02 December, 2016



‘Hi! Tushar,’ said the young guy in a tuxedo stretching out his hand. He looked nice, not the kind of usual Delhi creeps she was used to. But in this city, you could never be too sure. So she thought of playing it safe.

‘Hi. Nishita,’ she replied with a smile and stretched out her own hand. She was beautiful in her purple dress.

‘So… I’m alone here. And I see you’re alone. And we’ve been smiling at each other for the last 15 minutes. So I thought it’s about time that I come up and say “hi” before being branded as the creepy guy stalking you at the wedding.’

She laughed. ‘So what do you suggest we do about it?’ she asked

‘Well, to establish that I’m not a creep, I suggest you get to know me. About being alone, I guess I’ve already fixed that for myself.’

His smile was charismatic. She couldn’t help but feel attracted towards him. ‘Alright but I need to say this upfront. I have a rule. I’m not looking to see someone.’

‘I’m guessing you used to,’ he replied.

‘Look here’s the thing. There are these big romantic moments, they fade away. And then you deal with the truth. That, my friend, is always ugly.’

‘I agree! I thought I’d compliment your hairdo as I was walking here, and to be honest, that was what made me notice it!’

‘Oh… you haven’t seen these open. You’ll be down on one knee,’ she said adjusting her hairnet.

‘Would like to see that happen,’ he winked. ‘Though if I do that, just know you might be the one jumping and shouting “yes” and that is why I’m not putting my A-game on you.’

‘You mean this isn’t the A-game?’

‘You think this is the A-game? Believe me if I brought my A-game, you would know. Girls fall head-over-heels when I bring my A-game.’

‘That’s bad. So I’ll never get to see your game.’

‘Your loss.’ He smiled.

After considering a thought, she spoke again, ‘I think I can propose a solution.’


‘Just to be clear, it doesn’t involve a kiss at the end of it.’

‘Less interested,’ and they both laughed. ‘Go ahead.’

‘So the thing that screws the date is the days after, right? So let’s skip that part. I’m here. You’re here. We’re both alone at a wedding. Let’s dance, have a great time, and when it’s over, never see each other again.’


‘No! No unless. No contact information. No emails. No WhatsApp. No Facebook. Tonight, we will create a memory that can never be tarnished. And then, when we are sad and lonely, we will look back on this night, and know that we have lived a perfect night in our lives.’

‘Wow,’ he said. ‘I’m in! One question. What if I want to see you again?’

‘Maybe then destiny will show us a way… if it is meant to be.’

‘This is exciting! So, Ms Nishitha, where do we go from here?’


They were sitting at the terrace of the reception venue, underneath the stars, with a bottle of wine, 2 glasses, and a bouquet stolen from the wedding.

‘I think it was a bit too much getting the flowers,’ she said.

‘I don’t think the bride will miss them or the groom cares,’ he responded.

‘Okay. So rules established, now let’s see the A-game I’ve heard so much about.’

‘Que, madame,’ he said and winked at her. He pulled off the screw of the bottle and poured two glasses. When he looked up, she had undid her hair and it came curling down, like silent waves in the sea. For a moment, he couldn’t move, mesmerized, words left his mind.

‘Tu che,’ she said, ‘and I believe this is for me. Thank you,’ as she took a glass from his hand.

He smiled back at her. They swirled their glasses for a bit in the most English manner possible, looking at each other. Finally, they took a sip.

‘How is it?’ she asked.

‘Very nice. Smooth and soft with a touch of… you know forget it. I don’t know wines.’

She laughed, ‘I couldn’t tell if you didn’t.’

‘So… feeling bad that you won’t be getting any action tonight?’

‘Oh I could get some action if I wanted to. I’m the girl.’

‘No you couldn’t.’

‘Couldn’t I?’ she said, in a deep husky voice as she got closer to him. He could feel her coming closer. She stopped and smiled.

‘Oh you could get some action any time you wanted.’ But they didn’t go apart. He leaned, and she proceeded. When they got closer, she retracted.

‘We won’t kiss. Not tonight. That’s the rule. If we kiss, we get emotionally involved and this becomes a hard reality, not the perfect memory.’ He was looking obviously dejected. ‘What if we kiss now and exchange phone numbers hoping to find each other again. But we might never get the time again? What if this one moment is all we have with each other? Why spoil it? What if I keep waiting for your text message, hoping you’d call me in the middle of the night asking to look down my window and there I’ll see you shivering in the cold, asking me to let you in? What if either of us is not able to fill the void in the other’s life?’

‘And what if we are meant to be?’ he said, leaning in again before she stopped him.

‘How about this. The best part of any first kiss is the lead-up to it. The moment right before when the lips touch. It’s like a big drumroll. How about, tonight, we just keep it till the drumroll?’


They leaned. They got close. She looked at him. He closed his eyes. They felt each other’s breath on theirs. Then, their muzzles touched. She could hear violins in the background, careful not to get too lost in them. He was already lost in a music of his own. And then, very slowly, she pulled back. She looked at him. He looked at her. He wanted to take her head in his hands and give her the biggest kiss he’s ever had. She wanted him to do that. But they didn’t. They just looked at each other. There were no words. There were no kisses. No names. Just 2 breaths, one after the other. 2 beating hearts. And the moonlight.


They came down to the reception to find the clean-up staff getting along. It was 3:30 AM in the morning. They didn’t realize how long they were up there.

‘I guess we were gone for a while,’ he said.

‘That’s bad. I hoped I could have a last dance with you.’

He smiled, took out his phone, and played a soft guitar music, opening his arms to invite her in. He spun her once and then drew her close.

‘I know what you’re thinking,’ he told her.

‘What am I thinking?’ she said.

‘He’s looking great in that tux.’

She smiled, ‘you caught me.’

‘You know I don’t look like this everyday. In my real life I wear a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt, with bleach stains on it.’

‘I wish I could get to know the real you better. He sounds sexy.’

As the music progressed, so did they. Their faces got closer and farther, as if they weren’t able to decide how to end this.

‘Tell me your full name,’ he said.


‘So how are you going to go back?’

‘I’ll call an Ola.’

‘I’m dropping you home.’

‘No… this way only for tonight. Only for…’

He cut her in mid-sentence. ‘I’m dropping you home.’ She felt his hand on her waist drawing her close. ‘I am not going to lose out on these last moments with you.’ And he guided her to the exit and towards his car.

‘What makes you afraid?’ she asked him as were driving along the empty streets of New Delhi with the sound of early risers and faint sunrays drenching the foggy sky with colors of orange and gold.

‘The feeling that I’ll be alone. When all this ends, when everything is over, this night, every night, my job, careers, everything, I fear I’ll be left alone with no one to hug in the end days.’ There was silence for a while. ‘You know earlier I said I didn’t like your hair,’ he said to her softly.

‘You said you thought of complimenting them but go on…’

‘I really like them,’ he said and ran his fingers through them. She didn’t want to stop him, but didn’t want anything more either. This was perfect.

They reached her home and she got out.

‘So this was a good night,’ she said.

‘Yeah! But there’s one little flaw in your plan. I’m going to go home with a lot of great memories but one really sucky one. The memory of you walking into that door leaving me behind.’

‘Close your eyes Tushar.’ He did. Instantly. He heard footsteps, a door opening and closing, and then opening and closing again. She reached into his car and put something on the seat beside him.

‘Open them,’ he heard her say. She was standing at the door of his car, exactly where he last saw her. On the seat beside him, there was a copy of “The Gift” by Cecelia Ahern. ‘Something to remember me by. Now go.’

He smiled at her, blew her a kiss and then went away.

She hoped he’d find her number in the book with the message, “We write our own destiny.” As she undressed, she found a tissue paper with a phone number on it in her jacket. Below it said, ‘I’d like to see those curls again. Maybe I didn’t appreciate them enough.’ She immediately saved the number to her phone.


She willed herself to not check her phone to see if he had replied. It had been about three days now. She hated that she was constantly checking his 'last seen at' status and yes, he had logged in just five minutes ago. Yet she couldn't stop herself. This sinking feeling to find absolutely no communication from him was becoming unbearable, almost torturous.

And then, just as she sat down in her chair, her phone vibrated. With her heart thudding in her ear, she unlocked her phone and stared at the screen. Finally! It was his message.

But when she opened it and read it, she nearly stopped breathing. She didn't know if he was joking or not. What was this?

It said, ‘Look down your window.’

She did. It was him, shivering in the cold. Her phone buzzed again, ‘Let me in?’