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.
“You completed it! Wow! That’s amazing” I said.
The insane gut to speak to a girl was ruling me, the feeling which I never knew.
She turned her face at me. Her gaze was genuine and indifferent.
“Oh yeah! Thank you! I have been trying it for a while.” She replied with an innocent smile.
“I don’t know how you completed it so fast! That’s great!” I said
“Hey, there is a technique. Come here, I’ll show you” she laughed and said, maintaining her childish accent.
She wiped the water beads off her face.
By this time, that forefather must have cast another spell on me, and I forgot to rank her hotness and physical features.
I got so mazed staring into her deep eyes that I just couldn’t pay attention to anything she was mentioning.
Not that I was interested in it.
Especially not when I had someone much more interesting blabbering a hundred words per minute that went completely over my head. I do not consider myself a genius but she had me feeling a bit dim-witted. Exactly the feeling Penny would get while talking to Leonard Hofstader.
Generally, I put traffic jams at third on my hate-list after slow internet and Chetan Bhagat. But that day, I thanked my forefathers a million times in my head for the so little shower needed to metamorphize the Delhi roads into a fucking lake.
She went on and on and on and all I did was nod my head with eyes fixating at the same pretty face all the time. But right as I was about to strike a rather meaningful conversation (about the weather), she had a sudden outburst of four consecutive massive sneezes and took her bag, hurried away to get off at the stop.
I was still mesmerised, so had no way to react to her astounded reaction, figuring how to proceed back to normal life as a gigantic aunty with a bindi larger than my asshole on her face sat down beside me and jibber-jabbered about the vegetable vendors being unfair to her.
I went on the same bus every day, for the next 18 days, with absolutely no reason.
Only in hope, that I might just accidentally see her once again.
But I never got a chance to see that beautiful nerdy face another time.
Just the random overcrowded, uneasy, barbaric environment with sweaty bodies of oversized aunties every time. I couldn’t concentrate on reading the book again because all I could think about was her.
Damn, the forefathers always find a way to screw a hopeless romantic.
Bitch should’ve at least told me her name.