20th April 1994, 12:10 pm Shimla, India
I was ten past twelve and the school was to get over in another five minutes. In spite of my preoccupation with my thoughts I could clearly listen to the soft bell which indicated the end of a half day, Saturday at “The Kendriya Vidyalay”.
Boys and girls, dressed in their blue uniforms came out buzzing like bees. My eyes were searching for someone. It was cloudy after a heavy morning downpour. The mist, covering the entire valley, seemed like an ocean of water. Most of the students had come out, but my eyes still looking for her. The buzzing had diluted. What in the world was taking her so long? Maybe she had been caught up with some work; or maybe she was busy talking to friends; or maybe she was oblivious of my presence or maybe she had changed her mind after what had happened in the thunderous morning.
20th April 1994 7:15 am
I was searching for the car keys, when my brother said “You won’t find them, until you tell me why you need them?”
Had it not been for shortage of time I would have I dealt with him differently; instead I said “Maybe some other day bro, right now I’m in a hurry.”
“But you can’t go on a scooter, it’s raining heavily”
Yes it was raining heavily but I preferred the scooter than telling him why I needed the car? What else could I do? Wait! I could take Sachin’s car, my friend and neighbor, but he was a late riser and may not open the door. In that case I would have to come back empty handed. Moreover, I didn’t want him to distract from his dreams or I was escaping his probing questions. It was seven twenty nine already, and I could not afford any more delays. So my only option was my loyal LML; a Vespa scooter which had been just recently passed on to me, from my elder brother, of course, who in turn got his hands on a brand new M800, which under no circumstances he intend to share with me.
It was raining cats and dogs. I slid in my two piece raincoat. The engine came to life with the very first kick. Without waiting for the engine to warm up I turned my left wrist upwards to engage the first gear and zoom…I was gone. She must be waiting for me. A date on a scooter sounded absurd but I suppose that is how Gods wanted it to be. Thankfully I was on time; she had not arrived yet. It was still raining with the same rapidity. I prayed for the rain to stop, otherwise my plan to take her out would be marred. If it did not discontinue soon, I would have to imagine quickly of how to make the best out of the day.
Every female coming up with an umbrella seemed to be her and my eyes were unable to scrutinize through a cloud of umbrellas. I was looking for her when she tapped my shoulder and astounded me. We were meeting after a long time. I noticed her dress “Why are you wearing your school uniform?” Though Saturdays at my school were off, she had a half day but I had successfully convinced her to bunk today.
“Because I am going to School” there was mischief in her eyes. I smiled and gestured her to sit on the bike no scooter. As opposed to what I was thinking she did not even mention the scooter. Rain had been reduced to a drizzle. I kick-started the scooter and started to head for the place I had in mind. “Turn the other way round, we are going to my school”
I was crushed. I wanted to ask “Why?” but the traffic did not let me divulge my mind off the road. “I have a project to submit and as it is, it’s a half day. I will be back at twelve thirty and then we can be together till late afternoon”.
I wanted to hit the brakes hard but let it go. The rain just like my temper had started to gain momentum. What an erratic behavior it was?
“We should stop for a while for the rain to subside” she said. Wanting to get as much time as I could get, I parked the scooter under the roof of a semi constructed building. She got down and took shelter under the roof. Heavy showers hitting the tin roof above made it impossible for us to listen to anything. She was short, with long curly black hair. An oval face with absolutely no spots on it! Beautiful eyes lined with a light Kajal; perfectly shaped nose, slightly curved upwards and her sensual lips. She had a natural beauty, the kind you get without makeup, which very well blended with her personality… natural.
I looked towards her. The smile made her look innocent. She was looking beautiful….nay sexy. We didn’t realize we had come close to each other. The thundershowers characterized by the massive lightening and acoustic effects, brought her closer to me than ever. The clouds were pouring their content like they never had. I moved forward enfold her in my arms. She embraced me. Her sweet smelling odor made my mind go numb. I kissed her on the cheek and slowly she turned her face towards me bringing her gorgeous lips in line with mine. It was ecstatic. I could stay like this forever. I loved her so much. I would never let her go, no matter what. The effects of thunder and lightning had mellowed by the intense storm inside. The downpour had again reduced to a dribble prophesying the sentiment of the moments to come.
It was time to leave her to school. She was going away from me. Tears, hiding in my eyes eventually dried up. The mere thought of her going away, jostled my insides. Plenty of thoughts passed my mind as I stood front of the gate, waiting for the watch to strike twelve thirty.
We had met over the telephone for the first time. Didn’t quite understand? Give me the privilege to explain. It was a fine day in 1993 when the telephone exchange in my area got digital, so we were upgraded from four digit number to five digits. And incidentally, my four digit number had go to the residence of Col Singh, at Park 5; one of the posh bungalows allotted to the Army officers. My inquisitive nature had amplified my curiosity to call up on my old number to see where it had been transferred to and that is how I finally ended up talking to her.
‘Kriss”, as I called Karishma, was a charismatic personality, mature for her age. It was almost daily that we talked over the telephone. We become friends to lovers in just a few days. Sharing thoughts, ideas and even intimate moments on the telephone was usual. It had been almost three months now on the telephone when I said “Kriss don’t you want to see me in person.” She kept quiet. I could hear her breathing heavily and understood her helplessness. I was about to abort the idea when she said “Very soon”
20th April 1994, 1:10 pm
It was well over an hour after twelve thirty in the afternoon and there was no sign of Kriss. I decided to wait a little longer… but to no avail. Every passing minute was like infinity and there was no end to it. I stood there even after the gates had been closed. My eyes were constantly searching for Kriss to get a glimpse of her. Finally after waiting for three long unprecedented hours I started to go back. I jerk started the scooter; the engine didn’t squeal. Understanding it as a sign for me to wait, i looked back at the closed gate. Clouds gathered around the sky had darkened the environment. The Lonely building and empty corridors stayed silent; they had no answer for my questioning eyes.The closed gate, the lonely building and the empty corridors haunted me throughout the night.
A sudden glimpse of her; standing in the rain, encompassed in my arms; her sweet odor; the touch of her lips was the only solace. A clear sight of her walking through the gate, away from me, shook me from my sleep and come to my senses. Every morning my mind wandered helplessly through the same building and corridors asking them the never answered questions about my “Lost Love”.