“Let’s see, where was I then? Ah I remember…the girl! She was dark, was a wee bit plump…..and had disobedient curly locks that fell all around her rather roundish face often blocking her bespectacled vision. Her face was freckled but pleasant, mainly because of her large black eyes and though the frizz never died in her hair….it gave her a natural look!”
“ Mom!” I interrupted! “ seriously! She doesn’t have to look like me! She can be beautiful, for god’s sake! It doesn’t matter!”
“Oh no! She didn’t look like you! Trust me, she looked like that in the first place! That is how she was…..she was a very very very lonely child, inspite of having 2 siblings and…”, she cast a reproachful look at us, “she believed neither in magic, nor in miracles. She thought fairy tales were lies and happy endings were bullshit! She was a dedicated criticizer of romantic literature and the only books she liked were action comics! She never listened to her parents, as a principle and took out her frustration on her friends which made her lonelier and more frustrated! All in all, she was a rebel without a cause!”
“Bad girl”, my brother muttered, “bad is cool!”
“It was a sunny day as she crossed the bridge across the river that ran close to the college. All she could see around her were green fields, the wind caressing the ears of corn and the huge river that meandered through the landscape like a silver ribbon. Far away, the violet mountains rose in glory, their tops shrouded in mist and fog. What kind of place is this! She thought! So bloody rural! How would I survive even 24 hours out here!”
“oh!”, I said…. “so mean! Who would not like such a beautiful place!”
“Well, children…..she was from a big city! Obviously it was a huge disappointment for her and mind you, it was an age without mobile phones, laptops and internets. The closest phone booth was about half a kilometre away from the campus! What struck her as she entered through the gates of the campus was the abundance of some unknown golden flowers that bloomed all around. It was almost midsummer…and the place was ablaze with the flowers, called sonajhuri, as she was to know after a few months. The college building with its lecture theatres stood out in the middle like a picture, neatly done up in navy blue and pristine white. It reminded her of school somehow….and she always detested school, partly because she had no friends and partly because she was eternally an eyesore of the teachers due to her meaningless, and often abusive pranks on her classmates. Doesn’t matter, she thought, defiantly…it will be all right. I shall make it all right.”
“mom, she’s taking all the blanket!”, my brother complained….but my mother wasn’t listening. She was at another place, another time, where a lost teenager struggled to fit into an unaccustomed life.
“It was an otherwise very dull rainy afternoon that it happened. A week after her admission, the classes had started full throttle and there was no rest even though the nor westers howled through the trees and foliage and produced a peculiar sound on the telegraph wires. She was already running late for her classes. She hurried to the lecture theatre and tried to fold her umbrella but it was as obstinate as a mule! It just turned upside down and no matter how hard she tried, it just would not obey. Damn! She thought. The class had already begun as she could gather by the closed doors. What shall I do!
Close by, a boy was watching, seated snugly on the corridor, just out of reach of the rain. He was evidently amused to see this frizzy haired bespectacled girl battle valiantly with a brand new umbrella. Then he rose, folded the book he was reading, and walked over to her. She didn’t notice him at first, she was so busy with the umbrella, and then suddenly she felt his presence. She looked up….beads of perspiration had gathered on her forehead and under her lips, and her nose and cheeks were flushed owing to the stressful battle. He was standing, there, hands in his pocket…it seemed he had been fair a long time ago in childhood , but too much sun had burnt him copper all over except his left wrist, where he perhaps wore a wrist watch usually. His expressive black eyes roared with silent laughter at her plight….and squeezed between his rather sharp nose and chin was a good natured dimpled lopsided grin!”
“excuse me,”, the girl said crossly..her nose flaring in anger and her eyebrows arched in sarcasm…. “is it your way to laugh at strangers? Or I am clown in a circus!”
“ none!” he replied…. And without asking, he took the umbrella from her hands. The unfaithful umbrella behaved like a pet animal to him, folding itself into sleep like a wicked bat in the daytime. “ Th….th….there you go!” he stammered, and then handing over her umbrella, he said….. “ by the way, is it your way to behave rudely with strangers? Or I have offended you in some way!” Without waiting for an answer, he turned back and walked slowly back along the corridor, until his tall frame disappeared at the other end.