"tere aane kii jab Khabar mahake
tere Khushbuu se saaraa ghar mahake"
“Thane waale… Utaro”, the bus attendant called out.
Raghav woke up, startled.
“Smriti”, he called out, sounding stunned.
“WE'VE reached Thane!”, he thought about what he said, “I mean YOU'VE reached Thane”, he thought about it again coming out of his afternoon nap, which got converted into a sleep, and exclaimed, “I'VE reached Thane? What the F***?”.
Smriti woke up and asked the bus attendant to help her with her bag.
“Raghav, Come down. We can think about what can be done next”, Smriti suggested, sounding sleepy.
“Yeah. I had an important meeting at 5.30 in the evening”, Raghav said.
“And now it is 6, and it’s raining cats and dogs”, Smriti said looking at her watch, as they got down from the bus.
“Oh Shit shit shit. How did I sleep through Lonavala? Did he not call out?”, Raghav asked.
“I have no idea. You know, I would have reached Dadar, had you not woken me up at Thane”, Smriti said.
“Let me make a call”, Raghav said, taking out his mobile phone, and then realizing that it would be insane to use his mobile in such a cloudburst.
“Let’s go there”, Smriti pointed towards a shop. She noticed Raghav and chuckled. It was an interesting situation. She wondered how he would manage now.
Raghav dialed a number. “Hello. Yaar, Panga ho gaya”, he said.
“I slept through Lonavala and reached Thane. This is where I woke up realizing I missed my stop. What’s the status?”, he enquired.
“The workers had to give up their leaves to come to the site today. I feel so bad”, Raghav spoke to the person on the other end.
“Chal ek kaam kar, Rohit, Take them out for dinner. I will reach there as soon as possible. Ok?”, he said.
“Are you sure?”, he retorted after what the person on the other end spoke.
Smriti watched keenly as Raghav spoke on the Phone. She wondered how he managed to so conveniently speak the truth and get away with the situation. The smile on his face conveyed that everything was alright. She thought about his humanitarian aspect and felt good.
“So Smriti, I need to get a ticket to Lonavala now, from here”, he noticed her staring at him. He smiled at her.
“Why don’t you come to my place? It’s raining cats and dogs, and it seems you’ve handled things pretty well?”, Smriti offered.
Raghav thought about it for a moment, and completely drenched that he was, he opted to go to Smriti’s place.
“Hope your parents wouldn’t mind”, Raghav asked.
“Not at all”, Smriti said, as she called a taxi.
They did not speak much in the taxi. Smriti looked at Raghav and he gave back a smile. They looked out of the taxi and wondered what was so special about the rains. There was a beautiful silence amidst the chaotic traffic and the musical rains.
“Which floor?”, Raghav asked as they got into the lift of Smriti’s apartments.
“9th”, Smriti replied.
On reaching the 9th floor, Raghav looked around. Out of the 4 Doors he saw, he concluded the one with the name “Shri. M.K.Khanna” would be Smriti’s house. He was right.
Smriti rung the door bell and was welcomed by her mom.
“Hi mumma”, Smriti said.
“Aao Beta. Heavy rains no!”, Mrs. Khanna sighed.
“Mumma, this is Raghav”, Smriti introduced him.
“Namaste Aunty”, he greeted.
“Namaste beta, aao”, she greeted back.
They entered the house and Mrs. Khanna started talking, sounding formal.
“Smriti, come here beta. Meet Naina Aunty”, she said.
Smriti greeted her mother’s acquaintance and as the guest noticed Smriti and and the guy with her, she exclaimed, “Raghav,. Tum idhar?”
“Mummy, aap?”, Raghav asked.
“Anita, this is my son, Raghav”, Naina, introduced his son to Smriti’s mom, looking excited and perplexed at the same time.
“Beta, do you know each other?”, Raghav's mom asked.
“Mom, what’s going on?”, Raghav asked.
Smriti went to her room, as her mother followed her. Raghav’s mother told her the purpose of her visit to Mrs. Khanna’s place.
After a brief explanation, Raghav’s mom finally asked him, “Smriti kaisi lagi?”
Meanwhile, Smriti’s mom discussed with her the present ongoings and asked her, “So, how do you find Raghav?”
After some time, Mrs. Khanna came out and saw Naina waiting for her. They both smiled, their smiles turning into a laughter.
Both exclaimed at the same time, in a total Punjabi style, “Toh Rishta Pakka?”
“Aur kya?”, they said and hugged each other.
Smriti looked out of the window and wondered how serendipitous the meeting was.
Raghav couldn’t believe that he had fallen in love with the girl with whom his marriage was being arranged!
That day, in a small corner of the Mumbai, it rained love, a happy love.