My swipe game is not strong. I hardly get any matches, out of the ones I do get, few just drift away into abyss.
Alka was different. When we matched, I never accepted she would comeback with quirky icebreaker.
My bio says I am a foodie. She messaged, "Yet another Instagramer who eats to post".
I smikered at her opening lines and replied back,
"There are some flavors which are not on Instagram, but in my soul".
She replied back, "Quite philosophical. Are you this boring.
"Well I'm not good at sprinkling masala" I added.
There was not reply after that.
"There you go, yet another one lost", I spoke to myself looking at the black screen on my cellphone.
Next day, I get a message from her.
"What's the best restaurant to try Vietnamese"
I replied with the name of this restaurant which I had been once, food was great.
She replied "Thanks".
I tried to reason myself what was this all about. Aren't we supposed to choose restaurant and go on a date via dating app. I cursed myself for bad luck and the app.
Few days later I see a message from Alka. It says, "which restuarant do you go when you are depressed". I reply back, "none" "Eating doesn't help"
She replied "Then what does?"
I reply back "Talk"
I wait for sometime and send a message.
"I am free to talk. Do you want to ?
A hour later, I see a message from her. She has sent her number.
I'm confused to core. Do I call her or WhatsApp her.
I stick to dating app and reply.
"Will call after my office at 5PM"
Its 5:02, my mobile in hand, her number is visible on screen. My fingers shake and I press the call button.
She picks after fews rings. She doesn't say hello, she wait for me to start.
I tell my name and wait for her to reply.
I can hear her breath.
I again say, "if this is not good time, we can talk later"
She replies with hmmm.
I end the call with more confusion.
I start thinking, from no swipes to a call. But she never spoke much. What is this girl. No I dont want to get into this.
At night, I recieve a message on WhatsApp. It's Alka.
She's messaged, "Hey you there"
I reply back and the usual formal talks continue. Talks then become a bit informal.
She finally reveals, the reason she asked me the restaurant name. It was because she was going out with a guy whom her parents had arranged for meetup. She never liked him. To make the situation awkward she decided to choose a restaurant about which they knew nothing. Obviously things would be confusing and she would not talk much with him.
I praised her for her idea and we laughed at other antics she pulled. Clearly she was mischievous and I somehow liked it.
Soon I realized I never kept track of time. It drifted and I hear the birds chirp. I blush.
This late night messaging continued for a week and finally I asked her out. She agreed.
"Where are we going" I could her her voice in her message. Probably this is true for everyone. We used to speak sometimes in between and she even complimented me saying I like your voice.
"Let me think and tell you" I replied.
Next day, in our conversation, I tell her about this restaurant we are going and I'll pick her up at noon.
She's surprised. She asks me, "Noon? You mean lunch, I thought dinner."
I mumble my words first. I ask why. "You want to go for dinner? What's the matter?
She replies in confused tone, "I was always thought going out was dinner. The guys I met before always said dinner. You are the first one to say lunch."
I dont say anything, as a guy I know why guys prefer dinner.
I tell her it's a suprise.
I reach her place to pick her up. All the way I imagine her dressed up in western style but when I reach, she's in ethnic. She really looks pretty in this rather western I say to myself. She gets in the car. She looks at me and smiles. We went through the scenario many times previous night. How she will get into the car, how I speak formally, how I react to her dress etc. We both try to control laughter and finally we burst out.
It's our first date, yet it feels it's not. We talk like we knew each other.
She happily watches me hog food while she's busy taking selfies. She's not a foodie but she tried everything I suggested. I was content looking at her eat. She enjoyed the whole lunch time I guess.
Finally, we step out of restaurant and start walking. She holds my hand for the first time and looks at me.
I look back at her. Should I make some romantic statements I think to myself. I'm confused and my belly is full. My mind is blank.
She says, "I never had some much fun at lunch, so tell me what's your magic".
I put a bit of smile on my face and say, "Not all stories are beautiful with a back drop of stars. Not all eyes speak at night. Some speak to soul with good food. Some memories are not the lips we taste, but the good time we had sharing food"
She hugs me instantly.
As we stood there hugging each other, we could feel the warmth of sun touch us.