There was never even a remote chance of we crossing our paths but then as fate would have it, we met. It’s not that we met when we ‘met’ for we had been meeting for quite sometime, albeit not in the real world but in the virtual one.
Like first time lovers, the place was set for the rendezvous. I knew she would be there but then didn’t have any clue how I would be able to recognize her. Going by the description of her, which we had managed to exchange over the months, I was quite confident that I would be able to recognize her. No, there weren’t those first meeting rituals like carrying a red rose in our hands or for that matter any other colored ones. The level of confidence was at such high that we just decided upon a place and the time without going into the nitty-gritty of the kinds or colors of the clothes we would be wearing.
In spite of heavy morning breakfast, the butterflies in the stomach were still finding ample space to flutter their wings. Even if we had known virtually everything about each other like she was tall and fair, the deal was such that we would never ever exchange the photographs. The deal hadn’t been broken since. At first, that didn’t seem a fair play after knowing so much about each other but then the thrill or the suspense had become exciting. Once, I remember, when she had asked me about what I looked for in a girl. I had told her, no matter how clichéd it sounded, that “I don’t care much about physical appearance but more for a heart of gold”. Since the photographs hadn’t been exchanged, trying to visualize, how she would look in person, had become one of the most favorite past time of mine. I was quite confident that the same was with her, hopefully.
‘Dressed to kill’, that is how I would prefer to describe the clothes I wore on that day. I left home for the place where I would be seeing her in person for the first time. It would be a white lie if I were to say that I was not trying to project myself more than what I actually knew I was. “First impression is the last… “, this famous overtly used quote had been lingering in my mind ever since we had finally decided to meet.
As the wait for the first encounter began to unfold, the jitterbugs became more jittery. “Was she the one, no way she didn’t even remotely match the description that I had received” the monologue continued with the sight of every female. Suddenly out of the blue, a lady, presumably in her late thirties, came marching right across me with a smile on her face. As soon as she uttered, “Hitesh?” heaven help me, I cried loud to myself. No way this could be her, I did not know what made me say that but I knew I said that to myself and I could not lie to myself. For a moment I stood comfortably numb!
‘Hey what’s the matter, Hitesh?’ I was suddenly brought back to my senses. Now that the person whom I had been waiting eagerly ever since was right in front of me. I knew I could not runaway, I was left with no options but to acclimatize with whatever altitude ‘I was standing at that moment ’.
Slowly but steadily the conversation began to gain momentum. Sitting on the lush green grass we began to talk about every thing under the sun. As the time ticked by I was beginning to sense that ‘Yes, she is the one’. The doubt over whether she was the real one or not, was slowly drifting away. I was wondering why couldn’t I dare ask her why she had lied me about her physical appearance. I must confess that I too had provided her with some exaggerated physical appearance of mine. I had told her that I was a tall guy. It’s just that the urge to add a few inches to whatever my real height had gotten better of me. I knew very well that my friends nicknamed me kaale. But I had told her that I was very fair. And to add further dimension to my personality, I had shared with her my liking for Stayjit Ray classics and movies like Gone with the wind whereas I was religiously watching the bollywood flicks and listening to Nabin Bhattarai everyday.
It must have been about half an hour or so when she finally excused herself, saying she would be right back. I, on the other hand, was left to myself feeling ‘don’t-know-what-to-feel’.
Meanwhile my head was beginning to burst for the very reason that I had been duped, made out a complete fool, but more than that I was beginning to question myself as to why I had portrayed myself in a manner which I wasn’t in the real world in the first place. Why so much of effort on my part to project myself as mister perfect when it came to opposite sex. Hypocrisy was taking a toll on me, for I had been forcing myself to believe that beauty is skin deep, and there I was, completely irritated with myself. There was almost nothing wrong with the way the lady spoke, she was warm and very friendly.
Then a few minutes later a young beautiful lady in early twenties, on whom my eyes accidentally happen to fall upon was seen staring, almost gaping at me, with a smile on her face. With her mesmerizing look completely overawing me, she slowly rose up from the side chair where she was sitting and began walking towards me. ‘Now what next…’, I asked myself. I knew I already had asked many questions to myself like never before that afternoon.
“So then you are Hitesh”. At first I could not fathom what she was trying to say to me but then suddenly a completely different thought occurred in me. Almost instantly, the gut feeling became so overwhelming that I knew this was the person whom I was looking for and the earlier lady was just a prankster acting on her behalf. I was completely dumbfounded and didn’t know what to say after having undergone a completely different experience just a few minutes ago. She indeed was the one.
Ordering some cold coffee, we sat on a table near by. All the while she was just smiling, and as I was about to say something, though I can’t recall now what it was that I was going to say, she scribbled something on the tissue paper from the holder that lay on the corner of the table. As I turned around to collect the glasses from the waiter’s tray, I saw her sliding the paper towards me.
The note on the paper, in a clinically arranged Arial like ‘fonted’ handwriting, read: “I knew well before that no matter what you have been saying over the months, I knew you were always wrong. PS: Somewhere deep down within us, there’s a hypocrite. ”
While she disappeared, the hypocrisy left me reeling over. I for one always though that I was always said what I felt. It was the motive, motive to impress, that had carried me away and the hypocrisy, the pretense hiding somewhere deep beneath had come to the forefront.
As I watched her walk by, definitely no taller than 5 feet in spite of desperate efforts of the high heels, the words began playing in my mind “why do we pretend, why do we lie”, I knew I could straight away turn a lyricist.