My sincere apologies for the long gap between episodes, so I start of the episode with gist of what has happened so far to get you connected.
[Char left her home town to pursue her engineering degree in Delhi – Her first day in Delhi had one of the most embarrassing things for her – Char met Dev – In college Char meets Dev again – Within a course of 3 months they become good friends – Char steps in, to smooth things between Dev & his girlfriend – she later realizes that she had fallen for Dev and feels helpless]
Chapter seven: You belong with me
I was waiting near the gate with a back pack and 5 liter water can in hand. I couldn’t get enough sleep the previous night, thoughts about Dev kept me awake. I stood there like zombie gazing at the deserted road leading to the library. We should be vacating the hostel before 12 noon for the management to carry out its maintenance activities. We were aware of that so we initially had plans to visit the red fort, do some shopping and then get to the railway station, now, considering Dev’s heath condition I suggested Plan B -head to the station and check into the waiting lobby(do absolutely nothing). “Hey” Dev chirped as he walked towards me. “Sorry, kept you waiting. What about breakfast?” “The canteen isn’t functioning, we were informed about that!” I reminded Dev. “Oh yea, No probs, lets book a Taxi, will have our breakfast near the station” he took out his mobile and started entering details in the app. I stood there thinking about stuffs to talk, something or the other so that I don’t give him a chance to pick up a conversation about the previous night. For sometime I tried to look busy with my mobile but I couldn’t resist looking at him, every possible second. I could feel the love waves doing its rounds in my tummy. “Miss you too, XOXO” I peeped into his mobile as he sat beside me in the taxi, He was texting Tania. Tania had a completely different academic pattern as she belonged to the architecture department, her exams were due next week and during this period of separation their mobiles will do the canoodling. “Good for me” I thought, jealousy seeping into me, slowly.
We found a south Indian restaurant opposite to the New Delhi railway station. The eatery looked very small with four tables and four chairs each. The aroma of agarpathi filled the place. Around fifteen portraits of Hindu deities were pinned to the wall in a neat row. The place looked more like an astrologer’s hide out than a hotel. The hotel had all the tables occupied, some didn’t mind to have their breakfast standing. “1 set of Idli, one Onion Dosa” Dev placed the order to waiter. He always knew what I like. I turned to the sound of plate clattering. “Idli, Dosa” The waiter chanted. “That was fast”, my hungry stomach grinned at the plate. I ‘broke’ a piece of Dosa- it was way too crispy, I felt like I was munching on some wafer biscuit. Dev noticed my reaction and gave a sly smile. “Don’t you smile Dev, You look extremely hot when you do that!” I thought to myself. “Here eat this”, He pushed a piece of idli into my mouth, I couldn’t resist. I sat there looking at him and melting in love. “What is it now?” Dev asked “Your plate is empty and what are still trying to catch there?” he caught me. “I finished my Dosa?” I had no idea how those extremely crispy pieces tore into my esophagus.
Our breakfast was complete with a south Indian filter coffee. We entered the railway station and walked pass our first meeting spot. We burst into laughter, gaining attention from few passers by. We then trailed along the platform and located the waiting room. Dev made a cushion out of his luggage and spread his legs over it. He then got into his routine of giving live updates to his girlfriend. The place was crowded yet I felt lonely, “I just wish I could break your mobile Dev” I thought. When we are in a confused state and looking for answers one doesn’t need any third person to trigger things up, five solitary minutes will do. My brain started to spin the yarn. “I am so much into this man and what about him? Am I so good in hiding my feelings or is it that Dev didn’t bother to notice the change in me or just chose to ignore, I really want to know what he thinks about me” my eyes closed gradually forcing me to dump the reality and dive into sleep.
I woke up to loud snoring by my side, it was Dev, and he was still sleeping. The waiting room had its new set of passengers waiting for their train. Some made mats out of the newspaper and were sound a sleep on it, some were busy with their mobile. A gang of twenty was unboxing their eatables getting ready for a treat. I looked at the big clock hung above the entrance of the waiting room. “6:05”, we were asleep for 6 L-O-N-G hours, I did wake up in the middle but it was only 2 by then, Dev was sleeping so I chose not to disturb him and went back to sleep. “Dev wake up its 6, our train reaches New Delhi by 6:20” I shook him. “What? 6?” Dev sat up rubbing his hands together, “don’t worry we’ve got time, Lets head to the platform” he said as he yawned.
We were there at the right time, “Seat number 11 and 14” Dev reminded me as I squeezed through the mob. Our bay was already occupied except for our seats. We arranged our bags in the upper birth, I secured mine with a chain lock as a custom I always follow when I travel. “Yes Dad I will reach Chennai by 7:30 day after tomorrow.” “Okay bye, take care” I wished as I could see the train part from the station. The two nights and one day journey was so entertaining. Thanks to the lovely kids from the adjacent bay, We spent most of the time playing UNO and they were also cute enough to share their tab with me. I played the subway surfer for the first time. There were so many embarrassing moments when they laughed at my video gaming skills. Dev as usual was busy with his mobile. He borrowed my power bank and choked it to death. That didn’t deter him, he stood by the charging point all evening fidgeting with his mobile. It was 5 in the morning I was the only one awake in my bay. I learnt that our train was running an hour late. I overheard the conversation between two RPFs as they were passing by my birth. Dev was fast asleep with his ear phones still on. I noticed that his mobile was at the verge of falling so I stretched to grab it. I unplugged the earphones and kept his mobile with me. I spent few minutes looking into the profile picture of his friends in WhatsApp, Most of them were girls and all of them were good looking. While scrolling down the contacts I happened to accidently open a conversation. I was quick to press the back button but then realized that I got a glimpse of my name being mentioned there. The conversation was between James and Dev, James was Dev’s best buddy from school, He mentioned about him when ever he spoke about his childhood. My curiosity tricked me to re-open the Chat window. It was a long conversation. After scrolling for 15 seconds I found the relevant start for their conversation.
“Did I just read Dev calling me cute?” I re-checked the conversation. I couldn’t stop grinning. I turned to check on Dev, he was still asleep. “Low Battery” his mobile vibrated to warn. I tried to scroll faster and continued reading.
I placed his mobile carefully into his back pack. I laid there trying to recollect the conversation I just read. “Few things,important things were spoken over the phone, I wish I could connect the dots” I sat there breaking my head. “I inferred two things from this broken conversation.
- Dev is not sure about his relationship with Tania
- He finds me different, He likes me.
Putting these together my brain senses that some thing is going to happen in my favor” I started to day dream. “You cannot jump into conclusions Char” my instinct pulled me down. “I’ll speak things out to Dev, but what if things turn the other way round. What if he gets mad at me for reading his conversations?” So many questions began to tweeze my brain. When in love you have to be cautious, when your love is one sided you have to be super extra cautious, cause you are yet to earn your place there. “Good morning” I jerked hearing his voice, “What time is it?” I kept numb, didn’t reply. “Hey” he raised his tone. “Late…we are running late” I stammered. He climbed down his birth and walked to the rest room. “Go now Char, you will never get a chance like this, there is no one around the rest room, Go!” the motivation grew. I walked to the rest room determined to clear things about Tania and me. “Dev come out” I banged on the door asking him to come out of the restroom. A little pause will drive me off to square one so I was in a hurry to blurt my emotions before the sprit in me would fade. Dev unlocked the door and stood there perplexed. I pulled to him to a side. “What” Dev tried to sound slow, the whole compartment was quite. My words were all piled up near the voice box and denied coming out. I stood very close to him, I could feel his heart beating. “Char??” He placed his palms on my cheeks, in a ready-to-kiss posture (unintentionally). I started to breath heavily. “What’s wrong?” Dev enquired brushing away few strands of hair from my face. “Nothing” I said and rose on my toes to lock his lips with mine. “What are you doing Char? This one was not on your cards” the inner me tried to distract. I gave no heed and got hold to Dev,even stronger.
…..To be continued