Ilakiya was still frozen. Even Aaran did not know what to react. There was a tap on the window. It was Ramya, Ilakiya’s roommate. They were staying in a shared accommodation near the office. She had come to help Ilakiya walk inside the house. They came to their senses finally.
Ilakiya got down with little difficulty and Ramya supported her. Ilakiya slammed the door shut. Aaran rolled down the windows. “Please do take care and don’t strain. If you are not able to manage, better take a leave tomorrow and rest. “He called behind her. Ilakiya looked at him and nodded. She did not show any expression in her face.
She turned and started walking towards her house when she suddenly turned back and looked at him. “Thanks” She murmured softly. Still she remained expressionless. And she was gone in a couple of minutes. It all seemed a dream to Aaran. He could not interpret the meaning of her reactions.
Was she ok with his proposal or will she be rejecting it politely? Thousands of thoughts ran in his mind as he drove to his home. He was still very much absent minded when he reached his door and gave a honk for the watchman to open the door. The watchman was an elderly person and he often had small talks with Aaran on his way up and back. Today he didn’t even return the gentleman his usual kind smile.
His mom opened the door even before he rang the bell as usual. She had the habit of waiting for him , serve dinner , get to know things were good at the office and then retire to bed. One glance at him and she knew he was tensed. She served his favorite food and asked him to sleep peacefully.
As he was about to step into his room, she called him near. “Aaran I know there is something that is bothering you now. But just remember one thing. If you badly need something just put in all your mind and heart in it. You will achieve it for sure.”
Aaran suddenly felt relieved. He badly wanted to tell her everything but thought of waiting for Ilakiya to give her reply. He opened the door of his room and walked in slowly. He changed to casuals and put his phone to charge. He was in a dilemma whether to ping her or not. Usually they will exchange good night wishes before sleeping but tonight was different.
He did not want to budge in her space now. She may also be confused and there is no point making her rush to decision. He decided to wait. But a couple of minutes later, he could not hold it any longer. He opened WhatsApp and saw her status. She was Last seen two hours back. She did not open WhatsApp for a long time, he thought.
Suddenly she was Online. His heart missed a beat. He badly wanted to ping her now. Her status changed to typing. He forgot to breathe now. “Reached?” She had pinged. He immediately started typing back. “Ya. Some time back. Had dinner and came to sleep. What about you? How is your pain?”
“Ya just now. My roomie made dosa for me. I applied pain reliever spray. Its much better now. I hope to be fine by tomorrow. “ She pinged in reply. “Good. Then sleep well. Just always remember to walk little carefully for a couple of days. You will be fine.”
“Good night” She pinged.
He did not know how to carry the conversation further though he badly wanted her to stay with him in the chat. He pinged, “Good night”
He was wondering what to type next when her status indicated she was typing. He almost sat in excitement. He was so eager to hear her talk now. Earlier when she used to ping for a long time in lengthy sentences, he used to tease her and say she ought to convey something short and sweet. Now he was ready to give anything to make her speak.
Her status was typing for a couple more minutes too. Maybe she too is thinking what to type, he thought. “That’s good. “ He continued to dream happily. “This means she wants to talk to me.”
Finally her status changed to online. He felt a pin prick his swollen heart. She didn’t know what to talk and finally deleted. He concluded. He was at loss of emotions. He was not sure whether he wanted a reply from her. He turned to the bed and decided to sleep on it. Ping. It was a message. He jumped up and almost plucked the phone.
It was from her. “Hi.”
He lept like a lamb. He hurriedly replied, “Hi, didn’t sleep yet?”
“No. I was just thinking of what you said to me.”
He froze. It’s going to be an answer from her. “Oh my God, let it be a yes. Please.” He prayed fervently.
“So what have you decided?” He asked her.
“Decide???“ She asked back.
“Yes. Tell me what are your thoughts now. “
Her status was online for a very long time but she did not ping back. He was much relieved of tension now that he felt bold enough to face anything.
He got so restless and started fiddling with the phone. He was browsing through the contacts unknowingly. There was so much of her related contacts. “Ilakiya Friend 1,2,3,4,5, Ilakiya House Owner, Ilakiya Broadband Number, Ilakiya Mom, dad, Bro, this and that.”
He smiled. Whenever she had a fight with a friend, she would ask him to speak and resolve. Whenever she wanted to get something done, she would ask him to speak to that concerned person. And he had all her family numbers to contact at any emergency. That’s how it was so far. She was so fearing that she wouldn’t do anything without him.
Suddenly it dawned.
Now also she is at a loss to decide what to do. “Let me deal with this now”, he thought happily.
“Hey lu” He pinged her. He used to affectionately call her that.
“Yes” She immediately pinged back.
“See tomorrow you are not going to office. You rest your leg well and by noon, I will come to pick you. We will have a drive and lunch together. “
There was a pause. But he was sure of the reply and when it came, he was so much happy to even describe it in words.
The reply was this.
“What should I wear ? Grand or casual???”