A Night to Remember By:
Staring out to my right, I was lost in my thoughts; in my white Honda Civic; wondering what to do next. I couldn’t keep her off my head, keeping her out of the head was as tough as shattering a rock with the pinky. I just couldn’t do it. No women in the world ever captivated my mind the way she did. She touched my hand softly and I could feel my pulse fluctuating and the rush of blood through my body. The weather was cold but I felt warm somehow. That doesn’t happen all the time; in fact never at all.
How did she do that? I don’t know. Maybe, I don’t want to know. But all I know is; it just felt right. Is it because we had a connection or was it just because of the heat of the moment. Maybe both.
I met Anarika Sood last week at my friend Lokesh’s birthday party. She was studying Business, and she was in her final year; around twenty; very beautiful. In fact, even the word ‘beautiful’ doesn’t summon up how beautiful she was. She had a really fair complexion for an Indian women; not just the pretty face, she had the most dainty hands and feet. Overall, she was a beauty but on the shorter side, If only little taller she was, she would give fairly good competition to the best of the models in the world. She looked like one to be honest. I reached early at Lokesh’s party. Well, I couldn’t afford to be late. I was bringing all the liquor to the party with Ronit. So, I was already three drinks up when she arrived and boy did she look stunning in that blue dress. Combination of the blue and pink; she had my attention, as soon she walked in, I had my eyes on her and she saw that; even caught me staring at her couple of times but I didn’t cared.
You know how we men avoid eye contact when we see an ugly girl, because we really don’t want her to think we’re interested in her. Then there’s a women which is pretty much on the average scale, that’s the one we stare at from the corner of the eye and don’t want to be caught while doing that. And at last, there’s a really beautiful women, like the one on the top of the chain, she’s the one everyone is after and many guys know they can never get a girl like that and that’s the one we stare with no shame. I was in that similar position, average looking, average student and little buzzed. I didn’t cared for one bit what she thought of me. She was a rare sight, so magnificent, I didn’t wanted to look anywhere else and Lokesh came up to me, “Another Drink?” and I was lost looking in her and he smacked the side of my head.
“What the f**k man!” I snapped.
“Who were you checking out?” He asked.
“Come with me”, he said and I did.
We walked over to Anarika and Lokesh introduced us. She gave a smile with polite handshake. She said, “Hi” and I said “Hi, nice to meet you”. And that’s it. Not a single word exchanged after that.
I walked in the kitchen and poured myself another glass of whiskey. And everybody started shaking their leg a bit to the Punjabi beats. I joined in, no stranger to whiskey and bhangra. We danced and danced past midnight. From average to good, good to best, it became one hell of an epic birthday party. And Anarika and I seemed to connect, we didn’t talked at all , just the Hey and Hi’s at the beginning…but I felt we had a chemistry on the dance floor. The way we looked in each other’s eyes, the energy, mirroring the dance moves, cheeky grins; I found myself staring in her eyes way more than usual; to be honest, I couldn’t take my eyes off her; she was that stunningly gorgeous.
Slowly the friends disappeared as clock ticked to 1 o’clock. She was still there along with Lokesh and his girlfriend. And I was buzzed, but still in control though, I’ve always been in control, never done anything out of the ordinary: sober or drunk, didn’t matter. Lokesh and I started cleaning up, sharing few laughs & inside jokes and from nowhere he asked me, “Can you drop Anarika home?”
“Sure! Would she be comfortable?”
“Why wouldn’t she be?”
“One- I’m a little drunk; two- I’ve been staring at her a lot,” I said with a bemused smile.
“You’ll be alright. Just do me one favor.”
“Don’t stare at her legs!”
I shake my head slowly, “I can’t promise you that.”
“At least, don’t get caught,” he chuckled.
“Can’t promise you that either,” we both laughed. I shook his hand and gave him a small tap on his shoulder, “Happy Birthday man,” I said.
And as I was staring at her, she hugged Nidhi (Lokesh’s girlfriend) and walked up to me, “Chale? (Shall we go?),” she asked politely. My ears were still ringing from the music but I heard her voice loud and clear “Sure!” I said with the husky voice and directing my palm towards the main door.
My car was parked just outside Lokesh’s house. I took few longer steps to leap ahead of her and opened the car’s door. She stepped in cautiously, pulling her hair in front. I closed the door behind her. I’ve been in these situations before but never had I felt such a strange and bizarre feeling. I took a deep breath before I entered the car and she didn’t saw that, at least I hope she didn’t. I stepped in; ignited the engine and asked, “Where you put up?”
“South Ex-2,” she replied and we were in Punjabi Bagh. It was a 20 minute drive; at night at least and I wanted to make the most of it; how? That was the bigger question and Lokesh’s words kept flashing by me ‘Don’t stare at her legs! Don’t stare at her legs’. I did my best and I’m not going to tell whether I did or not.
“So, what do you do?” I asked.
“I’m studying. BBA final year.”
“That’s nice…MBA after this?”
“Yeah…That is a must these days…I started preparing last year.”
“What? When exactly is the exam?”
“It’s in November…”
My mouth was slightly open with the wrinkled nose and frowned brows, I said “Are you crazy? It’s still 6 months to go and you started preparing last year…”
“Well, I have my plans.”
“That’s nice; I like a woman with a plan”
She smiled, “What else do you like?” she asked.
I stared in her eyes and a smile appeared on the corner of my lips. I didn’t said anything for few second.
“What?” she said with her raised eyebrows.
“You don’t want to know,” I said with a smirk and head tilted towards the right.
She lowered her gaze. “May be I do want to know” she said softly. I could barely hear what she said but I did. A gentle smile appeared on my face again.
“Can I ask you something?” I said.
“Don’t you have any jealous boyfriend, texting you or calling you at this hour to let you know that you should be home by now?”
“Are you asking me do I have a boyfriend or are you asking me if he restrains me?”
“To be honest, the first one.”
She giggled, “I must say, clever way to ask. But I don’t…unfortunately.”
“What? No way! Really?” I said with a quizzical look. “But I can understand as well. It’s possible that men may find you intimidating…Maybe…I’m just guessing.”
“Intimidating?” She asked with a quizzical look. “Do I really look intimidating?” She asked.
“Umm…Not the kind that beats people up…but the kind that is too good for you no matter what. And that can be scary and intimidating for men”
She smiled, “Thank you, I like the explanation and you’re sweet.”
I snickered, “No…You’re sweet…for thinking I’m sweet. Get to know me and you won’t think the same.”
“Why? You’re not nice?”
“Umm…Let’s just say if there’s hell and heaven. You would find me in purgatory.”
“Well, I like that. You would find me in purgatory too.”
“Perfecto…What about you, do you believe we go to heaven or hell after we die?”
“I don’t believe that…I’m sorry. I believe that this is the only life,” she said politely.
“Wow…I think I love you…where have you been…you’re the chosen one.” She blushed and repeated, “The chosen one.” she giggled.
“Then I suppose you don’t believe in that Karma crap too?” I asked.
“No, I believe that do good what u think is good not what people are telling you is good, like your own sense of good…if that makes any sense.”
“So, if my conscience says killing people is good that too with an axe. Where does it put me?”
“Well, you may have a good enough reason for it and I won’t be judging you for it.”
“Oh! You totally will.”
“I mean by doing good…I mean just bringing smile to people’s faces and not going out of your way to hurt or upset someone…that’s about it and PS I won’t”
I tried to control my smile by biting my lower lip. She was more than just a pretty face. She was smart; I always dig that in a woman; ability to get the conversation going.
“You summed it well.” I said.
“You think right and you look alright too. Good job by senior Soods.”
She laughed, “You’re funny.” She said.
“I have my moments.”
And in between the conversations she kept giving directions, just by her hands, not interrupting the conversations at all. We arrived at the destination and I didn’t wanted to let her go and neither do I wanted to ask for her cell number. I stopped where she asked me to. She asked me not to get out of the car; she didn’t want anyone to see her with a guy. Well, I understand that. It’s India.
“So, this is it?” I asked.
“Yeah…this is where I live.”
“See you soon.”
“Maybe,” she said with a playful smile. “Thanks for dropping me”, she said and softly touched my left hand with the tip of her long fingers. WOW! This feels strange, little more than the usual.
We exchanged our byes. Well, at some point or the other we had to; I took the U-turn and I was back on my way. That night, I couldn’t sleep well. I was fantasizing us in countless different scenarios: mostly sexual and I was craving for a cigarette. I light up a cigarette and leaned over my balcony as I slowly exhaled.
Somehow, we always want more; never content with what we’ve got…what if that touching her hand; that one conversation; that one glance; one dance; one drink was all that I were supposed to get. What if this was it, no more tomorrow. Would I want it any other way? Maybe! But who would want to live in the world where there is no tomorrow, no hope, and no dreams.
I heard a ping on my iPhone. Its 3:34 AM, who might that be, I thought.
Text from an unknown number.
“Thanks again…maybe we’ll meet soon…maybe…Anarika :)”
And couldn’t help but to smile like a fool that I am.