S04E01 | Be careful what you wish for on a Friday night | The Afterparty

'Hey, Sexy Lady! Ooh come dance with me!' chimes loudly out of no where banging against my ears.
Late on a Friday evening what had I expected anyways! There are some people who go out and party or maybe just go out to a bar and chill. Others like me sit and watch How I met your mother.

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The sound of people dancing was enthralling. Don't get me wrong. In all these years in this apartment, it was certainly not the first time. It is a huge block of many buildings. Especially mine looks down on many smaller Victorian style ones, mostly because it is too tall — fifty stories!

There are so many rich and classy people staying here. Mercedes, Audi and Honda are the only cars you can see in the parking. Reason why no single cab guy would ever care to return me 1 rupee change if the bill is 19 bucks for a 20 rupee note. They obviously assume I'm filthy rich.
I've thought of starting a conversation with the Harley Davidson guy who stays just diagonally across my apartment. He has many times been on the same elevator as me taking off those black biker gloves that he probably wears to protect his Harley. Yes, bikey guys are crazy, aren't they?

I had even got the dare to actually ring his doorbell. My phone was dying. In a big, bad new city, I couldn't afford it. I had to speak to my family. Alas, he didn't open it. And as I was despairing for help, I had to ring the other doorbell. This time, the door opened. A friendly aunty smiled at me. I met this really cool young girl nearly my age. She had a charger! My dying smartphone couldn't have been happier at the sight of life.
I wanted to hang out with her. Badly. Even rehearsed my lines and was a little presentable the time I went to return it. No one sane in the world could have liked my worn out after office look for a first-time friendship. The messy hair don't care had to be cared for, ya know.
I managed to mouth these words,'You are a lifesaver! Thank you so much!'
I was even audible.
I had to make moves. I haad to. Living in this happening complex where there are party animals my age, somehow I'm the only one losing out on life. Fear of missing out wala thing.

Hey, Sexy lady.....
The music was drawing me in and even before I could stop myself as I always had, I did go out this time, in search of the song — some really old tune I liked. Once out of my building it literally —was impossible.  I don't know anyone in the other building (Not that I know anyone in mine either. Grow up, Ayesha, this is Mumbai!)
What if one of the guards asks me,'Who do you want to visit, Ma'am?'
What do I answer?
Just looking for the party and to join in?
Intruding isn't seen very positively in contagiously friendly India either. Not to mention the respect I would lose for such a foolish act. Yes, they respect us a lot here. For the socialist I claim to be, I do love the attention and how they do salute 'Good night Ma'am', smile and stand whenever I come and open the cab door for me or rush with an umbrella to escort me if it's raining. Might be a custom and part of their duty. But I'd never got this kind of a treatment. And, I love it.

Out there in the cold, I really didn't know whether to act as if I'd forgotten something and rush straight back home or go out of the gate just to prove I'm sane and didn't come all dressed up to halt midway. I took a step forward and I yet don't remember in which direction, when I hit something. OK. Make that someone.



'Oops,'




'Whoa, lady!'



Life is fast. In one nanosecond, I'd been so close to a pair of pink lips and also had managed to fall on thick, muscular arms just short of not falling miserably on the floor. No, I'm NOT complaining!

But, it's not like in the movies. When this happens in real life, your vision is blurred by pink and you're lost in transit for some time.

Eyes wide, I couldn't even place the smile my mind was telling me to — desperately! What do you do when you are in such an awkward situation? (Still picture frozen, I mean.)
Luckily he started.



'Whoa....easy....Are you alright, Miss?'



'I—I'm so sorry.  So sorry!'



'It's OK. What are you doing here?'



'I could ask you the same question'

Wait. What? Did I actually say that!

'I live here'

'I live here too'

'I've never seen you'

'I've never seen you either'



What's wrong with you, Ayesha! Just-Shut-Up-NOW.


'Do you always copy paste answers or is it —'

Jeez.  I giggled. (Finally at the right moment). A first-time conversation is not supposed to be like this! Go on, lose your chances of being invited to the party, if by coincidence of coincidences it would be his!
'Ayesha' I say as I offer my hand. 

'Nice to meet you' says Mr.Picked-You-Up. 

Don't people usually say their names in such situations? Weird.

He looks at me for a split second.



Off white soft, satin dress with black chiffon and lace lining the shoulders, sides of the bust and the tinier waist, hanging freely with some shimmer by my hips, the lower half like a skirt with buttery laces peeking below the skirt hem. It had been a great purchase, only that it was a little short. Black clutch purse and stone neck piece and earring to match. I could never be mistaken for taking a late night after dinner stroll with that dark red lipstick and shimmery buttery eye shadow with smokey outlines.

'You comin from some party, babes?'
'Yeahh'
Good. Not too abrupt, this time. I seemed naturally believable since I don't think even Mr.Picked-you-up remembered which direction he got hit by this butter black lady.

'Wana join my after-party?'

Mr.Picked-you-up was tall. Nice build and broad shoulders. Was wearing boring two shade shirt with lavender and gold tints. You know, those that reflect and change colors under the light? Maybe they call it party wear. Had those sparkling watches that looked freaking expensive. You know, those that scream EXPENSIVE. Carried a huge phone like mine. Come to think of it, his face was kind of cute.

'But what do I know about you Mr.Picked-you-up?'
'Wh—what?' 

Oops. Looks like I actually said that aloud! Ayesha, daaayuuum!!



'Oh'. He quickly smiled an unusual smile, 'I didn't even give my name, did I?', sports a toothy grin looking down, rubbing his hand across his soft spiked hair,'Ritwik.  I'm an interior designer. My parents have been living here since I was a kid. All the guards know me. It's my birthday today and I'm throwing a party. So — wanna join?' He looks animated, eyes asking me more than his words did.

'Oh. A very happy birthday! 'I shake his hand vigorously and notice how soft it is. 'Sure. Thanks!'
Birthdays do the trick. I'm not being desperate now that my stupid dream is coming true. I'm just being kind not to dishonour someone on his Birthday. Come on. Not like I asked if I could get in! 

'You didn't say what were you doing outside your own party—'
Curious me. You will get your invitation cancelled! Duh! 
'I...I had come for signal. Network issues. My mommy wanted to talk to me and with the noise out there I anyways couldn't.'
'Ah'. Sounds legitimate.
He gestured his hand for me to take the lead on the wooden stairs.
Sheesh. That means he is—But walking first wouldn't have been kind either. So I walk up in my normal style knowing well he must be looking at, well — you know.



I keep turning to him, 'So what floor is it? You don't have elevators in this building?'


His smile is contagious. 'Umm, I like taking stairs'.
Of course, you do. I'll be size zero from the huge size I'm if I keep meeting stair loving men all the time!
The decor was so old world.
'So, Ayesha, what do you do?' He caught me off from my thoughts.

'I...ummm....I'm an MBA.'

'Cool'

'How old are you now on this birthday of yours?'

'Hey, Rits! Where the hell have you been, man!'



'Rits! Happy Birthday, man!



'Happy Birthday, dude! Where the hell were you—', the guy giving him the big bear hug finally noticed me, 'Oh. Hi. I see. So, you got a new girlfriend?' Rits—I mean Mr.Picked-you-up was still busy being hugged by the rest of them.


Awkward. All his friends suddenly look at me as I faintly raise my innocent brows. It's called I-don't-know-what-expression-to-give wala look.
'Not yet.'
Whoa. What an answer. Not YET.
'She—she's Ayesha, my neighbour. Ayesha, meet Ricky, Roxy, Avinash aka Avi, Saurabh, Monica. My friends. And friends, Ayesha.'
We exchange quick smileys.
'Chalo guys, let's rockkk the party tonight!'
He gestured his folded arm towards me. The kind you put your hand into. His friends were ahead. With no one behind us, surprised me puts the hand inside. (Come on. It would have been rude had I not!)

What happened between neighbours who had never met in Mumbai in the same building complex? The house she always looked at from her bedroom window could be Ayesha's dream destination. Love is looking around the corner or should Ayesha be careful of dreams too sweet to be true? Or not?
Read chapter two here.

Be careful what you wish for on a Friday night | BIRTHDAY


Check out part 3 /chapter 3 of series

It's not who you spend Friday night with but who you spend all day Saturday with!


Different adventures from Ayesha's life, and the entire character sketch is here. j.mp/AyeshaDiaries