I caught the same autorickshaw by coincidence and said, “Brigade Road, McDonalds”. He did give me a weird look. I cursed myself for choosing the same auto.
The climate was better in the evening. I satisfied myself that I will not be sweating as heavily in McDonalds as in Nandhini Palace, even if Shantanu proposed me, in spite of both being air conditioned restaurants. I laughed to myself with that thought.
Nevertheless with growing seconds, I did sweat. It never mattered whether or not Gokul, the senior engineer loved me, but it did matter, when it came to Shantanu. I have heard, that girls look for status, power, money etc; I even read a survey by an American university confirming this.
I never saw anything of monetary importance, nor did I feel any kind of power driven attraction towards Shantanu. It’s certain, that Shantanu will have a financially sound future, and will be in a good social stature, but I never knew all this when I first started feeling for him.
A sudden brake of the auto made me look outside into the real world. The auto just missed a foolish brat, who ran to cross the road. The lush green environment of Bangalore, the green city was pleasing. The hot and dusty atmosphere of Chennai stood differentiating in my visual perception for a moment.
He stopped at the end of the road, “Ma’am it’s too crowded, and there is a one way and, I have to go around a long distance..”
“How much?” I cut him short. Practically I wanted to run getting down from the auto, that crawls in Bangalore's evening traffic, with red signals for every few meters.
The street was filled with young people dressed colorfully. Two wheeler and four feeler parking cramped the road, and have made the two lane road a footpath. A biker blocked my way, as he was struggling to park his bike. I grew impatient, and I crushed myself in a gap.
I walked past girls, who alleviated the obviousness of my over done make up. There were guys to stare at these girls. More like being in Spencers or Citi Centre of Chennai, where there is a lot of scope for window shopping and ogling.
Crowd was leaving from the theater in that road, after the matinee. The movie's still with Ais and Hrithick of Jodha Akbar, made my heart more vulnerable. I stared at Hrithick for a second, and Shantanu’s face flashed before me. He is not that handsome either, 'then why am I getting mad?'
With all these thoughts, the few foot walk, for less than 5 minutes, appeared like a decade long journey to the end of the world. I was standing before Mcdonalds by 4.55PM. No trace of Shantanu at the ground floor. The dinning hall is in the first floor.
I grew sentimental. Gokul proposed me in the first floor, an optimistic feeling grew in me. It’s stupid and silly, never mind, it made me feel better. With a desperate anxious search, I climbed the stairs to the dinning hall of McDonalds in the first floor.
Eyes searched in every direction; there was no Shantanu anywhere. Mind made an image processing of any possible matching feature of him in everyone, whose face is not directly visible. No trace yet.
Shantanu entered the hall, his glance on his watch, following the glance on mine, with a sarcastic triumphant smile. I hit myself, 'oh his usual business punctuality'. Make the desperate prey wait for sometime, and then make an appearance at the right time. Wondered where was his lurking place, where he had been hiding all this time, waiting for his prey to hit the trap.
With a smile he showed me to a table. Not reserved as in Nandhini Palace, and definitely not a bouquet of roses, brought by a server, as in Nandhini Palace. The place is not classic, but casual. There is something very important. I didn’t mind class or casual, nor did I wish for Romantic, charming or anything at all. All I wished for was, he should say it soon, someway, some means.
“You look different”
“Ya but it’s kinda”, the last word, is that Quaint? Or Cute? Never mind.
I waited impatiently. “How is the interns?”
‘Fuck the interns' I told myself. “ya it’s fine”
“Looks like Bangalore has brought in a lot of changes in you”
“Oh well, there are some dressing regulations here in the company”
“Oh so the blame is on the company”
“Why? you don’t approve of these changes?”
“Not at all, you look great now”, I have heard of masculine lies when in love. Is this one of them? Again never mind.
The usual crimson in my cheeks. “So shall we have something”
“ya ya sure”, I am definitely not in the mood of eating, nor my stomach had any vacancy.
“Just a coke float”, that’s how cola frost was called there.
We settled down on the metal chairs placing the items on the black stoned mosaic table. There was no table cloth. The stone was cold, or I felt so, very numb and cold.
I tried something, "So, what brings you to Bangalore?"
"Ha, I was about to tell you. Today there was a seminar on short term investing"
"Oh wow, so you do have time for all this in spite of elections"
"Hey elections are for life, and life is not for elections"
"Nice line, wish your followers hear it"
"Certainly they have. I often do tell them this. To keep their life's priorities above elections"
"Good. So you are not like these cinema politicians"
"Oh stop it. I am getting bored of your politics skepticism"
'OOps I annoyed him. How stupid to bring in elections in such a mood'
I managed,"So was the seminar informative"
"ya it was. Pretty good. Worth the 200 bucks, and one day of my time", smiling.
"Especially the lecture about SIP was damn good", SIP? Never mind.
Not only my intestines blocked anything from my food pipe, but my very throat terminated to pass anything through.
I searched for any cue, anything at all. Something that would show any positive sign of a proposals. I compared the scenario with all possible proposal scenes in movies. I couldn't find any match. His facial expressions were so normal and cool. 'Is that a scam?'
I wanted to ask him. But I couldn’t. He had his bag with him. Just when I wondered, 'What might be there in it?' 'Anything for me?' he opened his bag.
A parcel covered with red gift paper. "A gift to you from my first earnings."
How many types of friends are there?
5 days ago