A pleasant surprise
By Prachi Bhardwaj
Rashmi looked at herself in the mirror. With a deep sigh, she settled her curly hair into a ponytail tightly tied at her nape. “You know very well I feel uncomfortable meeting people alone, that too an unknown guy. I don’t like this proposal of yours. Had you been with me it would have still been fine.”
“But he is not an unknown guy,” Vandita interrupted.
“Maybe, he is not unknown to you but for me?”
“You have talked to Vivek over the phone a couple of times,” Vandita was trying her best to convince Rashmi.
“Well, a brief chit-chat over the phone doesn’t make anyone familiar,” Rashmi was not convinced. “And as if it’s not enough you have arranged this meeting in a restaurant! Why can’t he come home? I am just not at ease meeting him alone for the first time… “
“That’s not fair! I am only asking for a small favour. How can I help it if my work schedule has been altered to evening shift today? It’s only been two weeks since I have joined this new job. I have not yet earned any leave,” Vandita was truthful.
“Okay, in that case, why don’t you reschedule this meeting to some other date and time?” Rashmi was trying her best to avoid this meeting.
“Look, you know very well how busy Vivek keeps. And to reschedule an evening coffee date in the morning of the same day doesn’t look polite at all. Moreover, I have already booked a table a week back. I am not ready to forego my booking charge.”
Rashmi started walking uneasily. “But Vandita, come to think of it, I am a simple person and you have arranged this meeting in a five-star restaurant.”
“No problem. Let’s shop for something nice to wear for you. I still have two hours to reach office.”
“Oh yes, why not? After all, we have a money plant in our garden. Go, pluck some notes,” Rashmi playfully taunted. ”And as it is, I do not like to mingle much socially. Why do I need a new dress?”
“Don’t worry, you won’t become a spoilt brat if you pamper yourself a bit. Everyone has the right to indulge in some self-love. Enough of you’re staying alone and not socializing. Come on, let’s go to the market now,” seemed like Vandita was hell-bent on carrying out her plans.
Looking at the way Vandita asserted herself, Rashmi remembered her late husband. His sudden death in an accident two years ago had left her bereaved, not interested in life and this world. Had it not been for Vandita, she would have long withdrawn into her shell.
“Come on, let’s go now,” Vandita was adamant.
“Let’s buy this dress”
Selecting an appropriate dress was another troublesome task. Rashmi was tired of choosing, posing, and trying. Vandita took the lead and shortlisted some six dresses. Then she finalized two out of those six. But any further selection was not possible – both were so lovely dresses. “Let’s buy both. This peach color is looking lovely on you and this cream dress is fitting so well.”
“Are you out of your mind? We have not won a lottery. Let’s go back home.”
“Okay fine, select any one of these two and we shall leave,” Vandita would not budge without buying a new dress for Rashmi.