Riya was waiting for the lift to go up to her apartment on the eighth floor.. On any other day she would have preferred the workout of climbing up the stairs, but today she was dead tired. She was ready to hit the sack even though it was only 8 in the evening. The week was particularly too hectic. College semester practicals had started and so had the exams of the students she taught at the coaching class. Standing all day was a habit for her as she efficiently managed to do her college practicals, which required her to stand for long hours and then went on to the coaching classes she worked to add to her pocket money.
Her parents had shifted to Pune last year and though she pined for her mother's company, she did not want to change her college in the last year of her degree. Today all she wanted was her mother to open the door and greet her with hot piping food. Instead what was awaiting was a locked door and a packet of maggi which she would boil and have as dinner..
The lift came down to the ground floor. She entered and was about to close the door when someone stopped it. She had never seen him before.
"Sorry, I was in a hurry to reach home." he apologized. He must be in his mid twenties she thought but he had boyish charm. He was taller than her and a tone darker than her. His well built body spoke about his passion for fitness similar to her.
"It's alright. Which floor?" she asked.
"ohh the 8th floor" he said.
"Are you new here?" she was suddenly getting interested in him.
"Yes, I m here for an official assignment. Mrs Gupta is my aunt.So I m staying in her apartment. You too stay on the 8th floor or visiting someone?"
"Yes, I too stay on the 8th floor.Here we are.."
He opened the door for her and let her walk ahead.
"By the way, I m Amit. What's your good name?"
"I'm Riya. "
"Ok.. See you around sometime then. Bye"
He had locked the door by then. Strange.
She looked back a few times while she was opening the door. Nothing..
She had her maggi and soon retired to bed..
The alarm was ringing too early.. How long had she slept?? She forcefully opened her eyes, trying to adjust her pupils to the brightness emiting from the cellphone..
It was a call.. She switched on the lamp. It was 11.30 in the night. It was an unknown number.
She picked it up.
"Yes, who is this?"
"Amit.. your next door neighbour."
"Oh yeah yeah...Anything urgent?"
"Nothing urgent.. I was craving for a kulfi.. You know any ice-cream parlor nearby?"
She was thinking, this man is seriously mad!! Craving for kulfi!! I thought only pregnant women get such unreasonable cravings!! He was calling me at this hour to ask about an ice-cream parlor!!
"Hmm.. There's one at the end of the lane to our building.. Zero degree ice cream parlor. You will get it there maybe."
"Oh thanks a lot.. Since you helped me out with this one.. You deserve a treat too.. Come on get out of the house.. Anyway I needed company."
"Thanks, but no thanks. I m sleepy and I really don't need an ice-cream at this hour."
"Hey come on, have some fun in life girl! Get and let's get going.. Please you have to come.. I request you."
She muttered under her breathe.. He is crazy!! But somehow she knew he wouldn't stop till she agreed. Never she was never going to go.. She didn't even know him!! Who knows what kind of character he must be having.. She was full of personal doubts about him when she found herself opening the door and putting on her slippers.
He was standing at his door..
HE smiled at her and didn't utter a word till they reached the ice-cream parlor.She thanked her stars for that.
Once in the parlor he ordered kulfi for both of them. She was not particularly fond of kulfi but neither was she in a mood for further debate... She wanted this to pass...
Surprisingly, Amit was quiet.. He seemed to enjoy her silence.. He spoke in between about his work and asked about her college... He was talking gently unlike his childish "I m craving for kulfi" self.
She was getting comfortable with him now..
They walked back home in peace.. She was enjoying the night.. It had been long since she was out at this hour and it was so serene now...
As she reached her door she said,"Thanks for the treat."
"Oh never mind. By the way cute night dress"
She turned red in the face!! What the hell!!! She was out in that parlor with him in her skimpy night dress!! She wished the earth to crack and bury her inside.. This was insane!!! How had he not made her realise once of her appearance ?
She rushed home and locked the door, her heart still beating fast... How could she be so senseless?
She could hardly sleep.. IT had all been so beautiful.. Had he looked once below her face, she would have immediately known ... Damn him!!
Early morning she was beginning to sleep when a thought struck her..
"I had not given my number to him..How did he get it?? How??"