The night was gloomy and hazy. I didn’t know how I would survive in this atmosphere all by myself. New faces, a new phase by itself. A sense of being overlooked by people had started to develop. I had to survive in this hostel for 3 damn years. The thought of the future gave me shivers. No company, no companion. I had dreams of graduating from this university, but this despair had made those dreams no more ecstatic. I missed home. I missed my family. Terribly. In a true sense, I understood that a good family was a blessing. Almost 18 years of age and I can tell you I can do absolutely nothing without my mother. I decided to go for a walk and hoped that would help in any manner. The college lawns were green and clean. On my way to the cafeteria, I saw somebody. She was sitting under a tree out on a corner at around 7 when the entire college was busy making new friends and observing the campus. I went to the cafeteria and bought myself a cup of coffee. Delhi was cold. On my way back she was still in that isolated area. I walked up to her. She didn’t bother. “Go back to your room it’s getting late,” I said. She saw me and instantly smiled. And in that moment, I swore that if there’s a smile I could fall for, it would be hers.
“Yes, How did you know I was here? She asked. “ I was going to my room and on my way, I happened to see you” I answered. “Hi, my name is Radhika!” She said. “I am Vaibhav, nice meeting you.” We enquired about our cities and knew that she was from Kolkata and I belonged to Bangalore. Pretty obvious that even she had to stay away from home in this hostel. Yes, I’ll accept I was secretly happy. She walked with me and we began talking about our homes and how excited we were for tomorrow’s first day of college. She was really charming. And I was so happy to have made a new friend, finally!
“What were you writing?”
“ I lost my mother 6 months back, from that day onwards I often write in this diary when I miss her, and when my eyes crave to see her. I wanted her to be with me on my first day of college.” Radhika answered.
“I am really sorry, Radhika,” I said.
“ You don’t have to be. “
I felt really bad about her loss. You require a lot of courage to open up in front of people and especially to the ones you’re meeting for the first time. Radhika didn’t fail to surprise me, again! We left for our respective rooms and waited to see each other again the next morning.
The next day was quite exciting. We had an ice-breaking session. The day was, all in all, a good one, except for the fact that I and Radhika were in different classes. I met her again in the cafeteria when I was with Rachit and Abhinav. I was happy to be knowing the prettiest girl of college.
The White kurti with pink borders and pink earrings perfectly going with her hair had captured all of my attention making me wonder how someone could make such an unadorned and simple attire breathtaking. Radhika was with two other girls who were busy checking out other fellows in college. She went to the billing counter to place her order and eventually even I did. A formal conversation and as we proceed with our respective orders to our places I drop a note in her bag, which read “Coffee at 6. Amici café. Vaibhav” I dIdn’t know how far she would come, but I waited for 6 pm so bad and hoped that she would turn up.
My watch reads 6:35 and I felt that it was the worst move anyone could ever take, Restlessly I wait there with my eyes not moving from the door.
My heart was beating at a pace twice the normal rate. And suddenly, I stand up in awe to welcome the one my heart longed to see. That feeling when I see her looking at me and coming towards me, I wanted time to freeze. I’d chosen to wear a black polo and keep it simple, and she chose to wear a red top and black denim with her hair open. Simply peerless.
“Sorry, I’m pretty late.”
“That’s not a problem. You look stunning in red.”
“Thanks, Vaibhav!” why did you have to ask me for coffee in a note? “
“I just didn’t know how to. Thank you for coming.”
“What if I did not turn up?”
“There were 100% chances of you not turning up, but somewhere deep within I knew you would.”
“Yes, I would never go if it was any other person.”
“Then how did you not mind coming here today?”
“That evening in college, when many others would have seen me and probably would have mocked at me and went, it was you who came telling me to go back to my room and that it wasn’t safe.”
“I didn’t know that gesture would make my day today.”
With her I felt different. With every passing minute I was drawn towards her more and more. It was a wonderfully weird feeling. I paid the bill and we left Café Amici at around 7:30 pm. “Come let’s go together”, I insisted.
“Let’s go for a walk maybe” Did I even have to take a second to think and answer, well certainly not.
We walk on the streets of a new city. The weather was biting cold.
“Why have You taken Bsc. Maths?” I ask
“I’ve always loved Mathematics, so why not do something which you like?”
“Not everybody can do what they want to”
“What makes you tell that?”
“I’ve always wanted to be a pilot. I just LOVE airplanes, flying AND the idea that I can FLY people around the world!”
She stops and looks at me straight in my eyes. She was certainly shocked.
“THEN, WHY THE HELL ARE YOU HERE?”
“You know the plane crash in 2010. Air India express from Dubai to Mangalore?”
“What about it?” still perplexed she asks.
“My brother was an aerospace engineer, often he would stay away from home and guide the Airline officers. We lost him during that mishap. My parents went through a lot of trauma, their sobs were never ending. Our lives had taken ways we could never imagine.”
Radhika holds my hand and looks at me.
“Misfortunes are inevitable Vaibhav. What assurance do you have about your life here?”
She made absolute sense. I stayed quiet.
“I’ve given up. I take this topic of me wanting to become a pilot, and they at once tell me to stop thinking about it. There’s this burning rage within which wants to make them realize that even if something happens to me as a pilot, It wouldn’t scare me. At least, I would not have to regret the fact that I was such a wimp in life.”
“Don’t worry. Things in life never come easy.”
“NEVER,” I say.
Stepping into Radhika’s world,
Vaibhav, the only reason I find something in this person is the way he is. The other day just the day before college had started I’d gone to the office to read the instructions on the notice board. 5:30 pm. Adjacent to it was a passage through which came some happy and pleasing voices. Curiosity awakened, and I went through that pathway. I see a well-built man with brownish black hair and a strong jawline, playing with the daughter of one of the domestic helpers of college. From one corner being unnoticed, I was enjoying the pleasant smiles. It was so amusing to see how the child was jumping and clapping her hands delightfully. When we intend to do things for others, without wanting anybody else to know or by the thought of receiving appreciation makes us evolve as souls. We do it for us, and that’s what matters in the end.
Part 1 ends here, part 2 will be up on the blog soon!