On the odd days, I hitched a ride with him in his Verna. On the even days, he escorted me in my City. We had lived in the same condominium but it had taken the odd-even rule for us to meet. Heck, I did not even remember seeing him earlier. On Christmas (I do not forget days easily), I had seen a poster near the elevator which told the readers that if they were interested in carpooling during the odd-even rule, they needed to contact the undersigned. Now, this was truly Godsend. I had been fretting on getting to office during the odd days as I had an even-numbered car. I fervently hoped he had an odd-numbered car.
Well, as they say, it is destiny. We hit off the moment we met. He was a handsome, strapping man of about 40, with a beautiful wife. His home was tastefully done; I wondered if he possessed the great taste or his wife did. He was charming and witty. Perhaps, the best part was our offices being in the same locality. When I look back now, I truly believe God wanted us to be together.
The first day, he did most of the talking, I being my usual shy self. He told me about his family, career graph, his interests and his dislikes. I was almost in awe of him. How can a guy reveal almost everything about himself the very first time he meets a stranger. Anyone else who would have chatted with me endlessly would have been termed a chatterbox by me. But not him – he had a certain charm that made the listener hear him with rapt attention.
The second day, he drew me out bit by bit. I told him about my life. He smiled at my achievements. He nodded at my failures. He probed me with questions when I was hesitant. I was soon chatting with him effortlessly. This must be magic, I thought. I, the reticent one, was talking nineteen to the dozen with this almost stranger.
Over the next ten days, I found myself thinking more and more about him. Even after I was home, he lingered in my thoughts. I started noticing him in the everyday things. I knew what was happening was difficult to comprehend. I also felt a little guilty. I, after all, had a family, and he started occupying my thoughts more than my family did.
On the fourteenth day, his hand accidently touched mine. It was as if I had experienced an electric shock. We looked at each other. We both did not know what was happening but there was tenderness in his eyes. On the last day of the odd-even rule, he clasped my hand. I mumbled something incoherent. I was shocked and secretly thrilled. So, it was not me alone. He felt the same way as I did.
I am pining for him now. The odd-even rule has ended and we are back to using our own vehicles. I wanted him to say that we could continue carpooling but he did not. I felt my heart break a little. Maybe he was just flirting. Maybe I misunderstood. Or maybe he came to his senses, realising he had a lovely wife to return to. We both are married and it will be stupid of us to walk down this road of an extramarital affair.
But then, what was all that flirting? The tenderness in the eyes? The bright smile? The gentle inquisitiveness? The drawing me out of my shell? Even the holding of hands? Was that all a farce? No, it cannot be. My heart tells me there is more to us. A little voice in my head says he will be back. I need him. I want him. I feel incomplete without him.
Ha! Truly destined to be together. I see his message on my phone late at night. He is apologising profusely for being incommunicado. He has been out of the city. He wants to continue with commuting together to office. He will be waiting for me tomorrow outside my tower at 8 am.
My heart leaps. I cannot wait to be with him. Wait to tell him all that has transpired in the last few days. Chide him for almost making me ill with grief. I cannot wait for our love story to start, for the birds to sing and for the breeze to blow. Suddenly, the Delhi chill does not seem so harsh.
I just hope our wives will understand…