26. Hain Ji ?

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Hlo darlings

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Things could go terribly wrong if one is not attentive to the instructions given to him, and afterwards, what you are left with is scolding yourself. It was not he who was at fault, but his stupid heart that had somehow befriended his rebellious mind now. For once in his life his mind and heart were in friendly terms.

His heart was beating for Anika and his mind was thinking about her when Khanna was telling him about the setbacks of living in this shabby little house. There was no water supply in the house, all he could do was to go to the end of the street where there was a tap of water and carry the buckets full of water all the way to this house. If he thought it was enough, he was wrong. The tap ran from 5 Am to 7 Am in the morning and then from 5 Pm to 7 Pm in the evening.

It was half past seven now and not even a single drop running out of the tap. He was glad no one could recognise him, or else he would’ve been the headline of all the newspapers and TV channels tomorrow. He picked the empty buckets and walked towards his abode. He was given many glances full of pity and his empty buckets were the reason. One day without water was not an easy thing after all. He was definitely going to sponsor campaign about water conservation from now own.

This walk from the street upto his house was the longest and the most difficult walk of his life. Only he knew how he bit back the rude words that fought to come out of his throat. Why couldn’t people mind their own business for God sake !

His frown was replaced by a wide grin as soon as his gaze swept on Anika’s face who stood in the verandah of her house and was hanging the washed clothes to dry. Only she was the one who could make him believe that this place was worth living.

He was still staring at her when the mischievous kids in the neighbourhood pushed him while running past him, one after another. His grip on the handles loosened and the buckets rolled in two opposite directions and one of those rolled in the way of an old man who stopped his bicycle and saved himself from falling.

“Are you mad, can’t you hold even an empty bucket properly ? Why God have to send such fools on this earth !” the old man spoke to Shivaay and than to himself in his typical, Mumbai style accent and in a loud voice that could easily give an inferiority complex to a loud speaker.

As if these tragedies were not enough that Anika noticed his smashing insult. He was here to impress her, to win her heart but on his first day itself his intentions were going down the drain. He was at loss of words when Anika stood just in front of him. He could see she was saying something but he couldn’t hear her. It was only her brown orbs, her open hair and her lips that moved so softly he could concentrate on. Only when she shook him gently from his shoulders that he regained his composure, not completely though.

“Are you alright ?” She asked and he smiled like a fool as her eyebrows twitched in concern and he was lost once again. She was saying something once again and pointing at something while talking but he heard nothing but his heart beat  was getting faster.

“Say something ?” Anika said, this time in a really loud voice. Now what was he going to answer her when he didn’t hear a single word she said ? He was completely blank and as if, whatever happened so far was not enough that he exclaimed in a shaky voice, “Hain Ji ?”

If Anika wanted to laugh her heart out, she didn’t so that he don’t feel embarassed. “I was saying that you should come to my house and fill these buckets. You won’t get the water from that tap before 5 Pm.” Anika said and smiled, and he nodded like an idiot and followed her into her house, with the buckets in his hands. The start might not have been good but the progress was good.

“You didn’t tell me your name.” Anika asked as she placed the bucket under the tap in the small but neat and clean bathroom.

“Shiv... Shivinder Singh” Shivaay stammered as he had forgotten for a moment that he was not his real self infront of her. “And my name is..”

Before Anika could speak, Shivaay himself spoke “Anika.” So that Anika looked at him suspiciously. “How do you know my name ? I didn’t even tell you yet.” Anika asked and he felt like a fool for trying to be over smart. He wanted to pretend that he had listened everything she said to him and he took it for granted that she might have told him her name already.

“I.. my.. my landlord told me.” Shivaay.. no ! Shivinder lied to Anika and she nodded even if she found him extremely weird. “Be careful from now on. You should get up at 4 Am if you’ve to get water from that tap in the street.” Anika smiled at him as he picked the buckets.

“Khanna will see to that.” Shivaay spoke in the flow and realised what he said when she looked at him with confusion clear on her face. “I.. mean Anna.. my Anna will see to it. He will have the water supply repaired in a day for sure.” Shivaay replied.

“Anna ? But I thought you are a punjabi as you’re wearing a turban.” Anika walked with him towards the door and dismissed the thought from her mind that he was handsome, with those black jeans and white shirt as well as a white turban. But what was so captivating about this Shivinder Singh was, his eyes were reminding her of an even more handsome man, infact the most handsome man she had ever seen. She chided herself for thinking rubbish and that too about that beast. What she didn’t realise was she was blushing at the thought of that beast.

“Yes I am. It’s just my best friend is elder to me and he’s a south Indian, so I call him Anna.” Shivaay was impressed by himself for piling lies one onto another. He didn’t know where she was lost but that did give him the time to think about an excuse and quite a satisfying one. His south Indian employee whom he had once heard talking about his Anna, deserved a thank you for helping him even if unintentionally, Shivaay thought as he sighed once out of Anika’s house.

He would’ve liked to go to Anika’s house everyday with the excuse of water but that would be inappropriate. So he called his ‘Anna’ and asked him to do something about the water supply in this house. He sighed, for he couldn’t believe that the person who used to shower thrice a day, was going to bath with a mug and a bucket which wasn’t enough for him. But he reminded himself of the reward he was going to get at the end of all of this and that gave him some peace of mind.

Once he was ready in his typical, handsome Punjabi munda style, he overlooked the window and found Anika locking the door of her house. She was going to office, he was sure because she had her bag with her. He grinned as a new idea popped into his mind. He was yet to have his breakfast, but he wasn’t going to miss a splendid opportunity for a stupid toast and a glass of juice. He locked his house and walked towards the street that lead to the main road.

“It’s going to be a beautiful day” he thought as he whistled the tune of a romantic song, once again, something he had never done in his life. If the people passing by him were looking at him as if he was a loafer who eave teased girls by whistling, he didn’t give them a damn.

Lets whistle for now. He was going to be blank once infront of her anyway.
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