One month of stay at Bangalore, and the more cordial corporate culture, that almost broke the sanctified boy-girl thing. I stopped seeing masculine approaches as romantic. These days I looked everyone as just peers, and not as a guy or a gal.
With this mentality, and with ‘Shantanu is a friend' in mind, I didn’t care for surprises or a proposal from him. So I causally agreed to meet him at McDonalds.
Before I completed my first glance, around the first floor dinning hall of Nandhini Palace, the young smart senior software engineer from my team came to me. “Hi”
“Hi, sorry for keeping you wait”
“Not a problem at all, I love waiting for you”, what kind of a reply is that? I wondered.
“Hope you like this place”
“Of course it’s romantic”, I don’t know why I chose the word. The word brought an eerie smile on him.
He is 24 and one of the key persons in our team. He sounded geeky, yet he was not that boring either. He is young and talented. He was courteous and polite.
The place was really romantic with its mild lit ambiance. The artistic wood furniture, and the wood ornamented walls added to the sumptuous look. Our table is one in a corner with sufficient privacy. I hate it when people stare at me, when I have food so, this place is the best choice for me in that hall. I wanted to appreciate him for that choice.
The table covered with sandal colored table cloth with tissue papers, fork, spoons etc. I made myself comfortable in my seat. The silence and the ambiance was a little disturbed by the loud laughing cheers of a gang of college chaps a few tables away from us.
“Well, here is the menu”
“Oh, Hmm.. I am not so good with restaurants, why not suggest me some good dishes”
He pointed out a few exotic items in the list, and I choose those that are at least vaguely familiar, not willing to risk on choosing something that I would detest.
We spoke on various topics, right from my college to his college, and also he politely answered all my curious questions about his experiences in the company. It was rather a feast. I enjoyed my lunch at the same time tried to avoid looking like a foodie.
It was life’s longest lunch with a single person, and it lasted for more than an hour. Time is now 3.30, and the last course, ice creams. Man I go crazy with ice creams, and had a tuff time to keep me look like a professional but, all in vein, “It’s cute when you have it like a kid”
I heard myself say, “Shit”. He noticing the annoyed expression in my face, “Hey no offense, I really meant it”
I blushed, wondering whether I should say ‘thank you’.
At last the lunch came to an end. I was overfed. Clearly I can’t walk for at least 15mins. All my blood was directed to my intestines making me feel drowsy; practically I feared I would faint.
Finally he signaled the maitre’d, and he in turn said something to a server. I wondered, why we were still sitting. I dared not ask as I was not in a position to get up. We continued chatting.
The server with whom the maitre’d was speaking brought a closed bowl to our table. Scared I was, for there was no more space for a drop of water in my intestines.
He placed the bowl on our table, and gently opened the lid. There were a bunch of red roses, neatly tied into a bouquet. The scene was more frightening, than the thought, that it is some other dish.
He gently carried the roses, and the server carried away the bowl. Looking straight into my horrified eyes, he coolly said, “I love you”. The whole world came crashing down around me. There is nothing to feel scared, my rational mind knew, but for no reason I was frightened.
The perspiration grew, a sweat bead at he edge of my eyebrows. He continued talking something, I could see him say things, but I heard nothing. It was like watching a TV program on a monologue, with the volume in mute.
He gave a break, guess it's for me to digest his words, which I couldn’t do, for two reasons, there was already too much for digesting in my intestines, and I never heard anything after the 3 magical words, so there is nothing for me to digest.
I collected myself in this gap, he finished, “Take your time, you don’t have to give me a reply immediately. I will be the happiest person on earth, if you are with me..”
Caught in a spell, I didn’t utter a word. He came till the auto, and realizing I have temporarily become dumb, he gave the guest house area to the auto driver himself.
Those 3 words kept ringing around. I heard no sound of the traffic or the horns. Just then I looked at my mobile, Shantanu’s reminder message, “Will be waiting for you, be there by 5”
The auto reached our area, and the driver, “Where to go ma’am”
I paid him and left, perfectly perplexed. I wouldn’t have assumed the following meet with Shantanu as anything near a date or a proposal. Provided the circumstances no wonder, I doubted a proposal from Shantanu.
With all these thoughts in mind, I refreshed myself for the second rendezvous that day.
How many types of friends are there?
5 days ago