A sharp rap on the door is what roused me from the deep slumber. Was it morning already? I wondered as I felt my way to the door of my room with half an eye open. It was Chinku and it seemed night time. Was it so early in the morning? “Get ready dude! We’ll miss our movie!” So it was evening. He was standing there with his towel and other accessories, evidently going for a bath. I grunted, not finding my voice in the grogginess.
I took about 20 minutes to get ready. By that time Anshu had also arrived with his car. As I descended the stairs to the ground floor, I found Anshu and Suvdeep already in Parag’s room. We proudly considered us among the few who did not give two hoots about the performance of Hard Kaur that day of the PEC fest. We had planned to go for Quantum of Solace, the Bond movie that was expected to be as good as Casino Royale, its prequel. Chinku arrived all excited and jumping, chanting “Chalo chalo” and we left in Anshu’s car from the hostel.
While passing through 11 sector market, I asked Anshu to pull up as I had to get a recharge done. I heard Chinku come up behind me. “Kaunse chips lu?” he asked. And then, “Oye look. That girl looks good for you!”. He said it while winking and poking me. I knew what he meant. There was a girl wearing a Linkin Park black coloured t-shirt, 10 steps away from us and facing away. I used to call myself a Linkin Park fan during my initial years at PEC, and that label had not gone away, however much I wished. So that was the only reason Chinku had brought it up. But as I looked on, I could not help saying to myself, “hmm, the girl doesn’t look bad at all!”. That’s when it happened.
As I was checking her out, she turned towards me while talking on the phone, lost in the conversation with her eyes wandering unfocused all over, finally coming to a stop on me. In that fraction of a second, the first thing I noticed was that she was pretty. Extremely pretty in fact. There also rose from within me a recognition. I can explain you the feeling if I slow down the time to a tenth. It’s a feeling which bubbles up when we feel we are looking at someone familiar. It happens with all of us now and then, and in my case I was very sure that I knew her. The idea struck home when her eyes locked into mine and she suddenly broke into a smile.
That’s when the feeling took hold of me. The heart taking a sudden plunge which you hope is not visible on your face, but which actually is, with the eyes slightly larger, pupils slightly dilated, lips slightly parted, nostrils slightly flared, and no blinking at all for those few seconds. An abrupt inhaling as your lungs suddenly feel devoid of oxygen, your eyes smiling but your lips really not. The very famous feeling that writers have described time and again - Falling in love. At first sight, probably not in my case, as I had been introduced to her a couple of times in the past 8-10 months, and probably seen her profile on Facebook, even talked to her on the phone a couple of times. But this had never happened before. It’s difficult to explain a feeling when it has taken hold of you, shakes you to your roots, tells you that from this moment on your life will be very different, all this in probably half a second.
I knew her from a common friend. As she recognized me, she waved and started towards me, preparing to hang up the phone, as could be seen from her expressions. I smiled back in return, flushed and cursing myself that a moment ago I was checking out this girl, only to realize that we knew each other. So it was this slightly embarrassed me with eyes slightly larger, pupils slightly dilated, lips slightly parted, nostrils slightly flared and no blinking at all that I approached her. We mainly jested about how overclothed I was with the muffler and all, on how I was too cool for attending a Hard Kaur performance, and some jokes on similar lines. The banter lasted for less than a minute before which we bid farewell to each other.
I turned around and walked to the car, with everyone waiting for me with expectant glances. Chinku especially was amazed! He just points out a girl to me and I go up to her and strike a conversation, and that too as if I knew her already? When did I become so awesome all of a sudden!? I pretended not to care much, just said that I knew her already. Others were involved in an ongoing discussion, so no one really cared much. But for me, everything had already changed.
5 months and a lot of effort later, I was successful in wooing her. Today, exactly seven years later, I am happily married to her for over a year. Chaku! Thanks for the million smiles you have given me and so much more. Thanks for being so awesome! I would not have been the person I am today if not for you. Happy 7th anniversary of own little “9/11”! Cheers!