Beep beep went Harsha's phone, and with that Harsha experienced a surge of excitement. It had been a long time since she felt tingly like this. A year ago, she had broken up with her boyfriend. They had been together for three years and then Vik had an amazing opportunity in Australia for professional advancement and wanted to move there permanently. Harsha had no intentions of leaving India, and they had split amicably.
A few months before the breakup, Harsha and her best friend Shalini had started a dance business, and Harsha had a lot to occupy her. The girls set up dance classes for children and aerobic classes for women in several posh housing societies. They also offered choreography services for corporate events, and arranged workshops for various firms as a part of their employee wellness programs. Recently, they had also started doing summer workshops for schools.
Wedded to her work, Harsha had little time for a personal life, but she loved kids. The pleasing and rewarding interactions, she shared with little children in her classes, made her long to have a couple of her own. She was painfully aware, that her biological clock was ticking away. In a couple of years, the dance business would be stable. Hopefully, they would have some employees to pick up the slack, whilst she was on a short maternity leave. Harsha had planned ahead and was learning pre-natal and post-natal yoga, so she could teach those classes when the time came, thus expanding the scope of the business and shortening her time away from work. But, for the moment, she had no time for a social life. So she decided to look for a life partner on matrimonial websites. It seemed like the logical thing to do.
Deepak Desai, or DD as he preferred to call himself, had a profile on one of the matrimonial websites. He wasn’t the first to solicit her on the site, but he was the first to impress her. His emails conjured a personality, self assured, irreverent and a go getter. So she sent him her phone number and they had been texting ever since.
Initially, they texted each other about their favorite foods, TV shows and views on current events. DD often used colorful double entendres, but over the last couple of days his texts were getting quite explicitly intimate.
DD had brought Harsha to a slow boil. Had he texted her like this in the beginning, she would have been revolted. But he slowly drew her in, and pushed just the right buttons. Now she was hooked and waited impatiently for his texts.
Early this morning, DD had texted Harsha, asking her if she wanted to meet. Harsha had agreed, and this latest text from DD was an approval of her choice of restaurant.
Harsha was excited, and kept fidgeting, while she was supposed to be working with Shalini, on choreographing a dance for the employees of some finance company. Finally Shalini got frustrated. “Okay let’s talk about it, so you can get it out of your system and focus on work.”
“Talk about what?” Harsha asked. Shalini wasn’t the type to invite confidences.
“Whatever it is, that’s making you so fidgety.”
“Fine. I have a date with some guy I have been emailing on a matrimonial site. He sounds really sexy.”
“You do know that the internet is full of crazies, right? This may be an old man, or a 12 year old boy or a woman, or he may be ugly as sin. Don’t get too excited, before you actually meet this person.” Shalini sure knew how to put a damper on Harsha’s excitement.
Harsha arrived at the restaurant to find DD already at a cozy corner table for two. She recognized him right away, from his profile picture. Okay, so the picture at least, was real. After Shalini’s outburst, she was worried he might look like a troll and had put a fake picture online.
Just as she reached the table, DD said, "The waiter just brought in the menu. Want to take a look?"
The sound of his deep sexy voice, made Harsha jump for joy. This was even better than she had hoped for. He talked like they had known each other a long time. No awkward "Hi, How was the drive?", followed by awkward silence etc.
She said "No, I know exactly what I want."
"A regular? Hmm. So we are on your home turf."
"Yes. Can you handle it?"
"You'll just have to wait and see.."
"Patience is not my strong suit."
"Too bad. It is a virtue."
"I have other virtues."
"Do you now?" He raised an eyebrow and looked straight in to her eyes. "I would have thought your virtue was long gone."
"Now now. Not before dinner." Harsha wagged her finger at him.
"Fine, lets order." He smiled mischievously.
Dinner was a culinary delight. They started with the Ethiopian fondue appetizer. Harsha had the roast lamb and DD ordered a steak cooked medium well. Both had red wine to accompany the delightfully cooked red meat. Dinner was a quiet affair so the two could do justice to the food.
The waiter came to the table, once their plates were clean. "Any dessert or coffee?" He inquired.
Harsha said " I do love dessert, but the desserts here are huge. Would you care to split one?"
"Sure. I wouldn't dare doubt you. Not after you cleaned the roast lamb off your plate." DD winked and smiled. "Not many women can eat like that. Since you are expert on this place, you pick."
Harsha ordered a sizzling brownie with hot fudge sauce and vanilla ice cream. "Make that 2 scoops of ice-cream." She told the waiter.
"So where were we?" DD asked as the waiter left.
"I believe we were discussing my many virtues."
"No. I was doubting the existence of your virtue." He said without a trace of humor as he looked straight in to her eyes. "I know I am right.”
Harsha's nerves were hypersensitive with anticipation. She did not care that she was in a public place. She gasped as she felt a shock wave run through her, only to realize that DD's hand was on her thigh. At this point, the light but firm touch was all it took to transport her to a realm of pure ecstasy. She shuddered and he had no doubts about how she felt.
Dessert arrived, making Harsha blush. As she enjoyed her sizzling brownie, she realized her relationship was beginning to sizzle too.
DD dropped Harsha home, and kissed her good night. The kiss left her weak in the knees and trembling ever so slightly. She could not wait to see him again. The whole experience had been surreal.
As Harsha sipped her morning tea, she relived the most exciting moments of her date. She was no virgin, but with Vik, sex had been romantic. Vik was a man of the grand gestures. Flowers, candy, surprise birthday parties were his MO. With each of these gestures, he swept her off her feet and that’s when the most passionate coitus followed. He made her feel special and loved.
But with DD it was different. He threw her off balance, and somehow that turned her on. He said objectionable things with unexpected calm and authority, and inexplicably this made Harsha desperate to jump him. Her attraction to DD was far more primal.
Over the next couple of weeks, Harsha met DD a few times and each time they made out and had sex, but hardly talked. It was odd. Harsha had got into this to find someone to marry. But this did not seem to be leading there. Yet the man had a profile on a matrimonial website.
May be it’s just the initial hormones. But we really need to talk. I know we have good sex, but I need to know more than that to marry him. And I don’t really want to waste time on a fling. Harsha said to herself
At their next meeting, Harsha found out that DD’s parents lived in Indore. "So when can I meet your parents?" Harsha asked eagerly.
"They are going to be visiting me here in a couple of months. So how about then?"
"Okay, so would you like to meet my parents this weekend?"
"I'd love to meet your parents Babe, but not this weekend. Can we wait a month? My team is on the verge of launching a new software product and I am under a lot of pressure. I don't want to seem distracted, when I meet them."
"You don't seem distracted when we make out." Harsha pointed out mischievously.
"You know that's different." DD said looking in to her eyes and leaning in to kiss her.
"Fine." Harsha agreed reluctantly, mainly because she was under a spell of hormones and lust.
Soon work got very busy for Harsha. Shalini and she were going o do a summer camp at a school for the first time. Besides dancing, Harsha was talented at music and writing. Shalini had a flair for painting and craft. Since it was an international school, Harsha and Shalini prepared a curriculum to explore art, language, dance and music of different countries and cultures.
Fine tuning the syllabus for the summer camp kept Harsha so busy, she was glad that DD and she had put off meeting the parents which would probably come with some emotional baggage, she had no time to deal with at the moment. She continued to date DD. The sex continued to be great and they also talked about their families.
Harsha learned that DD had a younger sister, who worked for an advertising agency in Bangalore.
“Can I WhatsApp her, at least? I really want to get to know your family.”
“You can. But if she learns that I plan to marry you, or even that I have a girl friend, she’ll want to spend a weekend with you right away, and she won’t take no for an answer. You are too busy with your summer camp stuff for the moment, right?”
“Yes, you are right. Soon after the summer camp then. Anyway, camp starts tomorrow and will be over in two weeks.” Harsha smiled and they resumed making out.
Harsha had enjoyed preparing for the camp, but the best part for her, was working with the kids. The way things were going with DD, she hoped, she would soon have kids of her own to dote over, teach, and play with.
Shalini suggested dividing the kids in to groups, and have each group present a 10 minute commercial, including a folk dance for one country. It would be like a TV advertisement, to go and visit the country. With 5 countries, they would have an hour long show including transitions between groups. Harsha agreed, that it was a brilliant idea for the show, the school had wanted them to put on for the parents, on the final day.
The kids were excited about making these commercials. With some help and guidance from Harsha, they came up with jingles. They made posters and props, that Shalini designed. Harsha worked with the kids on dances, music and foreign language phrases. The two weeks slipped by and the final day was upon them. It was a warm sunny Sunday afternoon. The kids arrived early to set things up. Some of them were a little nervous. Harsha was able to calm them. She was encouraging, positive and jovial and made the kids feel comfortable and confident.
There was just half an hour to the show, now, and the parents had started arriving. The kids were very fond of Harsha and wanted to introduce their parents to her. Some of the parents had already come by, and said, that their kids had talked of nothing but the show and their teachers for the past couple of weeks.
Suneeta, a little girl Harsha was very fond, of had just brought her parents to meet Harsha and Shalini. Harsha was trying to fix a little damage on one of the props with tape. She looked up to shake hands with the parents. To her great shock, she was shaking hands with DD and a woman, who he introduced as his wife.
She spoke politely and hid her stupefaction as best she could. DD's wife didn't seem to notice anything, or perhaps she was aware of the situation, Harsha would never know.
The show was a great success, but Harsha was too distracted to enjoy it. She managed to put up a brave front and make some small talk with all the parents. She even managed to smile through the little ceremony arranged to present certificates to all the students who had participated in the workshop.
In spite of her preoccupation, she was genuinely touched when the students presented her and Shalini with two huge Thank you cards. But after the show, Harsha was just relieved to go home and be alone.
Harsha had skilfully avoided DD and his family the entire evening. As soon as she got home she went straight to the bathroom. She had a long shower and thought things through. DD was either cheating on his wife, or it was some kind of sick game they were both enjoying. Either way she did not want any part in it. Ick, Ick, ICK!! She must never see him again. So she reached for her phone and deleted the contact. Next time, she would be far more careful.
Shalini was right. The internet was full of crazies!