Sep 28, 2014

WOW-When I met a stranger...#CelebrateBlogging




That evening had been like none other. 

The prelude was a lovely start to a beautiful Winter's Saturday at our Pune home. My Papa's childhood friend, whom I address as Bappa and his loving wife- Pachchi had visited us after ages. And in tow were Pachchi's Sister and Brother-In-Law. Over the home-cooked Lunch of typically favourite dishes from our Konkani cuisine, began a jolly good chat between the group of wisened minds. Pachchi's Brother-In-Law who she addressed as Bhavaji thankfully had an extremely jovial nature and he had soon livened up their get-together with his impromptu jokes.I found him very entertaining and it was a relief to realise that I wasn't feeling pressurised to behave in a certain  manner as the elderly usually tend to expect. I was least bit bored between them, like I'd dreaded.

"Oh! Come on, Vasant. It's my son's car. The driver will drop you two back after dinner. It will be great fun, I promise! The more the merrier, you see?" Bhavaji had already begun making plans of taking Papa and me along, in their SUV back to their farmhouse at Lonavala, where Bappa and Pachchi were spending the weekend. And to my surprise, my father, a complete recluse readily accepted their invitation, too. 

Within no time I found myself travelling with Papa's friends, happy to see him mingling with people, like before, when Mummy was still around. 

As the car pulled in at the porch of the farmhouse I caught a glimpse of a pair of Red Hot Shorts jump off the swing and rush in. Probably someone hadn't expected guests to join the party. Soon a reappearance was made, now decently dressed in a cool pair of Track Pants, Tee, Jacket et al. It was the son!

Bruce Willis, Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson were all handsomely bald and I had a fetish for the like. This was reconfirmed with just one look at 'the son'. Plus he was sporting a French Beard. My heart was thumping louder than ever, pushing against the wall of my rib cage. He promptly and politely came up and introduced himself to Papa. And then turned towards me.

It wasn't my imagination. Our eyes met like the much prophesied boy-girl meetings. We stared into each other's eyes, deep. Shook hands. Exchanged pleasantries. Smiled. A lot! And both our minds had already traveled elsewhere. 

In my mind, I'd just met a stranger who exuded an inexplicably familiar warmth, 

Just like in a typical Rom-Com, the man wanted to show-off and impress which was becoming a bit too obvious, even to Pachchi. He'd pulled them off the porch and invited everybody into his bedroom, despite their protests. Simply because he wanted me to know what a movie-buff he was, with his gigantic collection of DVDs that he watched on his exclusive Projector and Home Theater System. And as luck would have it, I was seated right under his over- head cabinet. 

Plonk! 
Star Wars had decided to jump off the shelf while he was rummaging through his collection, selecting a movie that our elders would  like. And it had landed right in the top of my head. 

"Ouch!" I went and as if I'd been most awfully hurt and bleeding, the very next minute I was being served an Ice-pack on my head, by this gentleman.

The buffet dinner ended with an even louder guffawing session at the porch. I'd done a lot of talking and laughing, cracking jokes too!

The Winter's night at Lonavala was chillier than I'd expected. I was shivering like a frail leaf in the wind. Before I could turn to complain to Papa, I found a jacket being draped around my shoulders.

" I think he reads Mills & Boon!" I said to myself, laughing.

Had I ever imagined that the sun would set that day, leaving behind so many hopes in my heart?

"Vasantu we must meet soon again. Stay in touch" Bhavaji was now quite pally with my Papa but all evening I'd been wondering what I should address him? He wasn't like any other acquaintance to me now. I also couldn't bring myself to call his son by his name.

"What is wrong with you Vibhuti?" I reprimanded myself for beginning to think and act like a giddy headed teenager.

The driver had suddenly gone missing and it wasn't a surprise for me that the replacement at the driving wheel was none other than the man-of -the-evening, himself.
I couldn't help grinning!

As we bid adieu I could feel something tug at my heart. I had already started to feel a sense of belonging here between all those people, suddenly. The long drive back was full of soulful music and more meaningful conversation between him and my Papa, who was seated beside him. I was in the back, feeling exceptionally quiet from within. It felt like I had nothing much to say. I decided to enjoy the drive back while I listened in on their conversation. I could feel his eyes, watching me from the rear-view mirror all throughout.

This was the only stranger who had knocked me out of my mind and had got my heart thumping wildly, with just a whiff of his perfume. I didn't want to part with his jacket. I didn't wish to part with him.

"Do come over for Coffee!" Papa had given an added lease of life to the beautiful evening, just as we drove in at our society gates.

More deeper delving into the past and narration of life experiences began at the Coffee table. I was thrilled to see Papa take so much interest in getting to know this man.

"Had he read it in our eyes? Was my Papa keyed into my mind?" I could only wonder.

As the clock's face read 2am. it was time for him to leave and begin his drive back to Lonavala. I followed him down the stairs to wish him safe journey. I observed his fit physique, his agile gait as I tailed him to the SUV.At that moment a strong urge to hug him took over me. And he did. Just as the car key sent a beeping signal, before he could jerk open the door, he whirled on his heels and suddenly pulled me into a tight hug.
Right there in the middle of the parking lot.

Next I knew he was adjusting the rear view mirror and backing the car out. Rolling the glass down, he popped his head out.

"You can call me Baji!" he'd told me, with a wink.

" You have, my number, I'm no stranger now. We can go out on a date tomorrow!" He was so much in control of things already. There was something so reassuring about his presence. His hug had given me an instant sense of security.

He had flashed that knowing smile again and driven off.

"WOW!" I said aloud, finally finding my voice.


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.
Check what is going on in#CelebrateBlogging.



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