“How crowded is the streets of Mumbai, I’m missing Varanasi even more! The holy bells, Ghats, Food, the peace and silence and more over my friends and family, I just…” I just felt a sudden tap on my shoulder!
When I looked back to see who is it, a girl was already sitting near me, at a distance not to far! I wonder how do I not realise someone came and sat just near me, I myself can’t believe how lost I get into my thoughts! And even now! I am looking right into her eyes for a few seconds now and haven’t said a single word! She is ordinary, straight long black hairs that to open, oval spectacles, black half kurti with black denim! Am I allowed to assume that she loves black? I guess I am, I assured myself.
“Are you new to the city?”, She asked looking at the road ahead of us. Finally a wakeup call for me from staring at her blankly! She broke the ice, of course!
“Yes, it’s my second day here.” I replied casually now staring the city lights that look just like ship floating on the surface of the sea!
“Welcome to the dream city, where everyone is lost in themselves, have families but no time to spend with!” her eyes on the where we are sitting now! A big stone that is settled near a tea stall that is closes now, and a never ending sea few feet’s away from us! It seems like she needs to talk to someone about anything and everything, she needs to open up!
“By the way what you doing here? Where are you from?” she suddenly looked at me and start probing like she knows me, for a long! It feels so familiar.
“Varanasi” a slight smile appears on my face remembering my city, “Actually I am here with my friends. They are at the night club nearby and I just hate being in the crowd, its suffocating. So I end up here at last. I mean I know I am in a city full of crowd but I’m just not used to all these pomp.” I have no idea why am I telling her all these. I don’t even talk much and more over I don’t even know her! But something about this moment is strange and perfect that it’s making me talk, or maybe it’s her!
She smiled. “So you must be a writer!” she said looking at the diary laying near me.
“No not a writer…” I avoided eye contact while putting my diary and stuff back into my sling bag. “You must be here to see ocean, I guess?” I asked trying to change the topic!
“Nah! actually I am also here with my friends who also happen to be in the same night club at this hour! I just felt like having some fresh air, so came here. I was just passing by and saw you writing something in that diary and looking at the sea frequently! It made me curious and I thought of joining you and now I’m here!” meanwhile she offered handshake, “BTW I’m Rabia.”
“Nihal, Nihal Rastogi”, said lost in thoughts while accepting her handshake!
“Nice! So Nihal, how you end up here, in Mumbai?” she sounds more comfortable now though she was earlier too but I am still a bit lost and in hesitation! I just don’t understand what’s happening yet it’s more that comfortable here!
“I mean who will not fall in love with this city, it was my dream to be here and just wri…” I paused, trying to hide something, which I don’t know whom I am hiding from, her or myself?
I looked at her as she is really interested in my words. “So you are from here only? What you do? Must be a media reporter I guess!” I changed the subject once again in a humorous but sarcastic way. Somewhere I am liking the fact that it’s really getting comfortable here!
“That was close, though! I’m from the same field. I’m a Creative Content Writer in Mumbai Masala” she said with a smile flashing her ID card on her purse. She must out after job, I thought myself! When again she landed her enquiry question, “What you do btw?”
“I’m here to find a job. Let’s see when will I get one!” I replied but something is still inside me that is scared to be exposed.
“Oh great! So you are here to start a career, best of luck then, Mumbai will never disappoint you.” she said with a warm handshake and big sparkling smile.
She seems to be a really nice girl and why in the earth I’m behaving rude to her, I do not know! I don’t understand why she seems so positive, patient and cheerful! People who are broken inside for long mostly seems like this, I have read!
I just should talk something nice to her, I think and then only a voice comes from behind.
“Hey Rabia what are you doing here, we are pushing back, come!” we both looked back, and it was her friend who was coming to take her back with her.
“I was looking for you from last 15 minutes and you are here, I have already called a cab and” she continued to talk in one breath!
“Diksha, meet Nihal and Nihal meet Diksha. He is new to city.” she introduced us ignoring the question she asked.
“Hey Nihal”, she waved at me and continued, "Now we have to rush Rabi, it’s 11:30 already and the cab is waiting!
“11:30!! Oh god! why didn’t you just call me?” she was shocked as she lost track of time there! I was watching them in silence.
“Ok Nihal, it was nice meeting you. I have to leave now as you see I’m late!” she waved hurriedly in a rush to leave.
“I’m glad to meet you too, Rabia. Take care.” wanting her to stay a little longer, I waved her back. As soon as she started leaving I started thinking about her as she is different from others with whom I used to deal with in Varanasi, I am lost again.
And that’s her again! “Nihal” I looked back in shock and saw her running back, “Hey, take my card, if you need any help, just call me, okay? bye, take care!” she handed me over her Visiting card.
I took it and when I am about to say, “Hey thanks, I…” she is just gone. I read her name on the card, it’s Rabia Sengupta. I said “thank you” blankly looking at the name! I feel stupid!
I slipped the card in my pocket and smiled as the situation as I behaved rude to her and she still talked to me and then she offered help and then she is gone! All I am left with…
“Nihal bhai, you still here? We thought you have gone home! Come, let’s have dinner!” Roshan, my friend called out.
Waking up from the moment I shouted, “Coming, let me grab my stuffs!” I picked my bag and started walking towards the restaurant! Now all I can manage to think is of her.
“I wish we could meet again!”
I slipped a hand into my pocket and smiled! We will…
To be continued…