AN UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTER – III

13 years ago, I was in love. I adored him. But, he broke my my heart. No, he didn’t cheat on me. He deceived me. Well, more than a decade has gone by. And, I’m no longer as  hurt as I was then. Perhaps I was too naive to read beyond the face!

 Of late someone has made me realise that its worth to turn over a new leaf. That someone for whom my heart skips a beat is always in my thoughts. I’m afraid . . . I guess I’m falling for him! But, wait . . . once bitten twice shy. Should I give wings to my feelings? Or should I just nip them off? Ummm . . . unable to decide . . .

Tempted to let my guard loose. But, holding myself back. Too many ‘what ifs’ echoing in my ears. Should I give love a second chance in my life? Should I unchain my chained heart? Or should I tighten the shackles not to let myself break free?

Is it love that’s beckoning me? Or a mere illusion that I’m falling prey to? I fail to comprehend. All I know is that my heart is on him. Something within, tells me I won’t be disappointed this time.

‘To be or not to be’, wrote Shakespeare. The same I sigh today!”

This had been Radha’s short blog of the evening. As soon as she hit the Publish button, she felt a bit foolish. After all, how and why did she make her feelings and dilemma public? Did she expect the thousands of strangers who were merely followers of her blogs to influence her life’s decision? Was that what she wanted?

Not exactly . . .

She wanted that one reply – that one voice to influence her decision. How and when she had allowed this person to have a say in her life, she herself didn’t know. Just that she longed for either a nod of approval or a nay of disapproval from him.

Radha woke up to the repeated blaring rings of her door bell. One glance at the cuckoo clock on the wall and she leaped from her bed, a squeal escaping her throat. It was 8 A.M.!!! She ran to open the door to her maid who was understandably irritable as she had come twice already at 6 A.M. and again at 6:45 A.M. – her usual timings on Radha’s working days and holidays respectively. And now, she rang the door bell on her way back from her second work, to just check if all was well. Else, she was determined to call on the police.

Thanks, Ambika . . . thank you”, said Radha and banged the door on her maid’s face as she rushed to the bathroom to freshen up.

Out there, Ambika twitched her face voluntarily and stomped away muttering to herself.

Radha reported for work at 9:30 A.M. every day without fail. She was the first to enter the office building as the work hour started only at 10 A.M. Nobody knew Radha to be late for work ever. And today, her records were going to be broken. There was no way in which she  would reach before 10 A.M. that day! The Mumbai traffic was not expected to have mercy on her.

As she scurried down the stairs of her apartment at 8:30 that morning, having skipped her breakfast and leaving her bed unmade, no thoughts of the previous night made their foray into her mind. Not even when she found Vansh waiting in his car near her apartment, to give her a ride to office that morning. “This would save you from the overcrowded local trains”, he had said. She found no words coming from her mouth, save her hand opening the car door to let herself in. All she could think was to reach office on time at least, if not before. Vansh was Radha’s colleague from another department in the same office. Both knew each other only by the exchange of pleasantries on occasional official meetings or if they happened to pass by each other in the corridor, save for one discussion that they had had along with a group of other colleagues when Radha was animatedly talking about an upcoming mall near her apartment.

Relax”, said Vansh. “I’m the one driving. Your tension cannot make you reach office in a jiffy. You have to rely on me as I wade through the traffic. So, just sit back and rest your mind and body.”

Ah! Well . . . I woke up so very late today and that messed up everything”, whispered Radha calming her breaths while breaking into a faint pleading smile as if she was expected to explain herself.

Suddenly, she realized how unthinkably she had jumped into Vansh’s car a few minutes back. By the way, what was Vansh doing near her apartment? Surely, he couldn’t be passing that way! She very well knew that he lived in the other end of Mumbai. So, what exactly was he doing near her apartment at that time?

Intending to enquire of his detour, she started, “Vansh, what . . .” 

Didn’t sleep well last night?”, her words were drowned by his deep husky voice.

Yes . . . ummm . . .” and soon the events of the previous evening came flooding into her mind.

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