Three days! This was a first.
He could hardly remember a time when she had taken this long to call him. On a regular day it would never take even three hours before his cell would ring a familiar tune with the screen reading “Sonia calling”. He could almost predict it. Sometimes when predictability decides to go in for a siesta, one’s at a loss.
What was taking her this long?
He had sparred with her parents long back and there was no way he could call them to find out her whereabouts. She wasn’t responding to his messages either. Her cell seemed to be incessantly busy too. They had seldom mailed each other before but in desperation yesterday evening he had even mailed her and there hadn’t been a reply.
“Damn.” , he said to himself “Even when one has so many options to communicate...”
Sonia had shifted to Delhi for her Masters in Architecture only a few days back and he didn’t know anyone in Delhi he could call.
It was a rainy evening in Mumbai and Rajesh took a deep sigh. They say your life flashes before your eyes before you breathe your last and Rajesh could now see the days of his courtship with Sonia of the last 4 years in front of his eyes.
He never believed in love at first sight but this shook his belief. They had come seeking admission to the J.J School of Arts on the same day. They stood in the queue for only twenty minutes to collect their forms but Rajesh kept glancing at her. He wanted to ask her name but couldn’t bring himself to speak to her. He actually quite liked the way she walked- long confident strides, brisk and chin-up. He used to follow body language as a hobby and he knew this was one heck of a confident lady.
He was quite happy on the first day of college for he wasn’t expecting to see her. After all there were some seventy-five people in that queue that day and for 2 weeks J.J School of Arts has such queues from morning till evening. Fat chance. He had convinced himself that he was never going to see her again. But then inspite of all theories of probabilities – there could’ve been only two outcomes. And this was a favorable one.
They took a good 10 months before they actually started going out. She was the prettiest in the college and he knew it. He almost flaunted it in front of his friends. “You could be Tom Cruise and yet you would struggle to find someone like Sonia”, he used to tell his friends. Sometimes he even wondered if she would leave him for someone else. No one who saw them together though would doubt their fidelity for each other. They were inseparable all through the last two years in college.
He liked the way she used to glance at him during classes. Those eyes that never spoke a word yet conveyed an epic treasure of desire. Those lips that moved in a hushed whispering tone with those words he wanted to hear again and again in a class mid-way discussing Gothic architecture…
He was brought back to reality rather abruptly with the conductor announcing “Ghatkopar ala”. He alighted and the thought that had been bothering him the entire day returned… How could she not call him in three days? He should have done something today. Maybe he should have called her institute. Maybe even book tickets to Delhi. It was 9:50 p.m. by his watch now. It was late and he was tired too. His boss had given him two extra sketches to complete because a colleague had taken ill.
Rajesh had taken up work at a small architectural firm in Mumbai after graduation while Sonia wanted to complete her Masters before looking out for a job. While Rajesh always believed that the best way to learn was to work on-the-job with paper and pencil, Sonia was quite the opposite. She reveled in burying herself all day in books authored by past masters and perfectionists. This institute in Delhi that she went to was hugely respected in the student community and to get an admission there was one of her dreams come true. They even celebrated in grand style with champagne and a candle-lit dinner at “The Renaissance.” They had begun early at 7:00 p.m. He paused for a moment and smiled. It was quite a night. Her friends Archana and Bobby had also joined in later that night for the dinner.
“Archana.. I could call her.” .It struck him now.
Archana was Sonia’s friend from college. He convinced himself that this would be a good time to catch up and he could also slip in to ask if she knew about Sonia’s whereabouts. He hadn’t spoken to Archana for over six months now. “Truth be told, I don’t even know what she’s upto these days”, he muttered to himself. Hesitatingly he searched for her number in the cell.
“Ah there it is. Thank God”
“Archana… Hey...Whassup? Rajesh here… Are you about to hit the bed?”
The conversation went on for a good five minutes before he could ask the question he had called her for. It was playing on his mind all through but he couldn’t slip it in yet.
“Damn… She is so irritatingly talkative…” he was telling himself.
He could only ask her casually. He did not want her to know that he was worried about Sonia.
“Sonia…” she told him. “ Oh... she’s loving every minute of Venice...Err…Hello”