It was still dawn when I stepped out of the cab and walked towards the entry gate of the Delhi airport. The early morning February air was pleasantly cold.
I was travelling to Bengaluru to attend a college friend’s wedding. It had been four years since we graduated from the same college. This wedding was also going to be a reunion of our batch mates. But what I didn’t know was that the reunion would begin much ahead of time; right in the queue in front of the airline counter.
I was almost sure it was she. Same height! Same long hair! Same complexion! Curiosity had my eyes glued to her. And then about 60-odd seconds later, when she turned, she proved me right. My ex-girlfriend stood two places ahead of me in that queue. We had
never met after the college farewell.
The one person whom I decided not to meet in my life again was right in front of my eyes flipping the paper in her hand fanning her face. I immediately tried to hide behind this huge frame of a man standing right in front of me, generally I had a very low tolerance for large framed people since my childhood, first they are very intimidating when we look at them and second they make me look like a kid beside them and especially when they hug you, you get enveloped fully and it gets mighty tough to breathe!
As I tried hiding my face, the huge frame in front of me turned and to my utter dismay and shock it was my ‘best friend’ Sravan.
“Arey Chotu, come here you !!”, he screamed with happiness so that everyone in this universe can hear and grabbed me in a bear hug. All I had time for was to gasp in shock and then everything blacked out as giant hands and body enveloped me into pitch black darkness.
I patted gently on his back and tried to ease out of his hug as fast as I could but then he being a very loving person refused to let me go that soon and kept swirling me in the air as if I was a small kid who wanted to be lifted in the air.
” Arey Sravs please put me down yaar!!! Am feeling dizzy. I know you are happy to see me but I will faint for sure.”
Atlast my voice reached his ears and he put me down. All this shouting from me and him was enough to attract the attention of the one person whose attention I did not want right now. She turned her beautiful head around as did every other person present nearby us . Her full and luscious lips formed a beautiful smile . Right at that moment I wondered how can anyone be so good looking who has so much power to influence another person.
Sravan kept talking excitedly and I was hardly paying any attention to his words as full axis of my being has been shifted from the present to ‘HER’. I was highly irritated that she still had that kind of control over me.
“Hi Sravan and Nishanth. Been long huh?”, her voice carried over softly like a gentle breeze towards my ears.
“Hi Pragati. Fancy meeting you here. I thought you had gone for studies outside India and was never coming back. Is this just a flying visit or are you settled here in India only?”, asked Sravan.
“Hahahahaha…. ahhh Chotu… you Haven’t changed a bit. Too many questions at a time with little time to answer.”
“Well its one of our gang member’s wedding. How can I miss this golden opportunity to meet our old batch mates!”, said Pragati with amusement dancing in her eyes.
As she said that dialogue she glanced at me and there was ‘that’ look. The same look she gave when she knew a person and didn’t want to meet again.
“Hi Pragati”, I said as a matter of courtesy since when a person is looking at you, your immediate reaction would be to say a courtesy greeting.
All I got was a nod acknowledging my greeting. As the pleasantries were being exchanged, a tall and striking guy walked over, curious as to what was the commotion that was happening. He came and placed his hand on Pragati’s slender shoulder.
“Hi Rohit! Guys meet my fiancé Rohit Prasad.”
Even though it had been many years since the break-up I could not help but control my small pang of jealousy that she had been able to move on so fast and get to the stage of marrying somebody. After all the years that we had loved each other so deeply, I didn’t understand how she could have made her mind to love anybody so soon. As these thoughts crept into my mind, the story of US flashed as a movie in front of my eyes.
4 years back….
It was a special day for everybody. A day dedicated to propose the ones you love openly without getting a slipper hit.
Everybody irrespective of the gender always looked forward to this day since either a dramatic proposal or a very interesting drama involving fights and drama always presented itself before the day ended. I was very nervous that day since for a very long time I had been eyeing this beautiful girl.
Not from my college but from the college which I used to go regularly to play football in.
She was the eye candy of every guy who looked at her. A curvaceous body, fit and athletic build, with long beautiful hair tied up in a messy ponytail. Lips lined neatly with soft baby pink coloured lipstick
highlighting her full lips. The mere thought of proposing her made me very nervous.
My friends the ever encouraging people that they were, wanted me to definitely go and give a shot at proposing her since they all had the bitter experience of being rejected with a smile on her face.
My whole life I had been a very shy person and to think of talking to a girl face to face gave me the jitters. As evening approached, my stomach started doing front and backward flips and I almost gave up the idea of talking to her. Not wanting to miss this day nor the opportunity, I gathered up my courage and went to meet her after my college got completed. Being the romantic that I was I wanted to propose in the traditional way of one knee bent with a rose outstretched towards her and saying the magical words.
With the rose clutched tightly in my hand and with a almost record breaking pumping heart, I approached her and stood in front of her.
“Hi Nishanth. What brings you here alone today? Never I see you alone without your gang.”, she asked. Seeing the flower in my hand, she slowly understood what was about to happen and from smiling face her expression went to one that of thoughtfulness.
Pragati and I had been in talking terms in the one year that we know each other. We had always met each other only when both our gang of friends hung out with each other and never have we met alone outside of our group. I had noticed that she was more interested in me than the rest since we both made a lot of eye contact than the rest in the group. So all these circumstances made me assume that she was interested in me the same as I was with her.
About me… well I should not brag but then with a good height of 6 feet 2 inches and an athletic build I attracted a bit of attention too wherever I went. Having all these small indicators as my motivation to proceed I bent down on my knee and stuttered out the words, ” Pragati, I like you a lot. Will you be my girlfriend?.”
There was a pregnant pause as me and the fifty odd people waited for her reply. One side I was scared she would slap me in my face and was preparing to take the heat directly whereas the other side was preparing to enjoy and party if the answer was a positive one.
“Yes Nishanth I will be your girlfriend.”
The whole crowd and myself cheered and I jumped and did a back flip. After the acceptance of the proposal I was so ecstatic and I asked her if we can go out somewhere, she agreed and we went to a nearby park.
Finding a secluded place was proving to be very difficult since the park was filled with couples and after half hour of search we found the perfect place to spend some time with each other. After the initial excitement wore off I was clueless as to what is to be done next.
With a sheepish grin on my face I asked, “So what next?”
Pragati burst out laughing she told me, “Just observe what people are doing. Tell me what you see.”
I looked around and in every corner I can see couples either kissing, hugging or just cuddling closely to one another.
“Did you see?”
“Yes, I did. So what should I do?”
” Well for starters you can kiss me.”
Even though my most awaited moment presented itself before me I was tensed as if I was going to write an exam.
“Well, Are you planning to make a move or not?”, she asked tapping her legs impatiently.
Gathering all my courage I went near her and I was so nervous that I missed my angle and went and hit her nose directly.
“Owww….that’s not how you kiss. You have kissed before right?”
“Of course I have! Let’s just redo that!”
Rolling her eyes she came forward and this time the kiss went perfectly and the feeling was indescribable . Rest of the day was spent roaming around having ice cream, pani puri and chat.
Days passed and months passed, everything was going on smoothly. Until that fateful day. One of our common friend was a playboy. He had slept around with a girl and she had gotten pregnant. She was the daughter of a politician and she came one fine day with her dad and that day was the time our common friend decides to join us.
So when the girl came and pointed towards our gang and said they were the ones who did it, everybody were dumbstruck and we couldn’t move. Our common friend who had actually done the crime had conveniently chosen to escape the scene sensing the danger that was about to come to his life.
We ran like crazy , away from the scene and called our friend who had some influence with the police to prove our innocence and get us out of this problem.
The problem was solved but my problem with Pragati had just begun. Those who knew us believed us that we had nothing to do with it but the ones who didn’t know us believed what they heard. Problem with Pragati was that even after knowing me she refused to believe that I had nothing to do with the whole issue.
Trust was shattered to small shreds of pieces and no amount of trying could stick it back.
Days turned to weeks to months and finally years. Meeting and explaining things to her was no more of significance and I had moved on with my life. A breakup was inevitable I knew since the foundation of a relationship i.e. the trust was gone and I had no further interest in trying to patch up since there was no use in it.
Now here she is present in front of me again. Smiling her infectious smile, trying to introduce her boyfriend.
What happened next was totally out of my control and the next thing I knew I was sitting on top of her fiancé with a knife in my hand ready to kill him.
I woke up with a start, banging my head on the bed in the process. Pragati lying beside me woke up with a start and asked, “What happened darling? Bad dream again?”
It was the same dream every night , waiting to happen. For I was still in college and a new day had just dawned.