It was just like any other day in the class-room, a December evening and
was extremely cold. Mister Jha yet did
not come to the class and I was talking with my friend, Asmita. We both were
laughing on something and talking as if we are very studious people (though,
anybody who is preparing for IAS has no other option but to be studious)…anyway,
that is a different story. Delhi
Asmita and I were totally, unaware that someone sitting behind us is listening to our conversation.
Our attention went to it when I heard these words,
” excuse me, is anyone of you have cleared PT before?” we both looked back together and my eyes fell on a charming guy, for a second, my eyes stuck on him, but then we both replied with another laughter,” noooo, but why are you asking?” I looked straight into his face.. For a second, he got embarrassed, but than he smiled, took a pause for a second and continued his words, “yesterday I was absent from the class so just wanted to know what sir has taught in yester-class?”
“Ok, well…yesterday he finished the “Rig Vedic age”, I replied.
But he seemed confused and asked again (let me tell you something, those days my English was really poor…truly poor) so when he asked a question which almost went above from my head and he looked at me with an expectation of another quick reply, I was totally blank. He repeated his question and I tried to answer in Hindi, he kept asking something which I couldn’t understand, for next few minutes this drama continued. I was trying to answer him and he was not getting satisfied with my answers. So finally, I laughed, he looked at me with confusion and irritation; somehow I controlled myself and said.” Meri English bahut kharaab hai, aap please hindi mein poochhiye”.
“ohh”.. He smiled with a very pleasant attitude and said “. koi baat nahi main kisi aur se poochh leta Hun”. With these words he quickly moved from his seat and soon got disappeared in the crowd of class. After that incident I met him twice, once on the way to coaching, we had a short talk and next time when I was looking for a comfortable, warm seat in the class-room in a chilled January evening. Co-incidentally I found a vacant seat next to him….that day we had another short conversation as I was still not much comfortable in last rows and he tried to arrange a front row seat for me and I stopped him with some expressions of embarrassments and so on… (I remembered, when he said, “tum itni sharmili kyon ho?”) even that day again I forgot to ask his name and he also did not bothered to ask my name (Intentionally or unintentionally, can’t say).
Anyway, after that day we started exchanging greetings with each other…some kind of Hello, Hi…without asking each other’s names and whereabouts and I always remained reserved in my nut-shell. Even I used to try to avoid eye-contact with him or sometimes try to ignore his presence. I remember many incidents, when I ignored his friendly smiles and stares. I used to pretend as if I did not see him. I don’t know why I was doing that …but one thing I knew was that my hear-beats used to get increased when I see him. Don’t know what he thought about me or made any opinions about me, but he never missed to greet me whenever we came face to face.
Another change that took place those days (exactly when, I don’t remember) was that I changed my regular seat...from my favourite corner chair in front row to those last rows, where he used to sit. Yeah, I know that was funny.
One day, when Jai (my friend) saw me sitting in back rows his first expression was, “did you come late today? What are you doing here in back benches, what happen to your seat, who acquired your seat?” (His voice was a bit teasing). I replied in a hasty way as if I am caught red handed, “Err...Amm.. Actually today I came late so had to sit here otherwise you know me, I don’t like to sit in back rows.”
“Yeah, that is what I was thinking…” I felt he was still thinking. Oh I forget to tell you that I never spoke with that guy again, I mean never got a chance to have a word with him…
However, I did not go back to my front row seat neither that day nor after that. Those days, all my desire was to get a seat either in the row, he is sitting or in a row back to him. However, my bad luck only a few times I could manage such an opportunity. You can say how silly it is.
Well, you are right and I also tried many things, for example, I tried to recognize his friends group so I can reserve a seat nearby them, but most of the time I saw him sitting with different people, he hardly seems interested in the people sitting around him. I tried to recognize his bag, but that proved a big stupidity, there were many boys in the class who had the same dark olive green colored, faded bag and I got used to see those similar bags kept on chairs one by one in one row or in another. Whenever, I thought it’s his “BAG”, most of the time I found my self sitting next to a nerd who looked “not good” yet was very happy that a pretty girl preferring to sit beside him. Even till date, I can recall his slow voiced short yet important information about the lecture and the topic. “Ye jo abhi padha rahe hain naa, wo seedhe CHHATTHHAA ka class ka kitaab se uthaya hai, hamne padha hai”.
However, days and weeks passed by and nothing much happened then on an evening, I saw something. Something that I did not expect nor I ever thought in that direction.
He was standing by his seat and a cheerful smile was on his face, he was looking at someone and holds on, that someone was Priyanka, the prettiest girl of class. They both were smiling at each other and it was not just a regular exchange of greetings rather it was more of that. Priyanka’s eyes were sparking and her lips were murmuring something and his …. And there was a perfect bliss on HIS face. Then, I saw Priyanka’s friends coming, each one of them gave a smile to him and he responded back. I watched every single thing from a little distance, but no one noticed my presence or maybe there was already a lot of crowd in class.
That moment something broke inside me; don’t know what was that... something got withered up inside me.
Next day, I was sitting on my favorite seat, the corner seat in the front row. Meenu got surprised to see me there again, “so, today you are on time”.
“Yes, it has been so many days since I came on time, otherwise, I used to get late for class ... therefore, I have ... “ I left the sentence incomplete, Asmita was now looking straight into my face, so I preferred to stay quiet. ..........