Vartika looked restlessly at the door as she placed the plate of ghujia on the table. Since dawn, she had been busy helping her Maa do the final touchups to the food preparations, in placing new sheets on all beds of the house and putting the just dry-cleaned covers on the drawing room furniture. Besides, she was the one her colony friends had held responsible for carrying the colour assault on the day. And every Holi, she had been all too happy doing this. But not today. Today, she had other plans.
“You seem quite unlike yourself today, Something bothering you”, her Mother inquired.
“Arre you worry too much. She is just tired of all this running she had been doing all day”, her father chipped in.
“You never find me tired although I run the same as her”.
Vartika gave a chirpy laugh to this. She had always loved those little squabbles of her parents and even being that nervous, she found it adorable. For another ten minutes, she sat at the table, with her gaze still intently fixed at the door. Her mother knew something was cooking.
Just when she turned to go into the kitchen, she heard behind her shoulder, “Namastey Uncle!”. With a smile spread across her face, she turned to the door. It was Viplav, touching her father’s feet and putting gulaal on his face. But there was a catch. Her father, looking confused, had never been this lost. He had never seen this guy before in his life and here was he, wishing him like he was a ‘muhnbola beta’ or something. But true to his role of a host welcoming a guest on Holi, he too put gulaal on his face and wished him a happy Holi.
“I am a friend of Vartika’s “, he told him. Her father looked back at Vartika with a ‘What in hell’ sort of expression on his face, finally understanding her unease since morning. But he was an easy fellow and was actually impressed by the guy’s cool demeanor. “It’s your friend Vartika”, he called with the “whom you had been waiting for” part inherent in it. Vartika rushed to greet Viplav but before she could do so, her mother was there. Much like her father, it didn’t take her any time to understand the game. But she was pretty helpless, knowing she would have to take this up some other time and welcomed him into the house. Once again, Viplav touched her feet and put just a small teeka on her forehead. Without losing any further time, Vartika took the proceedings into her hands, introducing the two ‘parties’. Her mother would then offer him all the delicious Holi snacks along with her limited stock lauki ka halwa. Just when she brought the halwa in a glass bowl to Viplav, Vartika knew she liked him.
As no other guests seemed to be arriving at that time, the duo found the chance of a little time together at the usual pretense of showing the house. Her parents, to her utter surprise, didn’t object.
As they walked to the roof together after two years and looked down at the colour filled streets, she told him, “It was a nice idea, Mr. Fantastico”.