I was at Rohini Metro station, waiting for the next metro train to Inderlok in my crisp formal trousers I had specially purchased for the day. The Metro arrived and I stepped inside. It was Sunday and my first day to work at FUN CINEMA. After passing class12 exams, I had decided to take up a job on Saturdays and Sundays so that I could earn some extra pocket money and like a normal human I stepped on the train and looked for a seat. It is not only difficult to get a seat in delhi metro but near to impossible as every five minutes you will hear an announcement, "GIVE YOUR SEAT TO elderly, WOMeN AND HANDICAPPED", from a crappy little speaker spoke a lady. There is no day in the Indian Calendar when any one of them who belong to these three categories are not travelling. I was lucky this time as I saw an empty seat in a corner. I felt like I won a jackpot and almost ran to grab the seat. Once settled I opened my job description file to read the instructions given by my senior. It was written
(1): SELLING TICKETS.
(2): MAINTAINING ACCO.UNTS
(3): HELPING MANAGER.
(4): MAITAINING AUDIENCE COMFORT.
(5): be of help to ….
As I was about to read the 5th instruction, a voice thrashed against my ears and I looked up to see a young girl fighting for a seat with a young boy in his early 20s.
"Cant you see that a girl is standing near you and you are still sitting? Don't you hear the announcements?" The girl shouted. The boy resisted, "So what! Why do always boys have to give up?" He had a point there and the male chauvinistic in me echoed his voice in an almost crowded metro train. The girl blared back, "What the hell? It means that you would say the same to your mother and sister too?" Her fair cheeks turned red and I knew she was angry. Wait a sec… why was I observing the fairness of her cheeks? To divert my mind I looked at the boy who remained silent. He must have known at this age that there is no gain in fighting with girls. The girl still in anger stepped ahead and stood just in front of me. I thought of giving her my seat but the macho ego in me interfered, "hey! You Idiot, once you get a seat in a crowded metro you cannot sacrifice it for a girl." Saying that, I changed my mind, bent my head down and started reading the instructions again. But I had this feeling that the girl was looking at me. You know at times you just know when a beautiful face is starring at you but this beautiful face was looking at me angrily, her eyes shot wide as if she was about to kill me! By god! She was so beautiful. I saw her at a close distance and her eyes were real killer beans. I could have died at the sight but just then the same announcement repeated, "GIVE your SEATS TO elderly, WOMeN AND HANDICAPPED." Yes, from the same crappy speaker on the roof of the metro train.
I had no choice but to get up. I said, "Please take my seat." She replied, "Your seat? You are saying as if your name is written on the seat huh!" These words were harsh. I was expecting at least a 'THANK YOU' or a smile on her face but contrastingly got harsh words and the same angry beautiful face. I was the lone man standing but somewhere in my heart I was regretting my decision as I gave up my seat to a girl who felt that it was my duty to give her seat. Ok, duty is alright but where the hell is my right to have a seat?? Damn it! Do I need to change my sex or wait 30 more years to grow old or break my leg to have seat? Well, the metro soon reached Keshavpuram and one old lady stepped inside. As she entered, she looked upon the same boy. I thought that he will give his seat at least to the old lady now but he was a pure Delhite spoiled boy who had no respect either for ladies or old people.
The girl was reading something in her file. She was wearing a shirt and trouser, ladies shoes and carried a handbag from which peeped a few paper files. I felt she was going for a job interview. She was reading one of the files when she saw the old lady who was still standing in the metro aisle giving me her companionship. And at the right time the announcement repeated, "Give your seat to the women, elderly and handicapped." I was happy listening to this announcement for the first time. It was my turn then to show some attitude. I looked at her intentionally and she looked at me. Probably she judged from my facial expressions that she ought to give her seat to the old lady but she also wanted to prepare herself for the interview. She got up and politely said, "Aunty! Please take my seat." Now, she and I both were standing. I could see the tension on her face. She needed the job or she wanted the job and the seat both. I laughed it out. I was thinking about all this and watched her beautiful face shine in the white metro light. Suddenly, she turned towards me and and said, "What?" with loads of attitude! Oh mahn… these Delhi girls I tell you.
I answered, "Nothing."
She doubted my intentions, "then why are you looking at me?"
I ensured, "No, I am not looking at you, actually I wanted to ask you if you are going for a job interview?" yes, women need assurances for everything. Anyways, she then answered back
"Yes, so what does it have to do with you?"
I was right; she was going for the job interview. Did I ever tell you I can read beautiful faces any day anywhere? I continued talking, "great but where?"
She got more angry and yelled on me, "look mister whatever! I am not interested in talking with you, so please do not disturb me". Wow, when beautiful girls get angry they become more beautiful. I had seen all these things in films but it indeed was happening with me today after 17 years. I told myself, ashish feel yourself lucky today my son! While I was thinking about her and me (ofcourse) and hindi film scenes, a 45 year old man who I think had nothing to do better in his life except joining a non sense fight interfered, "what's the problem with you kids?"
I said "Nothing uncle... nothing to worry about." But he had to show his presence to all those present in the metro so He shouted at me, "you don't know me boy, just tell me or I will punch you hard. You are harassing this girl?"
I got Scared; I never wanted to be in this kind of situation for a girl who is extremely beautiful but I didn't even know her name! The girl broke her silence, "he said nothing uncle, please don't worry." I was happy to see her speak for me and save me from a free punch on my first day at work. Imagine what an image I would have created with a purple eye on the workplace on day 1.
I drifted back to my filmy dreams with her when Inderlok metro station came and she stepped outside the metro quickly and vanished amongst the platform crowd. I was watching her go. I wanted to know her name but I did not Dared to ask her. Like a beautiful dream she walked away gracefully.
I reached fun cinema. Well I thought that my job would be assisting the accounts department but here I was at the door of the hall directing people to their respective seats.
Next day too I was doing the same job when I heard, "Can you please tell me where is seat number e-24." She was the same girl whom I met in metro last day. She saw me and said, "Hey! You are the same guy to whom I met in metro yesterday…am i right?. I was very happy that she remeberred me. I replied, "Yes." She said, "So you work here!" Well I thought she was making fun of my job so I gave her the direction to the seat. The show got over in 2 hours and I saw her entering into Mc Donalds with her friends. I sat on my stool and started to think about my life. I wanted to be with her, wanted to wear good clothes, shoes, watch. I too wanted a cell phone of mine. I too wanted to come to Fun Cinemas in a car. But this was only a dream. In reality I was a sonof a ticket checker of indian railways who earned Rs 6000 per month. I studied hard so that I could come to delhi to study here. I achieved my target but after coming here I got to know that the rent of one room in delhi was more than my father's salary. I had no choice but to do a part time job. Here, I was with a dream of becoming a computer engineer one day siting on a stool at Fun Cinemas. As I was in my dreams, my colleague mahesh came to me and said, "Stop dreaming buddy! the show is about to end , go to the exit door." I asked him, "How do you know that I was dreaming." He replied, "All of us on the first day do the same thing and that is dreaming about a better life but tell me one thing,, what were you dreaming?" I replied, "I was dreaming of a girl whom I met last day in metro." He asked me, "Haha, great, what is her name?." I replied, "I don't know."
Next day, I was at the rohini metro station again. I was in the line to take the ticket of to kashmere gate as I had some work there. I heard one girl who was ahead of me in line asking for a ticket to connaght place. She turned back to go after taking her ticket. She was the same girl. She did not noticed me and went to the the platform. Though I wanted to go to kashmere gate but then I changed my plan and took a ticket for connaugt place. a beautiful effect was that over me. I ran to the platform and saw the metro gate was about to get closed. I would had beaten usain bolt that day. I entered in time and saw her standing beside me. She recognised me and said, "Hey! You are the same boy, again, are you following me?." I stood shocked. I said, "No, No No….please don't feel like that…its just a co-incidenece." She laughed and said, "Hahaha…I was kiddin,,,well Hi….Howz you?" I sighed,"I am fine…what about you?". She replied, "well, I am very happy today as its my birthday and i am going for shopping with my friend to connaught place." I said, "Ah! Happy birthday." There was a huge difference in her nature as compared to the first time I met her." I quizzed her, "What about your job, you din't get it?". She replied, "No it was just a try, my dad has said that I need to do MBA first." She became so friendly with me that I can't tell you and I asked her the reason for being so friendly with me to which she replied, "Actually, the first time I saw you then you gave me a good impression, you are not like these stupid delhi boys, the next time I saw you at fun cinemas then I felt that you want to become a self made man. I can always trust guys like you,so tell me…want be friends?" She was so fast and I was slow like a turtle. We chatted about everything in that journey. Connaught Place was just 15 minutes away when she said, "Do you know that we are a big stupids!" I asked her, "why?" She asked me back, "Tell me my name?" I surprisingly replied, "Well, I don't know." She almost shouted, "That is what I meant, we met thrice, we have chatted for half an hour but still we don't know each other's name, this is so stupid." I din't knew about her but I was a big stupid. I asked her name finally, "So now tell,,whats your name?" She was about to tell her name when her phone started to ring. Her friend was waiting for her at Connaught Place. She started chatting with her on phone. Girls, you know. Connaught Place metro station came and we both stepped outside the metro. She was still chatting with her. I was literally abusing the inventor of mobile phones in my mind. As I completed my last abuse, she too got done with her chat and asked me, "So, are you coming with me." Yes was the answer but I din't wanted to be with two girls at one time and that too at a shopper's stop like Connaught Place where she came for shopping. I said, "Nopes, I have some work here, it will just take 5 minutes and then I will go back to rohini." She said, "Ok then bye, we will meet tomorrow in metro." She was so excited about shopping that she forgot to tell me her name and I was so nervous that I forgot to ask her name. I saw her going to her friend. I moved back and took a ticket to home.
After one hour, I was back at rohini metro station. I saw many police men were there on duty. Checking was going on. The police man checked me two times. I dared not to ask him the reason. There was security at gate area too. I came outside the metro station and saw that a huge crowd was gathered at an Electronic shop. I went to that shop. People were gathered there to watch the news on the television put up by the seller for sale. The news reader read:
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS. TWO BOMB BLASTS HAVE TAKEN PLACE AT CONNAUGHT PLACE JUST ABOUT 50 MINUTES BEFORE. IT IS SAID THAT THIS IS A TERRORIST ACTIVITY.
After hearing this, I was not able to hear more. She also was there. She went to buy clothes for her birthday. I left her there. Is she alrite? Why the hell did I left her there? This was all coming to my mind. But I ran to the metro station again but metro was not running now. Delhi was on a red alert. I took an autorickshaw. Traffic jam came as hurdle. I ran towards connaught place. I wanted to see her alive by any means. I did not wanted anything. I pleaded to god while I was running, "Please God! Take everything away from me,I don't want to become a computer enginner, I don't want to become rich but please let me see her safe and alive." I reached connaught place after a whileand what I saw there was unexplainable. There was just blood, blood and blood. I ran to central park and saw dead bodies lying there as if they were on exhibition. I searched for her. But it was tough to recognize even one of them. I ran to the market area but it was shut after the blast took place. I came back to the main road and saw ambulance taking the bodies to the hospital. I reached the hospital and asked one doctor, "Can you please tell me where are the dead bodies?" He replied speedily, "On the first floor, those who had some identity cards with them only their name is put up there …go and check it out." I went to the first floor . I saw the list in which there were names of people who were died(only those who had some identity cards with them, needless to say very few were there). I searched for her name but thenmy brain asked me a question, "Hey Stupid! Do you know her name?" My sinking heart replied, "No,I don't , she was about to tell me her name when her friend called he, OhGod….I should had asked her name." I was in tears. I did not knew what to do. I sat on a bench at the hospital and saw people crying, searching the dead bodies of their loved ones.
They were so lucky, they at least knew the name of their beloved one. But then I saw some one who made me feel that I am not the unluckiest person on earth. I saw a 28 year old woman with a dead body of her 4 year old son. She was searching for a doctor. Her husband was trying to make her understand that their child was dead but the poor lady did not wanted to accept this fact. she was a mother after all. I saw a 66 year old father with tears in eyes asking every one about his young son. His son was dead as he knew it but still that search continued. My pain was nothing in front of pain of these people.I cried that night and thought that why everytime one has to hear a news of a bomb blast? why everytime one has to see people cry for their lost ones?why god? Is their no other way to give death.
Three years have gone and I still miss that girl whom I met in a metro. I still remember the anger on her face on our first meeting. I still remember her glowing face when she was going to get new clothes for herself. I still remember the black day when I lost her and many people too lost their loved ones. But there is hope, yes, my heart says that she is still alive and I am waiting for her. I still love her and I will love her ever after.