"I don't want to do this.... do you really want me to? I mean.... how can you imagine me doing anything even close to that!!!"
"But we need to begin somewhere, right? And what's the problem in meeting a guy? You can take your sister along if you are not comfortable with us and there's always a first time. This is how it happens and this is how you need to go about it also."
"Dad... how can you even ask me to go and meet any random guy and then decide whether I'd want to spend the rest of my life with him?? I know arrange marriages happen that way, but I'm not ready for anything like that and neither opting for it. I'd want to know whom I'm marrying and not discover the person in due course of life!"
"In that case, tell me who you want to marry and we do it that way. "
"Hah, if only I'd have had someone, we wouldn't be having this discussion at all."
"Look, it's high time you think about settling down. Just because you don't doesn't mean that I don't do anything about it either. I am your father and I know what's good for you. So, listen to me and do as I say."
"Come on, Dad. You can't be doing that!"
"I have to...no more discussions on this now. I'll let you know whenever something good comes up. Take care and don't sulk about this now."
"Alright, let's just leave it to that. Will talk to you later. Take care, bye."
Another one of those calls that made her anxious and scared. Get married.... settle down... high time!!! Feeling helpless, she turned to look at the time. She was running late already! To reach there at 2, she should have left by then. Hurriedly, she took a final glance in the mirror and picked her bag while running out of the house. Luckily, a free auto rickshaw happened to pass while she hailed him to stop. Avoiding the usual negotiations, followed by arguments, she readily agreed to the price the driver asked. There sure was no time to get into all that... and then, she was late!
Descending from the auto, she looked around for him. He was not to be seen anywhere. Calling his number did not help either as it was unreachable. This irritated her to some extent. They were to meet for the first time officially and he was late!!! Yes, it would be the first time they'd meet though they'd known each other for years now. She was excited and had been looking forward to it for quite some time. Her cell phone beeped with an incoming text message. "I'm near Barista...where are you?" Huh, she'd need to cross the road. Without wasting a second, she dashed for the subway.
"So, how's it been? I'm sorry, I reached late... needed to drop a friend somewhere."
"Ah, that's OK. I too just reached." She smiled making herself comfortable and opening the menu card."And we finally meet! Isn't it strange... we've studied together, known each other for years, and yet, meeting now."
"Yes, it is! But isn't it because of you! I had been saying for so long that we should meet and it's been six months that you have moved to the city; however, it's only now, you have found some of your precious time for me."
"Now don't get started with that. You know how busy it's been for me. Anyways, what will you have?"
Their conversation started... just one of their regular conversations... with a difference. Instead of being connected through a telephone... here they were... face to face. Nothing seemed different; in fact, the physical presence of the person only added to the charm of all those talks that were otherwise general and regular.
Time does fly... especially when they get talking. It was already 8! This seemed unreal... either she was dreaming or her watch knew how to fake time! She had to leave now. Reluctantly, they did bade goodbye, but not before agreeing on a day to meet next.
"Madam, where do you want to get down? Madam, are you listening? Are you alright?" The loud voice of the auto driver broke her thoughts. Having given the necessary instructions, she realized she was still musing over all that he'd said earlier in the evening. While retiring for the day, she remembered what her father had said to her that afternoon. 'Later,' she thought to herself, 'all that can wait.'