Man Of Her Dreams
Man Of Her Dreams
Mayah Morgan looked appreciatively around her. Everything was so beautiful and exciting. ‘Mama was right, Mumbai is heavenly,’ she thought. The ornate chandeliers, the rich tapestry, the thick carpets, the entire décor was simply marvellous. Though it was late evening, there was a crowd outside the Taj Hotel, and she could see the imposing Gateway of India a little distance away with the Arabian Sea murmuring softly by its side.
A first time visitor, just a couple of hours old, and she was already in love with the city. She suddenly gasped. How strange! Was he real or was he a figment of her imagination?
She pinched herself. He was real and he was smiling. The man of her dreams, of her imagination, was walking towards her! The same handsome face, the dark looks and the confident manner which had haunted her in her sleeping and waking dreams from the time she grew up. Now she understood why all other men had seemed like boys. Why they paled beside her dream man. He was macho, and she had always been sure of his existence. And here he was.
She moved forward, hands outstretched and a happy smile on her lovely face.
“Hi,” she said and hugged him. She felt him gasp but she was in heaven, an electrifying emotion coursing through her.
“Hi,” he said, confused at her behaviour. “Sandy here. Have we met before?”
“In my dreams,” she said softly and looked up. Warm brown eyes looked down into light blue happy and excited eyes and locked. And held.
Was this love? It had to be. Everything was so glorious, so magical.
He lowered Mayah gently into a comfortable chair.
“Are you alright?” he asked, still perplexed.
“Yes,” she smiled, “Were you in London?”
“No, I have never been to England. Why?” he answered in a deep voice, “I have always lived here, but I also feel as if I know you. Are you a model or a TV star?”
They were just getting into deep conversation when suddenly there was commotion in the foyer. Gun shots, people shouting and screaming and bedlam.
Swiftly, Sandy caught her arm and dragged her behind a thick curtain, their bodies locked together.
From their hiding place they saw two men enter the dining room and shoot indiscriminately.
Mayah gasped and immediately Sandy covered her lips with his. She closed her eyes. The scene outside was too gruesome; there was blood and bodies everywhere.
They remained in that position for some time, hearts beating fast and in unison. A volcano of emotions raged through her. Shock, fear, attraction, excitement and now passion. Despite the horrible happenings, she felt her body respond and his reciprocate. The feeling felt so right. As if it was written in the stars. As if they were the only two people in the universe, floating leisurely and aimlessly in the sky.
Fresh shots, screams and people running brought them down with a thud and woke them from the cocoon of intense feelings. Opening her eyes, she saw a blood spattered body slowly falling to the ground. And Mayah fainted.
Sandy caught her up immediately and swiftly carried her over a flight of steps to an unused bedroom on the first floor of the hotel.
He kicked the door shut and laid her on the huge comfortable bed. He dared not switch on the lights, but he knew the layout well. Opening the small fridge, he picked a bottle of mineral water and sprinkled it on her face.
“What happened?” she whispered tremulously, her eyes wide in fear.
“I don’t know,” he said softly. He moved to the window and peered through the drapes. There was not a single soul in sight.
Shocked, Sandy was now truly worried. Busy teeming Mumbai presenting an eerie silence outside while commotion reined inside?
Sensing danger, he pulled Mayah from the bed and they crouched beside it as footsteps sounded outside their room.
The door opened, someone peeped in and moved away. He could feel Mayah tremble and he patted her.
Sandy heaved a sigh of relief. They were not caught. What was happening to his beloved Taj, a five star hotel known for its safety and warmth, a heritage building?
Strangely, Mayah now felt relaxed. Instinct told her that there was no other place which was as safe. After a long but comfortable silence, they began conversing in low tones.
“My mother is English and my father is Indian,” he told her, “Their families did not approve, so she settled in Mumbai and never went back to England even once.”
“Oh, what a coincidence! My father is British and my mother, Indian,” replied Mayah in a daze. They chatted in whispers till it was well past midnight.
Sandy got some grapes and chocolates from the fridge and they munched happily even though sounds from above and below their room made them tremble. But they also made the two come closer, physically and mentally. Camaraderie was quickly forming even though they were in an abnormal situation. In the darkness, being so close and so intimate was simply heavenly. Especially since she was with the man of her dreams. He, too, seemed to be feeling likewise. They could read each other’s thoughts and share friendship and companionship.
In the darkness he crept to the television and switched it on, keeping the volume low. Terrorists had attacked Mumbai, targeting the main railway station, another five star hotel, a hospital and other places and were killing people left and right.
Putting his arms around a trembling Mayah, Sandy comforted her and held her close. “Let’s get to know each other better,” he whispered, “There is no point in getting scared.” They found out that they had a lot in common -- hobbies, favourite books and music. Time passed and they felt as if they had known each other all their lives. It was long past midnight, but there were still sporadic shots and groaning. Sandy peeked outside the window and saw a few policemen crouching, watching the hotel. Their room was at the back of the hotel, the main road a few hundred meters away.
There was a sudden burst of fire in one of the rooms on the floor above them. Some more screams and shots could be heard. Things were worsening; Sandy felt that they should make a dash for safety. It could be much safer outside.
Carefully listening for the slightest sound, he approached Mayah and asked, “Are you game for some adventure?”
“You have to trust me,” he whispered, “It appears to be a well planned attack and no one may be knowing what is actually happening. The choice is between sudden death through shooting or fire, and death while trying to escape.”
“I do trust you,” she answered tremulously, “Let’s go.”
He pulled the bed sheets, knotted them together to form a rope, soaked them in water and tied them to the window bars firmly, the loose end almost reaching the ground.
Testing the sheets, he picked up Mayah and told her to hug him firmly.
“Say your prayers,” he whispered forcing a smile, “And close your eyes.”
He then put his feet out of the window, grasped the sheets and slid to the ground.
Releasing Mayah gently, he caught her hand and dragged her to a bush in the garden. From here they could see spurts of fire from three floors and people shouting.
A little while later, they made a dash for the road and mingled with the crowds, out of range of any gun.
“We made it,” he said gleefully, hugging her, kissing her and twirling her around, “We are alive and safe.”
Leaving the burning Taj and the terrorists far behind, they made their way to a taxi stand. The cab driver told him all the news of the terror attacks and it was enough to scare people for all their lives.
Zooming through the dark streets, Mayah and Sandy reached his apartment in the suburbs.
“I will carry you across my threshold,” he said and lifted her slight weight as they entered. “Forget the happenings, dear,” he said. “We were meant to meet and date in the midst of violence. Can’t you see that our hearts are beating in unison, that we are meant for each other? As Indians believe, it is the karma of our past lives. They say that a couple is bound together for seven lives.”
Mayah smiled. “Perhaps, I know you from my past life. That is why I feel I have known you for ages.”
They stared at each other, thoroughly smitten, very sure that these few hours were meant to bring them together.
Sandy’s apartment was luxurious and clean. He made coffee and they began talking again. After a while he got up and brought out an album.
“These are my beloved parents,” said Sandy, pointing to a handsome couple, smiling and very much in love. The photograph was some twenty-five years old.
Mayah gasped. She had seen the lady! In her father’s album! She remembered him saying that Sarah had been his best friend, but he had not kept in touch with her.
“Do you look like your mother?” Mayah asked and at his nod, understanding dawned. Sarah’s face and the emotion her father had expressed for his childhood sweetheart had been etched in her mind. He must have been in her unconscious mind and had come into her dreams all these years. Hence when she saw Sandy the first time, he had looked familiar, the man of her dreams!