Having a sip of steaming coffee I turned a page of newspaper. I saw outside the window, where a few kids were playing and few aged people were chattering while returning home from their regular morning walk. The clock struck 8. I hurriedly drank my coffee and pulled my bag to leave for office.
Bus had already arrived. I climbed up and took a seat. I was about to put my phone in bag when it suddenly rung. It was some unknown number.
“Hello.. Can I please talk to Mr. Aashir ?” asked a gentlemanly voice.
“Yes.. Aashir here. May I know who this is?” I asked.
“Ohh Mr. Cold blooded!! You have started sounding like an old man now..” he said and giggled. I could here a few people laughing around him.
“Are you by any means… Rehan?” I almost screamed. I may not always recognize their voices but I always remembered the nick names my friends used for me. And I was really glad to hear those nick names, how so ever dumb and irritating they sounded.
“Oo yeah man..” he said and laughed out loud.
We chatted for a long time till I reached my destination and left the bus. He told me that there was a big surprise for me which I would be receiving in a day or two. And the next day as Rehan had said, I received a flight ticket. And the date mentioned on the ticket was exactly after one month.
It was still dawn when I stepped out of the cab and walked towards the entry gate of the Delhi airport. The early morning February air was pleasantly cold.
I was travelling to Bangalore to attend a college friend’s wedding. It had been four years since we graduated from the same college. This wedding was also going to be a reunion of our batch mates. But what I didn’t know was that the reunion would begin much ahead of time; right at the queue in front of the airline counter.
I was almost sure it was she. Same height! Same long hair! Same complexion! Curiosity had my eyes glued to her. And then about 60-odd seconds later, when she turned, she proved me right. My ex-girlfriend stood two places ahead of me in that queue. We had never met after the college farewell.
She was waving at other friends who had come to guide us to the hotel. I couldn’t help smiling as I saw her laughing and clapping while she chattered with everyone.
“Aashir.. Bro how are you?” said one of the friends and soon all the bunch of them were standing by my side. She was standing a little away with other girls, unknown about my presence. All were asking me about my job and progress. One of them gave me a little push as I didn’t reply to any of their questions for quite long.
“Bro you are totally spacing out.” Said one friend.
“Yeah.. Are you still in shock that you passed your college with mighty 62%?” Said another one and everyone burst in laughter.
I was still unaware why everyone was laughing so hard. I couldn’t move my eyes from her.
“Asmi..” I blurted out before I could stop myself.
Everyone paused and gazed at me.
I almost froze to death when she turned to face me. Her big deep eyes with bluish tinge, I could never find eyes like hers throughout my life. Her big eyelashes, perfectly curved lips and prepossessing carved body always left me stunned. She was coming in my direction! I was so demented about her reaction. I just couldn’t make out what she would think or say after such a long time. Maybe she had changed after all this years and wouldn’t much talk to me. Maybe she will just…
“Oh! Look who’s here. Hello Aashir.” Her voice broke my chain of thoughts. She winsomely smiled looking at me. “I don’t think she has changed at all” I said to myself and smirked. “Hello Asmi.” I quickly said. We all chatted for a while and left for the resort later.
I was walking leisurely on the grass, barefooted, the next morning.
“You still wake up so early” Asmi said as she took her shoes off and joined me. “So..How’s your life? Married?” she asked.
“Nah..” I replied.
“Hooked up?” she questioned in an obvious tone.
“Not either.” I said rolling my eyes.
“Seriously? Then.. Crush?” she asked excitedly.
“Nope kid.” I said patting her head. She giggled and gave me a little push.
We were just the same after all this time. I felt comfortable with her, always. I remember how we used to sit together in either girls’ or boys’ row. We were an example of bestest buddies for the whole university. We were not only college mates or class mates but also, mischief mates, bunk mates, study mates, ok-ok marks mates, fun mates and all sort of mates one can imagine of. We totally loved each other.
And I also remember how I jumbled the two different loves and almost ruined our friendship. I was so confused if I loved her like a best friend or like a lover. I tried to analyze but nothing helped in settling my confusion. On my insisting, we tried to be in relationship for about a month. But it didn’t work out, for her. And we broke up. She always tried to explain me that we were best buddies and not any typical love birds. And I never told her that I was comfortable with the relationship. But everything got alright anyways. And today we are still standing beside each other the same way we used to, in past.
“Please shut up!” her voice cracked through my thoughts and brought me back from trance of old memories.
“huh?” I surprisingly said with a questioning face.
“Your thoughts.. They are so much noisy!” She said and laughed loudly.
I joined in her laugh. I felt so nostalgic. After all these years, I was not unhappy that she didn’t love me like boyfriend. Rather I was delighted that we still shared a special bond though we didn’t call or text each other in all the past years. It seemed like we had met just the other day in college!
Gradually everybody woke up and the place became all noisy just like our classrooms used to be. The ceremony continued till evening. There were few more events the next day but I had to leave.
Before I left for Delhi I met Asmi. “Thanks for all those moments. I will always cherish them.” I said mimicking her voice.
“You people are the ones whom I will never forget. And especially you Asmi.” She too mimicked my voice and winked. And then we laughed so hard that she almost lost her breath.
These were the lines we said at our college’s farewell four years ago. Just like that day, today also we ended our journey of togetherness on the same note.