After exchanging a few glances here and there, we finally met at the bar counter again.
“Hey,” I said, and made the first move. Alcohol definitely kicked my shyness away that night.
“Hello,” he replied in a lyrical tone, and ran his long fingers through his messy brown hair.
“What?” He asked through gestures as I kept looking at him. I was feeling like a creep but I just couldn’t control myself. He was a very handsome man.
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“Vikram,” he replied, stressing on “V”.
“Accent”, I thought, and went quiet.
“What are you doing here?” I heard, and felt a jerk on my neck. My drunken friend came to the counter and wrapped her hands around my neck.
“I am gonna miss you so much,” she said.
“I am in the middle of something,” I said, and signaled her to go away.
“One large vodka.” She shouted, took a shot, and went back to the dance floor.
The song changed to a loud rock and roll dance number, and I started moving my head with the beats.
“Are you from Bombay?” He leaned closer, and asked. His warm breath brushed against my ear, and I felt ticklish.
“What?” I yelled in his ear.
“Are you from Bombay?” He yelled back.
“Why are you yelling?” I yelled again. “I am from Delhi but have been working here for a while.” I replied.
He didn’t say anything further. I was dying to hear something. Anything. Just to feel his breathing on my ear one more time.
He didn’t show much interest in talking to me which really got me interested in talking to him.
“I am leaving,” he said.
“So early?” I gestured by tapping the dial of my watch.
“I have an early day tomorrow.”
“I am Taara. Always remember my name.” I said, for no reason.
“Alright,” he said, waived, and left. He didn’t look back, even once, and I wondered; “why?”
That was the first time I hit on a guy, and I wasn’t able to catch the slightest of his interest. I felt weird. I could suddenly connect to the pain that guys go through on regular basis.
Anyways, I hit the dance floor again. It was my last day in Mumbai. I had taken another job in Bangalore and my flight was early morning the next day, in a few hours. I had to report to my new office sharp at nine.
“Sorry I am late,” I said, while entering the induction room. It was ten minutes past nine, and I wasn’t that late, but being late wasn’t my thing so I apologized.
“Hello Taara,” someone said in my direction while I tried to unzip my bag to take out my laptop.
The hello sounded familiar and my heart skipped a beat. I looked up. It was Vikram. He was my supervisor at the new office. God, I felt embarrassed.
“Hi,” I greeted him awkwardly. Then I noticed the ring on his finger which I failed to notice while he was running his fingers through his hair.
The awkwardness between me and him continued for months. I kept the conversations with Vikram formal, and only work related. I really hated myself for flirting with him in the bar.
Whenever our paths crossed, I looked down. I used to change my way whenever I saw him coming in my direction. I was always worried that he might misinterpret my stupid flirting for something else.
On the last day of my first project, the whole team went out to celebrate the launch of new software.
I stood at a corner after the dinner got over, and waited for the taxi. I saw Vikram walking in my direction.
I looked around to find another place to stand and wait for my taxi.
“You don’t have to run away,” Vikram said and stood next to me. I tried to fake a smile.
“Are you comfortable with your profile?” He asked.
“Yes, I really like it.”
“Feel free to reach out to me in case you need any help.”
“Sure sir,” I replied.
“Call me Vikram.And ease out. It’s all cool,” He said with a smile, and walked away.
“Call me Vikram,” I repeated, and copied his accent.
As days went by, the awkwardness passed too as Vikram and I became friends. It was a stupid dumb mistake, didn’t mean anything after that night.