“Isn’t it B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L?”
He looked at her, and chose not to reply. She didn’t wait for him either. Just a glance while asking the question, and then back went her face towards the evening setting sun.
As always, she looked beautiful. The aura of the setting sun on her face, with the cloudy sky in at the east end making up a beautiful light, with cars, buses and bikes making up the busy road in the backdrop, the only thing he was noticing was her.
It wasn’t a question actually. It was a musing, as if only to herself. It didn’t need an answer.
Still, he chose to reply, maybe the reply was coming long after the question, maybe it wasn’t the answer to her question, maybe it was a musing too, this time the guys.
“Yes, it is.”
The voice was soft, gentle.
Something in the tone of the voice made her look away from the sunset.
“I’m taking about the sunset buddhu! You’re not even looking at it!”
He smiled and shook his head.
“Be right back.”
“You’re not going to get another cigarette are you? NO! I’m warning you, DON’T!”
He just smiled and shook his head again. Turned and started walking towards the paanwala.
Something in the innocent smile and the shaking of the head made her kept looking at him. The dim light, with the streetlights not on fully, the low natural light, and him walking, wearing a faded jeans and a more faded jeans jacket, he somehow just fit into the whole picture like a jigsaw piece. And she, for the first time in the evening, looked at him, something closer to her, than some phenomena that had actually taken place eight minutes earlier.
Reaching the paanwala he looked back. She was still staring, very evidently.
“What?!” his shrug seemed to convey.
And this time it was her part to smile, shake her head and toss her hair back, shift her gaze back to the sunset.
“I got you an éclairs.”
His voice made her jump. She hadn’t even noticed when he had come up to her.
“And see, I’m not smoking! At your command your highness!”
“Good. You do listen to me then! But just one éclairs?”
“Just one, just one for you, at 6.47 pm, IST. But, five more for you at 6.50 pm IST!”
“You’re crazy! C-R-A-Z-Y!”
He held out her hand and he placed the little golden wrapped Cadbury toffees in her hand. The two hands touched for a fraction of a second, and they looked at each other. And instinctively they looked away, at the sunset.
The sun had already set.