As she sat down, she wondered, Milan ehh, how come nobody told her. The waiter brought the menu cards and Milan was engrossed in it. Â She knew what she would order and waited for him to pick his dish, meanwhile she sized him up. For a malayali guy, he was above average in looks, bordered on being handsome, tall, wheatish complexion, a lean face with a sharp nose.Â
He glanced up to look for the waiter, instead caught her looking, maybe even staring at him. Asha quickly looked away and there was the faint trace of a blush on her cheeks. He smiled and called for the waiter. When the guy came to get their order, Milan indicated Asha to go ahead and she promptly ordered egg noodles. Milan looked surprised and told the waiter,” Make it two and also one gobi manchurian please.”
Why does this man say please for everything, but then it doesnâ€™t sound like he is making it up. Is he a good actor or is he like this always? Her mind was incessantly asking a hundred questions and she was struggling to keep a straight face. Sheâ€™d come prepared for this, the question that all men inevitably begin a conversation with â€“ â€˜so, tell me about yourselfâ€™, she had already thought out what and how she would answer this. But why isnâ€™t he asking me anything!
As soon as the waiter left them alone again, he looked at Asha and asked,â€ How come you are early? I thought we had fixed the time for 1.00â€ with a cute boyish smile.
Uh oh. Now what. What would she say? Make something up or just tell him the truth? Her mind suddenly told her that if she was early, so was he.
â€œIt looked like youÂ reached earlier than me.â€
â€œWell, to be honest, I didnâ€™t want to make you wait for me in case you happened to come early.â€
That struck a chord in her – only her dad used to do that to her. If she asked him to pick her up at 5.30, he would ensure that he reached well before 5.15 and wait for her, just in case she wants to leave early, but cannot because her dad is not there. She had always found the gesture sweet and frankly did not expect anyone else to be like that. But here this guy is; what does he think of himself, of me, what does he want of me, does he really see a future with me, her mind started questioning again.
â€œMaâ€™am, would you want to order a drink?â€
The waiter was back and was interrupting her thoughts, talk about timing! Without thinking anything more or even glancing at the menu, she asked for a nimbu paani so that she could return to the comfortable realm of her mind; but then she remembered, she was here to make conversation with another person, not with her own mind.
â€œSo Milan, tell me something about yourself, what do you do for a living?â€
â€œI thought youâ€™d never askâ€ he seemed excited to talk about his job, â€œI am into advertising and we deal with some of the big brands back in the US. It is such a different market when compared to India and us a very exciting place to live in.â€
â€œOh, you do seem to like your job a lot.â€
â€œLike? I love it!!â€
Would you let me do the work I love, in case we decide to get married? As if overhearing her conversation with herself, he continued, â€œYou know, I believe every individual who is put on this earth has a particular purpose, a particular calling. You need to find out what it is, and pursue it no matter what. If you donâ€™t chase your dreams, who else will?â€
Wow. I like the way his mind works. Does he really think like this, or is he just trying to talk big big things to try to impress me? Her mind was churning out questions after questions. If only it would just shut and listen, if only it would her peace for some time and let her be 100% in this conversation with this guy.
The waiter came over with the steaming food and two chilled glasses of fresh lime juice.Â