A Sliver Of Shimmer (II)


They trod along leisurely on the path to the car parking.

Arissa was humming an old vintage tune, while Anant looked at her bemusedly. She was in the habit of cooling down as fast as she flared up. It was an oddly endearing quality that had him stumped in the early years of their acquaintance.

Anant dropped Arissa home and drove back with a zillion details crowding his mind. He had devised the perfect plan to surprise her with a long-awaited proposal of marriage.

It involved all of Arissa’s favourite things and some more.

Anant was a seemingly quaint guy, an established introvert. But he had another side to him – one that was a diehard romantic and a very expressive partner.

He had thought it all out, prepared for all possible scenarios. He had even picked out the ring, and just needed to collect it from the jeweller the coming week.

After sitting on it for months on end, Anant had finally zeroed-in on the ideal ring for his lovingly eccentric girl. It was a princess cut solitaire in a channel set band, paved alternately with small brilliant diamonds and blue sapphires.

It was months of strict savings that had lent a helping hand in acquiring this cherished piece de resistance for Arissa. He had never gifted her jewellery before, and wanted the first thing he bought to be extra special.

Arissa hurriedly ran a brush through her straight hair. She grabbed her bag, fished out her car keys from it and ran out the door. Her mother was off to see her aunt in Mumbai for a couple of days.

She locked the door and scurried down the stairs.

She planned to leave office a bit early today and drive down to see Anant at his place. He was definitely up to something, and she had the feeling today was the day she was going to find out exactly what was going on.

The day was an utter drag.

Arissa loved her job. But like every other vocation it too had its monotonous days.

She wrapped up whatever little she had to do, bid her editor a good evening and headed out to the elevator lobby.

She messaged Anant to let him know she was leaving. He was insistent on her doing so every time she left work, for Delhi was no longer the regal and safe haven it once used to be.

The traffic was a killjoy like every other day. The road to Anant’s locality was an arterial one and hence swarming with an unending line of vehicles, both big and small.

A reluctant driver, Arissa carefully maneuvered her way through the jungle of brightly painted metal. She was at her wit’s end when faced with such chaos. What was one supposed to do in order to maintain a calm demeanor when the moron behind you wouldn’t stop honking?!

Anant sat staring at his phone lying on the table in front of him. His fingers drummed a restless pattern on the edge of it.  He stood up, finding it suddenly hard to draw breath.

Boy, am I nervous! He thought to himself while wiping his brow with his left palm.

He checked the right breast pocket of his casual blazer, and held out the royal blue velvet box in his hand. A smile slowly crept up his lips as he pictured in his mind’s eye what lay inside.

He imagined her face with a varied set of expressions as she first looked upon it. Would she grin? Would she just gape? Or go wide-eyed?

Anant let out a sigh, suddenly filled with an overwhelming urge to kiss her senseless. He glanced at his watch and his forehead creased in wonder.

Why wasn’t she here yet? What was taking so long?

Anant returned the box safely to its location and picked up his phone off the table. He dialled Arissa’s number, only to have it ring incessantly on the other end.

She wasn’t answering her phone. This was highly unlikely, considering she always made it a point to wear the headset while driving.

Twenty minutes ticked by. Anant was now impatiently pacing up and down his balcony.

He had called her thrice since.

All the phone did was ring, with no one answering the call.

Where was Arissa?

To be continued…

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~ by eugenicist on January 9, 2014.

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