“Riiiiiiitaaaaa…..Are you coming or not”?
Leela stood near the door with a scowl on her face and hands on her hip. Rita switched off the phone urgently and jumped out of her bed.
” Lets Go” she said avoiding her eyes and grabbing her hand bag. Both left their room hurriedly and hopped into the taxi waiting near the gate. Leela instructed the driver to take them to the restaurant where they have to join their friends for the dinner.
It was a lovely summer day and as sun dipping in the West it was beginning to get dark although it’s nearing 7 in the evening. Above the restaurant there is a bowling alley and before dinner all are supposed to play a game together, as per the plan. Both in their mid twenties and working for an IT establishment, were looking forward to this evening for the last one month with a lot of excitement.
While the driver was negotiating the traffic, Leela turned to Rita and asked her “What were you busy with on the phone? We are going to be late and miss out all the chatting and laughing” she pouted her lips to show her disappointment.
Rita in a consoling tone replied, “Sorry di, just got caught up with the FB updates and some WA messages, and accused her, ” you could have warned me earlier!
Immediately seeing her friend’s angry reaction, changed in a pacifying voice, ” We will reach in time, you know Reshmi right, she always comes late. Instead of us waiting for her, let her wait for us this time. Listen, how’s my dress, my hair is fine right? You are looking gorgeous in this bottle green dress and the earrings are beautiful. ”
Leela became animated and started explaining why she chose the dress and how she paired it with the accessories matching, which took care of the whole journey with Rita responding with required Oohs and Ahs, perfectly.
Party was as jolly as it could be, friends, gossips, booze, loads of lip smacking food, music and dance, a perfect annual day party that anyone could ask for. Leela and Rita relished the whole thing as it is their first annual day party with this company after they have joined.
However, both are well aware of their limit and being thick friends from college days, they interfered when required and safeguarded each other from doing anything or getting into anything which they may regret later. It was fun to forget their routine life and celebrate the youthfulness all around. Meet, chat, laugh and socialise the reason for which they’ve come to the party and that objective they never deviated from.
They quit the party around 10 pm saying loud byes to everyone who can hear. Once reached the road, Leela powered her phone on and clicked the app to locate a taxi nearby their location.
“Oh, no! Taxi is available only after thirty minutes, we already came out and can’t go inside again” Leela sighed.
Rita looked around and said, “Hey! Lets walk for sometime till the junction and you try again, may be more cabs will be available there; isn’t it a pleasant weather to walk also” indicating the road ahead with a few walking.
Leela agreed happily and they started walking slowly recalling all the jokes shared in the party and confirming the gossips they heard among themselves, interspersed with a controlled laughter and a giggle.
Reaching the junction, they stood near a bus stop where some are waiting for the bus and a fruit hawker covering his stall with polythene sheets and packing the unsold fruits in separate crates carefully. Two men zoomed on their bikes in the deserted road in a carefree way while a near empty bus went on the opposite side without any hurry. A street dog curled up against the pavement and settled for the night with half closed eyes.
Rekha pulled out her phone from the bag and checked the app for the nearby taxis and as she found that there was one in two minutes distance, she confirmed the booking. Within seconds, her phone rang and a male voice with a heavy Hindi accent asked her the location to which Rekha replied in fluent Kannada, hearing which the guy relaxed and said “Ok madam, Bega barthini”
A white Tata indica with a yellow board pulled next to them and Rita confirmed the taxi number from the sms they received with the car registration number in a quick glance before opening the back door. They both got into the taxi and settled comfortably in the seats and gave the CRN number which the driver accepted and started the taxi.
Rita in a casual tone asked “Have you had your dinner Anna?” The driver sheepishly said, “Yes Madam, Just finished when your call came, the Kuruma smell is still there in my hands” showed his right hand holding the steering in left. “Did you have madam”? he enquired and without waiting for her answer he continued “You must have finished since you are coming from a party, as I can see” and smiled through the central mirror.
“Yes, Yes, We had our stomach full, no need to eat for next one week” as Leela said, driver laughed out loudly.
By the time they were near the signal, Leela told him to take the right turn and asked him whether he knows their colony for which he affirmed saying that he knew every corner in the city as he is in the profession for the last 10 years although the city has changed a lot recently. As he recounted his experiences, punctuated by the girl’s Aha’s, Ho ho’s and customary nodding of head, they reached their destination.
After settling the bill, they both said a big ‘Thank you’ to the driver and entered their apartment. While keying in the lock, Rita said in a sleepy voice, “All went very well, lets catch some sleep, good night” to Leela who was stifling a yawn and followed her inside.