Blast from the past...




It was a long day in office, I was glad to be back home. A shower and a cup of steaming-hot coffee did wonders to my system. After watching the back-to-back repeat telecasts of Friends, I decided to login to my favorite time pass, Orkut.

One friend’s account led to another and then to another and then, suddenly, I found him. The most handsome, honest and bright boy I had ever befriended.


The cool breeze from the window to my left, forced, the tired me, to drift back into time.


10 years ago...


It has been more than a week that we moved into this new locality. I felt like a sapling, uprooted from familiar soil and being re-planted elsewhere.
After spending twelve years in a girls' school this was my first year in co-ed college. The whole thing was ironically similar.


Prior to this place, we stayed at the ground floor of a two-storeyed building. This time it is the third floor of a four-storeyed house, that did not have an elevator in it. The pain staking process of alighting those seventy two steps, several times, each day, was reason enough to complain. More so, because none of us were used to, this steep task before. To add to the discomfort, we were yet to have a telephone installed at the new place, hence, emergency calls had to be made from some PCO booth at the corner of the street. So, going down and coming up those six dozen steps could not be predicted.


I had only recently joined my tuition classes. For my Maths tuition, I had to travel a very short distance by bus. I was a little late in joining my batch, which had already begun about a month back. As I entered the class for the first time, I met eye-to-eye with this very good looking guy sitting right at the opposite side of the door. I sat next to the wall, consciously avoiding the unoccupied seat next to him. Sir, buzy with a formula derivation, raised his head and asked me to fill up that gap. The good looking guy smiled and lifted up his paraphernalia off the seat I was asked to take.


The first sum given by Sir was from dynamics. This guy, his name was Apurv Basu was the first one to complete the problem.

I was completely lost. Having finished the sum, he did not have anything else to do, other than staring at my copy and finding me unable to put even a scratch mark. He smiled again, “They did’nt start dynamics at your college?”

“I am yet to attend a Pass class”, I smiled back.

“Brilliant!!”, He chuckled. “You want me to help you with this?”

“If you want to”, I answered.

Sir took three pages in finishing the sum whereas Apurv completed it in one and a half pages. I raised my eyebrows approvingly at him. “Do not be surprised, I am majoring in Physics”, he whispered.


The other students in class bullied him a lot because he was always amongst the first to complete the sums, always the highest marks getter in class and was intrinsically a quiet person. We walked together that day and all the other days to the bus stop, he spoke a lot, about where he studies, where he comes from, his friends, his parents, what he wanted to become in life.

“I had initially thought you to be an introvert, you know”, I had said and he had given me a meaningful look, the meaning of which I could not decipher.


One day I saw a copy literally being thrown around in class, it came to me at one point of time and I saw beautiful pencil sketches at the last pages. Sketches of Aishwarya Rai’s pictures. I asked someone, “Who’s copy is this?”, a girl said, “It is Apu’s”.

He gave me an unperturbed smile. “Let them do what they are doing to my sketches, I have several of them back home”, he mouthed at me.


He had stopped attending classes since that day, or so I thought, because I did not get to meet him for several days till on a Wednesday, our last class before the final exams I met him again. He entered and stopped at the door when he saw me.

“Where have you been?”, we both asked each other at the same time, after he came and sat next to me.

“I come on Fridays not on Wednesdays”, He said.

“Oh! And I come on Wednesdays not on Fridays”, I smiled back.


After class that day, all of us wished Best of Lucks to each other. That was going to be our last class and probably the last time meetings for several of us. Apurv and I walked to the bus stop in silence.


"Give me your phone number", he said.
"Phone number?!?", I was almost inaudible.
"Yes, phone number. How else do you think we can keep in touch?", he tried to immitate my voice.


All these two three months, he had always spoken so much that I never got to tell him much about me. I realized it was too late for explanations now.


I looked up at him, I knew he would not believe what I was going to say, my heart sank.
He sensed the pause and looked up from his note copy to meet my eyes.
Nudged me to hasten the precess, "C’mon, tell me fast, your bus always comes early”.

I pursed my lips and let the words go, "We don't have a phone at home".


This time he stood still, staring at his note copy, still holding the cap of his pen in between his teeth.
After those several numb seconds, he looked at me. Disbelief trickling down from each wrinkle on his face.

“We recently shifted to this new place and so....”, I tried to explain.

You know how men look when they are shocked, angry and sad at the same time. I will never forget those red, watery, brown eyes.


That day, bus number 237, that he travelled in, arrived very early. Without exchanging a single word, he climbed on to the bus. It waited at the stoppage for as long as ten seconds. Here I stood on the pavement and watched him clasping the rod tight at the ceiling of the bus, as he stood facing his back towards me. The conductor signaled the driver to move on, the driver shifted gears and as the bus rumbled, he turned back and gave me a last look over his shoulders. Then, like an animation flick, the bus disappeared behind a cloud of grey exhaust fumes.



That is the last visible memory I have of him.




A loud slap of the windows made me wake up from my slumber. It had started raining.

I sent him a friend request with a message, “Hi, remember me?”


His profile revealed him to be well settled in life and married with a one year old kid.


Would he remember me? I retired for the night.


Next day came in his reply, “Whoa! Of course I remember you. How have you been? Know what? My wife and you share the same date and year of birth”


Dramatic-irony?? Co-incidence??

------------------------------------------------------

6 comments:

    #1- i need ur yahoo mail id
    #2- i need ur orkut mail id
    #3- destiny.

     

    Absolutely right about #3.

    Thank you for reading through the entire "not-so-short" short story.

    will surely give you my orkut id once I decide to create my 6th orkut profile :)

     

    :)
    du me a fav n read mine.. not-not-so-short one..

     

    This comment has been removed by the author.

     

    Why don't you try writing for Chicken Soup for the Indian Romantic Soul.

    Brief...

    This is Raksha Bharadia. I am the author of:-

    1. 'Me' – A Handbook for Life (Rupa & Co)

    2.'Roots and Wings' - A Handbook for Parents (Rupa & Co).

    3. Chicken soup for the India Soul (Westland).

    The current assignment undertaken by me is compilation of individual experiences for the 'Chicken Soup for the Indian Romantic Soul' for Westland publishing house.

    The write-ups will carry the contributors' name. Westland pays Rs 1000 per story and two copies of the book. We carry a 3-4 line profile on all contributing authors. We accept blogged and published work too. The copyright of the stories stay with the author.

    Please send your stories to: rakshabharadia@gmail.com before 15th October 2009

    Recipe for A Winning Chicken Soup for the Soul Story

    A Chicken Soup for the Soul story is an inspirational, true story about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It is a story that opens the heart and rekindles the spirit. They are personal and often filled with emotion and drama. In some stories, the readers feel that they are actually in the scene with the people.

    Chicken Soup for the Soul stories have a beginning, middle and an ending that often closes with a punch, creating emotion rather than simply talking about it.

    The most powerful stories are about people extending themselves, or performing an act of love, service or courage for another person.

    Guidelines for a Chicken Soup for the Soul Story

    1. Tell an exciting, sad or funny story about something that has happened to you or someone you know. Make sure that you introduce the character(s).

    2. Tell your story in a way that will make the reader cry, laugh or get goose bumps (the good kind!) Don’t leave anything out — how did you feel?

    3. The story should start with action; it should include a problem, issue or situation. It should include dialogue and the character should express their feelings though the conflict or situation. It should end in a result, such as a lesson learned, a positive change or pay-off.

    What a Chicken Soup for the Soul story IS NOT:

    1. A sermon, an essay or eulogy.

    2. A term paper, thesis, letter or journal entry.

    3. About politics or controversial issues.

    4. A biography or testimonial.

    Story Specifications

    1. Stories and poems should be non-fiction, ranging in length between 300-1200 words.

    If the story or poem you wrote is published by us, you will be paid Rs 1000 per contribution.

    You will also get two copies of the book.

    Feel free to submit more than one story or poem.

    The sections:-

    Finding True Love

    Love and Romance

    Romantic moments

    Romance and Marriage

    Memories of Love

    Lessons in Love

    For Better or for Worse

    The Flame still Burns

     

    Ahem...
    Thanks Amit but this was a work of fiction hence, your story specifications criterion #1 does not hold true :(

    However, I will definitely keep this offer in mind...
    Thanks again.
    Cheers.