It was still dawn when I stepped out of the cab and walked towards the entry gate of the Delhi airport. The early morning February air was pleasantly cold.
I was travelling to Bengaluru to attend a college friend’s wedding. It had been four years since we graduated from the same college. This wedding was also going to be a reunion of our batch-mates. But what I didn’t know was that the reunion would begin much ahead of time; right in the queue in front of the airline counter.
I was almost sure it was she. Same height! Same long hair! Same complexion! Curiosity had my eyes glued to her. And then about 60-odd seconds later, when she turned, she proved me right. My ex-girlfriend stood two places ahead of me in that queue. We had never met after the college farewell.
Ohh!! She was looking damn gorgeous, with her dark beautiful eyes with a black eye-liner around it and her curly hair-locks that was coming across her cheeks, she was still looking no less than a college girl of first year. Suddenly, the old college day love seemed to reborn in me and I lost myself somewhere back in my college days. After getting my tickets checked, I took my luggage and walked fast towards the luggage check point, she had already passed it and moved towards boarding the flight.
After my luggage check-in, I boarded the flight, checked my seat number and took my seat. My heart bubbled up with joy when I noticed that she was seating just in front of my seat. I felt like talking to her, but an old thought of my college days crossed my mind, which stopped me from calling her. It is quite a long story. Of-course all love stories are long, but mine a way different from others. But, I will narrate it in short:
It was a foggy chilly morning of January when I was in 2nd year of college, first noticed her. She, dressed in pink kurta with a purple quilted jacket over it coupled with black leggings, was standing near the entrance gate with two of her friends, she was looking damn cute. And, her snow white pinky cheeks was like cherry on the cake. Not just me, any guy who would have seen her that day, had fallen for her. It was the first time my heart had tickled for someone. It’s not true that I didn’t have had crush before, but it was a different feeling. I didn’t believe in the idea of ‘love at first sight’ but I was somehow sure about myself it was not mere infatuation. The whole day, I couldn’t concentrate in my classes. I spent all the day thinking of her and couldn’t concentrate on my studies at all. Next day, I went to the college with a strong determination of collecting all the information about the girl before returning that day. Generally, boys are considered quite good at this art of collecting information about girls, but I was not so good but neither worse. By the end of the evening, I had enough of information about her.
Fortunately, the very next day I saw her sitting in the canteen with one of her friends. When I entered the canteen, took my order and with a lot of courage walked straight towards her table and asked her if I could sit there. She was kind enough to allow me. I just tried to give her excuses for sitting there saying that the canteen was very crowdy that day although there were some vacant tables. She just passed a sweet smile and said, “Its Okk, yrr.” I thought , it was a good chance to know her so I started asking her some general questions for formal introduction and I too introduced myself. After about 10 minutes, she lifted her bag and said, “Okk, bye for now. I’hv class now. See you later.” “Yea, Of course” I replied with a smile.
Next day, we met again in the corridors and chatted for a longer period of time. Within these two encounters, I have started knowing her in a better way, She was not only a beautiful and attractive girl but she was equally polite and well-cultured too. All these characters altogether in one girl could attract any boy in the world.
Gradually, we turned good friends, soon we exchanged phone numbers, and started sharing our common interests, likes , dislikes everything. It had hardly passed 2 months. Then came the sad turn in my life. One fine day , one of my friend, Rohit said, “ Dude, Why don’t you say to her that you feel for her. If you don’t confess it soon, you will be friend-zoned like all nice guys of the world are usually done too.” I too felt that he was in a way right. I have also witnessed several such cases where good guys finally gets dumbed and eventually they started behaving like Devdas . I didn’t want that to happen to me so I too decided that simply I will go to her and pour out all my feelings in front of her and keep myself ready for whatever be her answer. Moreover, I too had a feeling that she was falling in love, if not in love, but of course I was her crush. Her way of talking with me, sharing every little thing with me, her Whats App status and many more things were trying to hint something to me and I as a boy surely can’t ignore them. So all these things altogether made me to do what I did the next day.
Next day, I accumulated all the courage of the world and went to college. I searched for her the whole day, but found her nowhere, neither in the class, canteen nor in the corridors. My anxiety had reached the seventh sky. Then all of a sudden, she appeared before me. She was coming towards me. My heart started pumping high due to nervousness and anxiety. “Hi Ishita”, I called her. “Heyy, Hii….” “How’s you ?” she said. “I’m fine,”said I “I want to say something”. She said, “Hmm, tell….”. “Not here, come at the side.” Moving at one side, she said, “Okk, Now tell.” Suddenly, everything went blank from my mind, and sweat started rolling down my forehead that too in the month of February. She asked, “What happened ?”. I just replied, “Nothing, but love.” She grinned at me, “Love….hmm…”. “With whom ??” To that I instantly replied, “With you.” And suddenly her expressions changed and she gave me a stern look. “How could be me ? We are friends.” Listening to her reply I apologised because I didn’t want her to lose as friend. And she too, made me feel like that she had not taken my words seriously and it was alright, we were still friends. The next day too, we talked like friends. But slowly and slowly after that incident she distanced herself from me in the next two months so cleverly that I even too couldn’t notice, when all these happened. From that day onwards, even when I as in my 3rd and 4th year of my college life, I could not accumulate enough courage to communicate with her again.
“Please, tie up your seat belts, the flight is about to land”, this voice wake me up from another day-dream. Yes, two hours have passed and we were about to reach Bangalore from Delhi, but I couldn’t speak a single word to her. Finally, I decided to speak to her, calling her from her back seat “Hi Ishita, Do you remember me ? ”. “Hey Akash, how can I forgot you,” she replied in a friendly tone. “So here for Shefali’s marriage ?” she asked. “Yeah…yeah…,”I replied. “You have not changed at all, still that charm that used to be in your college days, infact more beautiful.” She smiled and said, “You too have grown more handsome.” Then our flight landed and we together get down off it.
I asked her, “Can we take same taxi since both were going to the same hotel.” She replied, “Yes, Why not ?”. We both get into the same taxi. On the way, we talked a lot about what we were doing in the past few years. Where have we been in those days and recalling some of the memories of the college days and giggling together. I was again falling in love with her, I didn’t know about her but I was pretty sure of myself. We reached the hotel in about 45 minutes. Our rooms were in the same floor. I helped her with her luggage to get into the lift. Her room no. was 405 and mine was 408, just two rooms between us. While dropping her to her room, I said to her, “Any problem, call me. Take rest now. We will leave for ‘Sangeet ceremony’ in the evening.” She said, “Ok, take care.”
It was just 9 in the morning. Enough of time was there to get ready for the evening programme. I came to my room and sat on my bed and started thinking of Ishita. It was very evident from the meeting that time changes everything. Neither, I was as immature as I used to be in my college days, nor she was avoiding me as she did in her college life. Now, she was a totally independent girl working in a top IT company in Delhi and getting a handsome amount of money as salary and I too was working as a Project Head in IBM, Delhi. As a Project Head, I had learnt a lot. Specially, my present character was the image of that only. Now, I think twice before speaking anything.
After thinking all of these, I took my morning tea and breakfast that I had already ordered. After having my breakfast, I took a little nap since I was feeling sleepy. I was not used to getting up early in the morning.
I woke up at 2 pm. Actually, my nap proved a bit too longer. Hurriedly, I took my bath and started getting ready. When I was almost ready, someone knocked at the door. I opened it, it was Ishita standing , dressed in yellow saree with red borders and those long earrings hanging from her ears, she was looking extremely beautiful. “Are you ready? Its already four. We have to be there by 5pm, Shefali has already sent a car to drop us to the party spot” she said. “Yes, almost. Just 5 minutes. Come in,” said I. “You are looking very beautiful”, I remarked while putting the perfume on my coat. “Let’s go.”
We reached the party spot. On the way, I kept admiring her looks and she everytime blushed. There in the party, we met many old friends. We chatted a lot, exchanged information about each other and had a lot of fun recalling those old memories of college life. We all had a great reunion exactly as expected. While returning back to the hotel, I asked Ishita, “What is your plans for tomorrow morning, because all the events are in the evening”. “Just nothing other than sleeping”, replied with a loud smile. I said, “Then we must go for an outing tomorrow, visit some of the famous places and do some shopping. ” “Yes, that’s a good idea. I will go. It’s of more worth to go for shopping than to just sleep and waste the time,” she replied. “Ok, catch you tomorrow at 9am. Be ready.” She ridiculed, “I will be ready , you be ready on time Mr. Late Riser.”
Next day, we spent a considerable amount of time together. We visited some of the best places of Bangalore, we shopped together and had lunch together. Our friendship reached the next level. Yes, I will call it friendship only, I was not going to repeat my mistake again. In the evening, we again went to the party together. Two days of my Bangalore stay had already passed, and two more days were left. Next day, was the big day. Our friend’s marriage was to take place that day so we were to be present there from the morning itself. All came there putting on the best garments and specially the ladies had put on some extra make-up, but Ishita as usual had just used a black eye-liner and a pair of earrings to decorate her, still she was looking more beautiful than others.
The auspicious moment of the marriage was 6:15 pm. It took placed as was scheduled. We all friends had great fun, had a delicious dinner and returned hotel. I fell asleep soon that day. Next day, I wake up quite early than usual days and was having a strange feeling, may be that day night itself I was to return to Delhi and from the next day onwards the same monotonous life was to begin. Thinking all of these I may have been feeling down. I took my regular bath and dressed up for the ‘Vidaai’ (parting ceremony) considered a very emotional moment for the bride and I must be present there beside Shefali to morally support her. In the meantime, Ishita too came to call me to accompany her.
We reached there. Don’t know why but the charm on Ishita’s face was missing that day. I thought it may be because of Shefali’s parting ceremony. Both of them used to be very good college friends. One more reason could be it was the last day of our stay. Returning from there, we went to our respective rooms and started packing our bags . It had been a memorable trip so far.
Suddenly, someone knocked the door. I opened it. It was Ishita. She straightway walked inside my room without speaking a single word and said in trembling voice, “I want to say something.” I said, “Yes,tell”. She said, “I love you”, and just burst out crying, then she said, “Do you remember once you proposed me in college, then also I loved you, but just feared the fact whether my parents would allow love marriage or not. You know, we Bengalis are very conservative and don’t like the idea of getting married outside the caste. And you are a Punjabi lad. That’s the only reason I started avoiding you, but soon after my college life ended, I very soon realised that I cannot get a better person than you. None, I am an independent girl living in Delhi and my parents living in Kolkata. Now, I fear none. I tried to contact you all these days, but was not sure if you still loved me. But, in the last few days I felt that your love has not reduced even by an inch. Today, I couldn’t control , so confessing today. What’s your reply?”. For few minutes, I could not believe what was taking place and thereby was completely speechless. A girl whom I loved was proposing me. No guy in the three worlds would say “No”. My answer was very obvious, I said, “Yes, I still love you” and hugged her tightly.