That night, was her night. I was lost somewhere in the grand crowd of eager faces, each of whom smiled for her happiness and comfort. I did too. It was an evening like today. The musty breeze seemed to be my only companion. I had come wishing for her happiness, but in that crowd, I had found myself to be terribly lonely. It was only the bride's face which was familiar. Rest were unpleasantly strange. My imaginations were running amok. Someday, in near, yet distant future, I shall also adorn a pedestal much like her's. To a sprawling acreage of lush greens, I shall also be the shimmering queen.
But for that day, I was lonely. In the unending multitude of heartbreakingly unfamiliar faces, I only had the naughty breeze for company, which also devoted attention to tickling the ribs of small bright lanterns suspended from each tree in the magically illuminated garden. That naughty, musty breeze might have remained my only companion had fate not been in a playful and yielding mood.
Tired searching for a soul warming cup of coffee from the mad array of exotic delicacies competing for attention, I could finally locate a near empty table which seemed friendly enough to accommodate me. I did notice a lone male figure occupying the seat across my own, but that his features would be breathtakingly gorgeous, I had not expected. Had I even meekly expected, I would have stayed away. A dreamy romantic and a hapless single are a lethal combination for a girl who suddenly finds herself in such a titillating zone. Boredom also plays its role in necessitating a leap of heart in thinking "now begin the bright times".
Was I crazy when I shared the first smile? I promise, I did not do it knowingly. His beaming, spotless face evoked a smile in my heart, which promptly ran to my lips. He smiled back. Effortlessly. No, eagerly. This, because, as I later realized, he was my male counterpart at feeling lonely in the deluge of people. Like me, he knew no one else. Like me, he had no company. Like me, may be he too needed someone like me. Yes!
The conversation began with pleasantries. It moved onto polite inquiries. Name. Occupation. Weather. Food. Ambiance. The bride. The groom. The match. Back to occupation. And then, inevitably, life. Why I said inevitably? Because a part of me told me it would. He had small eyes, hidden behind rimless glasses, which became smaller when he smiled. He never stopped smiling. Consequently, my once sombre face too, did not stop smiling. Worries about reaching home early dissipated into the cold air as I concentrated on how dapper his black suit over a black shirt looked. Did I say dapper? Casually graceful would be more like it.
I am not a shy talker. I must've been talking a lot. I might have said something which made him remark- "You know, sometimes, its just fair that we count our blessings. Those lines of worry which crease your face will disappear in a nano second then." I did not know why he said this, but that is when I kind of came back to senses. What seemed titillating till now was seeming genuinely nice and warm. There was something about his happy countenance; he made me want to smile. It sounds mad, but it also made me want to show my sadness, for he seemed like someone who could still make me smile. There was an enormous amount of positivity radiating from him. What most soothed a nervous girl's heart most was that he was not being kind to me. He prized my chance company as much as I did his'. And this I know, because he was not interested to even look up when bride and groom readied themselves to command attention from each pair of eyes as they exchange the garlands of sacred flowers. He would have much rather continued the conversation, but I did not want to miss one of my favorite rituals from a traditional Hindu wedding.
I stood there, watching them lovingly garland each other. I loved the clandestine glances stolen. I loved the delirious applause filling my ears. I loved seeing her turn red as he claimed her hand back into his. I loved all this, and yet, I wanted to get back to that one conversation which I knew would ease me through the dreariness awaiting with open arms at home. Somewhere, in the middle of that celebratory commotion, I was commanded to head to the gate. My car awaited me. It was late. And I am a girl. A nervous tingle on my spine saw me running to the gate after saying a quick and polite bye. Nervous. I did not think of it earlier, but how many people had seen me laugh and joke and talk with this virtually strange guy in this crowded, yet lonesome place?
On my way back home, I felt silly for feeling all that I did. Sweet silly. I felt grossly silly for not knowing why I did not exchange numbers with him. We had clicked decently well, it would not even have been awkward. No regrets, facebook is the great savior of today. All I need to know about anyone to permanently invite him into my life is his name. I knew his'.
At night, a night like today, with chill pricking at my bare arms, as I sat with facebook friend finder open in front of me, I decided against 'finding' him. He was the perfect stranger. Straight out of books and poems I had read and fantasized about. He will only remain the perfect stranger if I abandon my pursuit. Meeting new people, good people, people who survive only as fond memory, is a dreamy concept in retrospect. I like the dreaminess of it I closed that chapter there. Now I only revisit the pages when the blur in my memory turns inviting.
PS-Few days back, he 'added' me. I cursed facebook for interfering with my dreams from the past. Did I add him too? Well, I still am a nervous romantic and a hapless single. Should I?