“Gosh! Am I hungry!” I thought as I finished work after a long, hectic day in office.
“And the boss! He is a pucca boss!! Did not even let me have a proper lunch break! I am going straight to Mishra Gol Gappe waala. Man, I could eat all the pani puris he has there!”
It’s been six months since I started working here and running the rat race. Always taking up extra tasks and assignments because ‘six months’ probation! To get confirmed in my job, I need to satisfy all the expectations from the boss and other seniors.
And I have been so focused that I have completely ignored making any attempts to start a conversation with Rati.
Rati joined two months ago. She too hails from Pune. She has those ‘girl next door looks’ and yet is the most attractive girl I have seen. When at work I try my best to not come near her work area, lest I get distracted. But back home in the evening, Rati is like a ‘Dream Girl’ to me. Kisi shaayar ki ghazal…
“Kya loge aaj Sir?” Mishra interrupted my thoughts.
“Ek plate pani puri de do bhaiya. Bahot bhukh lagi hai!” I replied.
And Mishra mixed all his ingredients and the secret powder to make the most delicious, mouthwatering pani puris ever! Taking each ball in my mouth, I enjoyed the pungent, cold mixture titillating the numerous taste buds. It was pure ecstasy. My eyes closed.
A couple of explosive spice-balls later, when I opened my eyes, I was stunned. In a jolt I was brought out of my gustatory ecstasy and what I saw in front of me was unimaginable! There she was – my Dream Girl, Rati. She was having the ‘world’s best pani puri’ too.
Our eyes met. My heart skipped several beats. I managed half a nervous smile. She smiled back. And for a moment it felt as if I had no heart beating.
A nervous “Hi” is what I could manage.
“Karan. Right?” she said. “Happy to meet you”.
And I said, “My pleasure”.
Over the next few pani puris, we started talking and then walked up to the Connaught Place Metro station.
The next morning my boss called me, and to my pleasant surprise, gave me my confirmation letter. No prizes for guessing who I shared the good news with and where we celebrated. Yes, at Mishra ji’s, over the world’s best pani puris!