I could feel his eyes boring through my back but I was afraid to turn back…! I had seen him when he was on that queue of guests up there on the dais waiting for his turn to greet the couple. It had given me a start- I had not expected to run into him here of all places. I tried to hide behind one of the pillars in the hall but I guess it was too late! He had obviously seen me. My heart was beating fast. I  did not know what to do. I was desperate to turn back and take a good look at him. It was almost a year since I had met him last..!

A year – I thought in wonder! Had twelve months really passed since I had completed that internship ?

I remembered the first time I had seen him. He was probably the most handsome man I had set my eyes upon- tall, with curly hair , sharp nose , brown eyes with a cleft on his chin. He was supposed to guide me through this internship with the company. I could not believe my luck!

Over the days that I spent with him, I found it more and difficult to concentrate on my work. He was friendly but I was afraid I was falling for him. You see, I had never felt like this for anyone else!

“People with cleft chins are usually big flirts” said Indrani Aunty when I described him to her. She was my mother’s school mate and I was staying with her and Achyutan Uncle  as a paying guest for these three months.

I could not but agree with Aunty when I saw the number of calls that he seemed to be getting- I was sure they were from girl friends because his voice would change and he would move out to a corner and speak in a low voice. I was well and truly envious of these girls who were able to get him to speak to them in that voice …!

It was very funny the way I wanted to spend time with him but was afraid to be alone with him. I wondered why.. So what did I do? I made arrangements with all the people on our floor to join us at the lunch table so that the crowd would give me the confidence that I lacked while discussing non official matters with him.

I saw him one day at the mall with a girl. She was stunning! Tall, with long legs and poker straight hair streaked red and gold. She was throwing back her head and laughing at something he had said. She was wearing a red dress and was carrying a smart little black bag with her. I looked with disgust at my waist long hair drawn into one plait, my  Salwar Kameeze and back pack which carried everything from my computer to a bottle of water..! I was sure I could not compete with these beauties.

It was then that I decided to fix an appointment with a beauty salon to straighten and streak my hair.  When I went back to my room, I asked Indrani Aunty for the yellow pages.

“What do you want to find out about ?” she asked me.

“Aunty I want the number of a beauty salon so that I can streak my hair and straighten it”  I told her

“Are you mad? You have your mother’s beautiful hair and you want to ruin it !” she said scolding me. I was very frustrated! Nobody understood how I felt! I burst into tears sobbing desperately in Aunty’s arms.

“Come on don’t cry. Tell me what happened” she said hugging me..

“I think I am falling in love with someone” I told her “So what is wrong with that? At your age everyone falls in love with someone” she said laughing.

“Oh, aunty you don’t know. He is a Casanova of sorts. I am very afraid I would get hurt if I got too involved with him. You know this saying about playing with fire…” I said.

“A fire is not dangerous if you know how to handle it and manage it properly. A fire is one of the basic elements. It is a source of energy. It gives us warmth and it helps us cook food “ she said enigmatically.

“So what do you think I should do? Throw myself into it?” I asked bitterly.

“No, you learn to manage this fire and master it. Listen to me and do as I tell you” she said

I listened to her for the full two hours that she spoke that night but I was not sure I could do this.

The next day, I walked into office nervously. When he asked me to join him for coffee at 11 AM I did not ask Mrs Rao or Mr. Alva to come with us. I tried fiddling with the coffee machine so that I did not have to look at him. “Here let me get it for you” he said moving in. I was sharply aware of his presence only inches away from me. I nearly dropped the coffee cup as his finger tips touched mine.

Two or three days of coffee breaks like this made me more confident. I was actually listening without falling down when he asked me if I would like to go out with him next Saturday. Where would he take me I wondered.. He had not mentioned if it was to be lunch or dinner. I was nervous about a movie theatre what with the darkness and the close proximity. I was worried what I would speak to him about should we be alone together in a restaurant. And I hoped to god that he would not ask me to come with him to a disco. I did not know how to dance!

Indrani aunty solved the problem for me by suggesting that I should ask to be taken to the carnival. “There will be lots of people around you so you don’t have to worry. A carnival brings out the child in everyone.  You will enjoy yourself” But what about afterwards?  Would he drop me home straight from the carnival I wondered.

Saturday afternoon was a pleasant one. The sun was mild and there was a cool breeze blowing. I remembered Aunty’s instructions as I waited for him to arrive. Instruction no 1- Avoid fitting into stereotypical slots. Instruction no 2- The truth is often difficult to believe and confuses people.  Instruction no 3- Follow your heart.

It was great fun eating ice cream and cotton candy until we came to the giant wheel where I had to enact “scene 1”. I hoped I was convincing enough when I said I was afraid of heights.  But it was when we were on the giant wheel that the “script” went haywire! I was to pretend to be getting scared and huddle in a corner of the seat we were on and finally when we were getting off,  had to manage to tangle my plait on one of his shirt buttons – the idea being to draw attention to my long hair. Just as we were hanging from somewhere high up waiting for the other seats to fill up, I realized that he was wearing a T Shirt without any buttons.. I was now clearly nervous.. I did not know how to improvise on the script. I heard him say “Don’t look down”. “Where do I look then?” I said, still worried about my lines. “Look at me” were the words that changed my life.. I found myself suddenly in his arms and his lips on mine. The wheel started turning and with that raced my heart and my senses. This was someone else- not me or maybe I was dreaming. I wanted this ride to go on endlessly. But I could sense it slowing down.

We got off the wheel . I felt like I was sleep walking. My entire body was tingling and I walked like a zombie with him to the parking lot and got on his bike. I remembered vaguely Auntie’s instruction no 3 – “Follow your heart”.  Well, my heart was obviously following this bike and going into his flat.

I sat in his living room trying to calm myself as he took my hands in his. He was telling me that he was crazy about me! I knew that I was now in a state of mind where I would not refuse him anything – he only needed to ask for it. I could hear Aunty shout Instruction no 2 – the truth being difficult to believe..! So I told him about my love for him. He pulled away worried. Not to be outdone I brought out my trump card- the one about stereotypes!! His confusion gave me the much needed confidence…! I told him everything that I believed about love- thank god for all those romance novels…! He was now looking what can only be called “zapped”. He said he would drop me home. I agreed.

Aunty was insistent that I should continue with this…! “Now is the most crucial part” she said. I was now more confident about this .. so I agreed.

The next two weeks were kind of awkward. I hope no one noticed the way he seemed to be avoiding me..

I completed my assignment and moved on to my first job. After eight months of being posted in another town, I was transferred back to this city to work in the corporate office. I was again staying with Indrani Aunty and Achyuta Uncle.

God only knows how I spent the eight months that I was away from him. I had been given strict instructions not to call him or get in touch with him. But I did find out about him from Mrs Rao and others in the office. I knew when he was promoted and about his trip abroad.

The last four months had been unbearable as I lived in the same town and watched him from afar. I almost ran into him at the carnival when I was on the giant wheel. He was sitting there all alone suspended up in the sky staring out into space. His eyes seemed to meet mine but I quickly covered my face with my dupatta…! I did not want to be caught riding a giant wheel on my own. I remembered that I was supposed to be scared of heights!

I was impatient about making contact with him again. The plan was to surprise him by showing up at Mrs Rao’s grandson’s first birthday next month. She had mentioned that she had invited almost everyone in the office.

But running into him like this at the wedding was most unexpected. I was not ready to face him.. My heart was beating fast. I wanted to slink out before he spoke to me.

I moved slowly around the pillar taking care to stay behind the flower decorations so that he would not notice me moving towards the exit. Just as I was nearing the exit I found myself face to face with him!

I wished he would not do it- hold me like this with his eyes! I tore myself away from them and ran out. It was pouring rain outside. I did not care… I took off my sandals so  I could run faster. My beautiful Kerala sari was drenched. I hailed an autorickshaw and gave him Indrani Aunty’s address. I seriously did not know why I was running away from  him like this when I actually wanted to run in the opposite direction towards him..

(It is not over folks. There is a third perspective to this – THEIRS :-))







4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. KP
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 14:27:59

    The suspense is growing.Please come out with third part tomorrow!!!


  2. Bikram
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 15:35:31

    this is getting curious

    why would one do that .. surly the idea is to get together not part .. hmmmm


  3. Jack
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 20:25:41


    All ears or rather eyes now. Please post next one soon.

    Take care


  4. shomoita
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 21:15:25

    Butterflies already flying in my stomach! Waiting!!! 😀


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