My plans for the evening were simple. No fuss required. Just some nice music, some good snacks, maybe flowers, maybe chocolates too. Then again, a little surprise gift would be thoughtful as well. Flowers, chocolates and gifts, it all sounded so perfect… until I checked my wallet that is. I discovered that I had a grand total of….Rs.30 on me. I felt like a balloon that suddenly had all its air released. I sank to the couch tempted to bury my head in a pillow and cry the evening away but the ‘manly man’ in me refused to let me give up. After all necessity breeds invention. Once again I found myself in a sticky spot with nothing but my ‘quick wit’ to save me. And then an idea struck me like a tonne of bricks. Why not just take some cash from the cupboard? I’d save up by the end of the week and mom wouldn’t have to know. Yes, that was it. I felt proud of myself for thinking up a solution so fast. I gallantly marched into mom’s room and turned towards the cupboard. There it stood before me. All that separated me from having the necessary financial resources for an evening to remember was a puny metal door. It shan’t dare ruin my plans, NO SIREÉ! As I moved closer to it, I noticed something rectangular and yellow on the door that I hadn’t noticed before. On further observation I discovered that it was a post-it. It said something. I peeled it off the door, read it and then tore it to bits in a fit of rage. I still couldn’t believe what Mom had written on it, “The keys are with me, don’t bother trying to open it. Besides, why would you need the cash? Not like you are up to something!…Love, Mom” . The cheekiness did not stop there; she actually drew a smiley face on the post-it! This meant war. So that’s how we’re playing this then. Fine, I’ll make sure nothing comes in between me and my memorable evening. There would be no compromises whatsoever!
On second thoughts, maybe there would be some compromises, actually a lot of them. The grand preparations had come down to Tea & Biscuits (The finest cream biscuits from the local baniya. Nothing less!), and a 5 buck Dairy Milk. All that was missing now was flowers. Where would I find those now? I wondered as I paced to and fro in the living room. Just then, something outside the window caught my attention. Why it was my dear neighbours rose plant. I recalled how excited Mrs. Nosy was when she brought the sapling home, and how dearly she watered it each day. She even started talking to it after hearing something on TV about how plants grow better if you converse with them. Bearing that in mind, I was surprised at the fact that it actually had 2 roses in full bloom. Needless to say I did pluck them. Two birds with one stone I thought, not only would my lady-love be pleased, my arch-nemesis, Mrs. Nosey – Neighbour would be crest-fallen. I laughed like an evil villain and it actually felt good. This evening was going to be marvelous, simply marvelous I tell you!
All that was left to do now was to dress up and look handsome. (Of course that was the easy part!) I opened my closet and took out the first thing I laid my hands on. Ugh! The orange t-shirt chachi gifted me last birthday! NO WAY! Okay, take 2 – the formal shirt which Mom had picked out for me (saying that it made me look like a ‘nice boy’). ‘Definitely not wearing that!’ I almost said aloud. Third time lucky I concluded, as I took out the long sleeved royal blue shirt. I wasn’t too fond of but I remembered her telling me that she found it cute when I wore it once back when we weren’t seeing each other. I could use some of the vintage charm today. I chuckled as I repeated the words ‘vintage charm’; it had only been 7 months since we started ‘dating’. A quick shower later, I started to tidy up the place. Then I carefully selected the music. I would have chosen Metallica, but she could have retaliated with Michael Learns to Rock if she heard James Hetfield greet her. I settled for a 70s-90s Hits CD. It was common ground. I remembered how she said she was surprised that I listened to that kind of music. I of course assured that I swore by the Bee Gees (although I wouldn’t be able to tell them apart from ABBA if anything other than “How Deep is Your Love” was played).
I then headed to the kitchen. Now I was no Gordon Ramsey or Jamie Oliver (or even our Desi super-chef Sanjeev Kapoor for that matter), but if a good cuppa and toast could qualify as culinary masterpieces, I could give them a run for their money any day. I decided not to be too ambitious though. Just some tea would do fine. Less is more like they say. A couple of minutes later tea was ready. I decided to flaunt my artistic skills as I arranged the biscuits on the plate. I made a heart first. Too corny! I considered making a smiley face, but I already had a bad experience with one of those not too long ago. I just arranged them in a circle and put one in the middle. I couldn’t look at it and say, Voila! That’s my ‘Ulysses’, but it wasn’t an eye-sore either. Then I took one of the roses, which my neighbour had so generously supplied me with for the evening and cut the thorns off. There it lay on the platter in all its long stemmed glory. I gazed at my creation, and it was good! I rested. Conserve your strength little one, you are just about to witness the most memorable evening of your life!