The profound animosity of the rain continued. But for Saarang, it was the most enthralling season. Rain meant love and love meant rain. While many threw profanities at the rain for causing floods and storms, he amicably danced his way through the clogged streets, hoping to find love in the rain. Deep inside his heart, he knew that would never happen. For he was a swarthy guy with a tight bound spectacles around his eyes, which made him unappealing. Though he was a sophomore engineering student, no girl had ever talked to him. He was somewhere a speck of dust amidst the hoards of handsome guys. He dreamt about love and that was where he faltered. Love never came in search of him. Neither did he go in search of love. Dwelling a simple middle class life, he craved for the luxuries that an opulent life offered.
Presently, he was enjoying the rain, with a wide smile. And then the next moment, he bumped into Roshni, the girl who was his long time crush. “Hey dumbo! Are you blind?” yelled Roshni.
“Sorry Rosh, I was enjoying the rain with closed eyes. I failed to notice you” said Saarang, with an apologetic face.
“Get lost! Don’t be in my sight. I hate to see your face, especially in rainy evenings like this.”
Those words hurt him a lot. Though Roshni was just a crush, he felt like a crumpled piece of paper in front of her. He vowed to himself that he would never ever look at her. He reached his home with a heavy heart.
“Beta, why have you drenched yourself?” asked his mom. But he did not reply her and moved away.
“Why are you not answering me? Any problem?”
“Leave me alone mom”
“Whats bothering you beta? Did anybody scold or hurt you in college?”
Saarang thumped down on his bed and started crying. “Mom, why was I born ugly? I should have been more handsome…”
“Oh my dear! Stop crying…” His mom hugged him in comfort.
“I want to become smart and handsome mom. What should I do for that?”
“Who said that you are not handsome? You are the most intelligent and handsome boy in the world dear.”
“Every mothers consider their son to be the most handsome in the world. Please don’t try to comfort me mom. I want to be left alone.”
“Saarang, I can very well find out that you are hurt because of a girl. You know, each and everyone in this world have a life partner. You have to wait for them to arrive. Love will surely come in search of you my son. You will have the most beautiful wife…”
“Mom, please stop your ramblings. I have tried enough. I don’t want love to come in search of me. Bachelor life is better!”
Saying so, Saarang moved towards the window. The rain had become heavier. His tears stopped but the rain did the crying for him. The ivy leaves which crept till the edge of the window, never reached his hands. How much he had longed to touch those leaves! But they were like love for him. Something he could never touch or feel.
I am a loser. Loser in love. He thought to himself.
“Hey genius! Come over here. Only you can solve this problem. It’s getting on to my nerves” called out Arnab, Saarang’s so called best friend.
“Do you really consider me as a genius?” Saarang was completely bewildered. Never had his ears listened to a word of appreciation.
“Yeah, I consider you as a mathematical genius for this moment. Because I need to score well in today’s exam. Only you can help me for that.” Arnab smiled nefariously. He was selfishness personified.
A thousand arrows pieced through Saarang’s heart. Brushing away negative thoughts and being the helper, he agreed to teach Arnab. What more! He taught him an umpteen number of examples to get the point across.
Soon, the bell rang. It meant that the students have to disperse to their respective exam halls and be seated on their corresponding places.
“College is much worse than school! Why can’t they just allow us to be seated in our own classrooms?” murmured Saarang. He picked up his bag and left for his exam hall. He stopped for a few minutes before his classroom to check who would take his place.
“Hey you! Why are you standing here? Don’t you know your exam hall?” shouted the HOD of IT department.
“I..I know sir..I am going”
He ran away to Room no.306 which was his exam hall. As usual, his register number was allotted in the last bench. His counterpart was yet another guy who sheepishly smiled at him. Returning the smile, he began to chant Saraswathi Mantra to excel in his exams. Soon, the question papers were distributed, problems were solved and finally, the answer sheets were tied up with a thread. The bell at the end of the three hours sounded sweeter than the previous bell.
Saarang raced to his classroom. His intuition repeatedly told him to catch a glimpse of the student seated on his place. But the students had already left the hall and only the invigilator was seen bundling up the answer sheets.
“How did you perform dude?” he asked Arnab, who was looking rather sullen.
“I just rocked the paper! Thanks to you.”
“Then why is your face displaying sorrow?”
“I think even you will be in a relationship soon.”
Saarang’s eyes popped out in an instant. “What makes you to state that?”
“Just look at the desk. Then you will understand what I mean.”
His eyes traveled all the way down to the desk. What he saw made his heart jump out and then re-enter his body. His rib cage tightened around his heart to prevent it from lub-dubbing in a never-before-experienced manner. For he saw a girl’s name written in pencil under his very own name on the desk.
“Mounika Kapoor? Who is she?”
“How do I know? You are answerable for this. Who told you write your name ‘Saarang Sharma’ on the desk? The girl might have probably thought that you are trying to strike up a conversation with her.”
“Arey yaar, I don’t even know who sits in my place. Worse, I don’t even know which department has been allotted to our class.”
“Even I don’t know. Wait let me ask somebody. Hey Shlok, do you know which department is seated here for exams?”
“I think it’s ECE department” replied Shlok.
“ECE department? I don’t even know a single guy from that department. Let alone a girl!” said Saarang. He was perplexed to the core. His heart beat faster and his hands began shivering.
Mounika Kapoor? Has the girl tried to speak to me? OK, let me reply to this. Thinking so, he brought out a eraser and rubbed the name. He could not erase his name as he had written it using a permanent marker.
“Hi Mounika, I know you are from ECE dept. Friends?” He scribbled with his pencil.
“What are you doing Saarang?” asked Arnab, shocked at his friend’s actions.
“Ssshhhh! I am gonna talk to this girl via this desk.” Saarang winked at him.
“Are you a fool? This is not a fairytale world Saarang. If you want to talk to that girl, let us go to ECE department directly and summon Mounika.”
“No, I don’t want to do that. I have vowed myself not to pursue girls. What if Mounika refuses even to be my friend after meeting me in person?”
“So, you are planning to fall in love with her eh?”
“Maybe! I have not experienced any such things in my life. You guys are lucky. I have been a hapless hombre till now. I want to my life to get better.”
Arnab shrugged his shoulders.
Oh my god! I can’t believe that this is happening to me. There went Saarang’s endless thoughts. On his way back home, it drizzled. But the rain seemed to be different. It spelled love on that day!
“Hi Saarang.I will b ur frnd for sure.Now tel me abt urself.”
“Yippeeee! Arnab look! Mounika has replied.”
“Damn the technology yaar! I think the invention of mobile phones, e-mail and smartphones are an utter waste. You guys are still hanging on to the vieux jeu way of communication.”
“I say, this technique feels so real. See now, I will reply to her and I have to wait for her answer till tomorrow. In between, the waiting period seems so beautiful. Why? My life itself seems so beautiful from yesterday.”
“Dude! Don’t be so happy. For every ecstatic experience, there is a melancholic one following behind.”
“But we have to look for euphoria even in that melancholic experience. That’s my policy.”
“From when have you become like this Saarang?”
“From yesterday of course! I think Mounika will serve to be an exquisite presence in my life.”
“Am just a plain guy.I don’t want to tel u abt my appearance.As u knw,I am frm IT dept.I like to play cricket n am excellent in it.And I love rain!” wrote Saarang.
“Why are you composing long passages idiot?” asked Arnab irritatedly.
“Sorry dude, this is my own story. You can just shut up!”
Wow! From where have I acquired this courage to speak back? Saarang thought to himself, feeling on top of the world.
“So v both love rain.N I hve told u enough abt myself.Today is our last xam.I wont b able to see ur reply :-(.Lets speak during our nxt xams.Bye.”
Saarang was admiring those words with abundant amount of sadness.
“I don’t know how this girl Mounika finds time to write these. We just struggle to finish our answer sheets.OK, I did not read your conversations for the past five days. Tell me, what went on?” asked Arnab.
“I think she is a sweet girl. She loves rain just like me. She told me she likes to do handicrafts and she always has a positive outlook towards life. This is what we spoke.”
“This is more than enough Saarang. By the way, all the best! I am happy that finally you will be in love.”
“No, I don’t think so. Mounika would not wish to love me. She will stay as my friend only.”
“Whatever, all the best!”
Saarang smiled at him. Deep inside his heart, he wished that this could turn into a beautiful love story.
“I missed u Mounika.Bcos of u I hve started liking exams.It’s nice to hve a frnd like u.”
“I missed u too Saarang.I was hving a cold war wid a girl in ur dept.But now I feel happy to b placed in ur dept exam hall.”
“Nd lets promise tat v wont find any othr means to knw abt each othr.V can stay as ‘desk friends’ Mounika.”
“I am game fr it Saarang.Btw are u a jovial person?”
“I hope so.U wil come to knw aftr sumtym.Nd I think u r a sweet girl :-)”
“Thank u :-).Lets bcome close frnds.Wat u say? U must share ur happiness,probs n achievements wid me.”
“Of course I will.U promise me to do the same.”
“Promise.Nd today I missed the college bus n I reachd late fr exam hall :-(.Ur dept HOD scolded me.”
“Omg! I wil pray tat he shld meet wid a minor accident :-D.I can’t let my frnd get scolded by him.”
“Haha!:-D thank u so much.Btw tmrw is our last xam.Tis is my last msg.Wil b waiting fr d nxt xams.Bye Saarang :-)”
Once again, Saarang felt sad to see the last message. He had started pining for his new friend. Mounika changed his life altogether. He started feeling better about himself. Though their meetings lasted only for six exams and two line scribblings, they felt that they had known each other for ages.
“An year has passed away Arnab. We had a total of five exams. Mounika and I have become close friends. Our desk messages have started to grow longer. And I think somewhere down the line, we would click well together.”
“What makes you to think like that? Have you got to know about her well?” asked Arnab, being the practical technologically advanced one.
“Yes of course! She is sweet, positive and kind hearted. She likes to help others a lot. She teaches me how to live a happy life. We have not seen each other. But her mere presence in my life makes me feel good about myself. I think I have fallen in love with her! I am just longing to hear her sweet voice. I am just dreaming about the day when we would finally be together.”
“Have you asked her whether she has a boyfriend? Don’t blindly trust girls Saarang! Then, you will be heartbroken at last.”
“I needn’t ask her about that. She herself has told me that she is single and that she can make guy friends without any obstacle.”
“Then, go ahead! Propose to her during the next exams.”
“No way! I am not ready to get rejected.” “This is where you go wrong. First, you have to overcome your fear of rejection. If you have true love for her, rejection won’t be a big deal. You can pursue her till she realizes her love for you.”
“OK, I will ponder over this.”
“Haven’t you checked her in Facebook? You can learn much about her.”
“No. We have promised that we won’t get to know about each other by social media or any other means.”
“What a great love story!” Arnab commented sarcastically.
“So v r in our 3rd year.An yr has passed away since v began speaking.Nd I think I hve to tell u tis.I hve fallen in love wid u.I love u Mounika.”
“Saarang! Whats this? R u sure abt ur feelings?”
After reading that message, Saarang felt happy that Mounika did not scold him.
“Yes I am damn sure tis is love Mounika.U wil b my 1st nd last love.I wil take care of u well dear.”
“Saarang I am not wat u think I am.U hve to meet me.Then u will surely hve 2nd thoughts abt me.”
“No I won’t! I don’t mind abt ur looks Mounika.U r the perfect one fr me.Ur loving heart is enough fr me to lead a happy life wid u.”
“Nevertheless u hve to meet me Saarang.Today itself.I will wait fr u near our college canteen in d evening.I am wearing a pink salwar kameez.”
Saarang was utterly surprised at Mounika’s behavior. He had not expected to meet her so soon. But he promised himself that he would love her even if she doesn’t look beautiful.
In the evening, the rains came down. Saarang felt that the raindrops were a blessing from God. He did not mind getting drenched in the rain. He raced to the college canteen. There were many cliques of girls. And he saw too many pink salwar kameezes to his dismay.
My heart would surely show me which is my Mounika. He reassured to himself.
His eyes slowly captured a girl standing with an umbrella at a distance. She was dressed in the most elegant pink he had ever seen. He moved closer to her and patted on her shoulder.
“Mounika?” The girl slowly turned her face.
To his surprise, she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. She was fair and had almond shaped eyes. She had left her dead black hair loose. She had worn long earrings which added more spice to her beauty. Saarang was dumbstruck for a moment.
“Are you Mounika Kapoor? I am Saarang Sharma.”
The girl just nodded her head. Saarang was taken aback. She was not speaking anything. She was just standing still, looking into his eyes. Finally, her lips curved into a beautiful smile.
“Hey Mounika, come let’s go! I think Saarang won’t come…” A girl tugged at Mounika before she stopped short, noticing Saarang in front of her.
“Oh! Are you Saarang? I am Parmitha. Mounika’s close friend.”
“Hi! Why hasn’t Mounika spoken to me?”
“You should not be surprised, OK?”
“I won’t be. Just tell, whats the matter?”
“Mounika has got no voice…”
“What do you mean?” Saarang could feel his heart beats increasing.
“I mean, Mounika is dumb.”
There was an uneasy silence after that. Saarang had turned into a statue at that moment. He could not comprehend what had just happened. Mounika’s eyes welled up with tears and she muttered something to Parmitha in sign language.
“Wha..what did she say?” Saarang’s voice turned shaky.
“She says that she can never love anybody in her life. She has told you to go away. She doesn’t want to be a burden to you…” Before Parmitha could complete the sentence, Mounika pulled her and began walking away from him.
I am just longing to hear her sweet voice. Immediately droplets of tears formed in Saarang’s eyes. He hit himself for his wretched thoughts. For he had hurt Mounika in his thoughts which is unforgivable.
She is your true love dumbo! She loves you. Can’t you see that in her eyes? You too love her truly. Go! Go after her now! It was his heart urging from inside.
After a few seconds, he ran after her. He held her hand from behind.
“Mounika! Please stop. Don’t go away.” Mounika turned and faced him with tears all over her face. She tried to wriggle her hand from his grip.
“I won’t let you go Mounika. I love you truly. You are the synonym of love in my dictionary. Please don’t leave me. Silence is one of the languages of love. I would like to learn that language from you. Will you teach me please?”
Mounika stood still. The rain poured on them. She looked up at the skies and smiled. And then, slowly as if bit by a love bug, she hugged him. He hugged her back and said, “I will be your voice forever and you will be my strength.”
The rain turned heavier and drenched them completely in love.