Apart from Love
I felt energetic and rejuvenated after a week-long trek in the Himalayas.
I had a day-long journey ahead of me.
I was waiting for the Rajadhani express heading to Bangalore at the Delhi Nizamuddin Station, as I reached station 4 hrs early (I know – it was so not me!) I was embraced by boredom. In order to kill it, I started playing around with my DSLR. From the viewfinder of my SLR, I saw this girl boarding the train. She was beautiful, like a twinkling star in the sky. The moment I saw her…I realized that my story had started.
I didn’t want to fall in love with this girl. I lied to myself. For one moment she was like a rose, the next, like a jasmine. And when she smiled, she reaped a garden full of flowers inside my heart – with just one simple smile.
And then I realized that it was the same train I would have to board. Finally, I boarded the train and swam through the settling passengers and their unsettling relatives on my way to my seat. In between, a beautiful girl behind me said: “Excuse me bhaiya…side please”. Kill me!!! I let her go past before she could address me again with some unkind relation (I mean, she was too old to call me bhaiya and of course too pretty!). It is then that I got the first twist of the story – Surprise! The girl I was stalking on the platform was sitting there, in front of my eyes, besides my own seat. I went and sat beside her, at a loss of being able to believe what was happening. It was too good to be true.
It seemed like a perfect dream. A perfectly planned dream anyone can dream of.
Rajadhani: My Kingdom (Not the capital though – it’s just the train!).
Seat number 24: My throne.
And beside me, My Queen!
Even I could not have planned it better. Who said dreams can never be true – I was living a dream I had never dreamt of.
And then the irony struck (as usual) in the form of an old witch (Yes, even dreams do have vamps!). No offense, but I didn’t even get some time to strike a conversation. An old lady requested the pretty girl to exchange their seats since she couldn’t climb up. And my queen wholeheartedly agreed to the request, without even thinking about me. (Oh ya…why will she? And why should she?)
This old lady smiled at me and I returned the favor by giving her the famous fake smile. This girl then stood up, took her luggage, smiled (the same famous fake one!) and vanished into thin air, just like in the dream. (My bad – Who said dreams, come true?)
And then suddenly I felt nothing. That is when I saw her (the other girl and the main character of this story!), sitting right opposite to me. She had tucked herself away in a corner, invisible to the crowd, reading “I too had a love story” (Maybe she was being sarcastic to my happenings!). She was cute and in a way beautiful, beautiful not like the girls in the movies. Nor like the girl I liked a few minutes back. She was beautiful for what she was deep down in her soul. Maybe, the best kind of beauty is the kind that is mostly ignored.
When I saw her she was staring outside continuously, maybe a lover of nature. Anyways I didn’t want to know about this girl (this time I was not lying to myself!). Later in the journey, she tried to be friendly with me, but I chose to ignore her. If not for the episode at the beginning of the journey, I would have fallen for this girl by now. And it is one of those moments again…when books are your only friends and music, your only saviour.
I was looking at the window pane, not at the marvel of the world outside – but at the reflection of my world inside (read it as my crush, for now!). Yes – I am talking about this guy who was sitting in the seat (#24) opposite to me.
When he smiled, I felt like he was speaking to my heart, but the only problem was that I was unable to understand the language.
I tried to strike a conversation, but couldn’t. Because most of the time his earphones were plugged in, giving me no chance to talk. Or he was busy reading some book.
I utilized the opportunity to get near him in the name of kindness. I asked the old lady sitting beside him to sleep in my berth as she was too tired (and so I could sit beside him!).
Once in the evening, he started seeing some pictures he took in his camera. I told him that those pictures look so professional. I don’t know why I lied. After that, he gave me his camera to let me admire his pictures (there were thousands!), and immediately he got back to his book. His actions were like a puzzle. An enigma I wanted to solve.
I was sure he was not committed since he was never on the phone from the start of our journey.
All throughout the journey, I tried to do what I am not good at – impressing him. I failed every time. I felt ignored. Maybe I was not his type. But I couldn’t help but try. At least his thoughts kept me from getting bored.
In the night, before sleeping, I asked him to wake me up early morning when we reached Bangalore. I asked him that favor not owing to my inability to wake up early in the morning, but for the fear that he might leave without even having a final conversation with me (Hope prevails!).
When we reached Bangalore he was packing his luggage slowly. He had not woken me. He didn’t even look at me as I was leaving.
I was waiting for him on the platform. To meet one last time and bid adieu. Just when I made up my mind to not fall for him again, He looked at me.
He kissed me with his intense looks. He hugged me with his subtle smile. He stole my heart that moment but forgot to take it with him. It was lying there. For a really long time. Unseen. Untouched. Then I contemplated whether to take it back or leave it there. I decided to leave it there and move on so that no one can steal it from ME again!
He came near me and waited for me to talk. I preferred to be silent. “So?” he said. “So?” said I. He smiled again and waved his hand saying ‘See you soon’. I don’t know why he said that but he seemed honest (which I forced myself not to believe!). I was sad but couldn’t cry. He was walking in front of me slowly; I wanted to catch up with him but decided not to, so I raced past him without even looking at him again and proceeded towards the exit.
I very well knew that it was the last goodbye to us, but I insisted on convincing myself on saying: See you soon (Honestly – I don’t know why!).
A pain stabbed my heart, as it did every time I saw a girl I like to walk away in the opposite direction. But this time, for a change, it was not because the girl I liked was walking away, but because the girl who liked me was.
Some feelings cannot be shown. Some words cannot be expressed. Sometimes you have to let go of some people who made you feel special. She just played her part in my life.
It is not love unless love is defined as ‘like’ which lasts only for 30 minutes. It is not a crush unless crush is defined as a feeling of letting go of someone you like. We were neither friends nor enemies. We were just strangers who crossed each other’s path and shared this magical feeling, which was definitely not love.
Maybe it is not about a happy ending, maybe it is about the journey and the story. Maybe it is not about love. Maybe it is something apart from love.