Time waits for no one, nor does love.
The afternoon chatter settled under the warm sun following the aftermath of the lunch session that seemed like how the teachers used to compliment their classrooms as – fish market. The temperature in the city was hitting new limits, especially in a place where everybody claims to have the coolest temperature compared to many major places where people usually work. The background was involved in the world of its own. People were setting up the stage for an quarterly talent event, be it singing, stand up, well, in basic terms the artistry of the person. Akhil was one of the judges while auditioning and he was very much looking forward to this day, may be it had something to do with someone being participating.
It was almost part afternoon and pre evening, as the sun slightly hid behind the clouds and the trees embracing most of the warmth, people started gathering around near the stage for the talent show to begin. Akhil being the great singer that he is which was the reason from being one of the panelists for the auditions, was invited for a special song appearance. But unfortunately for the people around who missed his melodious voice, he had to leave early that day as he had certain prior commitments. And in the process he missed two things : His special appearance and that someone’s dance.
Mirza and her team adorned a blue attire with golden flower embroider were next in line for the performance. Akhil had already left by then, Neil and a few others were awaiting eagerly for the performance to begin. And their number did come eventually. There she was among the group of four, leading and meeting all the steps in perfect sync and with perfect ease. Akhil’s someone was also present among the dance group. Neil was standing in the crowd and enjoying the dance with the rest of the folks. Only that he wasn’t able to hear the music playing out loud, or the claps and whistles that people around him were expressing as a way of encouraging the performers; and moresoover, there were no people around him, they started fading away the moment he saw her. It was the middle of the song, while Neil forgot the concept of time for a while. There was huge crowd by then and even louder cheer, almost subsiding the song from the music speakers. But all hear Neil could hear was the breaths she took, the tap on the floor, the occasional clap of the routine.
The song ended though the crowd wanted to shout, “once more” but they knew that the wish won’t be fulfilled. The competition was already delayed due to some unforeseen circumstances, and it was almost time for that particular shift people to leave, which involved almost half the crowd at that office campus. There was a prize distribution slightly after their performance, while Neil who was adjusting being back to the normal world, and his gang settled down. Ofcourse Mirza’s team won a prize slowly after which they dashed to go back home.
Neil’s friends aka colleagues were pestering him more to take the first step. They seemed more interested and excited then Neil. But perhaps what they didn’t know was, he was even more interested but scared as well. The next couple of lunch time was involved in finding a place close to the dance group, but that was pretty much it. The colleagues would pester a little again asking Neil about when he was going to make the first move. If he didn’t control these guys, they would have talked to her on behalf of him. Perhaps, Neil had already carved out a plan on how to make the move, and perhaps, he didn’t wanted his colleagues to ruin it. The plan, his plan was yet to be set in motion. May be he was looking for an auspicious time for the stars to align, or just the right moment. Meanwhile, they synced their lunch and tea breaks, for obvious reasons.
A few weeks passed by and that auspicious moment was perhaps yet to come. Meanwhile, the whole of Neil’s office members was gathered at the cafeteria almost close to the tea break time, since it was the ideal time to people to gather and then head back home at the next shuttle out. While they were busy gathering, setting up the cake for the farewell of a colleague and signing the Greeting card wishing their colleague all the best for his endeavors, there was a familiar set of people approaching the cafeteria with another cake. It was a different group of people, different project people, ofcourse, but the familiarity in the faces were those of the dance group. The general assumption was that one of their team mate was having a birthday and this cake was for that very reason. Little did the closed group of Neil’s knew what was happening on that side of the cafeteria. In the mean time, the cake was set, the wishes exchanged, the greeting card handed over and the cake was cut. While Neil and co. were enjoying their cake, another cake was cut on the other side of the cafeteria. It was business as usual afterwards. The immediate business was having a coffee and tea. Neil and co. went their way to have the coffee, while the other colleagues went back to office to indulge themselves back to work and status calls.
A few days have passed and then a week later, everyone among the Neil and co. found something missing, actually they found someone missing. They were now a bit curious so as to where Mirza was (Neil’s potential, fully qualified, approved by his friends future partner). The curiosity was put to an end when they realized that the day they gave farewell to their colleague, there was another farewell going on on the other side of Cafeteria. They then realized that they didn’t hear anyone singing “Happy Birthday” from the other side as most of the people were more concentrating on that side than this.
It was the last Neil heard of her, or was it?
( To be continued… )