The Playlist

A starry night, a short drive and a sublime moment of love

Samparna Tripathy
5 min readOct 8, 2018

A month ago, a dear friend, in his mid-twenties, sent me a message.

“Sam, I heard this song at a cafe tonight. Instantly reminded me of you. Of the day it rained. Of the day you couldn’t stop sneezing and yet smiling. Of the day we reminisced our past loves. Of the day you could no more hide the self-doubt. Of the day I realized what you need to be told more often.”

Song 1

…..Little drops of rain whisper of the pain
Tears of loves lost in the days gone by
My love is strong, with you there is no wrong
Together we shall go until we die …..

I read the message. I heard the song. I understood what he had to say. I battled with what to write back. Should I send him a standard smile emoji— a trivial response to such a thoughtful gesture? Should I call him and attempt to hide my nervousness with a lame joke about our age gap? What could I do to possibly stop his train of thought, lest he made me believe that I deserved love?

Before I could come up with something ingenious, he started typing the next message. Damn those blue ticks!

“When do you finish work today?”

“Hmm. Not sure.”

“If you’re taking an Uber, don’t. If you have your car, ask your driver to go back. I will be dropping you home today. Just message me 10 mins before you finish work. Ok?”

Damn. Why could he not be intimidated by me, just like the others? How could he tell me what to do? How could I not have a smart ass retort? Damn girl, he is trouble. I love trouble. Damn girl, you are in trouble.

“Ok” < followed by the Blush Smile Emoji>

Damn girl. Not that emoji.

At 7:30 sharp, I got into his Hyundai. He connected his Samsung S9 to the car music player. He opened and browsed through his curated playlists. And he selected the one titled “Sam”. A collection of all songs that I had ever swooned about. That I had ever requested on a jukebox. That I had ever played on his phone in his car.

Song 2

Sham bhi koi jaise hai nadi
Lehar lehar jaise beh rahi hai
Koi ankahi, koi ansuni
Baat dheemi dheemi keh rahi hai
Kahin na kahin jaagi hui hai koi aarzoo
Kahin na kahin khoye hue se hain main aur tu

“Are you hungry?”

I thought he had heard my stomach bellowing. Thank god, he has no idea that my stomach creates music everytime I am nervous. Not hungry, but nervous. Having a bite wasn’t a bad idea either. The more time I spend eating, the less time I need to say something. Maybe the less I say, the less I give away. That he makes me giddy. Damn girl. You are in trouble.

“Sure. Let’s have a quick bite. I need to be home by 8:30 pm.”

We drove to the food trucks that bring that part of the city to life every evening. One order up for a Chicken Lasagna and a Sizzling Brownie. We started eating near the car with the music on. Both of us are foodies. So when we eat, we just eat. After the last bite, he held out a tissue. I definitely needed one. All thanks to the clumsy eater I am, I had an unpalatable and ugly looking mixture of red gravy and chocolate sauce around my mouth. Even then, he remained polite and instead changed the subject.

“Has anybody told you that you twitch your nose when you laugh?”

Song 3

Aap ki baaton mein phir koi sharaarat to nahin
Bevaja taarif karna aap ki aadat to nahin
Aap ki badmaashiyon ke yeh naye andaaz hai

I laughed. Once again, twitching my nose. Couldn’t understand what was cheesier? The lasagna, the song or the whole situation. Damn girl, you are in trouble.

Within moments of sitting back in the car, I got lost in time. Years ago, at someplace nice, a man I loved had quoted Bruno Mars to tell me something.

Song 4

Oh you know, you know, you know I’d never ask you to change
If perfect’s what you’re searching for then just stay the same
So don’t even bother asking if you look okay, you know I’ll say

When I see your face
There’s not a thing that I would change
’Cause you’re amazing
Just the way you are
And when you smile
The whole world stops and stares for a while
’Cause, girl, you’re amazing
Just the way you are

Years later, he left. Maybe just for the way I was. Or so I believed.

“Excuse me ma’am. Would you mind coming back to this planet? If you are done with your self-pity, there’s a man right here who can beat you at it. Do you remember my love story with that hot girl — we broke up and forgot to tell each other?”

“That story. I can’t beat that.”

Few miles away from home, the next song cued. I am pretty sure that was the slowest anyone has ever driven that car. Almost as if, he really wanted those 5 minutes. So that the song played in full. So that he could say what that evening meant.

Song 5

…..Adhoori aas chhod ke
adhuri pyaas chhod ke
jo roz yuhi jaaogi
to kis tarah nibhaaogi
ki zindagi ki raah mein
jawaan dilon ki chaah mein
kai makaam aayenge
jo humko aazmayenge
bura na maano baat ka
yeh pyar hai gila nahi

haan yehi kahoge tum sada
ke dil abhi bhara nahi

Haan dil abhi bhara nahi
Nahi nahi nahi nahi

Abhi na jao chod ke……..

Little did he know, I felt the same. Or maybe he did. For what is life if not a summation of these moments. To love and feel loved. The only thing that can be built to last is your courage. To open your heart again and again. We hardly spoke throughout the evening. But had somehow managed to find our voice through music. The playlist for that evening was our dialogue. Of unadulterated friendship, respect, and love.

At the lane outside my home, just before I got out of the car, he slipped a small box into my purse.

“Open it once you reach home. I hope you like it.”

The box had a beautiful anklet and a note that said,

“I thought of giving you something that you could wear and remember this moment. Whenever you are sad and look down at your feet. Whenever you are happy and wish to dance.”

And then I went to the next room, hugged my mother and slept close to her for a while. She kept on humming a song. I couldn’t place which one. She played it for me.

Song 6

Wise men say only fools rush in
But I can’t help falling in love with you
Shall I stay?
Would it be a sin
If I can’t help falling in love with you?

Mothers. Don’t they just know everything?

As the night deepened, I mumbled.

Damn girl. Enough. Enough for now.