I remember walking inside my class in college, I had joined a couple of days late. I was nervous, but I tried not to show it. I held my head high and walked in, confidence exuding from me. As I glanced around the class to find a suitable place, I made a note of people I thought I could hang out with. Of course, I checked out the guys too. I crinkled my nose in disappointment. None of them matched my high standards. I sank in my place and smiled at the girl next to me.
Like people sort out potential boyfriends/girlfriends, I sorted out friends. At first meeting, I could tell whether our wavelengths were going to match or not.
Her name was Suchitra, she seemed shy and hesitant. At the back of my mind I thought, Never gonna work.
She was exceedingly pretty, but she kept her glance down. I quickly lost interest in her, and looked at the girl sitting on the bench in front of ours. Already, she seemed to have made a big circle of friends. Spunky and easy going, she seemed to be charmer. I warmed to her, like every one else. She was Meghna, she introduced with a bright smile. I was ever so glad to find her amidst the group of girls I knew I would never be able to hang out with. Meghna also introduced me to a close friend of her Ann.
Despite all odds the four of us became steadfast friends. We were inseparable. And I didn’t feel the need to know anyone till I saw him. He was different. I didn’t know why, but he just stood out.. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen him earlier in the class. I couldn’t have missed him, could I? No.. Even I wasn’t so self absorbed that I would have missed noticing him. Must be new, I thought.
He seemed immune to the blatant glances of admiration he was getting from all the girls in the class. As a rule, I never chased guys. I never made the first approach, I never made the first phone call, I never let on that I had any interest in the guy.
I would have passed on this guy too, as a passing fancy but for that smile. It hit me like sunshine the day we were in the lab for the first time.
“Hey, I’m Aditya. What’s your name?” And then he had smiled. I didn’t know it, but that instant, my life turned. I wasn’t the same after that. Ever.
I recovered from the smile and answered after a pause, “Anagha..” I smiled back at him.
He mock saluted me. I remember thinking that he was the coolest boy in class. I waited for him to ask me for my number, but he didn’t. He probably had scores of girl’s numbers. I pushed his thoughts out of my head.
But every Monday, there he was, next to me, giving me a momentary feeling of joy.
Meghna noticed my infatuation with the lab. “What’s so great about it?” She asked me one day when I was running to make it on time.
“Nothing.” I said, flashing her a smile.
“Oh no missy!” She grabbed my hand, “I know what that smile is for? Who is he???!” We had hardly known each other for a couple of months, but already she could read me like a book.
“Nothing.” I tried to break away from her grip but I couldn’t. “Let me go!” I yelped.
“Hey, what’s going on here?” A tall, lanky guy stood at the door, regarding us with grave eyes.
“Hey Vikram.” Meghna knew the entire college. I smile awkwardly.
“Anagha Vikram, Vikram Anagha.” Meghna introduced us.
“So, what’s going on? I’ve been waiting for you for ten whole minutes.” He accused Meghna. Ten minutes! I had missed ten whole minutes of lab. I squirmed in Meghna’s grip.
“Oh let her go!” Vikram was laughing at my expense. Reluctantly, Meghna let go and I raced to the lab. Out of breath, I looked inside, panting heavily. Aditya’s place was vacant. I dropped my bag, cursing myself under my breath. Of course, he could decide to bunk the lab anytime.
I picked up my bag, I didn’t think I could get through the class without having him around.
“There you are..” I turned around, amazed to find Aditya leaning against a wall. “Thought you weren't going to come today.” He said.
“Why aren’t you inside?” I asked, confused.
He smiled, making me go week in the knees, “What would I do in there without you?”