Episode 1: -
I have always had an instinctive feeling that I would meet my soul mate on any of my Saturday evening temple visits. Soul mate is not the boy friend; soul mate is not the future husband. He is the one who complements my soul.
So when this fellow brushed arms with me while taking the charnamrit, I definitely could not neglect it as nothing. Anyway, I didn’t look at his face. I am a girl. And have been taught to look down. And I do this as an act of self-defense. I want to shirk away from that there are other people who exist on earth, beside me. While I was turning away, I heard a ‘Sorry’. I pretended as if I had not heard it and as if I was in a hurry. There was hardly anyone around, and so I thought I should leave. As I was toeing down the stairs and having a final look at the ‘face-of-God’ I raised my eyes, to see the guy smiling. Rare that a guy smiles at me. Such a poker face that I am. I didn’t smile back.
I halted to tie the straps of my sandal, and then would walk back to my hostel. That’s what I do every Saturday evenings. On my way back, I look at the God-like Mountains that bound my college campus. Also this is my only time to star and moon gaze in the entire week. I watch couples walk by, hand-in-hand. So much in love. And I certainly had some expectations from my life also.
But today, there was this guy who said, ‘You are in second year, right?’
Me: -‘Hmmmm…. ya’. I wanted to run away. I saw on his face, an impish curl of lips.
I had never seen him. Damn! Two years at this place, and I don’t know all the fellow humans who are here like me to acquire knowledge!
‘Okay, I guess I have to go’
‘Aaaa…. I guess we can walk together till your hostel, I am going that way anyway.’
I look at him again. Oh! Guts!!!
‘It’s dark, and some ghost might just make his evening snack out of you’
And before I said my next word, I realized, we were walking together. ‘Electrical huh?’, he asked
‘Yeah’, I mumbled….
I was feeling stupid. Being a girl in a college where the sex ratio is as horrendous as 12:1, there are females who are quite like stars in the boys’ hostels, without them knowing it. But me? No ways…I used to be a behenji until a moment ago!
With all my pre-conceived notions about men, I hardly can take any in my life. I just can’t believe anything they say. I wouldn’t call them prejudice, because I am cent percent sure about my findings. And this one? Why on earth was I walking with this guy I don’t happen to know! Just because I didn’t know how to run?
‘Heard, you come here every Saturday?’
‘Ya, I do. Just to get myself rid of the deeds of the week.’
There was a silence, a pregnant one. I said ‘get myself rid of’? Blunder!
May be he is laughing out loud at me inside his heart. Who knows? He is just an agent sent my class guys to find out what ‘behenji’ does in the temple…
My feet wanted to fasten pace. But I wanted to slow down. I was held back by thoughts. I had always wanted to go out on prolonged evening walks on these tree shrouded roads…cool breeze, my companion and me. The companion should of course be should be far from intruding, like a part of the darkness. And even then I should be conscious of the warmth of his breath, the spark of his company.
Coming back to the present, what was happening at present? He was presence was so innocuous and err..nice... Like a part of the darkness. An invisible chord of chemistry linked our persons.
People walked by, people cycled by. They looked at us. I was looking down at the road, as if I had lost two of my toes or something.
‘When did you come back here?’, he broke the ice…
‘I had to return a week earlier, for my project submission and stuff’
‘I’m a year senior’
Did he not get bored of my monosyllabic answers?
‘You are the only one who comes to the temple hun? None of ya friends and all?’
I try to give him one of those why-do-you-care kinda looks.
‘Religious!’ he sighed.
‘Not exactly! But spiritual!
‘Gotcha!’ he chuckled.
As if he understood everything! Because I am something, no one understands…
I saw my hostel approach. He hadn’t asked my number yet. Surprising!
Hell! All the guys do that, or I guess so.
After a couple of minutes, I found myself standing near my gate, watching my ‘so-&-so’ disappear into the darkness…
‘See ya next Saturday’ were his parting words…