"And before we close on the days proceedings, lets have a weather roundabout with our own Handsome hunk Rajiv. Rajiv, so whats the weather like today?"
Rajiv grabbed his tie's half-windsor knot and shook his head little bit as much as one shakes a salt can over tomato soup. It was a habit he had idolized after watching Pierce Brosnan grab his tie underwater in "The World is not Enough".
"The weather is surprisingly pleasant today. Even though Chennai is supposed to be notoriously summer-type hot starting from February, today should be much of an exception. So today is a good day when you should not be worried about the Sun god radiating his anger all over you. Its possibly a good time to give your umbrella a miss. These are the temperatures in the major cities around the country."
Rajiv read the temperatures from the green matt screen behind him. As he finished reciting the temperatures, Rajiv smiled and finished "Thats all for today. Have a great day ahead." It was the same infectious smile that had sent teenage girls to feel dizzy on their feet and housewives to forget Ekta Kapoors six-packed, plastic heroes and fantasize him.
"So Rajiv, what plans for V-Day? Your house must be filled with letters written in blood and filled with kisses." News Anchor Ram always loved his conversations with Rajiv to be laden with as much sarcasm as possible.
It was partly friendly and partly stomach burning which could not be resolved with even tons of Eno or Gelusil.Even though they were of nearly the same age, Ram looked like father of 2 school going kids and Rajiv could be mistaken for a college dropout.
"No Ram. That used to be in your good old days. All I get now are emails filled with obscene, censored details of girl's vital statistics and her details and exploits if I were to oblige which could make Vatsayana's Kamasutra feel like nursery rhymes."
For reasons unknown, Rajiv loved making Ram feel jealous. Part of it was due to his inability to grab the lead news anchor role from Ram and part of it was Ram's proximity to his secret love - Rachna.
The mere thought of her name sent happy signals from his brain to his lips and they widened obligingly. He changed over to normal clothes and decided to grab some coffee at the nearest Coffee day outlet in Isphani Center. He drove his black Pulsar 180 to Isphani and found a parking space without much fuss. It was still early morning in Chennai but the Sun seemed to have had a faulty alarm clock and hence woke up early before schedule.
As Rajiv walked over to his regular seat (creature of habit you see), he grabbed the day's newspaper from the backpack before deciding to order something. Just then, from the corner of his eye, he saw her - Rachna. Again, brain to Lips. She saw him simultaneously and smiled. He walked over to her place and saw her reading "The White Tiger".
Rachna was Rajiv's news co-anchor and he was secretly in love with her. She was prettily dressed in a comfortable Levis Jeans and Globus tops. Even though Rajiv had been admiring her for the past 1 odd-year, he could still not take his eyes off her.
"So what brings the weather man down here?"
"Some impending headache and lots of love for Coffee."
Her smile just widened. "Can you get me a Macchiato?" he said trying to place an order.
"Have you ever tried Chococinno? Its a delicious mixture of Cholocate ice and Hot coffee. Maybe you should try it."
He smiled and placed order for a Chococinno secretly worrying about the side effects if it were to be horrible. He made a note to himself to smile and say "WOW" after drinking it even if it were to taste like cowdung. He was not sure if she was "suggesting" the drink or testing him if he would oblige her. But then, it was Rachna. If she were to ask, he would even Join the Shiv Sena and campaign and vote for Balasaheb. And maybe even tear and burn few Shahrukh
posters (Well, arent we bored of reading the cliched "bring sun,moons and stars." :P)
"Have you read this book, Rajiv?"
The only White tigers Rajiv knew were the ones caged in some forest in Gujarat. He knew about books as much as Indian Politicians knew about honesty and integrity. Forcing a smile, he nodded his head "Nope. Never had time to read it. Is it good?"
"Its dark. I mean, its about the pathetic state of our country..."
Rajiv was half-listening. He was gazing star-struck at her eyes, curved eye-lashes, the medium sized bindi on her forehead (which matched her tops), her lips which had a subtle hint of lipstick applied exactly between dried-out and cheap-looking.
"....how we are messing up with it told through the eyes of the protagonist." The in-between lines were obviously missed in Rachna-gazing.
"Thats good. Think I should read that." He replied.
"You mean good that the country is messed up is good?" She sounded like she was going to shoot him for sounding like a Paki General.
Caught on the wrong foot, he smiled and replied "I mean, the point of view. Better than reading some Jingoistic stuff." Gosh, how difficult it is to pay attention to what a beautiful lady is saying while you are measuring her beauty.
"So what plans for V-day?" She suddenly changed the topic.
Rajiv almost spilled the Chococinno all over himself and turning into Chocolate Man . If it were to be a hollywood chick flick, he could have comfortably retorted dreamy eyed "Just to keep looking at you."
Well, this was no chick flick and Rajiv was not Hugh Grant. "Well. Not much. Its a sunday, so I guess, I could wake up late and maybe catch up some movie. Have you seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind?"
"Yes. What about it?"
"There is this line which Jim Carrey says "February 14 is a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap.""
She smiled."You dont believe in love, do you?"
"Well. Does it matter?"
"Who do you think?"
"Why are you so interested?"
"Why should'nt be I interested?"
She looked him deep into his eyes. It was as if she was peeking into his soul feeling him from within.
"I was afraid."
"Afraid of what? she asked.
"What if......it was a no?"
"What if it was a yes?"
His heart skipped a beat.
For an instant, it rained in Sahara. Ranganathan street became empty on a weekend evening. Mumbai had no potholes. Haiti stopped having earthquakes. Shimla became warmer. There was no fog in Delhi. Mayavati stopped unveiling her own statues. Salman Khan started wearing shirts. Karunanidhi's grandchildren stopped jumping to politics or Cinema. Bal and Raj Thackerey got Pakistani citizenship and relocated there with their Sena.
The world seemed to stop spinning and seemed a better place. Well...not better...a very beautiful place.
They started walking outside where his bike and her car were coincidentally parked side-by-side.
"Probably as long or before you have liked me."
"You never told."
"Neither did you."
"Why not today?
They saw some overcast shadows above.
As few rain drops fell on them, Rajiv remembered that his forecast had gone wrong. And it was not just about rain. Their love had also arrived sooner than he expected.
She asked "Does the weather forecast for the day say rain with thundershowers?"