You don’t question love when it comes a-visiting. You simply wallow in it. You savour each moment it stays; you agonize when it slips through your fingers when you tried but could not keep it. For it has its ways. It has its seasons. And, it has it own penchants. He remembered these words from a book he’d read. It seemed so apt, right now, as he simultaneously gloried in and agonized about being with her.
Aditi. That was her name. It was what he wanted to name his daughter, but his wife had other ideas, and he gave in. She wanted her named Akriti, and so that was that. He did not really mind, and anyway his daughter was a darling, no matter what she was named. At a precocious fourteen, she was a charmer, and a source of great anxiety. But of course. Still, they had a close bond between them, more so than she did with her mother, though she stayed with her. He did not question it, but simply enjoyed it. He was careful though, to never express it obviously and make his wife feel any lesser. In fact, he supposed she felt the same way – that Akriti was closer to her than him! Parents! He sighed. And daughters! How they twisted you around their little fingers!
As he mused, she walked past, slim, svelte in a crisp cotton saree neatly draped, but sensual, to him, all the same. He was behaving like a teenager, he knew, but he simply could not help the attraction he felt. It started with the name. And then he got to talking to her; she had just been transferred from the Pune branch to his, at Bangalore. Ooops, Bengaluru. He’d never get that new name. It would always be Bangalore. The place he grew up in, and now unrecognizable, even the City Market and Majestic areas that he thought would never change in an aeon. She was new to the city, and he was generous with his time, directions and information, never coming on too strong- just that right balance of friendliness and courtesy. She soon relaxed in his company and looked forward to his presence. They found they had a lot in common too, and there was never a dearth of topics for conversation.
She turned in his direction, and smiled as she walked past. He raised a hand in acknowledgement, and returned the smile. He needed to talk to her. Now. So he got up from his cubicle, and stretched, looked around, and slipped out on the aisle. It was almost time to go home anyway. The weekend was here, though he’d have to come in for a bit on Saturday morning.
“Hey there. Done for today, Aditi?”
“Hmmmm. I’m just getting a couple of reports xeroxed. Need to do an analysis on that data for the Project Presentation on Monday. You done?”
“Ahan. So you’re going to work over the weekend?”, eyebrows raised. He was really fishing, and he hoped she’d take the bait.
She smiled, tilted her head slightly and then giggled. He looked startled.
“Gotcha! But seriously, no I am not. NOT. I’ll get this done tonight, and the weekend is all mine!”
“Lucky lady! I need to come in for a couple of hours – sort some stuff needed for the DGM. He’s coming on Monday. ”
“Oh. I was hoping… Well, another time maybe!” She turned, took her copies from the machine, and walked past.
“Aditi, wait. You were….? Errrm, going to say…?”
She looked embarrassed “Well, a journalist friend had given me a couple of tickets for the Spanish Film Festival going on in one of the theatres. I don’t know the place well, and I thought I’d ask you. You always go on about those foreign films. And there seems to be no one who’s likely to be free, anyway.”
He exulted inwardly. But looked nonchalant.
“Oh. If it’s a show in the afternoon, I could certainly come. If it’s ok!” And waited with bated breath for her answer.
“Wonderful.” She looked relieved too. She gave him the details, and they arranged to meet at the theatre.
“See you then. Bye.” She left, leaving that faint floral scent lingering in the air. Orphan Annie’s song about ‘Tomorrow’ came to mind. ‘I love ya, tomorrow..”, he hummed softly to himself. He would not think of any thing else, he decided. He would spend time, precious time, in her company, and let what had to be, be.
He was early. So he spent time in the lobby picking up the leaflets about the festival, and wandered looking at the pictures on display on the boards. She was on time, and somehow he knew she would be. Today he’d tell her how special her name was to him. He had to. He wanted to know her, and wanted her to know him. He only hoped something could be, between them. Even with Tanya, he’d never felt like this. Theirs was an arranged marriage that simply did not work out. Different perceptions, long distance relationship, a wife who was simply not there, and a husband who did not really miss her. The zing was not there at all. They’d divorced when Akriti was ten. And she being theirs, was fully cognizant of the reason they could no longer be one unit.
The resonance he felt in Aditi’s company was what he’d always wanted. It wasn’t just physical, but there was the ardour he felt for her mind, for her way of reaching out in conversation. He could only hope she would linger on in the same way.
“Hi, KC, you been waiting long?”
“Nope. Only an hour!” He laughed. “Just kidding! Shall we?”
Watching a film in a language he knew nothing of, reading the sub-titles and knowing it wasn’t doing justice, knowing she was there next to him, all of these things overlapped and made the entire experience enjoyable. He would probably learn Spanish, for the fun of it! She seemed to enjoy it too, going by the smile she gave him when it was over.
She declined, smilingly, and said she needed to be off. He saw her into an autorickshaw and strolled down the road, to his own Honda Activa. He was on a high. Would it or would it not. Rather would she or not?
Monday morning, and the blues did not come. He was a first-crush dude that morning. But no sign of her. Slowly the euphoria faded. She breezed in during the lunch hour, while he was busy with the DGM. When he finally got free, he walked, dispirited, back to his cubicle, to see her waiting there. Ah, the travails and the fickleness of a mind infatuated. Life looked up.
Even though she said she was late that morning because her estranged husband surprised her with a visit. His looked carefully. The hell with it, he decided. He’d still want her anyway.
29 March, 2013
Pushing it too far, I guess, but what the heck, Experiments are fun 😛