Mostly, things don’t turn out the way you expect, but sometimes when God’s in a good mood, he can grant your bizarre wishes too! Today was the day that Radhika’s wish of meeting Aarush again came true. She was roaming in a mall. Window shopping. Getting bored. Cappuccino in one hand. Designer hand-bag in another and then, there is the unusual bump. The guy, walking backwards, talking on phone, an expensive iPhone, bumps into Radhika and her coffee-cup falls on the ground with a thud, and there are splashes all around. Her jeans are soiled and so is the floor. The guy turns around. Guilty. Apologizing. Picks up the coffee glass and spots angry Radhika staring at him with red eyes.
‘I’m so sorry, I am extremely sorry, I’ll buy you a new one, and please…I’m very sorry.’ Aarush apologized again, and again.
‘It’s okay, no really I’m fine.’ Radhika tried to display chivalry.
‘No, I said I’ll get you a new one, it’s my responsibility, please…’ Aarush held her by her elbow and walked her to the coffee-shop on the second floor of the mall.
Radhika clearly knew the guy. She remembered him from her lunch with Kavita a week back, but she thought that the guy forgot about her. But she was wrong. Very wrong.
‘It’s strange, how co-incidences happen in weirdest of ways.’ Aarush smiled as he ordered a Cappuccino for Radhika.
‘Co-incidences?’ Radhika pretended to be ignorant.
‘Yea, we met that day, you remember? Intercontinental? Lunch time. You were with another woman I guess, and you asked me the way to the washroom.’
‘Oh! So that was you? I’m sorry it totally skipped my mind.’ Radhika pretended that she was seeing him first time. That’s what girls do anyway! Whenever they see a hot guy they’re drooling upon, they lie!
‘Really? I don’t consider myself to be one of the guys who can ‘slip’ so easily out of a girl’s mind.’ Aarush bit his tongue. The guy was aware of his looks and personality. The guy was way too straight as well.
Radhika died a little inside. She was blown away again. The imaginary breeze caressing her tresses, the violins playing in the background, the romance in the air, the fragrance of red roses and there she was in the middle, blushing. She was speechless. She didn’t know what to say. Aarush was right. He wasn’t a guy who would slip out of a girl’s mind after all.
‘Sir, one cappuccino.’ the waiter presented Aarush’s order. The coffee had a heart made over it. Radhika smiled, Aarush handed it over to her, ignoring the details that made Radhika skip a beat. Again.
‘So, what was your name again?’ Radhika initiated a conversation.
‘I never told you my name, Miss. Aarush Choudhury.’ he stretched out his hand.
‘Radhika Jain.’ she smiled.
‘Oh, so you are a ‘Jain’, you people don’t eat onions or garlic, right?’ he made her feel like she was an alien!
‘What? It’s a choice, and not obligation. I eat everything, I drink everything, and nobody asks me what to do. It’s my life after all!’ Radhika took a giant sip of the free cappuccino.
‘Well, I’m impressed by your free-lifestyle and independence. So, you are from Mumbai…or?’
‘Varanasi originally, did my MBA from Jaipur. Actually shifted to Mumbai around a few months ago, in search of a job, and I got it last week, that’s why I was celebrating with a friend!’
‘Great! What job?’
‘Business consultant at Kaya.’
‘Whoa. Kaya is the cosmetic line, isn’t it?’
‘So, what are your plans ahead?’
‘Nothing, just enjoy my job, work hard, make some money, then find a guy and have fun!’
Aarush stared at her with an awkward look, ‘Have fun? I thought you were a kind of girl who would say – ‘find a guy, settle down and have kids.’
‘Well that’s an insult, mister. I told you I’m very independent. I don’t follow societal norms and rules. I’m my own queen!’
‘That’s wonderful. Girls like you are needed everywhere you know?’
‘Well, you asked a lot about me, what do you do?’
‘Aah, just in need of a job like you were.’
‘Really? A man in need of a job, always wearing business suits and dining at ‘The Intercontinental’ doesn’t it sound a little…awkward?’
‘You got me there! Well, I was there for a meeting actually, I’m a…a system engineer at…at Accenture.’
‘Whoa! Are you sure you are?’
‘Oh, yeah. I actually got the promotion last week and shifted from Infosys to Accenture, that’s why I was…’ Aarush slapped his forehead for being clumsy.
‘Oh I totally understand! I behaved the same when someone would ask me what I did when I was through that interview-phase of my life. By the way…’ Radhika couldn’t complete her sentence as she was interrupted by Aarush’s phone which started ringing in the middle of the conversation.
He took out his shining black iPhone-4, and the name blared on screen ‘Love’.
‘Yea, I got you, I’m in R-City Mall, yeah, I am aware…okay I got it’ and he disconnected.
It was pretty rude by the standards of Radhika, who at least believed in courtesy with women. She thought that since he had saved the number at the name of ‘Love’, it might be his girlfriend. And if this was the way this guy talked to his girlfriend, then Radhika was never saying yes to him even if he crawled at his knees to get her! This man was definitely not her type – arrogant, business like, way too handsome, strange and maybe committed too – definitely out of her league!
‘Alright, see you then!’ Radhika waved as she walked a few steps away from him.
‘Hey, wait.’ he stopped her.
‘Can I…well, here’s my card, in case you need any help from a new friend.’ Aarush handed over his business card to her.
‘Thanks!’ she was shocked at the confidence this guy possessed. Instead of asking her number, he was giving her his!
‘See you around.’
Radhika and Aarush walked opposite ways. Radhika took the lift to the ground floor and took a rickshaw home. While she was staring out of the rickshaw into the vast city, Aarush’s black Volkswagen Jetta rushed past her and filled her mouth with all the dust and dirt.
‘Asshole!’ she shouted.