Rahul was running frantically towards the bus stop. He had just completed his semester exams on the previous day and was traveling back to his hometown for the vacations. He had set the alarm for 7AM in the morning so that he could get enough time to pack his luggage and get ready for the journey. But it was of no use. He slept like a baby as the alarm kept ringing, snooze after snooze. Finally when he woke up, it was past 9AM. He just dumped his clothes in the travel bag and started running.
As soon as he reached the bus stop, he saw the bus coming towards him. He was gasping for breath as he waved his hands at the bus. The bus came to a halt and Rahul got in. When he entered the bus he could sense that everybody’s eyes were on him. “Why is everyone staring at me like this” he thought to himself. Then it hit him. He had not shaved as he had woken up late. He was sporting his customary one month examination beard. To add to that he had not got a haircut in 4 months. With his tall athletic physique, this made him look like a typical movie villain.
The bus was almost full. Rahul went to the back of the bus and sat on the last seat. It was a 6 hour journey and he wanted to utilize the time to plan all the fun things to do during the vacation. He couldn’t wait to get back to his hometown and meet his family and childhood friends. Around 30 minutes into the journey it started raining. The route was a scenic one with plenty of greenery along the way. The rain made it even more aesthetic.
Rahul was so engrossed in his thoughts that he didn’t even notice the bus stopping at the next town. A few people got into the bus and started scurrying to occupy the remaining seats. Now the seat next to Rahul was the only vacant seat left on the whole bus. Suddenly he heard the words “ Excuse me” which brought him back to reality. It was a very sweet voice but the tone was firm. Rahul looked up and was left dumbstruck. She was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen in his life.
The girl was drenched in rain. She was wearing a green top and light blue jeans. The rain water droplets dripping from her hair onto her face made her glowing skin even more radiant. Her beautiful eyes and pink lips were mesmerizing. Rahul just stared at her without blinking. Words had abandoned him and his mind was caught up in her hypnotic beauty.
The girl waved her hand in front of Rahul’s face and said “ Hello ! Can you please move”. Without uttering a word, he moved towards the window and made space for her. The girl sat down next to him and opened her bag. She pulled out a small mirror and started fixing her hair.
“I want to talk to her. But how do I start the conversation” Rahul thought. He had never been all that friendly with any girl until now. But then, he had never met a girl like this, to feel the need for it. “If only I had practiced flirting with some of the girls in college!! Why didn’t I listen to my friends? And why the hell did I decide not to shave last night” he cursed himself. The girl took out a book from her bag and started reading .
“Think of something damn it! What do I say to her? Should I compliment her? Tell her how pretty she is. No that’s would be too obvious. Oh God please help me out here”. A thousand thoughts raced through his mind. Finally he decided to play safe and stick to something general. “It’s raining pretty heavily. Looks like it’s not going to stop anytime soon right..” he said, looking at her gorgeous face. He had never thought speaking about the weather could be so taxing. His heart was beating so fast that he could hear it louder than the bus’s engine.
He waited in anticipation for her reply. Those milliseconds felt like ages. The girl turned around, looked at Rahul and smiled. Then she turned away and started looking at the road again. “Strike out!! What the hell was I thinking? Why couldn’t I think of a better topic to talk about!! “he said to himself. Suddenly he noticed something. A pen had fallen down below the seat. He bent down and picked it up. “I have got a second chance. I must not blow it this time” he told to himself.
“Excuse me, is this your pen?“ he asked her, gazing at her bewitchingly beautiful eyes. She turned around had a long look at him and nodded her head to say no. He was heartbroken. “That was definitely my last chance” he thought. He decided not to make a fool of himself again. So he just turned as his head away from her and started looking outside the window.
2 hours went by. The bus traversed through the most beautiful trails filled with lush green trees. But Rahul wasn’t really looking. All he could think about was her pretty face. But he couldn’t muster the courage to look at her and speak to her again. So he continued to stare outside the window blankly.
The bus reached the next town and stopped at the bus station. People started getting down from the bus. The girl sitting next to him also stood up. She tapped Rahul on his shoulder and said “Hey is this your mobile? It had fallen down.” Rahul turned around startled, almost terrified. He looked at her hands. It was actually his mobile. He nodded yes and took it from her. Before he could say something, she turned around, walked towards the bus door and got down from the bus.
The bus started moving away from the stop. Rahul stuck his head out of the window trying to get one last glimpse of her pretty face. But she was looking away. When he was about to give up, she turned around and gave him a bright wide smile. His heart skipped a beat. He started grinning like a fool. He waved his hand at her and bid goodbye.
He got back into his seat and tried to regain his composure. But it was impossible. He was brimming with joy. Suddenly the thought hit him. “I might never see her again. What should I do?”. He remembered one of his friends was living in the town where she had got down from the bus. He took out his mobile to call him to ask if he was anywhere near the bus stop.
As he unlocked his mobile, he was left stunned. There was saved draft message on the screen. “Hi this is Swetha, the girl who was sitting next to you. I waited for 2 hours, hoping you would talk to me again. But you didn’t. Anyways in case you change your mind, this is my number: 9xxxxxxxxx.” Rahul couldn’t believe his eyes. They were overflowing with tears of joy. He calmed himself down and dialed her number. He heard a sweet voice at the other end “Hello, what took you so long!!”