I was restless. I had to do something to keep me distracted. I didn’t want to go to YouTube. Some of the videos in the platform were scarily accurate. A week before, I was just looking for monthly horoscopes. “Your life is not going to be the same after 6th” an old lady said, holding up a tarot card which was too pixelated to see clearly in our limited bandwidth internet connection. “Somebody is going to storm in your life and change it like never before. You are going to have a rebirth.” I laughed it off and felt bad that I didn’t have a popcorn to go with my entertainment. My life had been the same for the past two years. I had no intention of changing it and I wasn’t expecting any miracles.
August 5, midnight was sultry. I was tossing and turning. I had my mobile near me for some reasons which were never the case. It slept in a different room. A message popped up exactly at 11.52 PM “You’ve got a match” Tinder said. That was a first, I thought. I wasn’t sure if the person would be online at that time. I was sure that I would mess up with my sarcasm. So I let it go.
When I checked it the next morning, the person still hadn’t unmatched me. That was some encouragement. I saw her profile which didn’t have a full face photograph. Her eyes were striking. I messaged something like a vague hi. The next three hours were a revelation. I learned that tinder can be accessed through the desktop. It is easy to chat in tinder through desktop than a phone. I learned I could type non stop for a whole day and still my fingers won’t give up. And very importantly, never think I alone appreciated few little something in life.
Like who would have guess two people who matched in a random dating app preferred Olan more than Sodhi? And share an undying passion for Rasam made in copper vessels or think Revathy is the luckiest actress in our generation to have best of many movie industries. It all just fell into place. We talked; We forgot we had to have dinner and talked; We realized our eyes can shut on its own and we could sleep with a smile, get up the next morning and reach for the phone first thing in the morning. We could have called. It felt like it was a dream.
It was August 6th. I wish the tarot card was not so pixelated.
I am meeting her. And I am excited and nervous.
I am not the most handsome guy around. I have my shortcomings. Chatting on the phone is something else. But meeting a person in real life with whom there was an unmissable romantic connect, it scared me. It was a good scare. Like the feeling in the stomach, when we first walk into a university where we made great friends. Like the feeling when we signed the cheque for our first bike in our own money. But still.
I had been pestering from all morning about her whereabouts when she would start, what color she was wearing etc. When it became kind of creepy and also a real chance of canceling the date, here I am googling the worst things my mind could think about.
“At what temperature would a human melt?” As soon as typed the question and google returned with answers I hoped she wouldn’t ask to look for my browsing history. But I had to do something to kill time.
“Humans cannot be melted. They can only be charred. The bones melt at 1600 Celcius” is the gist of what I read for two hours. Some details were gruesome so I wouldn’t go there. I was amazed. Then what about the songs and romantic proses where the men swear that they got melted? I was not convinced and I dug deeper. I made a note to ask about this to my doctor friend. By this time, he had got used to my bizarre questions.
She messaged me she is just 20 minutes away from our decided meeting place. I started my bike and just as I made a turn from my street, the clouds opened. It rained like it was going to flood. But something in me told not to stop the vehicle. I was dripping wet when I parked the vehicle in the place where I supposed to pick her up. I slid open my phone screen to see if there were any messages from her. There was.
“It is lashing here. I don’t like to get wet” it read.
“Perfect.” I kicked my bike. I have never been angry at the clouds before. I cursed it loudly, few auto men laughed at me.
“Its okay if you want to call it off today” I replied “I understand” I replied and sat on a bench nearby. I didn’t mind getting wet.
“Just calm down and wait for me.” She replied. Suddenly the intensity of the rain dropped as if somebody flicked a switch. It was merely drizzling when she walked towards me. “So can we go?” she asked.
I could merely nod. I was afraid if I would not be allowed in the restaurant because of my wet clothes. But we found a table. The waiter served the water and noticed that I was shivering. She asked for a menu card. All this while, it looked like I was in a dream. Like the one in Murakami novels, I was plucked from reality and was planted in a parallel world where beautiful women dated me. Beautiful women, with tastes matching mine and have wonderful conversational skills. I almost believed that I stepped into an alternative universe.
She had beautiful eyes. The one where I could dive in and live there. “It is a safe place to be” she had said during our text conversations. She was right. It felt too good to be true. My clothes were drying too fast but I couldn’t utter a single word.
She noticed I was staring at her. She continued to leaf through the menu and asked “Why don’t you ever call me by my name. You only use nicknames. I mean Ramya is a pretty good name, I think” she said.
“Yes,” I nodded. The waiter came for rescue. “Should I adjust the Aircondition temperature sir?” he asked politely. I looked at him thankfully.
“Just check if it is at 1600 Celcius for me please?”
“Excuse me” the waiter raised his eyebrows, shrugged his shoulders and moved on to next table. She had the same question in her mind. Why are you so weird?
“It is..” I fumbled to find the right word. “I am sorry. I just thought I was melting”