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"Well, you see it's so tough getting a seat reservation on a Valentine's day. And I absolutely hate to stand in line for a meal. That's why I planned on bringing you here," he boasted proudly.
“Well, you see it’s so tough getting a seat reservation on a Valentine’s Day. And I absolutely hate to stand in line for a meal. That’s why I planned on bringing you here,” he boasted proudly.
The car honked and I ran down two steps at a time. The watchman threw me a knowing look. I blushed and averted my eyes.
He smiled as he came out to open the door for me. I stepped inside. He put on a soft romantic music and started the car. A cool breeze played on my face and I sighed with pleasure.
Ah! A perfect start to our Valentine’s day!
There were a million things running through my mind and I so wanted to share everything with him. Excited, I turned towards him and almost did a double take.
With his back erect, hands gripping the steering wheel as if his very life depended upon it and an unwavering gaze straight on the road in front, he sat there like a man on mission!
Any question that I threw his way was only met with a ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or merely a grunt. The man didn’t even nod his head.
“Is something wrong?” I asked at last.
“Have I done something?”
“I am just concentrating on my driving.”
What?! Here I was sitting all decked up beside him and all his attention was focused on his driving skills?! (Years later he admitted that he was just getting the hang of driving then and didn’t want to commit any silly mistake in front of his would be wife!)
But I was not aware about this substantial little piece of information back then. So, I sealed my lips tight deciding not to bother him further. Instead I looked outside the window trying to guess the place he was taking me to. He had said that it was going to be a surprise.
And boy, what a surprise it turned out to be! I gaped at him open mouthed when I realised where we were heading to.
“I thought you might like to see where I worked. Welcome to my office.” He grinned at me, as he showed his ID card to the security guard standing at the gate.
He wanted to give me a tour of his office.
“So, this is the parking lot. Do you see that white building over there? I work there on the fifth floor.” He pointed out. “Come, let’s go have lunch.”
I froze. Were we going to eat our Valentine’s day meal in his office canteen?
“There’s a nice little restaurant just across the street. I hope you will like it.” He took my hand.
My heart which had stopped beating a moment ago once again resumed its job.
The little restaurant turned out to be quite big yet cosy and tastefully decorated. As we seated ourselves, I found him smiling smugly at me.
“What?” I asked suspiciously wondering if he had any further surprises in store for me.
“Well, you see it’s so tough getting a seat reservation on a Valentine’s Day. And I absolutely hate to stand in line for a meal. That’s why I planned on bringing you here,” he boasted proudly. “Since this is an office para (area) no one will even think of coming here on a day like today.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. Since it was my first visit to the restaurant, office para or not, I didn’t mind. Moreover, we two were the only occupants. The food was absolutely delicious and we chatted away to our heart’s content.
Well planned Mr. Planner!
“There is an amusement park nearby. Would you like to go there?” He asked as we came outside.
“Yes, why not?” I answered excitedly.
“Good. Let’s hop onto a bus.”
“What? Bus?” I looked at him confused. “But why not go in the car?”
“Well..umm..,” he looked at me sheepishly, “Actually the car is brand new and I think it will be safe at the office parking. You see, anyone can come and scratch a new car in a public parking space.”
I glared at him. “So that’s the real reason why you were so keen on showing me your office. You!” I punched him on the shoulder.
Men and their love for cars! Uff!
Nevertheless I was head over heels in love with this car obsessed man and was quick to agree to almost anything that he asked of me. (Of course, the second part has changed drastically over the years!)
So, there we were standing in a jam packed bus and getting jostled by our fellow passengers. My long hair which I had let loose, now stuck to my face like cheap plaster. The dress which I had painstakingly ironed just for the occasion resembled nothing short of a rag. And I was sweating profusely when we got down.
This Valentine’s day was not at all going the way I had envisioned it to be!
He might have got an inkling of my thoughts because he said, “You look great. And moreover we are here to spend a good time, isn’t it? Come on now!” He dragged me inside.
The cheerful atmosphere coupled with his humorous talks soon lifted my spirits and I handed him the gift that I had bought for him. He looked mighty pleased with my choice.
I smiled happily and looked at him with expectation.
But all he said was, “Thank you.”
I smiled some more hoping he would get the hint. He only smiled back.
God! My cheeks were already starting to hurt. I couldn’t keep on smiling like a fool. Why was he not getting the hint? Did he forget to bring a gift for me?
“Care to go for a boat ride?” He broke into my thoughts.
“Why not?” I said with a false gaiety.
Inside, I was fuming. How could he forget? This was supposed to be our first Valentine’s Day!
We were right in the middle of the lake when I suddenly felt his fingers on my skin.
“Happy Valentines Day dear!” He whispered as he tied a heart shaped pendant around my neck.
My eyes filled with tears. I was so happy and ashamed of myself at the same time. How could I ever doubt him?
“My mother asked me to get this for you. She said that you would be expecting it.” He said innocently.
I looked at him and then at the glistening water below. My fingers itched to push him right into it. It was with great effort that I held myself back.
I took a deep breath and gazed at the sun setting in the distance. It reminded us of the short time we had left. Instantly, my heart sank at the thought of parting with him.
All the way back, even in the crowded bus and later on in the car, we tried savouring those last few precious moments. And as he dropped me in front of my house, I realised what a crazy yet delightful day we had spent together.
This year we will be celebrating our 12th Valentine’s day together. All these years we have celebrated the day in various ways. But the first one still holds a special place in our heart.
As for him, he still continues to be a meticulous planner and a tad bit more in love with his car than me. But what to do?
He is ‘Tedha hai par pati to mera hi hai!’ (weird but mine)
Wishing you all a very happy Valentine’s Day!
Image source: shutterstock
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