Even with just few hours of fitful sleep, I was energetic in morning. I sprung out off bed early. There was still sometime left for sunrise. The piece of mauve sky through window looked marvellous with a faint tinge of orange. It was almost clear. I could see stars getting tinier and moon gradually rubbed off. A flock of birds flew in their path singing morning song to the sleeping city. The little rain of last night had left tiny diamantine droplets hanging from the thin bald branches. Fall morning had left a soft thin layer of fog everywhere. I always loved this part of the day very much. So serenest and scenic that regardless of your looks, colour, attribute, cast or custom it blends you in finely.
I pelted out myself into my daily routine. I was in so hurry for college that it took only half of the time compared to the much of time it usually took. The reason of such rush was also obvious. College was only one place where I got to be with Arnav. Even if he stayed in a different room away from my sight still occasionally I used to steal a peek of him on corridor during breaks. At least my heart was certain of his presence. Seriously I had never thought before that college would be this interesting.
As usual Preeti came home and I was on breakfast table shouting Mom to cook faster.
“Good morning Preeti.” I greeted her on seeing.
“Can we go to your room? We need to talk for a while.” She said directly.
“Now?” I surprisedly looked at her. “But we don’t have much time.”
“We have twenty more minutes. And don’t worry. It’s going to take just a minute or two.”
“Okay.” I went with her upstairs to my room.
The moment we reached inside my room, she closed the door and shouted at me.
“What is it?” She dragged me in front of the mirror.
“What?” I stroked my face. “Everything is fine.”
“ Fine! Are you kidding? Anyone can say that you are in love.” She loudly declared.
“Hush! Why are you shouting? Mom will hear us.”
“Okay. Okay. Did you even sleep last night? Tell the truth.”
“Yeah. Why wouldn’t I?”
“You are asking why as if you don’t know the answer.” She twitched my cheeks. Perhaps she was in a mood to play truth-n-dare with me.
“I did seriously.”
“Look at your dark circles.”
I looked deeper into mirror. There was grey streak below my eyes.
“What now?” I cried with nose.
“Relax. Nothing has happened. Just remember one thing.”
“Just stop showing that you are in love. Especially to him.”
“How many questions will you ask? Do you even have enough brain to memorize it? Just do as I say. Got it!”
I nodded like an obedient student.
“And stop roaming with that approval look on your face.”
“Fine.” She checked her watch. “We are getting late and I know you don’t want to miss the bus.” She looked at me with one brow raised.
“Nope.” I dodged out a few step but then I paused for a while, turned back.
“What now?” Preeti asked.
I gave her a big hug. “Thank you.”
That was an emotional moment. Even if someone had traded whole heaven’s luxury for her to me, I would have denied. I trusted her more than anything. And she always made me to trust more with her.
We finished our breakfast and went to bus-stop. Everyone had arrived except Arnav. After five minutes of waiting I saw him walking calmly, looking down. He was wearing a yellow shirt with beige and green checks and a pair of army-green jeans. There was something that was ringing bell inside my mind but I couldn’t find it.
I looked down at myself hastily, startled and again looked back at him. It can’t be possible.
I was wearing a butter-yellow kameez with olive-green narrow legged pants with small brown appliqué flowers stitched to dress. His and my clothes were perfectly similar. I bit my lip hard, still couldn’t control my smile. I was extremely exhilarated even for such a small similarity. Oh God! Why don’t such miraculous things happen everyday? I prayed with all my heart. It was a small thing but mattered at lot to me. As they say, through a lover’s eye everything is exaggerated.
“Damn it!” Preeti muttered. “Will you stop giving that silly smile? What will he think about you? His one glance is enough to sweep you off your feet.”
She was right. His one glance is enough to breach through all the barriers inside me. I stopped smiling with a heavy breath and tried not to look at him.
In college, everyday we had one small break after two periods and a lunch break after four periods. That day I was standing in college corridor with Preeti. She was talking with another girl and I was giving her a silent-company and looking here and there until I pointed out Arnav in middle of swarm. It was not a difficult task in real. My sight and mind have perfectly coordinated with each and every feature of him, from head-to-toe. I wish I had this forte feasible in every field and moving around the globe searching classified criminals like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible sequences. But that moment my eyes were bolted on my personal Tom Cruise. I was looking at him totally enchanted without any care of all the people around. All of sudden he turned to left and his glances shot sharply at me.
Shit! He caught me watching him. Blood rushed through body twice of the normal rate leaving my face blushful and hands tightened into fist. I looked down and counted till ten and squinted up to him again. And there he was sauntering the distance between us. Two burly boys were walking before him, busy in talking and he was flanked behind them but I could see his face moving. His eyes were firm, narrow and sharp, tearing me into pieces. The crooked smile stretching out his thin lips was most intoxicating for me. My heart started to beat faster. I could feel moisture beaded inside the fist. I was plastered to one place, unable to move an inch.
Preeti said form beside. “Shall we go?”
“Yeah.” I held her hand and tried to gather some strength to move. Don’t be silly. Just move. I was afraid. The distance between me and Arnav was almost closed. My feet were cold and numb, defying every order of mine. The two boys with him crossed me. With a full jerk I moved to my right. I didn’t dare to even open my eyes.
“Are you okay?” Preeti asked.
I opened my eye and Arnav had swiftly crossed us.
“No.Yeah.Nothing. Hmm..just had a sprain at feet.” I fidgeted.
“At feet or heart?” She pried at me.
The electronic bell rang banging our ear.
“Won’t they change this monstrous bell until we are left deaf?” She frowned.
We went to class. The incident had left me dizzy. The whole day I was lost in thoughts. Many things were infiltrating into mind. I had to flush it out anyhow and the best person for it was Preeti.
As soon as classes were over, I dragged Preeti next to me. I told her everything from the beginning, the dress thing, the confronting incident, my reaction. I helplessly spoke everything and she patiently listened to each word I uttered. In the end she didn’t look much happy. Finally she spoke.
“Let’s go to bus. We will discuss there.”
It was hard to wait any more but I didn’t protest it and quietly followed her.
In bus, she deliriously imparted her opinions and knowledge. They were so confusing that the same moment I had taken them impractical. Still I listened to her patiently. According to her, I had to camouflage my feelings from Arnav till I get sure of him and along with that I have to do something to find out what’s going on in his heart.
“Right now, you just need to calm down and keep patience.”I nodded.
“And have to control yourself. Got that! CONTROL.” She spoke the word putting more stress.
We all got off the bus at our stoppage. I was highly exhausted and upset for the day. I was ravenous too. All I wanted right then was home and Mom.
We and Preeti plodded into our street when I heard someone calling me from behind. “Ava.” The sonorous voice was impossible to defy. My legs knotted automatically.
We slowly turned back. Arnav was standing behind us.
“ Actually I needed..hmm..I was thinking if you could give your physics notes..only if you have no problem with that.”
Physics copy? Ask me anything you want. I can give all. I wanted to say this instead of standing dumb-found before him.
“I heard that in your section Kundra sir have given some notes. In our section physics maam doesn’t stress much on making notes. So I was thinking if you could lend me you note for an hour... I’ll return it in an hour. I promise.”
“Yeah sure.’’ Finally Preeti broke the silence from our side.
I rummaged through my bag. My hands were trembling.
“Thank you.” He smiled at me and the note slipped from my hand.
Damn you! I told to myself.
He swiftly bent down and picked the note.
“Aah..I’m sorry.” I said.
“It’s fine. My fault. I didn’t take care.” He replied. “I’ll return it in an hour.”
“Yeah. Fine.” I didn’t want to create any more scenes. So I turned back and started to walk.
“Hey Ava.” Again he called from behind.
“Yeah.” I turned back to him.
“How am I supposed to contact you..I mean if you could give me your mobile number then...”
“Ohh..yeah..take it.” I was glad to extreme.
“And you want mine number too?” He asked me hesitantly. Silly! I bit my tongue.
“Yeah. Give me.”
I searched for mobile in the bag. It came out but didn’t work. Not now you moron mobile!
I tried but the battery had run out.
“Hmm..sorry. My battery has run out.”
“It’s fine.” He elegantly wrote his number on scrap paper and handed it to me.
“So I’ll call you as soon as I finish.”
I gave him a nod.
“Bye then. Bye Preeti.”
“Bye Arnav.” Preeti said.
We walked silently to our home. I was carrying a hurricane of emotions with me. I was confused with myself. Everything happened so deliberately that I didn’t know whether to take it as a cue or just as an eventful day. I had nothing to do that evening else than waiting for him to call.