The bus pulled in to my stop and I heaved a sigh (of relief maybe).
I looked for the nth time at the address and in the rearview mirror of a car, (presumably theirs) and practised my opening statements… Obviously, I did not want to goof up this time…
I went up to the door and halted for one last moment before I rang their door-bell. I grit my teeth and waited for the eventual explosion…
“Ohhhhh!!! What a pleasant surprise!! So you have finally discovered the way to this home!! Come in, come in… Dear, look who has come!!”. That is my ‘dear’ aunty
“Oh hey, CK (short for College Kumar- He’s been calling me that since I don’t know when), long time no see!! Where have you been?”
This is my ‘dear’ uncle.
I prepared to deliver the longest answer I had prepared for the evening, I began,
“Oh I was a li’l busy with my exams… and then my submissions… apart from that nothing…” I ended.
“So how are Mom and Dad? Everything fine? How’s their jobs?”
“Everything A okay!”
“What will you have? Tea, Coffee or Me…”
She was about to complete saying ‘Milk’ when suddenly we heard a loud thud.
I started. And then suddenly I realised I was the only one who did.
I flushed. And then suddenly I realised I was the only one who did.
I looked up to see Uncle grinning away at me. Now how was I to know, that the ‘thud’ we heard was a regualr occurrence? I was in a dilemma whether to ask him the reason for the ‘thud’ or go out and investigate thereby getting an opportunity to escape into the free air. Sadly, I chose for the former.
“So that happens everyday?”
“Oh the ‘thud’? You’ll know.”
No sooner ahad he finished saying it that I heard my aunt’s voice –
“Hey Nisha you alright? That’s the third time you’ve fallen today.At this rate the society will have to repair the stairs every second month.”
“As long as she ‘falls’ on the stairs, it shouldn’t be much of a problem. Imagine, if she were to ‘fall’ from grace…..”
My Uncle had suddenly started staring at me. I noticed my aunt too giving me a splendid glare… Oooooops!! I had bungled up again!! Damn that’s why I don’t wanna go to any relative. Why don’t they just let me be? Anyways I decided, not to crack any of my silly jokes for the rest of the evening. (The most difficult decision I had to make all the evening. Sob!!)
“Don’t worry aunty. It’s just these new heels I got from the store today. It’ll take me some time before I wear them in… Until then, You know what!!”
Yeah right, a heel. That’s what you are, I said to myself. and then suddenly I realized I had heard this voice before… I just couldn’t remember where. I had half-a-mind to rush out of the house and check out the owner of the voice. Unfortunately my civic sense stopped me from doing it. (DAMN!!!!)
Call it luck, call it fate, call it chance or call it coincidence or any damn thing in the world, I heard my aunt saying these words next:
“Why don’t you come in Nisha? I have just made some coffee and we have room for one more. Wanna join us?”
The best thing my aunt had done in the past fifiteen minutes….
“Oh no, Aunty, It seems you have a guest, and I wouldn’t want to impose myself on your party!”
Quite the amateur Sherlock Holmes, aren’t we?
“Oh I wouldn’t mind at all. In fact I believe in the funda, the more the merrier, right Uncle?”
He looked as if he’d swallowed a horse.
“Uhhh? ohhhh, yeah yeah! Come in Nisha. You have to meet this nephew of mine. He’s a brilliant guy.”
I yelled, in my mind , ‘Thanks a lot, Uncle!!!’
I suddenly remembered I had to give the laddoos my mom had sent to my uncle. I turned around to reach for my bag and I thought I caught a hint of a floral perfume…. Naaaah… It was just my mind playing games with me. I thrust my hand in the bag and drew out the box that my mom had packed the laddoos in. I started towards the kitchen to serve the laddoos on a plate.
Suddenly my aunt came rushing in.
“What are you doing here? She’s sitting outside. Go out and meet up with her. Have a nice chat and get yourself to know each other better.”
“Awwww!! Come on Aunt, you are not thinking about my marriage aren’t you? Puhleeeeze…”
“Yeah, yeah, I know you kids today. No use instilling some sense in you. Anyways why don’t you sit outside while I serve you some hot coffee and hey…. where did these come from?”
“Oh the laddoos? Mom sent them. She says you like them very much.”
“How sweet! Convey my thanks to her. Now go out… c’mon get going!!”
Somewhat reluctantly and somewhat eager I set out for the drawing room. I again felt the same floral perfume in the air… (Damn I’d have to cut down on my daily dose of pegs…)
As I entered the drawing room, I saw a shape in blue move out of the door in a hurry. I stood there amazed. My uncle called me back to Mother Earth with:
“Alright, alright. Snap out of it…”
“WHO WAS THAT???”
“That was Nisha.”
“Why did you let her go?”
“Hey man she’d went to tell her mom that she was with us… Calm down she’ll be back.”
I realized I had spoken too many things and voiced too many thought at one go. I started cursing myself. And breathed a deep sigh again….
To be concluded.