“Hello….. ummmm ….. errrrr……. Janvi….?”Satish fumbled for words.
“Yes, Satish what’s up with you? How did you manage to wake up so early on a Sunday morning?”
Janvi kept asking questions before Satish could even say a word more. She paused after seconds and then allowed him to speak.
“Actually………. (pause), the weather is good and it doesn’t look like it’s going to rain. If…. you areeee…. free I thought we could just go for a walk to the hills nearby. Provided you are free…. I hope it’s not a trouble for you,” Satish heaved a sigh of relief after saying this.
Janvi thought for a while before saying anything. She smiled to herself and then replied to him.
“Ummmmm…. Hmmmmmmmm I guess I am . I haven’t really thought about my day’s plan but I think I have no important work or pre-planned shopping or lunch plans with anyone. Hills…. Which one? As in… where is it? How will we go?”
Janvi’s questions were never ending.
Once she stopped asking question Satish chose to reply, “Everything will be told to you once you come to meet me. Don’t worry I am not going to kidnap you.”
Janvi smirked. She opened her mouth again to ask something else but Satish stopped her immediately.
“No more questions. We are meeting at 12 pm outside Ispahani Mall. See you there and please don’t be late. Bye now. Your time starts now,” Satish said this and kept the phone.
He just needed to escape from all those questions that she asked. He was too scared to answer anything because he didn’t want to show her his mental as well as emotional turmoil.
Janvi on the other hand frowned when she put down the phone. Questions kept running in her mind again. Why has be called me to some unknown place? Why can’t we meet in a mall? Why was he hesitating? What sorts of a place will it be? What should I wear( jeans, shirt, t- shirt, skirt or a suit or a kurti or just tights and kurti)? Should I wear shoes or chappals or sandals? Heels or flats? Make up or no makeup? Which bag should I take? Back pack or hand bag or a jute bag? What about accessories?? Do I need them for a walk to the hills? Should I take an umbrella? What if it rains? Monsoon season and rain is unpredictable.
Having so many questions in mind Janvi stood still in front of her cupboard and admired all her clothes. She went near the mirror and admired herself. She looked at her hair if she needed to wash it, looked at her face if she needed a cleanup and kept thinking about all the other possible things. It’s called the confused mental state of a woman plus she was nervous. She had butterflies, goose bumps and every possible weird feeling. While doing all this she had already lost 45 minutes.
She looked at her watch suddenly and exclaimed, “Oh God!! Its 10am already. I have just 2 more hours to get ready and reach there.”
She looked flushed. She gulped down some water and went for a shower. There also she didn’t stop thinking and finally she rounded off to what she was going to wear.
Satish on the other hand was a little relaxed after he took the first step of even calling her outside. He just took few minutes to think on his dress code of the day. He took out his black jeans, blue checked crushed cotton shirt, his aviators, wore his woodland sandals( which had purchased just yesterday for his Sunday plan), brushed his hair first with a comb and then ruffled it up only to set it which his hand. He wore his aviators, had a look in front of the mirror and smiled. He put the glasses down and again looked at his side manes and his hair.
Well who said men are not concerned about their looks. They take less time compared to what women do but looking good is important at least when it’s a matter of meeting someone special. He roamed around his house for a while reading the newspaper and looking at few things, went online and typed something on Google maps to find out the location of some place, took a small piece of paper and noted something down. He switched of his laptop and went to have water. His throat was drying. Reason was unknown and he was wondering at this fact. He didn’t think much on this though. He was ready for the most desired outing.
It was 12:05pm and Satish was already on time, in fact before time. He kept rubbing his hand together but still kept that mesmerizing smile on his face intact.
Janvi was late but just by 15 minutes which was very early according to her normal schedule. Satish knew what reason she would cook up each time she was late. She would either complain about the traffic or about someone coming home last moment as she was leaving. Things were different that day. He saw Janvi coming from the far end of the road walking fast and continuously looking at her watch and simultaneously fiddling with her hair and letting it fly each time from one side to the other. He peeped from the entrance and then went inside to show as if he wasn’t waiting. He couldn’t observe her dress much and he didn’t bother also. She walked into him in a hurry without realizing he would be there. She was actually shocked to see him standing there. She had actually put his name on the dialing list so that she could locate him.
“Oh! Sorry. It’s you!!! Sorry again... I got late…,” she said in an embarrassed tone. Her face was flushed red because of the adrenaline rush. “Actually I got late because……..,” she continued with her sheepish innocent smile.
Satish continued instead, “Same old reasons or something new??”
“Well I took time to get ready today. I wasn’t really mentally prepared for the outing plan.”
“Did you wait for long?”
“Not really. I think 15 minutes.” Satish replied and went a little ahead of her. He actually didn’t notice how she was dressed. He was feeling little conscious to look at her like that because he never did and he didn’t want to make things very obvious at the very start.
“Why don’t you pay attention to her a bit? She has taken time to get ready there must be something extra that you need to notice,” his inner voice screamed. He ignored it and went ahead to a shop outside the mall to buy some mint chocolates. She followed just one step behind and she concentrated on his shirt first. It looked nice with the bright weather and also his jeans and then his hair that was set. She went a little to his right and looked at him from the corner of her eyes and then casually asked him to buy her Cadbury dairy milk.
She wanted to be normal too so in her same inquisitive tone she asked him tapping on his shoulder, “Mr. Satish, will you tell me now at least when we are going or still it’s some kidnap plan?”
Satish smiled seeing her act little normal. “Yes, Miss. Janvi. We are going to a place which is 10 km from this shopping mall. We’ll take an auto for about 5 km till where we can expect a transport facility but after that we need to walk. It’s a small hill that I found out recently. Some of my friends had been there for a trip from office. I had asked few of other colleagues to join too but they refused to come out and you happen to the only other friend whom I could call so I just tried. I thought of coming by myself if you had also refused. It seems to be a good place and we can walk as the distance seems a lot but the roads are good. It’s a small hilly area in the outskirts of the city. Are you okay with this information?”
He spoke for 5 minutes and then asked her to talk.
“Perfectly okay, “Janvi said with a big smile.
“Well, he didn’t call be specifically. I was just another option so it’s okay. I needn’t worry, “Janvi mumbled to herself.
“You said something?”Satish asked in a puzzled voice.
“If you are not comfortable please feel free to tell me Janvi.”
“Sure,” she replied.
They sat in the auto and started talking about casual things. Mostly about office and some common friends they had at work place.
Janvi had known Satish from the past 1 year. They had been working in the same company but in different departments. Janvi was into HR and Satish was in charge of the finance. They could only catch up during the snack time and also sometimes on weekends. Their group had formed when they had joined the company as trainees and had then split up into different areas. Even weekends either of them had to be engaged for some or the other work. Both were beginners and being single they had an advantage to concentrate on the career. They used to hang out as a bunch of 6 when it came to watching movies or going out to new places.
This time the rest of the group wasn’t so interested to move out anywhere and 2 girls had gone home so Satish had kept in mind this opportunity. He had liked Janvi as a very friendly colleague and a hardworking employee but he never had any thoughts beyond that. This was the first time he took a chance to even talk to her beyond his imagination. He wanted to make it as a little personal affair. Janvi also had kept the same chemistry intact. Things were same either ways but Janvi thought about him sometimes more than normal but that perfectly fine because he was the sensible guy among the lot according to her.
After talking for a while in the auto they both were silent for quite some time. They kept looking at the greenery on either sides and felt the rain drops falling slowly. It was drizzling.
“Oh!!! This rain is a party spoiler,” Janvi cribbed.
That was the first time Satish dared to look at her properly. He saw her earring, something like a black crystal drop which he couldn’t make out at one glance but he had to spend 3 minutes to understand what it was. He looked at her dress. It was top or a t- shirt but he was confused because he didn’t know what to classify it as. All he could understand was that it was black and white mixed shade. She had worn light blue denims and had left her hair open. It was partially wet and one or two strand used to fly onto his face in the auto which irritated him a bit but he couldn’t tell her anything because it would be rude to tell a girl like that.
Her bag a denim side sling and it looked stuffed. He wondered what she would have bought. He was gazing at all this while she suddenly turned to him.
“What?” she asked.
“Umm… nothing. I was just looking at your bag. What have you stuffed inside?” he asked hiding the shock.
“Oh, this one. I have stuffed a small bottle of water, an umbrella, a chips packet, my wallet, and a few things which you don’t need to know,” she said with a grin on her face.
The auto came to a halt as she finished telling him. The topic was diverted and they got down. There was a small argument as to who was supposed to pay. Finally they decided to share the fare because Janvi was insisting on it.
The rain had stopped and Janvi took a sip of water as she fidgeted with her bag to search for her comb.
Satish was least interested but he kept wondering as to how conscious girls were about their looks. She adjusted her top, put her hair properly and again waved her fingers over them only to let the strands fall on her face.
She bent down to keep the things back. Satish notices her hair then. It was slightly brown and black but suited her complexion. The strands were straight and slightly wavy at the ends and some were covering face and only one side of her cheeks and eyes could be seen as she bent her head down. Hey eyes were lines with kajal and some blue pencil and her cheeks were having a slight pink tinge.
“I guess this is why you get late always and you cook up reasons,” Satish said.
“You can think so,” Janvi said looking up.
“Her lips, they shine so much but mine do not. Is it something that has got to do with XX chromosome? Her nails also shine but mine don’t. Do I have vitamin deficiency?” his mind questioned him.
They looked beautiful and well shaped and little pouted. They were attractive and when she spoke the way they went up and down made him just loose his senses.
Janvi sensed the look on his face and still ignored that for a while thinking it was just fine to be so inquisitive for him as they had never met each other personally.
Janvi kept walking slowly beside him but kept a distance. He explained to her the route and asked her to be careful because the road was a little slippery. Lots of private 4 wheelers were passing by so they had to walk in one file. The road was a meander but it looked good. There was greenery everywhere and the route they took smelt of eucalyptus oil.
“There was lot of herbs around that give this an aesthetic ambience,” Janvi said.
She looked very happy and relaxed. “It’s a nice place. I like the journey and I hope the destination is also good.”
“Trust me Janvi, this is nothing compared to what you will see. I was so amazed seeing the pictures that my friends had taken.”
They kept walking and also talking about school days and family in between. That was the first time they had opened up. It was 3pm already.
“Janvi, I guess you need to walk a little fast because if we reach there by 3:30, we can leave by 4 and then come back to the city by 5pm so that we get some means of transport. It’s raining and it gets dark soon,” Satish said in a concerned tone.
Janvi was following his pace now and concentrated on her speed more than the surrounding. Her feet started aching but she was too shy to tell. She didn’t want to show that she was weak. She took a little speed because of which a stone that was by her side made her stumble a bit.
“Careful,” Satish shouted and put her hands slightly around her shoulder to give her balance.
Janvi felt that her heart was burning. She forgot the slip she was about to have and stood quiet for 5 minutes stunned. Satish also realized what he did but he thought she was really shocked because of the slip but there was something else going on in her mind or rather in her heart and her senses. She felt something fluttering inside. What was it that made her feel that way with just one touch?
She got back to her senses and assured Satish that she was fine and kept walking. She walked a little close to him but there was still some distance. As they walked up and reached the meandering roads the distance lessened and they became little closer and by then all that could be heard were their strong breaths.
Finally they reached the top of that hill. It was a small picnic spot, an edge of a hill and it looked down into a valley that was full of greenery. The sky looked white and little bit of grey covered areas were also seen. Janvi was just amazed at the sight.
Satish was also enjoying the view and took a few snaps on her cell phone. He also captured one of Janvi’s pic on the pretext of the scenic beauty. Well, she did look a bit like a scenic beauty. He hadn’t concentrated on her intricate looks so far. He just found her pleasant and smart.
Janvi on the other hand couldn’t understand what to feel. She was amazed at the beauty of the place and also what happened minutes ago. Sometimes, one small spark is enough to start a fire.
Both of them walked around the place, sat down for a while and spoke to each other. The topics now were diverted to their interests and also their likes and dislikes. They spoke about their ambition and about the plans they had to spend the next month salary that was due in another 5 days.
They kept talking when Satish noticed her smile. It looked so pleasant and bended well with the environment. It was a candid smile full of mirth.
He was getting little distracted and stopped the conversation for a while. He told her looking at his watch, “Let’s go Janvi, we need to reach there by 5 so that we are not late. I don’t want you hurrying again and getting yourself hurt.”
Janvi followed suit and this time she came close to him, her hands brushed past him sometimes and he felt the difference but he kept quiet. He had actually not told her about the purpose of asking her to come out with him. The main purpose of knowing her little more was accomplished but what about his genuine liking for her nature. If not anything he could ask her for future prospects.
Janvi also felt the same. She thought, “If he had to call me out like this he should have had something in mind but it doesn’t seem so but at least I got to know about him. I can tell him that he is a nice guy and it’s good to hand around with him and they can look forward for more outings like this.”
They had walked half way on their return journey when it started drizzling. Janvi opened her umbrella immediately. She was very particular about her dress getting wet and hair getting spoilt. It was blue n white umbrella with some abstract patterns on it.
“ Ewww, what a girly umbrella…,”Satish exclaimed.
“I don’t want to carry this or be under this”.
“Okay, doesn’t be who’s asking you to?” Janvi frowned as she said this.
It started raining a little more heavily and the drops had become big and Satish had no other option but to come under umbrella. They were so close and he was a little wet. His hair was moist and his hands were also little sticks. He looked at Janvi and they both stopped for a while.
Janvi spoke up, “I want to thank you for bringing me here and trying to give a nice outing this Sunday.”
“I am glad that you liked this small trip. It was a different experience going out with you and talking to you things apart from office work. You are an interesting person not only at work but also casually as a friend.” Satish replied with little confidence.
“Oh, that’s nice to know. I also have the same opinion but I also want to add on saying that I….. that I … ummm … like you,” Janvi said hesitating a bit also studied his expressions.
Satish smiled as if he had completed his mission. He smiled again and said, “That’s why I called you out Janvi. I didn’t know what to tell you but I wanted to know you better. I was hesitant to call you out like this as we have never interacted on a personal basis.”
Janvi smiled and kept smiling.
“Now let’s walk,” she said feeling a little embarrassed.
“You look nice today actually, “Satish said.
“Thanks”, she replied.
“What!! All she has to say is only thanks?” his brain questioned.
They walked together but his hands kept nudging her bag and she felt uncomfortable. He put his hand around her slightly and asked her, “Is it okay this way? I am with my guy friends like this.”
“Ya, I am comfortable with it, “Janvi replied.
His hand was around her shoulder and he made sure it was a light touch.
The rain stopped and he moved a bit away to make her comfortable. He held her hand and just asked her one thing, “I just need to ask you one thing.”
“What is that?” Janvi asked in a tensed voice.
“ Well, can you just give me a chance to know you better and can we both try to meet this way often, as in, alone?”
He looked into her eyes. She smiled and asked, “Why so?”
“Huh! You and your never ending questions. Why because I really want to kidnap you next time.”
They both started laughing.
Why because Miss. Question Bank, I like you and I want to know you better to move ahead.”
“Okay, that’s an interesting fact,” Janvi smiled. It was a child like innocent yet naughty smile.
They took an auto and went back near the mall.
They didn’t talk much on the way back in the auto. After getting down near the mall she bade good bye to him. Her house was near the mall and his was a little far from there so he continued in the same auto.
They just shook hands.
“I had a nice time Satish. Thanks for inviting me. Oh yes… I forgot to tell you, this shirt looks nice on you. It’s the first time I have seen you wearing this kind of causal shirt,” Janvi left saying this.
Satish kept wondering at the last statement she made. She had actually noticed him all this while. He just bent his head and smiled thinking that it was certainly a walk to remember……..