'...it was mine as well.'

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
It is all about love...

Submitted: August 02, 2016

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Submitted: August 02, 2016

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The bell at 1:30 noon had just rung and all the boys were out of the college premises as the afternoon session was for girls.
After giving the alarm for the boys to leave the premises, while they usually hung around to catch a glimpse of the girls entering the college through the rear gate which was for girls only, the messengers on duty knew the boys only too well. All the nooks and corners of the college were cleaned of the boys, as if they were pests. Nature as they say makes way for those who persist and some brave ones wouldn't just budge.
But these rules were not meant for 'HIM' as he had just graduated the previous year and was now a part of the teaching faculty. It was an easy transition that he had made but it didn't show in his appearance. He looked one of the students while among them. At 24, he  was still more of a student rather than a junior lecturer. It was a temporary job he was doing while looking for better avenues.His department and classes were in the PG block and he would usually visit the library to return the books on a daily basis and catch hold of some college news from the gang of senior lecturers who had taken him in their wings. Very few knew that he had become a teacher, he had prepared a very calculated demeanor while he moved from his block to the library as he had to cross the girls section - which meant that he had to pass through an intermediary gate, then the corridor and lastly a playground enclosed between the four wings of the college to finally reach the library. Seeing no boys in the premises now, any passerby from the opposite sex would be an intruder and seeing a boy alone some girls would gang up against the unfortunate boy and tease him. It was a scene of the morning that was reversed in thenoon - In the morning the boys had fun and in the noon the girls were worse than them. It was a kind of revenge they had on the boys in the noon. He often got caught in the afternoon cross firing.
The early few days were the worst. he would keep his head down while crossing the girls block but that wouldn't dissuade the girls from commenting.
They would shout, 'Your time is up, get out of the premises'. He even heard one say, 'Don't try your luck here, we will see the better of you'. Another one said, 'Why do you keep your head down, look up and face us’. He even heard a whistle. All the time he kept his head down, till he had reached the library door. From the library window one of his senior colleague who would invariably enjoy his embarrassment would ask, 'So I can see that you have made it till here with great difficulty'. With his brows held high, he would smile and say, 'What else can I do? These girls are impossible'
'You can enjoy, at the least'
A faint smile would leave his parted lips and would usually end with a spurt of laughter from him and his other colleagues.
This was everyday's story till he found a way of escaping the embarrassment. In few days he came to know the time when the girls would be in their classrooms. He made his entry then and found his way to the library without getting embarrassed. Though there would still be girls, but when few in number the girls were like boys...well-behaved and quiet. Exams were on the anvil and even the library would be quiet except for the pigeons who would enjoy the peace and cool interiors of the mud windows in the corridors. 
It was during one such hot summer noon, that while he was reading in the library in his usual corner chair at the rear end of the library with no colleagues then to talk, he didn't know when he had dozed off into deep slumber. It must have been about a quarter of an hour when he was woken up by a sneeze which came from behind the book rack which was just behind him. He turned around to see a girl, who must have been a student checking some books. 'SHE' looked at him for a second while saying sorry and excused herself to head towards the librarian for registering the books in her name. While registering the books she had unknowingly registered that look of hers' somewhere inside him. Those thin kohled large beautiful eyes could say a million words. Suddenly though still in the library, he was  transported into someplace which was away from the volumes of books around him. It wasn't in his capacity to avert his eyes from her - In a pink salwar-kameez, with her hair braided in a fine plait with a few strands left on purpose to play with her lovely face, her ears heavy with dangling long earrings, she passed by him but not without leaving an impression on his mind.Before he could notice anything else, the librarian was watching him, watching her. He averted his gaze and looked into the book but the librarian had noticed the evident. After she had left the library, the librarian teased, 'Sir, you can go back to sleep now. It is quite quiet.'
He got the slur in the librarian’s speech and replied, 'How can I now? I should be leaving now.' 
He didn't see her for the next few days. Wary of asking anything to the librarian, he just waited for her in the hope that she would arrive someday. And one fine day, while he was entering the library he saw her sitting in the library. Happy to see her, he went back to his chair and adjusted it in a way so that he could see her. She was taking some notes while her head stayed buried in the books. The librarian called him out with an excuse "Sir, the book you've asked for has arrived'. He headed towards the librarian, passing by her, she raised her head for a couple of seconds, while he was looking at her, she said a soft, 'Good afternoon, Sir' and went back to her books.
The librarian had sensed his delight on her arrival and had called him to show the book she had returned along with the library card. He naughtily asked "This one?"
He nodded in the affirmative tilting his head in the direction of the library card to read her name...."H. A., Class: B.Ed (1st year).
He thanked the librarian and left the library.
Heading towards the administrator's office, with his heartbeat audible in his ears, he asked the A.O. for the register of the B.Ed. students.
The A.O. handed the register to him and he found his way to her details in the register. She was a good student with brilliant marks in Chemistry in her B.Sc. years. He also noted down her residence address.
In the meantime he had struck a deal with the librarian over a couple of plates of biryani to make him a confidante. He added one more necessary confidante from his family, a cousin, to whom he revealed his swan song.
He saw her a couple of times more - sometimes in the library, once in the corridor, once with her friends and sometimes just a fleeting image of her passing away behind him. He turned around to see that it was a thought that had escaped from his imagination and disappeared while he turned around. But even then there was a certain soothing fragrance of her in the air that he was breathing. He dissuaded from calling it love, as it was still a feeling that was half baked while he was bathing in its sunshine.  To get over the enigma, he wanted to return to the library to talk to her, but could not, as it was not in his capacity to do so. After all she was still a student and he was a teacher. After getting drawn towards her, he had crossed the bridge that separates a student from a teacher. And till that moment that was the only established relationship between them and the uncertain path that he was treading could lead him anywhere or rather nowhere. He kept the matters of his heart close to himself and continued with his work with an uneasy passivity but still with her marked impression all over him. The summer was getting hotter and the exams were approaching. He would spend his idle hours in the library in the hope of seeing her someday but she never returned.
 
He had to make this matter move to the next stage and in the midst of all this one day he handed over her contact details to a his confidante cousin, who was more of a friend.  A telephone call from his cousin led to a meeting of the girl’s family as is done in the cases of arranged marriages with his part of the story kept in the dark. Then the day came when the  girl’s parents asked him if he’d like to see the girl in person as they were unaware that he had actually seen her. But what baffled him by their question was that the girl has seen him but had not revealed this to anybody in her family. Why had she done this? he wanted to know this but there was no way to find this out.
On the day of their families’ meeting, he dressed up rather casually and reached her home with his mom and the trusted cousin who was making this happen. After a brief talk with her parents and sisters, they called out for the girl. She entered the room and with her gaze low, sat on the sofa across him. Though he had seen her before, it was an entirely different matter to even have a look at her in front of everybody. The embarrassment was palpable but he did sneak a moment to have a look at her while everybody was talking.  For a second she lifted her gaze and looked at him and so did he. There was a strange look in her eyes, as if a thousand questions were waiting for their answers. It was good that she could not have asked it there as he would not be able to answer. She left the room couple of minutes later. The boy returned home and when his mother asked him, if he had liked the girl, he nodded in the affirmative. His mother’s  approval had always mattered and he did not want her to get influenced  just by his choice. It was good that his mother had approved because had she disproved of the girl then he was unsure what would have he done next.
Summer holidays ended and the slow festivities of the wedding began. The wedding was fixed post monsoons and there were 3 more months to go. During one such day when his mom was going out to buy clothes for the bride, she asked him if he preferred some clothes of his choice for her. He chose a pink silk saree with a  golden border intricately designed with beautiful motifs. He chose pink as that was the color he had first seen her in. The monsoons passed away but not without the pouring away of the past few months of waiting.
All through those months, since the day he had noticed that strange look in her eyes in their first official meeting, till the day when she sat in front of him as his wife, he had noticed that strange look of a question mark in her. Now was the time to ask her what was that question that was floating incessantly in her eyes  ?

He asked her if she wanted to ask him something. With half of a smile she reached for the curtains and pulling them apart allowing the moonlight to enter the room, she said, “You kept you love story close to you but somehow I knew it then. Had I asked you as to why you did not share this with others, then our story would not have been only your love story. Everybody would know, it was mine as well”. 


© Copyright 2017 Khaja. All rights reserved.

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