The boy and his girl !
“Hey, I am sorry. I am late as usual”, he said, grasping for breath. He was the scrawny guy, who was not astonishingly handsome, who did not have one of those love-at-first-sight looks, who is not someone you will go weak on your knees on seeing. But to her, he was all of this and more.
She was angry. If he touched her cheeks right now, he would feel the heat of her anger. They were flushing in anger! Sri had been waiting for quite some time now.
“Gautham this is probably the I-dunno-how-many-th-time you are doing this. Say sorry only when you mean it. Not if you are going to repeat it again”, she sulked
He stood there smiling, as if nothing had happened. He was panting for breath. Late that he was, he always had the urgency to see her. To see that little glow on her face, whenever she saw him, to see her cheeks flush in anger and to see… hold it. She just smiled!
“Listen. You do anything but adjust that hair of yours. The way it is unkempt and the way you ruffle it just makes me go blank”, she scoffed, with that smile on her face. And he knew, he had his way with her, yet another time!
She started the car. They had planned this trip really well. They didn’t want anything to mess it up. He said his usual prayers (some mumbo jumbo) and that was the only time he actually wanted her to shut up!
There was never an awkward silence, never a pause, never a dull moment and never I-won’t-talk-to-you-because-we-fought days between them! They were blissfully in love.
But now, there was a silence. He held her hand as she was driving. His mind drifted to the past. For a girl who had more friends among boys than among her own gender, Sri never for a moment assumed that she would fall for a guy who always came late to catch their college bus, a guy who she thought was a jerk when she saw him speak to his friends, a guy who she thought, was the biggest egoist
As for Gautham, he always ridiculed the concept of a relationship. Be it marriage or love. And love to him was nothing more than just a phenomenon in movies. He liked her. In the very first instance.. But because she was fun to be with. There was definitely an attraction. But he refused to believe it was love.
She on the other hand. Phew ! A tough nut. If he was the biggest egoist, she was slightly bigger! But on that day, she wanted to talk to him. To just say hi. Perhaps strike a conversation. He was no where to be seen.
The small town of Tiruchirapalli had no big eat outs or places to hang out. But she planned to go to the city, a 22 km drive from their college. She liked doing this the most. Drive her car, off to the city! As she crossed the deserted campus lanes, she saw a guy walking across the road, like a cat which had just given birth to a dozen kittens and was trying hard to guard them! It was him. Undoubtedly him!
“Hi. I am going to the city. U want a ride?”, that was perhaps the first time she had spoken to him, directly. He looked up and said “Err.. Umm.. actually I am waiting for a friend. I’m sorry. You carry on.”
She raised the windows back and continued on the drive. She increased the volume and the song jarred “Konja naal poru thalaiva…”. “May be I shouldn’t have even asked him. Cha silly woman that I am”
On the other hand, he walked faster, across the road, restless and breathless.. Cursing himself for saying no to the drive. He called his friend up, a couple of times, just to check if there was any chance by which he was not coming. He had missed the chance. Phew ! She always mistook the poor guy !
Just then, he noticed, she had dropped something. Her pen drive. It had fallen off her key chain! He picked it up. He smiled. Atleast there was some hope.
And then she received a text message that night.. A message which was the first step, to changing her life forever.
“Hi.. I have your pen drive with me. You dropped it by mistake”. She smiled.
As the car came to a screeching halt, Gautham was jolted back to the present.
“Idiot. You are pre occupied. What are you thinking. I have been calling you for quite sometime now. Useless joker. Jadam jadam”, she yelled, clenching her teeth.
He smiled and just said “I am the happiest boy - friend in the world”.
“Ok we have reached Kallanai. Coming out or do you want to sit in the car and keep dreaming about your stupid heroines and your as usual fans?”, she asked in her teasing voice.
He smiled again. That enigmatic smile. “Sri… Those heroines and as usuals are your suspicions. I am not responsible” and gave his characteristic wink !
He held her hand and carefully walked her down the slippery stone, to the place where water was gushing, straight from the heavens. The sky was a golden brown and it looked like there was a giant monster up there, who was emptying a huge barrel of water, for the two souls to play around.
They were not the typical couple who would find the quietest corner and sit for an arm-around-shoulder-whatever! It was like two carefree, happy kids were madly in love.
They just got wet, drenched, sloshed in fun, call it whatever !
The water curved at a place and there was room to stand, without getting wet, with the water like a glass shield, in front of you. They stood there and looked at the wonderful sight. They didn’t bother about the past, they were not worried about the future. All they knew was that she was his and he was hers, this minute.
“Hey what about some bajji?”, she asked and they were off, in a jiffy, to the nearest shop, where a paati sold hot bajjis.
As she was watching him, he was gobbling up all the bajjis. When it came to food he was confused as to who is more important – food or her. But when it comes to a computer game where random people kill each other, he was absolutely shuvar, yes shuvar that it was his first love and everything else can wait!
And after the bajjis were done, he suddenly realised that she was there.
“I love you”, he said, sheepishly
“Yeah. A little less than the bajjis though”, she pouted
And one could hear the mindless laughter from a distance !
TO BE CONTINUED