Until recently, there were very few moments in life which I can proudly say to have lived. The experience of leaving every fear behind while jumping off the plane at 30,000 ft; the vivacity of feeling the colors and life under the sea; the carelessness of laughing away into the night with my friends. There were few such lives. I guess, life never really happened until she happened.
I am not the quintessential romantic. At least I thought I wasn’t. I have never really believed in dramatic love stories. So, it’s a bit ironical it had to happen this way.
It was one of those Fridays when my mind was continuously contemplating going home. But I had stayed back. Destiny has its own timetable, and thank god for that! I was sitting in my regular spot in the library, whiling away my time reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies. As I gazed out of the window, small rain drops soon turned into torrential showers. Rain incites a restlessness in me that very few other things do. It compels me to just break free from the mundane routine and stand, listening to the marvellous music of rain drops dripping over the rooftops. Somehow, the music of the rains reminded me again of Mumbai, whose enthusiasm is most evident in its exuberant rains.
As I walked towards Tapri for a quick chai, the roads were empty. No single soul was to be seen in the stark, noisy night. The small puddles had already formed and were quickly turning into bigger ones. Leaves of Asopalav were scattered all around, involuntarily soaked in water.
Then I saw her. Her hair was drenched in the rain, with small latts curling together up on her face. In the dim lights of Tapri, I could only catch half of her face in the first glance. But it was more than enough. I started guessing if she was a student and wondering why hadn’t I noticed her before! She was sipping tea, sitting on one of the cots.
My mind started wavering in the forest of conversation starters. I thought rains could be a good starting point but I dismissed it on the fear of being boring. ‘Hey, awesome weather isn’t it?’ seemed from the 1970s. My filmy mind raced to come up with quick, cheesy lines which were just that – too filmy. I thought of a general chat about her and her background.
“Hello, what’s the time?” came a voice, calm in tone but with a tinge of anxiety. And with that, I was suddenly pulled out of the bubble full of anticipatory conversations that I had blown.
Continue to Part 2 …