With time, college got more interesting. There was more freedom, anxiousness, craze and less restriction; at least no more ponytails with red ribbon or kilos of books humped at back. It was more like a rush heading in an unknown direction. No worries, no care of where and when the end will come. Everywhere just trendy clothes, alien haircuts, raunchy comments and lots of color are to be found; I was enjoying every bit of it.
Though I hated the time seniors spent pulling our legs. They called it ‘chastity time’ meant to filterate audacity from childishness. I was victim of their prank twice but at the third time I was almost on tears and they spared me on mercy grounds. Arnav was smarter and sharper than their questions and tackled it with accolades. Even while playing prank, he looked no less attractive.
Some unwanted shits happened during those days. The class was divided into sections and he was on another section. The teachers said they did it randomly. If it was stochastic, then why on earth I didn’t get into his section. But something good was there in return too.
Our college provided buses for transport. It would carry us to college everyday. Arnav opted for the bus transportation. He said its better to travel with friends together rather than going alone. But the bonus point is that he would come to the same bus-stop as me. I was really happy. It was like I would get to see him more everyday till we separate at college.
The first official function of our college life was ‘Freshers Party’ thrown by seniors for us. They said it is the end of two month long ragging session and the function forges a friendship of us with the college. But it looked more like let’s-officially-torture-juniors program. They boys had to wear orange formals and girls had to wear sari. It was harder than cracking entrance exam.
Besides all these there was another beautiful phase called ‘friendship’. These days Preeti and I got closer. And except Preeti I made another friend, Vidya. She is a sweet homely girl. I can’t exactly put my finger on the thing about her for which I liked her instantly. May be her simplicity caught me. From duo we turned into trio.
In this phase of life I learned many new things too like how to behave with seniors, how to match with professor’s speed in class, how to handle comments, how to ignore the wolfish eyes of boys, to shake off worries and enjoy every day that is presented before you. The part of all of these was Arnav.
And another thing that played a vital role in college days was the social networking site. I was addicted to it or may be addicted to the services it provided. To be precise, I was addicted to talking to Arnav. It was my sleeping-pill. A day without talking to him was way lot worse than a day on saline drip. In evening just after college, I would log in to the sites. My profile was a lot improved then and had one hundred and fifty two people in friend’s list. Though eighty percent them were unknown to me. My only focus was around Arnav always as I had no other way to stay in touch with him.
The night before ‘Freshers Party’ I was expectedly on facebook.
Four chat boxes opened in a row.
Ramesh: Hi ava
Vaibhav: hey sexy.
Dibya: Hi avanjali. r u online?
I cancelled Ramesh’s and Vaibhav’s chat boxes and preferred Dibya only. I had talked with that guy twice before and he sounded kind of decent. And Arnav was offline that time. I had to anyhow wait for him. So I preferred to kill some time with Dibya.
Dibya: hey. hw r u?
Me: I’m fyn. hw r u?
Dibya: vry fyn. n y dnt u answr to any my ping? i pinged u several times bt there was no reply.
Me: nthng. jst lyk dat. so wht r u dng?
Dibya: nthng. jst chattn. n u?
Me: same here.
The small dot before Arnav’s link burned bright green. Finally he is online.
Me: Whr hv u been?
Me: Hi. whr wer u till nw?
I was fully irritated by then waiting for him.
Dibya: r u der?
Me: yeah dibya. listen i hv to go. mom is callin. ok . i l talk wid u ltr. bye. it’s nice talking wid u. J
Arnav: yeah. just went for shopping.
Me: wht did u shop?
Dibya: ok. Bye. same here. Whn l u be onlyn again?
I totally ignored Dibya. I was so frenzied at that time that if Arnav had appeared before me, I would have jumped at him. I was missing him badly.
Arnav: some clothes for tmrw?
Me: oh! fr tmrw. nice. so went fr shoppn. alone or wid someone?
Arnav: kishore was with me. We bought some clothes.
Damn! I forgot to tell you all that Kishore and Arnav had become very good friends in between. Luckily they got to same section. All the time in college, you will find them together. They shared almost everything with eachother, just like I, Preeti and now Vidya.
Me: so wht did u shop?I mean jst clothes or anything els?
Arnav: sm clothes and a deo fr me. kishore got a pair of shoes for him too. u knw it ws hard to get a formal on orange. i moved through d whole market n finally got it in a roadside. cool..na. J
Me: ya. new experiences.
Arnav: yes. i jst luv it.n wht r u wearn fr tmrw?
Me: do we hv any choices left to us?obviously sari.
Arnav: grt. hv u evr wore it bfr?
Me: nope L
Arnav: den it’s gud to try once.
Me: nthn lyk dat...i m vry tensed for it. it feels lyk i appearing for the boards’ exam again.
Arnav: y dear? wht hpnd?
Me: nthn. jst scared. hvnt evr wore it. sm gals wer sayin it’s too difficult to handle wid sari. wht if...
Arnav: wht if u fall bfr all? dnt wrry dear. at frst jst stp vexin urself for uncertaintes in future. u l b fyn.
Me: nt so sure. Wht if some malfunction happens.
I had seen in some movies about malfunctions. I scared me to hell. I was tentative about going to function. But again attending function was compulsory. Seniors had already warned us. No matter what happens, we had to get there anyhow.
Arnav: luk. I’v a plan. if u r so tensed, den y dnt u try it nw at home. hv a rehearsal before hand.
Actually he was right. Form where does he get these ideas? Is he some kind of genie? Or some hideous creature possessing supernatural power in him? Wow! I was literally dreaming of flying in sky with him. Stupid me!
Arnav: ok. nw go. Dnt waste mch tym here. Practice sm walk in sari. u l b comfortable ltr n stp torturing urslf wid those negative thoughts.
Me: thnk u.gng fr ur idea. hope it ll wrk.
Me:bye. gudnyt. swtdrms.
I logged off and ran downstairs, dragged mom from kitchen and made her to teach me wearing sari. It was difficult and unmanageable at first. We practiced together for two long hours till my knees started to weep from knocking here and there again and again. Finally I was somehow steady and bit of confidence started to take place of anxiety. I couldn’t thank more to Arnav. Gradually he was turning everything for me. I couldn’t think beyond him as if I and he were together for ages.