Jasmine has just moved to Pune city after getting a lucrative job, thereby realising her life long dream of being independent. She is cynical, uptight, restless. She’s also a mama’s girl, still abiding by her mother’s whims – from a mandatory schedule of calling twice a day to visiting every shrine and religious place, she cannot say no to her mother.
Kabir continued working at his first job for six years before moving to Pune for a better paying job. He is free-spirited, friendly and calm. He likes exploring places and interacting with real people instead of generating social media following.
Their paths cross when they both visit a shrine. A witty and cute story featuring two interesting yet conflicting characters.
Will they hate each other?
Will they fall in love?
Do they meet again?
“Maybe Someday” is a stand-alone novella with a happily ever after theme. It is squeaky clean and does not contain any profanity or sexual content.
Length: 56 pages
After alighting from route 24 bus, Jasmine opened her Google Maps app and typed Swargate Bus Depot. It showed a blue dotted line with an estimated 4 minutes’ walk.
Her eyes were glued to the mobile phone screen as she walked to the bus depot, relieved to see the gigantic board that displayed ‘PMPML Chhatrapati Rajshree Shahu Maharaj Bus Depot (Swargate)’ in huge red letters. Jasmine padded her way to the depot, squinting her eyes to locate the enquiry desk.
The enquiry desk was crowded without any proper queue. She waited patiently behind a tall muscular guy who seemed to have no rush to go anywhere. He did not move further as the man ahead of him moved away from the window, also allowing a woman to jump the queue.
Jasmine tapped her feet impatiently to indicate that she is in a hurry. The tall guy, Kabir turned to look at her, then glanced at her tapping foot and turned back. It was his turn.
“Sir, I want to go to Qamar Ali Darvesh’s Dargah. Which bus should I take?” Jasmine heard every single word clearly.
Oh good, we have the same destination. She thought.
“61, it will leave at 10:30 AM from bus stop number 3,” the officer replied expressionlessly.
“Thank you, sir,” he said and stepped away from the queue.
Kabir was surprised to see that the impatient girl behind him left the queue without talking to the enquiry desk. He found a quiet and clean corner with a stone bench. The place was under the shade and away from the noise.
Jasmine followed him unintentionally. She had not talked to the enquiry person for two reasons. One, she already knew which she should take. Two, most of the men working in state and city transport were lecherous. She did not like being stared at, or men measuring her with their eyes as they spoke. No girl does.
Kabir sat down. She slumped next to him and began tapping her foot again. Kabir felt weird. Was she following him? Or did she have a loose screw? She certainly looked lost. Her hair was tied in a neat pigtail that dangled as she moved. She was short and her tiny frame made her five feet stature look even smaller. Dressed in a plain white tee and blue denim, she did not look like a stalker, but looks could be deceptive.
She was restless. She glanced at her watch. It was only 9:15 AM. The bus was due in more than an hour. She felt anxious about the idea of waiting that long for the bus. She could have been doing something more, something better in that time.
Kabir watched her for five minutes as she continued the incessant foot–tapping and shuffling. If there was one thing that bothered him, it was the foot–tapping. He could not stop commenting.
“Hey,” he greeted her with a bright and broad grin.
“Hello,” she replied. The distant and lost expression of her face disappeared.
Oh, she is not insane. Kabir thought.
“Would you mind if I ask something?” Kabir asked.
She looked confused, and a little worried. She did not appreciate talking to strangers. If it was up to her, she would have restricted herself in the cocoon of her room and would not step outside on a weekend. But her mother…
“Would you mind not tapping your feet? The noise and constant movement make me anxious.”
She did not reply, still lost in her thoughts. Kabir snapped his fingers in front of his eyes to bring her back to reality.
“Yes?” she asked. She had not heard a single word Kabir said.
Kabir repeated, “Please don’t tap your feet. It makes me anxious.”
“I will feel anxious if I don’t.”
Kabir was speechless. How would one respond to that? He looked around, hoping to see something interesting. Finding none, he focused on the book in his hands – a copy of the very famous book “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”.
Jasmine realized that she was too rude. Not the one to apologize, she tried to change the subject. “How do you like that book?”
“It is alright,” he said. “I mean I cannot say for sure. I have not read it completely.”
“My roommate was reading it and went on and on about it, praising the writing. I just don’t get it. The title, the cover, it does not attract me. I mean it sounds like a non–fiction book. I don’t read non–fiction.” She said.
If Kabir was surprised at her sudden friendliness, he did not show it. He liked talking to people, and the girl seemed to be a good candidate to have a conversation as he waited for the bus.
“It is a non–fiction book, although it is narrated like a fable,” he said.
Jasmine did not look convinced.
“I don’t like to read nonfiction either,” he admitted, “but this was a gift. I thought I will read it. It is sort of a book that leaves a good impression on people. I read it one chapter at a time. It is supposed to part wisdom about life.”
“Does it?” Jasmine asked.
“Not so far, no,” he admitted and laughed.
“It is a pity. if you had brought an interesting book I might have borrowed it.”
Kabir did not reply. Jasmine started tapping her right foot again and her fingers drummed on the side of her backpack. Kabir kept the book inside his bag and turned his attention to the impatient girl next to him.
“Why are you so fidgety?” he asked, fully prepared for her retort.
“I have anxiety problems,” she replied simply and firmly. Kabir was dumbfounded for the second time. He did not know how to respond to that.
“Are you travelling alone?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Where are you going?” he asked.
“I am also going to the same place as you,” she said with a smile. She looked pretty when she smiled. Perhaps that was the reason she smiled less frequently.
“Oh!” Kabir understood finally. “Is that why you did not talk to the enquiry officer?”
“Indeed! I feel that their job is difficult enough. if I can save them two minutes I should,” she said. Kabir was impressed.
It is true. That is the ‘third’ reason I did not talk to the enquiry officer. She assured herself.
“I see,” he said, “I was wondering if…”
“If I am a crazy person?” she asked.
“Sort of…” he admitted.
He is outspoken. Being frank and blunt hurts other people. Mom was right. She thought, mentally taking a note to control her own forthright behaviour.
“Don’t you think that the buses should be more frequent?” she tactfully changed the subject.
“My thinking does not change the fact, does it?” he said.
Is he really that content? She thought.
“No… But… I mean… all the citizens can request the state transport to ply more buses for the shrine,“ she said aloud.
“I think the visits to the shrine is very seasonal and state transport will lose money is if there are frequent buses and only a few passengers travelling.“
“Maybe, you are right.”
“Are you Christian?” He asked noticing the locket around her neck – a tiny gold cross.
“Yes,” she said and unintentionally fiddled with her locket.
“Why are you visiting a Muslim shrine then?” Kabir asked.
“My mother is a little bit into religion and spirituality. ever since I have moved to Pune for my job, she is after my case to visit all the Mandir and the dargahs in the city.”
“So, you don’t like visiting these places?“
“No, I don’t it like it much,” she admitted, “I am a lazy person I and I prefer to stay home.“
“Why don’t you say no to your mother?”
“I cannot say no to her,” she frowned.
“Or, you can lie to her,” he suggested, just for fun, just to see her reaction.
“What do you mean?”
“You can say that you have visited these places without going anywhere.”
“You don’t understand. my mother is very e particular. she asks me for photographs. so far she claims that she wants to experience it with me but I think she needs proof of my attendance.”
“Some mother you have. Why are you alone though?”
“My roommates are more like mall going, shopping, movie watching kinda folks.”
“What’s your reason for visiting?” she asked.
“I visited when I was young. I was here with my parents. I still remember a bunch of men levitating stone in the air it was fascinating and I wanted to visit again as a grown–up.”
“I still feel that the buses should be more frequent,” she repeated, unwilling to relent.
“Why? are you workaholic?”
“No, I am not. I hardly spend 8 hours at work. I go to work only for the money. I mean it feels great to have my own money and be able to purchase anything I want, not that I had to sacrifice earlier but buying things from self–earned money feels so much different and so much better.”
Kabir listened in amazement. She was talkative at one point and recluse at another point. She seemed very moody.
“I understand,” he said, “for us boys, we are expected to start earning as soon as possible but for girls, you have a choice.”
“I guess, we do. I mean, there are a few who need to work, for financial assistance to their family. Others choose to work to make a career. Some are lucky like me. I do not have pressure to work. It is my choice and I choose to continue to work.”
“That’s good to know,” he said.
The next moment, Jasmine busied on her smartphone and he looked around at people, noticing small things about them from their appearance and body language. He seemed more interested in real people. More crowd had gathered near the bus stop for route 61.
Five minutes later, Jasmine jumped and stood up.
“Bus number 61 is here,” she said excitedly, happy to see the bus.
Kabir said nothing, nor did he move.
There was a huge crowd and Jasmine started to panic. What if she cannot get inside the bus? What if she doesn’t get the seat? What if she forgets to slight at the right stop.
“Excuse me,” she addressed Kabir, “could you do me a favour, please?”
“Sure?” Kabir was surprised at her tone which sounded very formal suddenly, as though they had not talked yet.
“Could you hold a seat for me if you get in first?” she pleaded, “I will do the same.”
“Okay,” he said, “I am Kabir Khan, by the way,” he introduced himself.
“Thank you,” she smiled, “Jasmine Fernandez.”
The bus entered the depot but did not come to its designated stop. The driver drove it to the farthest corner of the depot. Jasmine’s shoulders slumped and she plonked her bottom on her perch.
Kabir laughed, “I told you,” he smirked.
Now, the crowd looked in the direction the bus had gone, as though constantly staring would somehow speed up the bus’s arrival. Jasmine shot up from her perch again when she saw the bus nearing. The sixty–odd people at the bus stop did the same, some even started walking towards the bus to board as soon as possible. The great Indian crowd did not leave any room for the bus to move forward. Jasmine and Kabir were at the far end of the stop.
“We will not be able to get in,” she whined.
“We will.” He assured her.
“We won’t get a seat.”
“I cannot guarantee that, but we will board the bus.”
“Board the bus”, she repeated in her head, learning the right term.
The crowd refused to move despite the conductor ringing bells loudly and repeatedly. At last, he got down from the bus and started shooing away. He was loud and constantly hollered to move away and make way.
“Everybody, fall in line. Nobody enters the bus without buying a ticket first. Make a queue, and keep thirty rupees ready.”
That worked. People hastily made a queue and chaos subsided.
The bus inched forward and came to a halt. The driver and the conductor both got down and leisurely walked to the office, adding to the anxiety of already restless passengers. Two minutes later, the bus conductor started selling tickets.
“Yes sir, where to?” he asked Kabir.
Jasmine could not hide the widest grin breaking on her lips.
“Two tickets to Qamar Ali Durvesh, please,” Kabir said and paid the fare.
“You can board,” the bus conductor returned the change and moved to the next person in the queue.
You can buy the book here. Or, email me for a review copy.