Limping slightly on her right foot, Priya walks out of her college building. Checks her watch, and it’s 5-ish in the evening. Morning, mercilessly, killed Celsius with its heat, but evening got morning covered. Evening brought along with it, some cool breeze and black clouds from the north. A promise of a much needed rain hung in the air, like the anticipation of meeting a long lost school friend.
Another day of college has ended and the students are hurrying up home. The sky is already quite dark and nobody wants to get caught in the rain. Eagerly waiting autowallahs are called to attention and rapt negotiations ensued. One by one, all the autos departed. People with bikes and cycles followed the same. Priya just stood there under the banyan tree, waiting for the shower to start. She loves the rain. Kinda like Trisha in Varsham. Just that she doesn’t talk to the rain. She likes to listen to its fall. Priya leaned against the tree, waiting patiently for the familiar rush of heart, which comes with the first drops of rain. People say, one day, one becomes too old to play in the rain. Nah! Frolicking with water, falling from the sky, is fun at any age.
Priya unties her hair knot, and lets the breeze handle the rest. Her long, silky hair, dancing in the wind, and the way she pushes back them strands, as they fall on her face, complements the romantic evening.
“Auto madam?” a driver asks, as he pulls up beside her. She slowly nods her head sideways saying no. Her head, still in her favorite thoughts, doesn’t wanna leave the place and go. The auto moves away, revealing the other side of the road, where he is standing beside a Red Pulsar. The bike’s been bought only a few minutes ago and his name is Ravi.
Priya, for a couple of seconds wonders whether those 2 things are real or not. The bike’s shining big time even in low light, and he standing beside it, staring at her. His eyes declaring mine. Not sure whether they are referring to Priya, the bike, or both. Ravi smiles. Priya realizes she has been staring back for long and looks away. She could only manage to look away for a second or two. Her eyes dart back to Ravi.
Priya’s unsuccessful attempts to control her eyes tell Ravi that he got her attention. Time to make his move. With a swift, stylish use of his skinny arms and legs, he unparks the bike from the main stand. The bike is bit too heavy for him. Priya gives an involuntary jerk forward, as the bike almost topples on Ravi. But it’s ok, since Ravi somehow clumsily manages to push the bike into upright position and regains his composure. He looks around quickly, to see if anybody noticed his trail and error. Priya is trying hard to look away and trying harder not to laugh out.
Ravi sees her suppressed laughter and smiles back innocently. He bends down as if to intelligently check the bike’s tyres, and silently curses himself. He knew this was a bad idea to impress Priya. His attitude is not built to act dude. He knows he is not the kind of a person who can show off with a brand new bike and his body is not built for branded clothes. So he decides to walk over to her, before the bike also starts finding him foolish.
Pushing the bike beside him like his faithful pet tiger, Ravi walks towards Priya. “What took you so long?” Priya asks.
“Had to sign many bloody documents. The whole registration process used to be simpler before.”
“Do you really need a bike Ravi?”
“C’mon! It’s my birthday tomorrow.”
“Then get a new car love.” She is concerned. “What did the doctor say after the surgery? Bike riding can be risky for you. And am sure you dint start it yet. Dragged it all the way just to show it to me first.”
“Don’t worry Priya” he assures, “The showroom is just a block away. And the bypass was like an year ago. Am fit as a fiddle. Get on. To the beach we go.”
With her right foot on the metal step, she slowly raises herself onto the seat.
“Careful.” He is concerned. “Your arthritis. Don’t put too much stress on the knee.”
She sits sideways, comfortably on the back seat and slides her hand around his waist. With a simple kiss on his ear, she says “Am fine dear. Now start. I wanna be at the beach when the rain starts.”
As they ride into the wind, with her orange sari pallu gracefully flying behind them, like a beautiful sunset, she’s glad that Ravi bought the bike. It would be a nice gift to Manoj. He would be starting college next week.