Girl at the bus stop - II
I try not to appear too thrilled at the prospect of having a coffee with her. Inwardly, I am beaming like a little kid who came across an abandoned ten rupee note. I pause a moment as if to evaluate whether my busy schedule can accommodate a cup of coffee. Then I say, "Sure, where to?" She points across the road and says, "Over there". I shrug and we start walking towards it. I think of a hundred ways to start a conversation but cannot zero on one. She seems absorbed in something and does not talk either. We cross the road amidst blaring horns and the mad rush of vehicles. She holds my arm lightly and my heart beat doubles. She releases it as soon as soon as we are at the other side of the road and for a fraction of a second, I am stupidly sad that the road is not wider.
My boyfriend once said that I can cause traffic jams. Now, I know, he was lying." "What?" I am flabbergasted. She smiles, revealing her lovely teeth. "I said somebody once said I can stall traffic at my will." "You said your boyfriend had said it", I say accusingly. I try with all my might to force a smile on my face, but it simply wouldn't come. She shrugs indifferently. "My ex, actually. It lasted very short." "Oh, I am sorry", I manage to lie. She lifts her eyes, "Oh, don't be. I am not. He was an annoying prick." "So, what about your current boyfriend? Hope he is a gentleman." I congratulate myself for phrasing it so intelligently. Surely, she would have to reveal whether she is with someone or not, now. Predictably, she says, "Well, I don't have one now", she shrugs again. Before I can say something, she continues, "So the lady is on prowl again." We both laugh.
I guess that breaks ice and over the coffee at the road side, we start talking more uninhibitedly. I gently enquire about her family and she rolls her eyes. "Nosy, aren't you?" I give my sweetest smile and manage to find out that her father is in some government service (I forget the specifics), her mother is a homemaker and she has an elder brother who works in Delhi. We finish our coffee and she thanks me for my company. "Oh, no formalities please." I say magnanimously and she smiles. This brings our small date to an end.
That night, as I lay down mulling over the day's events, strangely, I cannot think of anything else other than her. She definitely is the girl of my dreams. Calm, confident and self assuring. Wow, what a girl. And, she surely must like me too, the probability of it being towards the north of 99%. Else, she would never have asked me for coffee. I convince myself that she did it only to get an opportunity to talk to me. To know me and let me know about her. Else, she could definitely have had the damn coffee in her office, if she really wanted it. What could be the motive behind her rushing to the bus stop in spite of a ‘splitting headache', as she had put it, and then wasting 15 minutes in a shackled tea stall on the side of the road? To talk to me, of course.
And that gripping of the shoulder while crossing the road. How can I forget that? She had said that she was born and raised in Bangalore. Said that she spent close to two decades of her life in that city and also knew all the prominent food joints and discos of the city. She must have crossed busy roads millions of times before. Why then, did she need to hold on to me?
And that short talk about her boyfriend. I remember a little incident in my office, a couple of weeks old. In a conversation with my boss, he had asked me whether I have a girlfriend or not. Though in not so many words, I had made it very clear to him that it is none of his business. And here she is, confiding in an almost total stranger, about her love life. Why would she do it, unless for an ulterior motive? Surely, both of these incidents relate, don't they?
Am I in love? It sure looks that way. And the million dollar question is; is she attracted to me? She sure is, screamed the whole of my heart and a part of my brain. Yes, she is; I convince myself again. I could see that in her eyes, in the way she was talking to me. Oh, we have a cute little love story. A love story that started in a sultry bus stop of Chennai. Leading to... who knows? I decide to get closer to her. Find out more about her; try to make her accept me as a friend, the best, if possible. Maybe, start seeing her too. And finally propose to her.
I will first ask for her phone number. Will call her this weekend. Invite her to a movie. Better, call her for a shopping spree. No girl can resist it. Yes, that's it. Will get her phone number tomorrow.
Suddenly, a wave of euphoria sweeps over me and with the image of the girl at the bus stop before my eyes, I become oblivious of the world around me.