[ RECAP: Raunak screamed in dream. Mumbling in one’s dream may be normal for others but it didn’t give a cathartic release to Shreya. She started traveling her memory lanes when she first met Raunak. ]
Shreya Mukherjee, 5.4” tall pretty girl with curly dark hair at her late twenties. Rooted from a Bengali family she had never ending academic excellence records. Bookshelves packed up with medals and mementos. Shreya had never seen second position in her life. Dancing, Singing, Writing where ever she got into, she topped others. Those who knew Shreya, they used to lose their hope if they found Shreya as their one of the competitors. Very smart and intelligent Shreya used to touch everyone’s mind by her way of talking and humble nature.
Even being a Bengali rooted girl, wrapped into traditional mentalities, she had an exceptional mind set which dumped orthodox ‘Griha badhu’ attitude.
Her voice used to penetrate hearts and get registered in brain which echoes in mind after she leaves the forum.
Her 28’s hour glass shape used to put big efforts on others to look away from her. Honey cut bouncing hairs cascading till her shoulders created an appeal. Curly thin hairs beside her ears used to touch many hearts. In Indo western attire she lived with her own rules.
It was Monday morning outside Andheri station. Shreya was already late and hundreds of passengers queued for auto rickshaw under burning sun. She had no other way but looking for some out of the box idea to catch a auto rickshaw.
She saw an auto rickshaw was passing by.
“Auto… auto!!” She shouted from the queue where hundreds were standing in queue before her.
She moved out from the queue to stop the auto.
‘Crrrr…risshh..’ The autorickshaw just skipped a head on collision with Shreya.
“Bhaiya, Will you go to Tunga ?” Shreya asked
“I have passenger” Driver replied.
Shreya didn’t notice a passenger was sitting at back
“Let her come. It’s ok” – the guy sitting at back asked the autorickshaw driver.
Goodness gracious! It was a boon for Shreya on that crowded day. She didn’t wait the driver to allow and quickly got into the rickshaw.
“Oh I’m sorry…” Shreya was shocked looking at the guy.
He was none other than that same guy in Dossa stall. In retrospect, the whole incident came up in her mind
Autorikshaw driver geared up through the ocean of people in station road.
“Sorry? Why ?” the guy asked curiously.
“No I mean..I’m sorry what I told you that day in fast-food counter” – Shreya replied keeping her face down. She was feeling guilty.
“Ha Ha.. it’s ok. May be that’s why I remembered you!” – The guy pranked
Shreya melted in shame. “I’m really very sorry”.
“Hey never mind. I was just joking.” – He consoled her
“By the way, do you work there?” – the guy added
“Hm” Shreya’s voice was not coming out.
“Forget that now” He tried to close that chapter. “What do you do?” – He added
“I’m in IT, work in ABM Technologies… What about you?”
“I also work in IT… Are you from Mumbai?”
“No, I recently came to Mumbai just few months..” – The conversation strengthened from her guilt feeling. She started replying normally.
“O I see. New job?”
“No. I’m transferred from Bangalore.. missing my city” – She replied quietly
“You will start loving Mumbai too. Don’t worry” – He beamed at Shreya.
“Whats your name?” –Shreya asked
“I’m Shreya Mukherjee” Shreya stated
‘Oho .. Bengali madam’ – Raunak smiled
Autorikshaw had left mahakali caves road and turned to MIDC central road.
“Ha ha..Ya I’m Bengali.. Where do you work?” – Shreya asked
“Two buildings after you. Symphony Inc” -Raunak answered
“I’m very late today.. Monday morning is always creepy” – Shreya uttered her irritation on Monday.
“Ya, I saw”
“Where?” Shreya was surprised.
“Your street side stunt to stop the auto rikshaw” – Raunak replied
“I had no other option” – Shreya exclaimed
“What if the break didn’t stop it” – Raunak asked in caring voice
“Hmm.. I know”- Shreya murmured
Meanwhile they reached near Tunga paradise.
“Take right and stop beside Indusind bank. Will get down there.” – Raunak asked rikshaw driver
“What about you?” – Raunak turned to Shreya.
“Same, ABM is few steps from there” – Shreya replied
Autorikshaw dropped them opposite to Indusind bank. Raunak paid and they both left the autorikshaw. As a common courtesy Shreya tried to pay but Raunak didn’t accept. They started walking straight towards DHL office.
“Thank you so much for the ride” – Shreya thanked
“No problem. You have almost reached. Is not it?” – Raunak said
“Ya, the next building.. Nice to meet you.. Hope to meet again”- Shreya extended her hand to Raunak. Gently shook hands and entered her office building. Raunak headed for his office.
It was their first meet. Shreya was able to come out from her guilt feeling after regretting her mistake to Raunak. Raunak was very simple but clever, he was cherishing the moments when Shreya was apologizing. Raunak reached his office but understood that Shreya captured a space in his mind for the day.
… Next Chapter ‘Window Shopping‘ .