A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Posts Tagged ‘Love story’

The tides of memory

Posted by Pepper on June 3, 2015

Ever so often, I’ve wished I had penned down my love story on my blog in detail. Chapter by chapter. That was such a glorious period of my life. I love soaking in the memories. Maybe I will write about it in sequence someday. Until then, let me just write disconnected chapters. Chapters that come from memories that get triggered unexpectedly by events of my current life. I know I have mentioned this part of our story somewhere on my blog, but for my own reading pleasure, let me put it down here in detail.

****

December, 2006. I was in college. I  was planning to go to Bangalore for Christmas break with my girl pals. That included my BFF, her sister, my sister and ofcourse, me. Since the plan involved 4 people, we kept going back and forth with the travel dates. At that time, Mint who was in India for his annual vacation, kept calling me every other day. He was going to be visiting Bangalore around the same time and he kept begging me to try and coincide our travel dates.

Mint. He was a good friend of mine. A friend who was witty and sarcastic. He was bold and intelligent. A friend who would hit on me and tell me he liked me more as more than a friend. I knew it was all said in good humour. So of course, I would laugh. While I did think of him as a really good friend, I always knew he would forever remain in the ‘friend zone’. It would have been great to meet him in Bangalore and catch up, I thought. But if we weren’t able to coincide our travel, there was nothing we could do. Why did he have to sound so desperate and earnest? Like the world would fall apart if we didn’t meet. I told him I would try my best and left it at that.

Once I had finalised our dates, Mint reshuffled his own dates to match mine. Or so he claimed. I still couldn’t understand why he would do that? Why that urgency to meet me? Anyway, the four of us girls traveled to Bangalore. We were staying in my cousin’s house and having our own fun. My cousin had planned a Christmas party in her house on the day I was to meet Mint. Neither my friends, nor my cousin was pleased with the idea of me going out to meet ‘a friend’ on that day. I tried explaining to them how eager my friend had been to meet me. He was leaving Bangalore the next day. He lived in the US. So I didn’t get to see him often. After bargaining for some time with him and promising to be back in time for the party in the evening, I left.

Other than Mint, I was also supposed to meet S, a common friend of ours who had just moved to Bangalore. We were to meet at The Forum mall for lunch. S and I were dot on time. While the two of were hanging out, we started bitching about Mint for being so late! What kind of a guy shows up this late? Just as we bitching, he came. After giving a quick hug to S, he came and enveloped me in a big, giant bear hug that seemed to linger on forever. Although I was mad at him, I could feel his warmth and that made me soften.

Since all of us wanted to eat different things, we decided to eat at the food court. We chatted as we ate. It was a good lunch. Shortly after lunch, Mint requested S to leave so that he could spend time with me alone. I was horrified. Now, I know this guy always claimed to like me. It was all said jokingly and I always laughed. But asking somebody to leave so out rightly was rude! S giggled. She turned to me and said Mint had already told her he wanted to hang out with me alone and it had been decided that she would leave right after lunch. Umm, okay.

And then, we were alone. Since we couldn’t stay in the food court, we kept walking around the mall, trying to find an appropriate place to hang out. I remember Mint coaxing me to enter ‘Firangi Paani’, but I dismissed the idea because they had a big cover change and we didn’t plan on ordering anything. It didn’t make sense to pay for nothing. So we just kept talking and walking aimlessly. Until I glanced at my watch and realised the time. OhMyGod! I told him I had to rush back. I had promised my friends and my cousin that I would be back soon. Moreover, I had missed 4 calls from the BFF. She had also sent me two very angry text messages.

I kept telling Mint I had to leave and he kept begging me to stay some more. At this point he did something that took me aback and had me totally stumped. When I declined his request and said a final ‘no’ and told him I was leaving, he went down on his knees and folded his hands in plea! OhMyGod again. The mall was crowded and what the hell was he doing, creating a scene and getting us so much of undesired attention? I was embarrassed. People were staring at us. What a drama queen he is, I thought. He refused to get up until I gave in. I gave in, just to save myself from further embarrassment and stares. This boy knew how to have his way.

After walking around the mall some more, we found a quiet stair way connecting  two levels of the mall. It was silent and perfect for us to sit and talk. We sat on the steps. Conversation flowed. We spoke about his life in the US. My college life in Mumbai. His views on life in general. My views. And so on. It went on for a long, long time. Talking to him was so easy. Sometimes I would notice him just staring at me dreamily as I spoke. What, I asked. He kept telling me it was my eyes. They were arresting and it was hard for him to not stare into them. Right. Good dialogues, I told him. *Chuckles*. As usual, he was offended because I dismissed everything he sincerely said.

When we were both silent for a while, he pulled something out of the little bag he was carrying on his shoulder. “I got this for you”, he said. It was a tiny box. When I opened it, I saw in it a set of gorgeous earrings. He told me he had spent many hours choosing them for me. He made it a point to tell me that he “didn’t get anything for any of his other friends”. Wow. Why did he always treat me in this special way? And why did he want me to know that?

When I was quietly staring at the earrings, he asked me if I would mind if he put them on for me? Umm. I wasn’t sure. Would that be awkward? Instead of answering him, I told him we should go and find a mirror so I could see how they looked on me. With that thought, we tried to find our way back to one of the levels in the mall. We would find a mirror somewhere, we thought.

Instead, the door we got out of took us the parking lot of the mall. ‘Perfect’, Mint said. We can use the side view mirrors of all the parked cars. It was funny. We walked to the nearest car and both of us stood close enough to peer into the mirror together. I pulled out the earrings, and just as I was putting them on for myself, I had a change of mind. I decided to allow him to put them on for me. All along I told myself, I shouldn’t find that awkward. They are just earrings. Why would him touching my ear lobe be a sign of intimacy?

I told them he could put them on for me if he wanted to and his eyes lit up. He brushed aside me hair and put them on slowly and carefully. We continued to peer in the mirror. “Tell me, do you really like them?”. I swore to him I did. I really did. They were such gorgeous little things. “Thank you”, he said. When I told him it was funny he was thanking me after gifting me something, he said he was thanking me for allowing him to put them on for me.

Before I could respond, my phone beeped for the nth time. I had stopped answering my phone because I was too scared to tell my folks that I was still at the mall with my friend. I was supposed to be gone only for around 2 hours during lunch time. It was late evening by now. The party at my cousin’s place had begun. My friends were at her place and I wasn’t there myself, which was awkward for them. They were all furious. I knew I was in for big trouble when I got back. I told Mint I really had to leave. We walked to the exit together and he gave me another big hug before he let me go.

That day after the party, I had quite a fight with the BFF. She said we had planned our holiday in Bangalore together. If I wanted to keep disappearing to meet my friends, we needn’t have come together. I knew she was right and I didn’t know how to explain the inordinate delay to her. I just told her ‘my friend really didn’t let me leave’. She continued being mad at me. That was one of the biggest fights I’ve had with the BFF till date. Some years later when I introduced Mint to her as my boyfriend, her first reaction was “Oh, so this is the friend you ditched us for in Bangalore”. We still laugh when we think of it.

What brought this on? I was cleaning my jewellery box and I pulled these out. The earrings he gifted me on that day. I put them on and smiled as the rush of memories hit me.

Earrings

 

Posted in Blasts from the past, Splashes of Mint | Tagged: | 41 Comments »

 
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