A good five minutes later, he was still standing by the road, trying to hail down a cab. If only he had his mobile with him, he thought. This had to be the worst day of his life. It started when he burnt his breakfast, then he could not find his mobile, his car broke down on him and now he could not even get transport.
Deciding it would be better to go and make inquiries about the bus service, he made an attempt to walk over to the waiting commuters at the bus stop. Just then he noticed a car slow down and stop by the kerbside. A tiny white mini Morris had come to a halt just in front of him. He saw long slim fingers move from the steering wheel to the passenger door. Then he spotted a brown ponytail fall over the shoulder. That telltale sign gave away the identity of the driver.
Priya had seen him standing by the roadside as soon as she turned into the main street. Driving downhill, Ram's six feet plus frame would have been hard to miss for anyone. Her immediate reaction had been to drive past. Firstly she did not think that he would have recognised her car, and secondly it did look like he was waiting for someone. But then she spotted his Ferrari and saw him look at the watch several times in a space of a few seconds. It was obvious that there was a problem with the car. She had promised herself never to let another man invade her territory. Her car, her home and even her heart, fell within that domain. Her life was uncomplicated and safe. It was the way she wanted it to be. The way, she had worked towards making it.
Despite her overly cautious nature, she found herself slowing down and before she realised what she had done, her car had stopped and she had opened the front passenger door.
"Would you like a li.lift" - she asked trying not to stutter. The stutter was an unavoidable habit now. Oddly, when she was at work and more especially when she was discussing her work, she spoke clearly and without hesitations. But the moment she was out of those perimeters, it returned like a faithful companion. She had earned a reputation for being the tongue tied, shy little thing'. Everyone thought that it was her stutter that made her shy. It had definitely contributed to it but her shyness was her safety net from the world, and she clung to it with fierce attachment.
Ram looked at the car. How would he fit into that thing'? He had often enough said, if you want to drive a mini, you might as well ride a bike'. He glanced at his watch again, ten minutes was all he had. There was no time to ponder or waste.
"Yes thanks. That is if I can get in." he gave a worried reply.
A faint smile appeared. So briefly that even he did not see it. Then she pushed the seat as far back as it would go.
After several twists and turns, Ram did manage to get in however his head touched the roof, his legs lay crossed, his left arm hung dangerously out of the window while the right one was thrown awkwardly towards the back seat. All set, they were about to drive off when they heard the sound of laughter from the bus stop. Everyone had stopped to enjoy the scene and found his efforts most amusing. Much to Ram's annoyance he heard Priya giggle too. He himself could not find anything funny about his situation. But he did like the sound of her giggle. At least that was one thing she had going for her.
What else can go wrong?' he thought as she eased the car forward. Looking at his watch again he noticed that he had just eight minutes left. He knew that they were only five minutes away from work but it was peak hour and it was the traffic that worried him.
"What t..ti--me do you ha..ve to be there?" Priya asked
"I have a meeting in eight minutes. Do you have a mobile phone that I can use? If I can speak to my secretary, she can at least let them know that I am on my way."
"No, I don't carry a mobile but don't worry I will g...g..et you there in five." Priya had not taken her eyes of the road and now moved towards the outer lane. A minute later she had turned into a by-lane. Within seconds she was swiftly maneuvering the car through the narrow lanes and one ways.
As much as he tried, Ram just could not get comfortable. He neck felt strained and he was sure his clothes were a mess too. He was glad he kept a spare set of clothes at work. If he looked untidy when he got out at least he could change his suit. Of course that meant wasting another minute and time was his greatest enemy today.
Priya had not spoken a word since she turned into the side lane. Ram now turned his attention to the woman sitting next to him. In five seconds he took in as much as he could. She was dressed in a grey skirt, white blouse and a matching grey jacket. As usual, she had absolutely no make-up and her brown hair was pulled harshly back into a ponytail. Her eyes were shielded by her trademark dark glasses. She had dark leggings that went down and disappeared into flat grey shoes, the kind his mother often wore and called her common-sense footwear'. Despite her slim hands and legs, she had a rounded torso. He recalled someone once refer to her as the little rotund mouse'. He had quickly put a stop to those comments however he had to admit that so far he hadn't seen anything people would call attractive. And the poor girl had the stutter to deal with as well. On top of it all her hideous black glasses made her look stern, almost cold. The only thing she had going for her apart from her brilliant work, was that giggle. A giggle that made her almost human.
Suddenly for some reason, the thought of this very plain girl saddened him. His as**sociation with the rich and beautiful had taught him one thing - many doors open for those with wealth, power or beauty. Those who lack these, have to totally rely on hard work and Priya poor girl had so many more handicaps to deal with than the average person. The reflection on her unfortunate life stirred something in him. He told himself that after his brother's death he had become a champion of the disadvantaged. He convinced himself that it was the reason for his interest in someone like Priya.
Topic started by Harshida_Rani
Last replied by chitloner