Posted: 05 December 2007 at 12:54am | IP Logged
HEARTBEAT, HEARTBEAT WHAT DO YOU TELL ME NOW?
Crickets sang in the bushes, a cool sea breeze swayed the plam tree tops, faint sounds floated in the air from nearby Morisco as Angad and Kripa stood still, lost in their own thoughts!
Kripa's mind was numb, lips tingling, heart racing as she shivered slightly, hugging herself as she thought…..he kissed me, he actually kissed me and I didn't stop him….deep in her heart she had wanted him to, she realized. Her first kiss……..
Angad was agitatedly running his hands through his hair……[shes so innocent, it was too early, too soon, but I couldn't help myself, now what if she shuts herself out on me because of this!] He turned abruptly and saw Kripa shivering in the night air, the tremor on her bare shoulders. He quietly took off his jacket and put it around her shoulders.
Kripa looked up at him in surprise ……Angad just gently said : "thand lag jaayegi, chalo andar chaltey hain, Kripa.
Kripa silently walked back with him to the restaurant.
Just as they were walking in, Mishti came out talking to her mother on the mobile: " Haan Mama, hum abhi nikal rahey hain….Don't worry, haan Baby mere saath hi hai, hum dus minute mein pahunch jayengey, rooms mein pahunchtey hi I will call u, Okay, Bye Mama!
It was 11:15 and Naina was calling to check up on her daughters. Mishti saw Angad and Kripa come in through the doors….." Oh there u are, achha hua tum dono yahan aa gaye. Chalo Kripa, Mama worry kar rahi hai. Thanks, Angad!
She grabbed Kripa's arm and ran to the shuttle that was just pulling up outside …….Angad called out after them….Goodnight Mishti …..(softly) Kripa"
Mishti: (looking back at Angad and smiled) ----G'Night Angad, tomorrow same place?
Angad: I will be right here waiting for you!
Kripa's heart thumped loudly when she heard him say that!
Angad stood at Morisco's double door, waiting, willing Kripa to look back at him once in goodbye……."if she looks back, that means everything is alright between us" he thought…."please Kripa look back just once"
Just before boarding the shuttle, Kripa paused with her hand on the door handle and turned to see that face again, the face she knew would haunt her dreams that night! He was standing at the door gazing longingly after her, their eyes met, he waved at her, she half-smiled and boarded the bus.
Suddenly she realized that his leather jacket was still draped over her shoulders, embracing her like his arms. She turned to call out to him but the shuttle had already started moving away from Morisco.
Mishti asked her as she sat down: Arey yeh to Angad ka jacket hai…..
Kripa: Haan wo bahar thand thi isliye Angad ne……
Mishti: Koi baat nahin, kal usko wapas de dena….kal to mil hi rahey hain ussey.
Mishti turned and gave a secret smile. Things were proceeding exactly as she had planned. She had made that excuse abt her purse to leave those two alone together for some time. Looked like it had worked, judging from the expressions on their faces as they walked in., something must have happened……..Kripa's face had been flushed with color, Angad looked bemused as if hit by a brick.
From the first night, Mishti had noticed Angad was interested in Kripa and for the 1st time, she had seen her little sister react to a man so strongly. Mishti was delighted……..at last her sister was behaving like a normal 20 year old girl……showing interest in a guy instead of being buried in her paints, books and music.
Ever since Kripa had turned 18, Mishti, who was 5 years her senior, had tried to fix Kripa up with guys, trying to make her go out on dates with her own boyfriends' brothers, cousins, friends…..kripa wasn't interested. Mishti dragged Kripa to parties, introduced her to nice young men, expecting her to dance with them…….Kripa just stood in a corner sipping a cold drink and refused all offers to dance….her excuse was she didn't know how to dance.
Mishti enrolled Kripa in jazz and Ballroom dancing classes, Kripa quit after a month saying she sprained her ankle. Mishti even tricked her once into going on a double-date with her boyfriend and his brother….but Kripa just sat there quietly eating, drinking and listening to Mishti and the 2 guys!
Initially the guys would be interested in her……after all she was a very pretty young girl, but after a while they lost interest as she didn't show any interest in them…….they usually got tired of her monosyllabic answers, her silence and absolute lack of enthusiasm in a relationship! Boys in Mumbai expected a girl to come halfway which Kripa wouldn't! As a result, Kripa hadnt had a single boyfriend so far which really bothered Ms.Social Butterfly Mishti. She herself had been going steady with Kartik Aggarwal, son of Papa's friend Mr. Aggarwal. Kartik was doing his MBA in Chicago and as soon as he graduated he will return and they will get married so Mishti was set for life! But her sister hadnt even had any flings yet!!
So far no guy had been as persistent as Angad in pursuing Kripa, so Mishti thought he was just perfect for Kripa for a little holiday romance. Mishti didn't expect them to get serious or anything, just a little harmless flirtation, maybe a kiss or two and then bye-bye to Goa and to Angad! Mishti herself had a fling with a Delhi boy last year on the Malaysia cruise …..it had been great fun while it lasted but after coming back she had spoken to him only once on the phone! Mishti thought kripa was like her........... she was mistaken!
Kripa was lost in her own world, she unconsciously snuggled into his leather jacket, burrowing her face in the thick lapels…… it smelled of leather and HIM……a clean, manly essence that she savored. She closed her eyes, remembering the same essence on his breath as it had touched her upturned face, when his lips had brushed over hers! She slowly licked her lips, tasting his kiss, still feeling the warmth of those firm, full lips on hers. Her heart pounded with a strange thrilling sensation as if she was coming alive for the 1st time!
When they reached the suites, Mishti called Naina and both girls said goodnight to their parents on the phone, promising to meet them for breakfast the next morning as they were hardly seeing each other.
Kripa went to bed with the jacket by her pillow, her fingers touched the smooth leather, caressing it as she smiled dreamily…….remembering her first kiss and savoring the message her heartbeat relayed to her. She touched her lips with her fingers, feeling the softness……did he find them soft too? She wondered, blushing in the dark. She remembered his shallow breaths as he had turned away…..so he had been affected too, she thought with a smile as she went to sleep!
December 17, 8 a.m.
Mishti was yelling and banging on the bedroom door!
"Kripaaa utho jaldi se……ready ho jaao…..Mama-Papa ke saath breakfast per jaana hai na ----nau bajey….abhi aath bajey hain……Kripaaaa , Kripaaaa…
Kripa turned sleepily in her bed, groaning in protest! She hadnt slept properly thru the night……a handsome face kept appearing in her dreams, breathing close to her face, kissing her cheeks, her lips….she had woken up many times, her dreams looked too real!
Kripa finally got up: Okay…. Main aa rahi hoon , sleepily yawning, she opened the door.
Mishti: Kya baat hai, kal raat ko theek se soyi nahin kya? Kitni der se bula rahi hoon" (she smiled knowingly)
Kripa (rather angry at Mishti's early morning joviality): Subah subah itni chilla kyun rahi ho? Soney bhi nahin diya.
Mishti: Subaahh!! Pata hai kitney bajey hain? AAATHH!! Aur nau bajey breakfast ke liye jaana hai, chalo ready ho jaao"
Kripa grumbled : Tum to kal barah bajey tak soti rahi, mainey toh nahin jagaya tumhey?
Mishti : Kal ki baat aur thi, aaj ki baat aur……aaj breakfast per jaana hai aur phir Mama ke saath humein shopping jaana hai"
Kripa: Shopping?? Per mera painting?….
Mishti: Painting dopahar ko kar lena….
Kripa: Lekin dopahar ko light and shadow effect theek nahin rehta!
Mishti : Okay Baba, U stay here and paint all day. Main aur Mama shopping per chaley jayengey. Ab khush?
Kripa: Yeah... you both go……kaun si shopping ke liye jaaogey?
Mishti: Yahan resort ke bahar sheher mein bahut achhey antique stores hain…..hum wahin antiques khareedney jayengey apni business ke liye.
Kripa: Ohh That's great, tum bahut enjoy karogi….
She knew Mishti and Mama both loved antiques and bric-a-bracs and could spend hours at antique stores. No matter where they went on vacation, they always visited the antique stores and bought lots of rare pieces and artefacts which they then re-sold to their clients!
Mishti and kripa had breakfast with their parents at the Seashell restaurant where they caught up with updates of what each was doing. Naina and Dilip asked Kripa abt her painting which she said was going great. Naina asked kripa to go shopping with them, Kripa refused that she had to complete her unfinished painting.
After breakfast, Dilip went off to play golf with his friends, Naina and Mishti dropped Kripa off at the Suites ….
Naina:" Kripa apna khayal rakhna, hotel se zyada door mat jaana, yahin paas hi mein painting kar lena"
Kripa (annoyed): Mama main ab bachchi nahin hoon, I can take care of myself, u 2 go and enjoy!
Naina and Mishti left for bargain-hunting for antiques.
Kripa took her easel and paints and went to the parapet wall again…..it was a gorgeous day again, sunny, bright with magnificent views of the sparkling sea, roaring waves crashing against the rocks below!
Kripa worked on her half-finished painting for more than an hour…..it was almost finished when she again became aware of being watched……she knew who it was, without even turning, she said "Hi Angad"
Angad walked upto her, laughing silently at her instinctive knowledge of his arrival.
Good Morning, Kripa! Kaisi ho? He asked.
Kripa turned to look at him, he looked slightly tired (good, she thought, he hadnt slept well either)……his hair was all messed up from the wind (she suddenly had the urge to run her fingers thru his thick hair), he was wearing a blue jogging-set today.
Kripa replied : Main theek hoon! (Angad noted the belying shadows under her eyes and smiled at her sleeplessness)
He looked at her painting: Lagta hai you are almost done with ur painting.
Kripa: Haan its almost done, abhi thodey last minute touches deney hain….
Kripa started giving the finishing touches to her seascape, adding brush strokes here and there. After she was done, she stood back and tilted her head, studying the light and shade effects and judge the final outcome.
Angad also looked over her painting. He suddenly reached out and pointed out a spot amongst the rocks that she had missed shading properly. It was a spot where the waves were frothing and crashing against the rocks in her painting!
Kripa was amazed…… he was right…..she added the strokes there completing the effect.
Then she turned to Angad: Lagta hai aapko kaafi kuchh pata hai paintings ke baarey mein……kya apney art classes liye hain?
Angad: No no its not that….darasal mera ek dost hai……Arvind naam hai uska, Arvind Deshpande, URF Stalin!
Angad: Haan (he chucked) ….apney aapko socialist samajhta hai! Waisey toh ameer baap ka beta hai….college mein mera room-mate tha……2nd year mein padhai chhod dee aur painter ban gaya. Ab yahin rehta hai paas mein. Pahad ke upar ek village hai ….beautiful scenery…..tum dekhogi toh pagal ho jayogi….an artist's paradise, wahi per rehta hai aur paintings banakar tourists ko bechta hai….Portraits bhi banata hai…
Kripa: Very interesting character…..Stalin…. I see (she laughed)
Angad: Haan very----kabhi le chaloonga tumhey uskey yahan if u are interested?
Kripa (enthusiastically)….Of course, aur main who village bhi dekhna chahungi jo itni sundar jagah hai…..
Angad : Absolutely……Beshaq.... it's the most beautiful place here in North Goa….pahad, samundar, old Portugese churches, white buildings set on hilltops looking down on sea-cliffs and rocky coastline….
Kripa looked on dreamily at his romantic description of the little village….she was eager to go there.
Kripa : Kya wahan bahut se artists rehtey hain?
Angad :SURE! At least 80 percent of all Goan artists live there and paint their stuff!
Kripa: Toh main wo jageh zaroor dekhoongee! Le chalengey mujhey?
Angad: Zaroor, kyun nahin? Kal chaltey hain? ( he smiled, delighted at the success of his hard-selling tactics)
Kripa happily replied: Okay Kal chalengey, pakka!
Then she suddenly asked him: Aap college mein kaun si subject padhtey the?
Angad: Main Civil engineering padh raha tha. I graduated last January.
Kripa is totally shocked now…..she would have never dreamt that he was an engineer.
Kripa: Aap Civil Engineer hain?
Angad : Haan, degree mein toh wahi likha hai (laughing )
Kripa: Toh phir aap….aap… (blushing)….aap hotel mein…..
Angad: Main hotel mein gaana kyun gaata hoon? Sab Papi pet ka sawaal hai ( he laughed again in self-mockery) Actually the problem is….mujhey college ke liye kaafi loans leney padey……aur abhi tak koi achhi naukri nahin mili, isliye yahan resort mein gaana gaata hoon band ke saath…..kharcha bhi chal jaata hai aur khushi bhi milti hai logon ko anand dekar!
Kripa: Aap kya bahut dinon se is band mein hain…..Goa Boyz mein?
Angad: Haan, 7-8 saalon se main unkey saath gaa raha hoon. Theyre my oldest buddies!
Kripa was really interested now! She wanted to know all about him, he was such a fascinating man, such a unique person, civil engineer by profession, singer by choice…..she had never met anyone like him before!
She looked at him admiringly! Angad was enjoying her interest in him now, her probing questions, the admiration in her innocent, guileless eyes! Those eyes could rarely hide any emotion, they were very expressive and revealing of each inner thought.
Kripa: Aap yahan resort mein kitney dinon se kaam kar rahey hain?
Angad: Pehley zyadatar summer, fall and winter vacations mein karta tha, tab university ki padhai chal rahi thi…..ab full time yahan kaam karta hoon!
Kripa: Aap yehin per rehtey hain?
Angad: Haan, resort waalon ne mujhey staff quarters mein ek room diya hai but I have my own house in the town nearby.
Kripa: Your own house? Do ur parents live there with u?
Angad (suddenly abrupt) …..My parents arent here anymore……
His face changed suddenly from joviality and humor to anger and sadness! It was as if a shutter fell over his friendly, charming smile and a dark gloom descended over him!
Kripa noticed this change, she realized he didn't want to talk abt his parents!
Angad abruptly changed the subject: Kripa tum mere saath abhi Lunch per chalogi?
Kripa was taken aback at the suddenness of his question:
Uhhh Okay I will….. She said. (she thought abt her mom and Mishti but then she remembered they were lunching outside in town and had asked her to eat at the poolside restaurant!
Angad grinned in delight at her acceptance and said : main abhi change karkey aata hoon adhey ghantey mein….phir dono saath chalengey, okay?
Kripa agreed smiling, then she suddenly remembered: Ohhh Angad……aapka jacket! She took the jacket from under her art supplies. She had brought the jacket alongwith her ….somehow she knew that Angad would meet her again at the painting spot!
Angad's eyes glinted at her with amusement and something else: Tum woh jacket yahan le aayi ho? Kya tumhey pata tha ke main yahan aaoonga? ( he quizzed her)
Kripa (blushing) ….Wo mainey socha …..ke aap…..
Angad went close to her and put a finger on her lips……she trembled again at his nearness! She looked up wide-eyed at his piercing look, eyes that searched her soul again, she wondered if he would kiss her again but he just looked at her lips and said softly: I Know tumney kya socha tha aur bilkul theek socha tha…..hum dono ki soch ek jaisi hai…..( he looked longingly at her lips, his eyes told hers how much he wanted to kiss her right then but he couldn't)
She blushed, her lips trembled under his finger, he moved his finger and put it on his lips suggestively with a slight smile…….then he took his jacket from her nerveless hands, turned and left, saying over his shoulders : See u soon, Baby!
Kripa reddened again but not in anger…..he had called her baby again but not in the same tone as her family members did……this was different, with another meaning. She moved to the parapet with trembling legs and sat down on the low wall to wait for his return.
Why did he always leave her blushing, flustered and breathless?