Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Yours, truly - Part 8

"Do you mind going for a walk by the waters? I wanted to, from the time we checked in here, but didn't quite have the company." She didn't expect it'll be that easy to ask him for a pleasant favor. She thought words would choke out of her mouth when she decided to stop him from moving away.

"Are you sure? I thought you didn't want to entertain my presence anymore." He didn't mean to be sarcastic; he didn’t want to lose the opportunity to walk by her, and if things lead to asking to walk by her forever, this could be his only chance at that.

"I thought you wanted to be friends!" She brushed by him walking down the stairs, knowing he won't be far behind. He wasn't. He shook his head with surprise and smiled wide as he followed her. While he knew his destiny was shaping up, he wanted to give himself a little more time to sweep her off her feet literally, not knowing she already thinks he has emotionally!

It was a dark and clear sky with few stars and somewhere between a half and crescent moon. The water was quiet and still except for those tiny waves that brushed by the shore. The shore itself was calm thanks to the hour of the night, but the resort had probably anticipated for the walks and had subtle lights installed to make sure the serenity isn't compromised. While he was still a few feet behind, he couldn't stop smiling at her struggling with her strapped shoes and trying to untie it to take it out to walk on the sands. He doubled up his steps and held out a hand for her to hold, while didn't expect her to take it. "Thanks, not sure why I didn't get off the shoes after the reception!" she explained, he didn't need one. He wished he could hold those hands for rest of the walk, he wished.

They ended up walking a mile, with her holding the shoes and him glaring at the stars above. "Star gazer?" she probably had questions too that she never knew she wanted to ask.

"No, was wondering which of the stars up there aligned to make this all happen."

"Yeah, Shreya told me how shocked you were to find out I was the Anjali you didn't expect to meet here." Her wall seemed to have broken and the door opened! He just realized he could blush.

He slowed down and when she did too, she realized he did on purpose to catch her by the eye. With his gaze that strong he took her hands, the one not holding the shoes. He covered hers with his and smiled. She didn't seem perplexed. "I met this girl who was simple and elegant. I wanted to know more about her, like I had told my mom I would about any girl she finds for me. But I didn't know these two were the same. I wanted to be friends with you, yes. I believed that I had to be your friend to make you smile, make you talk, make you more you. I think I did it. You're everything that I'm not and you complete me. What will you do if I refuse to let go of this hand for rest of our times?"

Not quite with the full smile but moved an inch closer. She still had some part of her fighting to accept how elated she was. He has made her come a long way in allowing herself to fall for someone, someone she had just met, but this time around she wanted to get her instincts and emotions rule over her life. She moved an inch closer to him, enough to feel that familiar breath, dropped the shoes and covered his hands that were holding hers and asked "So, we're thanking the stars right?" The smile was evidently out. And he grabbed her closer towards him and held her tight, "You know I still have a gazillion questions to ask you!" She smiled got herself out of his grip to continue walking. She was dragging him along, hand in hand, and he was still the few steps behind not believing how it all unfolded!


It was the morning after, not having slept all night and having to catch an early flight out, Anjali was feeling the rush to grab some coffee from the restaurant before she could run into Shreya's whole family for goodbye hugs. Shreya and Gautham had just stepped out of their honeymoon suite to see her off. The trio huddled up in a table, with her bags beside her. Few sips in and a toast to-go, she got up hurriedly, eyes searching around for more. She didn’t want to steal Shreya's thunder and said no more, but hugged her friend who stood up tight, wished her joy and to Gautham best of luck to deal with her friend's idiosyncrasies. "I'm glad you listened to your heart this time" Shreya whispered as Anjali started picking her bags smilingly.

Right when she was about to lift, he grabbed the bags off her hands and shouldered them up. "I'm dropping mom off at the airport and am sure you both will have a lot to talk about!" Raghav smiled with arms around his mom. The aunty person smiled wide at Anjali with arms stretched out for a big welcome hug.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Yours, truly - Part 7

Recap: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6

For the first time in the day, her eyes were fixed on him without a blink. He sensed she must be furious with a feeling of being manipulated, but he knew he would never do that to anyone, her in particular. By now he'd figured out there will not be those magical bells, showers from sky or anything else that will tell him he needs to stop making this about her but make it about them. He would rather he bring it under control.

Giving his mom a hard smile and trying to look only at Anjali, "Anjali, this is my mom. Gautham's mom and she are childhood friends. Mom, this is Anjali. And no, we just met, haven't had a chance to speak to her yet. Why don't you go find aunty, she was missing you all day? I'll talk to you after dinner" and nudged her away from the podium still with his eyes pleading guilty to Anjali. She looked blank, not cold, not perplexed, but just blank as a wall indeed. When his mom was out of an arm's distance, he quickly grabbed Anjali’s and before he could say anything, she hurried "I had a good time today, but thank god for getting this done in a day! I have to take the first flight out in the morning, so thanks for the company. Nice meeting you. Now if you may..", smiled bright and got herself out of his space and excused herself from others. Shreya didn't want to stop her but just managed to get dinner delivered to her room.

She couldn't get herself to sleep, mainly because she didn’t want to miss the shuttle to the airport, and maybe because this time she had hoped to not hide from the reality when it happens. She wanted to go back upstairs to catch a glimpse of the ocean at night, but what if he was expecting her to be there. Or what if he didn't and she went anyways and it was all in her head, but there would at least be a view to clear the mind. She fought hard for an hour but finally managed to sneak upstairs for the view, with or without him. She was leaving in the morning and didn't plan on coming back again just for its serenity.

He heard someone stepping up the stairs and almost instantly knew it was her. He didn’t want to assume she was looking for him and wanted her to enjoy the calmness of the ocean alone, like he did for the last two hours. With nowhere to hide, he turned around and started walking to give her space.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Yours, truly - Part 6

Recap: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

She was not different. In her head she was the most average girl. She did have a cheerful side with those in her inner circle, those who've fought their way in and stayed. She never believed in the concept of falling in love with someone, not because she knew why, mainly because she didn't get a chance to explore. She had her own boundaries of how much she let someone close enough see through her, know her and make her know them in return. With just a handful that she would trust, even they weren't sure if she was uptight, or just a beautiful self of being different that she wouldn't accept. But deep down, she was a romantic and knew someday she'll be forced to let someone crack that and that'll be her cue. So no, she wasn't on the lookout to make a new friend. She was unknowingly wanting to be swept off her feet and when that happens run away from its reality and shut herself more. As she stood next to Shreya for a fancy photoshoot during the reception, she kept curbing the inner urge to take a glance to her right, not afraid he'd notice, but afraid if he was that designated someone and that she wasn't ready to accept.

He was a believer, in people, in ultimate supreme and in the belief that he'd someday fall in love. But he needed strong indication from supernatural sources to convince him to go all in and win someone over. He could, but he needed to know if he should. And in that search and scrutiny he has had a lot of experience knowing, listening and understanding men and women alike. He's never stepped away from someone voluntarily. He's never stopped being impulsive. He still is but for the first time since morning, he consciously struggled hard to keep his eyes off her, to not pressurize Anjali over a simple request to enter her circle. He did, but how could she know! And did he want only that, nothing more, he wasn’t sure.

The reception was almost getting over and just few of these important members were posing for hopefully the last batch of photoshoot. The photographer had asked Anjali and Raghav to stand by the side for a few minutes. Just about then a well over dressed, energetic lady walks up ignoring the photoshoot. With a joyous chorus from Gautham and Shreya "Hi Aunty!" who quickly went back to smiling for the photographer instantaneously, and a quick turn of head from Raghav, Anjali was intrigued. The aunty person gave a huge tight hug to Raghav and got straight to the topic in the loudest cheeky voice, "So did you get to meet Anjali and get your ‘wanting to know more about her’ plan taken care of?”

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Yours, truly - Part 5

Recap: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

She was up there before him, trying to catch a glimpse of the waves hitting the shore alone. She's been like that and preferred that. This wedding, the crowd and the intricacies were just for the sake of Shreya. She will find her way out first thing in the morning, when the newly wed wouldn’t care for her bridesmaid anymore. Atleast not until she needs to complain and whine about man problems! She could feel that breath and familiar proximity again and it went away the next second. It was safe to turn, and she did. He had probably backed off quick she thought. He really did. He stood smiling with all his dreaminess and said "Anjali right. Shreya just stepped out searching for you and is happy with the reception décor." She sighed with relief.

"She also tells me that she's never seen you smile or blush or enjoy these natural human emotions. Not my words, but she called you a wall. Which brings us to the first question, I know you can smile, I've seen that creep in several times today. Why don't you realize that you can smile?"

She did not tell him she was indeed going to keep her end of the bargain. She was not planning to get involved in any kind of relationship - romantic or platonic, and definitely not platonic if it involves this guy - he's seemed like a lot to be just a friend. Hidden in these thoughts, she didn't realize that she let the smile slip through her lips, not until she heard him cheer "There it goes, thank you! Now next question. In the crowd that we are, I know you are not the odd one out, but instantly stand out from the rest. Do you know that not many people have an eye for elegance, especially in a wedding like this?"

While he hadn't taken his eyes off her while he was talking, she was trying to evade that stare. But right that instant she looked back at him and he went again, "You do!" with a smirk more gorgeous on him than on her.

"I thought you wanted to get to know me, to get to be friends. I knew you couldn't and since it's almost time, let's get back and be happy we tried." She had to get back to Shreya before she turns all bridezilla on her, or maybe she won't if Raghav had her buy-in. They were probably ganged up already.

He did want to ask her all the those - her favorite movie, her favorite restaurant, sporting team, music band and all the getting to know 101 questions. But he didn't think she cared for those, he didn’t either. They seem to share a liking towards not liking and he was going to leave it at that. He moved and gave way for her to walk back down, walking a few steps behind wondering if this wasn't it, when ideally would the bells chime!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Yours, truly - Part 4

Recap: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

"Shreya always had a thing for beaches and this resort owner is her dad's friend or something like that, so it all worked out.  Looks like that's working out for you now!" Gautham tried probing his best man.

He didn't want anything to work for him with her, not here and not yet actually. He truly, really wanted to ask her few simple questions, know her better for the person she seemed to be and be good friends with such a different intriguing person. If the wife of his friend doesn't put wrong ideas into her head, maybe she'll have some common sense prevailing to try reason out with him. "Can you ask Shreya to not influence her?" It wasn't a request as much as a friendly order.

With two hours left for the reception and T-1 hours for the newly wed man to get suited up for it, Raghav had time to spare and decided to take a stroll around the venue. He knew he couldn’t escape into the waters out there for a break, not until daybreak tomorrow at the least. But he could talk to other people, he could checkout the reception decorators in action, he could just kill time without a friend, he thought. Just as he got out of the groom quarters, he saw her rushing out of Shreya's. She'd changed her outfit to an even simpler one. Elegance by choice is indeed catchy, head turner, turn on, no - he's not calling it that. Still no bells, no angels, no flutters. Just inquisitiveness bundled with search for a new friend. And to his surprise, she was waving at him!

He shook his head with disbelief, and she waved again and yelled out his name, "Raghav! Raghav right? Come over, you could be of great help now".

He didn’t want to go from macho to mushy at a mere name calling moment. He pulled himself together, poker face on and walked straight to her with earnest of looks trying to help as he did all day long. She was in a hurry trying to fill him in "Listen, the decorator messed up. The florist and the assembling guys are all struck at the other end of the city. Shreya can't know this is possibly happening. Can you pick up all the flowers that were taken down from this morning and trashed backyard, and put it back up on this side of the wall? You have an hour max and I'll take whatever you can deliver. Get started with planning what you want to do, I'll send few guys to pick up the flowers and help you put them up"

He wasn't sure what exactly made her think he could pull that off, but he knew he could, and he would. Not because she asked her, because he just would. But he didn’t want to lose out on his mission. "Consider done. What's the deal?", he went straight to the ask.

She was about to do her eye shortening, frustrated face look and ask him if he was really serious but refrained in a second not because he found that cute, but because she didn't want to give away her end of the bargain idea herself. "What do you want?"

"You gave me an hour right; I'll get these done in half the time. For the other half, let's meet back up at the same place upstairs. I'll just ask few questions, you answer them. No other commitment and oh, I will leave my flirty self behind with that girl dressed up more than the bride there". And this time, he couldn’t miss noticing the smirk that she was fighting to suppress.

Yours, truly - Part 3

Recap: Part 1 Part 2

"I can't believe I got tricked by some cheesy ear whispering and curious to find out who would do that these days. I can't believe I'm actually walking up there. Shreya needs me downstairs and there isn't much time left. Why would he want to meet alone?" She mumbled to herself walking up the stairs to the said corridor he wanted to meet. She had just gotten off the last step and saw him standing there facing away and looking down at the beach by the resort side. Yes, it was a destination wedding by a beach side resort, if that would make it more enriching than one thought it already was.

"Wow! That's quite a view", she exclaimed.

"You're not the first one commenting on my back and shoulder view!" he beamed.

Her eyes narrowed to a line and frustration gushed all over her face breathing out just a "Huh! Seriously?"

"Do that again! You look very cute with that look of yours!"

"So you did want to flirt, as if you didn’t get your share with all the other girls below already!"

"As a matter of fact, it's exactly the opposite. I didn’t want to flirt for once. And when I said you looked cute now, I meant it, not just said it and no it’s just a statement, or a reflection of what I saw and definitely not intended at hinting at you or flirting with you or whatever else you think I might be thinking of. Now what's with our view here?"

Unable to believe what he says and how he looks, at her and in general his looks and talk, she wanted to walk away but clarified "the beach, the beach ofcourse!"

"Ofcourse!" He grabbed her by her hand to his side so he could look her in the eyes and continued "And that's exactly why I wanted to meet here. By the way, I'm Raghav, I lead regional sales at P&K's. I have no siblings, lot of friends - all guys, I swear. Books, movies and parties in that order. Parties to socialize and complete teetotaler otherwise. Love my friends but still on the lookout for new friends. Hence I travel, a lot, with my friends, books and catchup on movies and parties, again in that order. You see where I'm going with this?"

Dropping his warm gripped hands off, breaking the eye lock and suppressing a smirk, with what she wouldn’t consider as a blushing or shyness since she's too uptight and considers herself old enough, "No, I don't!" And she walked off curbing an urge to look back at it him every step she took. She'd watched him from morning. She could sense his eyesight on her from any corner, feel his breath when he was helping her and more importantly she was not a run of the mill girl to not look at the guy every giggling glittering outfit girl was giggling about. She couldn't hold it back any longer and the smirk grew into a sly smile after she got out of his sight but missed concealing it before she entered the bride's room.

"I knew he could break your self-drawn barriers! " Shreya shrieked.

"He has no ulterior motives, wants to be friends and for some reason I think that's not his style and neither is it mine! Tell me again, why you chose this resort with a view for this fancy wedding of yours?"

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Yours, truly - Part 2

Recap: Part 1

Never has he taken more than a minute, from seeing a girl who can impress him to his first "Hi" with a wide smile. It has almost taken an entire elaborate wedding, with all its detailed rituals to get over and still not an eye contact, not a word. He couldn’t be nervous; he didn’t have it in him to be so. He brushed it off as being distracted, as being the best best man there ever was. That he was. The groom looked perfect, smiling, handsome and relaxed thanks to his friend making him laugh for pictures, tease for candid moments and remind him of his do's and do not's.

He was also there everywhere she was, staring and sneaking glances from a distance. Awfully quiet and unlikely of him, but he wanted to know more before he could get closer. Odd that he would think no one else knew of  his secret venture, but given his nature, the whole venue got an idea. They all figured out he was silent than his usual self, glaring away from them when they are talking to him, looking lost and escaping with his gorgeous smile. Some of the giggling glittering outfit girls even tried moving with him to trace his path and eyesight and amidst all their jealousy for each other, worked together to find their new person to be envious of. He thought he was discreet, but his aura gave it away that he was staring at every chance, his glares left a trail and the bride knew her best friend was indeed in for a spin.

He started with making himself comfortable around her, or maybe the other way around. Through the day he had been by her side several times. He had helped her tie the lead couple's outfit ends together for a ritual, he had helped her transfer a large tray from mom to mom, moved out a train of flowers that might have made her trip that she hardly even looked up to thank, laughed and smiled together for pictures with the lead couple and of course walked behind like a shadow he thought she wouldn't notice. She didn't but he hoped she would and make it easier for him. No, still no bells, still no falling for her and still no angelic revelations. Still just intrigued by her and he had to find out why.

It was past lunch and most of the guests have either left by now or retired to their suites and resting spots. They all had a good four hours to rest, relax and get ready with a complete ensemble change before the next event of the evening. He was walking back to the groom quarters with the groom himself. And she was carrying all of the bride's heavy accessories and helping the bride walk down to hers. He did not excuse himself from his friend but took those quick steps to catch up with the girls. He was barely few steps behind them. The bride sensed and smiled and gave away. "Don't look back as yet, wait" said the bride to her friend. They stopped walking at once, and from behind her, so close as if his lips would have touched her ears if they had stopped more quickly than they did, he whispered to her "Meet you at the west end of corridor upstairs in five?". She wanted to turn around that instant but the proximity of where the voice was coming from shook her. With a poke from her friend she did turn back within the next few seconds only to have missed the man behind the voice. She knew she was going to meet him, but when her friend asked she just shook her head, not giving away an answer!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Yours, truly - Part 1

It couldn't get any more gala, this wedding in all its richness and grandeur. Not an influential family, but an average Indian household which sure has redefined the word average. What could have been as simple flower décor was turned into an orchard to get lost in, thanks to the event management company. The entrance had a complex mélange of orchids and edelweiss from nowhere and no connection. Guests would stop to take pictures of themselves and not let others storm in to the actual photo ops intentionally set up. Still indeed talking about the wedding, the photo ops ranged from larger than life size cut outs of the lead couple to take pictures with, just in case the attendees don't make it to the front of the reception line, to a garland overdosed bicycle which has the iconic front seat to sit down your girl and pose with. How romantic, if only there weren't the hundred odd onlookers waiting for their turn to take a pic with their better halves!

And these onlookers and the others around other photo ops, including those serving as the aides for the lead couple, for some odd reason seem to have failed getting a part in the same TV show! All would say they were dressed up for the occasion, they rehearsed for the rituals, they are here to enjoy. But not everyone was, neither can everyone be. With a good mix of jealous that she got him and he got her to a handful of this could have been done better, the mix was mind-blowingly human! Yet, the smiles were on, the moves on the floor for impeccable and the glam undeniable.

Somewhere between all the hustle and rustle there was this guy who made it through the ornamental entrance, having one of his own! He had to be the tall and handsome one giving an entry and he was. Tall, yes. Handsome, maybe an understatement and might needs some redefinition. With a smile that pretty much made the giggling glittering outfit girls turn around, he waved to kin and kith, who instantly borrowed his smile in exchange of hugs. There were some sighs when those broad shoulders hugged the loved ones - from little kids to grandmas alike. He was fast, he was all over and he stole the show, talking his way to glory. It took the others some getting used to him being all around and all sound.

He was still trying to waddle his way to the groom, a best man eventually had to! Almost near the podium and when he stumbled on a step he noticed her. He couldn’t stop staring not because the bells rang, not because she was the most beautiful and not because she was the only one normally dressed or under dressed in this context - if a plain solid outfit with just earrings for accessorizing made it to a wedding! But because he was simply intrigued, maybe by her being simple, maybe by her not looking around, maybe by her just helping the bride without a smile, maybe just by her being herself. He changed his path towards her, the flirt he was, but was interrupted by the most distant cousin he had ever met and the groom who needed him up there that instant and by the grandma he missed getting blessings from and by pretty much everyone else around him.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Returned, with Thanks!

It was a typical Saturday evening: TV, phone and browsing were the only three things on my agenda, until I got a call from my best friend. I could call him that given how close we were from school days. Partially because he had helped me during my troubled times at school, he was a friend in need. Dhruv and I weren’t friends before that day, but the way he stood up for me and took responsibility for a crime I was falsely accused with, I was humbled. I had another reason to befriend him as well. I was new to the school, new to the city and had no friend of my own. I needed company. As childish as it may sound, the bond that formed for no concrete reason lasts till date.

Dhruv is not the perfect son one could ask for, as made his mother run for her life, cursing herself for bringing up a brat like him. His dad had given up hopes on him settling down in life, responsibly. He on the other hand chose the path to living life the fun way. His dad’s money and lavish lifestyle caught up on him early on and he was deep down under it to come out of it to reality. He cared for no job of his own and hadn’t thought of sharing his life with a partner beyond one night stands. I was a simple man with an ordinary lifestyle. Topper from school and college, joined the most coveted IT organization and now a project manager, earning well to live a simple life, saving for future, for me and future family. I believed in love. I hadn’t met the one yet, but haven’t be searching either. Dhruv and I were different, but respected each other and mutually trusted the friendship between us. Outside his phantom world, I was the only person he sincerely admired and wished to live like, but voluntarily chose not to. I would not approve of anyone like him, let alone befriend one, but he was my person, he was the company I longed for and got when no one else was around. I liked him for that sincerity and did not question him on his behavior.

Dhruv’s parents decided to get him hitched at the earliest and pass on the responsibility of fixing him right to the so called lucky girl. Arranged marriage was something off the cards for him, but he budged only to reduce the badgering at home. He had his escape routes planned. He knew he had me for support, rain or shine. The call was precisely for that. He wanted me to come along to see her with his family, if possible see if I would like her more and save him from the troubles of marriage. He has never given me an option. I have almost always obliged, this time being no different. 

The whole event was a good time off from a routine Saturday afternoon of more TV, phone and browsing routine. We were greeted by her parents, offered coffee and sweets and when we were bored of random talk, she was asked to come out of her room for us to have a look, however weird that may sound, blame the process. Maya, came in with no hustle. I looked at her for a second and gently turned away not wanting to have an opinion or influence on my best friend’s probably future wife. More importantly, I did not want to end up liking the girl myself. But I did. Not like, but fell in love the one second I had looked at her. I did not know she had too. Maya, a simple and elegant girl for her age, too simple for an event such as this, but too elegant to catch the attention of any honest man. She was drop dead gorgeous and needed have to show it off with extravagance. She looked at me the very same second and smiled, probably not knowing I wasn’t the one. To be honest, the smile made me nervous and look away. Dhruv’s family was happily chatting with her. To me she sounded melodious. Dhruv was supposed to talk to her alone. They were planning to go to the coffee shop nearby for a quick chat and he dragged me in at the last minute, asking me if I could join. She did not complain and I as always obliged. He was going to say a “No” and try asking if she would consider me instead. Before he could say anything, she blurted she was not ready yet and that she had done a quick background check on Dhruv and wouldn’t care to consider him given that he wasn’t financially independent. She proved to be the strong person she looked. She thanked us for the company and stormed out. I hadn’t spoken a word nor looked at her eye to eye the whole fifteen minutes we were there. 

Dhruv was both relieved and frustrated. Relieved that he didn’t have to fall into the marriage trap yet, frustrated that he was turned down and not the other way round that he could take a pride on. He wasn’t in love with her at any level, but he did think she was beautiful and wished he had met her outside the arranged marriage setup. The true friend he was, he checked with me if I was interested in her. I conveniently lied to him and hid my feelings. It would crush him to know I was madly in love with the girl who had hurt is male ego. I felt bad for myself that I wouldn’t pursue her for the same reason. 

A week passed and I had kept myself occupied enough to not give my mind a free second to think about Maya. Thanks to a heavily loaded work week and close family wedding to attend to. Family weddings always take a toll on your emotional stability from a relationship standpoint. The numerous questions on one’s relationship status, willingness to get married and suggestions on potential brides to be. I had always wanted to shy away from such a crowd, but my parents believed in family ties and I believed in them. This one wedding was different. I met my cousin Parth after ten years. I also met Maya, after seven long days. They were talking to each other, as if they had known each other for a long time. Parth waved at me and I was hesitant to reciprocate the welcome, but courtesy demanded I did and I did. I had always had my issues with him being the preferred grandchild to my grandparents. He was smarter in looks and education and nonetheless, he was their NRI grandson and I was just hanging around, around them. I was equally qualified but their typical South Indian contemporary outlook shunned them from accepting so. I had stopped expecting them to change their mindset. I had started getting used to proving my excellence primarily to my parents and occasionally to everyone else. I was happy for myself, beyond Parth can ever be. 

Parth and Maya were laughing about something when I reached their table. They had recently met at Maya’s place, thanks to both their fathers entering into a business partnership. They seemed to have hit it off and liking each other’s company. I did not want to interfere, I did not want anything more from this rendezvous myself. I stayed quite. Maya’s soft “Hi” and a generic enquiry on my life made me smile within, but Parth, the charmer had my answers for her and took my words away. I did not have the moment I deserved.  It was time and we bid goodbyes and exchanged phone numbers to stay in touch. I never did, involuntarily with Parth and intentionally with Maya. 

A month went by and I got a call from Maya one Saturday evening, when I was busy with random browsing. She asked me out for dinner and I couldn’t say know to her. I offered to meet her at the restaurant directly and when we did meet, I knew I wasn’t going to walk out before asking her hand in marriage. “It was my mistake to not have kept in touch after Dhruv episode. You were there, you were quiet and I was curious and had questions”, she hurriedly blurted out her agenda soon after we placed our orders to the waiter. I smiled and asked if her marriage with Parth has been fixed. She was shocked, I could say from her expression. I was shocked too, I had no clue I was going to ask her that right away. “How do you know? We hardly know each other”. She had it all written on her hasty way of speaking. She wanted to know from me about me and why she wanted to talk to me. She wanted to know from me, if she can say no to everything else happening around her. “I had liked you the very instant I saw you at our place. For a second I thought it was you who had come to see me and thanked my stars for me being fine with the whole ordeal. I had missed you right from the time I went out of the café saying no to Dhruv”. I wanted to ask her what made her wait, but she was unstoppable, she continued talking. “Parth was a good friend. Got to know him just about the same time. I liked him and didn’t have a reason to say no when our parents asked. He was nice all along and perfect marriage material at that. I said yes and the wedding is fixed for next month”. I wanted to ask why bother to meet me now and talk about all this. She never gave me a chance to ask. “I thought I liked you as much. I would have said yes if you were alone the first time. But I never had the chance to know you better. I never gave you a chance. I never gave myself a chance to cherish that first feeling of love I had. I thought both of us deserved at least that”. I fell in love with her, all over again, for her attitude. But I wanted to ask what she was expecting me to do. She was ahead of me. “Do you think all this makes you wonder why I am even talking to you at this instance and I am better off with Parth?” She finally asked the question she had come all the way to ask. I had never been this serious before when I responded to her, “So what do you want to do, call Parth or your dad to call off the wedding?” and she had that thankful smile for the decision I had made for us. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Aaah... games from my past!

Just when I looked at a 10-in-1 board game set that we recently brought, (oh, I so wanted to type "I" and fell into the "we" culture! Am growing old, ain't I?) I was reminded of how the games from my past have moulded me! Let's leave the all famous Chess, Carrom, Snake and Ladder, Trade (yes, totally Indian!) and other indoor games passed on generations after generations.. let's leave all outdoor games those were a different "ball game" altogether! Am just nostalgic about a whole different set of "lunch time games" that made me learn!

School days and break times have been the most useful, fruitful and entertainingly educative hours of my life! I learnt from people, from games, from chattering and from everything inside the campus that I hold on to till date...

When I talk about these that were played with paper and pencil (or the rough note book that used to be an additional baggage in the school bag!), I now find them online, on phone apps, as board games and all around! Still fun, but misses the "group" component that made them more fun!

Recent finds online include:
1) "Name, Place, Animal, Things!" - Man, I still remember not knowing any other animal but for "Donkey" and the extinct "Dodo" for the letter "D"!!! (There are different cumbersive and boring online versions that stand no match to friends approving and disapproving of fictious names, places, animals and things!)

2) "BINGO!" - No, not "Housie", not "Tambola"! They come with cards someone else designed! Of all the designing skills that went into drafting one's own 5x5 matrix and the sheer joy of screaming "BINGO", no other version beats the fun in this. Me as a kid would not leave a single parchment (yes, even the tiniest piece I used to find in hotel rooms) free of drawing the Bingo matrix, even in the remotest of places we would have travelled to!

3) For those who call this game by this name alone - "Chi, Koo, (Li), Baa!" - Again, not Stone, Paper, Scissors! It used to be Chi, Koo, Baa mania at school, at home, at every place we go! We played at every possible break/ between class periods at school, had a tournament among cousins, taught my Dad to play it with his social circle (and he eventually did play!). It was madness! Wonder how people sit in front of a computer screen and play the online version!!!

4) "Memory" - or that's what we used to call, or guess nobody really bothered about what it was called and it was just played! The typical "I went to the market and bought apples", "I went to the market and bought apples and oranges", "I went to the market and bought apples, oranges and bananas", ........ - This can never be justified in any other form!

5) "Hangman" - I still play it on my mobile, but it was much more fun to draw a hangman step by step rather than watch the app draw one when u suck!!!

These were probably the top five that struck my mind. There were few others that were fillers and few others that just din't mean so much to me to remember after years :) But these above meant a childhood!!!

Hail paper! Hail Pencil! Hail "Rough Notebook"! and Hail "Lunch Breaks!" that I now miss...