3: 45 P.M. – sitting in an upmarket office in one end of south Delhi, almost the outskirts. Meeting fixed for 4 P.M. 15 minutes to kill is easy; look around, observe. When do people really work when all they do is talk to one another? Too much laughing for a serious workplace. Hey, look at that girl, nice legs. And another, her high heels make too much noise. And that one there, can’t see her face but her body language says she wants to rush out of the office. Bored.
“Madam, sir is in a meeting will be 30 mins late.”
Delhi! People have no respect for time…
Ah, the “bored” employee – looks at her laptop, explores it has MS Word, MS Excel and lo she actually hits a few more keys. Still Bored. She is wearing jeans and a white shirt, Reebok shoes. I am wearing Nike’s for an interview. She turns and for some reason I hide behind a false pillar. I still don’t know how she looks. Some kind of ‘hide n seek’. Heart beats a little faster.
“Madam, Sir will take another 10 min, so sorry, have some chai please”. Chai. More laughter from some corners. Boredom from another reaches me with pointy hands. “Sir is ready to see you”…
Finally! I go straight, without looking here and there I go straight in for the interview and interview sir
5: 45 pm. Interview over, can go home, wont have to worry about crushed clothes and pollution. Let’s take the Metro. Hear the beep of the elevator. Run to catch it before it closes. I turn around to say thanks and there she was – no more bored, eyes gentle and smiling. And there I was grinning ear to ear.
I found her. The important question was popped. “How do you get to the Metro station?” She said, “Just follow me.” And I did. Mary did have a little lamb. She stopped near a ditch – “can you jump over it?”
I realized she was at least 10 years younger.
Sure, no need to be so kind to the old, bristling. “Are you new to the city?” “No, just to the Metro.” We cross the ditch, the road and she asks, “Where do you want to go?” “North Delhi.” “Well, in that case you will have to follow me for a long time.” Heart bumps around in chest. She says “We have to change three lines.” I say “Glad you are there with me.” Another smile.
Train 1: We enter the Ladies compartment. She tells me she’s more comfortable with women- women’s school, college and hostel. We sit next to each other. She talks a lot. I smile a lot.
Train 2: “It’s only for one stop, can we take the crowded train?” “You lead I will follow.” Barely make it inside. Doors close on arse. She pulls me towards her. “Careful” she says. Her phone rings. She cuts the call. “Too noisy to speak”. Trying not to push or touch, hemmed in by the crowds. The top of her head reaches the end of my chin. She has lovely hair. She talks a lot. I smile a lot.
Train 3: The longest loop. Almost lost her in Connaught place station. Too many people. Her eyes never left me after that. It’s office time, very crowded. The train arrives, pushing, jostling, we get inside the Ladies compartment. Both of us standing, at least I can see her and not just her head. She has a big nose. She talks of her family. I talk of mine. The train gets even more crowded. The crowd starts to push. Conversation dwindles. She says she can balance without holding onto anything. She displays Reebok foothold and balance technique. I am suitably impressed, clutching onto hand rails. She is balancing herself. Luck intervenes, screech, halt. She loses her balance and reaches out to me. I lose my bearing. We continue standing like this watching as my destination approaches. Karol Bagh. I step closer to the door. I put my hand out to say bye. She takes it and says “Shall we exchange names now? Mischief lurks in her dimples. Are you on facebook?” I said “yes” spelling my name for her and get off the metro. Turn to look and there she was smiling a lot and I stood there grinning – a lot.
Next day sitting in my facebook mailbox: a message – I am first! Loser!