"muddat mein vo phir taazaa mulaaqaat kaa aalam
Khaamosh adaaon mein vo jazbaat kaa aalam "
“Another cutting? How come you guys have so much appetite for tea?”, Smriti asked.
“It’s not about the appetite. It’s more about the weather, you see”, replied Raghav trying to sound rational, and not romantic.
“I see”, she chuckled and liked the intended pun.
“Seems, the bus is here”, Raghav, noticed a Volvo bus and approached the Bus driver to confirm whether it was the same bus he was supposed to board.
“I think the same bus goes upto Thane too”, Smriti said, picking up her bag.
“It sure does”, Raghav sounded confident.
Smriti and Raghav boarded the bus and like it was to follow, they took the seats together.
“Finally!”, exclaimed Raghav and smiled, looking at Smriti.
“Yeah!”, she inserted an affirmation and smiled back.
“So, what made you come to Pune?”, Raghav started a discussion.
“There was a recruitment drive and I stayed back at a friend’s over the weekend”, Smriti said.
“Great. And your family?”, he asked, wondering whether he was asking the right questions to a girl whom he had met, a while ago.
“I stay with them in Thane”, Smriti replied, doubting his intentions, but stretching the discussion, she asked, “How about you?”
“My parents stay in Mumbai. And I work in Pune”, he said.
Smriti, looked at him wondering whether he knew her, or she knew him. It seemed like they knew each other, but there was no acceptance of the fact.
“So you were born and brought up in Mumbai?”, she asked.
“Not really, I went about the entire country, completing my education. They would throw me out of schools, you know”, he mocked.
She giggled. As if she knew he wouldn’t have been an obtuse kid, she popped another question, “So you have an army background, huh”
“Wow! What a guess!”, he looked stunned, and added, “What, you HR people read minds or lives, or what?”
“Umm.. Not exactly. That was an easy one”, she preserved her comment.
“And you? Bringing up and all in Mumbai?”, he asked.
“No. I studied at St.Joseph’s Jabalpur. Then my graduation in Pune and Post graduation in Mumbai”, she summarized.
“I see”, he beamed.
“I think he will play the same old movie now”, Smriti said, as she saw the bus attendant start the TV and load the DVD.
“Which movie?”, Raghav asked.
“Break ke baad”, Smriti sounded bored.
“What is it about?”, he asked.
“Ohh, well, it’s about the hero and heroine being together since childhood then taking a break from a relationship and then getting back together in the end”, Smriti told him the plot in one simple sentence.
“Ah. Boring. There should have been some variety”, Raghav said.
“Variety as in? You mean, the actor should have had another girl?”, Smriti questioned.
“Naah. Not that. The plot, I meant”, Raghav said.
“Guys usually are very unsettled, when it comes to girls. But in this movie, the guy is a one woman man. And I like the character very much”, Smriti opined.
“Umm. I would not like to agree with you, but are right. Guys are pretty unsettled”, Raghav said.
“How about you?”, Smriti asked, getting personal.
“I appreciate the relationship I am in, and I value commitment a lot”, he said. He paused for a while and noticed Smriti gawking at him and immediately he added further, “Not that I am in one”
“Hmm”, Smriti replied, “I like that”, she said.
“Have you been to this new Italian restaurant in Andheri?”Smriti changed the topic, avoiding any personal questions.
“I don’t like Continental food. I am a die hard Punjabi and I thrive on butter chicken”, Raghav explained.
“Oh wow. Then come over to my place sometime, Mom makes amazing butter chicken”, Smirti said, getting comfortable with the conversation and the conversant.
“That’s really sweet of you”, Raghav replied.
Smriti smiled, realizing the extent to which the conversation had extended.
“Movie”, Smriti pointed towards the TV, taking a break from the conversation.
Raghav opened his ‘Sea of Poppies’ and flipped through the pages to find his bookmark. He continued reading as he noticed Smriti engrossed in the movie.
He closely observed Smriti time and again. The side features of her face were very pleasant. He loved the way her nose pointed out of her face and her eye lashes moved in slow motion. He noticed her smile, which came regularly, as she heard the dialogues of the movie.
He watched her hands play with the key ring on her mobile phone.
Watching this girl, Raghav slipped into a siesta. He had just fallen in love.
to be contd..