As usual, I was the last to leave. Today, for a change, I managed to tick off most things on my todo list and was putting the finishing touches on a report before leaving for the night. Today was my first day at work after a bout of flu. I could have finished the report tomorrow...but just wanted all items checked on atleast one day in this financial year!
N was there too. It was normal for one of us to finish slightly earlier than the other and wait.
-- How much longer? she asked.
-- 10 minutes.
-- You said 10 minutes, 10 minutes ago.
-- Just finishing...
The 10 minutes became 40. At 7, she said she was leaving and went downstairs while I took a back up of the report on my USB (for finishing at home), switched off my PC, modem, invertor, the lights and fans, locked the door and walk downstairs. No sign of her. As I rounded each corner (6 of them in the short 5 minute walk to the bus stop), thought I'd catch up with her (longer strides) but she wasn't there. She must be waiting inside an auto at the stand - waiting for it to fill up. Nope. All empty autos. No N and atleast 15 minutes of waiting (if lucky) for the auto to fill up and leave the stand.
I called her: Where are you?
-- Where are you?
-- At the bus stand. I just arrived...took only the time to shut down and you are not there....
-- I just left...Eamaa**.
Never mind, I said coolly and hung up all the while seething. "I will finish my work and leave alone. And leave without waiting for anyone. I should have finished my report instead of taking work home. I did leave on Saturday without waiting for her and not even informing her when she was taking the training session. What's the big deal anyhow? Maybe she was in a rush. And not that there was anything earth shattering except gossip to catch up on", I fumed silently.
The stretch seemed longer...the halts more innumerable (if possible and not just grammatically), the buses spewing more poisonous exhaust...and the pen-ultimate bad thing .... fat co-passengers - who squash you without any qualms. (Ultimate would be a lechy co-passenger). I got out at Taratolla, worse for wear and bang into N.
-- Hey! What are you doing?
-- I felt so bad ...
-- That you waited? Are you nuts (pretending to be genuinely concerned-surprised and not yahoo-elated-surprised).
-- No...I just waited for 5 minutes.
-- What if I'd taken a bus - I wouldn't have stopped to change at Taratolla.
-- I would have waited for only 5 minutes more.
We got into an auto....I elated, she relieved (both not showing it) while I calculated that she must have waited for more than 5 minutes. Much more. We talked of mundane things...and then I got off as usual earlier at Deshopriya Park... Walked with a spring in my steps...in the fine drizzle (hilsay guri) homewards.
That's what friends are for....
** Eema is actually much more common a word and higher in the stakes of the most popular bengali word among bongs than "eesh" of the Aishwariya-Paro of Devdas fame.