My First Kiss Under The Red Umbrella

J‎une! The glorious month when tears of ecstasy flow from the heavens! The month that I opened my eyes in this beautiful world! Reason enough for the city of Mumbai to be flooded for two complete days I am told. Even if the rains are late some year, they ensure that they say hello to me on my birthday, such is our chemistry. In fact it’s a complete love story. I step out for a stroll with my favourite red umbrella even if it is pouring monkeys and donkeys! Rain-baby has been my second name and second nature too… sensitive and very emotional; happy and sombre, that’s how I have always been. And so it isn’t a wonder why the month of June is so special for me, has always been. It has done me lots of good too!

The rains can make you gay and gray! That’s the biggest irony. They can lift people’s mood as they are the harbinger of life, greenery, desire and what not; but can also leave you feeling blue and lonely. Your mood can become as gray as the skies while the rain gods romance and rejoice. The effect can be so powerful. And that’s how it has always been for me – ups and downs during the rains have been a normal phenomenon! Being an eternal optimist I like to dwell on the highs. And one such special high was the chance meeting with someone. Little did I know that this someone would become ‘the’ significant someone of my life!

It was a lovely rainy day in the month of June two years back. Infact it was the 1st of June and surprisingly it was a cold windy rainy Sunday. The perfect weather to be tucked in bed with a book in hand, a large cup of piping hot tea and some hot bhajiyas on the side! I was busy with my book and nothing/ no one could dare to come in between us, except my best friend – Anjali. She decided that she was super bored due to the rains and needed to bore someone even more, so I was the bali ka bakra of the day for her. Seeing her always made my day and I was happy at the pleasant intrusion.

As is her usual style, she sat next to me and just took off with her stories one after the other – topics ranging from work, car, boyfriend, make-up to her infamous cell phone. That’s when we realised that it was ringing – her cell phone. When she spoke she was louder than the Niagara Falls, so it was a miracle we heard her phone ring. It was her brother who lived in Australia. She always harped about him but I hadn’t ever met him. I continued reading while she happily jabbered. I went back to my book and was immersed once again only to be disturbed by her. Her brother needed some help with his bank account and since I worked in a bank I could help. She pouted and pleaded and the darling that she is I just couldn’t say no. I took the phone, said “hello Kunal, how are you?”

Kunal, in his deep seductive baritone voice answered, “Hello Anchal! How are you?”

He said that and I nearly fell off the bed. Can someone’s voice do this to you? It tickled me and moved something inside me. I suddenly remembered my red umbrella since it was already pouring and the first thought was that I’d love to go for a walk hand in hand with Kunal and my red umbrella. Oh god! What a silly school girl type of thought. What had his mere “hello” done to me? I had a tough time focusing on the call and answering his bank account related queries. My heartbeat was pacing into a crazy marathon and I felt I couldn’t even breathe. Anjali noticed my state and after I managed to hang up with Kunal in a good ten minutes, she rolled her eyes and gave me a questioning look. I ignored but was secretly hoping she gave me insights on her brother and how I could speak to him again. I was so enamoured that my looks were a complete give away. When we bid our goodbyes – she gave me a peck on my cheek and said she would connect me with the kangaroo.

I was reading my favourite book – Fifty Shades of Grey and the torrid love affair of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele made it worse for me. I couldn’t get Kunal out of my mind. Love had just been a four letter word for me until I heard Kunal’s voice and suddenly I started deriving meaning out of the word love! It was incredible what that voice was doing to me. I was appalled at my behaviour and this sudden rush, but at the same time it made me feel…. nice! The gray had given way to the gay. I decided to say bye to Grey and Steele for the moment and opened my Mac. Facebook! Kunal Singh! I looked up and found him in Anjali’s list. Jesus Christ! What had I missed in life and why? I was mad at Anjali for not introducing me with her brother when he was in Mumbai on a vacation recently. I was really mad!!!

His baritone voice worked its magic.. and my life was never the same again Click To Tweet

I was in a mess. I just didn’t know what to do. This feeling was completely new to me hence I didn’t know what to expect and how to react. All I knew was I wanted to connect with him again, hear that deep voice again, perhaps fly to Australia and show up at his door step. I think this was the fifty shades effect on me. I decided to chill for the moment and that’s when my cell phone beeped. This time it was a miracle that I heard it above my constantly pounding heart. It was Anjali; she messaged Kunal’s number and ended the message with a seductive emoticon. Whatever!

Somehow I let the day pass by and the next morning, I sent Kunal a text asking for some details on his bank account to enable me to help him. Also mentioned in the passing that I sent him a facebook request, so we could chat if need be. Just as I pressed the ‘send’ button on the cell phone, I was amazed to see that the facebook request had already been accepted. Was I thinking too much or did this mean he was interested in connecting with me too? Well, it was reason to be happy and gay and block the gray! With a grin on my face I sent a ‘hello’ to Kunal and that was just the beginning…

We chatted continuously for two hours without realising it. The conversation started from the bank account and I don’t remember that lasting for more than 30 seconds. We spoke about our likes, dislikes, travel, books, friends, chocolates, dreams, aspirations and my red umbrella… it was like opening pandora’s box. Was anything left? I was exhilarated and at that time I knew, so was he! Hours flew and turned into days and within a week we were glued to each other. It was the June effect alongwith the rains. But that my birthday month would make me blush this way and fall in love with someone who I had never met, was a complete surprise. Did these things really happen? I could only see red umbrellas and red roses everywhere.

Soon, we were talking on the phone at all our common waking hours, this being a sort of long distance liaison. They say distance makes the heart grow fonder but it also does all the wrong things at times. Whilst we did have a great time, there were times there were misunderstandings. One such misunderstanding led to a fight of sorts and Kunal was very upset. So upset that he hung up on me and I never heard from him after that moment. I tried calling back but he did not answer the 101 calls that I made. I knew he was short-tempered but this was a shock. How could he do this to me? After such a beautiful kinship of twelve days, I felt heartbroken. I sent him numerous texts and emails, also apologised for the misunderstanding. But he never replied. I was forlorn and couldn’t think straight. I cried till my eyes were swollen and red. But I knew I couldn’t do this to my folks and siblings, they deserved better. It was my birthday in three days and one of the happiest days in my house. I knew I had to be strong and look happy for the sake of my parents. A friendship (and love… if it was love at all) of twelve days couldn’t ruin my birthday and the mood of my family. Much that I wanted Anjali to intervene and tell Kunal how much I missed him and was dying to hear his voice, I did not do that. Afterall we were adults and responsible for our actions. I was a brave girl and would not let my heart rule over me. As in the past, my head would rule. But the truth was, while I pretended to be normal in front of the world; that was what it was – pretence! Inside, I was breaking every moment. Each day seemed like a year.

On the eve of my birthday I tried calling Kunal again, but his cell phone was unreachable. Looked like he had changed his number just to get rid of me! That was like the final blow. But the beginning of calls, texts, facebook messages, flowers, cakes, and presents all helped lift my mood. They say time is a healer and I knew these distractions would help. When the clock struck twelve I said a silent prayer to the almighty. I wanted the cell phone to ring and see Kunal’s name flash on it. But my prayer was answered partly. The cell did ring numerous times but Kunal’s name never appeared. I slept at about 2 a.m. after speaking to all my dearest buddies. It was difficult to sleep and I had been having sleepless nights since two days. This night was nothing new. I kept thinking of the good times with Kunal – over the phone and the chats and slowly drifted into slumber.

I wasn’t an early riser, but I woke up with a startle on my birthday. The rain gods held their promise even today and it was pouring monkeys and donkeys. Ofcourse, my cell phone started doing the ringing rounds again and this time it was Anjali singing “tum jiyo hazaaron saal”. The girl just knew how to make my day. I strolled out of my room into the verandah and started walking while speaking to her. I noticed that it had been raining for some time and my colony was already flooded. Wow! I wanted to run down with my red umbrella as always. The thought of the red umbrella made me think of Kunal once again and I just brushed it aside. The doorbell rang at that moment. I abhorred opening the main door first thing in the morning. Also, it must be the milkman and that’s not the face I wanted to see today – on my favourite day!

Unenthusiastically, holding the cell phone in one hand while talking to Anjali, I opened the door with the other. I opened the door, stopped in my tracks and stood still… dead still. The cell phone fell, I was shocked and my mouth opened in a big “O!” Was I dreaming? I rubbed my sleepy eyes to see the image once again. And I saw an angelic face! It was him… Kunal! Completely drenched, red suitcase by his side, red umbrella in one hand and the most stunning long stem red roses I had ever seen in my life in the other hand. Could this be true I asked myself and was about to pinch my arm. At that moment, two strong arms swept me off my feet and kissed me. The warmth that I felt was unequalled, something I had never experienced before. The bereavement of the last three days gave way to a beautiful soulful tune; and I knew my prayers had been heard. He was on a flight and that’s why his cell phone was unreachable for so many hours. The kangaroo had galloped all the way to India for me. I felt I was on seventh heaven, the rains lashed with renewed vigour and me… I cried and cried and cried and the tears never stopped!

Image Source: Flickr

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