She had just sat down with her cup of coffee when the phone rang.
“Hi, darling… No, I’m not home, I’m out in the mall… What’s that? There’s so much noise here. You can’t imagine the crowd! It’s like the whole city is celebrating the weekend in this place… Not alone, sweetie, I’m with my friend Pratibha…. Yeah, she called up and suggested going shopping. I was getting so bored at home, I thought it was a good idea. There’s a new bookstore here – a huge one. I had lots of fun browsing through books… Don’t worry, I only bought two books… We’re sitting in the café now.
“How has your day been? Ah, you’re going for that movie! Have fun, sweetie.
“No, don’t worry, I’ll be careful to go home before dark… Yes, I’ll leave soon… No, she doesn’t drive either, I’ll take a rickshaw. I’ll SMS you when I get home, don’t worry!
“Yes, bye, have a great time!”
She placed the phone on the table and took a sip of the delicious coffee. Then she noticed that Shantanu had a quizzical look on his face.
“Don’t look like that,” she said.
“I’m surprised,” said Shantanu. “I took you to be an honest person.”
“I am,” she sighed, “as far as I can afford to be. But I can’t just lock myself in my house all the time and not talk to people. My boyfriend is the kind of guy who has a fit if I tell him I’m working on a project with only male colleagues. If I tell him I’ve been to buy vegetables, he’d probably ask whether I went to a sabjiwallah or a sabjiwalleeh.”
Shantanu shook with laughter, indignation forgotten, while his friend calmly finished her plum cake.