Archive for September, 2013

Maisha’s Mystery Man

Maisha pushed the trolley ahead, grumbling to herself. ‘A whole day slaving away at work and what do I get as soon as I get home? Can you go buy some bread? Sure! Cuz why would I need a rest?!’ So engrossed was she in her thoughts that she failed to notice the figure casting a large looming shadow behind her. Unaware of being watched she paused by the carefully constructed pyramid of apples in the fruits section and picked one up rolling it around in her hand. A watchful pair of eyes observed her, the straight two toned brown hair which fell askew over her eyes in a subtle yet sexy manner, the lithe movements of her long limbs down to her light green shoes which contrasted her neutral coloured outfit in the same way her fiery eyes contradicted her demure demeanour.

He walked past the lady holding a tray of apple slices on toothpicks and deftly picked one up without pausing, headed straight for her. Just as she turned to register his presence he popped the piece in her mouth with a cheeky grin. Her face registered shock, confusion and then as expected, annoyance. ‘Just what the hell do you think you are doing?’ she hissed at him. He smiled to himself, even caught off guard she was not the type to yell and make a scene. He leaned back and smiled at her, this was going to be fun.

‘Giving you a taste of what you are considering, how do you like it?’

‘What the .. who the hell are you?’ He chuckled and leaned back further forgetting momentarily the pyramid of apples behind him till they were dislodged with his elbow and came raining down on him. When he finally emerged from the torrential downpour of apples on his head – she had gone. Damn. This was not how he had planned it.

* * * * *

Maisha sat down on the edge of her bed perplexed. What had just happened? Since when did random guys feed her apples at the supermarket? She could still see his smug smile in her mind’s eye and her irritation grew. She was more annoyed with herself than with him because she had noticed just how cute he was. In the minute they had spoken, she had inhaled his scent, noticed his shiny black hair, his strong athletic build and the naughty sparkle in his eye that had made her catch her breath. She shook her head irritably, what had gotten over her? She didn’t even know this guy!

The next morning Maisha had to run for her bus to work and slid into the nearest empty seat, breathless and not noticing the passenger in the seat next to her. It didn’t take long though for her to smell the spicy scent of male proximity and she turned her head to meet the same sparkling eyes from last night. ‘Holy crap!’ The words escaped her lips and she jumped out of her seat ready to flee. He quickly clasped her arm and sat her down next to him, leaning over to whisper conspiratorially in her ear.

‘I wouldn’t do that if I was you, it’s a long ride and there aren’t any more seats.’ She yanked her arm away and glared at him.

‘Who are you and why are you following me?’

‘Me? Following you?! I am just on my way to work.’ With that he slid on his aviators and turned away from her to look out the window. Taken aback by his off handedness, Maisha warily stayed seated and soon promptly fell asleep as the bus wound its way slowly through traffic towards the city centre. She woke to a gentle hand moving her hair and whispering in her ear. As she smelt his scent and opened her eyes, her heart did a little flip at his lips so close to hers.

‘Wakey wakey, as much as I would like to stay like this, my stop is almost here.’ He watched in amusement as she leapt away from him and blushed at the realisation that she had fallen asleep on his shoulder. ‘It’s ok, first time is free, next time… you won’t get off so lightly.’ And with that he stepped nimbly past her and was off the bus and walking away before she had time to register what had happened.

* * * * *

‘What the hell?! And you have no idea who he is? Man this is so cool!’ Suhana sounded way too excited for what was essentially a creepy story so Sohel balanced it out.

‘Are you sure he’s not some sexual predator or something?’

‘Yeah of course she is, he comes with a sign saying, “I’m harmless”. How is she supposed to know? But so far he sounds pretty hot to me!’

‘Of course he does, they all do to your frustrated self, till they break your heart.’

‘Oh wow, did ickle Sohel forget to take his meds today? PMSing? That time of the month?’

‘How come when you say that to me, it’s ok. But when I say it to you all hell breaks loose? It actually makes sense because you are a girl and I am not!’

‘Then stop acting like one!’

‘Guys. Guys!’ Maisha cut in before their argument got physical and sighed in exasperation. ‘What do I do? I don’t know anything about him and he keeps popping up!’

‘Chill. Let him pop up, play it cool. See what he’s about and then go with the flow. No biggie.’ Suhana advised as she popped a chip in her mouth. ‘Man these are so good, diet starts tomorrow.’

‘I agree.’ Sohel said as he also took a chip. ‘About the guy and about the chips.’


Her eyes swept the bus as soon as she got on and she was surprised to feel her heart drop a little when he was nowhere to be seen. She didn’t know anything about him so why was she looking forward to meeting him again? ‘He could be a serial killer for all you know Maisha so forget about him.’ She berated herself quietly as the bus wound its way back home.


Maisha rang the bell when she got home expecting her mum to open the door, fully prepared to tell her how tired she was and that she was going straight to bed. It had been a long stressful day at work. Instead she was face to face with the eyes full of mischief that had started to come into her mind unbidden. Open mouthed she stood on her doorstep unable to move.

‘Well hello there! We were wondering when you would be coming home.’ He took her arm gently and guided her inside, his voice full of amusement.

‘What in the world are you doing in my house?! Who ARE you?!’ Maisha had had enough. She had had a long and stressful day and this .. this mystery man mocking her was the last thing she needed. She hated how her brain had registered his spicy scent, his proximity and had turned to mush.


‘Maisha? Are you home? Oh good, have you met? This is Adnan. Adnan, Maisha.’ Maisha looked at her mum uncomprehending as she gushed on about Adnan and took her into the living room to meet his parents. Suddenly, she realised what this was and she was not happy. She pulled her mother into the hallway and hissed angrily.

‘Did they come to see me? Why didn’t you tell me? How long has the guy known?’

‘They are here to see you but very informally. I tried calling you but you said you were busy so I didn’t get a chance to tell you. I think he’s known for a week now? Why are you so upset? Didn’t you tell us to look for a guy for you? Now go and get changed and freshen up. Wear that new salwar kameez. You can help me with dinner’ With that her mum glided back into the living room all smiles as an irritated Maisha stomped off to her room.


Adnan looked around him and looked at his watch for the fifth time. This was not good, Maisha had been gone a whole 20 minutes. Why wasn’t she coming back? Was she mad at him? He missed her pretty face already. He leaned over to her mum and politely enquired about the bathroom. He got up and walked out of the living room looking furtively around him for any sight of her. So occupied was he in trying to find her that he didn’t see her till she opened the bathroom door and smacked right into him. Impulsively his arms went around to steady her and he heard her draw a sharp breath and lean into him. She smelled like vanilla and strawberries and her wet hair dripped on his shirt making him weak in the knees. He drew her closer and looked into her startled eyes.


‘Pintu! Where are you?’ His mum’s voice reverberated around the house and she came looking for him and broke their reverie. Maisha quickly pushed him away and smirked.


‘Yeah. My nickname. Unfortunately.’ He blushed as he reluctantly let her go and stepped away from her. This wasn’t going to plan at all. As his mum came into view she quickly slid past him into her room and shut the door. Adnan sighed and followed his mum back to the living room.


‘Bhabi, why don’t we give the kids some time to talk by themselves? What do you think?’ The uncle who suggested this had always been a favourite of Maisha’s but right now she was annoyed that they had all conspired against her and gotten this guy into her house and right under her skin. She stiffened, her hand paused mid-air as she served the sweets at the table. Adnan noticed her nervousness and his heart sank. This wasn’t how he had wanted this to be at all. He had seen her photo two weeks ago and something about her deep eyes and beautiful smile had tugged at his heartstrings. When he saw her on his bus a few days later, the tug became a certifiable pull and he had told his mum to proceed with the proposal and specifically requested that Maisha not be told. He had wanted to surprise her, woo her, make her heart race the way she did his. But watching her frown now he was afraid he had lost his chance.


They sat nervously opposite each other in silence and he watched her sneak glances at him out of the corner of her eye. Taking a deep breath he decided to give it one last shot.

‘I hope you don’t have a bad impression of me.’

‘I don’t have any impression of you. I don’t know you.’

‘I wanted you to get to know me before we met like this.’

‘By creeping up on me and shoving fruit in my mouth?’

‘I was trying to be funny.’

‘Trying would be the key word.’


They sat in silence for a while and Maisha wondered why she was being so mean to him. She was just about to speak up and break the uncomfortable silence when he spoke first.

‘I am sorry you feel that way. I only want to say one thing and then I’ll leave. That nice uncle over there sent your picture to mum two weeks ago. For that I will be forever grateful. I took one look at that picture and I felt something. Before you call me crazy – don’t worry I am not saying it was love, but it was definitely a tug and then a few days later I saw you on the bus and that tug became stronger. I wanted to get to know you, meet you, talk with you and then do this meeting so that you wouldn’t be uncomfortable but you know how parents can be.’

Maisha sat speechless as his impassioned rhetoric and could only nod her head. Was this really happening to her?

‘I’m not asking you for much, just a chance to get to know each other and see if it could lead to something more. I don’t want to put any pressure on you and I hope we can stay friends.’ With that, he got up and walked away.


* * * * * *


‘Wait so it’s been 2 weeks and nothing?!’ Suhana looked at her in amazement as Maisha finished telling her about Adnan.

‘Nothing. I thought he would meet me on the bus again or call but no. I guess he got over whatever ‘tug’ he felt’ She said bitterly, annoyed at herself for being upset at this when it was partly her own fault. Ok, wholly her fault. But what else she meant to do but push away a creepy guy like that? Even if he had a nice smile and she couldn’t get his eyes out of her head.

‘Did you ask your parents?’

‘No. I didn’t want them to think I was interested.’

‘Why not?’

Maisha paused. Why not indeed?

Maisha pressed the bell and waited at the doorstep, recalling the time Adnan had opened the door and rendered her speechless. She really did want to meet him again. As her mum let her in she couldn’t help herself and blurted out, ‘That guy that was here a few weeks ago, has there been any news?’

‘What news?’

‘Like have they said anything?’

‘They said they were waiting on you to say something which is why we’ve all been waiting’

‘Why didn’t you tell me?!’

‘I thought you knew? Isn’t that what you and Adnan spoke about that day? He gave me his number and said he would wait for your call.’

‘Can I have it then?’


‘His number!’ Maisha’s mum laughed at her daughter’s impatience and gave her a hug.

‘Yes of course but come inside and rest first.


* * * * * *




‘yeah um hi?’


‘Don’t you want to know who this is?’

‘I know who ‘this’ is Maisha.’

‘How do you .. oh you have my number?’

‘No. I waited for your call.’

‘I didn’t know’

‘I’m glad you finally got around to it.’

‘I’m glad you’re glad… Pintu. What a lovely name you have.’

As giggled as he groaned and continued their banter, Maisha thanked God silently. Regardless of how this turned out, this was exactly what she needed. A new journey, a new beginning. And as for the ending – well she had a good feeling it was going to be a happy one.


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