I was on work in Paris. Though I loved the city I hated taking the subway trains. The crowd, the stink, and the racist eyes were something I totally detested. But one has to do what one has to do. It wasn’t practical to take a taxi every day from where I lived all the way to Champs-Élysées, so this unfortunate suffering was okay. Besides, I left for work really early, so I managed an hour long nap on the train too. Perhaps it wasn’t as bad as I am making it out to be. Perhaps! This morning was no different. I got on to the train and found myself a cozy corner seat as the train wasn’t too crowded yet. After getting the comfortable seat, I took a flight to dreamland almost instantaneously. Oh! My love for sleep!And then she kissed me! A tale of two strangers.... #Fiction #lovestory #relationships Click To Tweet
Since it was a month of participating in the same routine, my body was used to the cycle of instantly falling asleep on the train and waking up five minutes before I had to get off. Today was no different or so I thought when my eyes opened. But hey, it was different in a way. The moment my sleepy eyes squinted into the morning sun, I felt a pair of eyes on me. The most gorgeous pair of brown eyes… And slowly as I opened my eyes completely I noticed that they belonged to the most pretty girl I had ever seen in my life. And that too an Indian girl, what are the chances of that now? She was staring right into my face as if see had suddenly been shoved in front of God and couldn’t take her eyes off Him. For a second I thought maybe she was sleeping with open eyes. But in a few seconds she looked away after she realized I was staring back. Well, who wouldn’t stare back at a goddess staring at you?
I figured why she took away her eyes from my handsome face. Someone next to her shook her up a bit. That’s when I noticed there was a man falling on her shoulders. Our eye to eye interaction was so intense that for those few moments neither of us realized where we were. What a grumpy man he was. Seriously I cannot fathom how the most terrible looking men get hold of the most beautiful women. No, this isn’t my jealousy speaking. He treated her like dirt too. I think he also realized she was looking at me and that’s when he shook her up and rudely asked where they had reached. Apparently they had to get off on the next station and he happily pulled her away. That was a hard pull for such a delicate girl with such a perfect figure, I thought. She glanced at me once more and gave me the most mysterious smile before she turned away. That smile had something about it. It seemed more melancholic than happy, deeper than it should have been, more beckoning rather than saying goodbye. I didn’t know what to make of it. I shrugged it off thinking it was just a chance interaction and I shouldn’t think too much of it; and took the next flight to dreamland again. No comes in between me and my sleep. Not even a pretty girl… or may be… zzzz…
After completing my three month long secondment in Paris I was back in Delhi. Back home, back to work and back to my family. My mother was overwhelmed to have me back and so were my little sisters. I resumed my India office the very next day and life was back to normal once again. Work was getting more and more tedious with each passing day and hours were getting longer. To top it all the constant nagging of a worried mother begging me to settle in life as she was getting older and wanted to see her grand kids before she left for her heavenly abode. “Same old, same old” I thought. I think parents in India should now change their modus operandi and make up some better excuses and punch lines. Nevertheless I never let her down, always assuring her that I was looking for the right girl and that I was sure it would happen sometime soon.
This evening I managed to get off early and I thought it would be the perfect evening to have a boy’s night out. It had been way too long since I spent a decent evening with my guy gang, and I knew they would be waiting with bated breath on their horses, ready to gallop to the bar. men and drinking, I just had to say the word. I sent out a message to the gang and within five minutes I got the confirmation from every single one. Tonight at 9 p.m. at our favorite bar at the mall. And what a day it was, the bar would also be playing the finals of the T20 Cricket World Cup where India was playing against Pakistan. I couldn’t have asked for a better free evening. I rushed home, changed and reached the bar just in time. What a wonderful evening it was turning out to be. The drinks, the mood, the game, the company of my besties – height of perfection I tell you!
I think Dhoni was about to hit a six, the moment was freaking intense, silence everywhere, people in anticipation just waiting for the crowds in Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai to start roaring with delight. But we heard a woman shriek out loud instead! And I think before she shrieked I also heard a big bang, which later I realized was a slap on a woman’s cheek. Everyone turned around to look. There was utter chaos because the crowds in the stadium had started howling, obviously Dhoni hit the six, but the crowd at the bar was confused, not sure which way to look – at the screens or at that couple? I was looking at the girl because I felt something weird rise up in my tummy. I hated such MCPs. I seriously wanted to bash that guy, but before I could think about it, something else happened. I was exhilarated to look at that girl, that very girl!!! And at that very moment, she slapped the guy, and picked her purse. He threatened to hold her back and tried to pull her and this time she nearly kicked him. And while doing so she twisted and turned her body towards me. No, she didn’t look at me; but I looked at her and I couldn’t believe what I saw. It was the same girl with those gorgeous eyes that met mine in the train in Paris. Was I dreaming or was I too drunk or was this sheer luck? I saw the bouncers walking towards her boyfriend, or husband I wasn’t sure and she was nearly at the door. I ran for my life, without saying a word to my friends, towards the door, just in time to open it for her.
She didn’t realize it and maybe she thought it was one of the bar bouncers, and so she walked straight out with her head down. I didn’t know what to do but I was desperate to do something. So I walked behind her and after we had walked for nearly two minutes I touched her shoulder lightly. She took a sharp turn with her hand raised, to slap the person who had touched her. I think she thought it was her boyfriend. I closed my eyes in defense, a reflex action more than anything; and felt the hand stop before it touched my cheek. She saw me! She recognized me, which means the interaction on the train in Paris wasn’t just something in the passing. It had some meaning. I said hi and she replied with a hello and a faint smile. I saw her red eyes, which looked dreamy, drunk and more beautiful. But it was because of the crying. I asked her if I could walk with her and she gave me a positive nod.
We walked a bit in the mall, in silence. The bar was part of the huge mall which was my favorite since it had so many things to do. After about 25 minutes she asked me how I was and what I was doing in Delhi. I told her I was a Delhi-ite and was in Paris for three months on work. We saw a wooden seat and perched ourselves there. And slowly and steadily our conversation began. I couldn’t help but keep looking at her. But I looked away at times so as not to make her feel very conscious. Finally she told me about her boyfriend and what a terrible guy he was, but she didn’t have the guts to walk out of him. She was too scared that he would harm her physically as he was a very abusive man. He wasn’t too bad (“same old same old” once again!!!), but he had a bad temper and they were together for the past five years. Sometimes she thought she was doing grave injustice to herself by being with him, but she was just too scared and didn’t want to die yet. She also added that she was in Paris for a fashion show; apparently she was a small time model. And he accompanied her there too, worrying that she would go astray in a romantic city like Paris.
Poor thing, she was subjected to so much torture, that this time I really wanted to go and bash her boyfriend. How could someone be so mean and treat a girl like her so badly? I had a hint of how mean her boyfriend was when I saw them in the train, but it wasn’t my business then. But, well, was it my business now? I was deep into my thoughts when there was a lull in our conversation when I suddenly felt a warm and soft touch on my hand. It was her! She looked into my eyes just the way she did on the Parisian train and said thank you. She added that she felt much better and wanted to take my leave. I wasn’t ready to let her go this time for sure. How many people can boast of a second chance? I asked her where she lived and whether I could drop her home. Meanwhile my cell phone kept buzzing and when I didn’t answer my friends had come out of the bar looking for me. I consciously avoided them. She said she lived alone and would be happy to be dropped home as she was terrified that her boyfriend would be waiting for her there.
I told her she had nothing to worry. I held her hand confidently, as if she were my most prized possession and walked towards the parking lot of the mall. I held the door for her to get into the passenger seat; and with her besides me in the car, I felt a strange feeling of belonging and love. I still couldn’t believe that she was the same girl I had met in a foreign city, in a train for those few minutes and now she was sitting right beside me in my own car, in my own city. Sometimes, fate plays some strange and incredible games with you and you are in a trance. You keep wondering what hit you and take time to understand the larger game that the universe is playing with you.
The conversation in the car was light, the mood was a bit sombre, and that’s why I put on some music. And as we drove she held my hand again, and this time there was something different in her touch. It was a passionate touch. I looked at her and smiled. She smiled back with her most dazzling and happy smile. It was almost like homecoming. Though I don’t know whose homecoming it really was. I parked the car on the side and took her in my arms. We were wrapped in each other’s arms for a long long time. The warmth was unbelievable and it reeked of love. Love at first sight or whatever you call it in any language. She finally looked up at me, asked me if we could go home. When I nodded, her face lit up, and then she kissed me!
Featured Image: Pixabay