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Click on the below links to read my previous stories..

Bus#126W       My Family and I       Games we play       All Roads Lead Home       As Good As It Gets       Whodunit?      

The Reunion       A Dog's World      My Sister's Daughter

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Just another story - 10

I kept myself busy for the next couple of days. Even though I didn’t want Maya to call me, I expected her to. But surprise surprise! She didn’t. I didn’t either.
The days went by slowly, with me picking up my phone every two minutes to check if she’s called or texted. I soon ended up checking my email and facebook every ten minutes. Nothing.  Although, it seemed as though her presence was stalking me. Facebook insisted on showing her face right at the top of my friends list. Her favourite movie would be on as I channel surfed. Her favourite pizza place would just decide to open a branch right outside my place. Maybe it was just me, or maybe something in the universe was trying to tell me something.
Luckily for me, I threw myself into work. It was easy, there was always so much to do. At work, I could be normal and sane but back home, I went crazy. The first couple of days were especially hard. I did everything to get my mind off her. I went out with pretty women, I had boys night outs and of course, there was always work.
But I don’t know, after a week or so, I realized that I really missed her. And then another thought entered my head, didn’t she miss me? Why didn’t she just pick up the phone and call? I had said I wanted to leave and she had just let me go. Why didn’t she stop me?
Maybe she was mad at me. That was easy to rectify. She could never stay mad at me, I knew that. Maybe she wanted me to call. Maybe I should just call. What was the big hullabaloo about anyway? I would call her and ask her to meet me. Like always. Yeah, Maya would understand. She knew me. More importantly, she would know that whatever it was, I wanted to brush it aside and move on.  
So I called her. She answered on the first ring. Maybe she was waiting for me to call too. 
Hey!” Just the sound of her voice was enough to cheer me up.
Hey..” I said awkwardly. I didn’t know how to proceed.
I’ve missed you!”She exclaimed. I could imagine her clutching her phone tightly next to her face.
Suddenly I felt strange again. Why had she gone and said that? All those thoughts which had started this whole thing came rushing back to back.
Umm. I missed you too. I responded, not feeling that confident about it.
So… we cool now?” She asked uncertainly.
Ummm, sure, I guess.” That’s what I had called for right?
So.. you want to catch up today?” She asked.
There! She did it again! I felt myself withdraw again.
Today is difficult. Let’s see.” I commented half heartedly.
Oh. I knew from the tone of her voice, that I hadn’t fooled her. She knew exactly where I was going from here. Finally I heard her sigh.
Why did you call me Arvind?” she asked, disappointment obvious in her voice.
“I don’t know” I replied honestly. She didn’t reply for the longest time. After a while, the awkwardness got to me.
Listen, I was just stepping out. I’ll call you later.” I mumbled as I rushed to hang up the phone.
See ya.
I knew then and I guess she also knew, that most probably the relationship we had shared was over. You may say its childish and stupid but such is life. Sometimes we do the stupidest of things and they change our life in the most unimaginable ways.
When I had started off with this whole thing, I had been so sure of myself. So sure of what I wanted. Now? Now I’m not so sure. I know I will be perfectly fine without her. Eventually. But did I really want that?

Photograph via

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Just another story - 9

I went back to my place after that and I crashed as soon as my head hit the pillow. I had the oddest of dreams that night. I was still at Maya’s place but Maya wasn’t there. I look everywhere but I don’t find her. The dream was so real, that I was bathed in sweat by the time I got up. I immediately reached for my phone. There were a couple of texts and a zillion calls from Maya.
Did you just leave when I was sleeping?
What’s up with you??
Are you mad at me or something?
Dude! What’s wrong?!
Okay, I’m just going to leave you alone assuming you are sleeping. Call me when you get up!!!!!
I re-read her messages. I didn’t know what to think. Suddenly guilt overwhelmed me. Why had I walked out like I did? I read them again. Man! She sounded a little pushy didn’t she? The more I read them, the more I didn’t feel like calling her.
I missed her call again, and the next one. Why was she calling me so many times? I kept my phone on silent and went around doing my thing. Sooner or later she would stop. Right?
Anyway, this just proves I was right all along. She IS in fact expecting something from our friendship. Would a normal friend make so many calls or send so many texts? Glad I figured it out now.
Phew! What a crazy relationship that would have been? What was I thinking!
After an hour or so, she stopped calling, but I didn’t stop checking my phone. A couple of hours later, I called her.. You know, to just tell her, that I knew how she felt and to put an end to it. After all, she was a friend, I didn’t want to hurt her.
She answered on the first ring, “Hey” She said calmly.
Hey, you slept okay?” I tried to play it cool.
Yes and you?” She asked.
Like a baby.” I replied.
Uh huh, now will you please tell me where the hell you are?! Her voice was getting a little pitchy now. “Do you have any idea how worried I’ve been?
I sighed, this was what I was afraid of. Things getting ugly. “Maya, calm down!
She stopped immediately. An awkward silence followed.
Maya, I don’t think it’s a good idea.” I said confidently.
Sorry? What isn’t a good idea” Confusion was apparent in her voice.
I would have to lay it down for her. “Us, hanging out together.
Oh!” She said quietly. After a long silence, she continued, “I don’t know what’s up with you, but I hope you get over it quickly.
With an abrupt click, she hung up.
I hadn’t realized I was holding my breath. A huge sigh escaped me as I hung up. Relief?I hadn’t realized I was so worked up about this. An unpleasant feeling surrounded me. I don’t know. Maybe what I had done wasn’t right. It certainly was going to be difficult, but it was all for Maya. Somehow, I convinced myself, that I was doing it all for Maya.

Photograph via

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Just another story - 8

To my surprise, for a while she didn’t react. Her arms lay limp by her side. I could feel her lean backwards as I held her. As I moved away slightly, she looked up at me, this questioning look in her eyes. I didn’t have anything to say and I had hoped that she had understood what I had been trying to convey to her. Slowly, a smile had appeared on her face and she had put her arms around my neck and stayed like that. I remember people around us had stared at us, but I don’t think either of us cared.
When she finally let go she had very simply said, thanks, I needed that.
I settled down on her couch and tried to get some sleep. Maya was one of those early birds unfortunately. Yes, you know the type. The ones who can’t stay awake beyond ten and can’t sleep beyond 8 am. Sometimes I ask myself why I’m friends with this woman. I can never come up with a good enough reason.
As I got comfortable, I realized that I had started my new year with Maya. I mean, sure I could have been with my friends but I don’t know. At the risk of sounding very chick like, this was nice too. Just sitting around, chatting with Maya.
Life would be all too easy if Maya and I got together. I know that. We get along really well, my friends love her and she’s just great. But she’s not my type. I like my women to be a little more mysterious, a little more glamorous. Maya just.. you know, she was always there. Consistent, affectionate, funny, accommodating. The perfect friend.  Of course, she complained when I didn’t show up on time, or when I didn’t shave but she quickly forgot about it. She didn’t hold any grudges, she forgave and actually forgot.
I know she sounds just perfect. But that’s on paper.  Guys will get this. I hope. There is just something missing. I can’t place my finger on it. But I have thought about it. I don’t know if she has. She never shows any signs. I know she dotes on me, but that’s it. Sometimes, I wonder what is wrong with me. I wonder why she doesn’t have any feelings for me. I’m not being narcissist here, I’m just saying. What’s wrong with Maya that she doesn’t feel anything for me? I’m not repulsive, I know for a fact that she enjoys spending time with me.
Okay, now you see. This is where relationships between a guy and a girl go haywire. When this angle comes into play. Now I know I won’t be able to look at her without wondering whether she has had the same thoughts. I somehow think it’s a terrible idea, you know, friends hooking up but I wouldn’t have mind giving it a shot, had it been anyone but Maya. I didn’t want to lose her, if I goofed up.  Which I invariably did. But there were just so many around, that I didn’t see the need to go back and settle things. When it came to love and relationships, my motto was, to each his own.
I mean, if you didn’t look out for yourself, who would? No, I would stay away from Maya. Just then another thought struck me. What did she make of my staying over and commenting on her dates all the time? Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea staying back. I didn’t want her to think I was hitting on her or anything. Or that we could be.
On an impulse, I crept back into her room to check on her. She was fast asleep, her arm stretched out and her fist clenched. I had to smile. She claimed it was the most comfortable sleeping position but it looked more like she was trying to box somebody.  I unclenched her fist and put her arm under her blanket. I pecked her forehead before I walked out. I knew what I was going to do next would probably hurt her, but it had to be done. I had to make it absolutely clear to her that we could never be together. I didn’t want her to feel misled or tricked.
I turned and walked out of her house, shutting the door behind me as I left.

Photograph via

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Just another story - 7

We stayed up till wee hours of the morning, just kidding around. As dawn started creeping in, I could tell she was tired. She would yawn a little and then immediately look mortified. I think somewhere deep down she harboured some kind of formality towards me. Now that I think about it, she always asked me if I wanted something to drink or eat when I came over. It’s a different story that if I said yes, she would direct me to the kitchen and ask me to help myself.
But that didn’t stop her from asking every time.  

She stretched out luxuriously, lay her head down on the pillow and closed her eyes. Within minutes, she would drift into dreamland. I got off the bed, turned off the lights and went into her living room. All I saw as I walked around were traces of Maya's personality. Books, music, handwritten notes. It was this odd little habit she had. She used to write little notes to remind herself of the things she wanted to do and keep it in places where she could see often. Some were silly, some poetic, some just crazy! I smiled as I picked up a note which read travel around the world!!!
There were times like these when I couldn’t understand why Maya wasn’t with somebody. I could see nothing wrong with her. She was great! I had introduced her to a whole bunch of my friends and she had hit it off with all of them. But they never saw her as more than a friend. Neither did she, for that matter.
I just didn’t get it. She would find these random people in random places. I should know, I was one of them. I mean one of those random people in a random place. 
Her friendships were far too many and far too scattered. She shared a different kind of bond with all of us, I guess I should say us. I had tried asking her about it, but she had nonchalantly commented, I don’t know what to make of it either. Maybe she noticed something in us that we didn't know existed.

Her radiant, happy face was what made everybody gravitate towards her. Most of the times, she had this bright dazzling smile on. Most people saw the superficial smile and assumed things were always great in her life. I was like that too. Never realized that she too could have some problems, some heartbreaks. 

Like the other day, I knew something had happened when she had asked me to come pick her up. But like I said, she never told me what it was. And I never asked. I figured she just needed some time to get over it, whatever it was. Besides, after that one isolated episode, she’d brushed aside the incident as though it didn’t matter at all.
 I noticed it, one fine day, that flitter of sadness over her face. I had looked around, wondering if anyone else had seen it too. Others had been blissfully unaware, they were still joking around. She was laughing too, only now I could see, that the laughter wasn’t reaching her eyes like it did normally. I remember wondering if I was imagining things.
I ignored it then, ignored it the next day and the day after. After a while, I couldn’t understand why it was obvious only to me that Maya was terribly sad. She never uttered a word. Normally, I wouldn’t have bothered asking her. My logic was, when she wanted to, she would talk about it. But I knew Maya had a strange way of dealing with things. I asked her about it directly one day. I could tell that she was horrified that I had noticed, but she’d pooh-paahed my observations.
Your imagination is working overtime, she’d accused me. But I had known I was right. It wasn’t as though I wanted to talk about things she didn’t want to talk about, God forbid! Nothing like that. I just wanted her to feel better. Genuinely better. I wanted that carefree, happy and straightforward Maya back. Not this one, who thought she had to pretend to be happy around friends.
I had tried to make her laugh, it wasn’t too hard. Laughter was something which came naturally to her. But it never lasted. I could see glimmers of that smile that had me hooked, but somehow it never came to the forefront. Then one day, I found myself alone with her. Everyone had just left and we were saying our goodbyes. As I hugged her goodbye, I held on to her for a moment longer, long enough for her to understand that even though I didn’t get what was wrong with her, I was there for her. Long enough for her to know that I would never let her be alone. Long enough for her to know that she had a friend who saw right through her.

Photograph via

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Just another story - 6

She left the door open and walked in. I followed her. Her house was more or less my second home. She got into bed and pulled up the covers up to her chin. I sat at the far end of the bed.
I remembered the first time I had stayed over at her place. Boy was she mad! I’d just had a drunken spree and had been unceremoniously dumped in front of Maya’s house. I had stumbled over, tripping over everything that came in my way. I still remember the look on Maya’s face as she had opened the door carefully wondering who was making that racket in the middle of the night.
 Relief had flashed instantly over her face that it was me and not some crazy lunatic trying to break down her front door. Laughter had followed, at my obviously drunken state and then finally horror, when she realized that I was being dumped at her place for the night.
Though I must say, that after the initial shock, she recovered pretty quickly and took me under her wing like a drill sergeant. I don’t remember much, but I do remember feeling warm and cared for.
The next morning was no better. I guess I must thank my lucky stars that I wasn’t hurling all over her place. She hadn’t said much, for that I was grateful. She let me sleep it off, made breakfast for me when I got up and just, you know, let me be.
Of course, little did I know that someday, I would have to return the favour when she had called me, totally distressed, to come pick her up from a god forsaken place. I had found her in tears with no one else in sight. I could only guess what had happened. She never told me.
She had hid under her covers and begged me to leave, but obviously, it didn’t seem right leaving her at that moment. So I had stayed. I had made us some dinner and settled down at the edge of her bed. Just like today.
She was looking at me curiously, why are you here?
Whoa! I thought I could come anytime!  I joked.
She raised one brow, Oh really?
I smiled as she did that. The raised eyebrow thing. It was almost as though she was trying to give me a dirty look but failing miserably at it. Most times I humoured her. My logic was, if she realized it was ineffective, she would just stop doing it.
I laughed, so how was your date?
She shrugged indifferently, He was okay.
I don’t know why, I felt like getting some details, meeting him again?
Probably, she responded.
Did he ask you? I persisted.
Not yet, but we did exchange numbers. And he sent me a text. Why the cross examination? She asked, a little puzzled at my interest.
Truth be told, I was pretty puzzled by it too.
Whatever you do, don’t text him okay? I advised.
She laughed, now YOU are giving me love advice? Oh my! Things must looking really bleak for me.
I knew she was joking, but I didn’t like the fact that she didn’t think I was capable of giving serious advice.
I laughed it off too. 

Photograph via

Friday, January 6, 2012

Just another story - 5

My date and I, we had a perfectly nice evening, or whatever was left of it. The night sky looked beautiful as I drove her back to her place. As I walked her to the door, I realized she was probably expecting me to kiss her goodnight. It was something I had learnt about women. Apparently, simple things like walking a girl home or waiting till she’s safely inside earn you major brownie points.
Anyway, I didn’t know what to do. I know what you are thinking. Honestly, even I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I just knew I didn’t want to take things forward with this girl. Something about her just wasn’t right. I couldn’t put my finger on it. She looked fantastic, we got along okay, she didn’t have any obvious issues. Still, it was a gut feeling.
I held her by the shoulders and kissed her on her cheek. She stared at me in disbelief. I didn’t blame her; I was finding my actions unbelievable. Finally, I did what Maya had taught me to do. I was straight with her.
I told her that I thought she was great but I didn’t see us together at all. What I got wasn’t what Maya had prepared me for. She struck me across the face with all her might, “Are you telling me I spent new year’s eve with you for nothing?” She screamed.
I should have known it was a bad time to crack a joke. “Hey, at least it was free.” I commented.
I guess I should be thanking my stars that all she did was slam her door. I got in the car and drove away. I didn’t want to go home. It was the New Year after all. I went to the only place I knew I was welcome at all times. I went to Maya’s house.
All the lights were turned off when I reached her place. For a moment, I wondered if she was there. Maybe she was still out with that guy, I forget his name now. I rang the bell and waited a while. There was no movement in the house. I was about to go away when a light came on. She was home.
Another thought struck me, maybe so was he. Suddenly I began questioning the smartness of my decision to come to Maya’s. If I had a girl home and Maya had turned up, I know for sure I wouldn’t have been too pleased. But before I could turn around and run, the door opened and a disheveled Maya appeared. Clearly, she had been sleeping.
“What are you doing here?” She had asked, surprised but still pleased to see me. She stepped into my arms and hugged me tightly as though she hadn’t seen me in ages. “Come on in..” She invited.
I hesitated, “Where’s your friend?” I asked.
“I sent him home. Where’s yours?” She asked me in return.
“I dropped her back. Something didn’t feel right about her.” I said.
She stared at me for the longest time and then murmured softly, so softly that I would have missed it had I not been standing so close to her. You are so stupid.
She left the door open and walked in. 
As I followed her in, I couldn’t help but wonder what she was referring to. She called me names all the time, but never in that wistful, half sighing kind of tone. I wish I knew what she meant.

Photograph via

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Just another story - 4

She’s walking away with the guy now. He’s leading her by the elbow, the perfect gentleman. I’ve never held her like that. I’m not saying that I’ve never held her, of course I have. Just not like that. She turns by the door before they disappear from my line of sight. There is something in her eyes that I can’t figure out. She doesn’t respond to my smile, she looks straight at me, expecting something.
See, it’s at times like these when I suddenly realize that underneath that tomboyish attitude, there is a girl. There are times when I find her gazing into the horizon thinking thoughtfully, but when I ask her about it, she smiles and says nothing. I know womenfolk say it all the time, and it almost never is “nothing” but with Maya, I leave it at that. I guess when she is good and ready; she’ll let me know what’s on her mind.
She doesn’t find what she was looking for and disappears, dejected.
Sometimes I wonder… But that’s another story.
Just a minute, my date is here, wondering when I’ll pay some attention to her. You see, I’ve been running the whole show the entire evening and now that the clock has struck two, the party has start winding up, my date expects me to focus on her. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think she’s wrong. I just want to make sure Maya is okay with that clown before I take my date home. She smiles understandingly. I don’t know why, I don’t find my date’s smile as genuine as Maya’s. But then there are very few people who say things at face value, without mincing their words. Granted, that may not be the best of strategies but at least with Maya, you always know where you stand. If she’s happy she shows it, if she’s sad, she withdraws.
I take my date along. I want her to know that she’s special and I just wanted to check up on Maya. After all, it was I who insisted she come along. Maya wanted to spend New Year ’s Eve at home. But I know, when Maya says she wants to be left alone, she needs some company. When she says she wants to be at home, she actually needs to be taken out. Its twisted, I know, but I’ve learnt a thing or two about her.
Oh, there she is! Her eyes shine as she sees me and a wide smile appears on her face. You won’t believe it, I receive this kind of greeting every time! Even if I’ve been away for only an hour. She’s just always happy to see me!
I introduce Maya to my date and Maya introduces me to hers. I noticed the two women in my life regard each other. My date with suspicion and politeness, Maya with curiosity and apprehension. I on the hand, had no problems being introduced to Maya’s date. A firm handshake and a nod and we were set. I didn’t understand this about Maya. In fact, this was one thing I didn’t like about her. She never warms up to my dates. At least, not during the first meeting. She is polite and courteous but she doesn’t make an effort to make my date feel comfortable. I’ve learnt to keep Maya separate from my love life.
Anyway, Maya says she’ll be alright and practically pushes me away. Before I can say goodbye, she is gone. I don’t think I should be complaining though. This was what I was hoping for. That she would have a good time, meet a nice fellow. My good deed for the year is done. I smile indulgently and turn towards my date. We can finally start our evening together. What I can’t figure out is that uncomfortable knot in my stomach. Something feels so wrong.

Photograph via

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Just another story - 3

She scowls at me. She doesn’t like the fact that I don’t approve of this chap. But I’m just being honest. I mean, just look at him. What did she see in him anyway? I can’t see them together, not for a minute. But of course, she won’t take my advice now. She’ll date him for a while and then realize I was right all along. And guess who lends her a shoulder to cry on? Anyway, I guess she will learn from her experiences. Eventually.
When I met her, she was just recovering from a heartbreak. Vulnerable but guarded. I remember how her smile had faded within seconds of spotting me. It was as though, she had recognized me, but wanted to be left alone.
I had hesitated, not knowing what to do. Normally, I would have walked up to her and said a hello but not with this girl. She had disappeared behind a shelf, as though she was trying to hide from me. I would have walked away then, had she not tried to peep around the corner to see if I was still there. I’d caught her eye and raised an eyebrow. Incredibly childish, I had thought. I was about to turn around and walk out when I noticed a hint of that smile in her eyes. The smile gave way to laughter and she walked over to me.
I’m so sorry, I don’t know what came over me! She had said. She had noticed the book in my hand and said, You know I can’t take that, right?
Of course, I didn’t take no for an answer. I explained to her how mesmerized I’d been watching emotions fleet across her face. To her credit, she didn’t seem to mind. She didn’t think I was trying to hit on her. She took the book from me and thanked me politely.
Immediately, awkwardness descended upon us. Now that the exchange was done, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to put her off by asking her too many things or randomly trying to make conversation but I also didn’t want this to be those one-off encounters when you meet someone amazing and let them walk away. I had to meet her again.
As I tried to gather courage to ask her for a coffee without making it sound like a date, she decided to leave. Crestfallen, I bid her a goodbye and watched her walk towards the exit.
At the door, she hesitated, glanced down at the book in her hand and turned around.
I don’t know your name yet. She had asked, looking pointedly at her feet.
I had walked over and introduced myself, still wondering how I could make her stay.
Suddenly, without warning, she’d looked straight into my eyes and asked I have some time to kill and I was thinking of getting some coffee. Want to come with?

I know what you are thinking, that coffee led to dinner, but it didn’t. It was just good old coffee. Actually, it was hot chocolate. She isn’t a coffee person.
Honestly speaking, I had never had so much fun talking to a girl before. She was different. More like a pal. No, I don’t mean we spoke about bikes, cars or football. She didn’t care much about those. Actually, I don’t know what we spoke about. Now that I think about it, we don’t share common interests. She falls in a bracket of people I call “nerds”. But yet, every time we meet, we always have something to discuss. We meet, we laugh and we have a good time. We don’t venture into the emotional pool many times, only when it’s unavoidable. Like the time she broke down because her pet fish diet or the time I was bummed out because my friend completely trashed my car.
 Not that I haven’t asked her for advice about women but she isn’t like any woman I’d want to date.  Like I said, she’s a pal.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Just another story - 2

I just realized I haven’t introduced myself yet. The name on my business card reads Arvind Dubey but friends and family call me RD. And the girl I’ve been talking about is Maya. Nice name, isn’t it? It’s got such a mystical ring to it.
Look at her now, someone’s approached her. He’s not bad looking, but she can do better. That’s the thing about her; she has no idea how incredible she is. Again, I’m not referring to her looks. Although, now that I think about it, she has been looking pretty darn nice nowadays. It’s her smile, that magical smile which makes her radiate with happiness. You can’t escape it. If the smile is intended for you, consider yourself lucky! There’s no way you can walk away from her unaffected once she dazzles you with it. But like I said, she’s completely unaware of it.
Like now, I’m sure she has no idea how enchanting she looks. Not to me, mind you, to the guy who just walked up to her. Her eyes are cast downwards and she’s crinkling her nose ever so lightly. She gets that look when someone compliments her and she doesn’t know how to react. Any moment now, she’ll look up at him and smile and that will be it. He’ll be hooked too.
Maya, the enchantress. I laugh now, because knowing Maya, I know it’s completely unintentional. I remember when I first saw that smile. I couldn’t think about anything else for days after. There was something so pure and innocent about it. And nothing has changed; her smile is as enchanting as it was the first time I saw it.
I had quite forgotten about Maya after our first meeting. It was only when I found myself wandering on the same street a week later that I remembered the soft brown eyes. Her face was clearly etched in my mind, as though I had met her just yesterday. I was alone and had an hour to kill before my friends were going to show up. I had nothing to lose. I walked into the store and surveyed the customers quietly. She wasn’t in there. I remember feeling quite stupidly disappointed when I hadn’t been able to spot her. As I was walking out, I stopped at the counter where I had left the book for her. She hadn’t taken it. The billing attendant handed the book back to me with a sympathetic look. I had paid for it, it was technically mine. I had grimaced and opened the first page. She had scribbled a little note for me.
Apology accepted. You don’t have to bribe me.
-          Maya
I ran my hand over the handwritten text. She had used an ink pen, who used those nowadays? Everything about this woman was a puzzle to me. Though why it should matter to me what kind of pen she used was a mystery to me. Strong, bold strokes indicated she had a fiery personality to match that temper. I half smiled as I remembered her glare. At least I knew her name. Maya.

Maya. I had uttered her name softly. Did she come here often? Had she enquired about me? I had so many questions for the billing clerk. The billing clerk was an elderly gentleman, he smiled indulgently at me, probably thinking that he was playing cupid. I could have corrected him, I had no dishonorable intentions. I just wanted to know her. Know Maya.
The clerk wasn’t of much help but suggested that I check out a couple of other book stores nearby. Maybe she was a regular there. I had scoffed at the idea of going through all that trouble just to find this woman, whom I didn’t even find attractive. But I had nothing better to do. I decided to try my luck. After the first two stores, I had more or less given up hope when I saw her. She was rummaging through a stack of old comics, her hair covering her face. I could only see her mouth. And then I saw her smile. As she reached for a comic, a smile appeared on her face, her breathing quickened, her cheeks flushed and reddened. She stood up victoriously and glanced around to see if anyone had noticed her great achievement. Of course I had! Her eye caught mine and she smiled slowly as she recognized me. That slow, deliberate smile of hers.
The one that’s on her face now. I see the guy responding to it. I know exactly what he’s feeling. He’s basking in the warmth of that smile. The laughter shinning in her eyes is making him feel like he’s the only person in the room. The deep dimples which appear on her cheek, I know I have been sorely tempted to reach out and touch them. I’m sure he’s no different.
She’s looking at me now, seeking approval. You know the way friends do. Something on the lines of “What do you think about this one?” she asks, raising one brow. I respond negatively. Hey, don’t look at me like that! I’m telling you she deserves much better. Much much better!

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Just another story - 1

The evenings leading up to new years are a really busy time for me. You see, I work for an event management company which throws fabulous parties for the rich and the famous. And today, I had outdone myself, if I may be a little modest. Judging by the sheer number of people who had turned up, it was a miracle that everything had gone as per plan. If it hadn’t been for my resourcefulness and quick thinking, this party could have very well turned into a disaster!
But, this story is not about me, it’s about a girl. You see that girl there? In that corner, under the big arch to your right? Yes, the one holding a pink drink. No, it’s not a cocktail, its cranberry juice. She likes to tell everyone its vodka and cranberry, but I know better. I know she never acquired the taste for alcohol. Oh sure, she can painfully get by one drink but she’d rather not. Anyway, this story is about her. What? Surprised? That a shy little thing like that could have a story to tell? Don’t go on appearances, you’d be surprised by what these silent types have to say.
Yes, I know you can see how she’s practically pushed herself into that corner.  Almost as if she tries hard enough, no one will be able to see her. But notice how she looks up occasionally and glances around to see if anyone has bothered to pay attention to her? It’s her way of hoping someone comes and coaxes her out of her little shell. Silly you say? Well, maybe. But we all have our idiosyncrasies.
You’re wondering why I know so much about her. What can I say, she intrigued me. I haven’t known her for too long. Maybe two or three months. We met at bookstore, where she was sitting cross-legged, almost buried under a pile of books, with those big chunky glasses. She hardly glanced at me as I passed her once, then twice and yet again. She was in another world. I could have been dancing in front of her and she wouldn’t have noticed.
I was with someone that day. Umm, you could call her a date. So, as my date went straight to the “Romance” section to buy a gift for someone, I decided to go to a place more guy appropriate. I thought of heading over to the magazine section, but it was too close to the self-help books. Not for a minute, did I want my date to think I read those things. I mean, I did sometimes, but really, it didn’t go with the cool and suave image I was trying to project. Hey! Don’t judge me, everyone does it!
Anyway, getting back to her! I sure as hell wouldn’t have noticed her if my date was around. She wasn’t one of them. You know, the kinds who command your attention. No, this one, she was the one who could easily fade into the background.  I mean, you knew she was there, but she wasn’t the first thing you’d notice.
The first time I passed her, she had her brows scrunched up, as though she was reading something entirely disturbing. She looked young, really young. A small smile touched my face as I saw the concern apparent on her face. I don’t know why, I was tempted to go back and see what was on her face next. Her mouth had made a little “o” by now. She was holding the book so tight, her knuckles had turned white. Suddenly a gasp escaped her mouth and one hand flew to her mouth, as though she was horrified by what she had just read. That’s when she saw me. Or rather, heard me. Her reaction was so unlike anything I had seen, I had started to laugh. You have to believe me, I wasn’t laughing at her. I was laughing, because it just seemed so strange that someone could get so involved in a book in today’s world. Me? I was more of a movie person. The way I saw it, if the story was good enough, someone would make a movie about it eventually.
And that was also when she had me. With that one glance, I was hooked. Oh no, I’m not saying it was love at first sight. We’re not romantically involved. Just that I knew there was something about this woman which was magnetic. In a huff, she picked up her things and brushed past me, giving me the cold shoulder. Another time, I would have pushed it aside. But I couldn’t help but remember the expressions on her face. I felt as though I had cheated her of something which was so real to her. I picked up the book she had been reading. On an impulse, I bought it and left it for her at the billing counter. I saw her the third time as I was walking out of the store holding my date’s hand. She was watching me with those soft brown eyes, her chin tilted slightly upwards. I smiled apologetically at her hoping she would smile back. She touched her spectacles lightly and turned away, something I would learn quickly, she did when was inviting someone to talk to her.

Photograph via

Just another story - Introduction

All stories need not have a flamboyant character or a crisis. Even normal people have stories, the best ones actually. We just have to start listening. Everybody's got something to say.
Oh, before I forget! Happy new year, everyone! Hope you all had a blast..