Moving to a new house always exited Monish, this was after quite a lag of years that he changed house. He selected his new place quite wisely this time as he wanted to reduce his distance from his academy where he was giving guitar classes. This was also in big interest to Monish as he could now afford to start small batches at his new places to folks who were missing out due to choked up batch headcount.

For the first time he was shifting alone to own a full apartment for himself. All his bachelor life away from home Monish tagged along with his cousin brother who was a pilot, staying in company owned flat who now was moving out to London for a foreign assignment.

Monish was exited and finally completed his shifting in 4 hours along with the packers and movers. He made up his small apartment quite well with low seating, night lamps, decorative gramophone and posters of “Slash”, his guitar idol. By all means it looked like a musician’s nook. His place was green with plants surrounding the building overlooking the view of scenic and posh Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad.

Days went well due to reduced proximity to his academy. Monish realized he could start a new batch at his place for weekends and no sooner did her posted the ad, his batch of 10 was full in less than half a day. He was all set to start it from the coming Saturday, today being Wednesday.

Finally, the day arrived and he started off with his class with a mix of teens and adults and the class kicked off great. Midway to the class the doorbell rang, Monish went out and it was the security guard of the building who had got along a complaint from the below floor for lot of noise. This set Monish’s mood to extent of ruin and he had to lower down he volumes and shut the windows. All excitement of his first home class had gone down the drain. Somehow, he lifted up for the sake of his batch and started again. 20 mins into the class and here went the alarming sound of the doorbell and this time, Monish slammed his guitar down. He stormed out of the room towards the living room approaching the door in anger. He flung opened the door and shouted, “what is wrong with you people, the sound is barely coming out now.”

There was a sudden pause, Monish’s anger shout was held back abruptly.

She must be in her early 20’s, hazel eyes, straight flowing hair covering her face and pristine fair skin, Monish was speechless. The spell broke as the girl stepped back with almost tears dampening her eyes. “I am really sorry, I thought mmmmm, the aannnnnn, the guard was here to complain again, I am sorry”, he said. The girl gathered herself as well and understood, “oh I got it, actually my name is Ayesha and I saw your post for guitar classes and so came here to join it.” Monish in normal scenario would have said that the class has already started and the batch is full to limit. “Sorry the batch is full and I can’t take any more in” he could say it but all he said, “actually the class has started and the batch is of 10 as I kept in my ad but come in you can still observe it for today”

He invited her in and asked if she has a guitar which she said no. He gave Ayesha an old guitar of his for the day and resumed the class. All through the class his eyes were rolling onto her as if they were the magnetic compass and she was the north pole. He was mesmerised by her looks and the hazel eyes had done the trick. The first class went well and the session broke until tomorrow. After everyone left including the hazel eyed mademoiselle, he sat down and relived some of his stolen glances and chuckled on himself thinking how he missed basic notes trying to look at her. His late 20s was triggering the hormones of attraction.

Few weeks passed and his classes went well. For Ayesha it was becoming evident, how Monish was looking at her and somewhere she wasn’t minding it as well. It was the night of 6th Saturday since the class had started and Monish had to cancel it today for the first time due to his unwell health. He was running feverish and had taken a paracetamol and was lying down near his window staring at the shimmering street light. The mild drizzle in  and Monish’s watery eyes was making his view like a painting. Suddenly, he visualized Ayesha’s face midst of street light and the drizzle. He closed his eyes immediately and gave a shake to his head.

His phone blinked and a message. He picked up his phone, it was a number and it said, “Hey, hope you feeling well? Please lemmi know if you need anything. TC”. A message from one of his students for sure, and he replied thanks.

Something made him inquisitive and he saved the number with the name “Student 1” and went to WhatsApp to see a dp of a “wine lover quote”. He realized that the person other side was online and he kept staring trying to rationalize himself whether to ping or not. While he was still dissecting his thoughts, something popped up on the window. A sudden rush went from his heart to stomach at once. “It’s me Ayesha, sorry I missed to mention my name in the SMS”.

Something went similar from Ayesha’s heart to stomach to see the double ticks of her message turning blue immediately, she thought she was smiling but actually she was blushing.

Monish immediately replied without realizing that she had got to know that he was on her window when she messaged.

Monish– Hey thanks I am quite well now; I will see you in class tomorrow

Ayesha– You should take a day off and rest.

Monish– Naah, I guess I will be fine and anyways it’s just about you all rehearsing the notes

Ayesha– 🙂 ok. But I wanted to skip tomorrow

Monish– Why?

Ayesha– Thought of taking my pet to doctor, he seems unwell

Monish– Oh, so shall I cancel the class?

Ayesha was in laughter and she was rolling on her bed. The last message has awed her to an extent that she couldn’t stop smiling. Monish, on the other side realized his stupid line and had one hand on his head.

Ayesha– That would be kind of you but you dont need to cancel for my reason 🙂

Monish– nothing like that, I will check with others as well mostly will shift to someday in this week in evening to cover it up.

Ayesha– Thanks. You take care guitar guru. Gn

Monish– 🙂 Gn and thanks.

There was no “bye” said, both went to bed smiling and Monish was actually feeling better. He kept thinking about the hazel eyes and suddenly Bob Dylan played in his head, he sept with that Dylan song on his lips,

“The future for me is already a thing of the past,
You were my first love and you will be my last”

Monish got up feeling fresh and decided to continue his class and hence informed the academy who routed his message to all including Ayesha. He dropped a note to Ayesha stating that he will ensure she catches up the missed part of today’s class and she was obliged to know that.

Weeks passed and talk between, Monish and Ayesha were frequent, they got to know each other in brief chats before they called the day off almost every day. Monish was getting in a zone to which he was unknown but he was always cautious of his words and manners.

It was Monish’s birthday and he had his parents in town. Ayesha wished him sharp at 12 am and demanded a birthday party with “THE BATCH”. Being a weekday he had a family dinner and the birthday was spent quietly with parents and siblings.

Monish took his entire batch to lunch after the following Saturday’s class. During the lunch Monish & Ayesha were together all the time. When all were leaving he asked Ayesha if he can drop her midway, to which she replied, “You anyway had too”.  While in cab Monish gathered some courage and asked, “Do you like wine?” . Ayesha was pondering, where that came from and said, “why do you think I like wine?”. He replied, “I saw once in your dp so thought”. She smiled in a way that swept Monish away, “yes I love red wine, are you treating me again?”

“Do you want to drop by in evening at my place, I can order some food and you can teach me how to drink wine” he said smiling. A pause and she replied looking out of the cab’s window, “Ok at 8 pm but Chinese and I will get the wine”. The plan was set and he dropped her midway in great satisfaction. There was something flying in their stomachs, may be it was called “butterflies” but to them it was like “flying dragons”.

Sharp at 8 pm the bell rang and Ayesha was there standing on his door holding a bottle of wine, with a lace ribbon bow. She was wearing a white striped dress, with her hair tied and pink cheeks. Monish invited her in and couldn’t resist himself, he said “you look like a Barbie”. Ayesha burst into laughter and said where did he found out so much about Barbies. They laughed to this but Ayesha stole a look in midst admiring the laughing face of Monish and to his compliment to her. She shook and kissed him on his cheeks while handing over the bottle, “Happy Birthday Again!!!”

guitar

They drank and chatted with mild country music playing in back drop looking at the greenery and the streetlights glazing outside. Both were tipsy and accidently Ayesha dropped some wine on her dress. She immediately ran to wash it with water and in bargain smothered the dress a little more.

“Can you lend me a t-shirt if you don’t mind, till this dries up?’’ Monish gave her a t-shirt which was slightly bigger in size. While she was changing, he sat on his bean bag and took out the guitar and started playing a tune. In about 5 mins she entered the living room.

In the low light of the lamp she looked like a deity in an oversized t-shirt equally matching the length of her dress. Her staggering steps and the drunken shimmer in those hazel eyes were inducing something inside Monish’s heart. He looked at her, stroked a note on the string and sang:

“Laid my head upon you

Your arms encircled me,

It was, My Love, as if we were

What God meant us to be…”

She smiled. With tipsy steps she came closer with the wine bottle in one hand, removed the guitar and sat on his lap. Engulfing her arms around his shoulders she kissed him on his nose and rested her head on his chest.

While Dylan kept playing in background,

She fell asleep and he fell in love…………!!

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