Rohit stated incredulously, "Really? Your eyes didn't sting or anything? I mean not even a teeny weeny bit?"
Monica shook her head with a naughty stubbornness. "No, I didn't cry a bit!"
"You're such a guy!" Rohit's lips broke into a teasing smile. "How could anybody hold back the tears after watching Barfi 's ending?"
"Seriously,what size bra do you wear?" Monica remarked, a hint of mischief twinkling in her eyes. "I'm not so girly and emo like you!"
"Hey!" Rohit laughed and replied. "I'm just nice, friendly, and I've never been in rehab. An ISO 9001 certified decent guy!"
"Whatever!" Monica rolled her eyes dismissively.
Rohit pretended to bring something from his back. With his fist holding that imaginary object, he brought it to his nose, closed his eyes and took in a deep breath. He then opened his eyes, crouched on his knees and presented Monica with the dreamed-up article. He smiled sweetly as he looked up at her.
Monica's face lit up in amusement as she pretended to be touched. "Flowers?! How thoughtful!"
Rohit got up on his feet, brushing off imaginary dust off his clothes. He immediately flashed a bright smile, raising his left hand and opening out the thumb and index finger below his lips. Like Ranbir Kapoor used to do in 'Barfi'.
Monica burst out laughing. "So you're Barfi now? And we are what..playing dumb charades, is it?"
He threw both his arms outwards animatedly and took a bow. He then extended his right arm to her, as if asking for her hand.
"You asking me out?" Monica touched her chest and blinked her eyes repeatedly, feigning disbelief at her good fortune.
Rohit nodded and smiled happily.
Monica's eyes gleamed wickedly and she said irritably, "Look, I, I tried calling you. I've got an awful headache, and a stomach ache, and several highly contagious diseases. I’m afraid tonight won't work out."
Rohit, like the textbook definition of a sensitive guy, looked crestfallen.
Monica pouted her lips and made a sad face. "I'm sorry."
Rohit pointed to the non-existent flowers.
"Well, yes, the ﬂowers are nice," she agreed.
Rohit began prancing around, picking off flowers from hard to reach imaginary trees and bushes.
"You went to so much trouble?" Monica made a puppy face.
Rohit pointed to her.
"Just for me?"
"How thoughtful. But, well, I'm really not feeling well..."
Rohit made a long face, grunted and looked away.
Monica couldn't help grinning. "Gee, I hardly ever meet a guy who's willing to show his feelings. Oh, well. Just a short one, okay ?"
The deaf and mute Barfi was all-smiles again.
"So. .. What did you have in mind for this evening?" Monica looked questioningly at him.
Rohit mimed eating.
"Dinner." Monica said out aloud.
Rohit mimed dancing.
"Dancing," she exclaimed gleefully. "I love to dance."
Rohit mimed kissing.
"Uh, let me tell you where I'm coming from, Barfi," Monica started to protest. "It's just, well, you seem very nice, and your style is very... retro, but I’m just not into dating for dating's sake any-more. I finally think I'm ready to develop something... substantial."
Rohit pointed to himself, indicating that he was substantial.
"Oh, I'm sure you're very substantial, but, well, I am playing for keeps, and I want someone who could take care of me."
Rohit flexed his biceps.
"But who's still sensitive."
Rohit pointed to the fictional flowers.
"And who isn't afraid of intimacy."
Rohit mimed kissing.
"I meant emotional intimacy," Monica stomped her foot and stated angrily.
Rohit grunted, "Oh.” He cocked his head sideways, rested his cheek on his fist, and started writing in the air with his other hand.
Monica lifted her eyebrows. "What are you doing? A poem?"
Rohit nodded. He mimed a globe.
"The world...," Monica tried to decipher.
Rohit nodded and then mimed craziness.
He enthusiastically bobbed his head up and down, and then he stood ﬁrmly with his feet shoulder width apart.
Rohit looked down, as on the edge of a precipice.
"On the edge of... of..."
Rohit brought his hands very close together, indicating a small word.
"A, an... On the edge of an..."
Rohit repeated the small word gesture.
He mimed urinating.
"Eww! What? Urinal?... Pee?... Piss?"
Rohit agreed enthusiastically, and motioned to group the two together.
"We're standing on the edge of an a-piss... abyss! We're standing on the edge of an abyss." Monica almost jumped in elation.
He pointed to his eye, and drew a straight line towards her.
He mimed ”small word " again and then nodded when she got it.
He pointed to her and mimed her shape.
"You... you are a Coke bottle."
He shook his head disapprovingly and continued.
"You have a have nice figure."
He brought his arms outwards, indicating ”more. ”
Rohit nodded affirmatively.
"But I see you and you're beautiful."
He touched his heart.
He ﬁlled his heart.
He mimed ”small word" then nodded.
"With? My heart is filled with..."
Rohit pretended to pick up two sticks, rub them together, and make ﬁre. Monica stared at him curiously, unable to figure him out.
He then pretended to burn a ﬁnger. He covered it with his mouth.
"Oh, you've burned your finger. You have a blister. So you wanted to say- My heart is filled with blisters?"
Rohit asked her to repeat and repeat, and then he stuck his hand over her mouth in mid-word.
"My heart is filled with blisters. My heart is filled with blis.."
"My heart is filled with bliss."
Rohit bowed gallantly.
"Oh, that was adorable." Monica squealed in delight.
But Rohit wasn't finished. He came close to her and rubbed his finger lightly against her eyelids. He then held out the finger for her to see.
"Mascara? My mascara?"
Rohit nodded and while looking intently at her, rubbed that finger from below his eye to his cheek.
Rohit rubbed his eyes, pretending to cry.
"Tears? Tears...Mascara ...Mascara running down my eyes."
Rohit pointed to his watch and then at her.
"Time. When. When you've mascara running down your eyes."
He nodded again and then encircled his arms as if hugging someone.
"Hug? I want to hug you. When you've mascara running down your eyes, I want to hug you."
He mimed ”small word " again.
Rohit's eyes brightened and he brushed his finger over his right ear.
"Brush hair over ear. When you've mascara running down your eyes, I want to hug you and brush your hair over your ear."
Rohit grinned grandly.
"That was freaking awesome!!!!" Monica's voice danced.
"So," Rohit finally spoke, "you felt any real connection between us two?"
"Um," Monica replied haltingly. "Rohit...I don't know...I.."
"Hey, chill!" Rohit chortled. "Just messing with ya! So when is your date coming? It's ten already."
Rohit and Monica were standing on a lonely footpath, a couple of minutes walk from the theater where they had just watched Barfi a little while ago.
"Do I look okay?" A little bit of anxiety crept into Monica's voice as she straightened her dress. "Is this too tight? Not tight enough? What do you think?"
"He he. Okay doesn't even begin to cover it. I hope he doesn't stand you up though." Rohit looked into the distance, waiting for any headlights to show up.
"He better not," Monica said grimly. "I'm gonna kick his ass otherwise."
"Looks like his sorry ass heard you," he said cheerily. "Here he comes."
A Swift Dzire pulled up shortly in front of them. Rohit momentarily froze as he saw the reflection of them, standing together, framed on the car window. Monica's lustrous black hair outlined her oval face like an exquisite wavy casing and it cascaded over her creamy-white bare shoulders like a soft waterfall. But it was her eyes which always got him. Those dark eyes, so knowing and secretive. Eyes which kept thoughts enticingly closed, an imposing wall filled with memories and speculation. It was just too tempting to scale that wall. Without permission.
The reflection drowned as the car window rolled down. A head with a shock of wavy hair bobbed out and said, "Hi Mon. Hey Rohit. Sorry for.."
"You're late, you ass!" Monica folded her arms and burst out.
"Hey, Money honey..got caught up," the guy apologized. "I'll make it up to you. Promise."
"We shall see," Monica said unrelentingly. As she got into the car, she poked her head out and said, "Rohit, thanks a lot. See ya tomorrow, okay?"
"Hey, Rohit, thanks for watching over her," the guy smiled. "Bye. Good night."
Rohit just smiled weakly in response. It didn't escape Monica's notice.
As the car peeled away the footpath, Rohit thrust his hands into his jeans pockets and started walking. He had no wish to come out with Monica tonight. But she had insisted. And although the idea of baby-sitting her while they waited for her boyfriend had turned him off like a bag full of cockroaches, he still relented.
Just then, his cellphone beeped. It was a message from Monica.
"Hey, you okay, nah? Everything cool? You looked a bit off."
Rohit's fingers flew as he punched in his response. "OK? I'm fallin apart jus thinking of you 2 getting cozy together in dat car of his. :-P LOL. Just 4get abt me and njoy urself.:-D".
Two seconds later, his cellphone beeped again. It was her. "Jerk!:-P Fk u!"
Rohit smiled to himself, as his fingers moved to the music player of his phone, scrolled through the playlist and finally selected a number. He resumed walking, as the sound of the song, "Trying not to love you" by Nickelback, filled the silent night air.