Gaze of a stranger.

You are reading the first chapter of ten story-series of heartache which never saw the light of the day. Life is not a bed of roses literally, we store so many stories of our past in some forgotten corners of our heart, I am just trying to re-visit them as a tribute to all my friends and strangers whose tale are never known or long forgotten. The ten-chapter series is a work of fiction inspired by real events.

You know Libra men are always full of this love thing, they seek love and love to express their romantic ideas with few. But they seek someone who completes them, and until their search is over they would always look out for them, and at times at the wrong places. Almost two and 3 and half years back I started feeling for a girl, the kind of emotions which is similar to what I am going through. Although, my heart ran for a place to hide, to save his grace and the fragility when the world came crushing down to me. I wrote on a piece of paper “I have fallen in love with you, however if you feel otherwise I would understand”, wrapped it nicely and put it inside the ‘Love bird chocolate-bar’. I wrapped the bar nicely and handed to her on some casual pretext of giving away a gift, I only know how I tamed my heart to beat softly when she approached me. I wanted to express my feelings to her before the Valentine’s Day because I didn’t want her to know my intention at the first impression. She used to visit me home at times, but that day I was seeing her for the final time. She didn’t look angry, she was bereft of any emotion, there were no lines of stress on her face, and she just asked me, “I got your note, why have you written all those?” I turned red, I could sense my ears were turning hot like a furnace. The chocolate turned bitter for me, and I was standing in the midst of a frozen burnt umber. Suddenly I felt I was a complete stranger to her, does she even recognize me? I took all the hurt, wreckage, and remains and buried deep beneath in some unexplored corners of me.

After all these years the dormant feeling wanted to surface again. Her gaze had the same innocence and quiet appeal. As we stood near the ascent of where the college students park their bikes, and chit-chatting amongst ourselves three girls passed by us. Eyes of one of them was fixed at me, what could be the reason, is she interested in me? We kept staring at them, and before they could take a turn to their right and disappear into their classrooms she turned her gaze towards me again. My friends asked me, ‘Do you know that girl?’ ‘No man, I am seeing her for the first time, you guys know her?’ Brahma, one of my friend replied, ‘I know her, she has a twin sister too, she is from H.S. final year, but I don’t know her name’. ‘Guys hold on to your nerves, I don’t think she was looking at me, why would she?’ ‘We clearly saw what happened man’. I hid my excitement, and I could hardly believe in the serendipity amidst the nonchalant gossips.

After that day, we would cross by each other several times unplanned, at the corridor, on the way while changing rooms to attend our subjects, and several times on the link road towards Icon College. Every time we would pass by each other we would manage to sneak a look, and immediately look away as if our eyes were searching for an imaginary being somewhere else. I also made some deliberate attempts to catch her glimpse, and when our eyes would meet I would sigh.

That day there was an utter chaos in the college premises, few students of Hindustan College brushed up with the seniors from our college, eventually it turned into a brawl and later became ugly. The administration immediately took an action against these ruckus. In the meanwhile we were enjoying the whole affair with lots of enthusiasm, it was actually fun to witness them fight, and like us there were sea of people watching the drama. I didn’t realize the girl with whom I have been exchanging glances was right beside me, and she didn’t know that I was standing next to her. I decided to ask her name, so I gathered some courage and turned towards her, but she was not there. She already left, I saw her in some distance, but I decided that I would call her out, ‘Hey, excuse me’, but by then the noise grew back and my voice fainted somewhere in between. But she did hear me, she turned and looked at me, I could see her subtle smile. She disappeared in the crowd. I guess that was enough for me to fall for her.

As the second year’s bachelor exams were approaching we became busy with our preparations. I didn’t see much of her except on few occasions, but somehow I didn’t get the chance to talk to her.

Exams got over, results were announced and we were off to a brand new beginning of the final year of bachelor’s degree. It’s funny but somehow I couldn’t get to know her name yet, but soon she would reveal her name to me herself. I happened to attend a two days’ workshop on Personality Development, and yes she was one of participants too. We were each asked to go in front and stand against the large number of participants and introduce ourselves. I was already glued to my seat and waited for her turn, ‘Hello everyone, my name is Ankita…’ I couldn’t concentrate on rest of the words being said. Finally, from a nameless damsel I have an adjective that I can call her with. But I didn’t see her at the college at all after the workshop.

Exams were approaching us again, and what better way to catch her glimpse again and maybe give myself a chance to approach her and at least strike a conversation. I didn’t know what was there in her mind but let me give it a try and see what was there in her mind. I took out the schedule of their exam-dates, and I decided that I will reach college early and wait for her. I saw her approaching towards the entrance-gate, she had the same intense gaze towards me, I said, ‘Hey…hi, you’ve got exams from today?!…I just wanted to wish you’. She looked a bit puzzled and replied, ‘I don’t know you’. Definitely, I was taken aback, I mean she doesn’t have to recognize me but she could have responded in a different manner, well it certainly hurt my ego. But I consoled myself…I was sure that it was perhaps the panic of the exams that lead to her erratic reaction. C’mon, I meant no harm, I was just there and did nothing adventurous but only wished her.

A month and a half later when we were just killing time in the afternoon near the tea corner, Doley tapped me on my shoulders and said, ‘Hey look, there goes your girl’. It was our one of the last weeks in the college, and in that trepidation I knew that if I don’t get to know what’s going on in her head I might have to live the rest of my life in that mystery. I hurried quickly and walked towards her, somehow I felt this is probably my final chance to know, I called her out, ‘Hey, excuse me…Ankita…’, she turned back and she replied, ‘Yes?’. ‘Hmmm…I just wanted to know something…can we sit for a coffee or so…’ ‘Look, I don’t know you, and stop disturbing me, I am busy right now’. ‘No, no, Ankita, I don’t mean to disturb you but just wanted to…’ She cut me short and said, ‘Please, don’t disturb me’. She left me there in the middle of the road, and I looked around to check whether people are laughing at me from a corner. I was ashamed with embarrassment, being ignored can be such humiliating acts of humankind. I trudged back to my friend, he asked me, ‘What took you so long?’ ‘Nothing man, I guess I misunderstood her, forget it, let’s have tea’. Only my heart understood that it broke into million pieces one more time. The seek of the Libra men continued…

(Featured image is a downloaded image from google images)


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