Tuesday, April 2, 2013


“I must have disappointed you” , the smiling passenger sitting by the window said, just as I was settling down with my not –so-heavy bag on my aisle seat.

I was taken aback.  Did I know him? He did not seem familiar.

“Excuse me”, I said, which in this context meant, I had heard what he said, but needed more explanation. Moreover I don't even know you”

“I said that I must have disappointed you”

He surely had disappointed me by not letting me know why he said that in the first case.

“Why ?” I politely inquired, still trying to guess who it was.

This senior citizen could be anyone. My grandfather’s friend, my father’s acquaintance, the “common man” from the movie “The Wednesday” or the LIC agent from “Kahaani”.

“I must have disappointed you because I am not the beautiful young girl you hoped to be in this seat to travel with you for next eight hours.”

         I was glad that he was not any of my acquaintance and hence I need not feel uncomfortable or embarrassed for not recognizing him but what he said was cent percent true, I always wished a beautiful female stranger to be my co-passenger, jaise film-o mein hota hai !! But I could not agree with him straightaway. I would seem to be a loser then.

           The passenger behind my seat, who had no better business than to overhear our conversation also waited for my reply.I spawned multiple threads from my brain’s thinking process which individually started working overtime to get a fitting reply to this know-all grand old man in the bus and the dropper of the eaves behind my seat.

“Not really, I have got enough material “, I said pointing to the girl sitting diagonally opposite in my front seat near the window.

            The division between the window seat and the aisle seat was unusually large and I was easily able to see her clearly from my seat.The eavesdropper behind got his answer. Satisfied he went to sleep. The person next to the girl was already sleeping. I safely assumed that the girl was indeed travelling alone.

           The grand-old man had tried his ice-breaker and was successful but little did I know that the ice was broken between other people too. He smiled at me and started staring outside.My brain killed all the extra threads it had created and started to relax when the girl in the front seat turned back to me, smiled and said,
“I noticed that you pointed at me!!”

Oh maaay Gaawd …

               I could do nothing but smile. I leaned forward and apologized and for the first time saw her face clearly. Or I must say half the face.When I had been to Pune, I had seen many girls covering their faces with dupatta to escape from dust and sun and ended up looking like terrorists. This girl was also covering her face not horizontally but vertically.
I could see the part of the face from one side only and that was enough.

        This was the first time a girl to whom I was a stranger had talked to me. I was thrilled. My heart jumped in joy so much that it hit the top of the roof of the bus and came back.

“No probs”, she said.” Let’s talk later”.
It was a true Mann mein laddu phoota moment !!

          My ears kept telling my brain to not let eyes have all the fun when her voice was also as sweet. I leaned back and again spawned multiple threads from my brain’s thinking process which individually started working overtime to find out what would happen next.
I did not have to wait long. Forty-five minutes later the bus stopped for dinner .I usually do not get off the bus but this time it was different.

        Not to seem too excited, I casually got down the bus, taking care not to even glance at her.I strolled a bit hoping for her to come and talk to me. And kept rehearsing what should be my first words to her. Should I apologize again or just start with job-interview type introduction when they ask “tell me something about yourself”.

      From the corner of my eyes , I could see her approaching. I wondered what her first words to me will be.She came very close to me.
This was a Mann mein doosra  laddu phoota moment !!

“Do you have three rupees?”
Mere mortals would have scoffed. Money? Already? Atleast introduce yourself.

But being a practical person that I am I would not fall into the trap that she was after money.
“Two rupees naa? “ I said.
“I too think so, but one does not come back from the dead just to switch off the room light. So it’s better to switch off lights before leaving the room”
“Okay, here it is. And your destination is over there”, I pointed towards the wall which read, “LADIES”.

Before she left I asked, “I will order in the meantime. Seeds or leaves ??”
“Coffee”, she said

       So our second meeting too was very short.I could still see only half of her face though.I stood there with two coffee cups in my hand. In these days of coffee-days, this must be one of the cheapest coffees a guy must have bought a girl on their first meeting.

As we stood sipping the coffee, staring at our bus, under the dark night sky,I asked her.
“Why are you covering the other half of the face”
She said,” What ?? Is this your first question, no introduction, nothing?”
“Hello, you started it. Took my three rupees too”
“Oh yaa, here is your one rupee,”
Now this was too insulting.
Regaining my composure I said, “Keep it, give it to some beggar in Bangalore. And transfer his blessings to my account”
“Hi hi hi”

By now I had found out the sounds of laughter’s we type during chatting are:
“Ha ha” : sounds like coming out of stomach, a general laugh to a common joke
“He he” : A lil personal joke
“Hi Hi” : Giggling.

So she was giggling which means she took it in the right spirit.
“So do you like me?” she asked.
“Well , you need to elaborate. “Like “ has lost its meaning after facebook has come into picture”, I replied.

She just smiled. Said nothing.

“ So , why is the other half of the moon dark ??” I asked.
“ Coz the sun chose not to shine there.Have you heard of acids?”

I stood shocked. I could not believe what I heard
“So are you not going to ask my name? My Facebook Id ? Mobile number ?”, She seemed casual about it

I would have, surely,  if I had not heard what she said just  now.She would be cute , but only half face. I could not even imagine how the other half would have looked.

All my excitement went downhill.

I did not want her number. I did not even want to remember that I met her.
Now I came to know why she talked to me in the first place. I mean no beautiful girl talks to you if they know that you will anyhow fall for her.

“I don't think that's necessary, after few hours , we will go in our own ways , probably never to meet.”

          I did not want to talk to her.I feared, now that she has spoken the truth, she would remove the veil from her face and I would be stuck to that image all my life.The conductor whistling came as a big relief to me.I had earlier thought, I would request the guy next to her to shift to my seat so that I could sit with her or ask “my friend who understands me” sitting next to me to shift to her place.But now I was just happy to be where I was.

           I silently walked to my seat and closed my eyes straightaway to avoid making eye-contact with her.I could still see a puzzled look in her face though she did not look disturbed by my sudden change in attitude.

          Nothing happened the next five hours. I made sure nothing should happen too.
As we reached Bangalore, I said bye to my fellow passenger and hurriedly got down.
I assumed she must have noticed this but there was nothing to feel bad coz I was still some random passenger in the bus. There were many others too who will not notice her.
I walked away from the bus and when I was at a safe distance, I turned to see her for one last time.

Angel or half angel, atleast she had created flutters in my heart for sometime.

She got down and took an auto.
As the auto took a ‘U’ turn and started coming in my direction, I panicked, for again I might have to give that indifferent look. As the rickshaw whizzed past me, she did what I feared about.
 She removed her veil covering her other half of the face and gave the most gorgeous smile ever!!!

I obviously knew about acids,infact topped in chemistry, but unfortunately failed the acid test and our chemistry too.

The moon was beautiful on the other side too..
 It was only that the sun was not shining there till now!!