I was cycling my way back from college to home. It was prelim time and today was the last paper. Eager to reach home early and catch some sleep I decided to leave the campus premises without wasting a single minute. So there I was ready to cycle my way back home with much excitement on face and a big smile as the paper was pretty good.
 
It usually takes thirty minutes in the afternoon to cycle but being Sunday the road was deserted. I heaved a sigh of relief on seeing the deserted road and decided to speed up a little. The road was built in a shape of a hill but not very steep. I paddled upwards with ease and relaxed as the rubber hit the slope.
 
I could hear someone from behind honking continuously. I wondered why would someone honk when am riding on the side end of the road leaving enough space for even a bus to pass and moreover there is no traffic on the road too!! I sensed the vehicle approaching towards me as the sound of the horn increased every second.
 
The next moment I lay alongside the road with my left side bruised while the right side hang from the cycle as the cycle was caught between the left and right.
 
‘Sorry, Sorry, Sorry’, ‘I’m so sorry’. I heard someone say sorry but ignoring it I tried to look at the bruises and stand up on my feet. A soft hand touched my right arm helping me to get up while the lips humming the sorry rhyme. I turned my face to look who the person was and…
 

Ek ladki ko dekho toh aisa laga

 Jaise khilta gulab
 Jaise shayar ka khwab
 Jaise ujali kiran
 Jaise bun mein hiran
 Jaise chandni raat”
 
… and it seemed magic! Green eyes, neatly done eye brows, long open hair falling on her left side, with cute dimples, half dupatta flying in the air and half tucked under her arms as I lay still.  
 
I smiled rather blushed as she continued with her sorry rhyme.
 
‘You wear lenses?’, I asked.
 
‘What?’, she replied
 
Ignoring her reply, I continued in excitement. ‘Wow! You look so beautiful!’
 
‘Ouch!’, I shouted as she pinched hardly allowing me to gather my senses and stand up on my feet. ‘Thank God! I didn’t make my feelings evident’, I said to myself. ‘I’m so sorry. I am learning to ride my scooty and instead of applying brakes, I accelerated’, she explained to me. ‘But I was continuously honking, you see’, she continued adding that it wasn’t her fault.
 
Girls are allowed to be excused and if the girl is prettier than there are all the reason to excuse her mistake. And thus I said, ‘It’s ok. It happens.’ ‘Bade bade desho mein aise choti choti cheez hoti rehti hain’, I added with a smile. She also returned with a big smile highlighting her dimples.
 
‘I am Sujal’, I replied as she asked for my name.
 
‘Myself Heena’, she replied to my non existing question.
 
Plenty of exchanges followed after that as we parted ways for our respective homes.
 
*****
 
(After few months)
 
My final year exams kept me really busy and it was time for me to to chill and relax. I could not forget that Sunday afternoon. I wanted to know her more but the thought of exams and scoring high percentage took the front seat. So now it was time for ‘Mission I Love you or not’.
 
The next morning I woke up to a call which read Heena. A sudden rush of emotions held me for a moment as I pressed the green button.
 
Me: Hello
 
She: Hiee!! How are you doing? How were your exams? What are you planning to do now? Had your lunch? Why are you not speaking, Sujal? Sujal, are you there?
 
I was bombarded with questions just as Sonali Bendre bombards Aamir Khan with questions in the movie Sarfarosh. And I like Sonali Bendre, I said to myself. Infact I like all the persons who speaks a lot as I speak less thus compensating and balancing it. A feel of happiness erupted in me as she speaks more compared to me.
 
Me:Yeah, yeah I am there.
 
She: So what are you doing?
 
Me: Just woke up from deep slumber.
 
She: Hmmm…. Hope you had a sound sleep Sujal.
 
There was something in the way she pronounced my name, Suuuujaallll. Something unique which no one had till date called me and I liked the amount of smile and flirting she brought in my name.
 
Me: Yes, had a good sound sleep after months.
 
The conversation continued for almost half an hour which travelled through hobbies, career aspiration and marriage along with idhar udhar ki baatein. The only thing that left me bemused was how did she knew about my exams. That means she had her eyes on me from the day we met!! Oh My God! Unbelievale!! Heena had her eyes on me!! (My eyes brightened as I concluded this.) So that means she also likes me, like I do! ‘Aag udhar bhi lagi hain!!‘. (I concluded and left for a bath.)
 

‘Wanna be my Chammak Challo’ is the song which I am singing since morning, was the SMS I had just received. To which I flirtatiously reply ‘Wanna be your Chammak Challo, O O O.’  This was followed by a smiley and a text ‘Lets meet at 5 in the evening at CCD near to your college’. To which I replied with a big YES!
 
My mind was preoccupied with her thoughts asking questions and answering all by itself. So now what to do? Shall I wait or tell those three golden words? How will she react? No, she won’t react in an opposite way, I asserted myself. The question and answer session which was going on abruptly came to a stop because of this…
 
Dil hain ke maanta nahin
Mushkil badi hain rasme mohabbat
Yeh jaanta hi nahin
 
…the song played loudly by my mom on the mp3 player.
 
I left everything and with some wicked smile on my face I went to check out the clothes which can be worn for the evening.
 
*****
 
I was dressed in my favourite maroon coloured shirt and a dark blue jeans. I reached CCD before time so as to make an impression on her. I took the corner table and sat facing the road with a bouquet of red roses. ‘It was almost 5 and she should come any time now’, I said to myself. And within minutes of clock striking 5, she entered CCD and looked for me. I waved at her and she looked drop dead gorgeous.
 
Mouth left wide open, eyes staring at her; completely smitten by the way she looked. Somehow I managed to control my emotions once again and as a gentleman pulled the chair for her to sit. Words deserted me as she sat in front of me. Dressed impeccably in a pink kurta churidar set, hair again left open, falling on the front right side with a big smile showcasing her dimples, she looked nothing short of an actress.
 
Today even she was silent expecting me to start the conversation. I started complimenting about her looks, style, the way of talking especially pronouncing my name, what had happened on that Sunday as I started to pour my heart, my feelings for her. She was all ears to me with a pleasant smile when suddenly I heard this…
 
Tujhe dekha toh yeh jaana sanam
Pyar hota hain deewana sanam,
Ab yahan se kaha jaye hum,
Teri baaho mein mar jaaye hum…
 
On hearing this I thought that this should be a good opportunity to say those golden words and I automatically bow down in front of her, hold her right hand and with bouquet of roses I said those golden words, ‘I Love You’. A sense of satisfaction ran through me as I conveyed my feelings although there was a fear about her reaction to this. ‘I know probably I might have jumped the gun but better to say it early than regret later’, I told myself upon quickly sitting back on my chair.
 
 What will it be? A simple smile? A slap? Or plain walk out? All these questions took over my mind and suddenly I was left speechless.
 

Humne tumko dekha

Tumne humko dekha aise
Saato janam
Milte rahe ho jaise
 
Heena was singing this song which sounded so soulful and immediately I took her in my arms and once again whispered in her ears ‘I Love You’.
 
That evening we talked more and more about how we felt when we first met. Then a break and a sudden eruption of feelings towards eachother.
 
*****
 
It was an evening to remember. A day to cherish. Probably one of the best days of my life and Heena’s too as I stood on a hill top nearby a river thinking how would it be if we were still together.
 



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