Stories Apne Apne by Raj Deepali Pandey

“Best childhood memory?”

“Watching Malgudi Days with family.”

Impressive, she thought. She realized that she had something in common with this man who was polar opposite to her. The rapid fire session was going on well.”

“Most awkward situation in life?”

“Singing ‘I wanna f**k you’ by Akon loudly in front of my parents without knowing the meaning of the F word. I was in 4th standard.” He gave a notorious smile and resumed slurping his KitKat shake.

She cackled, in such a hysterical way that the occupant at the next table, a man in his early 40’s, gave her a contemptuous look for over 5 minutes. “Really, you must have got a life lesson to never sing any song before anyone without knowing the meaning of all the words used in it.”

“Yes, that glare from my dad was enough to tell me that something was terribly wrong with the song, and later I found out. Mom probably didn’t know the meaning. Next question please.”

“Okay…. ummm… your first….. kiss?” She spoke the last word hesitantly, ready to apologize if he didn’t like the question.

“Kiss is a very generic term. Do you mean a peck, a soft lip lock, or a passionate smooch?” His eyes had a spark of mischief.

romantic couple
Source: Psychology Today

“I am not going to delve deeper in the specifications. This was meant to be a rapid fire session, it has turned into a detailed discussion.” She replied indifferently, trying to hide her envy.

“Okay, it was in 7th grade, with Sukriti, that geeky classmate of mine.” He tried not to stretch the subject, so as to avoid the slightest possibility of any future fights.

“First heartbreak?” She murmured silently, sipping her tea.

He took a deep sigh. “Two years back. I felt that I didn’t get the respect I deserved in a relationship. I felt inferior and lost my self- confidence to a great extent in that one year of so- called love.”

She felt guilty, and her eyes were fixed on the ground, unable to gather the courage to face him. “I’m really sorry.” “It’s fine,” he spoke in a low tone with a smile on his face.

Two minutes of silence followed. Breaking the ice, she moved to the next question on a lighter note. “Your favourite fragrance?” She asked in a chirpy voice.

“Calvin Klein Cool Water.”

“No, not the bottled perfume, I mean, any fragrance, smell, or aroma you love, which gives you a pleasant sensation. The aroma of the Chinese cuisines being prepared, or the muddy smell of the first rains….”

“Petrichor is the term for it.” He flaunted his vocabulary skills.

“Thanks for polishing my knowledge of etymology. However I was well acquainted with the term.” She smirked.

“You are making a great progress at linguistics, my company proves beneficial to you.” He teased her. “In any case, I am not a hopeless romantic like you. I don’t have any fetish for some random fragrances.”

“For having some favourite fragrance you don’t have to be a hopeless romantic. All you need is a healthy and unblocked nose.” She took a jibe at him, giggling at her own sarcasm.

He loved it. He just loved the way she laughed like a carefree soul, he loved everything about her that brought him close to her. Lost in the moment, he whispered “Do you really want to know my favourite fragrance?”

“Yes.” She stopped giggling, looking at his sudden change of behaviour anxiously.

He came close to her, smiling in a coquettish manner. “I love the smell of freshly coated nail polish which a girl wears every week. I love the aroma of rajma chawal which she cooks and brings for me every Sunday when I crave for some home made food while living away from my home. I love the fragrance of the fruity shampoo lingering in the air when winds blow her freshly washed hair. I love the fruity fragrance of Prada Sugar Candy Pop perfume which she wears. I love each and every fragrance that she brings along with her or which reminds me of her.”

With a tint of pink on her cheeks and a smile on her face, she lowered her eyes and questioned him, “And who is she?”

“You had your share of questions, now it’s my turn.” He gave a mischievous smile and reclined back on his chair, enjoying her impatience.