AT Delhi

I landed at Indira Gandhi International Airport today morning at 8. It was a bit chilly outside the airport. I tightened the scarf around my neck, and extended my left hand out to stop the next cab.

-“Delhi Institute of Engineering”, I told the driver with an inquisitive eye.

Before getting into the car, I felt my left pocket to see if the pepper spray was in place and easily accessible if required.

Priya knows about my yearly visits to Delhi, though I have never talked to Manish or anyone else about these before.  I remembered that I had forgotten to mention Priya about my visit this year, though I knew she couldn’t be any less supportive. The last time I saw her was when I stormed out on her four days ago. I made a mental note to patch things up with her once I got back. After all, she was another half of me. We were like peas in a pod, two bodies but one soul.

The cab stopped in front of the institute main gate. I paid the driver the fare, gave him a little tip and said him thank you. I took my bag pack over my shoulder and took a little sip from my water bottle and placed it back in the side compartment of the bag. I looked at the signboard on top of the main gate, took a deep breath , and placed my foot inside.

Ten minutes later, I stood leaning at the gate of the cafeteria, my eyes on the table at the farthest corner. He was sitting there, as usual alone with a cup of tea on the table. As usual he was just staring at it, biting his lips, deep in thought.  Few seconds later, he looked up and I realised he had spotted me. He waved his hand.

-“Hey”, I doubt whether my voice had reached till there, I could barely hear myself. My lips were pressed tight.

He got up from his chair and slowly came towards me. After staring a few seconds at me, he hugged me. It was a strong but gentle hug. I felt a chill down my spine.  I hugged him tight and closed my eyes. Well, just looking at him brings back a vast array of memories.  George is the only person who knows me best, even more than Priya or Manish does.  He is the only person, who knows who I really am and I can be completely myself with him.

-“So, you still are in Delhi?” I asked him, my right hand on his left bicep, my voice now barely a whisper.  I asked him, though I knew the answer.

-“My brother is here.” He said. I could feel the pain in his voice. He held my left hand tight.

-“You know you don’t have to do this.” I was staring at our hands, tightly held together. I couldn’t make up the courage to look at his eyes.

-“I do. My brother is here.  Even though I am only a minute older than Tom is, still that makes me the older sibling. I need to take care of him.” His voice was much louder now.

-“No you don’t. You need to get out of here and get a life.” I could feel my eyes welling up.

-“If you think so, why do you keep coming back here?” I could feel his eyes on me now.

I freed my hand from his. Taking a deep breath in, I said, “This is my place. This city, this college, this place and I have a history. I left my soul here”

I knew the conversation was going nowhere

-“Shall we go?”George asked.

I nodded.

He put his hand gently on my shoulder as we walked till the main gate in silence. His car was parked there.  He held open the passenger door for me.

-“Thanks”, I said as I got inside.

In a few minutes we were on the highway. It was chilly outside but I still didn’t feel like closing my side of the window. I wanted to look outside and take in as much of the sight, as much of the air outside.

As the forests on the side started getting denser, I could feel my hand on his left hand which was controlling the gear. My grip was getting tighter. Tears started coming in my eyes as I looked outside.

The End

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