A Budding Romance
“Rahul… Naam toh suna hoga” said he, holding his hand for her to shake. She let out a tiny smile and took his hand. An SRK fan. This one will be fun to talk to.
“Simran”, she said.
“Yes really. I was born in the 80s and my granddad named me Simran much before Aditya Chopra had even thought of DDLJ”
And that’s how it had started…
Simran met Rahul at Madras Cafe in Matunga, Mumbai where she was having filter coffee and he was gorging on steaming idlis. A shortage of tables had brought them together. She had asked to sit opposite him in the tiny overcrowded cafe. She was in a hurry to reach her destination. But there was no way she could come to Matunga and not have the filter coffee at Madras Cafe. Today she was not even going to be in Matunga. She was passing through and yet, the coffee had called out to her.
Rahul looked the girl wanting to sit at the other end of the table and the first word that popped in his head was cute. He almost said it aloud. But years of practice made him halt just in time and say sure instead. Why did she have to meet me today of all days. Any other day and he would have offered a plate of idlis to her and made more conversation. Today, he was in a rush. He had to eat and then find a suitable parking slot for his bullet. Normally, he would not have bothered about parking but today he was expecting a huge crowd. Any less than that would be an insult to the legend that was Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge! He was on his way for a speacial screening at Maratha Mandir in Dadar and Shah Rukh was going to be there! And Shah Rukh deserved more importance that a girl at a cafe. A cute girl at the cafe. A cute girl called Simran at the cafe. And that was when realisation dawned that he was on his way to see DDLJ and he met Simran. Are the romance Gods trying to tell me something? He mused…
Simran was done with her coffee and just as she was rising, Rahul said, “You know what’s funny?”
“That I meet you, a girl who is called Simran when I am on my way to see DDLJ”
“Oh, are you going to Maratha Mandir to see the special screening?”
“Yeah, you know about that?”
“Yep. I organised the event. I work at Yash Raj”
Rahul choked on his Rasam. This was too much!
“Whoa. Must be fun. I would love to work there.”
“It is. People kill for a job at YRF. I did”, she said with a straight face.
She burst out laughing at Rahul’s shocked expression and said, “Gotcha”
Rahul shook his head. Cute and Witty. Hmm… not bad.
“So how are you going there. Do you have a ride?”
“I will hop into a taxi”
“You can come along with me. I am also going to the same place.”
Simran hesitated. She normally avoided travelling with strangers.
“You have exactly 2 minutes to decide while I settle the bill. I want to find a good parking spot for my bullet and plan on reaching early.”
“You had me at the bullet” she said and they walked of the cafe together.
“You know, it was not Aditya Chopra but Kirron Kher who thought of DDLJ”, said Rahul when they were at the Dadar TT signal.
“You know that! I mean very few of them do”
“Biggest Bollywood Buff you see”
Simran raised her eyebrows in a perfect imitation of an Ekta Kapoor vamp. “Ha! We’ll see who is a bigger bollywood buff ” Rahul did not see that of course. But if he had, he would have pegged her as a drama queen too.
Simran hopped off the back almost as soon as Rahul halted beside the door of Maratha Mandir. He looked around for a parking spot and was dismayed at the swelling crowd. Simran could read the expression on his face inspite of the helmet.
“Guys and their bikes!”, she gave an eye roll and told Rahul about a side street tucked in the corner. “Go straight and you will see the side street after 4 -5 buildings. It curves all the way to the back of Maratha Mandir. There is a pedestrian door you can use to get into the theatre. The staff uses it mostly. I will tell the guard to let you in”
“Cool. But what if he does not?”
“Then gimme a call and let him speak to me”
“I would need your number for that”
Simran smiled and held out her hand. She fed her number into his phone and handed it back to him. Then she gave him a swift wave and vanished inside the old theater building. Rahul watched her go inspite of the sweeling crowd.
“I bet you are crying now”, flashed a text on Rahul’s phone just as Ho Gaya Hai Tujhko To Pyaar Sajna was ending. It was a text from Simran.
“I did not give you my number. Where did you get it from?”
“Organiser privileges. You forgot that today’s show is invite only? I had Aashika pull it out.”
“The same Aashika who sent me the tickets?”
“The very same. She is in my team”
Cute, witty and Smart, said Rahul.
“Chai and Samosa in the interval?”
“Come over to the staff lounge. You can meet the YRF team. And if you are lucky, SRK will come to see us and you can meet him too”
This was too good to pass up. Rahul’s head was buzzing with excitement.
“Thanks”, he said once they had met the team. “But tell me something. Why are you being so nice to me?”
“Because you are cute”, she winked and turned around.
Rahul did not meet Simran again for the rest of the evening but he did get to shake hands with Shah Rukh that day. He was on a high from everything that had happened. The next day, Simran received a bouquet of red lillies at work. The card simply said “Thanks. p.s. – You are cute too” Simran smiled as she texted back to Rahul. “Thank you. They flowers are lovely. How did you get my address?”
“The same way you got my number”
“Yes. I sent her a thank you card. No flowers!”
“I did not ask :)”
“Yea, well… you have shown me a movie. Now let me show you one”
“Mr. Rahul… naam to suna hoga! Are you asking me on a date?”
“Yes I am”
“Okay, I get it or Okay, I will come”
“Okay, I will come”
That was the beginning of many happy evenings spent together…