“If it’s okay with you, can we, I mean like, go for a coffee or something?” I asked Rabia with hesitation like I’m scared of asking her to go out and SLAP! I wake up breathing heavily, like it happened for real; and thank God it was just a dream.
“Uff! can’t imagine this happening in reality, bad idea, isn’t it?” I asked myself weirdly.
I rubbed my eyes lying lazily on my bed. It’s a real shiny Sunday morning. Outside the window I saw aunty planting new plants.One thing I noticed about aunty that there are so many plants in her backyard which always gets distorted by kids playing near the street as it’s open from one side, sometimes due to heavy winds and rain as every year ocean comes to greet Mumbaikars but aunty is always there to rescue them dedicatedly, sometimes with the hedges and sometimes with giving them food in the form of compost; she just never let them die. This morning full of sun light is getting much brighter with the smile of aunty, showing her dedication fully paying off.
I wake up and stand by the window, I can see the buds coming out of the layers of plant opening their eyes to let this moment capture in their eyes and making her happiest than ever. It always motivates me for not stopping from the thing I love the most. I greeted her, “Good Morning Aunty, seems like a good day today!”
“Good morning son. Every day is a good day if we get up and make it so, it’s all in our minds. Come out, let’s have a cup of coffee.” She said with the everlasting smile of hers.
Ever since I came here, I made a habit of having a cup of coffee with aunty in the Sunday morning as we talk about random things like life, people, plants, family, everything. She is really good at understanding and giving advice, like Maa. I used to do the same few years back in Varanasi with Maa. Though I still talk to her through Bholaji every now and then, having Aunty here makes it easier to stay among these unknown faces. Saying this much about Aunty makes it clear that she knows about Rabia too by now.
“Today is my turn, wait, your cup is just on your way.” I smiled and got freshen up. Sitting on the lawn with the fragrance of freshly cut leaves, small beautiful unknown flowers and a cup of coffee made by me is definitely a peaceful morning to begin the day with (Yeah, I do make great coffee, I myself can’t deny that). Both of us were quiet when suddenly aunty bombed me with the question I’m scared of. “Did you ask her out for coffee?” It reminds me of that slap I got last night in dreams and I was like, “After that slap, hell no!” in my head and told aunty, “No no, not at all aunty, not now at least!” I hesitated a bit like I was hiding something which I don’t usually. You know what she said after that hit me hard.
“Don’t be scared Nihaal, it’s quite obvious that you like her. Asking her to go for a cup of coffee is not a wrong thing. You will get to talk to her, may be after that you will be comfortable to say what you have in your mind.” She is right, she knows exactly what my mind and heart are war at. I tried to convince aunty like, “No aunty, actually it’s not like that! I don’t know what’s happening, it’s something which I never imagined and never experienced at all. I think I should give it some time.” I tried to explain what my mind asked me to do but I think I failed in doing so to aunty as somewhere to my heart too. “It’s off to you Nihaal, as you wish. I can just tell what I can see in your face!” she smiled and changed the topic saying, “How is your father now?” and then we talked about Varanasi as this is my favorite thing to talk about. Wait I think we forgot to mention someone. No not forget actually, I ignored that lazy person. Especially on Sundays he becomes extraordinary lazy, the one and only Roshan bhaisaab.
I came back inside after the coffee session and saw Roshan was trying hard to open his eyes to look at his mobile screen. It was 10 and he has no intention to wake up. “Oye hoye, kisne utha diya mere sleeping beauty ko!” I teased him that always pisses him off the most. He kept the mobile aside and went back to sleep.
“Uth ja bhai!” I kicked him. “It’s Sunday man, I am allowed to sleep till afternoon. Good night.” Roshan was like somewhere in his dream land. “Some people do their groceries on Sunday if you remember, the king of the world! And we haven’t gone for two weeks straight. I can’t live on eggs only, anymore.” I was irritated.
“You go na, itna nehi karega bhai k liye!”
“Bhai ke liye ek hafte se khana kon bana raha hai?”
Our drama continued for like half an hour when Roshan finally gave up and left the bed. I took a breath of peace.
It was 12.30PM and we were still making the list of things we need to buy which we are doing for two weeks now. We left it unfinished again, deciding together, “Chal, waha chal ke dekh lenge!” (the ultimate solution to every confusion) and left for the City mall.
Shopping anything with Roshan is the last thing anybody will want. He gets distracted by every next thing he sees and keep mocking people that you have to throw him out to survive. So, we now decide to go for separate sections.
Who likes to shop groceries anyway but you know what, it actually helps you to make decisions.Among a thousand of choices when you exactly know what you want, it’s a different kind of satisfaction. Few years back also, I used to get confused but it seems like a forever now. I feel calm and satisfied.
I can’t be wrong about this face, no, never! A blue trouser with a grey top, a casual chappal, hanging earphones on shoulder, a messy hair bun; it’s her, it is Rabia. The happiness follows from my heart to my face whenever I see her is a different kind. I can’t hide it, I can’t show it, I just feel it so deep that I just feel happy about the existence of this particular moment. She spotted me as soon as I knew it was her. I don’t know what happens in these moments, I just go blank and I forget what I was explaining aunty this morning. My heart and mind are beginning the war once again. She came as I froze as usual.
“So, it’s coincidence or you wished it again?” she chuckled. How does she manage to be this spontaneous all the time, I wonder? I smiled and said, “Hi! It surely a wish.”
“No, a friend is here, somewhere, I guess!” and we laughed. “You?”
“Yeah, I have come alone. I like to do the groceries by myself, no interruptions.” She smiled.
“So, I can’t accompany you for the rest, sad!”
“Come on, let’s walk.” We walked as we picked up some things.
Mind! Heart! Mind! Heart! Should I or not?
“I wanted to ask you something!” “Can I ask something!” we asked together and laughed again.
“You say, ladies first.”
“The lady is saying, go on.”
“Okay okay, let’s say it together again, on a count of three.”
One, two, three…
“Coffee?” I said.
“Tea?” she said.
We smiled. And the heart wins. Some things should just happen in this exact way. This can’t be more perfect. I felt a different kind of happiness I never felt before. I wanted the moment to stop. I wanted to look at her and watch her smiling all day long. Am I going crazy, I don’t know!
“I will have tea for sure, I am not giving up on my love of life!” she broke the comfortable silence.
“Tea it is.”
“Let’s go.” she said.
“So, we are waiting for another wish?” she never leaves a chance to pull my leg though we barely meet twice. Unavoidably interesting it is!
I left a message to Roshan and left. I will not waste your time telling how insanely confused he was afterwards.
Yes, we are meeting frequently after the working hours nowadays. Being with her is something new, every day. But that evening, when we asked each other out at the same time and left the mall is still afresh in my mind. Sipping tea at the nearby roadside stall which she suggested to be one of her favorites, we talked for hours. It started raining heavily, suddenly and we ran like kids returning from school. We walked along, jumping in the rain here and there.
I wished one thing that night, I wished to be with her in every moment. Looking at her, I said to myself, “We will.”