A sudden downpour! It felt as if the sky will fall. The ear-piercing noise of the thunder and the spooky vibe of the flashing lightning made it difficult to understand if it was day or night. The dark cumulonimbus clouds covered the whole sky and big, fat drops of rain hit the ground as if unleashing their anger for some past grudge.
“Why did it have to rain today of all days? I chose today to service my car and it pours the same day! Can there be any other mishappening going to unfold today? Firstly, I forgot my lunch box, then the Xerox machine jammed umpteen number of times, I marked the dealer list in the email while sending out the new price list meant to be shared with only the internal team and I had thought nothing can be worse now! But no … there is always more! I don’t know if I will get a cab now or not” Avinash thought to himself while trying to book a cab on his smartphone.
“Ohh shit… Not a single cab is available! This is just getting on my nerves now ! I don’t know what kind of foolery do these new start-ups keep doing? It is about meeting the demand-supply gap! Just employ more drivers and increase the number of cabs. When you know if you tapped the right market, just go aggressive to not lose a single opportunity! Damm….Wait ,let me try again.” he told himself before closing the app. He paused for a while and then again searched it.
“Yes, yes ,yes!! I got one. But wait it’s only the shared cab available… Ahhhhhh … It will take a lot of time to reach home now!!”. He thought to himself. With a feeling of irritation and hesitation intact, Avinash booked the shared cab option so as not to miss his last chance of being able to reach home.
The cab arrived after about twenty odd minutes of booking. Avinash went inside the cab and after hurriedly telling the OTP, he rested his back on the back seat and let out a sigh of relief. Soon he realized the presence of a fresh and sweet fruity aroma that elevated his senses instantly. He looked sideways only to be awestruck at the beauty that was synonymous with divinity sitting beside him, at least that is what he felt at that moment. She resembled as if she belonged to a mystic world. Her emerald-colored saree had portrait paintings of traditional sculptures depicted on it, she wore a sleeveless contrast blouse and her straight hair was tied up in a messy bun with a side-parted bang that covered half of her forehead. The nose ring added the oomph factor. The kohl-eyed beauty was grace personified and seemed like a fusion of tradition and modernity who had captivated Avinash’s mind instantly.
She looked at him and smiled and Avinash was smitten again. They both seemed to have selected a destination that was merely 3 km apart and somehow they had never met each other ever in that locality in person. The similarity of the destination struck some similarities between the two as well.
“Hello, I am Deepika .”She introduced herself with sparkling eyes. So, you too stay near Forest Park?”
She could not resist asking this pertinent question . Avinash looked like a gentleman with his denim-colored jeans, white shirt with folded sleeves, a well-groomed stubble, and a trendy haircut. Deepika, was not her usual self today ,perhaps. She introducing herself and talking to a stranger was so not her . Usually ,whenever she comes in close contact with strangers, she puts up her snobbish outer self to maintain a safe distance. She needs space and when it comes to unknown faces, she just radiates expelling vibes. She had multiple known faces that had broken her trust in the past and it was difficult for her to believe in goodness or have faith in any promises now . But why did she feel different today? Something was beyond her control in that moment. She just wanted to know more about this gentleman whom she had just met.
“Yes, it’s all a coincidence. So, Do you work here?”, asked Avinash.
“Ohh … no , no . I had come here for a client meeting actually”, said Deepika with a blush; again very unusual of her. “It was difficult to get a cab actually. Thank God , after so many attempts ,I finally was able to book the only seat left.” She said.
“I know ! Even I was relieved to get the last slot”, said Avinash coyly smiling.
The old uncle sitting in the front seat looked back with a raised eyebrow and then the driver too looked into his mirror hanging on top of the glass frame to have a perfect glance of the effervescence of emotions that was taking shape. Then slowly the eyes of the old man and the driver met and they both winked & smiled at each other, elated with their achievement that resembled as significant as decoding some calligraphic codes of some lost civilization.
Deepika & Avinash were clueless of what was happening in the front seat and were as if struck with a magic wand and were lost in their own conversation. By this time, Avinash had known that Deepika had been staying alone in the city and working to make her independent footing in the world of Copy writing & had taken up many freelance projects . Avinash had also revealed that he stayed with his mother, who was a school teacher and he being the only child worked as a Business Development Executive in an MNC. The introductions gave way to sharing of hobbies and interests and then some political topics got discussed. Soon both could tap into each other’s sense of humor and with after every small session of laughter, they shared more, from their favorite books to playlists to phobias to ideologies …everything. The conversation flew smooth just like a river. It was difficult to understand that both of them had just met a few minutes back.
After a few minutes, the uncle sitting in the front seat got down, made the payment to the driver and looked back with half his head into the window and remarked, “You both look good together. “And gave a smile.
Avinash & Deepika did not how to respond so they just smiled back. It was Avinash who had to get down first and by this time , they both had shared their numbers and Avinash had already invited Deepika to visit his family the next day as it was the New Year, an auspicious time when every community welcomes newness in their lives and wish for a better tomorrow.
“No , Deepika You have to come. I insist. See it is New Year tomorrow and I don’t want you to spend the day alone at your place. I will tell Mumma to prepare her best cuisine for you. You will fall in love with her recipes , I promise. I understand how it is being away from family. There is no doubt about freedom being present, but there is this hollowness that bites you from time to time. I won’t take a no for an answer”, Avinash said.
“Grandpa, then what happened? Did Deepika come to Avinash’s house ? Did they meet again? asked the thirteen year old grandson.
A man in his frail frame with white hair smiled and said , “How can Deepika not come into Avinash life? And if that was not the case, how come you would be here?”
“Grandpa please do not give me ‘Jalebi’ answers now. Tell me if Avinash and Deepika met the other day or not. I want to know the ending of the story. Grandpa see , now Granny has come and you will start talking to her. Tell me quickly.”, the little one said .
The old man looked beside to find the old woman with a face that radiated warmth, stand beside him and hand him over a cup of coffee. He looked into her eyes and all he could see was the same Deepika with her enchanting beauty that had once bewitched Avinash. That night , in the cab, two souls who had lost faith in love , found another reason to believe in love again. Probably , sometimes it just takes one right person to change your perspective, to rekindle the lost passion in life. Did the AI generated algorithm make them come together , that night or was there a bigger game that the Cosmos played ? They both held each others hands realizing how fast time had gone by taking along an entire lifetime with it. What remains now is a bouquet of bitter sweet memories that lets them believe that life is beautiful even if there are many patches that makes one complain about it.
The old man, then replied to the little one. “Yes ,Yes, Avinash & Deepika met each other and became best friends forever. Now, go and start doing your homework before your mom scolds you.” The little one seemed happy knowing that the protagonists of the story had a happy ending and ran to his room saying, “I will also find my best friend someday, just like Avinash!”
The old man and woman burst out laughing. Their favorite time of the day was here, the sunset! They loved to sit beside each other in the verandah and talk, as the sun set on the horizon. Luckily they still had to talk so much even after being married to each other for 43 odd years! More than anything, their love for each other had made them overcome every difficulty that life threw at them.
It may take a lifetime to find love and sometimes, a single moment is enough!
I have decided to take up an emotional joy ride with this year’s A2Z challenge where my focus is to showcase different aspects of human behavior . I will be penning down pieces of fiction centered around emotions in alphabetical manner. I have a title for my theme and it is : A little bit of you; A little bit of me .
I’m participating in #BlogchatterA2Z -2021
You can click on the alphabets below to read the stories that have been published so far.