Saturday, 16 February 2013

A Strange Friendship on the Delhi Metro

I started this one in July last year - wrote the first part creating the character of the guy and left it at that for many months after which I wrote the meeting in the train but, I had no clue where it was all leading to. Today it all came to me in a flash and I was finally able to finish the story. This one is dedicated to my crazy little sister Barsha who when in college was hell bent on marrying me off so she could have the entire room in the house to herself! :D

The snub-nosed silver streak hushed over his head. Udayan craned his neck to look up just in time to see the swank, post-modern public transport system rush out of sight in the blink of an eye.

Shit, did he miss THE Metro? Rushing up the escalator, two at a time and sliding along the polished floor almost slipping into the squeaky clean platform, the first thing he realized - it was empty! Everyone who had been waiting on the platform in the last few minutes while he was crawling around to get a parking spot for his car had been zipped into the silver train and whisked off.

He stood on the platform, a hand on the wall, calming his panting body. His lungs felt dry and he gulped in, mouths-full of air to tame the blood pumping wildly through his heart. 'Shit!' He'd missed THE Metro today and as a result, missed having a look at HER

She was, he liked to believe, his lucky charm. He had to have a look at her soft, innocent face everyday before hitting work. He made it a point to come in a few minutes early and wait for her everyday before she came in at around 8.30 a.m. But, today he was late. Blame it on the traffic but, he had missed looking at her face today and now, nothing may work out in his favor he worried.

This, when he had an important meeting with a new client! His business was new and he needed all the good luck to make it a success. But, he had missed her. What must she be wearing today? The thought made its way into his mind automatically surprising him with the way his head was working. Was he missing her only because she was his lucky charm or did he miss her because he looked forward to starting his day looking at her?

The idea! He must be mad. Where did that come from? It could only be a coincidence that he won two contracts last months after he had started his day with a glimpse of the girl. He was good, no very good, he reminded himself. He did not need a lucky charm.

The next train slid into the platform even as he stood there thinking about the latest superstitious streak in his personality. He was never this way. He used to run away when his granny insisted on feeding him curd before exams and he still did exceptionally well. He did not agree when his mom wanted to consult an astrologer for his company's inauguration.

He must be going soft in his head. Udayan smiled at his own stupidity while moving into the train. People must be thinking he was mad, the way he was smiling at nothing, he thought looking down at his shoes.

A fragrance, part spice, part flower, assailed his senses and he looked up surprised that a woman should be riding the general compartment. Women traveled in the reserved first compartment on the Metro. His eyes searched through the crowd with the curiosity of a normal man but, he did not see anyone. So, some guy must be using his girlfriend's deo, he chuckled at his shoes.

"You do laugh and smile a lot at nothing you know," the voice came from his right. It was a woman's voice. Suddenly on alert, his heart went into an overdrive. He was worried that everyone standing around him could hear his heartbeat.

Somewhere his heart wanted it to be her - the lucky girl.

When he turned around to look, she was not the one he had hoped to see but, this one sure was a knockout in a Punk and Rock chick sort of way. Despite all the leather and Kohl, she was one of the most gorgeous girls he'd seen in his life and he blinked as if dazzled.

"I'm sorry!"

One perfectly arched dark eyebrow shoots into the artfully messed up hair on the beautiful face.

"I mean..."

An expectant look. Not much help.

Suddenly realizing that he was making an even bigger fool of himself than he really was he started looking away when laughter like the tinkling of ankle bells of a woman running in a garden on a lazy afternoon, made him turn around and look at the girl. She was laughing at him.

Now it was his turn to raise his eyebrow but, since he could not raise one he decided to make do with both and compose his expressions to a query.

This only brought more laughter.

"What's funny miss?"

Suddenly he was not tongue-tied at all. She was an imp.

She shook her head denying that anything was while wiping tears of laughter from her eyes.

He turned once more, 'crazy women!'

"Listen. I did not mean to be rude but, somehow could not help it." A small hand landed lightly on his shoulder as the girl pleaded her case in a remarkably friendly voice.

He turned his body towards her in the crowded train and blurted out the first thing on his mind, "why are you travelling in the general compartment?"

This strangely brought more laughter.



"Me? What about me?"


This time he joined in the laughter.

"I know..." He managed after he'd sobered up a bit. This of course led to more laughter and both of them dissolved themselves in mindless mirth. It felt good.

"You know what?"

He wriggled his eyebrows at her, making her laugh some more.

"For a guy, you are cool. You can laugh at YOURSELF."

He grinned and raised his right hand, "I'm Udayan."

"Hi, I'm Amisha. First year, Eco honours, DU."

"Oh! You are a fresher. Which college?"

"Kirori Mal"


He found her staring at him with the eyebrow raised in an impatient inquiry.

"Oh sorry. I am an independent entrepreneur. I have a small company that makes short corporate films. I'm a Mass Com pass out. 2001, Jamia."


"Thanks. This is just some work I do, but, I'm working on a script for a short film. Very soon..."

"Yes. No. I mean that too but, what I meant was that you are a good 12 years my senior."

"Ummmm... Yes!" He grinned at her startled face for the first time seeing her cringe at what she had just said realizing it was not funny.

"Sorry. I did not mean it to come out like that."

"No it's OK." He grinned some more putting her at ease.

"Listen. I was thinking..."


"Are you free this evening?"

"Isn't that the guy's prerogative to ask that?"

"Puhleeze! I did NOT mean that way."


"There is this movie I wanted to catch at the Scandinavian film festival happening at the Siri Fort and no one in my circle is interested... So, I was wondering if you are then, we could go together and my parents won't worry because I'll be coming back with you. That is if you actually live this side..."

He looked at her for a moment and shook his head feeling dazed.

"I'm sorry if I sounded brazen. You oldies..." She sighed rolling her eyes dramatically.

"No. I was scared. For a moment I thought I was being run over by a road roller."

She looked at him with her face scrunched. He had a feeling that if he said 'no' she'd ask some other guy to come out with her and perhaps even get into trouble.

"OK. Look, stop thinking any more. I'll come with you. What time?"

The smile she gave him made his head reel. Thank God he did not have a baby sister.

They parted friends at the same destination, she rushing off to catch a connecting train and he to his client. But, they exchanged mobile numbers, promising to meet at the venue of the show.

The day went well for Udayan and he truly believed that he was being silly to think that a beautiful face was the reason for his success all this while.

At the appointed hour in the evening he went to the south Delhi theater to meet his new, young and slightly crazy friend. As he reached there and looked around, he was almost paralyzed with shock. There on the stairs was the girl! The one he looked out for every morning. She was wearing casual clothes instead of her usual formal office wear. Maybe she was waiting for her date. It almost broke his heart but, try as he might he could not look away. She looked - well perfect!

The light slap of a feminine palm stung him out of his self-induced misery.

"Ain't she pretty? If you like the older woman type that is?"

Blushing like a teenager, he turned around to greet his new friend who was looking even more Goth with very dark and dramatic eye makeup that happened to make her look more scary than anything.

"Yeah, especially when faced by a vampire wannabe..."

Sticking out her tongue like a teenager that Amisha was she took his hands and pulled him towards the 'Lucky Girl.'

"It's time you two met. Gawd! Was I tired of your making eyes at her every morning. Almost started believing you were a stalker the way you never approached her but kept staring like that Darcy fellow in Jane Austen!"

"What? I SO DID NOT..."

"Yeah, so true. So, perhaps you can go home now since my sister has agreed to watch the film with me." She let go of his hands as suddenly as she had picked it up.

"Your sister?"

"Yes, the one you stare at every morning at the Metro station but never speak with."

"...How can I believe you? I've never laid my eyes on you before today."

"That's because you NEVER look at anyone, no, make it ANYTHING else. But, the entire station knows. Earlier, I won loads of wagers betting you'd never approach her just stare... These days no one dares bet on that so, I decided to take a dare with some other girls today when you could not make it to the station on time. We'd seen you were trying to park..."

"A dare? Does your sister know?"

"Are you touched on the head? She'd flip. She's no better than you. I'm sure she's not even aware of you. She lives in her nerdy world, reading, watching silly plays and arty movies like these ones. She was pretty excited that I agreed to come for today's screening."


"See, she's coming this way and after our morning's chat, I'm sure you two are perfectly matched. You are as bad as her - though I'd give it to you that you can laugh at yourself! But, if you're not interested..."

It took him a few moments to realize what she was saying because he was so overwhelmed to see the 'lucky one' walking towards them with a frown.

"Oh no, no..."

"No, what?"

"I mean you are right. I want to meet her. You just shocked me..."

"OK apology accepted. Come with me now. Let the show begin!"

He looked at his mad companion smiling impishly at him. He grinned and shook his head, did he thank God in the morning that he did not have a mad little sister to worry about? This had indeed been a lucky day.


  1. Really Nice and touching Story,,first few lines brought back old memories...Thanks

    1. Thanks Abhishek. Stories are nothing but, memories. Glad this one touched you. :)


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