Late Night Phone Call

on Posted by Rajesh J Advani
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"Hello," I said, barely awake.

"Rajesh?" It was a girl's voice.

"Yes?" I replied, checking my watch for the time. Gods, it was 3:00 am!

"Are you ready?"

"No," I replied, a little confused about what I was supposed to be ready for. "Who is this?"

"Rhea. Are you still asleep?"

"Lady, it's three in the morning. Do I know you?"

"Oh, I'm sorry. I think I got the wrong number."

A little irritated, I nonetheless managed to fall asleep again as soon as I put the phone down.

The next morning, I vaguely remembered the phone-call, but wondered if I had been dreaming. I checked my cell phone and there had indeed been a call at three in the morning. I thought about it. Even in my sleep, the voice had sounded nice.

That night, I felt like some mischief. So I set the alarm for three the next morning, and went to sleep. At three, I woke up and dialed the number that my cell phone had dutifully recorded in the call log.
A sleepy voice picked up the phone. “Yes?” she said.

"Rhea?" I tried not to laugh.

"Yes?"
She sounded sleepier than I must have been the previous night.

"Rajesh here," I said. "You ready?"

"Ready for what?" She seemed to be crawling her way to consciousness.

"Are you still asleep?" I avoided the question.

"Rajesh, daddy's flight was yesterday. You're a day late."

At this point I ran out of things to say, so I said sorry and hung up.
The next day, at 3:00am, she called again.

"Hello?" I had been asleep, but from the moment I opened my eyes, I knew it would be her.

"Rajesh? Rhea here."

"Hi Rhea."

"So what are you doing?"

"Dreaming about you," I replied.

"Well I just wanted to say Good Night." I could almost see the grin on her face. Of course at that point I didn't know what she looked like, so all I saw was a Cheshire-Cat-type grin hanging in the darkness. But you get the picture.

"Good night, Rhea" I said cheerfully

The late night phone calls went on for a week. They'd be short, but fun. And then I got tired of waking up in the middle of the night everyday, so I decided to call her before I went to sleep.

"You're early" she said.

"Yes," I replied. "I have an early day tomorrow. So I thought we could have this conversation now instead of at three."

"Smart move."

"I know. Hey, what are you doing around seven tomorrow evening?" I wondered if I was moving too fast. Still, there didn't seem to be any harm in it.

"I'll be collecting my kids from school. What about you?"

My heart skipped a beat. For a few seconds, I didn't even breathe.

"Hello?" she said, to check if I was still on the phone. I could tell she was trying to suppress a giggle.

I relaxed. "I'm right here. Well, I'll be taking my grandchildren to have ice cream, at that time. I thought maybe you could get your kids, I could get my grandkids, and we'd all have ice cream together."

She paused for a second, and then said, "Sounds like a good idea."

The next day, I came home early from work, and took almost an hour getting ready. I wondered what she looked like.
We'd decided to meet at Baskin Robbins. When she'd asked me how she'd recognize me, I told her to look for an old man in a navy blue shirt. She had laughed at that. When I asked her what she'd wear, she said she hadn't decided yet.

At exactly seven, a little girl in a green dress walked into Baskin Robbins. The girl came straight to me, and said "Are you Rajesh Uncle?”
At that moment, I felt like the biggest fool on the planet. "What was I thinking?" I asked myself.
But then in came this girl in a T-shirt and slacks, who was definitely not the girl's mother. Elder sister, maybe, but no way was she a mother.

I lifted the little girl in my arms, and looked at Rhea. "You're quite the practical joker, aren't you?"

"Well, old man," she replied. "You said you'd get your grandkids along. What did you think this was? A date?" She knew she had got the better of me, and a big grin was plastered across her face.

"Oh, their parents decided this was not a good day for ice cream. So I came alone. Well, what's your name little girl?"

"My name is Priya."

"Ok, Priya, which ice-cream do you want to have today?"

She looked at Rhea and asked her, "Didi, can I have Mango ice cream?"

So Priya had Mango ice-cream with strawberry syrup, I had chocolate chip vanilla with caramel and nuts, and Rhea had Blueberry ice cream with no toppings.

We talked about how expensive school fees were getting, how it was almost impossible to get good medicine for arthritis, and the fact that there weren't enough playgrounds left for children to play in.

That night, when I called her up, I asked her, "So Priya is a cousin, is she?"

She laughed and replied, "No, not a cousin. She's the neighbour's kid."

"So you thought you needed an escort to meet me, did you?" I had been thinking about that all evening, but hadn't got a good opportunity to say it.

"Well a pretty girl has to protect herself."

"I won't argue with that." She definitely wasn't lacking in the looks department. "But did you really think a four-year-old could protect you?" I did find that amusing.

"Oh, her dad was waiting outside in the car for us all the time."

"Beautiful, intelligent, and sneaky. I like that in a woman."

"You're not too bad yourself, for an old man."

"Why, thank you. So, would you join an old man for coffee tomorrow? Without an escort?"

"Ah. A real date?"

"Only if you prefer to see it that way. I just thought an elderly man and a single mother could go share a cup of coffee."

"A date."

"And then maybe a walk on the beach?"

"Slow down, soldier!"

"So just coffee is okay then?"

"Well," she said, pausing as if to think about it, "ok."

"That's great," I said as I started breathing again. "Good night, Rhea."

"Good night, Rajesh."

I smiled to myself as I went to bed. Next time, we'd do dinner.

31 comments:

thelearner said...

Nice. Looking for a sequel.

Kumari said...

'Tis the season to fall in love...and i did...with this prose :)

Rads said...

aaaahhhh !! sniff sniff.. brings back memories :-)))

hemlyn said...

Funny thing: I didn't see the post under this one, and I thought Woo-hoo, good going, Rajesh! And then I read the following post... fiction. *Sigh*

But take that as a compliment! Well-written, credible and has a nice awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww factor. Keep it coming!

dumbs said...

hey cool one!....keep them coming

Megha said...

Since a-hem's already said it, i'll just repeat it. Totally awwwwwww! Wait, think I said that before on one of your other stories too! Well, I can't help it. Your stories are simply awwwwwww-some! (Yikes, that was bad, but then you probably expected something like that from me, and I hate to dissapoint :) )

Rajesh J Advani said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rajesh J Advani said...

thelearner: Most of the people who I've shown this story have gone "Where's the next page?" :)

kumari: Thanks! Glad you liked it :)

rads: Finally decided to post it :) On my blog!

a-hem: Thanks for the compliment :) This one's been sitting in my drafts for quite a bit. As have others. Hope you like them too!

dumbs: Thanks! I will. Hope to read an Anjali story from you soon, of course, as soon as you come out of retirement!

megha: Yes, you did say that for "Will you marry me?"
I was thinking exactly that when I read a-hem's comment.
And don't worry. You'll never disappoint :)

Sourja said...

Brilliant Addu,
Dude - you seriously need a date today man. Gimme a call sometime if you are still in NJ.

Sourja

Tanya said...

what a story... a really really good story... *sigh* i want to link your stories to my blog.. hahaha! :-p

thanks for dropping by my site by the way. :)

Rajesh J Advani said...

Tanya: Thanks for the kind words about my story :) Hope to see you here again!

And please feel free to link to any of my stories or posts :)

Wolfe said...

You're very good. You could be better, but you're very good. But I suppose you already know that.

Manjusha said...

Nice story! :)
....Sigh!

The Arbit Council said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Arbit Council said...

good god, did you actually go on a date?

*sigh* another one abandons the_nice_always_single_geek_guys ship...

Rajesh J Advani said...

Wolfe: Thanks! :)

Manjusha: Thank you :)

Arbit Council: LOL! The story was fiction :)

Angie said...

nice story, i found it pretty cool.

Kusum Rohra said...

I am so speechless. I guess I'll spend my weekend wondering if i will ever feel that knotted feeling .. those butterflies.. that silly grin u can't hide *Sigh*

Shanti said...

Hey Rajesh,
Are you Rajesh from TSEC '97?

Rajesh J Advani said...

Angie: Thank you!

Kusum Rohra: It'll come, I'm sure. One just needs patience :)

Shanti: Rajesh from TSEC batch of '99. :) Just two years off!

amzee said...

mind refreshing one!

Anonymous said...

Good One. It reminds me of how i met my Husband. Something similar but not the phone call stuff.

Risha said...

real good post, looking for a sequel.
you sure do have great imagination and fantasies. mebbe you can write indian version of mills and boons :)

amzee said...

hey... i have uploaded some snaps from new canon s2 is. They are not very good... yet have to master it!
and theme of my blog...i dont remember exact name... i modified the one with dots.
Thanks for passing by!

sophie said...

that looked more realistic
i woudnt call it a story...
ha ha
u got me engrossed...;-)

Aniruddha said...

Hey Rajesh,

A great story .. very tough to believe that its not real ! very well narrated !

Ferocious Killer Kat said...

that was a very well written post!!

Jasmine said...

:) a sweet read..wish it wasn't a fiction thoh!!

Srujana said...

It was really good.. waiting for a gud sequel.

Ami said...

Is the sequel arriving....at least now? :)

Rihana said...

I am getting curious to know what happened next :P

Hope to see the 2nd installment of it soone ;)