Friday, December 02, 2011

Chapter 7: To be or not to be

There are so many people who express subtle emotions in an uncultivated way, hurting the other person, whereas it is supposed to be expressed to convey a beautiful thought or feeling. The intention behind the expression is not piercing. It is soothing, as much as a confession of love.
But when one learns the subtle art of expressing, one wins all hearts!
***
The next morning was a quick run through for RJ. She went to the office, played songs back to back, incorporating a few advertisements and wrapped up her shift. She was home by noon.
She was wondering whether she should call for pizza and try and see Rafey one more time. She thought what would she do when they would be face to face. She was trying to frame instances and how the situation might be. How he would react and what would she say.
It was all going in her mind. Finally she mustered the courage to call the Pizza outlet.
“Hello.. this is Rajshri Ahuja from MEGA”, she started, emphasizing on her name, so that the person talking to her recognizes her demand that only Rafey should be sent to deliver the Pizza.
“Yes Maam, your order please”, Manjeet asked.
RJ gave her order quickly and hung the phone.  She rushed into change into something nice and attractive. She had already assumed that Rafey would bring the order for her. She did not consider the possibility of some other delivery boy carrying the order.
RJ went and stood in front of her wardrobe seleting which dress to wear. She wore a sleeveless khaadi top over shorts. She thought, it revealed too much. She changed into denims and again observed herself. She changed a few tops, slipped into a few more kurtis to see how she looked, finally she settled for a salwar kameez.
The last time they met, she was wearing a skimpy top over a jeans, and thought, that she should present the more traditional side of her, because Rafey probably wasn’t that modern.
She stood in front of the mirror and said, “Rafey, Remember me. I am RJ. I mean Raji. Rajshri Ahuja”
“Dammit, what’s with my name. Rajshri!! Ewww! I hate it so much!”, she said to herself.
“Rafey, Shareeq miya’s son, Rafey. I am Raji. Your childhood friend!! Remember?”, Raji tried again, stared at the mirror and said to herself, “No no.. It isn’t working”
“Rafey Shareeq. Did your father by chance work with the Ahuja family?”, Raji realized she was being stupid by mentioning Shareeq’s name. Rafey might feel bad and sad both.
She simply stood and looked at herself in the mirror.
Something in her mind asked her something, to which she answered, “No no.. In Love with..Rafey?? No!”, she went closer to mirror and closely observed her eyes.
“It’s Rafey, RJ. Rafey”, she said to herself, and kept staring at herself.
***
“Rafey, here’s the order to flat number 1705, MEGA”, Shekhar passed on the order to him.
“What, just garlic sticks and Choco lava cake?”, Rafey asked.
“Yeaah! Crazy customer”, Shekhar said.
“Was it a kid or what?” Rafey giggled, as he lifted the small order and headed towards the exit.
“Almost a kid, dude”, Shekhar said, as he picked up the phone to take the next order.
Rafey saw his watch. The order was ready in 2 minutes. MEGA was barely at a 10 minutes distance. He had a lot of time to make it to the destination.
He nevertheless decided to speed up and deliver, lest he lose his day’s pay again. So he kick started his bike, adjusted his cap which read DOMINO’s and set his way towards MEGA.
He was expecting an order from the GK’s office, but there wasn’t any. He wondered, whether there wasn’t any order, really, or did Shekhar avoid sending him to GK’s office on purpose. He decided to leave the negativity behind. He thought about Raji. He speculated, how rarely, or how frequently did they order Pizza at GK’s.
Rafey reached the MEGA complex. No sooner he parked his bike, than he called the customer.
***
RJ was staring into the mirror and looking at herself, when her cellphone rang. Startled, she picked up the phone and said, “Hello”
“Hello Madam, I am calling from Domino’s pizza. I have reached MEGA. Are you present at 1705?”, Rafey asked all of this in one go.
“Yes. Please use the fifth lift and come over to the 17th Floor”, RJ said, a bit hurriedly.
She tied her hair, wore her specs and immediately rushed to the living room, desperately waiting for Rafey to come.
Rafey got into the lift and wondered what the deal with the 17th Floor was. He smiled to himself. He saw his watch; he was 5 minutes before time. He smiled again.
The lift door opened and he looked around to spot 1705.
On his right, he saw a deep Red door with “Deepak and Sheela Ahuja” written on it. He checked the address again. It was exactly the same address. Flat number 1705 – Deepak and Sheela Ahuja.
He paused right there. With all courage, he rang the door bell, fearing that the time in his hand may pass and he may have to deliver the order free.
RJ opened the Door.
Rafey looked at her. He kept staring at her for sometime, and immediately took away his glance.
“Madam here’s the order”, Rafey sounded professional.
Raji observed him take out the order from the bag and framed sentences in her mind.
Rafey put his hand forward to handover the order, while Raji kept looking at him, and immediately turned away.
She took the order, and finally said, “How”
“Excuse me madam”, Rafey said.
“How much? The bill”, RJ said.
“Rs.358 only”, Rafey handed over the printed bill to her.
“Would you mind waiting for 2 minutes”, RJ asked.
“No problem”, Rafey said and looked away. He was struggling a lot to retain his smile and sound courteous.
After more than 4 minutes, Raji appeared, and said, “I have a coupon. Do you accept this?”
“Sure we do. But I’d have to ask you to fill the details behind it. Please.”, Rafey replied respectfully.
“You can come in. Please take a seat. I’ll have to look for a pen”, RJ said, mustering courage to invite Rafey inside.
“No problem, Madam. I’ll wait here. Please take your time”, he said.
“Please have a seat”, she insisted, sounding refined.
Rafey went in and took a seat. RJ disappeared to get a pen. Rafey looked around the living room. Three pictures looked very familiar.
The house where they stayed earlier, a picture where Mrs. Ahuja is holding Raji and walking with her, and the third one, where the Ahuja family is seated in a car – a maroon Maruti Esteem.
Rafey recollected how his father drove this very car, washed it religiously, maintained it, like it belonged to him.
He was getting drawn towards the wall where there were multiple pictures, but most of them he couldn’t make out.
Raji wondered how could she break the ice and get into a conversation she was meaning to get into.
She filled the form and came out to the living room.
Hearing the footsteps, Rafey immediately got up from the seat.
“So here’s the coupon R…Shareeq”, RJ said, immediately balancing her words and saying the name written on Rafey’s badge.
“Thank you Ma’am”, Rafey said.
“I am sorry about the way I behaved the other day, I know you were on time”, RJ began.
Rafey looked up at her and smiled sheepishly.
RJ asked, “What’s your name?”
Rafey panicked. He simply answered “Shareeq. That’s my name”
RJ knew he was lying. She kept looking at him. She maintained her cool, and did not insist on anything.
“Here’s Rs.833. The old bill. I am sorry about it”, RJ said.
“Ma’am. That’s really ok. Thank you very much.”, Rafey said.
RJ smiled. “Thanks… “, she said and sounded as if she’d forgotten the name. “Shareeq”, Rafey added.
Rafey began to leave, as RJ stood there looking at him clearly knowing that he was trying to hide his identity.
“And ma’am you name?”, Rafey took a chance.
“RJ RJ. You must have heard me on Radio One”, Raji said, sounding arrogant and shut the door on his face.

…to be contd…

Onto Chapter 8: Nostalgia