The rain drops were playing a concert. He thought it will be a perfect day. Gates of his imagination opened. It took him far, far away. Narrow lanes of his colony covered in water. His cycle going past them, unzipping happiness.
Suddenly it all broke. Like a fairytale, without a happy ending. A shout by the elder sister was enough for the dream to sink without a trace.
Asked to freshen up and change, it took him an eternity to leave the bed and open the wardrobe. The t-shirt was irrelevant. The hand wasn’t interested in picking up his favourite colour. It pulled the first one it touched. How cruel!
He was more of a gate-pass for his elder sister. She had a date and the license was ‘taking the kid brother out’.
The sister met her date in front of the ticket counter. The meeting scene was straight out of some candyfloss romantic novel. The ‘Hi’ followed by ‘You are looking gorgeous’. Guess, they had read and re-read the love manual.
The sister and her date sat leaving a chair empty, the brother found his own island on that chair. It was more of a protest against the sister’s dictatorship.
The movie never caught his eye. He was a bird in a cage waiting for the elusive freedom. Turning left, he noticed a girl… binging on popcorn in the speed of light.
She had a ponytail swinging with the rumbling of popcorn inside her mouth. Turning left at the speed of mach 3 she looked at him, holding tight her popcorn bucket, like her favourite toy. Two moments of silence. And she offered him some. With a grin as wide as horizon, he picked up.
For the next two hours, the popcorn bucket occupied the empty chair between them with only their hands talking.
It came down to the last one. Both of them looked towards each other. She pushed the bucket towards him. He paused for a second. It was caramel popcorn, it deserved the pause. Nodding his head, he pushed the bucket again towards her.
The theatre hall was reverberating with the sound of whistles and applause, as the hero had reduced the villain to a pulp. The end title was about to roll and the last one hadn’t found a destination yet.
And then, with a supreme self-sacrifice, the bucket slipped. The last one died a valiant death. Both of them looked at each other. A huge blast of laughter, of innocence. It got shadowed by the thundering steps of people leaving the movie hall.
Still looking at her, he said, “Didi, here I come.”
She turned simultaneously to call out, “Ammi, coming.”
Both of them pointed each other to the popcorn that still lay on the ground. The one that would perhaps be crushed in a few seconds. But their new friendship will not.
Friendship doesn’t have to begin by knowing names of each other, does it?