It was Saturday afternoon and it must have been in early September or so, because the weather was still cloudy. The Sun was a rare site at that time. She wanted to try out drinking, so we decided to go to a famous restaurants in suburban area. We were expecting it to be a little crowded it being Saturday but we were fortunate enough that we didn’t had to wait. “A table for two” I said to one of the staff entering the cafe. The first appearance if it was of a medium sized hall with a high ceiling. Big portraits of rock artists from the 60’s, legends of industrialisation in India and even some freedom fighters could be seen hanging from the red and brown painted walls, desperately trying to tell the 150 years long history of the cafe. The crowd there was a mix of Indians families and foreigners. Going further in I could see the counter towards my right which was too crowded with the staff, the kitchen door from which a person came out every minute and the stairs to first floor at the far left corner which was guarded by security. The waiter who was walking in front of us guided us towards the stairs. The security guard then removed the chain blocking the entrance to let us in. I had only seen it happening in the movies before that. I looked at her and I could tell from her smile that it was her first time too. On the first floor the ambience was totally different then that of the ground floor. It was dark, there were no portraits on the wall but the CD covers of the famous albums of the Beatles among others. The paint job was such that every CD cover looked like it was connected to all other CD and was transmitting dark coloured, square shaped waves along the wall such that the farthest wave was the darkest. Music was a mix of rock and trans and a disco ball was rotating over the bar counter. She was amazed by everything there like a kid going to a fair for the first time. The crowd was mostly couples mostly Indian and a few foreign so we were feeling a bit more comfortable here.
I spotted two seats on the bar counter itself. It being her first time for drinks, I decided to make it a bit more special and asked her if she wanted to move there. She nodded with her smile of excitement. By now I knew what each type of her smile had to say. There is a smile for our first meet of the day, one for the last goodbye everyday. There is one for the stupid jokes, and another for the surprises. I always felt happy whenever I could make her smile so the selfish part of me always tried to keep her happy and my expressions always followed her reactions. Anyways this was one of the very few days when both of us were in the mood for drinks. I ordered a pint and suggested her a mix of vodka and black chocolate so that to make it a bit smooth. We were both talking about rather not important stuff as all the couples do while sipping on our drinks. Suddenly out of nowhere, she asked me, “Will we get married”?
She had me by surprise there. The answer was easy as I had no doubt in my mind about marrying her but still there was so much to discuss before I tell her that. For the first few moments, I was figuring out a way to show her the grave realty of the situation. I was thinking of discussing about the differences between my family and hers. That how our families have so many dissimilarities in the way that they talk and think and the traditions, which she will have to follow when she is with my family. I knew that she despised all that. But I also knew that she will do it anyways, just because she loved me too. I was going to tell her that the journey ahead was not going to be an easy one, but i also knew that she is the only woman that I will think about getting married to, ever.
I looked at her. I realized that I have spent a lot of time thinking about it. She was desperately looking for an answer in my eyes. I knew instantly that just saying yes will not do justice to her. This question had been in the air for some time and we, especially me, I had to answer it honestly. She needed me to answer it, to reassure her that what she had been feeling was real. For me this was a serious question, this may just be the life changing factor for me. I knew that it needed to be answered in a way that she will find it to be real. She must not think that I am just saying it for her sake. I needed her to know that I really wanted this to happen. I decided to show it to her instead of just saying so. I kept quiet and kept staring at her eyes for a while.
It had been a few seconds now. She was constantly looking into my eyes but didn’t find anything. She thought that I have nothing to say to her. She felt stupid for asking such a question. She thought to herself that this was not the right time for ask such a thing. She was feeling a bit high at that time but she still was in her senses. She knew that she will be able be handle whatever I had to say. She was mostly worried that the answer is not going to be anything good. But when I didn’t say anything altogether, which made an impression that I am not yet ready to answer the question or maybe even worse, that I don’t feel the way she does. She looked away from me, took her drink in her hand, gave away a crooked smiled while looking at her glass. It felt like she was contemning our relationship. And then sadness took over her. She felt betrayed and thought about controlling her feelings; that if I am not even considering marriage, then she should also not think too far ahead. She knew that I had feelings for her. But now she also knew that I am still not at a point where I can be sure about our future. She gulped a large sip from her glass.
I was still looking at her. I could easily make sense of her doleful expressions and it was hurting me. I could just not see her like that. I momentarily felt that I am ruining the best thing that ever happened to me. I felt even more pain when I realised that I am the one hurting her. At the same time I was getting more and more confident about my love to her and about the fact that I definitely wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. An idea instantly came to me. I didn’t know if she will like it but it was the only way for me to convey my true feeling to her. I picked up a tissue paper and started rolling it to make it look like a stick. Then I held one end of the tissue made stick between my middle finger and my ring finger and from the other hand wrapped the stick around my ring finger to give a circular shape. I tied a knot with the ends of the stick so that to make sure that the shape will remain that way.
I held her left hand in my right hand a bit lower so as to hide it from the others. She was least interested in touching me right now but still she didn’t resist. She looked down at me holding her hand. I took my paper made ring in my left hand and slowly slid it in her ring finger. Her eyes were immediately brightened. I could tell that she was blushing. Now I was constantly looking in her eyes for the answer. When she looked at me, a familiar smile appeared on her face. I kenw her answer then.