Usually, I carry a book with me while travelling in bus.
If I miss the book, I’ll be hooked on to music constantly, earphones plugged in, limiting social interactions only to give money to the conductor and collecting the tickets.
The usual DTC is characterised as overcrowded, uneasy, barbaric environment with sweaty bodies rubbing against each other and the aura of crotch smell oscillating through. But somehow, I still prefer the bus over Metro.
I’m most comfortable if I get a seat near the window, so that I can avoid whoever sits beside. Not that I have a problem with awkward eye contacts and heavy elderly folk blocking my way out, I just don’t like people.
There are the retired old men boasting about their hay-days sitting comfortably in the seat while you struggle to find a place to stand properly and breathe at the same time. If I don’t get a seat, my favorite spot to stand would be the middle of the bus. Otherwise people would pull and disturb my peace, in their hurry to get down or get in, trampling and rushing through you like a maniac in a stampede.
That day was different.
I had forgotten my book and my mobile was constantly yelling the *battery is about to die* warning at my disappointed face. I always had my doubts over battery life of these supposed smartphones, but time and again they prove me right, receiving martyrdom by the end of the day.
It was raining and I had to pull the window shutter near my seat down. The fogged glass and smudgy stuck raindrops effectively blocking my view. So there I was, like a cockroach trapped in a box, restless and not knowing what to do.
As I looked about, I found a sleeping beauty in the front seat, with a pair of love birds beside her. I turned around, to find an old lady carrying a huge shopping bag yakking in her cell phone in the seat behind me.
But when I turned back, there was a girl occupying the seat beside me which was vacant a second ago.
Now like any other boy, I do gaze at girls. But, may be because of the realization that I don’t deserve a chance even for a simple flirting, cursing at my rather underdeveloped masculine charm, I limit myself to looking at them, or ranking their ‘hotness’ in terms of apparent features.
People have always managed to do that in a way that no one notices, especially the girls who you’re looking at, to avoid that sure shot slap. Well, it surely is an embarrassing moment if one of those girls look back at you and you’d try to turn away your face as if nothing had happened.
But this time it was different. I had no better thing to do and there she was sitting right there beside me.
Though the risk of getting slapped was high, I found the courage to carefully observe her from the side of my eye.
She must have been the same age as me, at least looked like.
She was wearing a purple turtleneck sweater and black jeans. And I swear she was looking gorgeous.
She had a blue bag, which was, for sure, not the kind girls would usually carry.
Her high cheekbones, a thick, black framed spectacle and carelessly put hair would instantaneously prompt you to label her a geek.
She cared less for the world, and her eyes were glued to the Rubik’s Cube that she had.
Her fingers were playing with them, a twist, and she would see it sideways.
Again a twist.
She was pondering over the thousand variations to get the right set of colors. She was never disappointed, nor tired of the mental exercise. Her face told that she would not give up.
I noticed her lips.
There was a smile left in her lips, and I assumed it to be the inner joy she felt from heart in doing what she loved.
Her hair was flying above her ears, in the mild breeze that came through the doors.
By this time, I had forgotten about the slap I might receive, and started to really stare at her.
Her hands were furiously working and her eyes seemed sparkling. I knew she was going to make it, when she did not care about the raindrops that fell on her forehead and neck. She did not even wipe them away, but just continued to look at the cube.
And then suddenly she went still and I looked at her hands.
The cube was done.
She was grinning like a baby with utmost happiness. A brilliant aura was emanating from her. Her smile was the most radiant thing I had ever seen.
My forefathers must have been seeing this, and one of them, who is kind enough, whispered in my ear to lace up and talk to her.
I don’t know from where I got the courage, but a slap was not that scary anymore.
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