Midnight, sharp, my cell beeped. I got a message from an unknown number that wished me the most beautiful birthday.
“No matter what they wish for, no matter how far they go, people can never be anything but themselves."
be you! always. Happy birthday!
No, it wasn't my birthday.
Yes, I wished it was.
Because this person on the other end was quoting a Murakami. And he/she had effortlessly used one of his quotes as a birthday wish. Who could possibly be as crazy as I am about an Author of a foreign origin, who writes about dysfunctional humans and cats!
"Sorry. Looks you have the wrong number", I replied.
After waiting for almost an eternity, the cell beeped again.
My fingers went over the qwerty in million different patterns.
I managed to type, "No! Wrong number."
An instant response almost ended the conversation.
"Murakami, huh?", I pinged back again, curiosity piling up.
"Seriously?!!", came the response.
"Sorta!", I replied.
"This was perhaps Shruti's earlier number", I pinged resorting to small talk.
"Chance encounters are what keep us going!", the ping came back.
This person was referring to Kafka. That was my favorite read. I wondered if soulmates ever existed.
"No small talks please", the request instantly came in. Rude, I thought!
Our talks didn't limit to Murakami alone. It spanned over my favorite authors and favorite discussions. I had no clue who the person on the other end was. Was it a man, woman, girl, boy, an aged gentleman, a well read retired principal from a school, a librarian, a college student or a doctor? I had no idea at all. I started looking forward to late night chats, discussing books after books, the interpretations, philosophies, how characters came to life in our mundane lives, and how silly quotes from books made utter sense in real world. We lived in parallel universes, entwined in a love affair - unknown, yet very true.
I liked how the fling lasted more than a week. For a month. Almost a year.
"I saved your name as Reiko", I pinged one fine day.
"How about Midori? or Sumire?", came the reply.
I had not imagined a girl to be on the other end discussing books with me all these days. I did not know, suddenly how I felt about it.
"Good choice", I responded, not sounding too surprised about the discovery.
I saved her number with the name as "Sumire", while she called me Miu.
Like an ethereal escape, both of us deluded into our own lives, realizing, how Sputnik Sweetheart must only be a fiction.