....THE DAY SHE MET HIM...:FLASHBACK..
She stretched her neck out of the car window to assess the pathos of her sitution.The sight that met her panicked eyes was not all pleasing. As far as she could see, for miles on either side,vehicles ranging from public busses to lorries to sumos to auto rickshaws jammed the over-burdened lane, making traffic movemnet impossible. The traffic signal at the far end of the road had finally turned green after a WHOLE five minutes (which had seemed almost like an hour to her)but it would be another few minutes before the traffic would start moving...and probbaly by then the signal would again turn red.
Oh!the traffic of Kolkata!
Trying not to panic,she focused on checking out her appearence in the rear view mirror.Black pants, with a cream coloured sleevless top and a black leather jacket.....hmmmm...she looked more like a under cover agent than a teenage journalist. Her jet black shoulder lenghth hair tied in a tight ponytail, the dark circles around her eyes and her chapped bleeding lips, did nothing to improve the situation. What with school and chemistry tests and physics parctical exams, she had hardly had the time to change from her school uniform, before she had had to dash to the assignment. And now she was going to be late....she always manged to be late...no matter how early she started. Her growling stomach reminded her that she had not even taken dinner.
After enduring the tirring, irritaing, pathetic....(and all possible other bad words)traffic of Kolkata for another half and hour, she finaly reached the Theatre.And lo and behold!she was actually ten minutes early!this was the first time she was actually early for an assignment (you must be wondering how she kept her job)....Oh! God this deserves celebration! Euphoric, she jumped on to the pavement and was just about to go towards the ticket counter when... ...WHAAM!!!!!!
"wHO THE HEL..." ...grabbing her forehead, she looked up to see the pillar like thing she had hit against, only to find a boy standing infront of her with a apologetic face.Wearing a demin jacket over a formal shirt and faded jeans, the clean shaved, chiselsed out face of the boy, looked oddly familiar to her.
"Are you ok?i am really sorry...i didnt see you coming along...have you hurt your head?" he asked in a concerned tone.
"Ummm..no...I'm ok...thanks...err...do I know you? she asked unable to contain herself. Seeing that he was surprised, she mumbled "I am sorry,...umm... actually your face looks familiar...umm..it resembles someone"
After giving her an intent look, his lips curled into slight smile, as he said "actually you do know me. Remember we had met in the inter-school fest (Indian form of school prom) last month?"
"Oh! yeah...!!!i remember...you where the person who had got locked up in the washroom of the auditorium and had to stay there for 4 hours, before we could fetch a machanic to break open the door and bring you out..." she said spontaneously.
"Yeah quite a memory!I am glad you remeber" he mumbled, turning red.
"Err...no...I didnt mean it that way....and..and..thats not the only thing i remember about you...you had won the inter-school debate in that fest...right?
"Yeah....that too..."he replied visibly lighting up.
Thanking the "God of remembering-right-things-in-the-right-moment", she asked " So,what are you doing here?"
"I am a trainee journalist of "The Telegraph". I have come here to cover this Annual Theatre Festival and write a report on it, what about you?"
"I am a trainee journalist of "The Statesman" and am also here to write a report on this event..."she said suprised at the compatibilty of their mission. "...and so...that makes us proffesional enemies right?"
"Considering the "relationship" between the two dailies..yes...but considering the fact that we both are mature enough to decide our enemies without being influenced by our proffesional status...no" he added in a serious tone.
"woah....that was one looong compliacted sentence..just like the news reports of Telegraph...you mind repeating? ...me a bit slow" she said jokingly
"Just like Statesman is slow at getting hold of the latest news updates...." he replied sarcastically. Then,after a little laugh continued "I meant that as long as we don't insult eachother's work, we can keep this proffesional ennimity apart and work on developing a personal friendship"
"hmm..I dnt develop anything 'personal' this soon" she replied with a slight smile.
"Well then...suit yourself.Being a reporter of Telegraph,I happen to be very proffesional and don't like to be late, so I will head for the theatre now..you are welcome to accompany me..."he replied mocking a nonchalant tone.
"Well we the reporters of Statesman, prefer to work unaccomapied, but we also consider it our responsiblity to share our work experience with the amaetures. So i'll gadly accompany you...just to guide you , you know"...she added with a laugh.
"I am honoured madam"
As they walked down the narrow avenue,towards the mainhall, each fell silent, lost in their own thoughts...about the other. she couldnt help noticing that he looked kinda handsome....especailly with the moonlight falling on his face...and...
Oh!God what was she thinking..had she completely lost it?All boys where double standard selfish 'creatures' who dint even deserve a thought..and here she was going all ''gaga'' over a dumb telegraph boy who got himself locked in a washroom....She must be having some hormonal problem!!!
"So, whats your final review on the performance?" he asked, after the show. While watching the show, they both had intently discussed the various aspects of a theatre performance, like stage settings, dialogue delivery, costumes etc..Her views, where indegenously creative to say the least...and he was eager to hear what she had to say about the overall performance.
"Well firstly....Hey! wait...you are not planning to plagarise my ideas and include it in your article right?she asked suspiciously...
"Well I was hoping to amalgamate the creative ideas of an experienced reporter like you...with the amaetrish ideas of mine...."
"So you where planning to plagarise..."
"I was planning to quote you..."
"Ummm..watever..you can do that...anyway my article is going to come out before yours...so the world will know who the genius is..." she added loftily..
He burst out into a hearty laughter at her last comment...watching him laugh, she felt partly releived ... atleast he wasnt one of those over-sentimental egostic boys who totally lack any sense of humor....but then you cudnt judge boys so soon..they change colours like a chaemelon. T
hey walked down the road outside the theatre and came near the entrance of the ST. Peter's cathedral, one of the largest cathedral of the city of Joy. Looking at the lonely cathedral gate, she paused for a momemnt...cathedrals always made her feel...diffrent...made her feel calm and at peace with the world..she was a Hindu by religion, but she loved cathedrals...and Jesus...
"You know...i love cathedrals..."she said softly,as if afraid to disturb the peace of the surroundings
"I havnt ever been inside a cathedral...wanna go in?" he asked eagerly.
"I dont know...its kinda lonely and dark inside.." she replied. Somwhow, despite her love for cathedrals, she had a deep sense of fear associated with it.
"I am there with you...lets go" he said soothingly .
She felt suprisingly touched by what he said ..."I am there with you.."...in her life,very few people had given her this assurance. In a diffrent situation, these words could have meant a lot to her.
The evening had already fallen over the city of JOy. A cold wind blew down the deserted avenue leading to the main entrance of the church. An unearthly silence reigned in the cathedral campus...it was as if the cathedral was surrounded by sound proof walls... the silence was broken by the occasional rustle of a falling leaf...and their footsteps...
As she entered the cathedral gates, she at once felt at peace...she felt on the top of the world...she felt so comfortable...
"its beautiful..."he mumured..breaking into her reviere
"It looks best during the christmas...its beautifully decorated then...with bells, steamers and miseltoes and lightings....but you know what is the best thing I like about christmas....its christmas carols" she said happily.
"I havnt ever heard a christmas carol..."he replied
"What????Dont you have Christmas functions in your school?
"Umm...no..actually our school does not like to celebrte any relegious ceremonies...you know in order to miantain secularism"
"Instead, they could celebrate all relegious functions...then also they can maintain secularism. Well...i study in a missionary school, and each year we have carol singing competion on the last day before our Christmas holiday...its really beautiful a event" "
Then you must be knowing quite afew carols...y dont you sing one?he requested.
"I am no good a singer...and also how can i sing here" she replied unbelievingly
"Please..sing one carol. There is noone out here...please..." he almost pleaded.
She dint know what really made her sing...probably it was his urdent request..or mayb it was the magic of the surroundings,just perefct for a carol and christmas... ...
and so she sang...
"Silent night...holy night...All is bright, all is calm, round the virgin mother and child..."
Her voice reverbrated through the silence...into the sky. She suddenly felt free and inexplicably happy...she felt alive ..with the song...
Just as suddenly as she had began, she stopped. Her fair cheeks, where flushed in the cold, and the chilly wind blew past her hair, making it blow over her face....she looked up at him, hoping for a response, only to find him looking at her with an awed expression...she blushed
"You sing really well...."
"umm...not exactly...the carols are so tuneful, that even a hopeless singer like me, cant make them sound bad...anyway lets go inisde..."
Inside the cathedral, as she bowed down infront of Jesus, she for once dint know what to ask for...she always had so many things to pray for, there was so many things that she wanted from Jesus...but today someohow only one word came out right from her heart.."thank u"
"Thank you for accomapanying me madame...I had a real good time" he said with a smile
They where standing in the parking lot infront of her car.
"Well...as they say the pleasure's ll mine. But plzzz dont call me madame...it makes me feel soo old" she said mockingly.
"Well..how old r you?he asked eagerly
"What a rude question!Dint they teach you in school not to ask a girls's age!!!. "Guess my age from my face" she replied.
"I think you are about 25, mayb more but not less" he said confidently.
"What do you mean!!!!!I am exactly 16yrs, 3 months 6 days old!!!!!Not a day more...and people say i look 13..."she said in an annoyed tone.
"People say too much...i think you look 12, or even better, you look as good as new" he replied with a laugh.....
She just opened her mouth to ask something, when he again interupted her and continued, "...and before you ask it, I am 17 yrs 4 months, 6days....which makes me...umm...umm... excatly one year,..ummm... one month older than you. woah...Anyway ...umm...ummmm...now that we are discussing numbers, can I have your mobile no.? he asked, a trifle nervously.
"Once again a looong and complicated sentence. Though the answer is quite simple. Give me your phone ill save it" she repied with a smile.
As she saved her number in his mobile, he said "I never expected that you would give me your no...considering the fact that you don't develop anything 'personal' so soon.
"its not personal You have probbaly heard the saying, keep your friends close but enemies closer".Gudbye
BACK IN THE PRESENT....
...She opened her eyes into the suffocating darkness of her room....3rd december 2008, seemed to her like a long forgotten dream....she wasnt even sure that it had actually happened with her...it seemed quite impossiible to her, that there could have been such a wonderful day to her life....it seemed too good to b true...
That day after returning home, she had hardly given their encounter a thought, but now sitting alone beside the window, with no sweet thought other than the memories of their first encounter...she realised how special it had all been....She almost wished that she hadnt said 'gudbye' so soon....
It was January now....almost a months hence. During the last month, they had texted eachother often....actually he had texted her almost everyday...during the first few days, she had considerd it odd that someone she hardly knew, was taking the trouble to sms her everyday to just wish her a gudmorning or to ask how her day had been....even her best friend dint do that...
....but later, she had also started replying to his sms....it somehow felt good to know that someone cared...
...the usual singular 'hi', 'hello' sms s soon turned into long hours of sms chatting....and his sms s became one bright spot of her day....she almost looked forward to it....
But today was the first time, he had actually called her...she was just beginning to wonder why...when the phone started vibrating again...