He thought he was late. The not-so-busy restaurant looked busy today. He thanked himself for booking a table in advance. He didn’t see her anywhere in the restaurant and sighed with relief that he wasn’t too late. Beautiful garden on the fifteenth floor of the building was lively with the restaurant diners and wonderful musicians. The clear sky full of stars added to the beauty of the pleasant evening. The waiter showed him their table by the parapet. He had specifically asked for that table. He liked watching things from heights. The waiter poured the wine in the glass in front of him for him to kill time till she comes and disappeared behind the door. He was waiting for the moon of his life. He then started checking and rechecking of everything he had planned for. Her favourite cuisine has been ordered, he has worn her favourite shirt, her favourite flowers, music, everything. Though the restaurant was his favourite. She didn’t like such fancy and plush restaurants to dine in. But, today was something special that her dislike of big restaurants didn’t bother him. His second glass too is finished. She still hadn’t arrived. He didn’t want to call her and make her hurry. He wanted her to be perfect too. She doesn’t know what the specialty of today’s dinner is. All she knows is he has thrown a party for his friends and loved ones for the success of his travel show. He is desperate to see her reaction when she gets to know that it is only she who was invited for the party.
*ten hours ago*
It is ten in morning and he is sitting in her house. He made sure that she has reached her office and then he went to her house to meet her father. Before he asked her, he wanted to ask her family. Before this, it was very easy for him to converse with her family. Not that he met them very frequently, whenever he did, it was fun for him. But. Today. It was all different for him. He felt like he had returned to his college days where he went for an interview on campus. Three interviewers sitting in front of him and judging him and making assumptions on the basis of his every move and every word he spoke. Unlike his on-campus interview, here the panel didn’t knew that they were being asked to gather here to interview him. He waited for them to stop asking questions to each other about what’s going and started.
“Uncle, I love your daughter. And I want to spend the rest of my life hanging out with her. And if she says yes, I want to marry her. You know me since I know her. Her happiness is my happiness, so the question whether or not I would keep her happy after marriage doesn’t arise. Before I ask her, I wanted to ask for your permission.” He stood up and pulled out the solitaire ring box in his pocket and knelt on his left knee showing the ring to her dad.
“Can I marry your daughter, Sir?”
He saw them all smiling and felt that they all were glad about it. Her father didn’t speak for a while. He was losing his balance in this position.
“Sir, please say something. I am losing my balance. I…” they all started laughing then. He got up to sit on the chair back.
“Wait, I didn’t ask you to get up” her father said suddenly like a strict teacher. He got scared and sat again in the same position. He wasn’t this nervous when he was going to jump from that tall cliff, or living a night in a jungle for the first time. Her brother who was sitting silent till now got up laughing and went to him and hugged him.
“I was wondering what took you so long to come up for this!” her brother said while hugging him. “Don’t be so nervous dude. We are family now!”
“Welcome to the family” her father said. Saying that he was happy was an understatement.
“But…” her father’s voice brought him to reality “I have a condition!”
“She will live her life the way she wants, I wouldn’t be the reason behind any tears, her happiness is mine, her problems are mine, my happiness is hers, my problems are hers, she will accompany me on my travel tours, I will make sure that she never gets bored of her life, she will never….”
“Stop…!” her father didn’t allow him to complete. “Listen to my condition first!”
“She has to say yes whenever you plan to ask her.”
“Oh.” He got confused. He wanted to know what would be her probable answer. “What do you think… will she say no? I plan to ask her today evening itself.”
It was half past eight and he got a bit worried about she being late. She was never late. He called her two to three times. She didn’t answer. He thought she might be driving. He waited patiently for her. Practising his lines with the guitar guy. He wanted it all to be perfect. He felt like he suddenly has got obsessive about perfections. It was quarter to nine. She still didn’t turn up. Now, he was losing his patience. His practise was out of his mind now. Just then his phone rang. It was her photo on the display. As he received the call, he didn’t allow her to speak.
“Where are you Aarzoo? What is making you so late?”
“Is this Taran?” with this reply he realized that it wasn’t she who was calling him. ‘But wait, why is someone else calling me from her phone?’