Before I begin, I’d love to thank my friend Akshit Tripathi for suggesting names of the characters in the story.
The usual disclaimer applies here. The characters and events in this story are purely fictional. Any resemblance to real life people or events is just a mere coincidence.
My college life so far had never been exciting. They say that college life is the most memorable time in a person’s life, but there was nothing about mine that made it memorable. Having a riff with a friend in the first semester, and then losing contact with the girl you always loved since your schooldays in the second semester, made it more sad than memorable. Yet, I was still hoping something nice would happen sooner or later.
Then as luck would have had it, mom and dad began fighting over monetary problems. The household became a verbal warzone. In the midst of this, began the third semester.
On reaching college the first day, I found out that I was now attending classes in my department along with the Electronics department. This was a big change, as in the first year, I was in a common classroom with the Electrical department students. In case, you are wondering, I’m in the Computer Science and Engineering Department. The classroom seemed silent and my classmates rather tame. This was rather contradictory, as engineering college students are rowdy and fun-loving. My first year with the Electrical guys supported that statement. However, the current scenario expressed the contrary.
I was sitting alone on a bench, when a guy came along and sat next to me saying, “So you’re Kevin of CSE dept, right? I’m Rishav and I switched branches from Electronics to CSE. Nice to meet you.” I replied, “Nice to see you bro. What made you switch?” He goes on, “I always wanted to study CSE.” I affirm, “Same with me. Computing is life.” We become friends instantly.
We started to sit together, attend classes together and eat in the canteen together. Very soon, we started getting loads of assignments, which we used to tackle together.
One day I found him very upset in class. I asked him what went wrong. For a few moments he hesitated saying anything. But ultimately he spoke, “You see Aisha?”, pointing to a girl at the back yawning with her mouth wide open. Seeing us look at her, the yawn halted midway, and she blinked at us surprised. We turned forward and pretended as if nothing had happened. He continued, “She is my girlfriend and it seems the relationship won’t continue any further. I’m trying to save it but cannot.” I patted Rishav in the back saying, “Shit happens bro, you gotta deal with it.”
After this, we became even deeper friends. We talked about our past. School days, parties, fights, crushes, love, etc. He went on to tell me about his first love back in school days, and how she parted. He was dejected and even went into depression. Then he went on to say how he met Aisha in the first semester, and how much she annoyed him daily. He tried to push Aisha away often, but as fate would have had it, they both fell for each other. I listened to the whole thing and found it rather incredulous.
The following days, he told me stories about dating Aisha, going trekking with her, tour trips and the occasional love-making episodes. I also told him about my past, but things weren’t as exciting as his was. He continued to tell me how his dad and aunt found out about the relationship, and since he and Aisha were of different communities they were enraged. Aisha’s parents also came to know of the same, and despite they were happy with Rishav, they weren’t impressed with Rishav’s family members. I listened to the whole thing with a pinch of salt and disbelief.
By then, the load of assignments being given increased. I somehow worked day and night to deal with it. I managed to solve the programming assignments swiftly as I did have a knowledge of coding beforehand. My classmates, however, started to lag. They could not meet deadlines and got late submission tags in every possible place. All of a sudden, I started to look like an ace, and everyone began approaching me for homework help, especially programming. Its was during this time I befriended almost everyone in this classroom.
One fine day, Aisha comes up and sits next to me saying, “Hey Kevin! You’re a programming expert right? Could you help me with this question, pretty please?” I helped her out. She was happy, so she hugged me and left. Next day, Rishav didn’t turn up. She came in to class and sat right next to me. We did our usual introductory talk, about hobbies and activities and all. From then on, we became good friends and she often sat nearby. Rishav was probably wary of her presence, and he left every time he saw her nearby. During off-periods, we often had long chats and used to hang out a lot together. She often expressed her concern about Rishav, “He is a good guy but is over-emotional and has a big mouth. He doesn’t even keep secrets. I don’t know where we’re heading.”
It was just a matter of days for their break-up. It was rather painful, as I saw Rishav run away even he just caught a glimpse of her.
In the meanwhile, me and Aisha became even closer friends. Every morning she used to greet me. She sat with me and told me stories. She was an awesome author. I began to like her presence. As days passed, everything started to feel magical. My eyes just followed her instinctively wherever she went. And as long as she sat next to me, I felt on top of the world.
The mid-term exams came, and once we both were sitting quietly in a classroom revising for the upcoming exam. Then we decided to take a break. At this point, I decided to tell her, “Aisha, I am beginning to like you. I can’t explain how it feels. But you are special to me.” Her face curved into a smile and moments later she cuddled me exclaiming “Thank you!” excitedly. I hugged her back and we spent this awesome moment quietly. I was the happiest man in the world that day. It felt like my life just came back and my problems were going away.
All the while this went on, Rishav didn’t come to college and started bunking labs just to avoid seeing her. No amount of convincing worked. Our classmates even mocked him, yet nothing changed his mind. He knowingly started to build backlogs for himself.
Aisha then fell ill. She didn’t turn up at college. Not surprisingly, she did miss field trips too. I began to miss her.
Oddly enough, Aisha created a hullabaloo about obtaining my phone number. She asked each and every person in class my number. My classmates were rather surprised at this, and wondered if she had begun to fancy me. Very soon, I contacted her myself and we exchanged our phone numbers. We often had long talks in the phone, and long chats on WhatsApp.
Soon enough, end-term exams were near we were having study leave. I reduced communication with my classmates. I needed to score well in my exams, as my first year results were a disaster.
Then came up our electrical circuits lab examination. We all were waiting for our turn, when Anurag from the Electrical department came into the waiting room. Being good friends, we greeted each other. He then went straight upto Aisha and gave her a paper slip saying, “I have paid your exam fees and also planned something for the evening.” Aisha just looked at him coyly. For the rest of my waiting time I saw both of them seeing each other and shying. I could feel there was definitely something amiss seeing their awkward antics.
Days passed, my Maths exam was near. Getting tired of the preparation, I decided to browse Facebook. The first picture I saw on my timeline was Aisha wearing Anurag’s pullover and it was rather amusing. The picture below that was of Anurag wearing Aisha’s jacket and it was equally amusing. However the picture below that was Aisha and Anurag holding hands. Aisha had a ring on one finger too. Before I could realize anything, I was already full of tears in my eyes. I could already feel her holding MY hands. Some of the pictures in that same series had both of them hug each other. I felt she was hugging ME. As I started to flip through more pictures, I realized they both went into a relationship lately. It felt like a someone was strangling my neck while thrusting a knife in my tummy. I could do nothing but cry. That night I went to sleep. I had a vision of having my head on her lap crying. She was patting me saying, “Kevin, I won’t leave you dear. Please don’t cry.” Suddenly, I woke up finding my pillow wet with tears and mom yelling, “Useless kid, its already 9 AM. If you wake up late tomorrow, I won’t provide you meals.”
A whole day passed with me feeling morose all the time. Up came the Maths exam the next day, and I cried all the time giving the exam. As I was quietly leaving the hall and going home, I found them holding hands and walking along the corridor. It started to feel worse and I was almost about to collapse.
Finally I reached home. Tired and exhausted with all the stress, I straightaway fell asleep. When I woke up, I decided to contact Deveshi, who stayed in the same dorm as Aisha.
“Yes Kevin, anything you need?”
“Is Aisha in a relationship?”
“Yes. She just paired up a few days ago.”
“Some guy named Anurag. They have known each other for a long time now and finally its good to know they are in a relationship.”
“Why did you ask me this question?”
“Nah, nothing, just wanted to know.”
A few minutes later I saw Aisha online on WhatsApp. I texted her.
“Aye Kevin, kya bolna chahte ho dear?” (Aye Kevin, what do you want to say dear?)
“Tum aur Anurag paired up hue ho kya?” (You and Anurag paired up or what?)
“Haan. Kyu?” (Yes. Why?)
“Treat kab doge mujhe?” (When are you giving me the treats?)
After that, I wasn’t sure if I could carry on the conversation. I exited WhatsApp and switched off the data connection. My parents downstairs were busy arguing on some topic. I opened the gallery, navigated to a photo of me and Aisha sitting side by side and smiling at the camera. Her eyes were beautiful, her smile was brilliant and I could feel her sitting next to me once again. I could feel her embrace. My eyes were wet again.
My mind was going for a feel trip down the memory lane for just two minutes of sunshine.
Hope you liked it. Feel free to leave your comments below.