Almost a talk

A series of love stories which were almost…

Days of silence between the two of us was washed out on that day when we talked for the first time, well, it was almost a talk.

… …

‘Tick tock… tick tock…’ This was one of my favorite sounds in the office in those days. I am not talking about the clock, waiting to announce the end of day’s play for us all. I am talking about the sound made by her long flat heels when she walked around in the office.

Our office was otherwise very silent. The only sound that you could hear was of continuous keystrokes made by all the mechanical humans under the roof, trying to win an invisible race. And other sounds confined to the two and a half walls of respective cubicles. Neither the sound nor their feelings or wishes or dreams ever came out of the cubicles.

It all started as an annoyance for me. In the amazing peaceful silent office environment, all of a sudden, I heard a slowly increasing sound of someone’s heel thrashing the floor. There was a symmetry in the sound, it was almost musical. But it was a disturbance nevertheless to my attentive open-eyed sleep. So I got annoyed and looked above the walls of my cubicle, and things changed.

I saw her for the first time, though I had heard the sound of her heels several times before. My ears could make out the difference between other shoes and hers. Yet, I had never taken an effort to look at the person whom those shoes would carry. And that made all the difference in my office life. From the boring monotonous life inside my rat-hole (aka cubicle), things started to get interesting for me.

As my cubicle came on the way towards the rest and refreshment area, I could see everyone in the office at least once a day when they passed by me. And that was both a benefit and a distraction for me. And after getting to know about her, it became more of an addiction for me.

I used to hear the sound of those heels several times during the day. And out of those several times, many times she would be walking towards me. I would see her, peeking above the walls of my cubicle. From my otherwise slumped back posture, I would instantly sit straight and fix my table. Everything should be at its proper place…

This went on for several days, with awkward eye-contacts and look-aways, until that opportune moment when I actually had a chance to talk to her.

That day, I was coming back from the rest area myself and just at the time, she also came out from the door behind me. And we both were walking towards the door leading to the central walkway.

I don’t know what came to me, but I held the door out for her. She accepted my gesture gracefully, smiled and replied with a ‘thank you’. And my awkward response was inaudible even to my mind.

I went through after her and couldn’t stop staring at her hair dangling like a bell. After a few steps, she turned back and slowly looked around and then at me. She smiled again and walked away. I couldn’t be any more happier…

My friend saw all that and started teasing me for her. And I enjoyed myself for all that. But things don’t stay perfect for more than a moment, with me.

That evening and night went like I had conquered the world. I danced while walking, skipped steps, and would constantly hum some good tune. You could find me smiling without any reason. I wished with every broken piece of my heart that something would make out of this particular story.

A few days later, I couldn’t see her in the office. Probably she was late, probably she was on a leave, probably she was on a longer leave, probably she went to her hometown for a mini-vacation, probably on a longer vacation… My assurances to myself grew more and more unreasonable.

Soon I understood that she no longer worked at my location. Probably some other location or some other company, but I didn’t want to make assumptions any more. I knew I was never going to find out if there was some story at all in our little conversation.

There was a trend of wearing those heels at office, and whenever people would move past me with those heels, all the memories would bring back the pain in my heart with each tick-tock sound on the floor. But I was happy, at least it was almost a talk, unlike my other almost love stories…

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Solo Travel Diaries – Bus Driver’s Whistle

This time, when I was traveling alone, going back to my parent’s place, my two forms of writing mixed up. I had another almost while waiting for the Bus driver to whistle.

… …

My bus was to arrive in about an hour. I have had my dinner and it was an overnight run, so I was desperately waiting for my bus to arrive. Nothing exciting was expected from this travel, as usual. It was supposed to be one of those travels that I don’t write about, that I hardly even remember. Guess I was wrong about that.

The bus-stand was about a few meters away from the waiting area. And for informing the fellow travelers about a bus’s arrival, the driver used to blow a sharp, loud whistle. The fascinating thing about it was that people in the waiting area always knew whether the bus driver’s whistle was for their bus or not. Or so it seemed. Or maybe the buses were all strategically timed that no two buses coincide on a single time, making a whistle unique for that time.

I was wondering about all this as I had nothing better to do. My phone was about to die and I had to keep it at rest for it to live up till the morning when I will reach my destination.

I was humming a song, or a tune, I don’t really remember. But I remember that instant when a bus driver’s whistle made me look towards the exit of the sitting area and then quickly back to the wall infront of me, as if I had seen a ghost.

She was dressed in peach-colored some-kind-of-top and the legendary blue jeans. And yet I felt a blurry outline around her persona, I saw a live-portrait of her. Her hair was rolled up hurriedly, a bodkin was visible. And she was wearing no makeup at all. Yet she managed to portray such an eye-candy.

I looked away as soon as I looked at her, and she had already caught me looking at her in that 2 seconds of time-line. I stared at the wall opposite to me, and continued with my humming, which had increased its pace to several beats up the bar.

Every time such a situation happens with me, me and some stranger, either I fart words so bad that the other person runs away or I don’t do anything at all. And I wished this time wouldn’t be so. I prayed…

With almost impossible turn of events, she came up and sat beside me. I figured that all other unoccupied seats had some weirdo sitting on the next seat. And I looked a good guy on my first impression, to be honest.

I didn’t want her choice to be proved wrong. So I didn’t do anything impulsive or stupid. Really, I did nothing. I casually sat there, and just sat there. She was listening to some sort of music and was deleting multiple pics from her phone. I came to know it afterwards that my humming had stopped somewhere in the middle of this chaos.

But then somehow I found that in proving her decision to be right, I was just letting go of this opportunity. I liked her and wanted to know more of her. And if I do not speak, I won’t ever find out if I had a chance.

So I started rehearsing our conversation in my head, several iterations, several scenarios practiced. I gathered up my courage and straightened up my posture to bring out my voice which had gone deep down my guts, and was hidden somewhere in my intestines.

The bus driver’s whistle blew, a bus’s arrival was announced. Everyone around me got up and went towards the stand. I watched her go as she gathered her luggage and glided towards the bus.

A fly flew inside my mouth and I choked on my open mouth, ready to speak “Hi”. I coughed continuously till I had the damn fly out of my food pipe and got up clumsily to see her climb the bus. Even if I ran, I didn’t stand a chance to reach there in time, if I ran that is, hypothetically.

Next in half an hour or so, my bus arrived and I got the usual boring seat beside a fellow who snored all the way to my stop. I couldn’t dare to sleep and see the whole episode of my failure all over again. So I decided to stay up, watch through the window, the objects fly by me, in a blink of the eye, like the opportunities in my life.

This time, my solo travel diary was almost an epitome of me being a loser, well, almost a loser.

She Almost Loved Me

Almost a fictional narrative about a girl who loved me…
… …

Not every one finds true love in their lives. And of those who do, not everyone can realise that fact before already losing them.

I woke up with a grim face. It was Sunday morning and I got up from my slumped position on my bed when the doorbell rang.

I walked up to door without giving a second look to nothing to my way and came back without looking who it was once I opened the door. Nothing mattered to me, except that I wanted to go back to sleep.

Soon I got bored of sleeping, I woke up and took a bath, dressed up and prepared my breakfast. I switched on the TV as that was what I was gonna do for the whole day. I put a random channel with some movie going on and sat infront of the screen.

I didn’t even realize that clock completed three whole rotations and I was sitting at the same place since morning till noon. I had to go for my lunch somewhere.

I entered a random restaurant and ate whatever they served on the plate.

After returning back home, I slumped back on the couch and took my phone in my hand for the first time since waking up. There were several notifications, which I casually swiped through, half even without reading.

While doing that, I saw a notification of a new profile update by her. I quickly opened that notification and stared at her beautiful face for quite a while. She wore a baby pink tee with khakhi shorts and matching star shaped earnings. Her eyes were round and teasing as always. She made a mouse face like a child and all I felt was pain…

In our lives, we are given several opportunities to find happiness. The catch here is that if you fail at finding that limited stock of happiness, you’d definitely find unlimited stock of grief…

There was a time when we were totally crazy into our friendship. We used to talk only occasionally, but whenever we did, we really hit it off.

I still remember when I first met her at a birthday party of my friend and our journey started from then. We stayed in different States and could hardly meet, but that never reduced our emotions for each other.

We used to share our deepest secrets and our deepest fears with each other. We used to help each other in the weirdest of all problems and used to handle the other person’s bothersome habits.

But somehow, in the game of balancing on the string of emotions, we somehow forget that one little jerk may cause a painfull fall.

I completed writing down another story for my blog. It was almost evening and time for exercise. I started doing it as hard as I could, trying to give me more and more difficulty.

Now-a-days I enjoyed watching myself in pain. A day without some trouble wouldn’t count as a day for me at all. And when in some trouble, I would let me suffer to my heart’s content before coming out of it.

Not always, but at times, pain is the best medicine for a hurt heart.

After my workout, I walked out in the balcony to watch kids playing. Watching them play was comforting for me in these otherwise ho-hum days. I missed playing table tennis with her. We had played only once when we met after two years of our friendship on her birthday in her town. That day is engrossed in my mind eternally.

The screensaver started on my laptop which brought me back to this world. I was lost thinking about the time we were together. I saw our photos of the trip to Manali. It was ecstatic watching our pics. We were so great together. But then, not all can maintain the balance in a relationship. And I was poor in that.

One thing led to other and other thing led to another. We were fighting over petty issues. And she brooded at me for several days. I being of that nature never realized that she was sulky due to that incident. I had forgotten that fight the next morning I woke up, but she was very hurt.

After that fight, she used to tell me all the things that she ignored earlier in me and how that made her feel sad and stewed due to my behavior. And I got more and more agitated for the fact that she had never mentioned these things before and we were so good together, how did these things come in between us!

Soon her behavior changed. Her emotions for me were wearing off. She was moving away from me while I was still trying to identify the issue that led to this time in our relationship. All things aside, but she couldn’t heal off the holes left in her heart by my thorns, my actions.

Emotionally hurt person has scars all over the body, just not visible. With each breath that he takes, with each pump of blood in his veins, those scars are touched again, are scraped again, with the claws of his broken heart, trying to stay alive…

She was a girl who understood me more than myself. And she knew that I wouldn’t be able to understand what she felt or why she is changing. And so she moved, slowly, away from me. She knew that this would scar us both, but she did it for her happiness. She would have always felt graveled with my behavior and attitude towards life. And she left, without breaking me into pieces, without tearing me apart… But without her, what was I, a scrambled soul.

As we had never told each other about our love for each other, there was no breaking up. It was just a parallel shift from being great together to just being us, not together.

Even today we talk and share a laugh or two. But times have changed. It is not the same as before and it won’t ever be. She took a turn in her life and moved on to be happy. While I’m standing on that turn, thinking about where to go, as without her there’s no journey left in my life.

My phone rang and my friends were meeting up for a late night party and booze. I got ready and walked in the party with a big smile on my face. My friends cheered me welcome as being the most beaming person of the group.

Up above the stars watched me spread joy and humor in the group with my, sometimes pesky, sense of humor. But the moon went behind the dark clouds, so that he had not to see me as I acted out my condition infront of the world.

At night, I try not to remember her. For if I let it be, I wouldn’t want to wake up from my dreams. I will see those dreams when I finally lie on my last bed.

Togetherness ought to be the biggest sin, for it takes away the life out of our heart when it finally stays no more…

I Almost Understood Her

While I have had several such occasions where I almost had a love story, but every time it was pretty clear how the things were going on. But in this particular case, I got ridiculed every time I thought I understood her.

So here it goes…

I didn’t see (read as notice) her for several days since we got acquainted. It was at her birthday that I first stopped to take a good glance at her. When I wished her, she returned her thanks with a pleasant smile on her face, that was when I got fascinated the way she carried herself.

But soon that tide passed away and things got normal.

Then one day, I had a chance to communicate with her for more than a few minutes, and the discussion was pure professional work. But her personality enchanted me. Apart from being a pretty face, she also had sharp observation and a smart approach to everything she did.

Soon we started communicating more and I got to know her creative side. And I started opening up myself to her. But then, suddenly on one bloody day, it all went back to the day we started. As if I had just time traveled into past, our confab just stopped. She would reply if I initiate a talk, but not with the same interest as earlier.

I tried going through the previous days and tried to find anything that I did that might have pissed her off, as that happens a lot with me. But in this case, I just couldn’t find anything for her weird behavior.

Again, the time-glass turned, and she wished me morning on her own without any initiation from my side, whatsoever. I had just accepted her weirdness around me and had stopped talking to her. But her change to convivial attitude confused me. There she was turning her head away when our eyes met, and again she is all cheerful and friendly.

I let it flow without giving much efforts into the sudden change. As her mood was right, we took our respites together. Games and movies were also tried and tested. And it worked for while.

But as every dawn as a dusk following, her cheerful and friendly nature had irritated and uninterested nature followed up. She stopped coming for those breaks and movie sessions. She turned down any hangout plan that I or any one in the group offered. And I let it flow this time even. As still, it was unclear to me what was in her mind.

Her birthday returned and I wished her in my own style. That overwhelmed her and I had expected a mood change this time, since this was her down-time going on. And yes, her up-time did come, but lasted just two days. This totally confounded me. I couldn’t think that I understand her any longer. Her weirdness was way above my ken to understand. And that pinched me for a while, but my cold-blooded dispassionate self helped me get over it easily.

Such series of her up-time with me and her down-time with me continued after that. While I keep heed of any taking-advantage scenario, nevertheless, I followed her cycles without much regard for it.

I stopped thinking about why she behaves like that and what’s there in her mind. I stopped finding adjectives from good side and from bad side for her.

Like seasons, I see her come and go, rise and fall. Like clouds in the sky, I see her, but never try to reach to her. There was a time when I almost understood her. But now, I have stopped trying to…

Almost… A Test Drive

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It was a summer afternoon and the sunlight was turning even my soul dark! 😛

I had not expected that in that scorching heat I’d find such a soothing experience… A fan!! (Actually, I convinced myself that the fan had helped me with the heat). So the real story goes like this…

On our way back to our office after having lunch, me and my colleagues saw an exhibition for a newly launched car. One of my colleague was planning to buy a car, so we went to check it out.

The car was placed in such a way that it would look stunning from each angle. People were examining it in all the ways – ogling her headlights, contemplating her design, checking out her interior, scrutinizing her comfort specs, and surveying her technical specifications from the representative.

My colleague started analysing the car too. A representative from the car company attended him and gave him a walkthrough about the car. After the briefing, my friend even tried his comfort inside the car by sitting on each of the seats.

All this while, I was standing peacefully in front of a fan. It was an amazing idea… A small water pipe with a tiny opening was attached just on the face of the fan. Due to that, constantly tiny water sprinkles were sprayed by the fan over the people. And in that heat, it gave an amazing cooling experience.

I was observing all the people around me. I wasn’t planning to buy the car and hence took no interest in the tour. But something else caught my eye… Or I should say – someone.

A simple, yet extraordinarily beautiful girl stood in front of me. She wore a simple white tee and blue jeans. She had her hair open. She moved with elegance that made a sharp impression. She talked in a manner that she could even convince a devil to be good.

She wore no makeup but just a little touchup over her lips. She wore a sports looking but classy watch and her nail paint had some sort of design. Her shoes were neat. And one couldn’t look more elegant than that.

She moved briskly from one person to other, offering them the template of the car and a gift from the company.

I didn’t notice her till she herself came to me. And after which, I couldn’t stand a second without noticing her. All the above observations were after we talked.

She came to me and said, giving me the gifts, – “This is for you… Sir.” The pause between her words and ‘Sir’ seemed deliberate.

I was totally occupied with her smile, but I managed to reply – “Thank you so much, but I am not planning to buy the car. You should instead offer these gifts to my friend over there who’s actually checking out the car…” (Ah! How can she smile like this!!)

She replied with a teasing smile on her face – “I know that. Your friend would also receive our gifts from someone else. But this one is for you… You keep it.” and she walked away, with her poking smile and her dangling hair…

I was so into her, her personality, her style, and that smile… that I couldn’t do anything after that… Yes… Nothing at all! (Yes I know I’m an idiot)

We exchanged a few glances after that. But she was busy attending the people and I was busy talking to my colleague, (or listening to him talk about the car features to me). I couldn’t concentrate on anything else but her. And then my colleagues took me from there and back to office.

But I couldn’t resist myself from thinking about her. Her smile – that would light up the night like the stars in the sky. All I wanted was to have one more chat with her. This time I wouldn’t be such a loser. But that ‘this time’ never came. I lost the opportunity and the opportunity lost me…

The exhibition was only for that day. I knew nothing of her – name, contact, nothing… Not even a sign that I could use to find her. That night, I kept on staring at the gifts she gave me. I thought, could it be different? I wished it to be… I wished it would’ve been more.

Another chance lost due to my sheepish manoeuvre of the situation. Another incomplete story.

A test drive, almost…

(Almost…) Nightingale

It was the last day of our batch. We were soon going to part ways and probably never meet again. So we decided to go out somewhere where we can have fun in our own silly ways…

We went to an old ‘museum cum art gallery cum restaurant’. It was peaceful place and could be said to be beautiful, if said with a little note 😛

We were examining the pieces of art with deep critical notice so that we could come up with some weird comment on it which would be added to the list of remembrances for today, the last day…

I wasn’t much interested in those art stuff, as I didn’t see any “art” in it. So, I went away from there and concentrated on the other people… What else to do? 😉 Several groups came and went.   Friends’ Hangouts are so much fun, assuming you have decent combination of all the characters in this world inside your group, one for each moment 😛

At the end of the (cave-kinda) way, I saw a group of girls sitting around a girl. Each of them was watching the one sitting in the middle. I was instantly curious. So I went there and as I came closer to that group, I went farther away from everyone…

That voice had engulfed me so much. The girl in the middle was singing. She was singing beautifully. She had that mesmerizing voice that anyone would love to listen. And she had that music-sense too! So bingo combination. I stood there with my eyes closed and enjoying her voice and the melody.

She sang songs one after other, some on her own, some from demands from her friends. Her voice spread to others in the cave and everyone was getting attracted to the spot I was standing at. My friends too came to me and they stood there enjoying her show.

Guys in my group were more interested in ‘her’ than her singing. But I just stood there with my eyes closed and singing along (humming actually). My love for music was more than my attraction towards girls. But as soon as I opened my eyes, she had her magic on me. I never knew when my moth was open and my eyes fixed on her. I came to know when my friend closed my mouth, giggling while doing it, with her hand. I smiled at her and she gave me that approving nod, which meant “Happens…!”

(Almost…) Bus No. 44/4

I was late. Usually I came office on time and left on time. That way, I could manager my upside life. But as we all have it, bosses never like our equilibrium… My whole day was wasted doing nothing, waiting for my boss’s instructions on one assignment. I don’t know why he enjoys doing this, but he would assign some work only during last half hour of the day’s play.

That day too, he had given me some work at 5:50 pm – just 10 minutes to my freedom. It took me two hours to complete the three hours job and he took 30 minutes for a 5 minutes review…!

Angry with the community of bosses, cursing them and everyone else, I left the office. It was almost half past seven. I knew I had missed the bus. The schedule for busses was distributed unevenly on that route, based on the traffic. And now, the next bus was exactly after one hour. So I was to waste my time on that God forsaken bus stand.

When I found no one to talk to, I called up my mother, my first best friend. I was talking to her about my scumbag boss and his dirty ways of torturing me. And when my complete frustration was out, we talked about random topics.

While talking to my mom, I never realized that I was walking past a girl in a brisk way, which she might find offending. That I came to realise only when I had put the phone back in my pocket and I saw her in my way.

I smiled at her and may be she realized that I did nothing intentionally.

More than one hour had passed now. And I saw that may be it was time to find something else as the bus was probably never gonna come, after all, it’s government service.

So I started looking for alternatives. So was she. But the problem on this route was that very few options are available for commute. A few private pliers enquired about our destination but went cuz he didn’t get enough people for one way ride.

I saw her enquiring to one such vendor and he told her that he would take her only if he found more people to travel. She turned to me and asked me where do I wanna go? We both had same route so I agreed. But the plier man wanted more people.

So I told her to wait for the bus instead. She agreed and we waited. Just about in 5 minutes the bus arrived. As she had the being-a-girl benefit, she board early and I was left to make my way inside the bus through that jam-packed door.

There were dozens of heads between us which made it difficult for us to get along. Somehow, I saw her seeing me constantly as if she wanted to talk to me, but may be was hesitant.

The bus driver helped me move forward in the crowd by applying ridiculously sudden brakes. I incidentally bumped into her. We exchanged smiles and it was the time for me to strike…

There was some soft music somewhere. I thought that may be I was hearing it on my own, but actually it was her ring tone. Call from home…

The call went on for almost 20 minutes. I wondered why would they waste such time when the girl was about to reach home in an hour! There was no emergency after all to compete all of it.

Finally she put her phone back into her bag and I got another opportunity. I kicked off the topic “do you travel by this bus everyday”. She answered in affirmative. She returned back my question and I told why was I late that day.

I was about to ask her name, etc. When the bus driver shouted my stop-name out loud. I had to climb down and we stared each other through the window till the time the bus took turn…

I never expected her to meet me again, cuz I wasn’t supposed to travel by that bus again ever, and probably whenever I did, I could never find her…