Category Archives: Stories

Release Day 29

“No, I cannot release you. How can you quit in such critical stage this is like a betrayal” the boss said.
“But you said I was good for nothing last appraisal”
“Oh no, I can’t let you go, no matter what”

He stood up and slapped him tightly after all he couldn’t fire him anyways.

The Phone Call – Day 11

The phone ran, with an unknown number on the screen.
It was 6 in the morning.
Nobody calls him so early is it mom’s asthama or dad’s cholesterol or may be something else.
He picked the phone frightened to hear the worst-

“Reliance Caller Tunes….Chuniye Hazaron gaano mein apni caller tune Sirf Rs 30/Month”

Self Help -Day 3

I watched her across the shelf in glistening yellow. I was attracted, despite her face was calling me an Idiot. Turned out she had a price tag attached with herself.

I know I am an Idiot but not kinds who would pay for to be called one,

that too for “An Idiot’s guide to Something….”

This is my second attempt to a 55er, I hope you folks like it. Now you know why I don’t read the Idiot’s guide and the dummies series 🙂

Hidden Agendas

This is my first attempt at a 55er, posting it anyway so that I can break the block I am facing in writing new posts. Need your feedback on the 55ers so that I can write better ones in future. So comments and feedback are desperately looked forward to.

And yes for the updates, yeah, I got married, joined a new job and moved to Bangalore. Will post more detailed updates all the areas later till then enjoy this 55er.

He entered the bus and saw her amidst the crowd; he went and stood right ahead of her, his elbows brushing her bosom.
He was enjoying the touch when he felt her hand inside his trouser pockets. He closed his eyes in ecstasy, opening them only to find her gone.
And so was his wallet.

A Week of Life

Swastik
Image Courtesy:Google Images

The rain was heavily beating on the windscreen, the weather was very pleasant this evening. The mist all over the windscreen made Prayas switch on the a/c, he shifted in his seat and smiled to himself of the beautiful weather. The RJ was all gaga over the rain and was playing beautiful rain songs; he pushed down the volume and took out his cellular phone. He steered his car dexterously through the traffic with one hand, the other hand dialing out Vikrant.
“Network Error”….Redial
“Network Error”….Redial
“Damn! Mobile networks when you need to make a call, the network gets jammed” he cursed the mobile networks keeping down the cell on the non driving seat.
Suddenly he saw Vikrant’s number flashing on his cell screen for the incoming call; he blessed the connection of hearts and his timing.
“Hey man! You have a long time to live, I was just dialing you a minute back” Prayas exclaimed
“Why you don’t intend to live long or what?” Vikrant replied while laughing, “So what’s the plan where are you?”
“I just came out of my house; want to go to some place nice. What is the plan with you?”
“Nothing man, I am at symphony theatre with Poorva, you remember her? My friend you met last time when we went partying”
“Yes, I do. Let me pick you guys up from there and let’s go out and plan something. Its Saturday night yaar.”
“Sure, then we will wait for you at the exit of Symphony, how much time you would take? I hope you don’t mind Poorva tagging along with us?” Vikrant asked.
“Dude, come on, more the merrier. I will be there in another 10 minutes. See you” Prayas hung up the phone.
He thought himself about Vikrant’s question. He was in total awe of Poorva from the first time he had set his eyes on her. He couldn’t forget the night when he had met her for the first time. They had gone partying, she seemed to be very attractive and a friendly person. She turned into a wild cat, as soon as they reached the party, pulling everyone on to the dance floor. Prayas being the silent spectator was the most difficult one to pull. She held his hand and said “come on! You can’t just sit here”. Prayas laughed he said “You don’t know I have two left feet, you will be embarrassed of my mere presence on the floor.”
“Oh, in that case I will give you an offer you can’t refuse. Come on the dance floor. I will dance with you and won’t even leave you for a minute on the floor alone” Poorva said almost pulling him up. He so wanted to pull her back and embrace her, when he controlled his thoughts and got up. The dance floor was dazzling, her slender figure, moved like a snake in the strobe lights. Her smooth movements gliding in the golden silver light made her look like some kind of goddess. She was holding him guiding his body along with hers. He wasn’t aware of anything else not even his moves on the dance floor. He just could sense her touch, the smell of her Elizabeth Arden, the saltation of her hair. He just felt like, he should simply bend over one knee and just ask rest of her life for himself.
He came to reality by the honking, the signal was already green. He sheepishly smiled and moved his car forward. He was amused that he actually was blushing by her thoughts. He saw Vikrant and Poorva standing at the symphony exit; he gently steered left and stopped. After the initial pleasantries they hopped inside the car. He adjusted his rear view mirror to have a full view of her. He could see her pretty face, perfectly complimented by her dangling earrings. She was wearing a black top which was showing her off slightly and a figure hugging jeans which gave her a simple and elegant look.
“So, where are we heading tonight?” Vikrant said “You got anything on mind?”
“Nothing specific, I will choose the place, you people say what you want to do, partying or a silent dinner?”
“Well, I have a different idea. There is some obscure band playing at G&C’s today. Some band called OrKlan. If you people in we can check that out.” Poorva Chirped in.
“Ginger & Cardamom, that sounds like a great idea. However I haven’t heard of the band though. Anyways it’s always nice to hangout there.” Prayas replied.
“So G&C’s it is for tonight” Vikrant pepped in.
They headed towards the place for their evening out. Prayas concentrated most of the time relaxing his eyes of Poorva. They parked the car and moved in the G&C’s. The band had already started playing and they put on their masks and joined the head swinging crowd. The live music was mesmerizing, though the band was obscure but they were playing nice music. Everybody just swayed the bodies with the tunes of the music. Prayas savoring the music and every instance while his shoulders brushed with Poorva’s back. The time flew by before they announced that they were playing the last song, “Zombie”. The band members were all dressed as Zombies like it was Halloween and actually jumped in with the crowd while singing. The effect was overwhelming. They were so happy when the concert was over, the zombie song and the effect of the attire was simply out of the world. They were discussing the song and the theme while they headed back.
Poorva, was in one of the chirpy moods and she started with an abstract question, “Existence of Ghosts”. Then started a series of ghost stories, which all of them laughed over. They laughed over silly horror movies, true stories and experiences which had carried over word of mouth. Prayas laughed most at the lame stories told by Poorva, even he didn’t know why. Either they were too lame or he was too much into her, and actually loved every word she spoke. The icing on the cake was the “Red Swastik” story she told.
Somewhere Poorva, heard of that ghosts met people and they spent a night with them. When they went the person had a “Red Swastik” on his left shoulder. Once the mark is established the person can see ghosts and eventually die and turn himself into one within a week. Everyone laughed about the absurdity of the story and how stupid the entire idea was.
Prayas, was about to reach Poorva’s home, this was his only turn. He said “Hey, give me you phone number at least I will ring you up sometime.”
She said, “Oh ok, you concentrate on driving I will give you a missed call” and she dialed his number from her cell. She waited for two rings on his cell and this connected.
“Oh my my, numbers being exchanged. Something is cooking up I see.” Vikrant said teasingly.
“Oh Come on dude, you don’t start now” Prayas replied almost blushing.
They stopped at Poorva’s house; Prayas just wanted the time to stop. He wished if Vikrant wouldn’t have been here he could have spent some more time with her. He wished if she could invite them upstairs. All his wishful thinking came to a halt, when Vikrant finally bade goodbye to her. Prayas also wished her good night reluctantly. He half heartedly pulled his car back on the road. Deep down he was happy at least some progress he got her Phone number. He was thinking of what message to send her once he reached home.
Finally they reached Vikrant’s home, “Dude, your home.”
“Oh Yes, Come on dude have a good night and give me a call once you reach home.” Vikrant said.
“Come on man, I will reach you don’t wait. Chill and don’t bother.” Prayas consoled.
“No bro, it’s already 1o Clock. I will wait for your call. Anyways incoming is free and you don’t be such an ass thinking about a phone call” Vikrant replying laughing
“Ok I will call you after reaching home.” Prayas replied while laughing.
Prayas drove of to the home. It was one in the night he cruised at 100 kmph over the highway. Within minutes he was inside the road. He didn’t know if he was driving too fast or he lost his track of time thinking about Poorva. He so wished if he could actually be with her for his entire life. He slowed down when he came down from the highway. He saw some people walking on the road. He has been on this road for like multiple times but today it had quite a few pedestrians given it was 1o clock. He finally smiled the city was coming of age; people are actually out of houses till 1o clock.
He entered the society gates, and parked his car. He got of with jump on his walks reveling in the glory of the awesome time he had with Poorva. He unlocked the door, quietly went inside the home. He switched on the TV. Some news channel was showing dumb news that how the mobile networks in the city had collapsed from afternoon. He shrugged off how dumb the news people give a sensational commentary on the news channel. He picked up his cell to call Vikrant, when he noticed there was no signal, “Very Good” he said to himself. He went to the dresser, picked up the landline and called Vikrant. The phone rang 4-5 times before it was finally picked; he could hear Vikrant’s voice from other side,
“Hello, who is it?”
“Hey its me Prayas, I reached safely to my home”
“That’s great, but why you waking me up to tell me this. You were not expecting to reach safely or what? Don’t tell me you are not drinking and driving.” Vikrant jibed
“Dude, stop cracking jokes at this hour, I am calling because you asked me too when I dropped you back” Prayas replied unbuttoning his shirt.
“You dropped me off, how many drinks you have had? I have been sick, I have not gotten out of my home since morning” Vikrant replied
“Stop making idiotic jokes, its 2 in the night” Prayas said throwing his shirt to the laundry bin.
“What the heck are you talking about…..” Vikrant replied confused.
Prayas was no longer paying any attention; his eyes were glued to mirror in the dressing. His left shoulder had a Red Tattoo inking a Swastik….The voice in his head was repeating obscure lines from the evening “Once the mark is established the person can see ghosts and eventually die within a week.” His eyes were fixated on his shoulder, sinking the thought he had “A Week of Life”

End

Prayas slowly sipped on the “Chai”, it was big day today. He was so happy that today everyone around him would feel a little better about him. Life had been a hell hole for him, and things have started changing today.
He still remembered his good old days when everything was beautiful, everyone in the world loved him, his parents were proud of his impeccable grades, his trophies won in singing competitions and almost everything else he did. He was a proud son of his father, the pampered child of his mother, the most reveled company among his friends. It had not ended here, he was the love of the hottest dame in the college Poorva. His life seemed to be perfect, from an eye of an average guy.
Prayas and Poorva had been friends since childhood and before he knew Poorva had him booked for herself, and he was more than happy to be with her. After all she was one of the most important person in his life and was as close to him as his family. He was more than happy to accept her as love of his life at the tender age of fifteen. The stage of life was all set for him, with parents agreeing on their relationship and his gifted brilliant mind made him all the more confident about his life.
He just looked at the bright sun outside and felt the beautiful breeze gushing on his face, and he saw Poorva coming and walking up to his side and his mind got lost in the memories of the day when she turned sixteen. It was a beautiful day, they have been desperately waiting for both of them to turn sixteen, and decided that they would save each other for that day. So finally the day had come, they sneaked on the terrace behind the water tank, he looked at her face she was glowing in anticipation, she slowly spread the covers they had brought and he gently pushed her on it and threw himself on her biting her lips through his mouth slowly. She took his hands in hers and gently guided them inside her T-shirt, It seemed like the softest thing he had ever touched, his mind was racing amidst various thoughts, he couldn’t understand how this can be happening. He dawned back to reality when Poorva pulled off his shorts with the underpants and he could feel her tongue doing wonders to him. He closed his eyes shrugging off all the questions of his mind to enjoy the bliss, which the most beautiful girl he knew was taking him through, thinking of how much she loved him and how much he cared for her. He felt like he was trapped in an ecstasy with one of his foot inside and the other outside. Poorva, till then had decided to have him completely for herself; and she slowly pushed him inside her, experimenting with her inexperienced self.  He drained himself out on top of her with the small droplets of rain falling. The water from the rain was actually getting in the eyes, when he came back to present. It had started raining heavily, the bright sunny day was gone behind the dark clouds. He came back inside picking up his cup of “Chai” and sat down on the couch, lot of memories seemed to have made his head feel heavier. Poorva was sitting beside him, smiling and naughty as she always was. He smiled and stroked her cheek, there was no need of speaking anything. He knew she could read his mind, eyes and smile. She slid her hand behind his back, and he could feel her sharp and well manicured nails feeling his crack, a chill shiver ran down his spine. He looked at her face and smiled back responding to her innocent and lovable smile. He felt ashamed that he made her go through this hell, and he cursed himself and the god for playing such a miserable joke on their life. With her hand still behind his back he lost himself in the past.

It was their graduations party, they partied in one of the best discotheques in the city till the late hours in the night. It was too late, when Vikrant said he wanted more drinks. Vikrant was a friend, he had recently met, but there was some unknown bond between two of them, that they gelled like age old buddies. Vikrant was a great guy, he had moved into his college for his last year from a different city. Soon after entering he was the most talked about person of the class, he was one of the most entertaining guy with a good hand at all kind of sports. This made him famous among the guys and his good looks and perfectly chiseled body which was a result of regular gym for years made the girls go gaga over him. Prayas and Vikrant became close buddies as if they were destined to be together, they vouched over their friendship that it could last forever. However little did they knew that even their friendship would not remain so forever.
When callously walking outside the club when Vikrant asked for more drinks, they decided to go to his farmhouse and get sloshed there. The two of them drove back to the farmhouse and he remembered starting over a bottle of Absolut Vodka.
Prayas woke up in with a terrible body ache and a bad hangover. He flexed his muscles to find Vikrant sleeping next to him, on seeing him ran a strange feeling all across his mind. He was shivering, he reached out for his T-Shirt which was thrown carelessly on the floor smelling of the drinks and smoke from last nights party when he saw the stack of clothes lying with his T. He suddenly realized there was something wrong, he didn’t had any clothes on his body. He saw that Vikrant was already awake, and was watching him. He wanted to shout and scream, but somehow the voice had left him. Vikrant broke the awkward silence, he said I am not sure you realize this but we are different from others, a lot different. He shouted, abused him, Vikrant held his hand and embraced him. Prayas could feel his tears flowing through his eyes, but he couldn’t let himself pull away from Vikrant. His mind was going crazy, he uttered there must be something wrong, I think I should go to a doctor. This is not possible, It cannot happen to me.
Vikrant silently said, how normal this was, though not common, but perfectly normal. He added “If you want to see a doctor, go ahead Prayas, but this is not a sickness. This is who you are, your own identity. I know what you are going through and I know what else you will have to go through. I have been there, faced all that, I can tell you its going to be an uphill battle”
Prayas, could still feel his tears rolling down his eyes but his heart was calm as never before. The embarrassment of two guys sitting butt naked in the bed holding hands wasn’t a picturesque site to him but the peace was like never before. He had never been so himself as he was now. This was not as he had planned things in the scheme of things but this was how it was. Destiny had his own ways of playing with people, he was slowly accepting the fact, and he realized what has happened.
He smiled remembering that day when he discovered his true self, his life and love of his life in Vikrant. Sipping the last sip from his “Chai”, he remembered how much of trouble his parents, Poorva had to go through to accept the reality. The most important and difficult was to break the news and wait for them to accept the reality. The only support was Vikrant being there to tell and talk to him. He could himself understand what he was going through. The reactions had varied from extreme rage, denial, and disgust. He had seen his mom & dad having sleepless nights over him. His consoling and explaining with all references from articles on internet didn’t help. He knew her mom was fasting that her son might become all right one day. But he already knew God’s wish and he also knew there was no turning back from here. He thought of finishing of his life to ease the pain of all the people he knew, but always his brain ruled over the thought. He didn’t wanted to waste his life over such a thing, he realized though everything has changed, nothing has changed for him. Life still looked bright, he still was the best student in his class with the most promising career. He still could sing the songs melodiously and now he had someone to look forward in his life. He knew that life would be difficult for him personally, but he couldn’t think of leaving everyone who matttered in his life all alone.
Today was a huge day. The court of law had mandated that he could choose his partner in Vikrant, the law of the country did not think of him a criminal anymore. It was a big day, now he could finally think of living with Vikrant, he told it so excitingly to his parents and surprisingly they seemed happy too. He knew this would be a big step in his life and would bring in more problems in their life. His reality was still a secret which was tightly held between Vikrant, Mom, Dad and Poorva but now everyone in the town would know of it. But he didn’t care after all the law had accepted people like him and after all people follow the law. he was so happy that he would be accepted in reality. His parents would understand him and others like him better and so would everybody else….
He came back to reality when he heard his name being called, he looked up. Poorva was standing in front of him. She was looking more stunning than ever, he saw Mom & Dad coming into the room. He saw mom was silently crying, he was about to asked when she pointed towards Poorva.
Poorva ran her fingers through his hair, her eyes were also moist. He tried to ask, she just silenced him with her finger and handed him the letter. He opened it with trembling hands, and started reading-
“Dear Prayas,
I am not sure how to write this letter, but since Mom & Dad could not do this, I am writing this for all three of us.  Prayas, you have been the light of our life for so many years.  You have been a wonderful son and a best friend and a lot more to all of us.
We don’t know how you became the way you are, but we tried a lot to be with you and let you be what you want to be. Things are fine the way they were, but the step you decided to take today is something which we cannot let you proceed with.
We have tried real hard to come to terms with your reckless lifestyle, but this is going over board. We have had a strong base in this city, people know us and we have a reputation and respect to maintain. We love you but that does not mean that you can go to ruin everything we have created in all these years.
Prayas you have been a very important person in our life, but this embarrassment you are going to bring us by your acts in Public, is something which we cannot go through. We have thought a lot about this and have come to a conclusion that you can not live with us anymore. Its time to say goodbye Prayas, these would be the last time you would hear from us. Bless you for being in our life.
Lots of Love,
Mom, Dad and Poorva”

Prayas tried to speak something; he was speechless as teared rolled down his eyes. He tried to say something but could only produce a choked coughing sound, a thin line of blood trickled down from his mouth.
He looked towards Mom & then Poorva, she said, “We added Poison to your tea, just relax Prayas it would be painless. Don’t worry you will be fine.”
Her words echoed through his head “Don’t worry you will be fine”, He looked towards his mother, who was crying with sign of acceptance, his dad who was serious as ever, he as always knew what was important, and Poorva, who still loved him; perhaps. He closed his eyes wished Vikrant could be here. He wished his parents would have let him have his last few moments of love. But he knew they would never understand.

On 3rd of July india took a giant step forward, legalizing the gay sex in India. Approximately 7% of the world population is GLBT (Gays, Lesbians, BiSexuals and Transgender). India is the 127th country to accept their relationships. (Source)
This story is written as an afterthought after witnessing the kind of fight they had to put for decriminalization, With the law in place we are still a far way behind from getting the GLBT population proper acceptance across the country. Hope god provides us the sanity to respect our fellow human beings as they are.

Run Away

Sitting on the window ledge, Prayas felt the cool breeze on his face. He always loved to sit at the window ledge and look out to the city lights to all immeasurable distance. But today was different; the lights seem to be blurred. The city which always used to embrace him with silence was creating a lot of noises, and he could feel a sharp pang as some part of the soul was trapped amidst those blurred lights. He could feel his life slipping from his hands, this was not the Prayas he has known for it life. “Life is a war, soldiers fight to survive, martyrs fight for death but warriors fight to win and I am a warrior” he had told this so many times, to her, but today he felt that he had given up without fighting. He could see a part of him slowly drifting away in the cold vacuum.
His inner voice told him “You can not just let it go. A warrior is not meant to sit in the castle and see it all go. A warrior is meant to win, fight and win”. He could feel a sharp impulse running in his nerves through his whole body. He got up and got out of the house, called the elevator. He knew he was not going to let it go so easy, the fight was on. He walked into the parking lot and sat in his car, a part of him still didn’t believe what he was going to do but his heart did. As the car engine revved up nostalgia set up across him. As he drove his way towards the highway the old days came back to him.
“Hie, what you are doing here?” he turned back at the sound.
“Poorva! Hi, how are you here? I am here for a couple of months for an internship” he was still gaping at her. One year and she had changed drastically and for good and better. He remembered her old self and wondered further if she is the same person.
“Oh! I am here only for my post graduation. So how do you like the city? ……” the conversations flowed. There were many things he wanted to say like how gorgeous she was looking, how pretty her smile was, how they should meet up again over coffee when he took her leave.
He took another turn and came on the Bangalore highway. He saw the milestone guiding him towards his destination. He smiled how he wanted to sit with her when he asked to leave and how he saw a tinge of sadness on her face when none was there when she said “Yes it is getting late”.
The air had suddenly become cold, little droplets of rain were falling on his windscreen. He pressed the throttle with the music filling the loneliness in the car. The lyrics of the song meant so much to him-
“Here I am this is me. There is no where else on earth I would rather be. Here I am it’s just me and you. Tonight we will make our dreams come true.”
The acoustic guitar of this song was beating in his head. His heart started beating faster, the wheels made the screeching sound with ground. His eyes opened due to the jerk, his flight had landed on the Bangalore Airport. He came out humming to himself “Here I am, this is me.” He was in Bangalore this was the city where she was, this was the air she breathed in. It had been more than a year, since he had last seen her but it seemed like a moment ago he could still see her moist lips forming that perfect smile, her blue summer T worn casually over the blue denims making her look simple yet yearningly attractive. He couldn’t believe that actually so much time had passed since he had last seen her. Though he knew every little bit about her, there had not been a single day he had not thought of her. Chats and phones he distantly was a part of her life, near enough to know everything about her yet far enough not to make her realize how much did he care.
“Hi Poorva” He said as soon as she picked up phone
“You reached?” She asked
“Yep” he nodded
“Awesome man, where are you now and where are you going?” She asked
“I have just checked in the hotel. What were you doing?” he replied
“I am planning to go to office, you catch some sleep will talk in comfortably in evening” She said
He slowly responded while hanging of the phone when he just wanted to sit back and listen to her talking, breathing the same air which she did. Realizing how close he was to her but still how far, he wanted to tell her a lot of things but destiny always favored his silence over confessions.
A sharp shiver of longing went through his spine. The rain had started poring he increased the wiper intensity and switched on the heater. The gust of air from the heater surrounded him in warmth, making him cosy and lost him in the moments of nostalgia.
He was standing in the middle of the busy mall checking out the fall collection at UCB’s. Suddenly he could feel a distinct beat in his heart, and he turned. His eyes were transfixed on the door when he saw her enter; he could feel a sudden sense of excitement. When he saw her gleaming eyes searching for him, and he moved towards her as being pulled by the depth of her eyes. He hadn’t seen her happier while meeting him, he knew today was special. Nothing to do they simply strolled down the road and he walked by her side. Covering her and looking for her at every crossroads while enjoying the music of her voice. He was stopped by a small girl by the roadside who was selling red roses. He didn’t knew what to do, “I had never bought roses for any girl” His mind argued “But she is not any girl, She is Poorva” the heart replied beating faster then ever. He slowly pulled out his wallet bought three red roses for her telling her
“I care. A little more, a little too more than any one ever can”
“I treasure. You, your smile, your laugh, your concern, every moment with you”
“I love. You for now, for always will you be mine forever”
He gently looked at those long stemmed roses sprinkling them with the thoughts in his mind and went towards her.
“These are for you” Prayas slowly uttered. He tried to tell her all that he wanted to, all about the meaning of those three roses. But his speech got dissolved in his heart with the lovely grin on her face. Every word that could have come out of his mouth just lost the purpose. Her smile had made his day and he knew he didn’t need anything else.
They entered in the restaurant; he saw the reflections of joy in her eyes. The shimmer of the roses was evident with a tinge of pink on her cheeks and she looked so elegant sitting by the glass wall over the Bangalore high rise. He wished he could tell her what she meant to him, how he longed to be a part of her and part of her life. How he wanted him to be the epicenter of her life. He laughed at the irony of life how everything he wanted was sitting so close to him but yet she was in a distant plane in a different world with different thoughts with maybe, yes maybe a small inclination of his longing for her. She was talking to him and he was listening to everything she said floating in the sense of togetherness with her. Her voice soothed his soul and her presence beside him surrounded him with warmth making him cosy. He couldn’t believe the most perfect evening of his life was coming to an end. It was already night and the auto-rickshaw was swirling across the ways in speed forcing his hands to brush with hers leading him to the moment of ecstasies. He bade her goodbye and as the auto turned a closely passing car made a loud Honk.
He got out of the nostalgia with the noise of honking of a truck coming from front. He realized he has been driving for four hours. He drove towards the next series of lights and slowly pulled his car in a roadside motel. He slowly walked into the restaurant and ordered a cheese sandwich with a cup of coffee. The rain had lightened down but still mild drizzle was in the air. He was glancing at his watch while he ate his meal. He couldn’t believed how time had flew with her, though she was not with him during these past three years, but their daily chats and phones had made Poorva an indispensible part of his life. However he never realized the indispensability until today; he always thought he co
uld control his heart. Until the phone rang today, he thought as he moved back to his car.
The phone was ringing; “it never takes more than 3 rings to pick up….” was the thought in her mind when he just picked the call.
“Hello, Sorry was in the restroom” it was the same spiked up voice. Some things never change, neither would his voice nor would her feeling of elation at the sound of it. Her mind wandered.
“Hello, Poorva!! Is something wrong?” he was genuinely concerned. This was one thing which made him a lot easier to talk to; he was never a fake, he was never to be doubted, even if he committed a cardinal sin she knew he would tell her. A simple bond of trust made him so different, so special from the rest.
“No, Nothing wrong! Got something to tell you. I am getting married” She wished if he would say this is not possible. How can you go to someone else you were always mine. She wished so much for both of them; but on the irony of life they were just friends. Not that she couldn’t have told him; she could have more than hundred times may be every time they spoke she could have ended up with the three words which could have changed their life but…..
“That’s nice, but you don’t seem to be too excited. Who is the guy? Poorvs are you really happy?”
Something inside her squealed in pain, she wanted to cry just digging her head in his arms telling him that she was not. She wanted to tell him no one can ever read her the way he does, no one can every match how he asked the most relevant questions to show his concern. She wanted to tell him how she wanted him to be in his life, if only he had been couple of years elder to her, if only their families had something more in common to be brought together, if only she had the drive to go the extra mile risking one of the most important friendship she had.
“It’s a compromise Prayas, it is a compromise. I can’t wait any longer, this is what my parents think is perfect for me and I have just lost the zeal or desire to keep them waiting till I find something I want. I can’t do this to them, it’s just a decision” she couldn’t lie to him; pretence could have worked on anyone else. It could have kept his parents happy and ignorant, it could have brought smiles on her friends’ face but not him he could read her like a book from the first to the last cover.
“I am flying home tomorrow evening for the ring ceremony…….” And she continued filling him the details. This was the first time talking to him she felt that his mind was somewhere else. She waited for him to come back but he seemed to be lost in the distant breeze.
“It’s a decision which is going to be rest of your life. Go ahead and enjoy, make the most of it whatever and however it is. Good Luck” The conversation ended.
She kept the phone down; she could feel a sense of numbness in her fingers. The most painful thing was done; she didn’t have any will left in her to call rest of the people. She just sat on her bed after closing the lights; she could remember the days when they were together. The days when she could call him anytime and start a conversation with a line “abhi baat kar sakta hai!!”. The conversations would last for hours and sometimes nights but they always managed to cheer her up. There was something about him which made him different, very different from the rest. She still remembered the Diwali night, her first one away from home. The life seemed to hit an all time low, it any ways sucked big time to live alone in such a huge city but festivities were a time to be home. Nothing more can be more saddening then a diwali spent locked inside the home alone. “This Diwali would be like one I have had never before, dull sad and dark” she thought.
She wasn’t completely wrong when she thought that. The Diwali turned out to be like the one she hadn’t ever had before and not so dull, not so dark, & not so sad either. She remembered how he had coaxed her to come out of the house almost forcefully taking her to a movie. Surprisingly the movie turned out to be awesome and she was happy at least she was having some good times. They proceeded from the Cineplex to the Café bar on the ground floor of the mall. There they had some coffees and both of them were letching the beautiful girls in and around the mall. His descriptions of pretty females were hilarious and strikingly true and she was enjoying when his hand slipped inside his bag and brought out an unwrapped packet. He handed it over to her and said Happy Diwali. It came out as a surprise to her; if it would have been anyone else she would have snapped back. She looked deep into his eyes, to see intentions, plans but surprisingly there weren’t any; they had affection all over with a tinge of eagerness. She was surprised how to react to him, when he saved her from the gravity when he said in casual tone “Open”.
She moved to her almirah took out a black jacket; the black jacket which she received on a Diwali day in an unwrapped packet. The day when she actually found out that she meant something to him. Holding jacket close to her face she knew that she can never let this piece go away from her. She realized that a lot of things need to be done; her life was going to change drastically after tomorrow. She decided that she should pack her bags; and the thought of him still lingered on. She could see him walking with her on the crowded streets of the brigade road, trying to protect her from everything coming her way. The lights were bright and they strolled on the streets till the crowds started disappearing. Something wanted both of them stay together; something didn’t wanted that evening to end not even if it was past one in the night; something that was shining in both of them.
They walked towards her house, amidst the sudden sounds of crackers disrupting eerie silence of the night. They were speaking to each other about love, experiences and life but just as the number of the steps their words too didn’t mattered. Something had connected in them; she could feel it. She didn’t know what he was speaking but she could feel her heart beating for every word he said. She could see the gentility of the person amidst his true self. She wanted to interrupt and tell him how she was feeling but no admittance through word could have communicated what the silence was telling her. She chose to listen and feel what she had always read, what actually sharing of life meant. They finally reached her house she couldn’t just go inside and something stopped him to say goodbye. There were a lot of things which were left unsaid in that moment hadn’t it been for her damned caretaker of the house too eager to lock the doors of. She just wished if she could have just travelled in time and let the moment last a bit longer, but the moment was gone.
A lot had changed after that night; he was not the usual guy for her. Though she could not tell what he thought; she knew it just might not be perfect. She knew that the troubles might be at the door after all the social stigma was one that cannot be invited. She always thought she can tell him anytime and her thoughts actually rebelled when she discussed marriages and relationships with him. He was so different from what she thought of him to be. Whatever he was but he was no longer a guy from college she knew, he was more and much more.
She could feel his presence all over her life especially with the discussion on love, life, relationships and philosophies that made her realize he was not the man she wanted. He was the man she needed, who could set things straight in her life but he was not what she wanted. He was a bit too much practical to be true. However, with every single conversation he was closer to her and she needed him more than she wanted him. She needed him so badly that she couldn’t risk letting him go for what she wanted.
She was thinking how he had told her about needs sometime “It is always difficult getting and keeping what you need than what you want. When you need some
thing your life loses value so the risk is always greater. However wants always leave a temporary good taste”
She smiled remembering all that and thought to herself “I actually need you to be with me, I need you to take me away from all this once and for all, I need you to hold me against you and promise that you will always take care of me. If nothing else I at least need you to call me and talk to me”. She wiped the tears rolling of her eyes, tears of pain, indignation, and sorrow, when she saw a bright light flashing through her hands. She realized it was already the next day morning.
He was calling on the mobile and as usual she wasn’t noticing it when it was flashing with his name on the screen.
She tremblingly picked up the phone.
“Hi Poorva, Prayas here” He said.
“Hi” She replied back
“Can you come downstairs?”
“Where?” She asked almost aghast
“Downstairs outside your gate” He said silently
“What? How come? When? Wait I am coming down” She spoke without taking another breath
She saw him standing silently besides his car. She saw his face and rushed towards him and with her tear filled eyes she let herself sink in his arms. Feeling secured, loved and thought free after a long time. She could feel his fingers running through her hairs and the second hand holding her against him on her back. She raised her face and looked towards him.
“Get your stuff down” He said.
She went up; later coming down with the back she had packed for the journey she was supposed to make tonight. He quietly took the bag and made her sit in the car. He started driving without saying a word and slowly wrapped his arm around her. She turned to look at him as if asking questions.
He smiled “Let’s first make you have some breakfast somewhere I know you wouldn’t have eaten a bit since yesterday evening” and she knew that the decision had been taken; the journey of their life had already started. She had nothing to worry, there was someone who would know; someone to be with her; someone to take care of her.
She smiled naturally and easily after a long time, “The irony of life, the whole world elopes in love for those three magical words. We would be the first one who by the lack of utterance of those three magical words turned RUN-AWAYS”.

Singles

He closed the door of the car, and looked towards his reflection in the car; adjusting his Rayban Aviators he entered the espresso house. The espresso house had been a second home for Prayas for the past two years. The happy and sad moments, his birthdays and his dates all have happened here. The only place which give him solace in this lonely city. He went in threw his mobile phone, key and sunglasses on his usual table to reserve his place. This couch next to the glass wall of the espresso house has been his favorite table for months. He had spent hours sitting here sipping black coffee with walnut brownie, observing the passing traffic across the glass wall and enjoying the crowd inside.

He went to the counter, “Where is Ravi?” He enquired. Ravi was the store manager, who had been his close friend and had become well aware of his likings of coffee.

“Hey Prayas, Ravi has an off today. Tell me what will you have” replied Tewari.

“Usual, Espresso Americano and a brownie, Espresso with double extra shots”

“Double!!! Why something wrong, you have double only when you are in a bad mood”

“Nothing re, just chill. I want something to stir me up right through my spine so thought will have a double today” He replied and went back to the table. His cell phone was on the table.

The world can change drastically in just two days. Just two days before his life used to be eventful and happening. His phone used to ring whenever he was alone. He sometimes wondered that whether there was a telepathy that she always knew when to call and when to be with him. Two days back he considered himself the luckiest guy on the earth. Two days before he knew love. Two days before he was alone but never lonely. Two days before he was sad but never left uncomforted. Two days before he walked aloof but was not Single.

He sipped his coffee, and wondered how much had his life changed. Actually nothing, most of the times he visited espresso house alone, years of a long distance had taught him how to live alone. The only thing that changed was that now deep inside his heart he knew, he was a single. He knew that his phone will not ring today. He knew that he won’t be booking tickets to see her on the extended weekend. He couldn’t help thinking of the last time when they met in the same café. How intently they had been discussing their life and two months everything had changed. From Us it was you and me, it had all finished. One night, one call and it was all over. The penchant which had been built over five years had been forgotten in a matter of an hour.

Prayas was confused, and he wasn’t liking it, did he do something wrong. He wanted to hate the feminine race and he was able to hate every girl whom he knew and whom he didn’t, except Poorva. Five years, Poorva has been his life and suddenly she just let it go. “I can’t go against the family” was an important thing he knew. But still it seemed nonsense to him. He was irritated and angry. What made him angry was a question which was bothering him, a broken heart, failure of an important relationship, betrayal of Poorva, or the idea that he was single again. He tried hard to answer the question but they kept him tangled.

He was lost in a cocoon of thoughts, when he was brought out of the melancholy of his thoughts by a voice. “Excuse me!! Sorry to disturb you, do you mind if I sit here?”

He glanced across the whole café before looking up to find all other tables occupied. “Yeah, sure” he said looking up to see his company. She seemed nice on the first glance. Short in height, black hairs cut in slant till the shoulder, draped in a traditional black and blue suit, and a black dupatta draped tightly around her neck. Her eyes were big and brown. Carrying a very innocent smile, she sat in a dignified manner legs crossed in an inverted Y. He could see her white feet belted carefully in open sandals wearing a dull lavender color on her nails. He was immediately reminded of Poorva, she made him visit almost every mall in the city to find a similar color of nail enamels, which was her favorite.

She had got a Latte and a slimmer sand-witch. She smiled “I am sorry, to encroach upon your table like this”.

“No, its absolutely fine with me. Haven’t seen you here before?” Prayas replied.

“Hi, I am Divya. Yes I am new here. Moved in two days before, I am a personal counselor. What about you?”

“Hie, I am Prayas, have been here for past two years and you will find me in this espresso house more often than you can in my own house.” Sipping his coffee he continued “By profession I am a consultant, I get paid to talk. I have never heard of a personal counselor, what exactly do you do?”

“Amazing we are a complementary pair. You get paid to talk and I get paid to listen. I listen to people anything they would like to share, anything which is bothering them.”

“I mean what kind of problems people would be sharing to a stranger, and what kind of people would come to you. What solution you can give to them”

Divya laughed “All sorts of people, singles who can’t find a partner, committed people who want to be single, People into and out of relationships, married people who can’t find the spark in their marriages and people who find someone else in their marriage. Trust me all sorts of people, anyone and everyone can use a personal counselor. Now regarding solutions, at most of the times people know what the solution is. They know deep inside what is wrong and what is right, they just need someone to listen to them through all their heart. Sometimes they lack perspective and vision, then we just give them the different perspective make them understand the difference between a short term gain and a long term loss. The most important thing is that your client should be able to trust you, because he tells you the most important secrets of his life and the most important ability in this profession would be to listen and the ability to keep secrets.”

“Wow, so you think that everyone can gain from counseling, then may be even its high time I should get some from you. Tell me ma’am how can I get an appointment with you.”

“Sure anytime you feel that something is bothering you. I will be happy to have more business.”

“How much business this client will be bringing to your revenues every counseling session?” Prayas laughed

“Ahh, now that I am just starting in this new city. And you are such a nice guy who offered to share his table. Just buy me coffee every session we have here.”

“Wow, discounts for new clients. By the way I didn’t offer the table you asked for my company” Prayas chuckled.

Divya laughed
, suddenly Prayas’ cell phone started ringing “Excuse me!!!” he said “Client call” he went out. The conversation got extended and when he returned he found Divya had already left. He smiled and sat down just then he found something scribbled on the paper napkin on the table. He picked it up; it read “Hey Mr. Consultant, I have got to rush. It was really nice talking to you, hope to see you tomorrow here same time.” He smiled and walked out of the espresso house, his mind completely occupied with the conversation he had with Divya.

Next day he got too busy with work and only when he arrived at espresso house late in the night he remembered of Divya and her note which was still in his wallet but was completely forgotten. He sat on the couch and ordered. He could remember yesterday’s conversation. He regretted forgetting about the appointment and made it a point to come tomorrow and see if he could find her.

Next day he came and found her sitting on the same table he just went ahead “Ma’am, if you are not waiting for someone then may be I can join you”

“Oh I am so sorry, I am waiting for a dude called Prayas, he was supposed to come yesterday but seems like he has got delayed so you may sit till he arrives” Divya chuckled.

“Before sitting I am supposed to order coffee for myself and you, what will you have?”

“I will have a smoothie, black currant smoothie may be”

He ordered and then sat down, “Sorry yaar, I completely forgot about meeting you yesterday. Got occupied with work, I did came here but it was very late around ten in the evening”

“Oh, it’s completely alright, you don’t have to be so formal. By the way ten is not evening its night. You come here quiet often?”

“Not quiet often, regularly or rather daily. You can generally find me here till this place closes down and sometimes even after that”

“Why? Who is at your home, I mean don’t people wait for you? Don’t they get worried about you being out so late in the night?” Divya asked.

“I am a working bachelor; my parents don’t live with me. So actually no one at home, I share a flat with some of friends. All of us have independent life; no one bothers too much about each other until there is an emergency or something. Coming to this place soothes me, instead of being lonely at home.” Prayas replied.

“I understand, what about girlfriends, don’t you have one. I am sorry to be intruding your personal life but you seem to be a perfectly eligible bachelor?”

“I used to have one, four days back. We broke of, or in her rather her terms Parted Ways” Prayas replied in a bruised tone.

“I am sorry so be so intruding and inquisitive but if you don’t mind tell me what happened”

“Oh not a problem, her name was…. is Poorva. We had been together for approximately five years. We were happily committed with each other. Recently there was some pressure from her family and she felt that she can not leave her family for me. So she decided to dump me. That’s my choti si love story, and now your so called eligible bachelor is single.” Prayas said ending in a satirical tone.

“Come on Prayas, you are not that immature. You understand she loved you right? See Prayas it happens, it’s a matter of past and future. Her family is her past, and you wanted to be her future, and may be even she wanted you to be her future. But because of our closed culture it was not working out. It’s always difficult to let go what you already have for more than two decades” She went on speaking and he was lost in the tinkling of her voice. She seemed to be so beautiful, simple yet so engrossing.

“I know you have to go through a lot of misery for her, and how it feels to let go something so important. But you should realize that getting married and being rebels is not the aim. The life is about living happily ever after. Life is not what they show in movies; it’s what starts after the movies. So if she would have regretted being with you for leaving your parents. You wouldn’t be happy in the first place. So why be so satirical and bitter about it. You are not a weakling and neither your life has stopped nor is that you have lost al possibilities of leading a happy life. It was just a relationship and it didn’t work out. You gave your best shot, that’s more than enough.” Divya was saying when he interrupted.

“I understand whatever you are saying makes a lot of sense and is factual, but I can’t help being bitter about it.” Prayas was agitated.

“That’s because you are still there, where she left you, you are still waiting. You refuse to accept whatever has happened. Do you listen to ghazals?” Divya asked

“Yes, I like them a lot”

“You know your state is perfectly described by one of the couplets from a Jagjit Singh’s Ghazal

Dil bhi zid par ada hai ek bache ki tarah, ya to sab kuch hi ise chahiye ya kuch bhi nahi” Divya smiled and continued “You got to move on, find new people in your life, make things happen. Prayas this is your life, no one else will do it for you. What are you doing yaar. Chill man!!!”

“You know Divya; I have never met someone as sweet as you. I mean you are amazing” Prayas slowly replied in a slow and thoughtful voice.

“Don’t you start that with me. Come on its time for me to go. Nice girls are not supposed to be wandering late in the night.” Divya laughed and bade him goodbye and walked out.

He just sat there motionless watching her every move, every step. Her hands sidelining her hair and a black handbag dangling by her sides, she was a treat to his eyes and heart. He kept sitting and watching her. Everything she had said passed like a series of frames through her mind. He smiled to himself and his little fantasies and moved to go.

A Week Later-

It had been almost a week and they have been a part of each others life daily meeting at the same table in that espresso house. He was very happy and excited; he rushed into the espresso house and found her waiting for him. “Guess what, Ronan Keating is coming to city next weekend. Its a couple entry only, I have booked ticket for me and you, so be ready on Saturday”.

“Wow, I love Ronan Keating, You are a sweat heart. How did you know that I would love to go?” Divya was as excited as Prayas was.

Prayas was having sleepless nights, waiting for Saturday. On Saturday he woke up late, double shaved. Picked out his favorite dress put on. The night he has been waiting for all these days had actually arrived. He reached the espresso bar all
dressed up and as soon as he reached he felt as if breath has lost on him. She sitting alone on the coffee table seemed to be like a piece of art. Her white skin was glowing prominently across the maroon dress. A thin gold chain was rounded on his neck, with a loosely dangling arrow pendant. He couldn’t take her eyes of her, when she saw him and said “Hi, when did you come?”

“Just now, I never knew you were so beautiful” Prayas stammered.

He could see a red blush, across her pink cheeks he moved by her side “Let’s go” and put her hand across her shoulder hesitating a bit to keep her hands on her waist he moved them over to her shoulders and gripped her. They sat in the car and went towards the concert.

Prayas was on a different world driving his car across the city and having her besides him, he could see his life in her face and her smile. He could feel blood rushing through his heart. The whole setup seemed like a fairy tale to him. He was out with his princess; the fantasy was quadrupled with Ronan Keating classics. He knew in his heart that he had found his life. All that he had expected in his wife was rocking to the greatest love songs of the world right here in his arms. Life was bliss.

The evening came to an end sooner than they could have realized. Some evenings can impact your lives so much that they can stretch well beyond a life time; this was such an evening for him. The sweet romance still embraced them when they were driving back home, they reached her home. She got off the car; he held her hands and pulled her back. Divya turned and looked back at him and a moment of silence and the clock seemed to stop. He came closer slowly till he could feel the warmth of her breath. She didn’t move, he bent forward her hands were gently stroking her soft hair and he could feel his lips against hers. The slight moisture of her lipstick and the aroma of her skin mixed with the Davidoff Echo made him loose his senses. She was still and he took a long press and slowly separated looking directly into her eyes. He could he see warmth and a strange sense of composure in her eyes. He didn’t know what do and what to say. He just sat quietly, she bent forward stroked her left cheek and gave a light peck on his cheek “You are a sweetheart Prayas” and she went home.

He turned the rear view mirror he could see the imprints of her lips and her lipstick on his cheek, he didn’t remove them, the silky touch of her hand seemed to him like an eternity. His heart was beating vigorously with his nerves strained. He roared the engine and zapped his car back to his home. Life was great, and he had been loving every moment of it.

Next day Prayas had to go out of station for a week for work.

The trip had been a successful one for him and he couldn’t wait to get back to meet Divya. Strolling through one of the malls he purchased a ruby ring for her, and wrote a one liner for her-

“The tinge of gold and this little gem fickle, My heart skips beat and you surround the view,

Your deep eyes tinkling with the sparkle, Make me say I Love You. “

He reached back, he couldn’t wait to reach espresso and ask her to marry him. He was greeted well in the office for the success of his trip. His team had decided to go clubbing that night in his honor. He so much wanted to say no and tried to avoid then thought that may be he could ask her tomorrow. They went to G&C’s for the night. The music was at its best, the usual G&C standard. The Club was full of life. Prayas and his team took a corner seat and ordered drinks. He couldn’t take his mind of Divya. The ring was still in his pocket. He missed her like hell and wished that she could have been here with him, right in his arms.

After an extended session of drinks, Prayas and his friends jumped on the floor. The floor had been happening as usual and the group immediately let itself loose with the music. Suddenly Prayas’ eyes freezed on a couple, whose dance and closeness were extending to the acts of foreplay. The guy was kissing the girl very passionately and his hands were trying to get a feel of her body. His mind went topsy-turvy, he tried to get a better view of the girl but he couldn’t because of the crowd which was half mad with the ambience and music. He couldn’t get his eyes of the glowing skin of the feminine body which seemed so familiar. Soon the party was drawing towards a close long after midnight. He saw them exiting out of the pub he followed and just as the couple was about to enter the car he shouted Divya. She turned back, and he was shocked.

“Wow Prayas!! How come you are here, you had gone out? When did you come back? You didn’t even tell me” Divya said.

Prayas didn’t say a thing, just kept staring at the guy next to her. She noticed and said “Oh, I completely forgot. He is Vikrant, my boyfriend. Vicky he is Prayas, I told you about him. Remember”

“BOYFRIEND!!!” exclaimed Prayas “When did this happened, a week ago you loved me. You didn’t even gave me a weeks time and you go out with him”

“What!!!” Divya was shocked “You? My boyfriend. When? Something is terribly wrong. You were never my boyfriend, and I was never your girl.”

“If not then why did you wait for me in Espresso house everyday? Why did you listen to everything I had to say? Why we had to be together daily? Tell me why?” shouted Prayas.

“Listening to you, it was professional Prayas, I hope you understand. It’s my profession to listen to personal problem s of people and I was doing that. It was nothing of the sorts you are assuming. I never said that I love you. Vicky has been in my life for past three years.” Divya tried to calm him down.

“You mean everything was professional, you were just being professional with me. If that’s true why you never told me about Vicky before” Prayas shouted almost on the verge of crying.

“You never asked, as a matter of fact I never shared anything about my life with you. I don’t know how and what have you assumed”

“What about the Kiss that day. It didn’t mean anything to you” Prayas said in a coarse voice with a tear rolling down his eyes.

“Come on Prayas I just let you do it because I thought you were missing your girl. Prayas this is my profession, I love my job. Everything between you and me was professional.” She bent forward stroked his cheek gently and gave him a small peck on his cheek “You are a sweetheart Prayas. Take care and if you need any help do give me a call. I have to leave now”. She sat inside the car and they drove off.

He could feel the touch of her hands against his cheeks like a sand paper. He felt like puking, he slowly moved towards his car sat inside, lying his neck against the headrest. He took out the handkerchief to wipe of his face of the tears that had trickled down and could feel the box of ring. He too
k it out opened the glove box and kept it beside a photo of Poorva. He looked towards it for a minute, before closing the glove box.

He started the car and drove off; the days of bliss had passed. He was single again.

The Name

Keeping his laptop on the backseat, Prayas adjusted the rear view mirror to see himself, he let out a smile at his own stub and returned the mirror back to its place and picked the bag from the car and moved towards the Laundromat. The weekly laundry was a boring routine but had to be done and he was happy that his company had laundry installed in the office premises for bachelors like him. He got the tokens put all his clothes in the machine and started the machine. It will be twenty five minutes before he will have to change the mode to dryer and restart the machine. He sat down on the couch, another two minutes and his thoughts kept on lingering how his life had changed in past few months. He took out his cell phone, kept scrolling names, until he struck across the name Divya, a name which he wanted to remove from his heart and from this phonebook. Suddenly he noticed someone else in the room. She was facing other side but he could see the silhouette, she was tall and slender. Black hair neatly tied in a bun were wet, her T-shirt and her jeans were showing her waistline. She turned and became conscious of his gaze . She adjusted her T-Shirt and came back and sat at the couch. Prayas said “Hi!! Poorva?? I am Prayas”. She stammered “yyeah…Hi, Do we know each other?”.

“No” he said “Just saw your name on your ID card and thought of striking a conversation”

“What? And why you want to do that?”

“Well, firstly my laundry has still around half an hour to go and I am getting bored, secondly you have a nice figure. Thought I just might get lucky”

“If that’s a pick-up line, this is the worst one I have ever heard”

“No, actually I have seen best of pick up lines failing so thought might just try the truth this time”

“Huh” she ignored him and looked on the other side.

Prayas looked at her closely, she had large black-brown eyes highlighted through a faint line of Kohl. Her face was round with a bit flat nose. She looked beautiful in the white t-shirt and blue jeans. The line on her t-shirt “United Colors” made him wonder how many colors will she be having in her life.

Poorva snapped back “Why are you staring at me like this?”

Shocked initially with her calm and deep voice, he laughed “Well there are only washing machines and you to look at and you provide a better view.”

Poorva was irritated by now “are you a subject matter expert for corny lines”

Prayas smiled “Which division are you from?”

“Personal Relations” she replied.

“So you are the one who gets paid for lying about our company to general public”

“Do you have any idea what PR is all about, how important it is for a company” and she went on for a few minutes. And he kept on listening enjoying the energy and enthusiasm she exulted while speaking about her job. Her face radiated a confident glow, the eyes grew wider and he could feel something rushing inside him.

“By the way what do you do in this company?” she asked

“Oh me, I am a Consultant” he replied with a smile. For the first time he was actually enjoying being with a girl. It has been 6 months since Divya was gone and he never felt this for anyone like he was now.

“Have you heard that joke on consultants” She asked

“Oh yes, the shepherd one… yes I have, I am the same consultant. I get paid to talk” He smiled.

And he went on talking to her, with every passing minute he felt closer to her. For first time in six months he felt zeal to live, “Life is not over” he told himself. Suddenly the beeper of the machine put an end to his thoughts and a break to their conversations. He saw his laundry was completed there was still three minutes left for her machine’s timer. He went up slowly to the machine pick up the bucket and starting taking out clothes one by one. He wanted to do it so slowly so that her washing also gets completed and he has a chance to go till the gate with her. He couldn’t believe that he was doing this. Suddenly she got up and switched off the machine, he asked “what happened?”

She replied “Nothing, two minutes only they will be done”

Together they walked towards the gate talking. She couldn’t believe that actually she liked him. He seemed to be so rude and irritating, but he was so genuine and caring. Her mind was wandering about so many random thoughts, yet she could hear and understand every word he was saying. They reached the gate and showed their ID cards to go out. It was time to go, She couldn’t it was time to go.

“How do you commute? Can I drop you, I mean only if it’s okay with you?” he asked

“I take a rick or the company bus” she said clutching her car keys and slowly sliding them into her handbag.

“Come then I will drop you home” he said “Where do you live”

They sat inside the car and he could feel the adrenalin rushing into him. He put on the music and drove out of the parking. The faint romantic tunes from the speaker, made the crazy traffic filled road to him as the most exotic setup. First time in his life he was blessing the traffic which gave him more time to spend with her. He stopped the car, “I can’t believe we reached your home so soon”.

She smiled “Thanks for the ride, Ciao some time” and got out of the car. He looked at her moving towards her house, he started the engine. Just when she turned and he could see her walking back to him. She leaned on the window and said “Why don’t you come up for a cup of coffee?”

“Sure”, he said and pa
rked the car. Moving upstairs they entered her flat. He couldn’t stop himself and held her hand, she turned to him and he pulled her close. She left herself loose which he felt as her consent, put his arms around her and removed her hair clip, she left a deep breath and closed her eyes as her hair loosened themselves and fell over her back and he bent forward put his lips on hers and closed his eyes.

He couldn’t believe himself, everything was back he could feel her warmth and softness. The tenderness he always loved was right here in his arms. He held her tightly and felt her close to him with his closed eyes. She was the world to him, nothing could ever mean more than her, this was ecstasy he could see his life with closed eyes he could see her serene face, Divya’s face. He opened his eyes suddenly and saw Divya staring at him with her wide eyes. He was scared, and shocked as he moved away from her. Poorva opened her eyes and smiled with a blush. Prayas couldn’t see her face with his eye’s back. All he could see was Divya staring at him. Poorva looked back “What are you staring at?”. Looking at a photograph she said “She is my cousin Divya, She died in an accident six months ago”.

“Come on, you sit down and I will make some coffee for you” Poorva headed towards the kitchen.

“No”, he looked towards his cell phone and said. “Its getting late, may be some other time” he moved out of her house looking at his cell phone, seeing the name which he wanted to erase from this phonebook, his life and his heart but couldn’t.