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She sighed breathe of relief after the TC completed his round of checking. Unlike most of the times, she had forgotten her ID proof. She noticed it just before the ticket collector reached her berth. A phone call from an unknown number actually saved her. The TC glimpsed at the E-Ticket in her hand and continued checking the ticket of the next passenger.

‘Hello? Who is this? Hello…?’

The line was not clear and she said ‘I’m not able to hear you. Will call you back’

This time, it was Gulzaar’s ‘Raavi Paar’ on her lap. At the end of the title story, she remembered that she had to call the unknown number that ended with 109. Before calling, she checked the number using Truecaller and the app was of no help. It had no information about the name of the person. She called and it was a voice of a male from the other end

‘Hello’

‘Hello, I got a call from your number. May I know who is speaking?’

‘Hello, Sorry, I dialed a wrong number. I don’t know how…’

‘Okay’ and she disconnected.

After a few weeks, she received a message from the same number.

Hello Madam, How are you?’

She easily recognized it, thanks to the last three digits that meant something to her. She instantly replied ‘Wrong number is a wrong number. Do not disturb’.

‘Sorry again. I just wanted to hear your voice to make sure that it was a wrong number. I found your voice very sweet. I had no intention of disturbing you’

The little compliment actually triggered a smile on her face
I don’t talk to strangers’

‘You are already talking to me. Now, there are just two possibilities: Either you don’t consider me as a stranger or you are contradicting your own words ;)’

‘What is your name? What do you do?’

‘I’m Surya and I’m a lawyer. BTW, What does your name Asavari mean?’

‘HOW DO YOU KNOW MY NAME?’

‘Truecaller’

‘But, the same truecaller did not give out anything about you’

‘Yes, this is my new number’

‘I’m named after a raaga that is sung in the morning hours. True to my name, I’m a morning person’

The two switched to an instant messenger after a few months…
The exchanged their likes and dislikes and the story encountered a twist when it came to food

It was time to board the train to Delhi again; She was reading Gulzar’s Half a rupee stories  – a collection of twenty five fascinating stories! Just then

 ‘Where are you?’

‘In the train to Delhi’

‘Had food?’

‘Not really. I don’t eat during journey’

‘Oh no. You must try. Do try Bread-Omlette at Food Plaza. It is very famous and one that I love to eat any day’

‘No, I don’t want to’
and that spelled an end to their conversation

A few weeks pass by without any exchange of messages. Asavari felt that something in life was a miss and felt incomplete without any buzz of Surya. In her next train journey, she made it to Food Plaza and ordered Bread-Omlette for take-away.

‘How are you and where are you?’

‘In train, travelling again’

‘Oh, did you try the Bread-Omlette?’

‘No’

‘Why not?’
She doesn’t answer. After a few minutes, Surya texts again

‘Where are you travelling?’

‘Mumbai’

‘I live in Bengaluru. When are you going to come here?’

‘I don’t know. I haven’t visited B’lore since the last two years’

‘Okay. We will meet this time and I will take you to Frazer town that is known for Chicken Biryani and Chicken Kabab’

‘No, thanks’

‘Why not?’

‘No. Not anymore’

‘why?’

‘I stopped eating non-veg after my marriage. Your last three numbers 109 always remind me of my marriage. 10h of September. I have a daughter who is 5 years old and I work in a cosmetic agency as an executive and have to travel a lot to convince my clients’

this line actually shook Mr Surya. After months of conversations, this revealing shocked Surya. He had developed a liking towards her and to know that she is married already was hard to digest. Although, he managed to reply

‘You never actually told me about your marriage
. We have had so many conversations and not a word about it?’

‘I felt it was not necessary’

And then there were no messages from Surya for so many days. Asavari started carrying Bread-Omelette parcel during her journeys. It always brought back those conversations to her.

‘Memories are the result of the relationships we shared. They don’t need a form or a label’ he texts
‘Hold on. I have a label. Bread-Omelette. Neither veg or non veg; the meaningless mean’ she replied

Asavari was ready, yet again with the parcel in her hand to board the train to delhi.

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This story is written by Nivedita Chandrashekhar. The story is published in Kannada’s reputed weekly magazine- Karamveera.

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November 13th – Karamveera

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https://www.facebook.com/nivedita.kulkarni.9

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