“It’s our turn,” came a calm and steady voice from behind. Before I could turn around to see who she was, she walked up to the host stand and said again, this time with more confidence, “It’s our turn. A table for three please.” The attendant looked confused and started browsing through the list. Looking up he said that their turn had passed and that they didn’t show up on time. I stood in awe right next to her watching her argue with the attendant. “I don’t care if you called me twice; my name is above his name. Arpita, see, umm, it’s eighth from the bottom.” Then she argued some more. Turning towards me she said, politely, “We have been waiting for over an hour now. We can’t even stay for too long.” More than the truth in her statement, I was convinced of the innocence in her eyes. And then she gave me a smile with a hint of shyness and confidence in equal proportions. Trying to be a gentleman and majorly because my body was numb after the way she smiled, I nodded. Anticipating the changes that were about to happen, the attendant walked in to make the required arrangements for the group. Meanwhile, I was still thinking about her smile, the way her eyes narrowed and her lips broadened. The glimmer in her eyes and the radiant glow on her face that made my heart skip a beat. I was standing at some distance from her, trying to catch her sight. The incredible energy that she displayed, the uncontrolled laughs, the way she bit her lip while talking to her friends and the gentle swift strokes through her hair rendered me spellbound. I just wished that I could spend some time with her. It didn’t take the attendant very long to return (sucker). That moment had to end.
“Thank you, again.” said she when she walked in.
It had been two hours since I got a table and I hadn’t seen her, yet. Big clubs had never troubled me more. I wondered she had left by now. I just needed another drink. I went to the bar to get me one of my favorites – chilled beer. The best thing about the mind is not that you can remember and replay the memories any time you want but the fact that you can modify them and create new ones. Ironically, it’s also the worst. I was doing the same thing, imagining the chain of events that would have kicked off if I had just walked up to her to talk. I don’t know what was about this girl that my mind went into a tailspin. I hadn’t even talked to her. It was hardly a 15 sec one-sided communication that took place between us and I was longing to talk to her again ever since.
“Your order sir,” said the bartender and placed three glasses of beers in front of me.
I didn’t know what made me happier, imagining myself with Arpita or free beer. “But I only ordered one,” said I.
“I guess that is mine,” said a familiar voice. Blood started rushing through my veins and my body, numb, again. I knew that was her. I knew I had to take control this time. I turned back and there she was, smiling. I smiled back. “Atta boy,” said something from within. She moved to the counter to receive her drinks.
“Having a good time?” I asked.
“You are on a roll boy”, came another voice.
“Loving it”, said she. “What about you?”
Now was the time that I figured was crucial. I couldn’t give a desperate answer, neither could I be over enthusiastic. So I went with a modest “I am having a good time too”.
“I am Anirudh”, said I, and extended a handshake.
“I am Arpita”, came the reply and we shook hands.
It was officially on. Surprisingly she took our just initiated conversation forward and spared me the trauma of ‘what the hell to say’. It was fun getting to know her. A fashion designer by profession, she had done incredible things. The energy that made me crazy hadn’t died yet. The incredible zest, still on. It was amazing getting to know how superbly different she was. We talked a lot and about a lot. I, being from North India, and she an Aamchi Mumbaikar, had variedly different experiences. We were (I was sure about myself) having a great time until she realized that the chilled beer she ordered was no longer chilled and, more importantly, two other people were waiting for her at her table. (That doesn’t mean I didn’t care about my friends but it’s just that I know their failed love stories inside out.) That meant another goodbye. I smiled again and then said the overly used line, “It was amazing talking to you Arpita.”
“I am glad we met”, said she with her mesmerizing smile and left with the not so chilled beers.
Some part of me was relieved. I took a deep breath and returned to my sorry ass friends. They were still at the point when they realize that love is bullshit. I was terrified thinking about the fact that I will have to go through the final leg of the discussion, “Bhai-Bhai Hota hai.”
Another hour passed and I was sure that she would have left by now. I stood up to take off. I walked slowly with a hope in my heart that she would walk up to me again, but this time for a longer duration. But it didn’t happen. I was out of the club.
I stood at the taxi stand and called for a cab. As soon as it reached me, I heard a voice, with the same calmness and steadiness. It said, “It’s our turn I guess.” I turned around with joy and realized that it was the beer talking. I rushed into the cab and with a heavy heart, headed home and crashed.
Next morning, when I woke up, I had received a message on Facebook that read “I am glad I missed my turn at the club.”
It was her.