Hate to love you

Here’s the next entry to the ‘And then…’ contest. Just reminding, I am not disclosing the author‘s name now so that we can have a fair voting. The write-ups would be posted in the order I receive them… Here are the rules & hints and here is The Scene…

That face that had haunted her all these years…an image from an old worn-out photograph that she had carried around in her heart. All these years, she had been waiting for yet dreading this day. She still didn’t know if she’d ever muster up the courage to say those words to him. Her eyes welled up with tears without any explanation. Dabbing her eyes with a tissue she quickly regained her composure and risked a glance again on pretext of looking for the air-hostess.

Those dark eyes, that square jaw and the kind smile were still the same. Yes, a few wrinkles here and there but there was no mistake-it was him. She had imagined this scene in her teenage years, rehearsed what she would say and what would happen. She had spent hours in front of the mirror in nervous excitement practicing and rephrasing what she would say when she met him. She’d hated every part of her that wanted to love him but couldn’t help it. The Kathak recitals, the piano lessons, the basketball matches-all came back to her.

Her monologue froze midway when he suddenly looked up at her. She felt like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar and smiled at him blushing furiously and he gave her a confused smile back.  Was it her imagination or was there a fleeting hint of recognition on his face? But he went back to his Autocar and she leaned back and took a large swig of water and took a deep breath. It was now or never.

She turned again. “Pardon me if I’m wrong but are you Mr. Bryan D’Souza?”

He looked up blinking and removed his headphones and said, “I’m sorry I did not hear you. Could you repeat the question?”

“Mr. Bryan D’Souza?”

“I think you mistook me for someone else. I’m Shrey.”

Sorry! I’m Liz. You looked a lot like an uncle of mine! I’m really sorry!”

“That’s okay. So I look that old eh?” he grinned, “It’s always nice to meet a fellow Indian here. You live in Sydney too?”

“No, I’m on vacation. I moved to Hong Kong two years back, before that I was in Delhi. “

“Hmmmmm…How I miss that city! The clean air and the fresh food stifle me in Sydney! I last went to Delhi five years back. A week there was like oxygen! I missed the chaat, the yum kababs and the DTC buses!” he remarked smiling.

And they talked – about the weather, Sydney, India, Indian food, cars, traffic in Delhi, her job, her crummy boss (he used to have one too!), music, movies…it went on and on! They got on like a house on fire! He loved Audi too and shared her opinion that Federer was a pain in the ass for winning all the time! It was like they had been destined to meet. As the flight prepared to land there was a knot in her stomach. The words remained unsaid. She had said everything but what she had actually wanted to.

Sydney arrived and as he waved and walked out of the airport, she stood there looking at him. The words came out in a whisper, “Hi dad.”

They came too late. Genetic maybe.

That face that had haunted her all these years…an image from an old worn-out photograph that she had carried around in her heart. All these years, she had been waiting for yet dreading this day. She still didn’t know if she’d ever muster up the courage to say those words to him. Her eyes welled up with tears without any explanation. Dabbing her eyes with a tissue she quickly regained her composure and risked a glance again on pretext of looking for the air-hostess.



Those dark eyes, that square jaw and the kind smile were still the same. Yes, a few wrinkles here and there but there was no mistake-it was him. She had imagined this scene in her teenage years, rehearsed what she would say and what would happen. She had spent hours in front of the mirror in nervous excitement practicing and rephrasing what she would say when she met him. She’d hated every part of her that wanted to love him but couldn’t help it. The Kathak recitals, the piano lessons, the basketball matches-all came back to her.



Her monologue froze midway when he suddenly looked up at her. She felt like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar and smiled at him blushing furiously and he gave her a confused smile back.  Was it her imagination or was there a fleeting hint of recognition on his face? But he went back to his Autocar and she leaned back and took a large swig of water and took a deep breath. It was now or never.



She turned again. “Pardon me if I’m wrong but are you Mr. Bryan D’Souza?”



He looked up blinking and removed his headphones and said, “I’m sorry I did not hear you. Could you repeat the question?”



“Mr. Bryan D’Souza?”



“I think you mistook me for someone else. I’m Shrey.”



Sorry! I’m Liz. You looked a lot like an uncle of mine! I’m really sorry!”



“That’s okay. So I look that old eh?” he grinned, “It’s always nice to meet a fellow Indian here. You live in Sydney too?”



“No, I’m on vacation. I moved to Hong Kong two years back, before that I was in Delhi. “



“Hmmmmm…How I miss that city! The clean air and the fresh food stifle me in Sydney! I last went to Delhi five years back. A week there was like oxygen! I missed the chaat, the yum kababs and the DTC buses!” he remarked smiling.



And they talked – about the weather, Sydney, India, Indian food, cars, traffic in Delhi, her job, her crummy boss (he used to have one too!), music, movies…it went on and on! They got on like a house on fire! He loved Audi too and shared her opinion that Federer was a pain in the ass for winning all the time! It was like they had been destined to meet. As the flight prepared to land there was a knot in her stomach. The words remained unsaid. She had said everything but what she had actually wanted to.

Sydney arrived and as he waved and walked out of the airport, she stood there looking at him. The words came out in a whisper, “Hi dad. “



They came too late. Genetic maybe.

That night changed my life… (chuckle)

Here’s the next entry to the ‘And then…’ contest. Just reminding, I am not disclosing the author‘s name now so that we can have a fair voting. The write-ups would be posted in the order I receive them… Here are the rules & hints and here is The Scene…


How could he be here? Is it really him, could it be him, it has to be him, if its him then all that she did all these years was so not worth it. Finally she decided it was him, her grandma Beth’s driver – Harry D (D for Driver). She remembered how he used to drive the kids to the farms, to the lake, to farmer’s market over so many summers, he used to buy them candy pops, egg tarts, paper windmills – oh those days… she suddenly remembered a peculiar habit of his, he used to mumble and chuckle to himself and as a child she always wished to know what he said and why he chuckled…

God has given me another chance, I need to get the answers, I have to fulfill my childhood wish – how did he get here, in this plane in business class how could he afford it? And more importantly what was it that he used to mumble and chuckle?’ these thoughts made her turn back and she was ecstatic to see the seat next to him empty. ‘God totally wants me to know… Harry might not remember me, so I will start’ she thought…

Liz: I’m not sure if you remember me…

Harry D (mumbling & chuckling): you are right dear girl I don’t remember, tell me who you are…

Liz: You were my grandma Beth’s driver, you used to drive us kids around in the summer vacations….

Harry D: Oh which one of those little brats are you… is it you Lizzy? You tiny little girl oh you’ve grown up! The ugly duckling has become a swan

Liz (so it is him… how did this driver get on the Business class of this flight! and I’m ugly duckling…): How did you get here…. errrrr I mean what brought you to Hong Kong?

Harry D: Oh Lizzy what do it tell you… Long story short the day Madam Beth passed away I was very sad and I went to the country farmer’s market to buy a bottle of wine but the shop was too crowded so I waited and i saw a lotto stall, as a kid i always wished to buy a lotto ticket, so I did it that day… and who would believe it little Lizzy, I won. Then I bought some cattle, I sold milk and cheese then after a year I opened a small restaurant and now I have 5 restaurants in Australia. I went to HongKong to learn the art of making stinky tofu, seems to be a hit these days.

Liz thought to herself, the story of this man is commendable, she was inspired… still the more important question lingered and she decided to stay on it. Dinner menu was presented, she chose steak, they talked a lot and drank a lot, exchanged contact info. and were both generally very happy to see each other Liz even forgot about the mumble and chuckle and then… food arrived.

Liz (looking at the steak): This is huge!

Harry D: That’s what she said…

Oh sorry Lizzy girl I should not have said that, I was trying to control all the while but you just walked into it… I’m sorry…

Liz (almost in a state of shock, almost): Ewwww was that what you always used to say and chuckle? LONG PAUSE

Harry D: Sorry little Lizzy, sorry…

Liz: Oh you dirty sick man!

Harry D: That’s what she said…

(Banging his head with his hands) I’m so so sorry Lizzy girl…

Liz ran back to her seat which was right ahead and still managed to bump into 2 passengers tossing their drinks in their food… Disgusted she sat and all the times he must have said those words stared floating in her mind and after a while, she chuckled… it was the most inappropriate and hilarious joke… she had to give this idea to the copy writing division and they could make a write up from this and finally have some real comedy on that lame comedy show of theirs… She chuckled some more…

A year later Lizzy’s company won an Emmy for that episode, and the copy writers dedicated it to Lizzy… She was so happy… She called up Harry D, it was the answering machine.

Liz: Harry D, I know you are a dirty sick man who makes inappropriate jokes but thank you. That night changed my life…

She imagined Harry D playing the message, and chuckled.

MORAL OF THE STORY: always follow your childhood wishes 🙂

A Moment to Forget (or Remember?)

Here’s the next entry to the ‘And then…’ contest. Just reminding, I am not disclosing the author‘s name now so that we can have a fair voting. The write-ups would be posted in the order I receive them… Here are the rules & hints and here is The Scene…

He glanced up suddenly at her, and then smiled – a bemused smile. He removed the headphones from his ears, and then studied her intently for a moment. She swallowed uncomfortably, looked at her boarding pass to check which seat she’d been given, and then cursed her luck. She was in the wrong seat.

Worse luck yet, her actual seat was just one row behind. She got up, and then looked at the numbers again.

“Excuse me,” she told the guy, who still wore the same bemused smile on his face, “But I think that is my seat.”

“So it is,” he said, getting up and moving to seat next to hers. She took a deep breath, composed herself, and sat down.

There was a loud crunch. She got up, shocked, and then winced when she saw that she had sit down on top of what she presumed were his glasses. He grinned more (what was making that man smile so much!?) and picked up the glasses. She could see that the glass had cracked.

“I’m really sorry,” she began, only to see his expression change for the first time to a frown.

“Sit down, Liz,” he said, his tone suddenly different from what it had been a moment ago. Suddenly he was no longer the polite stranger, but the old acquaintance. The shift made her heart start beating a little faster. His frown turned deeper, the chocolate brown eyes squinting in a way that she remembered rather fondly. “You do remember me, don’t you?”

How could she forget? The fairytale whirlwind romance, the wild week in paris with the handsome stranger, those days when she was happy?

“Of course I remember you,” she said, but she had to struggle for a moment to place the name. “Brian.”

“I’m glad,” he told her, and the boyish grin that she also remembered very fondly returned. “I haven’t seen you for…what…two years now? How have you been? And what’s up in Sydney?”

“I’ve been, fine,” she answered cautiously, not really sure where she wanted to take this. “Just going on a vacation…what are you doing?”

“Visiting my family. My dad lives in Sydney. You know – Rottheimer, from the Rottheimer and sons…”

His dad was the biggest business man in Sydney? Now that was really something she would’ve liked to have known before.

“So, as you’re in town,” he said with a grin, distracting her from her thoughts. “Why not join me? For, say dinner, this Tuesday?”

She opened her mouth to reply, but he ran a finger on her hand, reminding her of too many things at once, making her forget what she was going to say.

“Sure,” she said instead, and decided to leave the explanation of the fact that she had a boyfriend for another day.

Later, years later, when she tried to remember (or forget) this meeting…she felt bad – just not bad enough.