For no particular reason, while booking my bus ticket online to Nasik, I kept clicking seat number “Q” and then chose another one. Again I went back to “Q” and then thought of the 5th row, and after repeating this twice I finally booked seat number “Q” with some inexplicable anxiety. I have always believed in unknown signs and intuitions and till then I had no clue that too was one of those.
Like every business trip, I was pleased to have lived one night alone in a hotel room. This time I didn’t drink but had an awesome time pampering myself. Simple pleasures like an hour-long hot tub bath, favorite rom-com movie on Television, timely room services, and delicious food made my stay worth. As usual, I was awake till 2’o clock at night watching my favorite old series “Sex and the city”. Yes, ‘sleeping alone’ was a challenge for me that night too. I had checked out in the morning itself as my stay was arranged only for one night.
Thankfully I didn’t get late for my training session which was to be conducted at one of the prestigious MBA institutes. I was totally in high spirits after finishing my motivational training session.
It wasn’t that cold even being December when I left the premises. After purchasing the snacks I walked towards the waiting point of the bus. Like very seldom moments, our eyes met at once.
“Ahhhhhh, too cute!” I drooled noticing his French beard, black t-shirt, watch & spectaculars. My eyes moved to a pile of bags next to him. One of us moved our gaze elsewhere. I guess that was him. ‘Alright, Perhaps he is arrogant’ I thought for a moment. I moved towards the other side to find a place to sit.
Within few minutes the bus arrived. When I was waiting at the entrance of the bus for my ticket to get checked by the bus attendant I noticed him once again. ‘Cute guy, in the same bus.’ I was elated. I spotted seat “Q” and shoved my sack under the seat, took out my novel, jacket, headphones and the snacks. All set. My ‘Me time’ was going to be extended for a few more hours before reaching home. I was already curling up in my seat.
That ’s when I realized I should visit the washroom before the bus leaves. I got off, leaving all my stuff on the seat, even my wallet, which I noticed later when I got back. There was someone’s bag lying next to the messy seat of mine. I checked around, that’s when he came towards the seat.
I wondered how often you get lucky in this digital world! And that too with Volvo policies which make a lady sit only next to another lady. (Concern for our safety can be boring at times)
That was him, the cutie I had spotted a while back.
“Hey, do you mind if I take a little while to arrange my stuff?” I requested.
“Take your time, no issues”, he settled in a vacant seat behind ours.
‘What a melodic voice!’
I wore my jacket, plugged my headphones and kept the book in my lap. I turned around to call him back and he was already coming towards me. Oh… how eagerly I waited for him to finally come near me. And he did, his pleasant aroma (don’t know which expensive perfumes these hotties wear!) was like a cherry on the cake of my drooling checklist.
Generally, any woman would be a bit hesitant, conscious about her presence, looks and her movements. Especially if you feel someone so attractive is around you. And perhaps in another scenario even I would have been that way. But don’t know what had got into me. I just didn’t care about how I looked or behaved. I was a mess, I hadn’t even washed my face after the session, didn’t even change my Kurti to get ready for the journey, and didn’t even comb my hair. With this ideal grooming, I took out the bag of my take away as I was hungry and started nibbling the Dosa.
“Hey, what’s there in Mumbai for you?” his soft voice caught my attention. My morsel got stuck somewhere in my throat when I tried swallowing it.
“That’s where I live. I am glad that I am going back.” I smiled and noticed his cute pearl-like teeth as he grinned. The bus had started and lights went off. I offered him the dosa I was nibbling on. He denied at first saying he had heavy lunch at the office party. ‘Too much of details’, I see. I am usually the one to strike off the conversation but this time I had no agenda in mind. I just went with his flow.
I told him why I was there and then spoke a little about my training profile. I must have asked him multiple questions about his work.
“So, what do you exactly do as a Business analyst?” It’s a little awkward looking directly into someone’s eyes when they are sitting right next to you. So I enquired looking at the common handle of our seats.
“Well, it’s a very interesting work. What we basically have to do is…………….. you must have noticed in the malls you have…………………….. so the data………………………….. so we ensure that……. And of course, studying the market as well…………………………….”
He certainly sounded passionate about his work. But his words blurred as I didn’t listen to the content but just noticed the delivery of that content. I wasn’t getting everything that he said but the way he was explaining was certainly enchanting, his gestures, his enthusiasm, his soft voice.
While telling him about my business travel to different places we discovered our common zest for travel. The chattering continued with long drives, exotic locations. I remember him saying that he has been to Goa recently.
Then it came to music. It was enigmatic to listen to his passion for music, guitar, piano, stories of experiential music composing. I remember him talking for a longer time, his love for music was so apparent. I felt like keep listening. Perhaps he brought me closer to the world of music, in his version. He was much beyond an engineer & an MBA.
This, interesting side of yours, who shows it in a very first meeting? I wondered. But it might happen, perhaps you just feel like showing your true self without any inhibitions if the opposite person gives you that vibe.
It was crazy; I actually noted his recommendations of Cold play songs. I didn’t want to miss even a single thing that was said or shared in those moments.
By then we had finished the wafer biscuits messing our clothes and an apple without cutting it into half. He hesitated first but then we shared it. I gauged he is actually a big-time foodie like me like he mentioned at the beginning itself.
I don’t remember when but I had asked him his name.
He said, “Mit, Mit Roy.”
I honestly loved the sound of it, “I have a huge crush on a celebrity named Mit. And coincidently I just dreamt of him a few days back,” I wasn’t lying when I said that. But also I was wondering, why am I sharing all the little details with this stranger? But don’t know why ‘stranger’ word just didn’t suit him.
While talking about movies I got to know –‘A Romedy genre lover like me & that too a guy’, I couldn’t believe it. “Is he real, God?” I wondered.
I was astonished to know that he has learned classical music, too, and can play the instruments as well, another common cord between us as I have learned classical dance and same like him since childhood. This was getting increasingly interesting, and we had no clue in that dark bus our voice was perhaps growing louder, mine surely was.
Surprisingly I realized I had studied his dream career. He wanted to get into a catering college, I told him about my hospitality management graduation. After every topic, this was becoming insanely alluring. The more we interacted the more we were getting closer.
He told me about his dream of opening his own restaurant one day. I loved the idea.
Then for a while, we spoke about human relationships, parents, general societal restrictions & the need for freedom. I was pleased to know that our thoughts aligned to a great extent.
After a while, I had this strange feeling as if he is someone I was supposed to meet since forever. An unknown voice inside me said, “He is the one”. No matter what you will end up with him. That voice had no logic, no reason, no speculation. Only an intense message!
Then it came to a tingling point- romantic relationships, the pressure of getting married in your late 20’s, relief of live in options. That’s when I remembered & of course shared with him too about my current steady relationship. An unknown gloomy feeling made me shut up after almost 3 hours of blabbering. By this time I had completely forgotten to call Hitesh (my fiancé). In fact, I had almost forgotten his existence in my life. We were quiet for some time. The fellow passengers must have been relieved.
And all hell broke loose when the bus suddenly stopped and someone shouted there was fire at the back. People were trying to calm each other but at the same time, everyone was equally anxious to move out of the bus immediately. I was terrified.
And the first thought was so hilarious, “Am I going to die the day I meet my life partner?”
My state was so messy to get up from the seat. I had to gather all my stuff instantly. But I just couldn’t take my bag out which was stuck under the seat. And had to get out of the seat to pull it outside. I thought Mit must have gone ahead, but when I turned to look he was waiting. He tried helping me too. I was getting more panicked as I couldn’t get the bag out, but eventually, I pulled it. I remember calling “Mit, help me please,” in a puppy voice. He remained the only person who could save me on this earth at that moment.
Hurriedly we got out of the bus. I had carried my shoes in my hands like an idiot and Mit was holding my bag. I remember he had offered his hand when I needed support while wearing shoes. His soft hand held mine for the very first time and I was in heaven for a few seconds.
Thankfully there was no fire. The smoke had surely scared me, but it was a minor problem which got sorted. Mit and I then shared all accidental incidences of our lives. This was perhaps not near death, but it scared me like a near-death experience.
Mit was going to get down in some time at Thane. The next day he was supposed to catch a flight to Chennai to his new job location. I just wished I could stop the clock and turn it 3 hours back. I had no clue I would regret not asking for his number. We bid our goodbye with a gentle handshake and smile. He got down and I kept looking out of the window for him to wave a last goodbye. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see him, and I guess neither he could see me.
6 years later…….
After receiving my divorce letter I had decided to celebrate alone. I entered a hip new lounge with live music. My friend had told me the hot & single owner himself plays guitar & his voice is melodious.
“Mit!……” I almost screamed & ran to hug him. Yes, it was him.
We hugged for a long time. He held my hand like a long lost friend and pulled me towards a table. We sat together in front of each other.
We just couldn’t stop smiling……..