SHE WAS 101st
I was nearly ready to take the blanket off when I realized that ‘Morning Boners’ are quite a thing to be considered when you have a roommate. I twisted and turned. It took me 10 minutes to flatten it out. I got up and headed for the door, took the paper and milk inside and started with the mundane morning activities.
In the past two years, bachelor life has treated me well. Getting acquainted with a hundred new people and interacting with them adds new layers of perspective. Your intellect grows simultaneously with increased affinity towards your own field or pushes you in a different path altogether. You just need to follow.
I had been on a run from my next exam for the past three days and this day seemed no different. I decided to take an afternoon walk with my cell phone. It’s actually the most convenient company. You don’t have to talk unless it rings. I stopped by at the medical store to grab Snickers.
‘That will be 35 rupees.’
I was taking out a tetra pack of milk when someone nudged me from behind. The pack slipped from my hands and was about to fall when my left hand grabbed it from below. I was about to swear when someone said-
‘Excuse me! I am sorry.’
I turned around and was hardly able to feel the ground beneath me. She was in blue pj’s wearing a loose white tee, the same combination when I first met her. She glanced at me and headed towards the counter. Bollocks! She didn’t recognize me. I followed her and asked for the total at the counter.
‘That will be 70 rupees.’
I glanced in her direction. With her hair tied in a bun, her glass earrings perfected the outlook. I again brainstormed ways to start a conversation. None! Not one fucking thought-all blue and white colored gibberish with glassy background.
‘It’s 70 rupees sir! Are you listening to me?’
‘Oh yeah, Sorry! Here you go.’
Among those hundreds of people I met, none gave me this experience. She was 101st. I had to do something different.
She was carrying a paper bag in one hand and purse in the other. I strolled around the vicinity of the shop. The moment she descended the shop stairs, I made my way up and-
‘Oh Hi there!’
She looked up and her eyebrows creased. Then almost instantaneously a flicker of recognition shot through her and she said-
‘I met you in college, didn’t I?’, with a dimply smile on her face.
My heart skipped one beat.
Wait! It skipped another. I gathered the saliva in my mouth and managed a weak ‘Yes’.
‘What are you doing here?’
‘Oh! I live nearby, you too?’
‘Well near enough to not sweat it out in the morning.’ she said while shifting weight on her right.
I laughed and lifted my right hand in greeting-
‘I am Karan.’
She adjusted her paper bag and clasped my hand with a cheeky reply-
‘People call me Kritika.’
She descended the stairs and stood looking at me. I was lost for a moment and then I joined her. The inquisitive look in her eyes demanded sincerity and respect. I stood there saying nothing for 5 seconds when she started-
‘I have to reach home before 1. See you around!’
I wasn’t going to let her go with the same parting words as the last time. I took a deep breath and said-
‘Would you mind if I accompany you to your house?’
She stopped short in her tracks and turned around. I was about to chew my heart when I saw the same flicker of smile she gave me the last time. And I was never more elated.
‘I will find you’, with that, she left again.