For the third time Arun checked his hairstyle upon his favourite
object on his desk, the mirror. “I think she will like this”,
Arun uttered unmindfully. It was a special day for Arun, at least
that was what he assumed.
“3 years, rite?”, Nitin enters room. Nitin had been Arun’s buddy
for last two years or so. He lived next to Arun in the same
hostel. Nitin was around six feet tall, in his late twenties.
He had been working in the same BPO where Arun worked. Actually
it was Nitin who brought Arun there. Nitin joined six months
before him. He was looking out for friends, as he was new in
Bangalore then. Like many other youths, he tried hanging out
here and there. But within a month everything became drudgery to
him, mostly because he was a homesick boy. He loved to be with
friends, but at the same time, he longed for homely coziness.
So when he met Arun, he invited him to stay in the same men`s
hostel near him. Within a few days, they both became very frank
between themselves. Apart from alcohol, they found many other
interests in common. And this led to a deep mutual understanding
and friendship. Soon both of them started sharing anecdotes of
every single incident, experience and sins too !
Nitin was well aware of the day’s occasion, yet he asked.
Perhaps, he was searching for something to start with the
Arun did not hear him entering the room, he was busy talking
to himself. When Nitin asked the question, he came back to his
senses. After a brief pause he responded…
“Yes, three long years. Dude you don’t forget anything. You
remember each and every detail of my stories. This could prove
embarrassing for me.”
Nitin chuckled, “You always think in negative senses.”
“I am helpless. It’s my inherited nature.” Says Arun.
Nitin could realize to whom Arun is hinting. It was none other
than his father. Arun’s father was way too much suspicious about
Arun’s whereabouts. Two friends had many prolonged discussions in
the past about Arun’s father. But Nitin did not want to spoil the
day’s hot topic with this parenting issue. So, in order to avoid
the issue he said “Ok brother, but what are you wearing today?”
“That is a good question.Look at your right, I kept the clothes
on bed. I love that blue shirt. I think she will also love it.”
Nitin turned towards Arun’s bed.”You must be joking.”
“Why” asked Arun.
“Dude these are formals”
“This is not an office day, and for heaven’s sake you are going
on a date.”
“Yes, and that is why I have chosen my best clothes.”
“Oh no, these may be the best but not at all suitable for the
occasion “quipped Nitin.
“Why not? These are my best and they are perfectly ironed too. I
ironed them last night and this morning again.”
Nitin chuckled,“You should wear casuals like normal people do.
Generally when somebody goes for dating they wear casuals to look
cool. And I think, she will laugh at you should you wear this. I
mean why on earth any girl will expect this?”
“Correction. It’s a date from my side, she is coming to meet an
old friend. And secondly, for twelve years I roamed around her
wearing formals, she never laughed.”
“You were in school then, now you are grown up. So think
maturely.” Remarked Nitin.
“Ok let’s assume you are right. Tell me what should be the most
important agenda on a date?”
Nitin thought for a moment,”Umm, that’s a tricky question.
People’s views may vary. Also you have to think about the..”
“Don’t make your life so complex”,Arun disrupts him.”Answer me
“I think mainly you have to make her comfortable and..”
“That’s it my boy.I would like to make her comfortable, so I am
wearing formal to reflect a familiar look.”
“No more buts, now please allow me to get ready for the game.”
“When are you leaving?”
“As soon as possible. You know traffic is terrible these days.
And I don’t want to be late.”
“You better be late, she will feel familiar..”
Both of them shared a smile.
“Ok brother, all the best”. Nitin left.Arun glanced at his watch, it was half past nine.
He had two hours to reach Motera café. He could easily finish a round trip in that time. But today he was extra cautious. He
rushed towards clothes.
After finishing he felt that he needed another round of hair do.
So again he concentrated on his hairs, cursing himself. It took
him another 6 minutes to step out of the room.
The door locks and latches never seemed to be so much useless
to him. Normally he used to double-check those things each and
every time he stepped out. But this day was not just another day.
He was finally going to meet her and to send his competitors,
hopefully, out of the race.
The driver was not willing to move at standard rate. He asked
for a few bucks more. Normally Arun used to bargain, or wait for
another auto. But this auspicious day he was ready to pay that
extra amount. After getting in, he started thinking about how it
Arun grew up in a small town in Bengal. His father was a teacher
in a local school. Arun used to study in the same school. He
had a childhood not much eventful. He never participated in
any adventurous activities, partially because his father never
allowed him to do so and the other part was that he was afraid of
Nitu was a very familiar face in the school. Her father was a
police officer. He got transferred into Arun’s home town in mid
nineties. Arun can still remember when he first saw Nitu.
It was a winter morning and everybody was drooling, standing
in prayer line. Head mistress informed the conductor that she
has some announcement after the prayer meeting. At the end of
singing the national anthem by students she took the centrestage
with Nitu. And Nitu was introduced to the school. Lookwise, she
was fresh and pretty. So that very day, within that recess she
became a known face.
Arun was always fond of her, but never got an opportunity for
friendship. His luck favoured after two long years, when he
entered standard 8. Nitu came to his section. She was an instant
hit among boys. Girls were a bit reluctant at the beginning, but
later they all raced to become her best buddy.
The picture became clear within a month. Shanti, who was Arun’s
childhood friend, then became Nitu’s buddy. And there were five
to six boys, who were identified as her boyfriends. Luckily Arun
was among them. One day, Shanti reported that Nitu has fallen for
a boy. But she didn’t specify his name. That was not enough for
Arun, so he kept on asking Shanti every now and then. After so
much pegging one day Shanti confessed that Nitu didn’t tell any name except for one thing, that the guy used specs. That reduced
the competition to two, as Arun and Nikhil were the only boys
among the probables who used specs.
For a few days students who heard the news remained interested.
Everybody was expecting a name to come up, Arun or Nikhil. But
Nitu was not interested in telling anything.
“Stop it” said Arun. He got down a few yards before
destination. He decided to check his appearance before entering
the cafe. He headed towards a shopping mall near the cafe. He
still had another one hour in hand. So he decided to spend a few
minutes to check his hairs again, clean his face and obviously
he wanted to make his tie look perfect. Arun had been very
touchy about his ties. In fact that was the most expensive stuff
he was wearing right now. He hated to use tie pins. According to
him, it reduced attention towards the tie. Hence he always used
to adjust his tie in order to control it from flapping.
It was early morning for business establishments. Washroom was
completely empty. Arun loved this, a gigantic mirror full of him
and only him. After thorough checking and slight adjustments here
and there he stepped out.”Ready for the interview” he murmured to
He took a corner table in cafe, just like last time. They met
3 years back in a similar cafe. School was over, everybody was
going to different parts of the country for higher studies. It
was Shanti who forced Arun to propose Nitu. That was the first
time for Arun, so he was very afraid. He had no idea about what
he should say. So Shanti wrote an advisory for him, a few do’s
and don’ts. But nothing worked, he forgot the points. Even Nitu
got confused from Arun’s words.
“What are you saying? I am not getting you”,Nitu said.
“Seems like we are not conversing, am just listening to your
speech. Anyway, I believe you are interested in relationship. But
frankly, at present I want to concentrate on my studies. I am
leaving for Bombay this month. Will meet again.. ” Nitu prolonged
her lecture for another few sentences. But Arun was not in a mood
to listen. Some hollowness from within oozed out and engulfed
Arun. And those words were never heard again.
“Order please” requested the waiter.
Arun glanced at his watch, still 15-20 minutes
remaining. “Cappuccino please”.
He took out a tissue paper from his pocket. This time he was
extra cautious. He had listed out the topics to be discussed in
a tissue paper. Proposal ought to be perfect.
“Here is your coffee sir” said the waiter.
“Thanks”, Arun was busy reading the points.
“Can I seat here?”
Arun stared at source of the request. It was none other than
Nitu. She was more attractive than ever before. Prettier than the
prettiest person in Arun’s life.
“So how are you, it’s been quite a while. “Says Nitu.
Arun realized the paper was still on table. It was impossible to
fold it back and to keep it back in pocket without bringing it
to her attention.”I am fine, what about you?”, Arun covered the
paper with one hand and lifted the coffee cup with the other.
“Just enjoying life as always. A new job, a few new friends, and
a big decision taken. Life has become a bit complicated, but
still enjoying it.”
“So, where are working?”
“You know it, you use one of our products regularly.”
A few hundred names rushed through Arun’s mind, but he couldn’t
pick one. He did not want to fail this time. He wanted to impress
her with correct answer.”Can you give me some hints?”
“Dude, that dating application you use on facebook. Actually it’s
my fiancé’s brain child.”
“Your fiancé?” Arun felt a butterfly flapping in his belly.
“Yes, we both work there. I am in the testing team. As you know,
the best way to test anything is to use it in real life scenario.
So we all use it to search for matches in facebook.”
The situation became crystal clear to Arun. When she met
Arun through that application, her intention was to test the
application. And Arun took it as date.
“Your tie..” her shout brought Arun back into senses.
Arun realized, he splashed coffee in his tie.
“Here use this..”
Arun uses the tissue and realizes his lecture notes found its use
in wiping coffee drops.
“So, what’s your story? Speak out man..”
For last 3 weeks Arun have been waiting to hear this. But at this
moment she sounded very unappealing. He realized, his lecture was
lying on the plate. Anyway, it lost it`s usefulness .
“Nothing special in my life. Tell me when are you marrying?”