Shaantanu Khandelwal was not a man who was easily surprised. Or at least, a man who easily showed surprise. So, it should come as a great surprise to us and him especially when he found himself stumped by Khanak's words. That said, one could not argue that this was something new. He had been stumped quite a few times by our heroine's moments of mischievous boldness.
"Well, that's going to be a problem then," said Shaan feigning disappointment.
"Problem? Kyun?" said Khanak, playing along.
"Well, I can't risk our lives when my date won't be interested in the whole movie you see."
"Risk our lives?" said Khanak, clearly not following what Shaan was saying.
"Yeah. Colorado shooting ke baad London mein kuch ho gaya tou? Psychos ki kami tou nai hai duniya mein." said Shaan with mock seriousness.
Khanak couldn't help but let a laugh escape. Inwardly, she thanked it for it's timing for she had no witty reply for Shaantanu's comment.
After composing herself, Khanak decided to play along but divert the topic.
"So...aap apni date ko kahan le jaein ge?" she asked with an innocent expression.
Shaantanu was loving this new side of Khanak! He had a fair idea that she was friendly and easy-going but occasionally playful seemed to be another adjective he would have to enter in that list.
"Hmmm...how about a mid-day brunch? Would the lady like that?" Shaan asked.
"Doesn't seem like a bad idea," replied Khanak, mocking an uppity tone, "Where to?"
"What would the lady prefer?"
"Hmm...since we're out to see London, how about the Borough Market?"
"Jee hazoor. Aap ka hukum sar aankhoun pe," said Shaan and they both laughed at their own conversation.
When they entered Borough Market, Khanak steered them to Bedale Street and stopped outside Patisserie Lila. As they entered and found a place to sit, Khanak told Shaan that the market was London's most renowned food market. "Is mein bhi British heritage hai kya? Is that why this place seemed to lighten up your mood?" asked Shaan after they had ordered.
"Well, market mein tou British and international, dono cuisines milti hein but it's just that I love food and yahan aa ke tou I totally lose myself. The aroma, the cafe's and even dairy shops bhi..everything just brightens up my day for some reason." replied Khanak excitedly.
"So you're a foodie?" asked Shaan.
"Well...I don't eat a truck full but I love quality food. Khana acha ho tou mein almost kuch bhi kha leti houn! What about you?"
"Wow! Itne dinoun mein humare mein kuch tou similar hai. I absolutely love food too. Quality food and food which isn't swimming in oil" replied Shaan.
"Tab tou you'll love this place. In ke cheese cakes, pastries..sab kuch yum hota hai! And abhi lunch aye ga na tou you'll see ke kitna amazing hoga and it's not too heavy either. They have pretty light lunches," explained Khanak.
And while Khanak went on describing the speciality of the market and the different foodstuf one could find here, Shaantanu noticed that she had become animated while talking. Every other second she's moved her hand in one direction or the other. To signal something was amazing she'd make an A-okay sign by making a circle with her index finger and thumb whilst her other three fingers stood straight. When she talked about a favourite dish or hers she closed her eyes for a second, as if she imaged the flavour of the food on her tongue. It was a pleasing observation Shaantanu concluded- it meant she was slowly but surely being comfortable and free around him.
By the time the food came, Khanak had pretty much summarized all the good things about the market and Shaantanu had asked her about a few favourite dishes of his and whether he'd find them here.
"Of course!" was her reply and he extracted a promise out of her: she'd have to make him visit other restaurants to have those dishes later some time!
They dug into their food as soon as it came because it had been quite a few hours since breakfast, and they had been walking for quite sometime too. Shaantanu praised Khanak's choice of food and Khanak inwardly jumped at the compliment, which reminded her of something else too: her hand-made paratha that Shaan had had for breakfast and had liked! It made her blush, but thankfully Shaantanu was too busy with his food to notice it.
"Okay so tell me: how are you liking London so far?" asked Khanak.
"Honestly Khanak I don't want to put off your mood but such mein I'm the adventurer type of tourist. Ye buildings and all dekhna is not really my thing. I mean...I like it, but not in the sense ke that's all I want to do. I'm sorry I know you love London and the whole architecture, ambiance and culture thing but mujeh itna extensive shauk nai hai" replied Shaan.
"Uff ho...I know!" Khanak smiled, "I meant..London ka ye trip. How has it been for you? Overall."
"Oh that...well," Shaan started, giving Khanak a sly smile which she questioned with her eyebrows, "it's been better than I expected."
Brevity is the soul of wit, Shaan reminded himself of Shakespeare's words.
Shakespeare? Hmm..maybe Khanak likes him too! Literature looks like her kind of thing. Chalte phirtey quotes ki barish tou karti rehti hai.
At this point in time Khanak interrupted his train of thoughts.
"Better than you expected?"
"Haan, better than I expected," replied Shaan, the sly smile returning to his face.
"As in?" emphasized Khanak by enlarging her does eyes.
"As in..I liked it." concluded Shaan, remembering that "Brevity is the soul of wit."
"Shaaan...explain please. I think that's what I am trying to say."
Shaan thought about what to tell Khanak. Should this seemingly casual conversation take a slightly serious turn? Would it ruin the mood? But this was supposed to be a trip to discover ourselves, right? So why not do just that?
"As in...I was a bit worried at the start ke dad mujeh kis jaga bhej rahe hein...-" started Shaan.
"Kya matlab kis jaga bhej rahe hein?" interrupted Khanak.
"Matlab unknown people..and ek overly senti larki.."
"Unknown people? Overly senti larki matlab? Excuse me but-"
"Arrey baat tou karne do tum mujeh. Dekha overly senti," teased Shaan.
Khanak puffed her cheeks and allowed Shaan to continue while she tried to relax herself.
"Acha baba mazak kar raha tha. Nai ho tum overly senti. But I mean to say, I had just met you once and even though mein business trip pe tha I had to live with Chitresh uncle tou obvious si baat hai I'd meet you. And I didn't know what to say and it would've just gotten awkward." explained Shaan.
"Awkward? What about those letters? C'mon you can't honestly tell me ke even after the letters you didn't know what to say to me?"
"Kya matlab 'even after the letters'? Letters se kya hota hai? I didn't know what to say to you yaar,"
"Letters se ye hota hai ke you knew me at least a little more than the first time we met. And nonetheless, I didn't expect this from you." said Khanak, emphasizing on the 'you'.
"Matlab? What didn't you expect from me?" said Shaan, a little concerned now.
"Ke you can't even talk to girls," teased Khanak.
"Nai what nonsense. Of course I can talk to girls." said Shaan, frowning a bit.
"Haan wohi tou meine socha tha," Khanak continued teasing him.
"Matlab aap larkiyoun se tou baat karte hi houn ge tou koi dikkat nai honi chahiye aap ko,"
"Tumhein kya lagta hai mein larkiyoun se hi baat karta rehta houn? Aur koi kaam nai hai mujeh" said Shaan, a bit more on the defensive now.
"Haan na. Ab casanova image meri tou nai hai newspapers mein," said Khanak with mock seriousness, causing Shaan to re-invite the frown on his forehead.
Here's part 31 guys. As it turns out the London tour seems to not end here.
The part is short but I hope it's better than nothing. This was all I could manage right now. Sorry but hope you gusy like it. Shanak are finally starting to talk a bit more openly. Finally!
Edited by ABlank90 - 16 August 2012 at 11:45am