‘Hey…can you hear me? It is said that if the connection between the two people is strong, they can exchange thoughts by just the eye contact. Tell me then, can you read my mind? I can see you burying your nose in that geography notebook. You are always like that. Come on now…just one look please. Try to read my thoughts. You will come to know how deeply I am in love with you.
I had to catch the 3:45pm train. It would take me six hours to reach her town. The train was at the right time. I took my seat and messaged her.
“On board…cu very soon!”
Pretty soon her reply came back- “Can’t wait babu! ❤”
She would always call me babu. I like it whenever she called me by that name. My life had been nothing but a very beautiful dream after meeting her. And I have been living this dream for long. I was about to see her after long time. Another dream, which was coming true. She would have changed. But her smile will be the same when I last saw her three years ago – pious and innocent.
Within ten minutes, the train departed the station.
Six more hours! I was excited beyond measures to finally be able to see her. And I knew that she would be exited too. I knew she would play a very important role in my life the moment I saw her. Alright…not exactly the moment I saw her, but the moment when I actually saw her. We met for the first time when we were in 11th grade. I was new in school, the highest scorer among all. Maybe that was the reason why our geography teacher made me the team leader for geography assignments. I can’t say that I didn’t liked the attention, but it was an unusual feeling. A girl used to take my assignments from me. I never used to pay attention to her.
One fine morning, I arrived earlier than usual in class. The classroom as empty except for a girl who was sitting with her head down in the other corner of the class. I paid no attention to her and sat at my allotted seat. I was minding my own business, when she called my name. I turned back. She was the same girl who always took assignments from me. But…something was wrong. It was like I was seeing her for the first time. She was looking at me. Right into my eyes, like she was x-raying me. It was unusual for any girl of this school to do it. I was moved. Such confidence in her eyes! She was not a normal girl. She was something different. I replied back, “Yes?” She said nothing. Just kept looking at me and all of a sudden gave me a disgusting look. “Haven’t finished my assignment for today. I need more time. Will give it to you tomorrow.”
“Why? Everyone else has already submitted me their assignments. Are you some special?” I did not like her tone. But it was soothing for some reason. But why was I not able to get her name? It had been just two weeks that I joined this school, yet I was not able to guess her name. I had to find it out. I was desperate to know. “Well, tell me your name, I will note it down. I need to give it to our teacher.” I said. But she was taken aback by the question. “Are you are telling me, that you don’t know my name? You have some memory problem?” Her question was straight. If it would had been any other girl, I would have replied back the worst way possible. But something was stopping me. Her taunt was soothing to my ears. What was it? I had never felt like it. “Find out the name by yourself. I am not telling you. And if you want to complain, go ahead.” she said with no change in her tone.
‘That was a wash!’ I thought. Insult! But why was I feeling good about it? Considering it an isolated incident, I got busy with my work. I avoided encountering her for rest of the day. She would definitely have gone and told her friends about it and would have had a crazy laugh. But it was okay. That whole day, I was wondering how to find out her name.
I checked my watch, it was five o’clock. I checked my phone. There were no signal. Till now the train was running as per its schedule. Four more hours. They will pass soon. I looked outside the window, the sun about to set in the horizon. I was curious that what she would be doing. Maybe preparing to meet me. At the same time, I was worried that her father might not allow her to come out in cold winters of December. She was never the kind of girl who would be outside her home after certain hours.
I couldn’t find her name that day back then. So I decided to wait till next morning until our class teacher would take class attendance. Next morning I again came early. As usual, she was sitting with her head down. Today I decided not to talk to her till I guess her name. After the assembly, I was concentrating on the attendance. One by one, everyone was raising their hands up whoever their name was called. “Ananya!” our teacher called.
And there she was. Ananya…unique name. But she was unique, like her name. What started as a confrontation, would soon become a one sided liking. I made it my habit of reaching of early so that I could see her sitting with her head down. I never understood what was it that made me respect her to the extent that I could make her shout at me sometimes so that she could at least look at me and say something.
As it turned out, she was the one with whom my performances in the class would be compared. But I was happy again. Even if my marks would be less than hers, it would make me happy, to see her happy. But I was conscious. She was a career oriented student. I could never approach her to express my friendship, let alone express my love. She became the second influencing woman in my life, after my mother, whom I respected, with deep heart. The two years of my life were in peace. But it was gone, like every spring season. My mother was posted in New Delhi. I had to accompany her, where I would peruse my further studies. It was now the time to leave the city, and her as well.
There was a jolt and I woke up. The train had halted in the middle of nowhere. I checked my watch. It was six thirty by the watch. Thinking of it as a temporary halt, I sat peacefully. I again checked my mobile for signal. Nothing. Even after twenty minutes, the train was standing still. I was getting worried. This train was never late, something must have happened. Soon, there was an announcement in the train. The track ahead was damaged due to an accident. My heart sank. It was not good. Ananya would definitely not wait that long at the station. I had just one chance to see her, which was now in danger. I could imagine her waiting at the platform, helpless and hopeless, leaving without meeting me. It was the same feeling, like three years back.
It was decided that my mother and I would leave for Delhi as soon as the results would announce. That day of result, I visited my school. I was eager to meet Ananya. I knew she would be there. After all, I knew she would have scored more than me. But to my disappointment, she was not there. I inquired about her to my fellow friends, to her friends, but they had no idea as to where she was. I didn’t had her number. I was desperate to talk to her. I wanted to express her my feelings.’ But it was no use. I had to let her go. I found out later that her marks were not that good. I was taken aback. All the happiness that I had for my marks vanished and I was taken over by the sheer pain of losing her. I wanted to talk to her just once. But it was too late.
The train finally started moving after one and a half hours of waiting. I knew I was late. But I still had hope. A hope to see her face after these long years. Well…you must be wondering that how we caught up if I didn’t see her that day three years back? I will tell you.
I was caught up with my college work. Busy living my college life. One day, my mobile rang, and I saw a message from an unknown number. The message didn’t amuse me, but did the name in the end-Ananya.
It was again a moment of joy. I was happy. ‘She remembered me! After all these years.’ I thought. I was jumping that whole night. My mother had to practically gag me on my bed. We chatted over the phone. That started a series of conversations. I was still scared to tell her my feelings. I thought maybe she would react and not talk to me. It was good enough for her to at least talk to me. Her voice…was like honey, sweet and elixir to the body. How can one have so polite voice? I used to wonder.
A year later we were chatting over Facebook. When she wrote-
‘I like you’
It was like nothing else I would have loved to see coming from her end. I wrote back-
‘I like you too’
‘I really like you’ she wrote back.
I knew it…knew it at that very moment that she had the same feelings as mine. Our love story started. A very unique and strange love story. A girl, falling in love with a boy she never liked back in the school days. But then, the problem was, how we would meet.
One day after three years of long distance relationship, while we were chatting, I couldn’t control myself and expressed my desire to meet her. She was confused that how will I make it. I had no choice, I had to visit her in her city, by any way possible.
We made the plan for 18th December. I would tell my mom that I am going on a college trip. It would take me five hours to reach. I would stay there for some time, and come back the next day. Finally, the day was here.
I again checked my watch. The time was quarter to nine. Anytime now. Fifteen minutes later, the train arrived at the station. I got off. It was ten by my watch. I was late…super late. She would have left. My phone stared buzzing and her messages started coming.
“Where have you reached?”
“How far more?”
“Just heard the announcement. Your train will reach at ten. L”
My heart skipped a beat. Her last message was at 9 pm. It was cold out here. She would have left for sure. For a moment, I was tempted to call her and tell her that I arrived. But it was too late. I had missed the only chance to see her. This was not good. I entered the waiting room. It was empty. Empty…except for a lady how was sleeping in one seat, and a guy staring at her sleeping. I sat next to him. Exhausted, I took out my phone and typed a message-
‘Hey…reached…sorry…u must be at ur home…I am sorry to trouble you babu…take care…I will be leaving tomorrow morning…always love you….’
With a heavy heart, I pressed the send button and closed my eyes. It was all over. A second late, the lady sleeping in front row woke up. She took out her phone. I could make out her actions since her back was facing me. ‘No use’ I thought. I stood up, ready to leave and sit on the platform… to punish myself for missing her. The lady got up simultaneously and turned her face at me.
I was there…standing…looking at her…like looking at her for the first time. There she was…wearing a jacket, her hair falling on her face…her beautiful eyes…gazing at me…but…something had changed…there was no hate, it was a longing, a feeling of love. She was Ananya. She was waiting…all this time! I could have cried out of joy!
She smiled. It was her first smile for me. With slow and steady steps, she was coming towards me. I was happy. I was content. I was blessed.
We stood facing each other…looking at each other and not speaking one single word. She then spoke, “Come…lets go.” She held my hand, and I felt like my heart was beating for the first time. “Where to?” I asked. “My home…no one is there…and I am definitely not going to let you die here out of cold.”
“Your home? But your parents?” I was confused. She gave me the same loving gaze and smiled. “They left today evening to meet my brother in Allahabad. They will return tomorrow afternoon. I had told them that I am going to meet my friend for group study. So they didn’t take me.” I was amazed by what she had become. A mature and intelligent Ananya was someone else now, she was a loving and caring partner. “Then why were you waiting here out in cold? You could have stayed back? I could have come to your home?” I asked.
She stopped, turned back at me with a serious look, and said, “You are probably the only boy who came this close to my heart. You are my first love. Every moment from the time you de-boarded the train, I wanted to be with you. I don’t know…when will I see you again…so why miss the only chance that I have?” Her eyes were x-raying me again. I was touched beyond measures to see her love for me.
We took an auto to her home, which was not quite far. It was a chilling night. The roads were silent. She opened the gates and we went inside. It was warm there. She took me to her room. We sat there, holding hands and looking at each other’s eyes. There was so much I wanted to say to her. But I was not able to find any word to begin with. It was her that broke the silence. “I made something for you. Wait here, let me bring it.” She left the room and I laid down on her bed. I was wondering about the upcoming events, things to say, when she came in and gave me the cookies and a dish she made. It was very tasty. I broke one piece of that cookie and gave it to her. We sat for another then minutes…looking at each other and talking.
Once we finished the supper, we climbed on her bed and laid down side by side. She kissed me on my forehead and I replied back, by kissing on her cheeks. That was the moment when we forgot who we were. Every part of her body that I touched, felt like a holy temple. I had to control. We had to control. But we didn’t wanted to. We were outside our clothes, and in her blanket, just hugging each other and doing nothing else. I just wanted us to be like that. I just wanted her to keep her head on my chest. All she wanted was to hug me and breathe heavily. I could just feel her heartbeat against mine. We were just looking at each other. I was blessed, to touch her, feel her…the girl I loved from long time. She was finally here with me. We stayed awake the whole night…talking, kissing, touching and gazing at each other.
Next morning, she accompanied me to the station. We were quite. She handed me over a box of cookie she had made for me.
My train was about to arrive. While we were sitting at the platform, she spoke, “I have to break a news to you.” “Hmm…” I said. She looked at me and smiled, “I will join you next year! I am coming for my masters there. So we will be together for long, this time.”
I was surprised. “Why didn’t you tell me that before? That’s excellent! My mother might have to move back to other city. But I will be staying back. We will have most of our times together.”
We looked at each other and smiled. “Six months of waiting. They will pass.” She said, “I will live my next six months…with the wonderful night I spent with you.” “So will I.” I said.
My train had arrived on the platform. We stood up. I boarded the train. She was still holding my hand. I looked at her. She was gazing at me…x-raying my heart. She spoke, “It is said that if the connection between the two people is strong, they can exchange thoughts by just the eye contact. Tell me then, can you read my mind? You will realise how deeply I am in love with you.”
Exactly my thoughts!…so long back. Yes…how could I not read your thought my precious! You are the sole thing I think of in my loneliness. I spoke, “You never have to prove it to me babu…I know…!”
“I will see you soon. Don’t forget to call me when you reach…do eat my cookies…don’t share it. And don’t look at other girls…I will come there soon babu…just you wait” she spoke in one breath. I made my hold stronger. “Ananya…never forget me…you are the only girl I ever think of. And no matter where I am, I will always be in your dreams…I will always love you.”
The train was leaving the station. She let my hands go. I was looking at her and she was looking at me. Then she smiled. Her eyes filled with tears. My eyes were wet too. I smiled her back. I kept standing at the door, till it took a turn…and I could no longer see her still standing there.
© 2016 by Manish Singh. All Rights Reserved.