The Volvo bus that moved at neck breaking speed on the Mumbai-Pune expressway abruptly stopped to a halt. It started pouring heavily which caused an accident that caused bottleneck on the road. He removed a copy of ‘Brunch’ from his bag to read as the bus ambled slowly on its way. Reading always calms his nerves during the tiring traffic that refuses to clamp down.
The tall and fair-looking woman was dressed in a grey corporate suit, struggling to hold her laptop bag, luncheon box and West Side carry bag, sat next to him. “Oh! Women and shopping. Can anyone beat that,” he is amused. He peeked outside the window and wondered when the rain is ever gonna stop. She flips her hair back on her shoulder in a rather sensuous manner that broke his concentration. He felt the scintillating perfume wafting through the air. Struck and mesmerized by her presence and oozing hotness wouldn’t be an under-statement.
Today, his reading took a serious beating and the magazine found its place, cosying to the office files in his bag. He moved right and left, feeling restless at her sight since his heart is now wrecking havoc. “Should I strike a conversation with her? Saying Hi! What if she ignores me and shows attitude. Nah! It will look stupid.” He pulled his ear plug listening to songs and the voice of his favorite RJ, Malishka, on Red FM. Perhaps, radio will make his immune to her charm and boost his ego.
The silence was killing him. Thoughts were raging into his mind, sitting close to each other, their arms brushing past each other. He was dying to tell her how beautiful she is and how his mind has been enraptured by this presence. Yet, he couldn’t garner the courage to approach her. After one hour, the bus swerved towards the Food plaza. She scampered her way out of the bus and he got up, watching her steps. He got out of the bus and the rain has stopped. Lighting a cigarette, he furtively looks around to catch her glimpse but she has disappeared. “No chance,” he told himself. “She is too hot for me.”
He orders a cup of tea at the stall. He took a sip from steamed glass of tea and he was distracted from a hand, gently stroking his shoulder. He turns around and saw her smiling face, flashing her dimples who expressed a sense of familiarity. “Karan, Deepa,” she introduced herself. It took him a while to recover. ‘I was dying to speak to her and she has landed in front of me, calling my name,’ he couldn’t come to terms. He stammered, “H-i-i-i.”
“You remember me, Karan. Wait! How would you?!,”
He is wondering how on earth she knows his name. The thought crossed his mind, ‘Is she a stalker?”
She jumped on her feet and giggled, “Apostolic Carmel High School..we were always together and I would be waiting for you outside the gate every morning. We would hold hands to enter the class.”
“The one day, I left the school because my Dad got transferred to Delhi. Wait, I’ll show you something.”
She fidgeted inside her bag, removed her diary and showed a scribble to Karan written with a child’s handwriting
“Karan and Deepa. Never say good bye.”
Tears rolled down the cheeks. They hugged like lost friends and lovers. On their way to Mumbai, they talked non-stop. The bus stopped at Dadar station and they walked hand-in-hand like during the old days.