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He grinned at her impishly, winked and said “I believe in serendipity. I am sure we shall meet again. Return my umbrella then.”
Rima would have been drenched, if not for his umbrella.
“Ma’am, you’ll get soaked. Share my umbrella. It is big enough to accommodate two people,” he had offered, generously.
Rima had gratefully accepted. Mumbai rains at their worst could be torrential. Today was one such evening. Rima’s forgetfulness had made her leave her umbrella at home that morning.
“I am Raj,” the guy said smiling. Rima noticed how the dimples dancing on his cheeks lit up his face.
“Hi. I’m Rima. Thank you for helping. I most definitely would have been soaked in this downpour,” she said, obliged.
“So, you work at the Insight Centre?” he asked indicating the building behind them.
“Yes. I work in advertising. I am a junior executive with Mercurial Grey.”
“Do you also work here?” she asked him, making polite conversation.
“Ah! No. I am here on official tour. I work in Delhi as a Chartered Accountant,” he replied, smitten by her almond brown eyes.
They chatted politely at the bus-stop for a while, each feeling a pull towards the other that could not be defined.
“My bus is here,” he said suddenly, indicating at a bus.
“Here, take your umbrella,” Rima offered.
“Oh no. You keep the umbrella. It is still raining. You’ll get drenched. You can return my umbrella when we next meet,” he said boarding the bus, waving her a farewell.
“Wait. How will I return it? How will we meet? You live in Delhi and I in Mumbai?” Rima said, shouting to be heard.
Bemused Rima stood at the bus stop, watching him go. Chances of meeting him again were probably zero. Such fortuitous meetings happened once in a blue moon and that too in cheesy Hindi movies.
“Real life is not serendipitous. I doubt we’ll meet again,” she smiled to herself, ruefully.
In the days that passed, Rima often thought of Raj. There had been an endearing likeability about him. She carried his umbrella daily to office hoping for an off chance to run into him again. But that did not happen.
“In a country with a billion people our meeting again would be a one in a million chance,” she thought.
The rains segued into the ochre shades of autumn. Autumn turned to winter and soon a year passed.
Another rainy evening came.
“You know, you really must carry an umbrella,” he said, offering her his umbrella yet again at the bus stop.
An astounded Rima looked at him.
“Raj? What? How? I mean, it’s really you?” she babbled happily.
“Ah Rima. Remember I told you that we’d meet again,” he grinned at her. “I’ve come to collect. I remember you owe me an umbrella,” he added, the same dimpled smile playing on his face.
Rima laughed elatedly.
The once in a blue moon chance depicted in reel life had just come true in real life.
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: pixabay
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