seconds of peace at least in the morning? Besides, what are you doing up at 5am?"

"Are you finished with your questions?" Vidhi asked her sister. "Did you forget about today? Why are you yelling at me? Mom told me to wake you up. Since I know you take forever to get out of bed as long as that song is playing, I had to stop it so you would hurry up. Mom wants you downstairs in 20 minutes… clean."

Hasini rolled her eyes and got out of bed. She made her bed and went to the bathroom. It took her only 20 minutes to brush, take a shower, and dress. While she was doing that, she was thinking about what will happen today. Today she was going to meet her possible fiancé. Hasini's parents scanned the whole world and found three guys who would be perfect in all views for beautiful Hasini. She was given the choice between them. She chose the picture with the man whose eyes caught hers. Now, she was about to meet him and confirm her choice!

"Hey mom! Good Morning auntie! What are you making?" Hasini greeted her aunt and mother.

"Oh, you're ready! Good." Mrs. Maitreya turned around to look at her daughter. A look of disbelief crossed her face. "Hasini! Good heavens! Why are you dressed like that?" Hasini was in a casual attire. A denim miniskirt with black leggings and a cute baby blue top.

Hasini looked down at her apparel and said, "What's wrong with it? This is the day we get to know each other, I want him to see the real me. I'm going to be all dressed up for the wedding any way."

"Sweetie, I know that you want him to know the real you, but – dressing like that isn't part of our tradition. Do you want your new family to think of you as a girl ignorant of her traditions and customs?" Hasini looks down and shakes her head slightly agreeing with her mother. "Good girl, now, go and wear that blue silk sari I bought you last Friday. I put it in your closet."

Hasini looked up, " But, I still don't know how to wear that long piece of cloth."

Her aunt, who was listening to the whole conversation, sighed and said, "I'll help you. Let's go. They said they're going to be here by 10:00. We still aren't finished cooking yet." Hasini led her aunt to her room. She took out the beautiful silk sari, which was folded neatly, from her closet.

As her aunt entwined her in intricate folds, Hasini asked her, "Auntie, how did you feel when you were about meet uncle for the very first time?"

Mrs. Chella paused in her folding for a second, and then continued. "Well, I was nervous and irritated, that was for sure. Nervous because, I found out the night before they were coming to see me and I wasn't prepared mentally. Irritated because, like for you now, they made me wear all this stuff which made me feel uncomfortable the whole time. But when the moment came when we were alone to talk, I felt so nervous and excited at the same time. I wasn't sure about what to talk about, or how to start. To tell you the truth, I don't even remember what we talked about for 2 hours. Time fled by so quickly when we started to talk that we didn't even realize what time it was until someone intruded our conversation to tell us that it was almost time for lunch."


"Just remember that this is the only day you get to choose whether or not you two want to be together. It's like taking one of those standardized tests. Once you submit your answers, there's no turning back to change them. Once you say 'yes' they're going to start preparations and you can't change your mind."

"Lot of complications."

Mrs. Chella laughed out loud and said, "I thought you were used to all the rules in Indian customs by now!"

"Not completely." Hasini was dressed now, and stood in front of her long mirror on her door. She looked gorgeous. She had on a golden watch on her right wrist, 12 jingling blue bangles on her left wrist, and a beautiful, yet simple golden necklace. She also had on a small almost invisible little black bindi on her forehead which always gives her face look evermore beautiful.

"Are you two finished up there? Sandhya! I need your help, can you hurry up?" They can hear Hasini's mother calling from the kitchen.

"Ok sweetie, you're on your own now." left to help .