Another Weekend, Another Date
Saturday dawned bright and early. The last few days had been bleak and foggy, and when I awoke and felt the warmth that had seeped into my room, I got up and pushed the curtain aside to let the sun in.
It was my first entire weekend in my new house, and I was glad I had plans and wouldn’t spend all the two days alone in my tiny room.
I had a lovely breakfast of generously buttered toast, scrambled eggs, sautéed mushrooms and a mug of chocolate milk. I read the newspaper, savouring my leisure after a long hard week where most of my waking time not spent actually at work had been spent worrying about it. I turned the radio on and hummed along as I cleaned my room and washed my clothes. The place was too small for me to need a maid and I had resolved to do all my housework myself; so today I had the dirt and grime of an entire week to clean.
Housework done, I took a rigorous shower and dressed up to go to Divya’s. I had to walk up to the main road, which would normally have annoyed me after my hard work of the morning, but the sunny weather made me enjoy the walk as I hadn’t enjoyed anything in a long time. I ignored the cycle rickshaws standing in a neat line and decided to walk all the way, a distance of about three kilometres. I needed the exercise after a week spent sitting at my desk all day.
When I got to Divya’s – what had been my house till so recently – I stood outside for a minute for my panting to subside, and then rang the doorbell. Lunch was cooking. I smelled chole, and her mom stood in the kitchen frying large fluffy poori. Divya’s brother was settled in front of the TV.
“I thought you were packing,” I said, peeking into her room and seeing no evidence.
“Yeah, can you believe it, we haven’t started yet. I don’t even have any boxes to pack in. Mummy brought a couple of bags, that’s it.”
“That is not going to be enough,” I said, looking at the two small bags on the floor.
“I know!” she wailed.
“How about we go out and get some boxes? We’ll ask at the shop outside. That’s where I got mine.”
“Yeah, let’s do that. Can you imagine Veer hasn’t even moved a finger since he’s got here? He just plonked down in front of the TV and has been there ever since.”
I grinned at her brother, who looked up from the TV at the sound of his name and grinned back at me.
“Lunch is ready, beta,” Divya’s mom called.
After a lunch at which we stuffed ourselves, we all lay on the floor in front of the TV.
“I’m too full to move,” said Divya. “Let’s go out a little later.”
Veer had turned on some old movie and we all watched it, laughing loudly at the costumes and the hairstyles.
My phone rang. It was Vikram. I rushed to the balcony so I could talk in private. As it happened, we didn’t talk long. He merely said that he was at the PVR ticket counter, and asked if the 6 o’clock show tomorrow was okay. I said it was, and he said he would pick me up at 6. I gave him directions to my house and asked him to call when he got there.
I spent the rest of the day helping Divya pack. Her mom cooked us another generous meal in the evening, and afterwards Divya dropped me home.
I wasn’t sure of what to expect from my date with Vikram, given how he’d blown hot and cold in the past. Mandakini blabbered excitedly all day, but Miki wisely advised not getting my hopes up. I dressed simply in a black sweater and jeans and sneakers, and ran some kohl over my eyes. I had taken care to shampoo and condition my hair liberally, so that it would be less wild than usual, and I tied it back in a ponytail.
Vikram called, and I looked out of the window as I answered. I saw his car stop below. “Shall I come down?” I asked.
It was less awkward this time, maybe because it wasn’t the first time we were going out, or maybe because we both behaved naturally and more like friends than like we were on a date. The movie was bad, but we had fun laughing over the unconvincing plotline and melodrama.
“Let’s have dinner,” he suggested as we walked out of the theatre.
“Oh?” I acted like I hadn’t given a thought to dinner until this moment. “Where?”
“Where would you like to go? There’s a South Indian restaurant here, and one Chinese, and one Punjabi.”
“Chinese!” I cried. “We get Punjabi in office all the time anyway.”
We had a pleasant dinner. Vikram told me about his new project, of his work, of his career plans, of his dream of doing his MBA in the USA and getting a great job there.
“What about you?” he asked. “What are your dreams?”
“I don’t think I have any,” I said.
“That’s not possible,” he smiled.
“Well, nothing so grand as yours. I want to enjoy my work, I want to have a nice flat and a car, I would like to meet a great guy and fall in love and get married and live happily ever after.”
“Happily ever after? Is that possible?”
“I don’t know. I want to believe that it is.”
“Your dream seems grander than mine,” he smiled.
“I don’t know… is it? I’ve always believed it was possible. If it doesn’t happen – well, I want to be happy while I’m waiting, too. I want to – you know, have all the other things I just told you. Enjoy my work, have nice friends to go out with, have a nice home to come back to…”
“You already have most of that,” he said.
“Yeah, actually,” I admitted, “I guess my life isn’t that bad. I do what I want, live on my own…. I get a little lonely sometimes, but who doesn’t?”
He smiled at me again, and I gazed into those melting chocolate eyes.
“Gross!” whispered Miki.
I couldn’t have chocolate cake for dessert after that, and they didn’t have anything else that tempted me, so I picked off Vikram’s honey noodles and sat back and gazed at him.
We quibbled over the bill. “You paid for the movie, I pay for dinner,” I said. “That’s only fair.”
After some protest, he gave in. We walked out into the basement where the car was parked, and he held my hand lightly. Pleasant little shivers ran from my fingers up my arms to my shoulders and down through my body to my feet.
“Be careful,” hissed Mandakini. “You haven’t forgotten what happened last time, have you?”
“Of course not,” said Miki. “Anyway, I can’t ask him up to my room today. What will the family below think if any of them see us?”
I asked him to stop a little ahead of my house. When I looked towards it, I saw the house was dark.
“They must be out,” said Miki.
I turned to Vikram. “Would you like to come up and see my new place?” I asked.
Of course he did.
It was only after I unlocked my door and fumbled for the light switch that I realised there was a power cut. The street hadn’t seemed so dark because the sky was clear and starlit. Vikram and I both turned on our mobile phones for some light while I looked for matches. I lit four pebble-shaped candles and placed them on the window sill.
I took my heavy jacket off and draped it over the chair.
“Sit down,” I said, gesturing towards the bed.
We both did, our thighs touching.
“You know, you look even more beautiful in candlelight,” said Vikram as he drew me to himself.
We kissed with an intensity that seemed to appear out of nowhere, biting at and almost hurting each other in our eagerness. He held me close, and I placed my hand on his face. I grabbed his shoulder with the other hand, willing him to come even closer. He undid the first button of my top and slipped his hand underneath, below my bra.
I fell over on the bed with Vikram on top of me. We undressed each other quickly, feverishly, as if neither of us quite believed what we were doing. I drew the curtains and let the starlight fill the room.
He smelt lovely – aftershave and sweat mingling to form an odour that was all his own. I felt the rough calluses on his hand on my skin. I felt myself grow wet with desire and reached out and grabbed his butt to pull him closer.
He drew back and looked down at me. It had been a long time since anyone had seen me naked, but I was too horny to be self-conscious. He bent down and kissed my breasts, sucking my nipples until they were hard and tingling.
He discovered how wet I was and smiled with pleasure. I closed my eyes and moaned as he explored me with his fingers.
Mandakini was agitated. “Wait! You’ll regret it. What are you doing?” But she sounded very far away.
And then suddenly I opened my eyes.
“Do you have a condom?” I asked.
“Of course he doesn’t,” said Mandakini. “What did you expect, that he would carry one around in his pocket?”
Vikram sat up. I lay there for a moment, both of us silent. Then I sat up and hugged my knees, suddenly aware of my nakedness.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
“Don’t be.” I placed a hand on his arm. “It wasn’t like we had planned it.”
“I should have bought some,” said Miki. “I’ll buy some tomorrow so this doesn’t happen again.”
“What will he think of you if you keep condoms in your drawer?” said Mandakini plaintively.
Vikram put his arm around me and kissed me on the forehead. “I should go,” he said.
“Don’t go yet. Stay a while.”
He shook his head. “The family below will be coming home soon. They might see me leave.”
“It’s so nice of him to care for what my landlord with think,” said Mandakini.
“I can take care of them,” said Miki fiercely. “Why doesn’t he want to stay with me?”
Vikram got dressed and left. After locking the door behind him, I got back into bed and drew a blanket over my naked body. It was a long time before sleep came.