“What’s cooking mausi, smells divine!” I asked as mausi* opened the door to let me in.
“Gagan’s friend is coming to lunch, so I am making vegetable biryani” she said.
“ Ma, is lunch ready?” Gagan's tone was hurried, and he sounded like the meal was the only important thing on earth and all else including my banter could wait.
“It’s just 12 o’clock now, I’ll keep lunch ready by 1 pm , ok? I don’t want food to get cold before we eat.”
“Ma, she’s not eaten breakfast, she’ll be very hungry,” he reasoned.
“What time are you expecting her?” asked mausi.
“Food will be ready before she comes, ok?”
“Ok” he mumbled under his breath, seemingly not satisfied with something and retired to his room.
“Girlfriend?” I asked in hushed a tone.
“Don’t know yet,” said mausi whispering, “I asked him, but he said they are just friends.”
A few minutes later, he emerged again. “We plan to see a movie on the DVD, hope you don’t mind.” Didn’t seem like a request, more of a statement.
“Sure.” Mausi replied winking at me.
He paced up and down the living room, and finally settled on the diwan, only to get up half a minute later.
“Looks like the spring mattress of the diwan is too hard for comfort,’ I teased.
He ignored my quip and walked to the balcony. He spent a few minutes peering here and there and walked back settling on the sofa and dialed some number on his mobile.
“Where are you?”…. “You’ve not yet started?”…. “How long will you take to reach here?”…… “Ok..when you reach the chowk, just call me,I’ll come and pick you up.”
He looked at the mobile awkwardly as if he was cut off in mid talk, and then, got up again and disappeared into his room.Time,they say, is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.
Mausi and I exchanged animated looks, not speaking a word. The devil seemed to be unusually jittery.
He emerged a few minutes later again,” Ma, is lunch ready?”
I burst out laughing. He ignored me again and waited for his mother to answer.
“1pm” she replied without looking at him.
“She will be very hungry,” he started again.
“Should I add something more to the menu?” Asked Mausi, worried that the food may not be sufficient, plagued but Gagan’s ‘she’s very hungry’ line.
“No probs,” he said, “I’ll eat a little less.”
The last line drew jeering from me and a whistle, and it left him clearly embarrassed. He suppressed a smile and walked to the balcony again. Love, and a cough, it is said , cannot be hidden, and his face was clearly the worst hiding place for the fountain of emotions sprinkling out of it!
“Mausi, can we see the chowk from your balcony?” I said, loud enough for my cousin to hear.
“Network problem di,” he screamed back.
Another call. “Where are you?”… “Oh great, You’ve started?”…. give me a call when you reach here.”…. no probs, the chowk is 2 min from my house.”
He walked in with a triumphant smile, almost childlike enthusiasm on his face, cheeks and ears flushed pink. “She’ll be here in another 10-20 minutes, Ma. Lunch’s ready na? I’m going to the chowk to get her.”
I saw him bounce out of the door, shoes laces half tied, almost tripping and then delicately balancing himself like a ballerina, hitting his head with something that looked like a card and an embarrassed smile spreading on his lips, as he saw the animated look on my face!
Ah! love....Divine love……..
(image courtesy: google)