December 17, 2011

Of Growing up and... well...just growing up!





Yeah yeah I know it's been a freakishly long time since I last blogged. I don't know... in the beginning, I wasn't in the mood to write anything, and then later on, there was nothing I wanted to write on. Actually, there was lots I wanted to write on, but then, when you know your audience, you choose to not write everything that you actually, really want to write about! Maybe, it's time for an anonymous blog now!

Of late I've been stuck up in the I-don't-wanna-grow-up phase. Staying young, in college was fun. Life was a fully paid vacation. There were no deadlines, no presentations to make. A time when you had lots of time for your family, friends and more importantly ...lots of time for yourself. Now, all you get for self pity are blink-and-you'll-miss-them weekends!

Anyways, one thing that I hate the most about not being a student anymore is the fact that now you're considered as a prey whose wedding is where everyone wants to feast! I mean, I know, I've always been of the mujhe toh bachpan se hi shaadi karne ka shaukh hain but then, now, I have grown up and all of my bachpan ke shaukh have worn off (only for the fact that marriage is only going to make growing up look more serious and yeah .... the mountain of responsibilities on your head... a semi paid vacation at your parents' place is really what you should look at mazimising!)Yeah, so digressions apart, here is a piece of conversation that I was subjected to 47 times last Sunday at a social gathering. Oh yes, I almost forgot the most important thing that changes in your life after you're done with your education - the compulsion to attend social functions which you have very well avoided until now citing reasons like

  • "I have my test series going on" - when you're in your 10th. 
  • "I have journals to complete/I have early morning practicals" - when you're a poor hassled science student
  • "I have presentations to make" - when you're an even more hassled MBA student
And you made excuses to stay back home and enjoy watching TV with no one to disturb you! But now, there are very few excuses that you can make -
  • "I have a bad headache" 
  • "My stomach's hurting" (and being a girl, you can ALWAYS get away with this one!Hehaw!)
  • (This is the season's favourite) "Oh damn! I so wanted to come...but this friend of mine is getting engaged/married today"
See, this is one more downside of growing up - you have an attention span of a butterfly! I was supposed to share with you the conversation I had 47 times the other day. It goes like....

Me : (visibly forced to mingle around) Hello, how are you?
Aunt: (visible excited at the sight of a new bakra) I'm good. How about you? So which CLASS are you studying in?
Me: (visibly irritated at still being thought of as a school kid ...even at 23!) I'm done with my studies...I'm an MBA now... and have been working for almost a year now!
Aunt: (visibly more excited at the possibility of another wedding to attend) That's nice! So now it's time for your marriage!
Me: (visibly irritated with having the same conversation for one of the 47 times!) Haha! Let's see!

So, my point is why is marriage the next destination after studies? That's the entire problem with our society. We just don't want our children to breathe. There's always another destination to go to. Another train to catch, another job to take, another assignment to finish. Why can't we just stand back and enjoy where we are today? It's more peaceful and satisfying that ways. I know, marriage is inevitable and like all girls, I too have been dreaming of my Prince Charming and my wedding since I was gifted my first Barbie, but right now, I want to have some time for myself, because like everyone my age, I'm too damned confused about what I want in life! A simple example would be expecting an answer to the question - what is the kind of a guy that you want? It looks simple, but it's not a simple question to answer. You're confused about which are the qualities that you REALLY want and which are the ones that you can let go of. And it's a tough call to take.

I'm sure this post must be a real shocker to all those who know me well and are very well aware of my 'sabki shaadi ho rahi hain, meri shaadi kab hogi' cries! But then, like they say, people grow up and I'm trying to maintain pace with my growing age!

Another reason why you don't want to grow up is because you know there's another generation behind you who's faster and smarter than you are and the fact that though you're only 5 years elder to them, they consider you to be from another generation. I was in for a shock when my 18 year old cousin made that very clear to me when she actually said that I'm from another generation because I couldn't fathom the meaning of a couple of words that are commonplace for today's JC students! And the fact that all my younger cousins laugh at my lack of knowledge of technology and still having a high end phone is a sever blow to the ego! What they don't understand is that, self pity aside, weekends is all the time you have and sleeping then is what you would love to do the most! Guess, I will have to wait for them to come on this end of the line to know what it's like being called belonging to a different generation!

P.S - Marriage woes aside, now, I'm scared of what my kids, who's have a good 25-30 years age gap with me think about me....If 5 years is another generation, 30 years would be Stone Age!
Strong reason for not getting married!!

September 5, 2011

Of Growing Up And... Complicated Thoughts


Habits, they say is an acquired pattern of behavior that often occurs automatically. And addiction arises from habit due to a habit forming substance. So, where does love fall? Is it a habit, as it an aberration of your normal behavior sort of acquired over a period of time? Or is it an addiction, resulting from a very serious habit of the person one loves? What really is love? It just can’t be a mere feeling. Love, I believe, is more potent to be called a ‘feeling’. Love makes you want to do crazy things…even sing songs atop the Alps in miniskirts and thin chiffon sarees to wanting to kill someone. Love makes you forget reason. Just like addiction does. So does that mean that love is an addiction? But, then, not everyone does the aforementioned things while in love? So does that mean they love their partners any less? Or is it that they are plain sane (and boring!) Maybe for them, love is just a habit which hasn’t reached the addiction level. Or is it that love is something totally different and I’m thinking too much into it.

When we talk about habits, I feel there are many things besides love that can be habits. Like people for example. There are some people, who become habits. Friends, crushes, family… So what happens when the one to whom you are habituated to moves on in life, while you are at the same place?
And then because you have to also show that you have grown up, there’s ego that plays a very important part. So, what would win…habit or ego? Both are equally strong and equally hollow.  Would reason have a role to play in the fight? Would it be a referee declaring who’s the winner or would it be a third side in the already existing tug-of-war between ego and habit and complicating the situation further? Someone I know told me, that the only thing stronger than ego is reason. But what if the ego doesn’t let the reason to sound reasonable enough? What would happen to habit then?

What about lust? Is it a habit or an addiction? Or just very intense love? Then what is obsession? Is lust stronger or reason? Does this reason stem from logic or from preset beliefs? Then this takes us to a totally unchartered dimension… what’s stronger….reason or beliefs? But what if beliefs are wrong and so strong that you can’t see reason… at a level wherein beliefs become faith? What if our faith is wrong? Would it still be called faith? But then when we are doubting the basic premise that differentiates hope from faith, how can it still be called faith? It would then be hope or a belief. What is it that drives terrorists to kill people? Is it hope, faith or belief?

Or is it that all the above questions that I raised were totally subjective? Maybe they were or maybe they were not. If they were not, someone is gonna have faith issues!

P.S – I was not high on weed while writing this post.

P.P.S – Some habits are beautiful. Ms. Aanchal Bhugra, you were my most beautiful habit. My blog misses you… and so do I. Stop being a kanjus marwadi and start commenting like an extravagant Punju!!



July 25, 2011

Of Growing Up and ... Friends





I don't know what it is...is it our psychology or is it basic human greed to always find grass on the other side of the court greener. When I was in college, I wanted to grow up sooner and get out of college. And this was particularly worse in the last two semesters of my MBA course where I was just waiting for November and I wouldn't have to go to college any more (It's July, and I still have to go to college, courtesy my Sem 4 project....don't even get me started on it). And now, after almost 6 months of having starting to work, I envy the college kids with their pink BB phones I see in trains. Those, indeed, were lovely days. A time when life was a wonderfully well paid vacation. Ah, I so envy those days when my Dad would buy me a laptop and I wouldn't have to spend my salary on buying one!! And yes, there's an entire conundrum about how to file your income tax returns! Never knew growing up could suck so much!

When we were in school, I had friends whose head count ran in two digit numbers. After school got over, that number diminished, yet the two digit figure somehow sustained itself by random college friends, classes friends, friends of friends, friends of friends' boyfriends and so on.With the advent of Orkut and Facebook, the two digit number went to a good three digit number. I have some 400 odd friends on Facebook and I haven't spoken to 380 odd of them in years! And I don't see myself speaking to them in the future too. And these were all 'good' friends of mine at some point. Yes, I am very selective about whom I add!! You read my Wanna Make Fraandship series right! And I don't know why I don't talk to them anymore. What has happened that most of them have stopped resonating with me.

I am known to have a lot of bestfriends. Right now, I have 6 of them. They were 11 until two years back. And even of the 6 BFFs I have today, I see 2 of them slowly slipping away. Other 2 of these 6 are guys, so at some point either I will move apart from their lives or they'll move apart depending on who gets married first! So, I'll be left with only 2 then. So, in sum, out of 440, I'll be down to 2 friends!! And that's a scary picture to envisage! Sometimes, the only reason why you want to stop time is to maintain the status quo you have with your friends and preserve it in time. 

Like a typical teenager, I never listened to my Mom and she ended up giving me a lot of  'Talk to me when you're my age' looks and I gave her the 'Whatever' looks. And she told me, that this would happen, that one day everyone will get busy with their own lives and you'll be left to deal with yours on your own, and I refuted her claims by saying that I'll always have people. And I feel like going and telling my Mom how right she had always been. I know people grow up, they start working, get in and out of relationships, have new bosses and mothers-in-law and exes and exes of current to deal with and they get only a weekend for the same and then asking the same person to take some time out for you, is a little unfair. I also would want to finish my quota of sleep before I dash to meet my friends! But, there are some people without whom you just can't do and life is at its best when the people for whom you feel so, also feel the same for you and actually go out of their way to keep you a part of their lives. I'm glad, that I have 6 such friends.I hope I have these 6 for as long as I can. And of these 6, there's one who's posted in a tribal area of Maharashtra and he still finds network enough to call me once a week. Who wants a boyfriend, when you have a few friends who take so many pains to just talk to you! 

P.S 1 : I still wouldn't mind a boyfriend...any rich, single, handsome, intelligent Gujju reading this, please feel free to contact me!

P.S 2 : Posting for the first time from my new laptop...yeah the one I paid for myself....and it feels great!

P.S. 3: Growing up isn't about getting over Twilight and Harry Potter. Growing up is about maintaining your BFFs come bosses, exes and mothers-in-law!!

P.S. 4: Again, for the first time, I'm posting something that I've not read again, not proof read, not checked for spelling/grammar errors. I've written whatever my fingers typed. And I don't care of its shitty. After a real long time, I don't care about what people have to say about me or about what I write!

P.S 5: I'm not drunk! This post is just an after effect of being sick of calling up many numbers to 'Waiting Active'!

July 16, 2011

The 'Mumbai Spirit' - A Short Story - Part I



Part I

26th Nov 2007

“Where are we going?”, I asked Abeer. We got engaged 7 months back, after seeing each other for 5 years. We were going to get married in another 20 days. “When can I open my blindfold?”  I asked him, fidgeting with the blindfold over my eyes”

“In some time. Just stop fidgeting and stay still”, he said, as he held my hand and led me somewhere.

“Why can’t you just tell me what my surprise is? Why all this? But what is my surprise, tell me no”, I said. It was our 5th anniversary.

“If you’re going to keep on asking such irrelevant and redundant questions even after marriage, then I have some serious rethinking to do”

“How is asking what my surprise gift is on my anniversary an irrelevant question?”, I argued back

“Aaaarooohiii…the only way I can shut you up is this…..” he stopped, lifted me in his arms, kissed me on the lips and started walking again.

After a while, he stopped and put me down. Then it seemed like he was opening a door with some keys. He got me in. All this while I was wondering where on Earth he had got me in the name of our 5th Anniversary celebration. He opened my blindfold and I after a couple of moments of disorientation, I realised we were in his living room standing by a table with a real big, fat candle which was lit in an otherwise completely dark room.

“This is your gift”, he said with the widest smile he could manage.

“A candle?”, I asked, perplexed, flustered and angry. I was blindfolded to be given a candle!

“No! This is your gift….” He said, taking my right hand in his and started walking around the table ahead of me. “I promise to always provide for you….”, he said, looking directly into my eyes. It was then when I realised what my actual surprise was!

“Your wish would be my command”, he said, taking a second round. When he saw my eyes sparkle, he added, “Only the reasonable and affordable ones!”

“I promise to be with you in sickness and in health”, he said, taking a third round

“I promise to always be faithful and loyal to you”, we took the fourth round

“I will always be supportive of you, in whatever you do” we took the fifth round

“I will be with you till death do us part”, we took the sixth round

“And when death comes, it will have to go through me to get to you” and with that we finished taking seven rounds of the table.

“No, death will have to go through me to get to you”,I said with tears in my eyes.

“Shut up. These were my vows, so my wish” he said. “Anyways, there’s more. I take you, Aarohi Sharma as my lawfully wedded wife. Do you take me as your lawfully wedded husband?”

“Obviously I do!!!!”, I shouted excitedly.

“Can the groom kiss the bride now?”

“We’re married now!!! You don’t need to ask for permission anymore”, I winked.

“Not that I used to ask for it earlier also, but still”, he said and we kissed for the first time as man and wife.

And that day, my love for him multiplied manifolds. I remember, after we got engaged when our parents sat down to finalise a date for our wedding, I wanted it to happen on 26th Nov, which is our anniversary  day but we couldn’t find a decent place to get married as all of them were booked, so the fixed date was 16th December. But, looking at my dejected face, Abeer had promised that we would get married on 26th Nov and we did!! I had completely forgotten about it, but he hadn’t.

26th Nov 2008

It was our first wedding anniversary (between us, we always maintained that we got married on the 26th and not on the 16th) and he was already an hour late. I was sitting alone at Wasabi at theTaj Mahal Palace playing with my phone and waiting for him to turn up before the waiters threw me out for not ordering. He came running towards the table where I was sitting, looking gorgeous in his white shirt worn over faded blue jeans. Men shouldn’t wear this combination…it isn’t easy to stay angry for long if you find the other person irresistibly hot! He bent over and kissed me on the forehead, hoping to placate me.

“Sorry baby”

“I don’t want to talk to you.”, I frowned. Well, faked it.

“I got late because I was hunting for this for you”, he said showing me a complete Twilight series in his hand. I wanted to smile really badly, but I controlled.

“I’m over Twilight”, I showed him some attitude

“Then, this will help you fall in love again”, he said handing me the book series.

“Fall in love with whom? Edward Cullen?”, I said teasingly.

“I know you’re a one-man woman…and I’m your man! That blood sucking vampire can wait”

“You should consider yourself to be a very lucky guy…. Your wife just can’t stay angry for long”, I said.

“That’s because of my pure genius sweetheart!”

“Whatever!”, I said, throwing my napkin at him.

“Yeah, I love you too”, he said with a smile on his face. I couldn’t hear him as some other crazy Punjabis were bursting a lot of noisy crackers to celebrate someone’s wedding. “I’ll just go to the loo and come”

“Abeeer”, I complained.

“2 minutes baby”, he came forward and kissed me before walking off.
The Punjus outside Wasabi were getting crazier and sound levels at which their crackers burst could actually deafen humans! Abeer came back soon as promised.

Soon after he settled in his chair, 2-3 men dressed in black, like commandoes entered Wasabi with their huge guns and started firing randomly.

“Abeeerrrr”, I shouted in terror, unable to process what was happening, unable to hear anything, totally confused.

 I stood up, wanting to run. Abeer sprang up the second he saw me stand and jumped on me across the table and we both fell on the floor. Everything happened so suddenly that I couldn’t comprehend what was happening. All I knew was Abeer was on top of me and his mouth was on mine. I understood that it was a signal for me to shut up and not start crying. Those commandoes were still firing randomly and I kept my eyes tightly shut lest they know Abeer and I were still alive. I kept on reciting prayers for Abeer and my safety. I had a barter deal with God… that if Abeer and I make it out of here safe, I wouldn’t ever read Twilight. That was a huge compromise.

For what seemed decades was only a couple of minutes when the firing stopped and there was a deafening silence that gripped Wasabi. A couple of minutes later, I could hear people cry. I still didn’t dare move. Abeer was on me, he didn’t move either, I thought that was a cue for me to stay still. He was rather heavy today. He isn’t so heavy when he’s on top of me while we’re making love. I couldn’t breathe because his weight was crushing my lungs and I kept my hands on his back, trying to shake hi, without talking, to signal him to take his weight off me. When I moved my hands over him, his back was all wet. I feared the worst and when I brought my hand to my face, I couldn’t breathe. And that wasn’t because of his weight…. It was because of his blood……

This can’t be true!!! It must have been someone else’s blood on his clothes. He can’t…. I couldn’t bring myself to say the word….even think of it….. he’s just 28 for God’s sake!  And we’ve been married only for a year! There’s so much more to life ahead of us….. I cupped his face in my hands and shook it. A stream of blood came out from his mouth onto mine and it was like someone dropped at 100kg stone on my chest.

After minutes of struggling to get out from under him, I finally found the strength to move out, sit upright and keep his head on my lap. The white shirt that he was wearing was everything but white now. Red was my favourite color, but not when his shirt was full of it……
I know he was just kidding with me for still liking Twilight and Edward at 25. And he knows how much blood freaks me. He’s just plain mean!

“Abeer, listen na baby”, I said, shaking him. “Open your eyes no baby. Abeer….”, I said, with tears rolling down my cheeks. “Abeer, sweetie, I promise I won’t read Twilight again. I won’t ever talk about Edward to you… I’ll not like him. I know you hate me liking him….I’m sorry baby…please open your eyes no….just tell me once more you love me. Abeer, I won’t ever get mad at you for getting late. Come whenever you want to…. I will not say anything. I will never pester you by asking you stupid questions….but please just talk to me once. Abeer….. you can’t go…..you can’t leave me alone…… What happened to the kids we were going to have. Ok, I won’t force you for a son…. I’ll name our child whatever you want… I won’t fight with you on it….but baby, please just once, talk to me na….open your eyes Abeer……”, I shook as I spoke to him. He was just not responding. He can’t be so upset with me for liking Edward.

“Abeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr open your eyes Abeer”

***
Part II Coming Soon.

July 12, 2011

Pritam Ka Swayamwar - Season I




* This is not for me!!!!!*


Dear Friends,
My beloved friend Pritam needs a new girl-friend since times immemorial.
Hence my other friend, Aafreen has written this offer letter to help him in this endeavor. So, please pass this to all the females you know! 

Applications are invited for the following post. The package and incentives are mentioned below: 

Designation: Junior girl friend (On-the-job practical exposure would be given. On probation for 6 months, confirmation to be decided basis performance)
Experience: Must have ditched at least 2 guys (Fresher with excellent credentials will be given more preference)
Other requirements: 
·        Should know French {not the language ;-)}
·        Height, weight, complexion no bar, but is subjective. 
Age: 18-23 (if the individual is too good looking but not in the age group can also apply, special consideration will be undertaken for them)

Perks and incentives: 

Total gross (Monthly) : 
·        2 gifts worth not exceeding Rs. 1000 /-(any precious metals, stones) 
·        Bike rides each duration 1 hour 
·        Trips to National Highways in a bus
·     Roaming bills for calls to Koparkhaine (a gaav in Navi Mumbai) will be borne by the ad-giver
·        5 Trips to Hanuman Mandir / Siddhivinayak Temple in a month
·        Kulfis / Choc√≥ bars at a regular gap of 3 days
·      Daily Provision of Samosa / Bread Pakoda / Bhel / Maggi worth Rs. 10 /- 
·        2 movies per month (Only on weekdays, that too morning shows) 
·  Visits to Shopping Malls and BARISTA every weekend (At your own expenses)
·       A Pair of Jeans or T-shirts according to demand will be gifted, subject to finance availability and to the size available with the shopkeeper. 

Net Deductions (Monthly): Affair Fund and Un-professional taxes will be informed on joining. 



Please NOTE:
1. Only females may apply 
2. Girls who left him in the last 2 months/ ex-girlfriends need not apply

            

There is more: 
·        For girls who are not eligible, or else you can take advantage of the referral program by referring your friends, colleagues etc. 
·        Candle light/Tube light dinner will be given on every referral, even if candidate is not selected. 

Search never ends!! 

·        Interested candidates can send their resume on my Comments Section.
·        Profile Pic is a must.



July 11, 2011

8.24 Churchgate Slow - A Short Story

I don't know if it's a part of Murphy's laws that work ever so fabulously on Mondays than any other days of the week, but I'm inevitably late on this day.Every week.And I still can't fathom why. It was another such Monday morning where I was running late and in the hurry, I burnt my tongue by sipping the hot coffee that I had just picked up from the McDonald's opposite Andheri station. I ran towards Platform No.6, because that's where my train would come. It's the start train to Churchgate and it had not yet arrived. And I was still running as I wanted to be the first one to enter the train and get a window seat for myself.

In the rush to get to the area of the Ladies First Class before the train comes, I ran into someone as I looked down into my bag to fish out my cell phone with my free hand. The coffee in the other hand spilled a little on me before going down and splashing on the railway floor.

"What the fuu...." in a man's voice was what it took me to stop cleaning my kurti and looking at the person whom I had bumped into. It was then I saw his phone on the floor, with my coffee cup upside down on it.

"I'm so sorry!!", I said. I didn't even wait to think over in my head whose fault it was that we banged into each other. It was someone's BlackBerry that was now soaking wet with my coffee. And that would hurt!

"Yeah, ok", he said and went to the General First Class area. I saw him cleaning his phone with his handkerchief later. I felt really bad for his phone and in that guilt I let go of the window seat for the day.

***

I saw the guy the next day at Andheri station. It seemed like he took the same train as mine everyday. And he even got off at Lower Parel, like me. I smiled at him, when I saw at him look in my direction. He smiled back. I wouldn't have if he was the one whose coffee spoiled my phone.

We exchanged smiles again at Lower Parel station when we both got off the train.

This continued for the entire week. On the following Monday, he was standing closer to the Ladies Compartment than usual. I walked up a couple of steps to ask him about his phone. I still felt a little bad about it.

"Hi, how's your phone?", I said.

"It's in the service station", he said, flashing the phone to me.

"Oh nice. I am really sorry for the damage...", I fumbled nervously. I wasn't sure if should have made an offer for paying for it. Money makes simple things in life so damned complicated.

"The train's come", he said. "I'll see you around at Lower Parel station", he added before giving me a smile. I smiled too.

We got into our respective compartments. I caught a glimpse of him again at Lower Parel station and we smiled.

***

A  month passed by us just giving each other smiles twice in a day.

 Mumbai with its erratic trains and even more erratic rains drives you crazy. Especially if you happen to mix the two. On one such Monday evening, it started raining without any prior notice, and I was umbrella-less, waiting outside my office with a hundred odd people for a cab to the station.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a cab just halted a few feet from me, and I saw the guy who travelled in the 8.24 train with me every morning. He peeped out of the window and motioned for me to hop in the cab. And I obliged.

“I saw you trying to get a cab to the station, so thought of giving you a lift.”, he said.

“Oh, thanks! It’s such a Herculean task to get a cab in this part of the town at this time of the day.”, I said.

“Yeah, people can murder one another for a cab here. I’m Akash, by the way”, he said, giving out his hand

“Aditi”, I said, shaking his hand

“So after two weeks of smiling at you twice a day, I finally know your name”, he smiled. I smiled too, unsure of what to answer.

“I hope your phone is still working?”, I asked

“It’s still alive somehow. Just got it from the service station two days back”, he said

“Oh. I’m really sorry”

“I don’t feel like saying ‘It’s OK’, but, it’s OK!”, he smiled and paid for the cab.

“See you at 8.24 tomorrow”, I said, giving him a smile.

“Aditi, you have a nice smile, by the way”, he said and walked off

***

Call it co-incidence or whatever, our timings to leave our offices always matched with one another. He would always be in a cab to station when I would be hopelessly trying to get a cab for myself. We started going to and from Lower Parel station as our timings matched and due to the paucity of cabs. He worked in a multi-national consultancy firm and he quite looked the part too. I had first thought that he must be working for some bank. And my guess was almost right. I told him that I worked in a telecom company. 

***

It was an overcast mid-July evening, one week after we started traveling together, when we were in the cab going to Lower Parel station and the weather was so awesome that you just had to be by the sea to soak in the beauty of Mumbai's monsoons.

"The weather is so awesome! I feel like going to Marine Drive. It's going to be cool there right now". I exclaimed.

"Let's go then", he instructed the driver to change the route and take us to Marine Drive instead.

Marine Drive was amazing as predicted. Soaking in the sea breeze, eating corn, looking at the vast, never ending sea and talking about life is an experience that one shouldn't miss in life. We spoke at length about our lives. He was from Delhi. He stayed along with a couple of friends at Marol in Mumbai. He had been in two relationships till now and his breakups made for funny stories! That reminded us of how stupid were our teenage years! 

We proceeded to Leopold's for a beer (which was my sly tactic to go to Colaba to shop for cheap accessories) and later headed home. That was one of the best evenings I had in a long time.

***

Friday evenings at Marine Drive and followed by a beer at Leopold's or Cafe Mondegar had become a routine. The thing with doing something regularly over a period of time is that you don't realize when you are so habituated to it that it's almost an addiction then. We were so used to travelling together in the same train, in the same cab, our Friday evenings... that we didn't realize how close we had become to one another. From just laughing over past breakups to talking late into the night on the phone to help him get rid of his homesickness to have him go from just advising me on how to invest my money to actually have him do it for me, from eating out together, to carrying extra food specially for him in my tiffin, we definitely came closer than what we thought we had.

I realized that what we had was more than 'friends' the day I found myself skipping lunch to get medicines for him at his office when he was down with a flu. I didn't know if he felt the same for me or no. I didn't want to know. I was happy in the place that I was. If he didn't, I didn't want to have my bubble to burst. But I kind of felt that he liked me too. Because if he didn't then he wouldn't come shopping with me on the first day of a sale where the billing lines were crazy and I got my clothes billed at 11 in the night and he was patiently waiting. He came to drop me home that night and I wanted to ask him if he liked me too. But there was something in me restraining me to do so.

A couple of weeks later, my Mom had gone out of town, so I had to pack my own tiffin and hence I would get late to catch my 8.24 train. And, for a week that I missed my train, I saw him waiting on the platform for me and lie that he got late and missed his train too! He had to like me! I knew it.... 

***

That Friday at Marine Drive, it was drizzling slightly. These were the last few showers before winter. The entire Monsoon had passed and Akash had still not told me if he liked me. I didn't tell him too, because I wanted him to tell it first. Yes, I come from the old-school of romance. 

"Akash, you are hopeless. I hope you know that.", I said, muttering the courage to keep my head on his shoulder.

"Why, what did I do?", he said. Taking a cue from me, he kept his hand on my shoulder.

"You didn't do anything. You don't do anything is my problem", I burst.

"Are you PMSing", he said, looking confused. 

"You are so comfortable with a girl that you can ask her about her PMS but not tell her that you.... urrgghh! You're just so freaking impossible", I exclaimed

"Tell her what?", he asked, this time with a sly smile on his face.

"Tell her that you fucking love her!!", I said.

"But what makes you feel that I love you?", he continued giving that sly smile.

"Because I know you do", I replied.

"Then if you know it, then why should I say it. It is understood right", he continued pulling me leg.

"You think this is funny. Well it is not.", I said and threw his hand off my shoulder.

"Ok. Sorry sorry! Don't get mad. I love you. Happy?" he said.

"Don't say it like you're doing me a favour."

"I'm sorry baba! I love you. I really do. I just didn't know how to tell it to you. I was trying to figure it out since months! Not days, not weeks, but months! I'm serious!" he said and that melted my anger a little.

"You've said it to two girls before me, then why was it so difficult this time?", I quizzed him

"Because I wasn't so freaking serious about them", he said, looking directly into my eyes. "Are you going to return the favour or no?"

"I love you too", I smiled. I finally managed to get it out from him and then allowed to let him keep his hand on my shoulder. But after you've professed your love to a guy, he isn't satisfied with keeping his hand on the shoulder! He wants to go lower! He put his hand on my waist and got me closer to him.

After that day, we not only traveled in the same train, but also in the same compartment.

***

It was his birthday a month after we started carrying on and I decided to buy him a better BlackBerry model than the one I spoiled. So I got him a BB Bold 3. He was so touched by the gesture that he was actually speechless for a couple of minutes.

"Your coffee proved to be pretty expensive for you", he said, after regaining his senses.

"The coffee wasn't expensive.... it was priceless.......... I found you", I said. 

"Oh my God!" he exclaimed. "So when I buy you the engagement ring, it shouldn't be expensive, but priceless right? And anything given by a priceless person would be priceless only na", he said, teasing me.

"No, my ring better be expensive! You have to pay a premium for not having said I Love You properly", I said.

***