By Upagupt Mohanty
Recap of Part 1 Family pressure to get a career going, led this young man into a reclusive life of internet chats with an unknown girl. Emotional anchors for each other, they decided to exchange pics for the first time, when the boy landed himself a job in her city – Mumbai. Disturbed initially, about her motive behind sending a hazy pic, he soon recovered when they spoke over phone for the first time and decided to meet up. Gushing with expectation, he prepares for his ‘first date’ with this special woman (they have never exchanged names till now).
I bought new clothes and accessories to look my best and I also bought a gift for her- a locket that can house a tiny photograph. The day had arrived. My calendar read ‘First date of my life’…donning my best attire, I finally reached the mutually agreed venue. The venue was cosy, elegant and romantic,a perfect hangout for couples and lovers. It was packed as it was a holiday. The dim lit ambience was befitting for such a moment of confessions. “You say best , when you say nothing at all” by Ronan Keating was the music on the stage.
When one is in love, one finds beauty in everything and appreciates life. I saw a girl with a natural radiance on her face, sitting on a reserved table and waiting for someone. “Is she the one??? If she was, she would have walked up to me by now, as I had sent clear pictures of mine!”, I debated with myself. She was dressed in a beige attire with golden linings. It was my favourite colour. Her face touched my heart, I felt an instant spark. I guess she too was waiting for someone since she was alone.Suddenly she started behaving in an absurd manner with the waiters, for a moment. Her behavior put me off. I was getting restless waiting for my lady love. Tring …Tring my phone rang … Me: Hello A female voice: Hello…Hello. I was unable to follow the words clearly due to network disturbances and the loud music at the venue. Call dropped.
The music number changed to an old classic (atleast in my head), ‘Lag jaa gale ki phir, ye haseen raat ho nah ho, shayad is janam me mulakat ho nah ho’. The music was loud so I was barely able to hear anything. I guessed, it was Ms. Beautiful’s call. I dialed instantly, without even bothering to check the number. “All lines in this route are busy, please dial after some time” was the dampening response. I desperately kept redialing to no avail, as I kept looking at the door, yearning to see her. Then, I found a very vivacious and buoyant girl entering the dimly lit restaurant. As she approached I realized it was Neha, my colleague. “Hi! Are you waiting for someone?” she enquired. “Well, kind of! How about you?” I quipped anxiously. “Same here” she replied. “Is she the one?”, I probed myself. We decided to wait for our respective companions over a cup of coffee. Soon after Neha left.
During the short interaction with Neha, the girl waiting at the reserved table had also left. Then finally, I got through the number I was incessantly redialing. Me: Hello A female voice: Hello…Hello. Whom do you want to speak to? Me: Hey Ms. Beautiful ! The call was disconnected abruptly from the other end. I tried thrice but there was no response. I kept on waiting and gulped down a dozens of glasses of water. The romantic melody of songs gave wings to my inner feelings. I was so distraught and hurt that all kinds of thoughts kept creeping up. “Was she betraying or playing with my emotions”, it fuelled a sense of doom, yet I trusted her. I saw the number on my phone. Oh lord!…it was a different number. It was late enough to call up any decent girl. I sipped on a soup and left. The very next day, she called up and we had a heated exchange of words. This first fight in the relationship left us in silence for two months.
kept myself busy with work, minting a million, yet there was this empty space.To add to it my family was far away. After all, men will be men, the male ego stopped me from ringing her up and breaking the ice first.
Soon, the Monsoons set in and as usual Mumbai was inundated, I was stuck in my office without food and power for a night. The next day while moving out, my bike got stuck at the Kalyan Junction area which was badly flooded. Sitting on my bike, in the midst of water for hours, I wondered if she was fine amidst all this chaos.
The frenzy created by the jammed 2 wheelers and 4 wheelers, for miles together and murky water all around made the environment very suffocating. I started feeling dizzy, so I decided to park my bike near a house and get out of there. Most houses in that area were partially submerged in water.With great difficulty, I was able to hop my way through to the verandah of an old palatial but worn out house. One could easily see through the house. I didn’t peer inside since I didn’t want to be mistaken as an opportunist criminal. Incredibly, even in this situation the virtual girl was still there on my mind. I realized, I had really fallen in love with this person, who I had never met. My concern for her made me overcome my ego and I decided to give her a call, to check if she was fine.
Tring tring…. Tring tring. The rings went unanswered. Simultaneously, I could hear a phone ringing near me. I looked around to find a phone placed over the TV, near the window of the ramshackle palace. I ignored the coincidence first. Then I disconnected it and rang up again. The rings were totally in tandem. My curiosity knew no bounds as I repeated the rings again and again… and it matched. I stood there for a minute, spellbound in disbelief of the fact that I was actually standing on the verandah of my virtual girl’s house.
The joy of locating her house quickly turned into fear, in the scenario of floods and water logging and the phone ring going unheard? Is there nobody at home? Is everything okay with her? Why was the window wide open then? I panned into the house through the window but was unable to trace any movement inside. Then with ears against the window I was able to hear a very faint, soft voice calling out for help. That was all the confirmation I was looking for. With all my strength and nerve, I tried to break the door open(similar to the way Daya from CID excels at) and rescue my love. I’m not sure if it was divine intervention or a rusting latch, the door gave in and I barged into the house. Wading through the waters, I searched frantically to track down the source of the voice which by now appeared to be motionless. I was speechless in astonishment when I finally found her, my virtual girl, my true love. I hastily, pulled her up and unlocked the chair. Yes! It was the same beautiful and radiant girl on a wheelchair. She was my beautiful virtual girl.
Te a r s of j oy…j oy of togetherness…rol l ed down ceaselessly from our eyes. I lifted her to a safe place and related the miracle of coincidence of phone rings. “Why are you alone?”, I asked with concern. She answered in a soft choking voice, “rest of the family is out for the weekend, they should be back soon…I thought I would be dead so was making a last attempt to survive, to keep my hopes alive of meeting you somewhere, sometime! Meet me?? I questioned her again. “Yah!!! I’m sorry, I did recognize you on the first meeting but I felt terribly insecure about my disability and the possible rejection…I behaved irresponsibly at the venue, to divert your attention from me …I did the same the next day too, on the call” she replied. Her words brought more tears to my eyes.
With tears rolling down her cheeks and she said apologetically “You are my saviour and my angel…I’m your Ms. Beautiful and I know I don’t know you much, but still I love you a lot”. “I am your Mr. Stranger”, I said, as I sealed it with a kiss. I guess, The Almighty has His own script!