She was late! First day at the University.. She was dashing to class. She had overslept!
He was there, standing alone in the corner of the corridor. She went past him. He seemed oblivious to what was happening.. There was something about him. He raised his head as she was passing by, he was staring at her, his eyes piercing hers. She gave him a quick glance. He wore a red and white checked shirt and a light stone washed blue jean. He had beads on his wrist, lots of rings on his fingers, a big diamond on one ear and a thick gold chain shone on his dark skin. He had a somewhat goatee and his eyes were piercing. He had a book of poems among a pile in his arms and a backpack hung from his shoulders. It was her first day at the university and she was much too excited to investigate him any further for she had finally secured a seat in her ‘dream’ University and she didn’t want to miss a moment being welcomed..
The first week was filled with boring introductions and orientations. Her fellow students were a mixed bunch; people from hip background to simple village folk. She preferred pretending to be reserved and quiet as opposed to her flamboyant nature.They all seemed nice in their own way, she was determined not to make friends but to keep them as distant acquaintances.
A month went by, her true self was unintentionally radiated. People were drawn to her no matter how hard she tried to stay away. And soon she made friends and there she was: Miss Popular!
She would notice him often, under a tree, in the library or on the corridor; lost in thought with a book or two and typing on his laptop or scribbling away some deep thoughts. He didn’t seem the studious types and she was sure that they weren’t notes he was taking down! There was something so mysterious about him. He carried a camera around clicking random pictures. He was a dreamer and seldom cared about the people around him or so she assumed. He seemed pensive most times and had shyed away from any kind of interaction.
Weeks later, the seniors were trying to interact with the juniors. It didn’t interest her. She stood there in the corner fiddling with her mobile. A senior called out to her, “Hey! So what’s your name?” As much as she loved it, she hated her height as it always gave people a chance to notice her without much effort and that left her with no choice but to reciprocate their greeting or indulge in lame conversations. She took time, playing it cool, looked up and had this air that did put off most people, “Swarna”, she replied and went back to fiddling her mobile. Funnily she didn’t offend her senior. Her senior continued the conversation, “Heard you and I share something common” . Swarna was disinterested and her senior seemed to be the talkative types, “And that will be….?” Swarna looked at her quizzically. “Oh! Our mother tongue”, she announced. Somehow that similarity arose a feeling of belonging. “Ah! That’s nice..” replied Swarna. “I am Becky” , she introduced herself with a wide grin. She introduced other seniors and the corridor was bustling with juniors and seniors chatting away. As she was turning around to go back to class; she sensed those eyes again.. She looked up from her mobile and he finally smiled..He had a very calming effect when he smiled, it was genuine and child like. She returned a smile. He had muscled up courage to walk up to her, “Hey I’m Paul”, he said with a swag. She blushed and introduced herself. He felt very familiar, like she already knew him for a long time and it didn’t seem too hard to get along. He did hold a guard and had this wall built around him, but she wasn’t interested in digging deeper at the moment. Ever since, they’d pass each other, they would smile or initiate small talk. It seemed unnatural for either of them to small talk, yet there was this nagging urge they shared to have a conversation and that was a good start.
Swarna’s classmate, Penny was related to Paul and he was invited to her engagement a month later. Swarna was dressed in a saree, a yellow one embellished with thread and stones, not the gaudy kinds though. Her soft wavy hair bounced on her shoulders . She was getting her Mehendi done when he entered. He wore a brown black shiny kurta and a dark colored jeans. He waved and she nodded. He walked towards his friends. Suddenly they were teasing him and all she could see was, him blushing. They refused to tell her what they talked about.. He offered to help her eat; one thing led to another and before they realized, they were best friends.
They started talking, common topics: books and music. He was a huge fan of Tupac. Tupac was a Gemini and so was she. They would talk on the corridors or sneak out of class to go sit in the library and read books. The university library was huge, not just big, but huge! They would take long walks in the beach or inside the campus.
He hadn’t turned up to class for almost a week. They never exchanged numbers and she didn’t know how to ask his class mates. They seemed very conservative and they definitely wouldn’t be open to a ‘girl’asking a ‘boy’s’ number. She waited for him to get in touch, and it just didn’t happen.
She checked her mobile every ten minutes hoping he would have asked someone her number. She gave up and distracted herself online. She was checking Facebook and with a ‘ding’ she received a request, she didn’t recognise him. It was Paul! She took a closer look and instantly accepted his request. She hastily typed out a message “You fool! Where have you been? I have been worried sick”, he cooly replied, “wanna go to the movies tomorrow?”. She accepted without thinking twice.
They finally exchanged numbers. They texted all night. Their conversations were never ending. Somehow they never ran out of topics. They got closer each day and they were inseperable.