Deep was methodically checking the pulses in the grocery section of Gaur mall. His
grocery loaded trolley suddenly collided gently with another. A boy probably five years old sheepishly looked at him with slight tinge of remorse. Deep smiled at him and moved in another direction. Suddenly came a voice from behind, “How many a times have I told you to act decent? Why so naught eh?”
The boy was getting scolded by his mother. Yes, she had noticed it all and gave a nice one to the young man. Deep felt a sudden recognition. The honied voice despite aggressive took him to years back.
“What are you thinking so much?” Came a voice from Puja, Deep’s wife. A tall, slender and beautiful woman, she was carrying their 2-year-old and a bag in another hand. Both his wife and daughter were in the oil section.
“No! Nothing!”, Deep moved their trolley towards the counter and looked behind at the lady. He could hardly see her face. Clad in a cotton saree, she was thin, petite and had waist long hair.
Upon reaching the counter, Deep bumped into the woman face to face.
“Nandini!”, Exclaimed Deep.
“Oh! Deep! Been forever.”, The lady was Nandini, her beauty was still that intact, that precision in her features, that tenderness in her hands, everything was still the same. Except the fact, she was accompanied by a 5-year-old monkey.
They shook hands like they did a decade ago as employees in a private firm in Noida. Life had changed in different layers since then.
The eyes exchanged glances and they realised everything had changed.
Deep had got glasses on and the beard was trimmed and gentler unlike his hay days. He was calm and looked slightly plump.
Nandini was prettier like always but looked wiser and composed. She too had put on some weight. She wasn’t stick thin anymore.
“You are same to me but that beard.” Nandini laughed.
“Aren’t you Nandini?” Puja suddenly bumped into the yet-start-conversation.
“Hey, meet my wife Puja and that’s my daughter Aaliya.” Deep introduced his small kin as he took over the baby.
There was a mutual exchange of smiles and basic courtesies and a gentle tap on the baby’s cheeks.
“How do you know me?”, Nandini questioned Puja.
“I know what not about you. Author, writer, and now a film maker. Deep has told me so much about you. You are no more a stranger to me. Imagine, what a spell you have caused to him.” Puja hastily blurted out everything in utter excitement.
“She had a lot of following way back then! By the way, what makes you come to groceries, han, you film maker?” Exclaimed Deep.
“I still shop groceries for home.”, Nandini smiled gently.
“Woah! Good to see you so humbled. Come home someday, we live nearby.” Puja invited.
“Oh certainly, I and my husband are here for some work.” Nandini tried letting the invitation go.
“Oh! I see! Why don’t you join us in watching a play this Saturday?” Puja persuaded.
“Play!! You guys watch plays?” Asked Nandini while controlling her surprise.
“Deep is a lover of these. I have started liking them too. We occasionally go to literary and music clubs. Come home, we will show you small library.” Puja accelerated the conversation with their interests.
Deep stood with small blush while he kept looking at her with the same admiration he had years ago.
“Oh my my! What a transition that is Deep! I remember, you didn’t bother to pick books even.” Nandini was surprised.
“Well, you were my senior, I remember your persistence. Your first book was mine too.” Deep chuckled as he said this.
They exchanged numbers, they made plans and said a warm goodbye.
Both back at their respective homes, were thinking about the forlorn love. The love that blossomed and stuck for a brief period till Nandini got married. It was love tied by chains of age, liabilities, responsibilities and communities and a league of bias. Amidst thorns and brittles, their love bloomed like no other.
His touch was magical
Her skin was tender
They made love and blushed
They hold hands and countlessly,
Smothered each other with wet kisses
It was magic
It was priceless
Saturday was here and Puja brought in hot cup of tea for Nandini, her husband, and Deep.
“So, how is your ‘Innovations and Solutions’ working out? I heard about the market trends it is setting in the IT world.” Nandini’s husband Arnab spoke out.
“Yes, it has been roaring, quite a lot in the world. We work for overseas majorly US geography. Guess western influence in my strategies is working out pretty well.” Deep answered meticulously.
“That’s commendable.” Remarked Arnab.
In another corner stood a small library. Nandini was checking out all the books. Murakami, Phamuk, Tagore, Wordsworth and tons of more. She was surprised and elated at the same time.
“I heard you drive an SUV! Really!” Asked Deep, carrying his tea and standing right behind Nandini.
“And you have out grown bikes and cars and going around so much, I am amazed.” She said.
“That’s an eternal effect you have caused. I am more learned now.” Deep giggled.
“I feel humbled. And I now wear make-up and do have a collection of short skirts.” Giggled Nandini.
Both had a light laugh.
Puja was striking a conversation with Arnab over entrepreneurships. She was trying to correct her lessons and set it right. For she wanted to set up a boutique of her own someday.
Such a lovely winter evening it was. Sun was now slowly setting in. Dusk was never so beautiful.
“Do you think we should leave now? Our monkey is waiting.” Arnab persuaded Nandini.
“Definitely. Let’s move!” Nandini answered.
“Guys! It was lovely meeting you. Till we meet again, bye.” Arnab answered.
“Seriously, we loved coming over. We will be flying tomorrow, we hope we see you again. Love to your daughter Pihu.” Said Nandini.
“Take care. Bye”, Deep said while smiling.
Days passed by and all were busy in their own lives. One day, Puja learnt in news that Nandini’s short film had won an international award. She quickly searched for her number, she wanted congratulate. The number was deleted from the contact list.
“You deleted Nandini’s number, is it? Why?” Inquired Puja
“Oh, don’t remember, may be yes.” Deep tried avoiding the question. He had submerged himself deep in work.
“You still love her right?” Puja smiled as she kept a hot cup of tea on the table.