I paced around the hospital corridor, waiting for the doctor to come out of the room.
My wife was inside the room, and I knew she was in pain.
I sat on the hospital bench in the corridor. It had been five years of our marriage and six years of knowing her. I still felt we had just met a couple of days back. Each time she smiled I felt the same excitement I had six years back and each time she walked out of a room, I turned around to catch a glimpse of her like I had six years back. Sometimes my friends ask me, if I remember the first time I saw her?
I entered a restaurant with my friends, as we walked in we were greeted to shouts of 'Happy Birthday'. It looked like some people had gathered to celebrate a fellow friend's birthday. Sanjeev my friend felt there was too much commotion inside and thought it would be a good idea to eat someplace else. We had almost agreed with him and had turned to walk away, when a girl from the birthday party came running up to us requesting one of us to click a snap for her. I volunteered and walked with her to take a snap for her. I took the camera and looked through the lens to see her standing in the middle of the crowd. She had some cake pasted on her nose and cheeks and she stood there smiling like a school girl. I took the snap but stood there for a few seconds mesmerized by her smile. She laughed and hugged her friends. I walked up to her and greeted her
"Thanks, I didn't quite catch your name" she smiled
"I was just taking a snap for your friend" I pointed at the girl who had requested me to take the picture.
"But, I am Gaurav I was here with my friends" I added.
"Pallavi" she smiled and shook my hand.
I went back to my friends after wishing her luck, and convinced Sanjeev and everyone to eat at the same restaurant. As we ate, Pallavi and me stole glances at each other, and smiled when one of us caught the other one staring. She kept blowing away her hair that feel on her eyes, her sparkling black eyes made it very hard for me to concentrate on food or on anything my friends spoke. At the end of the dinner I had decided that I had to talk to her again. I walked up to her and requested her for a minutes time, as she walked away few feet from her friends, I asked her with a smile
"Is it okay if I call you sometime."
She was silent for a minute and then smiled back and said
"Sure, here is my number"
I checked my pocket for a piece of paper but couldn't find one. With no second thoughts I quickly took down the number on my palm.
She waved goodbye as she walked away with her friends.
I turned towards my friends and clenched my fists and punched in air signaling success. I walked up to the table and opened my fist to find the number partially erased due to the nervous sweating in my palm. With fear of losing the number I quickly made a note of it on a paper napkin.
Sunday morning seemed to be perfect to call her up. With my parents visiting a temple there looked to be no disturbance.
I dialed the number I had written down on the napkin. I immediately banged down the phone after finding it was the wrong number. I realized I had noted down the wrong number from my sweaty palm onto the napkin.
"She could not have given me the wrong number" I told myself.
I closed my eyes tried to think hard of the numbers she said, but all I could picture was her beautiful smile. With determination not to give up easily I started dialing up all kind of combination of numbers from the napkin.
From STD booths to provision stores to all the aunties and uncles picking up the phone, they all had the same to say ‘Wrong Number’. After seventy eight failed attempts, the phone finally connected to her.
I asked her
"This is Gaurav here. You remember we met at the restaurant on your birthday?"
The doctor walked up to me and said
"She has been shifted to the ward, you can see her now"
I walked into ward room, to see her lying on the bed. She smiled at me, like she had for the last six years. The nurse walked in behind me and said
"Here is your beautiful daughter sir"
She placed the baby in Pallavi's hand, as I sat beside Pallavi with my arm around her shoulder. We looked down at our daughter and couldn't control the tears. Wiping my tears and smiling I said
"She has your eyes"
She broke into a smile and replied
"We hope she doesn't grow a nose like yours"
The tears flowed as we broke into light laughter. I bent down and placed a soft kiss on my little angel's head, and then kissed my wife and said
"Look what we brought into the world"
She smiled, wiped her tears then turned to me and asked me with the same smile
"Do you remember the first time we met?"