I was simply furious. I walked quickly hoping I could walk off my anger. To hell with Aparna and her grandmother. To hell with my upbringing. There was rock in front of me and I kicked it as hard as I could and I watched it flying. I looked around for more rocks to kick. I couldn’t find anything big enough to kick. I continued to walk faster.
Then I asked myself, where are you rushing off to? Don’t you know that you are going back home? Back to the nightmare?
What was the point in rushing to go back home? The ladies hostel was my refuge. I did’t have to worry about anyone except me while I stayed at the hostel. I got three meals each day and I didn’t have to worry about fighting with Amma and my sisters for everything. I didn’t want to go back home. I didn’t want to see Amma or my sisters.

Somewhere deep in my heart I knew there was another reason I didn’t want to go home.
Beautiful Eyes.
I had no idea where he was. I didn’t want to miss meeting him if he did come back to the hostel the next three weeks.
May be I should stay back. I told myself.
But What would I tell all my seniors when they ask why I am not going back? There won’t be any clinicals during exam time. So I can’t use that as an excuse.
I knew technically me being a Bangalorean there was no way I could stay back at the hostel without inviting too many unnecessary questions. even those from Kashmir goes home during semester break and how can a Bangalorean not go home, that too for three weeks vacation?
How much ever I hated my family, I didn’t want to belittle them in front of others. I didn’t want anyone to judge my family members.

I continued to walk towards the canteen. May be, just may be Beautiful Eyes came back and was waiting for me at the canteen. I was always full of hopes.
But the thing with Hope is, it doesn’t cost anything, It only returns heartaches in multiples.
“Going home Madam?” Canteen operator asked
“hmm” I mumbled. I looked around the canteen. There were so many students inside the canteen discussing and studying.
“Arjun sir is waiting for you at the main entrance madam” one of the junior boys spoke. May be he thought I was looking for Arjun
“Ok, Thanks”
I walked out.
It felt as though I have lost myself. The Nina who was walking towards the main entrance to meet Arjun was someone else. The me belonged with Beautiful Eyes. All I wanted was to be with him. But how was I going to get out of the mess I got myself in to?
Arjun was leaning on the bike and when he saw me, he started the bike and was revving the engine. As though that would make me walk faster. He was still a good 200 meters away and I was not in a hurry to go back home.
There was a nice smell and I looked around to see where it came from.
I remembered there was a Chempaka(Michelia chembaka) tree by side of the lecturer’s quarters. I looked at Arjun, he had already reversed the bike and was looking at me. I kept my bag on the ground by the side of the road and walked towards the lecturer’s quarters.
The tree was very tall and I stood underneath the canopy of big green leaves trying to figure out why I do things like this? I knew Arjun would be pissed off with me, yet I chose to annoy him by making him wait rather than walk faster. I looked up at the tree. The home of Yakshis and Gandharvas. Did any of them can tell me why I act like this? Wind was blowing and leaves started to sway and dance and I imgined the leaves telling me
‘nah Nina nah Nina nah Nina, we have no idea’
I found few withered flowers on the ground and I picked them up and smelled them. It smelled heavenly.
I collected few good ones from the floor, few I will keep in my cupborad and the rest I will keep inside my text books. I started to walk back towards the main road. A part of me hoped Arjun would just push off. A part of me tried to figure out a good excuse if in case he was still waiting for me.
I was a tad disappointed to notice that Arjun was still waiting for me. he had switched off the engine and was staring at my direction. I picked up the bag from the floor and walked towards him.
He looked so angry and like a little girl I opened my palm and showed him my treassure.
He looked at the dried withered flowers in my palm and then at me. I thought of telling him to smell it, may be he will understand why I went to get it. But one look at his mad angry face and I knew it is better that I shut my mouth.
Without another word he started the bike and I sat down behind him. I wanted to put the flowers in my bag, so it won’t get squashed in my hand. But Arjun was in a real hurry.
I held the flowers gently in my palm.
Arjun was riding the bike like a mad man. I opened my palm and smelled the flowers.
Flowers tells you the story of waiting, don’t they? When they are little buds, they wait for the day they could bloom, then they wait for the bees, then they wait for someone to come and gather them and make garlands, then they wait with that someone who wait for that one person. Both grow old and withered, but the wait.. that is eternal.
Tears were beginning to flood my eyes and I was glad Arjun was riding like a mad man, at least I can tell later that the dust went in my eyes..But what would I do with the heart that was broken in to itsy bitsy tiny pieces?

Anyone from Yorkshire, England( Sheffield precisely)? Could you email me at daofto at gmail.com

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