“The last seat!” Tanya was irritated. “Rahul, All you could manage was this!”Rahul gave a sheepish grin. “Babe! Be thankful that we got a seat. Otherwise we would have to spend the night at Cochin airport!. The next bus to Munnar is at 6 am! But no worries! This is a Volvo, we will be comfortable!” Rahul replied reassuringly.
As they made themselves comfortable and the breeze of chilled AC hit her, Tanya eased. “Of course! With you around I wouldn’t mine travelling on roof top either!” Tanya giggled.
Rahul and Tanya had finally managed to make their joint holiday to Munnar. Rahul had a conference to attend on the first day and then they had planned the next three full days to themselves. They had taken the late night flight from Bombay to Cochin. Rahul had booked an overnight bus from Cochin airport to Munnar. It would take them six hours. The morning would find them in the High Range Hotel at Munnar. But first they had this tedious six hour journey to complete on the sinuous roads up the western ghats from Cochin.
Tanya opened a packet of Nachos as the bus made its way on the highway. Rahul looked hungrily at her and at her Nachos. But Tanya was oblivious to the stare, as she tried to look out of the window, at the pitch dark night. Only an occasional brightly lit shop once every few kilometres greeted her eyes. Otherwise, it was all quiet and dark. This was the first time she was in Kerala and was desperate to catch some scenery. While, Rahul looked at her as if she was the best scenery ever.
“Give me atleast one!” Rahul begged.
“Oh I am so sorry. I was so engrossed in the scenery that I ate all the Nachos!” Tanya made a face as she put the last Nacho in her mouth. Half of it was out. Rahul made a sudden sweep and bit the hanging Nachos out of her mouth.
“Ouch!” Tanya screamed surprised at his sudden movement.
Then they both giggled.
Rahul opened a packet of “Little hearts”. “Oh, these are my favourite. Give some to me!” It was Tanya’s turn to beg.
“Come and get it” Rahul replied mischievously holding the biscuit between his teeth. Tanya leapt and bit the biscuit from Rahul’s mouth. She stayed a bit longer and then planted a kiss on his lips. Rahul whispered, “Oh! Thats all! Only a tiny kiss! I thought you would give me a long smooch in return for this biscuit.”
Tanya straightened up. “Saving something for later as well!”
By now the AC was superchilled. The Volvo bus was moving very fast on the smooth winding tarmac. There were sharp turns as they climbed up the hills. The bus occasionaly threw them over each other as it negotiated the turns. After one such turn, Rahul landed up on Tanya’s lap. His face digging on her lap. She whispered, “Stay like this!” Rahul lay on her lap and looked up at her face. She tenderly moved her fingers on his face and then ran thru his hair. They were locked in each others gaze. Tanya smiled instinctively.
“The view is good from here!” Rahul smiled from Tanya’s lap.
“What view?! You can only see me!”
“That’s the view I am talking about! Your face! Glowing in the light of passing vehicles peeping in from the window.”
“… and of course I can see the hills also!” Rahul winked.
Tanya suddenly realised the double entendre and smiled shyly. She slapped gently on his arms. “You are very naughty!”
“…I can also see some stars!” Rahul sobered up.
“Where? Outside the window?”, she peered outside but could only see the inkly black sky.
“I can see the twinkle of the stars … in your eyes!” Rahul added.
Tanya blushed, “Stop flirting!” She kept her finger on his lips gesturing him to remain quiet. He gently kissed her finger.
Tanya started murmuring a ghazal of Ghalib. “.. hazaron khwahishen aisi ..”
“Oh I love this one! But I don’t know the full verse.”
“I know them! If you are quiet and do no mischief, I will sing it for you!” Tanya said earnestly. Rahul nodded while Tanya gently sang the ghazal in her sugar sweet voice. Although it was sotto voce, it seemed to waft thru the air and the words were hanging in there. Rahul was looking at Tanya’s face mesmerised. Tanya saw the earmest look in his eyes. She bent down and kissed him on his forehead as he lay on her lap.
Rahul then began singing the song “… tumse mil ke aisa laga tum se mil ke …” , from the film Parinda. He knew that it was her favourite bollywood song. She recognised the tune and began singing the song with Rahul. She bent and brought her lips close to his ears, as if the song was only for him! Her silky hair flowing all over him. He held her tightly. Warmth from her body permeating through his arms. Her fragrance induced a narcosis on him. She held him even more tightly. Her bosom pressing against his chest. There lips touching each other but no kissing. They lay in this awkward posture for a while.
“Its my turn to lie on your lap” Tanya whispered gently.
The last row of the bus was vacant other than Tanya and Rahul.
Rahul sat up and Tanya lay on his lap. She clung to his body, pressing herself against his torso. Lulled by the gentle movement of the bus, she fell asleep in his lap. Rahul looked at her gentle face. She was looking like some heavenly angel not some earthly being. As the light from the window fell on her face, her sharp facial features got accentuated. He was admiring her pink juicy lips, high cheek bones and her sharp nose. Her closed eyes seemed to have a calming effect on him. He never realised when he dozed off. In his dreams he saw the perfect face of Tanya.
It was already morning when he woke up. They were about to reach Munnar. Despite the bus journey, he seemed to have a relaxing sleep in the night. He gently awakened Tanya. She woke up with a start. It took her a moment to realise where she was and that she was sleeping in Rahul’s lap. She said, “Two more minutes!” And she dug deeper into his chest as if it were her teddy bear.
Soon they were in Munnar Bus Stand. A crisp cool air greeted them as they alighted from the bus. Tanya had wrapped herself in a stole and Rahul had worn a jacket. Yet it was fairly cold. They walked downhill to the High Range Hotel.
To be continued part -5