Mr. X

3 min


One chilly evening of November, at Bangalore; inside the Bangalore-Nizamuddin Rajdhani Express:

M: Aahh…home, sweet home!

A: Did you notice how the people were staring at us? As if we have escaped from some zoo! Though I must admit that we were screaming like chimpanzees.

D: Oh, they have no idea how it feels like, to meet your besties after three long years. Jeez! Is that how long it really has been?

Manisha. Amrita. Deepika.

Best friends for life.

MAD girls as the trio was called and mad, they were about each other. They grew up in Bhubaneswar and went to the same school and college. Sisters from different mothers as they proudly declared themselves, their bond was the rarest and their friendship was a matter of envy for everyone around them.

However, as life happened, they got separated.  As software developers, they got placed in three different corners of the globe. M in Australia, A in UK and D in Canada. Even though their career ambitions had drifted them away, their hearts were still beating for their homeland. Ever since they had been on their onsite assignments, they had not been able to get together. But, a few months ago, they watched the super hit Bollywood flick “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” in their respective cities and wept buckets of tears, of nostalgia. The following Sunday, during their customary weekly Skype video-con, they decided to make a trip to India, together. Rajasthan was the unanimous pick and the mode of travel had to be train; because that’s how their first memories of travel were created, as kids.

M: Oh boy! How I have missed all of you and even if we have been getting together online almost every weekend, why does it feel like we still have so much to catch up with? By the way, have I told you about the latest guy that Dad has picked from the matrimonial? Seriously, I am going nuts with this whole idea of arranged marriage.

D: No worries, babe! We have plenty of time for discussing all that. And since I and A have already found the men of our dreams, we have resolved to place all our focus on accomplishing our mission of finding your Mr. Perfect for you. And then, we all get married together. Ta da!

A: Oh, please. Speak for yourself. I won’t get into this crazy groom-finding mission. Given Uncle-Aunty’s restriction that he must have Oriya roots and then M’s own criteria that he must be tall, romantic, and fond of reading…and must have a good taste in that etc.…finding M’s Mr. Perfect is like finding a needle in a haystack.

D: Oh, don’t be so cynical. M, darling, I am sure you will find one very soon. Besides, there is something called “serendipity”, remember?

A gave out a loud sarcastic laugh, in disagreement. M rolled her eyes and said, “serendipity is the stupidest concept ever”

D: Anyway, looks like one berth on our side is vacant. So, we are ‘The Three Musketeers’ for four berths. Now this is what I love about AC 2Tier. Pull the curtains and the whole corner is ours. So, the party begins now! And mind you, no one sleeps tonight.

Immediately after A pulled the curtains, a young man arrived. Wearing a turban and a prominent thick kara on his right hand, the tall, fair, bearded and strikingly handsome Sikh gentleman, peeked inside; his eyes searching for the seat number.

Umm… 43 it is”, he whispered to himself as he looked at his ticket and pulled inside his luggage.

He settled himself in one corner of one of the lower berths and opened a book to read. “Of Love and Other Demons” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

M sat next to him. A and D sat facing them.

Now, A & D couldn’t resist their impish smiles. With their repeated mischievous winks, they made M quite uncomfortable. M took out her phone and started texting.

The other two phones beeped at the same time. “For God’s sake, stop this circus, both of you! What if he is noticing? It’s so embarrassing”

A replied back- “What are we supposed to do then? With Mr. X intruding our privacy, should we ruin our long overdue group-journey sitting muted and still like statues?”

It was now D’s turn to comment on the grim situation. She added- “M, sweetheart, I can see that you are trying hard to hide but I can already see; that twinkle in your eyes, the blush on your cheeks, and the butterflies in your stomach. In fact, I can also hear your heart singing – “Pahli nazar mein…na na na nanna” But, a question. Why are we 3 Idiots using signs or text messages to communicate, when we can simply talk out loud?”

So, for the next few hours A and D kept teasing M. Uninhibited. Just like they did in their good old college days. From the imaginary and hilarious ways of persuading M’s parents to allow her marriage with a non-Oriya man, to the dreamy details of the fictional future of M & Mr. X together; of how great a couple they would make and given the good looks of both, how cute their babies would be… how they would fight over choosing Chole-Bhature or Pakhala- Machcha Bhaja (fermented water rice and fish fry) and so on…

Four hours later, the train stopped at Anantapur.

Mr. X while getting down, handed over a note to M.

“Mr.X,  jahaku Himanshu Gill boli kuhanti (Mob- 98XXXXXX89 Bapa Punjabi, Maa Oriya), apanankara sanga manankathu nijara prasansha suni prasanna hela au jadi apana taku nijara Mr. Perfect pain bichara karanti, se nijaku dhanya mane kariba”

[English translation of Oriya- “Mr. X, who is called Himanshu Gill, (Mob- 986XXXXX98, father-Punjabi, mother-Oriya) is pleasantly overwhelmed with all the compliments showered on him by your friends and he would feel privileged if he is considered for the position of your Mr. Perfect”]

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Sudeepta Mohapatra
Sudeepta is a budding writer, passionate reader, wanderer, dreamer, seeker and a cinephile.
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