31st March, 2009
The bells on the door tinkled as Disha entered the café. The place was exactly like he had described it to her, and exactly like she had imagined it would be. He would sketch an image in her mind, just by his words and make her feel the ambience even through all the distance. Everything that surrounded her was new and still very familiar. The sunlight streaming through the skylight onto the bookshelf. The maroon armchair, from where he had spend countless afternoons, talking to her, laughing with her, fighting with her, listening to her, crying with her. The huge windows on the south. The big Jacaranda tree opposite to the café. She even knew how the tree would look in full bloom during the summers.
The aroma of freshly brewed coffee made her yearn for one. She ordered a latte and smiled at the owner, Jenny Auntie, as if she was a regular there. She moved to the bookshelf, while waiting for her coffee. She found a few of the titles familiar. He had made her read every book he liked. When Jenny Auntie called her name, she collected her coffee from the counter and settled into the maroon armchair. For a moment, it felt like he was holding her in his arms. She smirked at herself for the thought. After all he hadn’t ever hugged her. She set her mug on the table nearby and turned on her laptop. She was meeting his (and now her) editor today. She wanted to be sure that he would be interested in their manuscript. It wasn’t just a manuscript to her, it was her story. Their story.
Dishi10: Where have you been? I’ve been waiting since an hour and a half!
Harits: I had to meet these pesky clients and they weren’t leaving me. I even told them I have to go to the hospital for some tests.
Dishi10: What tests?
Harits: And finally when I started holding my breath so that my face could turn red, and they would believe I am actually sick.
Dishi10: WHAT TESTS??
Harits: That’s when they let me go.
Dishi10: What tests you idiot?
Harits: No no, no tests honey, I just made an excuse. So that I could talk to you for a while.
Dishi10: The while’s going to end in 15 minutes now.
Harits: I know I am sorry, next time if I am going to get late, I will text and inform you.
Dishi10: Did you check for the tickets?
Dishi10: You haven’t yet?? Only two weeks left!! What if you don’t get any?
Harits: Then I’ll charter a plane.
Dishi10: Aww.. my hero, you don’t need to do that. You can come here when I am old and haggard, living in some retirement home
Harits: Okay okay, I’ll book the tickets right now. Please show up when the flight lands.
Dishi10: Two weeks!
Harits: Yes, two weeks baby! I love you.
Dishi10: I love you more.
Harits: Hey, Jenny Auntie sends her love. And now she wants to meet you.
Dishi10: Tell her that Harit is a coward and doesn’t want to meet me in
Harits: She says she’ll kick his ass for you.
Dishi10: Thank you Jenny Auntie. Harit, I am leaving for a meeting now.
Harits: See you love..
Dishi10: in two weeks.
Will u recognize me?
U’ll b d 1 wearing d biggest smile ;)
The number you are trying to reach is presently out of coverage area. If you are an airtel subscriber…
Disha cursed him, “Darn it Harit, where are you?”, fed up with hearing the audio message again and again.
Trying to call you. Your cell number is unreachable. No one is answering your home number. Cold feet??!
Your flight leaves in two hours. I will kill you if you don’t board it.
The number you are trying to reach is presently out of coverage area. If you…
More than angry, Disha was anxious. This was not something Harit would do. He won’t back out like this. Even if he wanted to, he would tell her first. No, something definitely must’ve gone wrong. She called up the airlines asking whether there had been any cancellations. “I’m sorry Ma’am, there has been no cancellation under the name of Mr. Harit Shah.”
“Can you tell me if he boarded the plane?”
“I am sorry Ma’am, I am not supposed to give out any information. It is against our company rules.”
The number you are trying to reach is presently unavailable. Please try again later..
Three days had passed since she heard from Harit. She had even gone to the airport, hoping he would surprise her.
To be continued...