Sameer was totally confused. He went about doing his work like a robot. He had to get back home. He had to sit and think, clear up the confusion in his mind.
Sameer filled out his half day leave application in a trance. Thankfully his boss sanctioned his leave without asking too many questions. Sameer hurried out of his office so that he could take a cab to reach home. His actions were that of a desperate man.
As soon as he reached home he flopped on the sofa and let his mind free to think out what had been happening in the last one month. He had completed his MBA and later joined this multinational company. It was a well paid job and the work was interesting. His colleagues were very helpful and he settled in his job with ease.
His office was located in a mall and so lunch was never a problem. The food court where he had lunch was always crowded. A climb down the escalator and he would reach the vast food court which offered a variety of foods from various countries. Lunch was like an experiment for him as he tried out different cuisines. His colleague, Lisa always joined him for lunch and he had gotten used to her company. It was on one of his lunch expeditions that he had seen that girl. She had passed by him to cross over to the other table. Her perfume had mesmerized him.
Lisa was sitting across him chattering away and he had kept on nodding, not actually listening to her. He could not take his eyes away from that girl. Who was she? He had seen her for the first time. There were quite a few offices located in the mall and most of the staff usually had lunch at the food court. Sameer knew most of them by face, but this girl was new. Maybe she had come to the mall for shopping and was having lunch. Or maybe she was a new employee in one of the offices. It was only when Lisa tapped him on his hand that he awoke from his reverie. Lisa thankfully, had not noticed his interest in that new girl. They both finished their food and rushed towards their respective departments.
Sameer had too many deadlines to meet. He had to attend two meetings too. It was only in the evening when he was leaving for home that the girl’s face flashed across in his mind and he was reminded of the waft of her perfume. His parents were pressurizing him for marriage since last month but he had kept on postponing the idea. He was hardly 24 and he did not want to marry so soon. At college many of his friends had fallen in love and were married now. But he had not felt any special feeling for any girl, so far. But, today it was different. He had felt attracted to that girl. If the girl had come for shopping then he could very well forget about seeing her again. He felt depressed and sad that his momentary attraction would end like this.
It was only when he happened to see that girl again the next day at the food court that his hopes enlivened. Surely, she was an employee at one of the offices. He felt quite cheerful at the thought. She looked young, but didn’t look like she was newly out of college. She must have been working somewhere else before joining here. Today Lisa was on leave, and Sameer was enjoying the chance of glancing at the girl again and again. Suddenly, the girl looked back at him and smiled. Sameer was so shocked that he had been caught staring that he barely managed a nod. She had a great smile. Sameer felt even more attracted to her. He just couldn’t stop thinking of her. He had to approach her. Maybe tomorrow he would casually make acquaintance.
The next morning he just couldn’t wait for the lunch hour. At the stroke of one he rushed to the food court looking eagerly across the table, searching for the girl. Where was she? After a quick glance, he realized that she had not come in yet. As he moved the food across his plate with disinterest, he heard “Hello isn’t the food tasty?” Sameer instantly turned towards the girl and felt his heart beating loudly. She was even more beautiful up close. He barely managed to speak up words of invitation asking her to join him at his table. She readily agreed and started a conversation. Sameer couldn’t believe his luck. She was quite talkative and went on telling him all the things he wanted to know. Almost all the things………
She had joined recently in one of the offices in the mall. She was earlier working with another firm and had joined here for better prospects. Sameer felt that she was maybe older than what he had thought. He guessed her age to be around 26 or so. He too joined in the conversation and enjoyed every bit of it.
This tête-à-tête continued for a couple of weeks. Sameer’s attraction for Saumya (that was her name) had not faded but in fact grown tremendously. He felt more close to her than to any girl in his life so far. Maybe this was love. He eagerly awaited lunch time everyday and hated the weekends when he couldn’t see her. Lisa had called in sick and had gone on a month’s leave. He was getting to know Saumya and falling more and more in love with her.
Must he propose to her? It was while he was thinking of all this that the world came crashing down upon him. It was the regular lunch hour and Saumya was sitting across him eating lunch and chit chatting. Her cell phone starting ringing and she started digging in her purse for it. She spoke fervently on the phone and suddenly her face lost all colour and she turned pale. After disconnecting the phone, she told Sameer that her son was sick and she had just now received a call from the school. She also went on to tell that she had to take her son to the doctor. She added that her husband was out of station since last month and wouldn’t be coming for another month or so. Sameer just stared at Saumya in a state of shock. Saumya did not notice the expression on Sameer’s face, as she was worked up herself and needed to rush to the office and take permission for leave of absence. She hurriedly waved goodbye to Sameer and walked out of the food court. Sameer felt like his life had come to a sudden halt and he felt waves of shock pass through him as he saw Saumya walk out of the food court and his life.
He had not seen her after that day. It was two days now and Sameer felt totally depressed. He had to go and see her at least for one more time. Surely, she was on leave or he would have seen her at the food court. Lisa was due to come back tomorrow. His mind floated images of Saumya and he felt a wave of regret. She was married with a 12 year old son! He had made a wrong guess about her age. She must be around 32 or more. But she looked so young and youthful. Now that he thought about it, she had never made any physical advances or flirted with him. She had always been nice and polite to him. In fact she treated him like a kid and showed concern and care. Now that he recollected, she had even asked him about marriage plans. All the while he had not bothered to ask her whether she was married or single. He had conveniently assumed her to be a young unmarried girl. It was totally his mistake. Once, in his life he had felt so much love and affection for a girl, and the girl was married with a child. How was he going to come out of this depression and self pity?
Why was he behaving like a love struck teenager? He was independent, holding a good job, with great future prospects. Surely, he would find a nice girl to marry and live his life with. He had to forget about Saumya and the attraction he felt towards her. She was married and out of his reach. He would be friends with her as she was truly a nice sweet person. He had to come out of this predicament of love and start living his life. With this positive thought, Sameer walked across the room to open a window and let in the breeze to soothe his nerves. His future with many more opportunities was waiting for him. He just needed to look. There was no point in trying to reach out for the rainbow.
Life had to go on and ‘when one door closes, another one opens……’