‘Am itching to continue with grandpa’s story and am sure you are eager to know what happened next!
//—————————Recollecting where we left——–Mohit’s subtle try at getting any info about ‘grumpy’ out of Sheena went in vain, she just said ‘grumpy’ was a ghost and would not bother him again, little did Sheena know that grumpy was already creating havoc in Mohit’s life!————————————————-//
Mohit kept standing beside the swimming pool, Sheena having retreated hurriedly to her flat. ‘A ghost! Literally? Or figuratively?’ He thought. He had seen her, she had spoken to him, blasted him actually. He walked some more, sat for a while, walked again, it was almost midnight when Mohit finally went back home. He didn’t feel hungry nor could he sleep well. He forced himself to read but could not bring himself to focus.
He felt a wild fascination towards ‘grumpy’ which he could not explain to his own self. The night Mohit went for dinner to Sheena’s place, he was pretty convinced that he would like to have a girlfriend, so jovial, so cordial like that of Sheena. She was an excellent cook too. But deep down someone else had touched a chord, so vigorously that he was still shaking. He wanted to know about ‘grumpy’… her name to begin with.
Sheena used to go for morning walks. Mohit usually a late riser had been mostly up that night, around 6am he answered to nature’s call and went to the balcony thereafter. He saw Sheena walking along with another girl and stood there for a while. He tried to identify the other girl but could not. He stood at the balcony till Sheena and the girl were out of sight.
It was a Saturday morning and Mohit started hatching a plan to visit Sheena’s flat asking for something essential, but ‘what?’ he thought. Mohit had no clue that he was not the only one with a disturbed sleep; he had not given a thought to Sheena’s sudden leaving rather fleeing the scene last night. To Mohit, Sheena was a friend whom he admired considerably and did not have the slightest doubt that anything had changed between them, at all, since last night.
Mohit was thinking deeply when the bell rang, startling him. It was unusual as those days during the lockdown nobody visited anybody. Milkbasket was the only milk and grocery vendor to be allowed to deliver orders at the respective blocks, but they had to keep it beside the lifts at the lobby, no door delivery. Each packet had a tag with the block and flat number mentioned on it. Mohit opened the door to find milk packets lying. He brought them in. But there were two, one was his. The other he checked was for Sheena’s flat! This was his chance, ‘what a fortunate coincidence!’ he thought.
Mohit dressed up, carefully not to overdo and took the stairs to Sheena’s flat. He was having butterflies in his stomach, never had he been so scared in his entire life of 23 years; not even before the job interview!
He took some deep breaths before ringing the bell and finally rang. He shut his eyes closed in anxiety. The door opened, he kept the milk packet down and turned back without looking. A sweet voice said, “Hello!” He turned, it was her; the ghost!
There she was, the girl he has been desperately seeking. ‘She is so divine, so innocent’, thought Mohit. Her jet black locks flowing around a rather delicate very young face that was almost childlike, her eyes were bright and expressive, even in her loose t-shirt and pajama Mohit could figure that she was slender; the other day Mohit hadn’t noticed her well, just an impression had stayed with him, but that was enough to drive him mad to this point.
He just kept on staring at her. She was saying something but he could not hear. He had lost all senses. After a while, she smiled and said bye and made a goodbye gesture and that woke Mohit up. He gave a pathetic smile and went back home.
Once at home, he felt so helpless; he had such a golden opportunity to talk to her, ask her name but all he did was stare, he was agonised beyond words. He made tea and went to the balcony. She was just a floor above him and yet so far. He could hear a mild humming a few words floating faintly, ‘she is singing’, he thought. The tea went cold as he drank from her visions.
A week went by and Mohit’s condition got worse. His health was deteriorating with skipped meals and sleepless nights, he was unable to concentrate at work; his manager being a keen observer called Mohit personally to ask about his well being and offered to help. Mohit said he was just having a tough time managing home which he had never done before and a few days off from work could help. The manager readily granted his leave.
Mohit was tossing on the bed when the bell rang in the morning and he went to open the door somehow dragging himself out of it. He was only half awake, he opened the door and was about to fall down; she was standing there, her hair tied in a knot today, she wore a light pink top and light blue shorts, Mohit thought he was dead and in heaven. But he only managed a weak smile and said, “Hello.” She rattled, “Hi, I came to return the favour, its 8 am and your milk packet was still lying there so I thought I’d better give it to you or else it might get lost or something.” Mohit said thank you, in a voice barely audible. She turned to go and this time Mohit was suddenly all awake and he almost screamed, “Don’t go!”
He sobered up and said, “Thank you so much, but I don’t even know your name.” She gave a hearty laugh and said, “Didn’t Sheena tell you?” Mohit nodded with a serious face and said, “No.” She looked surprised and answered, “Well in that case I’ll have to ask her first why she didn’t, she might have a reason!”
Mohit in a desperate move caught hold of her hand and said, “I need to know the name of all the troubles in my life, now! I can’t sleep well, I can’t focus on anything, I am off from work and I need at the least a name.” She gave a puzzled look and softly said, “Adiya” Mohit let go of her hand but she kept staring at him as if frozen and then suddenly ran away.
Mohit was invigorated by his achievement. He could do it. He could stand up to her and ask her name; boy had he ever thought it would be so difficult. He freshened up, fed himself and logged on for work. His manager was surprised to find Mohit back so soon and in such a jolly good demeanour. The manager was in his late 40’s, a seasoned fellow; he had a hunch and typed in the private chat window, “Love in the air?” Mohit replied, “Still in the exosphere though!”
Until next Saturday…