Tag Archives: romance

The One Night (That) Stands! – Part 2.

Continued …

“Yes, Ankita. I was having my dinner. I’ll call you back?” she said, staring at the now empty dinner tray lying on the compartment floor.

Puzzled, he sat thinking whether he had deduced her too early!

“Vivaan, hi!”

“All okay between you and Ankita? You again had a fight?”

“Oh! You’re still working? Okay I’ll call later.”

“Yes, I understand because I’m your friend.”

“She’s your girlfriend! You need to make sure she understands, not me!”

“Don’t worry, I’ll talk to her. But you owe me one for this, don’t forget!”

“Yeah right!” she laughed! “Ok bye!”

Heaving a deep sigh, she closed her eyes and laid her head back. She seemed to have dozed off, but she was basically buying time. He looked up at her directly, eyeing the thin lines on her forehead. She was thinking and it showed. She was pleasing to the eyes. He had been observing her. She was travelling alone. In the beginning, she was on alert, especially when she would notice a man or two pass by. The abrupt straightening of her back, eyes watchful, but staring ahead. Then she seemed to mellow down a little but did not drop her guard entirely. So many times, he wanted to go ahead and introduce himself, but he didn’t want to start off on the wrong foot, lest he scared her off. He knew she had seen him, but felt she hadn’t really noticed him.

As if on cue, she opened her eyes, her phone started vibrating and the mom of the kids switched off the light, signalling time to go to bed. As the light from the other compartment fell on her face, she looked even better.

She opened her eyes and they fell on him. The ruffled hair, those black eyes boring into her, as if, reading her thoughts and then hurriedly turning away… She found her fingers trembling to touch that curve set near his lips, when she pulled herself out of the reverie. She admonished herself for the thoughts she was having and stopped herself from talking to him. She didn’t want to look desperate. She waited for him to make the first move.

She answered her phone.

“I was just about to call you,” she said, getting up and swinging the bag on her upper berth. Beautiful, strong, independent, confident, serene…. Such were the words that seemed to cross his mind.

Keeping her call on hold, she placed her cell on the upper berth and climbed up with agility (and grace, he thought). Aware that a certain pair of eyes would follow her, she made sure she didn’t misstep. First the face, then neck, waist and legs vanished, while just the voice remained. That too in hushed tones. He got back to his book. It was a going to be a long night, he felt. Good thing there was a lot of the book left.

He would catch snippets of the conversation. She was trying to calm down some really agonized soul. “Was there no peace in the world?” they thought.

There would be patches of silence in between, where he would read his book and she would thank the inaccessible cell phone networks. In one such phase, he had dozed off, one arm under his head, the other holding the book over his torso, when he awoke to a desperate voice trying to put across the message, “Listen, my phone is really low on charge, it might switch” and the voice trailed off…..

He yawned and switched off his reading light, when his eyes fell on the charging point. Her battery had died. He flicked the light on. She peered down to see him going towards the washrooms. She heard him splash water on the face. “Maybe he has a night stop and doesn’t want to sleep,” she wondered. He came and sat cross legged on his seat taking up the book again. “For someone who had been reading all the while, he hasn’t made substantial progress,” she thought smiling at his reflection in the mirror opposite her, unaware of the slow, deep breaths she was taking.

She saw him look up from his book, in a puzzled manner, after a few moments. Satisfied, she wouldn’t be encroaching; she took her charger out of her sack.

To be continued…

Graciously Yours!

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The one night (that) stands! – Part 1.

It’s romantic. It’s pleasant. It’s memorable. It’s about the ageless beauty of love through only the eyes. It’s… The one night (that) stands!

Sitting by the window, she looked out at the scores of green fields rushing by, some with specks of brown and white grazing on them, others ready to be harvested (or so she felt.) As far as her myopic vision allowed, she could see land and huts but no two-legged mortals around. It was hard to imagine the city scrapers and dust and grime were just a half hour away!

The strands of her hair seemed to have a life of her own, with the wind running havoc through it. Every few seconds she would push them down with her slender fingers.

“Uhh!” she muttered as something entered her eyes. She immediately looked away from the window blinking hard and fast! Just then her phone vibrated. Squinting one eye, she started feeling around on the seat to get hold of her cell. She retracted her cell phone from beneath the magazine lying under her rucksack.

Holding up her cell, she saw her friend Ankita’s number flashing.

“Damn,” she cursed. “Hold the line,” she spluttered, dropping the phone trying to get all her hair together, because it was flying in her face since she’d turned away from the train window. She caught a set of eyes staring at her, a bemused look on his face. Momentarily, their eyes locked before she turned hers away. She rolled her hair in a bun and once she was sure it was all secured, picked up her cell.

“Sorry, sorry Ankita. Say.”

“Yes, I got a reservation. Just whiling away my time. Tomorrow at 6:45 am.”

Slightly conscious of a lingering gaze, she looked towards the guy diagonally sitting across. She caught him looking away. She let her eyes wander while she still could.

The bright eyes, the sharp nose, the slight stubble on the chin, the broad shoulders, and the Jhumpa Lahiri in hand were granted more than a lingering gaze.

“Yeah, I’m listening,” she said, tearing her eyes away from her co-passenger.

“No, I don’t know what to say. It’s shocking, really.”

“Yes. Okay.”

“Tonight then.”

She disconnected the call, a relief on her face.

He got up and strode along the length of the corridor of the compartment.

“Lean, well-built, handsome and travelling alone,” she thought, her eyes following his stride.

Too old school to think beyond that, she got back to admiring the orange hues ebbing into the dusk sky, pushing out all other thoughts.

She felt his presence around. She looked away from the window and saw him standing near the other end of the berth. He took off his slippers, sat and started to make himself comfortable.

“What the hell!” she thought, before she realized it was his berth. She had the upper berth. Slightly embarrassed, she crossed her legs and gathered all of her belongings towards her body.

An empty packet of chips lay in the crevice of the seats, fluttering dangerously enough to fly in his face. She kept eyeing it before making a move. Following her gaze, he prised the packet out of the clutches of the folding berths, folded it and tucked it carefully beneath the seat.

He gave her a little smile but she had turned away before that. Or had she?

She picked up a magazine to read while he pored over ‘Lowland’. Every now and then she would steal a glance at him, all the while self imposed precautions airing in her head. She knew better.

Dinner was being served. “It was that late already?” she wondered, glancing at her watch to confirm. There was a family travelling in the same compartment. Watching them have dinner together, the kids bothering each other, the father helping out the mother with disposing the dinner ware away, reminded her of her family and their train journeys together!

Instinctively, a soft smile lingered across her lips.

She was beautiful in an unassuming way, he thought. She seemed to have no airs, and for no apparent reason, he wanted her to be sensible enough and oh so single!

To be continued…

Graciously Yours!