My best friend Rekha is getting relieved today, she is following the footsteps of many Indian girls, getting married to an NRI and settle down in New York, I am happy for her as long as she is happy. She wanted to treat us all, the fifteen members of the team. We decide to go for sizzlers and we meet at the restaurant near my office by 1. I was about to order when she nudged me and pointed to the nearby table.
He was sitting there with 2 of his friends, my man… he turned suddenly to our direction by a similar nudging from his friend which we didn’t fail to notice, our eyes met, my heart was about to explode. It is the same feeling every time I look at him.. But why does he not ask me out? I heard a whisper in my ears, that was Rekha asking me to calm down. I seem to have been staring at him longer than the required time. With pain I tried to disconnect from his gaze with a small acknowledgement smile, he smiled broadly displaying his beautiful set of teeth and a twinkle in his eyes.
I turned to Rekha and asked, “Wow did u see that? did u? he gave me a broad smile..showing teeth!!”
“I saw that but stop getting excited like this”
“Ya but look at the smile.. he is so cute is he not?”
“Duh! Why asking me I will be married within a month”
“Oh dear Rekha.. your fiancée is handsome too.. ;-) but Nikil… he makes my heart flutter.. If only he approached me…”
“If u drool like this.. he may never approach you even for a chit chat..”
Well that was a slap in my face to come back to reality, I casually turned around and started looking for the menu.. “Don’t strain yourself some one has already ordered for both of us..” sighed Rekha. I stared at George in front of me.. Mr. I-know-the-best-dishes-and-I-ordered-for-everyone… He smiled and nodded like I was grateful for his service…
“So George what did you order for me…”
“Oh..! I ordered Mushroom balls starter and chicken candy sizzler for you.. they are great here…”
“Oh thank you… That indeed is not a bad selection…” how nice of me to have said that to him...
Once again my concentration turns to Nikil in the other table but this time I make sure that it looks casual and he doesn't notice, I saw him chat with his friends and eat, looking my direction every 5 minutes and wondered why he never tried to talk to me yet. We are not school kids any more…I remember the first time I saw him, it was during my induction, he gave a brief about his team and I thought he looked good.. no strings attached.. just looks good. But then I don’t exactly remember when he started noticing me and when I started responding. Why cant he speak to me?
“Devi.. Devi your dish is here.. look at the mushroom balls don’t they look delicious” Georges comment brought me back to the world. I looked at my plate. Cute looking 3 round mushroom balls roasted to golden brown with a delicious aroma.. I thanked him heartily… and we started to chat and that is when it happened..
I took my fork and spoon in both the hands, held the mushroom using my spoon and touched it with my fork to pierce it.. when it suddenly leaped up from my plate landed with a ‘thud’ in the table.. looked at me for a second and rolled over to the end of the table and jumped down, like it would rather suicide than be eaten by me.. It did not stop with that.. it rolled and rolled until it reached his legs, and sat there happily mocking at me from there… For a moment every one were silent.. Then George burst out laughing.. every one followed except Rekha. As if that was not enough he shouted.. “You should have told me that you don’t know how to eat it.. I would have ordered some thing else..”
I was sad and depressed not because of that freak George, but Nikil… he sure did not miss that.. in fact on one in that restaurant missed that event, Nikil seeing it bothered me more than any thing else loosing a guy for table manners? Oh my God!! can I ever get over that?, I did not even dare to look at his direction.. the dream is shattered how will I face him.. may be he is smiling too..
“Oh God..please make me disappear... please..” Rekha was able to roll her eyes and calm down all the others except George who kept smiling.. I looked at him, so.. so he wants me to cry out of embarrassment? Huh? I will do the opposite of it.. I laughed at myself with him like a lightheaded fool.. The commotion was soon forgotten when the main course arrived but for me it didn’t.
I was unusually calm for the remaining meal and kept staring down I don’t know how long... that is when I noticed some thing fall down near my legs… a piece of cherry I looked up to see Nikil walking across to our table bend down take the cherry and apologies to me. He said “Oh.. Really sorry Devi.. the spoons here seem to be very slippery.. is is not?” He asked turning to George with a smile and went back to his place…
How I felt then is beyond words.. the mushroom didn’t ruin my day altogether… :-) it made my day the best…!
I turned proudly and smiled broadly at him, he chuckled and winked at me.. “It is definitely a beginning with my man... My Hero..!”