Morning tea and the newspaper always meant something special to her. It was her time. Time to keep track of the whole world .Catching a headline here, or small news there and of course page 3 and the photographs. Then the magazine section, the celebrity lives and movie reviews but most important of all, just before folding up the paper, the astrological prediction of the day ahead.
Today was special. It was her birthday. So the prediction had to be different and meaningful and impactful and whatever 'ful' it took to ‘ fulfill’ her. She cheered up considerably after reading the lines ‘you will meet someone special today’. Yes, that is exactly what she has been waiting for or rather hoping for. She finished reading the paper and went hurriedly to get ready. She was going to spend the day with herself and if in the process she met someone ‘special’, so be it.
Her birthdays had ceased to be an important event after she had attained her admission into a family which did not believe in birthdays or for that matter any special days. She had always been too much of a people’s person to stand this anonymity. So along with her own birthdays, she started celebrating everyone’s birthdays anniversaries special days and not so special days and so on, just as a lesson that needed to be taught to the ignorant bunch that were her in-laws.
Till about an year or two ago. When she realized that nobody around her gave a damn about anyone’s birth anniversaries or death anniversaries anymore, she decided to make her birthdays special for herself. She would have a lunch with herself as her royal company and then buy her few gifts, mainly books and then would visit her parents (after all they were responsible for creating this special day in her life). She often ended the day with a very humble dinner and feeling very ignored.
11.30 a.m: As she got dressed, she felt a bit of twinge in her heart. Raktim was as usual not there. He, very seldom, got any opportunity to attend any birthdays, being in bank and all. The children missed him and so did she. It had mattered quite a lot at first, then it mattered a lot and now it mattered little.
‘Special someone’. She smiled to herself. Incurable romantic at heart, she had never missed a single chance to shed tears at the scenes of romantic reunions or debilitating departures or the ultimate utterance of the three divine words ‘I love you’. It seems that she had always waited for that perfect someone forever. She allowed herself another smile and picked up her purse, ‘forever’ indeed.
She would be on a lookout today, that’s for sure. She instructed her driver to take her to a nearby mall. In pursuit of excellence in her life nothing worked better than a book. A book was what she needed, or maybe several, she would decide once she reached her favorite book store.
2.30p.m:It was her lunch time and she decided on a sinfully loaded burger, today was after all her day. ‘Special someone’ still seemed elusive. She tried to concentrate on the people around her, two teenage sweethearts with one forever yours middleman, a couple with a child with lots of bags and baggage puja shopping no doubt, two auntijies with strawberry ice creams and then herself. Noh! No contender there.
On special days she missed Delhi. Not that her life would have been much different but well it would have been flamboyant, to say the least. She missed Lutyen’s Delhi with tiny hideaway eateries like Bercos and gastronomic disaster joint called De Pauls in CP, browsing through footpath publications in the colonial roundabouts, or Jan path with its wealth of junk jewelleries. She missed being a college girl again, with no dearth of admirers to satisfy her vanity. She missed the joyrides in one of their bikes around North Campus. Oh! The feel of air and the rush of adrenalin.
5:00p.m: She was on her way back and still no someone. Maybe he would be virtual. ‘He’? Where did that come from? Of course it has to be a ‘he’, she was quite sure. After all it was a special someone wasn't it?
She was quite irregular on the social networking sites. She would always have notifications pending and requests unattended. But one night, she just happened to check her pending friend’s request. Rejecting almost all she had accepted this one. It was the message which had caught her attention. It said ‘This is the third time I am knocking at your door, you cannot be knocked out for that long’. That too had been three months ago. She had instantly accepted. He had replied within seconds and the journey had begun. They would often talk for long duration.
5.45p.m: Today, throughout the day she had stayed connected with people, with wishes pouring out from every corner of her world. Friends, relatives, students, admirers but not him. Every time the phone rang and every time it sent out the message bell, her heart responded. But she had lost all hope now.
The anonymity of the virtual relation had opened the floodgates. But the facelessness often made her uncomfortable, so she could not really open up and the conversations would often run dry. But they liked each others company. She was still not a regular in the site, so they would often leave messages to keep in touch. What attracted her to him was his sense of humor and quick wit. She staunchly believed that men with sense of humor and wit were more desirable to women, than men with only good looks and peanuts for a brain. It was one of her core belief and criterion for rejecting many an admiring proposals. Of course she had to fight off the usual male attention concentrated solely on the libido but once that was settled, it was quite an unusual journey. Somehow she was in two minds whenever she weighed the idea of meeting him.
She took to reading one of the books she had bought but felt listless. The children were out for their tuition She decided to go out. She took her purse and walked out. She would go to a neighboring coffee shop and have some coffee.
10.30p.m Dinner over. Children in bed and night time solace. She searched for her cell. Had to make a call to her sister. She looked everywhere but could not find it. She rang her number from her land line ..it rang in her purse. She took it out in a hurry .Her heart beating fast. There were series of missed calls and messages. She started reading them one by one and found the one she had been dreading. 6.05p.m-‘Meet me at CCD Golpark in half an hour. Will be wearing a blue shirt.’ Then again at 7.15 p.m ‘where are you? Said the spider to the beeJ’. Then at 9.30p.m- ‘waited and waited and waited..Guess some other time. Happy b’day’. She stared at the cell. The words were blurred and invisible.