20 February

Comma: “The Prospect turned up last night.”

Me: “What? Were you expecting him?”

Comma: “No. But he knew my parents were here. And that I would be more amenable to his advances with them around. So.”

Me: “And?”

Comma: “He proposed again.”

Me: “And?”

Comma: “Said yes.”

All this, very quietly. I can’t believe that she has actually turned up for work today. And that she is not jumping around, punching or pinching me. Where has this meek creature come from?

She continues to fill in all the details. He came over, had dinner with Comma and her parents at their hotel. Comma was staying with them too, giving up the austerity of her PG room for a few days of luxurious hotel splendour.

Later, The Prospect asked her out for a drive. He had borrowed a friend’s car. They didn’t get much of a drive. Stuck at the Bandra-Mahim crossroads, he proposed. Comma pretended to be distracted by the huge hoarding of Shahrukh Khan in front of her. But before they had crossed the signal, she had said ‘Yes’.

Me: “Must have been a very long traffic jam.”

Comma: “No, I gave up pretty soon. After all, he has been chasing me for months now.”

Me: “Shouldn’t he have waited for some fancier place to propose? Bandra-Mahim traffic jam is so mundane.”

Comma: “But can you imagine what it will sound like back there in Bhopal, after a few years? It’ll sound very funny, and real. Compared to say ‘he took me to Taj Land’s End and proposed over candle-light and champagne’. That’s so done. This will make a good party story.”

Me: “True.”

No talk of kisses, or other intimacies. The Old Comma would have been babbling on by now about things I did not necessarily want to hear. All these years I have been subjected to the minutest details of her heart, soul AND body, in relation to anyone of the opposite sex whom she was remotely interested in. The New Comma is more reticent than I like. I could ask, but somehow I do not feel like barging into this space she is hugging so possessively close to herself for once.

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