I had always dreamed of going for a movie with the love of my life. My dreams involved watching a beautiful movie while holding each others hands, eating popcorn and may be even share a 5 star bar!
I never thought my dreams would come true and certainly didn’t imagine it would turn out like this.
Half the people at the theater, instead of watching the screen, they were looking at both of us. I couldn’t blame them. They were surprised to see a Chinese looking guy, with a modern city girl coming to Kolar town to watch a Telugu movie.
My back was beginning to ache, because I was trying not to lean back on the chair lest the bed bugs climbed on to my shoulder from the chair. For the same reason I didn’t want to touch the arm rests either.
I turned to look at Beautiful Eyes.
He was almost laying down on his seat! and when he saw me looking at him, he pointed the screen and whispered
“Watch the movie”
I wanted to smack his head.
Watch the movie! What does he think? Didn’t I tell him that I don’t speak Telugu? What was there to watch when I don’t understand a thing?
I felt something like a pin prick on my arm.
Oh my goodness. The bed bugs must have come out of their hiding places and are already biting me.
I checked my arm. Under the dim light inside the theater, I couldn’t see anything. I rubbed my hand as hard as I could, hoping I could smash all the buggers that are trying to suck my poor blood!
Then I heard Beautiful Eyes laughing and I turned to look at him
He was looking at the screen and laughing.
I was getting really annoyed with him. Annoyed by the fact that, he could enjoy a movie in a foreign language, while I who could speak more languages than him couldn’t.
Our eyes met and I quickly turned my head
I didn’t want him to point the screen and tell me again to “Watch the movie”
From the corner of my eyes, I could see him shifting his body this way and that way and I knew without a doubt that the bed bugs got him!
Serves him right! I thought
That is when I saw his hand reaching out to hold mine.
He has held my hands so many times before. Mostly when we cross the road or climb the rocks. I didn’t know why he decided to hold my hands at the theater. But when he held my hand, Even though we were in a lousy theater , sitting on a chair that had springs poking through the damaged cushion and the air was stuffy and smelly, I felt a sense of togetherness. That he is mine and I am his and we are in this together!
May be that is why he took me to watch a Telugu movie. Because he knew, you don’t need a bottle of wine and a dozen roses to make someone feel loved!
To hell with the bed bugs. I leaned back on the chair and decided to watch the movie.
“So how was it?” He asked me as we waited for the crowd to leave the theater.
“It was beautiful. Thank you for taking me”
“You are welcome Nina” He was grinning like a little child who won life supply of Cadbury’s dairy milk chocolate!
“You are still crazy” I told him. That was the truth
“Still in love with you”
“Get lost” I replied
He started to laugh and I knew he was laughing at me.
“Come, let us go” He held my hands and we walked out.
“Hungry?” He asked
“No, but we have to hurry. Hostel gate would be closed at 9.30”
We walked towards his bike that was parked near the restaurant. There weren’t may people on the road. Someone was washing the floor in front of the restaurant. There was a single auto at the auto stand and the driver was looking at us with hope. I knew he would be counting on charging us double rate! One look at us and he would have known that we are not from the local area and he could demand the price and he knew we would be forced to pay.
“Boss, Auto?” The driver called
“No” Beautiful eyes shook his head and spoke. He pointed the bike to the driver.
I could almost see the disappointment on the driver’s face. It felt good. Auto drivers like him have been fleecing customers like me by charging double rate and triple rate and this rate and that rate for a normal journey. These drivers act as though they were the kings of Indian roads and demand a King’s ransom to travel on their vehicle. Today I didn’t have to. My boy friend owned a bike.
I walked with my head held high.
The hostel gate was locked by the time I reached back
“Gangamma” I called out
I could see Gangamma running down the steps
“Oh Nina ma, why are you so late? Princy and the Warden were looking for you” She whispered as she opened the grill
“What happened Gangamma?”
“They came for Spot check! Warden took the attendance and found that you are missing”
“I told them you went to the hospital, but they didn’t believe me”
I looked at Gangamma trying to see what was going on
“You know what Nina ma, Princy thought he is smart. He send mess boy to the boys hostel to see if Arjun sir is in the campus”
“Pricy thought you were with Arjun sir! I tried to tell him that you always go to the hospital to see the patients in the evenings. They didn’t believe me.”
“You know how many times I tried to explain to them? They thought Gangamma is not educated, She is stupid, so no need to listen to what she says!”
“Then what happened?” I asked her
“the mess boy came and told him that Arjun sir is at the hostel”
Gangamma was grinning happily.
“Thank you Gangamma” I gently tapped on her shoulder and quietly walked to my room. For once I didn’t feel guilty of two timing Arjun!
Friday evening I packed my bags to go home. I had exciting news to tell Amma. I wondered what her reaction would be when she hears the news?
I didn’t want to follow Arjun, so I waited at the library. The moment I saw his bike leaving, I walked out to the bus station.
It took almost an hour to reach back home and I got off the bus near the temple. My bag was heavy with all my books and dirty clothes that I brought along to wash at home. Just as I took the left turn to the street in front of my house, I looked up. I could see Amma standing on the balcony. She was taking a deep breath.
By the time I reached the gate, Amma was standing near the top of the staircase
“Where were you? Why are you this late? I was worried sick wondering what happened to you”
“huh?” I looked at her.
“Nina, you can’t do this to me. You know I am growing old. I can’t keep worrying about you like this”
“What are you talking about Amma?” I asked her. Amma worried about me? For what? Although I was annoyed listening to Amma’s whining, it was nice knowing that she did worry about me!
“last week you came at 5 pm. Look at the clock. It is almost 6.30 pm. I was standing on the balcony and looking at the road from 5 o clock!”
“oh! Sorry Amma.”
” Can I go inside? My bag is heavy and I have good news for you”
“What good news?”
Amma was still standing at the top of the stairs. She was wearing a long orange colour nighty and I felt I was standing in front of the pathiri for confession
“Can I go inside?”
“Oh! Go inside” Amma moved to the side to let me in.
“What good news?” She asked again
“Amma, my throat is dry, can I have some tea”
“tea ninte Ammayi appanodu chennu chodikku(go and ask your father in law)”
“ok. You can ask him for the news too” I dropped my bag on to the floor and walked to the kitchen. There was a steel glass full of tea on the gas stove. I took it and walked back to the living room. Amma was sitting on my bed
“I am going to Dubai to visit Appa“
“oh pinney” She nodded her head as though I spoke the biggest lie on earth
“I am serious Amma. Appa is letting me.”
“No way. He doesn’t let me visit him. No way Nina, no way he would let you visit him”
“He is Amma. I bought the ticket already”
“Where did you get the money”
I didn’t want Amma to know about Beautiful Eyes, I didn’t want Amma to tell George about him. I was afraid of George getting Beautiful Eyes arrested on trumped up charges
“Arjun. I borrowed the money from Arjun”
Amma didn’t say anything for a while. I drank the tea slowly
“Maria should have gone first to Dubai. After all She is the oldest”
“Why don’t you go and ask her” I got up from the chair. I hated Amma for tying to make me feel guilty. She always makes it sound like I have taken Maria’s inheritance like Jacob did to Esau!