Saturday, July 5, 2014

Pretty Parul

"Hi Sam," Parul purred on the phone.

Sam leaned back, a smile on his face. "Hello Parul, what a surprise!" He couldn't control the excitement from reflecting in his voice. Well, why not? Any man would welcome being greeted by that husky voice. Anybody would give their most expensive iphone just to have Pretty Parul call them. Sam was neither a saint nor immune to pretty faces. And he was going to enjoy this moment in the sun, when  the very woman he had been dreaming of ever since he met two evenings ago had taken the trouble to call him.

"Did I disturb you, handsome?" she asked and giggled.

He chuckled. "You disturb me even when you don't call..."

Parul squealed delightfully. "Oh you naughty boy! I didn't intend calling you, you know," she said, trying to sound matter of fact. "But I think I mixed up numbers and ended up calling you."

"Really? And yet you knew it was me," he said, exposing her game. She laughed. "Nothing escapes you," she teasedg him.

It was the best 10 minutes he spent that day, talking inanely to this woman of his dreams. But since he was just a salesman with targets to meet, he had to get on with work and excused himself. "Have to rush for an appointment. We'll talk later."

"Oh! On the phone? Why not meet?"

Sam thought for a second. "What about this Saturday?"

"Oh, but that's almost a week away!" Parul said and he imagined her bow-like lips pouting.

He smiled. "Flattering... And I can't wait too... But," he sighed heavily, "weekdays don't work. I have a lot of projects to submit for a course I am doing..."

Parul seemed to find that reasonable. Sam found pleasure in waiting. But Parul didn't seem to believe in that. She called again two days later. "Hi handsome," she said, her voice caressing. "What are you doing?"

He glanced at the clock - a meeting in 15 minutes. "I will call you when I get on the road," he said and dashed to his bike. He plugged the earphones, dialled her number and called. The way seemed shorter, now that her voice accompanied him. "Okay, gotta go now. Meeting a client."

"A client? Put it off," she said prettily. He laughed. "See you this Saturday," he said and rang off. But she called again. "I am bored," she said petulantly. "Meet me after the meeting." He frowned. "No dear, have back to back sales meetings. Month end, targets to meet... you know the works."

She let him go reluctantly.

Saturday. Excitement. Meeting Parul.

Sam was on a high. He dressed carefully, made sure his credit balance was respectable. He inhaled sharply on seeing Parul dressed to kill. Even without trying hard she could have walked all over him. He felt immensely lucky at having her in his life.

They quickly hugged each other and then walked to the diner together. She took his hand in hers and he smiled.

The food was brilliant. He wished the evening had been too. But somehow, Parul and he did not seem to connect. Her conversation did not hold his interest, and what he wanted to talk about did not seem worthy of her attention.

Didn't she see, the unfathomable chasm between them?

"When next?" she asked when they got up to leave. He hesitated, but not wanting to disappoint her and deciding to give it another chance, he offered to meet her next week. "A week? Playing hard to get?" she teased. When they met again, his misgivings were confirmed. She, though, seemed blissfully unaware of the mismatch.

She was pretty and not unintelligent. But no, they didn't have the same wavelength. He decided to ease her off. When she asked, "When next," he tried to be diplomatic. "It is going to be difficult for sometime to come..."

She frowned. "As in...?"

"Parul, I don't think I am the right person for you... I..."

"You are bored of me..." she said quietly.

He took a double take. "I don't mean that... I mean, I just fear we are not cut out for each other."

"So you are cutting me out. After using me, you are saying bye to me."

"Whoa!" Sam said, shocked. "Using you? We have just met twice and I am telling you that it is better we back off now."

She wheedled, "We can make it work. I feel it in my bones."

Sam shook his head. Her persistence put him a fix. He didn't want to be rude. He said, "One more try."

"I am not your slave!" she snapped angrily.

Perplexed he said, "Absolutely."

"Then what is this about trying?"

He rolled his eyes. "Because you think we can make it work but I don't."

She leaned towards him, "I love you Sam. Don't you feel the same about me?"

He wearied of this circular conversation. "Parul, why don't we give this a break and meet if we really feel like after some gap?"

"When you say Parul like that..." she smiled suggestively.

He got up and left, hoping she got the message.

She was hoping the same. She called, and how! Morning, evening, night. If he didn't pick up the phone, there were messages. When he ignored them, she called almost every 10 minutes. Unable to bear it any longer, he answered the call. "You cheap MCP! What do you think? You can play with a woman's emotions like this! After leading me to believe you liked me, to drop me like this!"

He tried reasoning with her. But the next moment she whined and wheedled. Frustrated, he put his phone on silent if she called. Even if he could not ignore the persistent ringing, at least it did not disturb or intrigue others around him.

The messages though were hard to ignore. He was called a flirt, a womaniser, MCP and more in that vein. He was harassed, scared to even carry his phone because of the vitriol that poured out of it. It was distracting, troubling, scaring...

He changed his mobile number.

But that did not end his troubles. There she stood, outside his office, "Please Sam..." His colleagues teased him. "Oho, he has a pretty girl wrapped around his finger."

No! That was not what he sought. He just wanted some peace and quiet... But her repeat appearances despite his trying to discourage her, psyched him. He caught himself looking out of the window frequently, especially if he had to go out. She came looking for him in the office and if he were there, he had to rely on his colleagues to send her away saying he was not there. If her stalking him was one problem, their teasing him another.

Seeing no way out, he finally sought and found another job, which took him out of the city.

Of Parul, he heard nothing more.

But with women, he was more wary, earning the sobriquet 'Shy Sam'.

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