Jun 15, 2007
It was a night out at a friend's place when she noticed him making conversation with someone .She wanted to to go home and was thinking of ways and means to get them to drop her home before they decided to go out partying but somehow she got talked into it and before long was heading to this new nightspot in the city. She was muttering under her breath “ Damn I hate, so hate these late nights.” She entered along with the rest and looked around for an interesting face only to be greeted by the same old pretty faces with a jaded look and an empty head to compliment that perfectly.
“I wonder how they do this week after week. Dress up to look all sexy and beautiful and make idle conversation with a couple of flighty people whom you wouldn’t bother to call or keep in touch besides meeting up with them in these so call happening places.”
“ Yeah isn’t it painfully and excruciatingly tedious to make polite conversation.”
She looked around to see the new guy standing behind her with only a tiny hint of a smile on his face.
“God I do have a big mouth.”
She had spoken her thoughts out aloud which she seemed to do pretty often these days.
She asked almost scornfully,“ Who would you be?”
“ Oh I forgot to introduce myself. I am Akaash’s cousin .”
That is why he had tagged along with them.
She looked away trying to locate the others in the crowd. They seemed to have vanished. She didn’t like this stranger who insisted on talking to her when her conversation skills seemed to be on a sabbatical.
But then again there was no harm in exchanging a word or two. At least she wouldn’t feel like an outsider. She took a sip of her Bloody Mary[She loved the tangy taste of the tomato juice blended with vodka and a dash of Tabasco sauce and the salt on the rim of the glass, which gave it that added zing]
and turned to look at him.
“ You have a smoke?”
“ Yup I do.”
“ So what do you do?”
That’s how the conversation started in a crowded bar between two strangers from two very different walks of life. He was from Dubai and had just shifted to India looking for a job and she was a journalist working in Delhi the last couple of months. They got talking and before long she started enjoying herself. There was something about this guy with light eyes. Not the green catty kinds, but the light brown, hazel eyes. Dancing eyes with a naughty glint in them.As if he had a million questions to ask her and a million stories to share. He made her laugh with his silly jokes and anecdotes.He had travelled a lot, born in India, grew up in Dubai, studied a bit in Chennai but finally landed up in Adelaide. He had gone backpackking all over Australia, shared a nightcap with a moonshiner, had a meal around a campfire at an aborginee settlement, made friends with a kangaroo, been scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef and he liked his marshmallows all gooey and syruppy with hot chocolate in the middle of the night .
He wanted to know why she liked a fruity peach perfume and if she wore kohl everyday.
He asked her why a Bloody Mary and not Long Island Ice tea and why Benson and Hedges lights instead of Marlboro lights.
He wanted to get her an apple juice of all the drinks she could possibly think off.
“Apple juice. Wonder why apple juice.”
He’d go talk to Akaash when Akaash wanted to introduce him to his friends and come right back standing close to her but still not close enough. He’d insist on lighting her smoke each time she wanted a light instead of just handing her the lighter. They didn’t have the conversation of a lifetime that evening, they didn’t even have a heart to heart chat. It was just two strangers who initially started talking to keep monotony at bay.But those few stolen hours with him felt like a lifetime transported to another world.
The party got over and Akaash came over to bid goodbye and he told her how his cousin was looking for a job. She heard Akaash out patiently but her eyes kept wandering towards him. He was standing in one corner alone, with a smoke in his hand lost in his thoughts.
“ I wonder where his mind is?Is it in the endless desert somewhere wandering on a caravan or is he out on a moonlit night riding through the outback? “
“ He really needs a job. He is 29 years old and has his wife to take care of.”
Had she heard him right? He was married. She didn’t exclaim her surprise or regret and nodded saying “Oh. Yeah I am sure he would need to support his wife.”She looked at him one last time before she got into the car. She thought she saw him starring at her with a forlorn look on his face. It didn’t matter. They drove away.
She did meet him again a few times. They never had a conversation again except for an odd sentence or two. She never tried to talk to him too. She’d ignore him but sometimes their eyes would meet and just for a fraction of a moment she’d see something unspoken. She would turn her gaze away. She didn’t want to look into those dancing eyes again. Those bewitching dancing eyes…