Mili was seething. Her friends had been setting her up on blind dates on and off. All of them were happily settled – or so they thought! They wanted Mili to settle down. And being a perfectionist, with a clear list of likes and dislikes, none of the men she met passed muster.
“Thanks, but no thanks!” she thought.
The reason for her anger was that her friend, Naomi, had asked her to dinner, as her husband’s (Naomi’s) business partner and friend, Vihaan, was visiting.
But at the last minute Naomi and her husband had asked her to meet Vihaan alone, as their son had to be rushed to hospital due to a severe wheezing condition. They told her that they had tried to reach Vihaan, but that his phone was unreachable.
She understood the situation, but was still mad. She would have preferred to stay back at home to catch up on some work or just watch some TV. Now this!
So, at 7.30 p.m. sharp, she was at the restaurant and was surprised to see that Vihaan was already seated at the table.
They introduced themselves and she passed on the message from Naomi. He looked slightly put off.
They ordered starters and something to drink. They discussed the weather, the latest movies, and their tastes in music. Soon, they discovered that they hailed from the same town and had studied in the same primary school.
They warmed to each other because of this shared history. They laughed more easily now. They even teased each other a little bit.
He loved the way she articulated her thoughts, with a wry sense of humour. She loved the fact that he was well-read and widely travelled.
After dinner, when they started dessert Vihaan stepped out for a call. And when he came back and hitched up his trousers to sit down, she saw that his socks were mismatched. There was a dark brown and a black.
All the positive vibes flew away. This was in her DISLIKES list…men who couldn’t take the time to pay attention to detail. She was ready to leave. It irritated her too much.
He had seen the shocked look on her face as he had sat down. When she looked away, he looked down at his socks.
“Damn that power cut”, he thought. It had happened just when he was leaving the hotel, and he had hoped that he had the right pair. Obviously not. He could sense her coolness.
“One of those obsessive types”, he thought.
They ate their dessert, in silence. He then asked for the cheque.
She said, “I would also like to share the bill. I insist.”
He tried to talk her out of it, but she seemed to be one of those stubborn types.
He paid the bill with his credit card and showed it to Mili.
She looked at it and said, “Just a minute.”
She took her handbag, which was hanging on the back of her chair. She opened it and furrowed her brows. She clucked in exasperation as she realized that her wallet was not in her bag. She had changed bags that evening, to complement her outfit.
She blushed a beetroot red as she told him that she could not find her wallet. It was mortifying.
She told him that she would transfer the cash to him. He told her that it was his treat to her.
As he walked her to her car, he said, “Next time you can treat me, and I will wear matching socks and hope that there’s no power cut.”
The shocked look on her face was priceless. He grinned and walked away into the night.