I've been working at my office for over 10 months now. And all this while, I've been observing people closely. With this series of posts, I will start talking about the various interesting characters I come across at work. I meet some on a regular basis and some on rare, precious occasions.
My first post in this series is dedicated to a boisterous lad who speaks his mind unabashedly. I've rarely seen him without a tie. And he only ever wears shirts of the finest quality. (Folks, trust me on this! I've stared at so many shirts by now that I can inspect the weave of the fabric without having to touch it.) His name contrasts his personality, but I know now that he has another layer underneath the one he shows me. This episode filled me with peace when I lived it, so I've decided to share it with you.
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He braked his bike and called out "Oindrila . . . Oindrila . . ." from across the road. I mostly acknowledge such screams only to make them stop. I turned, not bothering to hide the annoyance on my face. I was stumped! And pleasantly so. He was supposedly one of the handsomest young men in our organisation (this isn't me talking) and perceptibly very arrogant (as I had observed on various occasions). He told me he would drop me home. I protested mildly, but he was insistent. I started crossing over to his side of the street to avoid the attention our conversation was fetching from the onlookers, and to say a proper "no". As I walked, I couldn't help but be amazed at the situation- this was the same guy who once went around telling his colleagues he'd stop wearing a shirt if he ever saw another guy wear the same one (and you thought only girls behave like that!); and here he was . . . waiting on me. Before I could say a word, he buckled his helmet, tilted his bike toward me and said firmly, "Come. Let's go."
Now, I always walk back home because my place is a stone's throw from my office. But I thought to myself, "Sure. What the hell! I'm not doing anything immoral." As I climbed behind him I admired how far I had come . . . from being a bespectacled schoolgirl in my college-days who everybody presumed was studious to trotting about in dark heels and making heads turn (alright, alright... I'm losing my mind here. But I'm allowed some vanity considering how self-deprecating I've always been). The next few lines go well with the music I've embedded here. So, please play it before you proceed. The background score will only enhance your reading experience.
He asked me if I was "all set" and we set off to a smooth start. He would keep looking behind to make small talk with me. (This reveals a lot as to how most road accidents occur.) He told me then that he was planning to put in his papers and leave for his home for good. (No, you did NOT hear my heart sink!) I asked him where "home" is, and he told me of a beautiful north Indian union territory, quietly nestled between two states blessed with endless meadows, farms that touch the horizon, a sun that always shines and clouds that never fail to pour and yield a bountiful harvest. He revved up and proceeded to tell me where his parents were from, but I couldn't hear him over the roar of the engine. I said we could talk after I got off. Just then he unbuckled his helmet with his right hand and swung it over his forearm in one swift move, balancing the bike with his left hand. He turned, smiled, and assured me I'd hear him better now. I was horrified! I admonished him to put the helmet back on, but he was adamant. He grinned and spoke some more about his college. Despite the breeze, I was in no mood to admire his spiky black hair with traces of grey. (I know! He's only a year older than I am, but his age is starting to show already. :P)
The ride finally came to an end as the bike halted in front of my gated complex. (Was it just my imagination or did I see smoke come out of the tyres? Nah! It was probably just the dusty road.) He softly tilted his bike to the left so I could get off with ease. (This is by far the best "getting-off-a-bike" experience I've ever had.) I thanked him and bade him goodbye. He wore his helmet and waited for me to enter my building before whizzing off. I stopped in my tracks as I suddenly realized I hadn't told him my address. How did he know? I smiled to myself as I waited for the lift. I thought it best to forgive his "homework" (*cough* "snooping") in light of the chivalry he displayed that evening. After all, he did make me feel valued, if only for a few minutes.