A Wonderful Trap

A Wonderful Trap

July 10, Sunday I receive a call from Swapnali in the afternoon.

Me: Hi, Swapnali!

Swapnali: Hi, Megha. How are you doing?

Me: I am fine. Just doing some crochet. How are you?

Swapnali: I am good too. Can I ask you for a favour?

Me: Yea, sure. What is it?

Swapnali: Have you heard about – (she mentions a name)?

Me: No, what is that?

Swapnali: It is an online course on photography. May be it is just available in Eindhoven or probably only in the Netherlands. My friend Shailee is taking that course and she has to do a project on east and west. She needs to shoot photos of people from east and west. And I thought you can be for the east and Audrey agreed for the west.

Me: Not sure if I want to do that, I ask, “Why cannot you do the shoot?”

Swapnali: Oh! She is from India and you cannot choose from the country of your origin. (Before I could inquire further or even have any thought.) Mussarat and I don’t look so much different. So I thought yo will fit in. She wants to do the shoot on Thursday at 2:15 p.m. and Audrey said we can use her place for the shoot.

(Without any question I agree for her request. We talk about my crochet assignment and then we bid adieu until Thursday. )

(I continue crocheting as I have a deadline to meet. Then beeps my mobile. I see a text from Swapnali.

Swapnali: Can you show me what options you can wear on Thursday? I will tell Audrey also then about color coordination.

Me: Okay but in a while:). It will be black for sure though. (I have a black top in my mind.)

Swapnali sends me a thumbs up and asks again, “Do you have a dress or something girly”?

Me: Yeah one :). I think I will wear that.

Swapnali: Great show me. I am very nosy I know.

(I had so much to do and her incessant messages were getting on my nerves. But her ‘nosy’ word makes me smile. I also knew she wouldn’t stop until I show what I am planning to wear. Getting my dress from the closet from the other room, taking a picture and sending her felt a long process. That is why I was telling her that I will send in a bit later as stopping suddenly while crocheting could make my focus go haywire. But when I realized my husband has send my photo in a dress, I felt saved.)

Me: (I just search quickly and send it to Swapnali.) Sleeveless.

Swapnali: Oh it’s beautiful! What colour is it?

(What colour? I get surprised and then realize it is a black and white picture.)

Me: Black and white.

Swapnali: You look so pretty in dress, why don’t you wear it often!

Me: Don’t know. (:))

Swapnali: Hehe.

In the evening my husband arrives home and informs me that our parcel is going to arrive on the same Thursday of the shoot. Oops! I had agreed to Swapnali for the shoot. We get in a dilemma. So my husband asks me to talk to Swapnali if the shoot can be postponed for Friday. Instantly I send her a text and the reply is not a green signal.

Me: Hi Swapnali, what if the photoshoot is done on Friday? If it is not possible, it’s fine. Actually I am going to receive a parcel on that day so.

(After twelve minutes she replies.)

Swapnali: Hi! I asked…It has to be on Thursday..

Me: Okay. 🙂

Swapnali: Thank you (two smileys).

On 13th July, Thursday @10:41 a.m.:

Swapnali: Shall we meet near Rabobank at 1:50?

Me: I think it would be fine.

Swapnali: Okay!

(She calls me after a while and tells me there has been a slight change of plan. I also tell her that I have decided to meet her in front of Audrey’s place. I actually planned to go a lit earlier to her place and get ready for the shoot. By 1:30 I was all set to go out.)

Swapnali: Hi, Megha! Are you ready?

Me: Hi! Yes, just packing my dress.

Swapnali: Why? Are you not wearing that now?

Me: I am coming on my bike and I am not comfortable on a dress.

Swapnali: It is not difficult. I bike when I am wearing a dress as well.

Me: No, I don’t think I will. It won’t take me long to change after we get to Audrey’s place.

Swapnali: If you want I can come to your place and we can walk together.

Me: No, really it’s fine. It won’t take much time. If we walk up to there, it will rather take a longer time. So are you getting out now?

Swapnali: Okay, as you feel comfortable in. I will reach LIDL in ten minutes.

Me: I will get out right away then.

(Finally the discussion is over. However, I get curious why she was insisting so much in me wearing a dress and riding the bike which I have never done. There is no time to think why, so I leave immediately.)

At LiDL after around 15 minutes we meet each other.

Swapnali: Let’s go to LiDL first. Rohit bought a t-shirt for me and it’s big. I have to exchange that.

We enter the store, see if there is one of her size. There isn’t. Instead she finds something else. The clock is ticking only few minutes to 14:00 and I get anxious as I prefer reaching earlier than getting late.

Swapnali: My friend knows how I am with time. Indian time. Don’t worry, we won’t be late.

Audrey’s place is only few blocks away. We ring the bell and Swapnali announces we have reached. When we enter inside, I feel that we are not late as Audrey also isn’t ready for the shoot. Audrey  immediately apologizes for not being ready already and tells she will get ready quickly. Swapnali, on the other hand, asks Audrey to show for the toilet so I can change quickly. She didn’t have to ask as I already knew where it was. But she didn’t give me a chance to say a word. Audrey leads us to her bathroom instead thinking it as more comfortable choice. Swapnali rushes me in. I come out with my dress on asking:

Me: Should I be wearing my sandal inside or not?

Audrey: Whichever you are comfortable in?

Me: No, I just……

(Before I could complete my sentence, before I could properly put on my sandal, those familiar faces shout out loud:)

My friends from Get in Touch: Surprise!!!

I become speechless. I was impressed how astute Swapnali and her fake friend’s project have been. I couldn’t smell anything suspicious. The whole room is decorated with grey and white balloons. There are small heart shaped red decoratives everywhere, on the floor, table. I hug everyone and my eyes get more and more wet. My face keeps burning. This day was specially dedicated for me and I could not have asked for anything more.

We take pictures. Before they start unveiling the surprise, they have some lunch as they were so indulged for the preparation that they had no time for lunch. I stand there watching everybody, feeling the love all around me and feeling blessed to have them in my life. Everybody keep telling  me that my pure expression of amazement was what they all wanted to see.

What did we do then! Here is a small picture of those moments.

  1. I am blindfolded. There is a chart paper in front of me and a pen in my hand. I have to draw my husband’s face. Phew! After years I am sitting down to draw and that also with my eyes shut. As I move on with my drawing, my friends help me where to start from, where I am going, they would comment “cool” and I know for sure it cannot be good. When I am done, it is a sight to see but not to show. Then they ask me things about my husband and I try…answering them.          
  2. Second game is the passing the ball. Only here, it is not a ball but a tin box. Every time somebody is out, they sing a song or dance or both. At the end, as they said, it is against the host and the guest. At the end, it was Audrey and me. And…. I win. They ask me to dance and for someone who has not danced for a long time, I could not start even a move. Gabriela stands up and starts dancing on ‘La Macarena’ song and most of the rest joins her. But still I feel rigidity to do those moves. So, I join the others in the couch as an audience.     
  3. Time for cutting the cake. Nicely decorated with me and my husband’s photo on it; I save the upper layer to show it to Saurab. Not to forget, it was Farzana’s birthday that day. So, not cutting a cake by Farzana would be incomplete. Italian, Hindi, Turkish, Indonesian wishes were showered over her.

Then, when Carola stood in front of me with her lovely gift and words, I could feel the urge to let the tears flow from our eyes. If not stopped they could have overflowed. Farzana idea of moving us to a different place with a better background was impeccable. Carola shares her words and inwardly our emotions burst out. No tears, but everything was emotional that my cheeks hurt throughout.

     

 

What is left in their list is the preparation of a necklace, bracelet and earrings from beads. Specially while making the necklace, everyone put a bead or beads in the thread blessing me loudly or quietly. It is getting late and still everybody makes sure I leave with the earrings and the bracelet on. They look amazingly adorable. With elated countenances everybody bid goodbyes. I was glad Giulia lend me a hand in getting my gifts home; I already was a scared little child when I am on my bike. Carrying those bags would have frozen me.

I come back to my room full of memories to cherish for life. I cannot remember for how many days I was blushing. Audrey finished the necklace the next day and gave it to me. It was perfect. I fell into the trap innocently but I loved it. My husband and I are lucky to have this family.

 

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