There was a few seconds' pause. Then Amit said: I meant, what were you thinking just now.When? said Lata.When you were looking at Pran and Savita. Over the pudding.Oh.Well, what?I can't remember, said Lata with a smile.Amit laughed.Why are you laughing? asked LataI like making you feel uncomfortable, I suppose.Oh. Why?--Or happy--or puzzled--just to see your change of mood. It's such fun. I pity you!Why? said Lata, startled.Because you'll never know what a pleasure it is to be in your company. Do stop talking like that, said Lata. Ma will come in any minute.You're quite right. In that case: Will you marry me?Lata dropped her cup. It fell to the floor and broke. She looked at the broken pieces--luckily, it has been empty--and then at Amit.Quick! said Amit. Before they come running to see what's happened. Say yes.Lata had knelt down; she was gathering he bits of the cup together and placing them on the delicately patterned blue-and-gold saucer.Amit joined her on the floor. Her face was only a few inches away from his, but her mind appeared to be somewhere else. he wanted to kiss her but he sensed that there was no question of it. One by one she picked up the shards of china.Was it a family heirloom? asked Amit.What? I'm sorry--said Lata, snapped out of her trance by the words. Well, I suppose I'll have to wait. I was hoping that by springing it on you like that I'd surprise you into agreeing......Do stop being idotic, Amit, said Lata. You're so brilliant, do you have to be so stupid as well? I should only take you seriously in black and white.And in sickness and health.Lata laughed: For better and for worse, she added.

~ Vikram Seth