Memories of 14th July

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

This is a short story about a lad who gets acquainted with a lady at a place where they both were taking training on a course and falls for her. But, it didn't end as expected...

Chapter 1


My weary eyes quickly responded to the bright, warm light rays of the morning sun that penetrated through the closed translucent windows and illuminated my room like fluorescence. I debated whether or not to wake up due to the last night’s fatigue that had killed all my plans and wrecked my whole body but, for some hypothetical reason, I changed my mind and forced my eyes open to glance at the watch. It was 7 o’clock in the Saturday morning! It was 14th of July. I slapped my forehead gently and thought to myself “I’m late… Even today….” I quickly drove my pillows aside and followed my monotonous routine in order to get fresh. Moments later, I stood at the balcony and looked up at the tranquil sky. Grey clouds accumulated above and danced wildly hiding the sun like a mother kangaroo hides her children. Through the spaces between the clouds, the sun played Hide-N-Seek and when it caught my eye, it made a gesture as if it wanted to convey something. It smiled at me and said, “You’re going to have a wonderful day…. A memorable one!” Then, it suddenly got lost into the darkness again.


Suddenly, I recalled, “I have a presentation today and it is the final day of my industrial training”. I was relieved at the second thought and then, minutes later, I was engulfed with excitement and something else, fear. I knew I would lose something today, something precious. I quickly brushed aside my thoughts and focused only on myself.

It was a rule to wear formals during seminars and presentations and today was no exception. I thought of the outfit that I sported on the day of my WBJEE counseling and decided to go with it. I wanted to don attire that’d make me look handsome, charming and professional. I wanted men to envy and ladies to gape at my appearance.

At 11 o’clock, I started to organize and prepare my notes for the speech. Within a span of fifteen minutes that sped past like a fired bullet, I had gathered all my points. I knew I’ve always been oblivion. So, I tried to recapitulate if I’ve overlooked something, forgot something, etc…. And, then I realized, “Yes, Indeed!” I forgot to shave my week long beard. I made hurried attempts to get the job done in a jiffy. And, I did. I went inside the bathroom and twisted the knob of the shower. The frustration, hurriedness, fear and excitement drained out of my body like the melting of glacier. I shrugged and continued bathing.

More than half of the population in Bengal sweltered in the unbearable heat despite that the sky was overcast. People prayed for rain but, it seemed that God didn’t heed to their prayers. They believed that the place had been cursed by sins and that God was not ready to have mercy on them. It was noon when I set out for the training the last time and made my way to the Palta station.  As I sat on a bench in the platform waiting for Naihati local, beads of perspiration started appearing on my forehead. The humidity was sky high and I felt a sudden rise in mercury inside of me. The train had arrived on time. I rose from the bench, got inside the train and slid to an empty seat. I felt drowsy. My eyelids fell in love with each other and cuddled throughout the journey. I boarded off at Bidhannagar. Two of my close pals waited for me at the station and greeted me as soon as I joined them. They complemented on my outfit as well. We took a bus to reach the venue. We arrived at Techno India, Sector V, Salt Lake in twenty minutes. When we crossed the road, a friend of mine stopped at a shop to light a cigarette. As he was puffing small circles in the air looking into the sky and predicting the weather, we stood there babbling with our eyes impatient and restless to catch glimpses of beautifully dressed girls. It was then when she arrived.




Chapter 2 – Where it all began

The room was sparsely populated when we entered. It was an exquisitely furnished room with air conditioning and adequate light that made the room glitter. The aroma of the room reached every nose. We were three in number. We started off with an argument on the context of the sitting arrangement and decided to move to the second last row finally. Students crammed the room as the allowed time to enter was drawing to a close. Empty chairs began getting replaced by enthusiastic students. It was when a girl approached us with a request to allow her to sit with us. I retorted, “I’m sorry! The seat is already taken.” She turned around and left immediately. Then, a second girl came and pleaded the same. For some unknown reason, I lost myself. She startled me. My sternness had vanished. I could not refuse her a seat. I shrugged and had said, “The seat is taken but, you may share with us”. She too started to leave. A friend of mine quickly rose from his chair and persuaded her to join us and, she obliged. I studied her from that very moment.

She was a fair, tall and slender looking young lady with her face bearing the imprints of hopelessness and sorrow. She had patient, intelligent coal black eyes behind the glasses that could pacify anyone. She combed her black, moistureless hair from the middle of her head and tied them together at the back. I decided to break the ice. So, I introduced myself first and she followed suit. Her name was Katherine and I’d love to call her Kate. I noticed her as she spoke. She had a soft, comforting and serene voice. She was generous and honest in her heart. Her austere lifestyle moved me. She was a beauty with brain, an enchantress! Her rosy lips spoke only knowledge and wisdom. She had a pleasant disposition. She preferred to remain quiet but, decided to go against her wish when she found herself amid us. Her smile had the power to heal anguish. Her half-happy, grief-stricken face turned jovial when friends surrounded her.  She was never complaining or haughty and extended her cooperation whenever I sought. Her philosophy of life and her ambition intrigued me. The ramparts had collapsed by her warmth and we became friends. The four of us became a family. As I sat silent, I contemplated, “What took me so long to meet a noble and an extraordinary person like her? I must have been doomed for my sins. Optimism alone has sprinkled joy in the vast sea of misery. Nevertheless, I know that these moments are short-lived”.  And, then I came back to life. My mouth went dry. I swallowed and restricted my thoughts to her. She confided in me and we discussed about her family, parents, siblings, girl friends and her boyfriend. She had been in a successful relationship for the last one year. She’d call up her boyfriend in the middle of the night and talk to him for hours. Minutes of interaction became hours of gossip and I could envisage the fact that “Time undergoes transformation”. The one thing Kate and I had in common was “cold allergy”. I grinned at this thought.

At the end of the day, a huge, lumpy, dark gentleman wearing a ferocious look, unexpectedly pushed the door of the room open and introduced himself. The massive creature loomed above us and announced, “You’ll be doing a project during these 2-weeks industrial training program. The project scenarios will be listed on the board. You’re supposed to form a group of 4-6 members and choose one of the scenarios. The names of the group members and their selected topic must be submitted by tomorrow. Also, a working version of the project has to be shown before the final day and the documentation has to be submitted on the final day. You’ll have to do a presentation regarding your project that must be demonstrated on 14th July.” We had a group of four members initially but, it was extended to six later to accommodate two more friends. We chose the project Hospital Management System and enlisted our names the following day.

Days passed like hours and hours passed like minutes. Time had finally come to start our project. I coordinated and distributed responsibility to every member of our group based on their technical exposure and academic performances. I had to design the project entirely by myself throughout the day. It took much longer than I had expected. When the designing was over, I had to write computer programs late at night. Sometimes, I went to bed so lately that I could hear the chirping of birds in the pre-dawn hours.

On one fine evening, Katherine suddenly fell ill. She had fever that was worsened by cough and cold. She lacked vigour and could barely speak on the phone. Days had passed and nights had gone. Her health deteriorated each day. It appalled me. I wondered if only God had given me the power to dispel her malady. I had to revise all my plans. An active member of my group, also a friend, and I decided to shoulder what was entrusted to her. We had successfully completed the project within the deadline and made a rendezvous to gather at the venue on the eve of the presentation day. All of us had reached the place on time. It was an afternoon on Friday the 13th. We exhibited our project to the training coordinator and he admired our skills and excellence in making the project a grand success. We were flattered. I brimmed with pride. At 6:30 in the evening, it was time to leave. Since Kate had not recovered completely from her sickness, we chose to take the bus route. It was a blunder! We were fooled! We had to change bus and auto twice to reach Chiriamore. It was 9:30 at night and the sky grew darker. We both had a grueling experience. We hurried our steps to reach Barrackpore station. I had to take an auto again to arrive at my home lastly. I stayed awake till midnight on purpose. At 12:15 AM, I leapt on my bed that wanted to hug me ever since I returned home and fell asleep as if there was no tomorrow.




Chapter 3

She waved her manicured hand at us as she walked past the crossing. We exchanged a smile. She was clad in a creamy-white shirt and a silky black trouser that fitted her perfectly sensationalizing her dreary, withdrawn appearance. She had the shoes that people would normally wear on adventure trips. But, she had to look professional today and all of us, as well. Spectacles were absent from her oval face and her eyes looked vivid and scintillating and irresistible.  As we chatted outside, few acquaintances bounced at us and joined the conversation. Minutes later we slid into a room where the presentation was to take place. It was dark and cold inside and the eerie silence rattled my whole body. I sensed the quivering in my stomach perhaps due to frenzy. My demons chased me but, I dodged them. The six of us sat across a row. I observed everybody rehearsing lines for their speech. Most of them seemed timid apparently. I took out my two DVDs and a marker and handed them over to Kate. She gingerly wrote our names on both of the discs. She handed me over the discs when she was done with the writing. I stared at the discs and muttered, “You have a marvelous handwriting!” And so, the presentation began afterwards. Lights were turned off as each group began demonstrating their project and were turned on each time after they had ended. As each individual spoke, he/she was interrupted by our Sir and interviewed publicly. Few could utter and the rest stuttered. The entire classroom roared with laughter because of the answers they were coming up with. I took this as an opportunity to play banters at them. I was always laughing uncontrollably. Kate turned her attention to me and said, “You shouldn’t laugh much. We’ll have our turn too. You may get nervous during your performance.” And, she was right. She had been right throughout. I had been laughing like a maniac and it was the time I must get serious.

Our names were announced. We rose from the desk and headed for the dais. Each member of the group was supposed to demonstrate the project. The introductory speech had to be extraordinary. It was the most challenging job of all as it had to be entrusted to someone reliable who could face the public and speak fluently without getting influenced or intimidated by their presence. Kate decided to introduce and I trusted her. I knew she’d never let us down. Before we began, I motivated all of my team members. I had faith in everyone. Kate had begun. I watched her closely as she wowed the audience with her spellbinding speech. I thanked her for her remarkable performance. She was followed by another team member and it continued. When my turn came, I was petrified. Kate came to me and encouraged by saying, “Don’t worry! You’re going to do well.” That was all I wanted to hear, motivation and encouragement. I relied on her and trusted myself. I adjusted my tie, fixed my eyes on the audience and began. I delivered a smooth, impromptu performance. The presentation had ended well. Following it instantly, Sir spoke out aloud, “This is the best project!” That was the moment. My heart soared with pride and a feeling of satisfaction surged through my face. Applause from known and unknown faces and ovation from our Sir overwhelmed us. We triumphed in the battle and I savoured every moment. I thanked the crowd and expressed gratitude to my team members. We returned to our desk and did a lot of paperwork. We escaped outside when we were done to breathe and embrace fresh air and to celebrate Kate’s birthday that had happened a week ago. Unfortunately, none of the shops were open and we became disappointed. We had a photoshoot session albeit. We sprang back inside with a heavy heart but, enjoyed the performances till the end that was followed by a brief lecture from our trainer.

It was 7 on the clock and the twilight had swept the sky crimson. But, it seemed that the twilight sky would soon be blanketed by the darkness of the night. The lobby at the 3rd floor of the building had a deafening commotion. Students have accumulated to bid farewell to the trainers and they roared like inebriated maniacs in an orgy. The four of us were standing, watching everyone’s nuisance and waiting for our trainer. We could feel the pulse of the room. As soon as he appeared, we, the fellows, surrounded him and random clicks started pouring in. We took the elevator to the ground floor after the photoshoot session had ended and paused outside for last minute chatter.

Night had fallen and the stars shined above. The luminescent moon looked resplendent in the night sky. We flocked to the nearest bus stop. A speeding bus came to a halt and we stepped inside. We got off at Bidhannagar. As we climbed the stairs of the platform, the demons started to frighten me again in the stillness of the night sky. I soon realized that I was soon about to lose a member of my new family that I had nurtured in the last 14 days. I was possessed by the fear of losing someone invaluable and that the friendship that had thrived in the meantime would pass into nothingness.  As we waited at the platform for the train, Kate looked up at me in surprise. My wistful eyes and melancholic face confounded her. She demanded, “What had happened? Why are you so quiet?” So, she had noticed me but, failed to manifest the Why. My voice choked as I started to speak. I forced a smile and uttered, “Nothing!” The train had arrived and we all jumped together inside. Kate and I sat together in the adjoining seat. I began rehearsing my final lines to Kate in my mind. I flipped my head to the right, faced her and began, “It was a pleasure working with you and have you as a friend. You’re a wonderful person and a caring friend with a brilliant mind resting above your shoulders. You’ll be missed!” And, I stopped. She responded by saying that she had mutual feelings. Soon, the train arrived at Sealdah. We wrestled out of the train pushing the savage, hostile passengers aside. We hurried through the platforms to catch the train and this time, to reach our den. I wanted to embrace her before she left but, environment and dearth of time were the only constraints. Time was running out and we had minutes left before the train was scheduled to leave. Footsteps became heavy as I could feel the intensity of gravity. She bid me a Happy Good Bye! for the last time wearing a pleasant smile on her face and I returned her the same. I watched her as she swayed and disappeared in the crowd. I boarded the train and sank on an empty seat. The facades of cheerful existence had defaced and I drowned myself in the abyss of imagination. I felt like I had lost the newest member of my family. I took a deep breath and sighed. I battered all my emotions to death. The gravity had spared my heart and I sensed a relief. The fire had fizzled out. The weight had been lifted and I felt lively again. I closed my eyes and whispered to myself, “Perhaps, we shall meet again…… Only in my dreams!!!”



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Submitted: April 15, 2013

© Copyright 2023 Sushovan. All rights reserved.

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