In continuation of the stories(Pune to Howrah) and (The Howrah Bridge) https://randomwithlife.com/2020/05/04/pune-to-howrah/
She continued to hold me tightly for almost 20 minutes and sobbed without a break. I was not having a clue about how to sublime her pain. But, then I whispered into her ear, “Are you serious about crying your heart out for a gutless person, and that too at a marvelous place like this? Moreover, I am still a stranger.” And guess what? It worked.
She rubbed her head on my chest and said, “Thanks a lot for taking the garbage out of me! It was stuck over there for quite some time. I will never forget your help, and I am not going to leave you now as you don’t even look like a stranger to me.”
“Hey, come on. Don’t scare me now. Just ten days back, I had a terrible breakup with my girlfriend. All this while I never cared about it, but today I am feeling ashamed after seeing you mourn for a story, which failed some two years back. I mean, are you kidding me? Either you are insane, or I am heartless,”
She gave a weird look to me, but then unleashed the magic, through her splendorous smile. “You don’t need to worry about it, Mr. Software Engineer. Neither I am insane, nor you seem to be heartless. Forgive me for ruining your evening like that. And, allow me to compensate for all of it by taking you for a boat ride.”, She pointed at a point meant for the jetty ride.
“That’s not boating. It’s a kind of public transportation, and you are simply ignoring the fact that its winters and we may freeze to death during such stunt.”
I guess she did not pay the heed to whatever I said and dragged me to the counter. Luckily, it was closed. “Now, what? I hope you do not have a plan for a filthy tram ride because you will never be able to compensate such stupidity.” I said while sipping the rest of my drink from the pot.
“Now, You being rude!”
“No, I am not. I am exhausted and may doze off like a horse in standing position. I need a place to sit and have something to drink. Maybe at a family bar, not a pub or disk.”
“Well, then I guess I know a place nearby. But, the treat will be mine.”
I was in no mood to argue a lady about who is going to pay the bill. Guess what? I always knew the answer :-). So, I hopped in a taxi with her, which took us to a place near Naya Bazar. In between the crowded market, she held my hand like some newly crafted love. For a moment, I felt the shiver in my body and tried to unlock myself from her clutch, but couldn’t.
Finally, we reached a vintage bar, most probably the one from the British era. Ugly looking from the outside, but inside it was decorated beyond my imagination. A band of music was playing Jazz at the center, and an elite group of people was celebrating it.
We got a place meant for the couples in particular, and she ordered a plate of pomfret fry and a bottle of red wine. After the waiter served us the wine, she raised her glass and said, “For the freedom to have a drink with a stranger, who got a pair of sad eyes over the happy face.”
“Now, you are judging me,” I said in a way to protest, but deep within my heart, I was quite amazed to see all that was happening from the last few hours. It was certainly an experience to live.
“I am not judging anyone here. I am a criminal lawyer, and my eyes can see things, which can remain unseen for years. So, what’s your side of the story? I mean, you mentioned that you had a terrible breakup a few days back.” She asked comfortably, but I mistook it as some kind of interrogation.
“Well, it’s nothing that sort of drama or emotional vengeance kind of story that I have. It’s just an ordinary thing which happens to any Tom, Dick, and Harry in India. So, forget about all that, and let’s live the moment.” I tried to avoid that awkward conversation with her.
She poured some more wine into my glass, looked straight into my eyes, and said, “Trust me! I won’t judge you. I just want you to get liberated with even a small ml of pain that you are holding with yourself.”
Before opening up, I calculated the risk associated with it and found it to be none. Seeing the time constraint, I was not sure which part of the story to begin with, but Patricia was interested in all of it.
“Well, here is the thing. There was a girl named Alisha, whom I met during a friend’s party, we exchanged our phone numbers. She was studying architecture at Pune University and had plenty of time to talk, and me being a professional had to manage time, but I liked talking to her.”
“You liked talking to her, or was it some sort of loneliness?” She interrupted in between, showing a typical behavior of a lawyer.
“I guess it was my loneliness because recently my flat partner had shifted to Amsterdam, for an onsite project. That created some vacuum, which got filled by that girl. So, nevertheless, one Friday, when I told her that my parents are seeing a match for me to marry, she mentioned that she has fallen for me.”
“Now, you are talking.” she interrupted again and served a portion of fish fry on my plate.
“I avoided talking to her for a couple of days and submerged myself totally into my work at the office, keeping myself sane. She kept dialing me day in day out, but I did not pick it up. One day, she turned up to my office, and with a lot of difficulties, I prevented a scene from getting created. Finally, I asked her about what she wanted from me. She told me that she was finding it difficult to live without talking to me.”
“And then what did you do?”, She had that smile over her face, which usually indicates that a person knows the rest of the story.
“I did nothing. I simply told that even I needed companionship, but was not in favor of getting into a relationship with a girl who was seven years younger to me and still not done with college. But, finally, I succumbed to all the mental pressure due to crying and those sad inventions, and that way unleashed hell upon myself.” I was done with my story and had no further desire to continue it.
She said, “Now, let me guess the remaining part of it. After you accepted her proposal, she might have shown you the real face. Violent, stubborn, demanding for expensive gifts, movies, dinner at non-affordable places, etc.”
By that time, I had it clear that the girl I was talking to all the time was a genius. I smiled at her and said, “I told you, at the beginning itself, that I got nothing new to share. An ordinary person with an ordinary story.”
She took hold of my hands and said, “But, you still got to tell me about the breakup part.”
“Yes, that is something which may interest you. In the initial few days itself, I realized the loss I caused to myself, and it was going to cost me dearly. So, whenever I tried to get out of the relationship, Alisha created a ruckus. Finally, I had to involve her father into it and explained to him that she threatened to commit suicide in several instances.” I went silent for sometime after saying that.
She said, “Then what happened?”
“Her father understood the gravity of it, and he helped me out to get rid of his daughter. He warned her daughter about breaking up all the terms with her if she continues to traumatize me emotionally. As a demo, he cut off on her finances.”
“Lucky you! Now, let’s go. We got to catch our respective trains.”
I felt like waking up from a dream. I even forgot for how long I was sitting there in that bar? I asked the attendant about the bill. He said politely, “Sir, it has already been paid by mam when I served you.”
“But, when? I did not see it.” I could not believe that I did not even notice her paying the bill.
“You are drunk, my stranger friend. Let’s go. We already got a taxi waiting outside.” She said. This time I allowed her to drag me out. I felt so light after sharing the story of that witch to her.
It was 11.15 PM, and we were back at Howrah station. We got our luggage back from the cloakroom and rested it at the waiting chair near the display board. Her train was at 11:30, some 30 minutes before my train, and so it was already stationed at platform number 3. I assisted her with her luggage to her compartment, which seemed to fill with college students.
She requested one fellow passenger, a girl, to look after her stuff, and came at the gate with me. It was time to say goodbye to each other. She requested for my phone, which I gave instantly. She dialed her number from it and then returned my phone. A long siren, signaling the train to depart.
I shook my hands with her, and before getting down from the train, I said, “Sorry, I was drunk in the last minutes at bar and might have blabbered something out of the blue. You had been nice to me throughout the time, and I sincerely thank you for that. You are a beautiful woman, and..” Before I could finish it up, she gently kept her hand over my mouth and kept looking into my eyes.
The train started to crawl, and I quickly got down from it. I waived in bye at Patricia but saw her typing something on her mobile. So, I turned back and started walking towards the other side. My phone beeped for the message. It was an SMS(short message service) alert from an unknown number. I quickly opened it up, and my heart pounded severely after reading the message, which said, “I love you too… Patricia”.
I looked back at the train, which had the last compartment visible from there, but slowly disappearing in the dark. Irrespective of whatever I was thinking then, my soul simply came out in the open and laughed out loud at me.
And that’s the end of it…