“Ma, I have already kept his clothes ready, can’t Rohan even take the pain of keeping it in his bag”, Riya said to her mother.
The whole family had been busy all day preparing for their trip to Vaishno Devi in Jammu. Riya had to miss on her trip to Nainital which she had planned with her friends as her father’s best friend had requested them to accompany his family to a trip to Jammu.
Riya’s mother kept telling her,”It would be fun my child. I know you are upset because you had to cancel your trip at such a short notice.”
Riya had somehow consoled her because she liked Verma uncle and his wife. Verma uncle was a very close friend of her father and so she couldn’t deny him when he asked him. Since morning, Riya had been busy packing bags of her siblings. Though her little sister Puja had helped her in the packing but her younger brother Aarav was busy playing video games, so Riya was quite angry with him.
In the evening the whole family boarded the train. Verma uncle had picked them up in his car early in the afternoon and after having lunch at his house, they boarded the train. Now when Riya’s father was adjusting the luggage he said,”Aarav, give me the red bag I gave you.”
Aarav was busy playing games on his mobile when he suddenly stood stunned on hearing this. Everybody looked at him when he said,” Papa I kept the bag on the other seat but its not there.”
Now Riya was furious on him. The bag contained some daily use things, some food for the journey which she had packed and her brand new novel of Chetan Bhagat ,’HALF GIRLFRIEND’. Now after few minutes everybody forgot about the bag and started talking about their plans but Riya was upset,she thought she would read the novel in her journey,it was a good one ,her friends had told her. She gave an angry look to her brother who was busy chatting with others. Riya was not interested in the talks. She was thinking about how much fun her friends must be having in Nainital. She was very apprehensive about the journey because it had already started with a bad omen, she had lost her bag.
Suddenly Mr. Verma’s phone rang. He sounded quite tensed and the person on the other side of the phone seemed to be in some trouble. As he kept the phone he said,”I don’t know what to do. One of my relatives had also planned to go to Jammu but unfortunately only one ticket is confirmed and they are three in total. He has asked me to help him out but I am afraid how will I help him.”
Riya’s father said, ”Why do you worry Verma,I think we will be able to adjust with them and we shall somehow manage the ticket collector as well. You inform them that they feel carefree and board the train.”
On hearing this Mr. Verma sounded as happy as a child. He called up his relative and informed them . His relatives were to board the train at the next station.
The train halted. All were waiting to receive Mr. Verma’s relative. Soon they arrived. Mr. Verma introduced them to all. They were three, Mr. Verma’s cousin sister, her husband and his son Tarun. Tarun was a tall guy about five feet ten inches in height. He had a well built up body and looked quite handsome in his black jacket. Tarun was preparing for engineering entrance exams to be held next year.
So,he was eldest of the children lot, Riya was in class 11 while her siblings were in class 9 and 7 respectively. Soon everyone started to know each other and enjoy the company . But while all were busy Tarun was sitting at one corner of the seat and seemed disinterested in the talks. He seemed interested somewhere else. He was busy looking at this girl who had cut herself away from the things happening in train and was admiring the scene outside the train.”She is dressed so simply and yet is looking so beautiful” ,he thought.
She had caught his eyes from the time they had entered the compartment and she couldn’t take his eyes off her. This girl was none other than Riya. She wore a red kurti and blank leggings and had her hair tied up in a ponytail. She wall tall and her body was quite slender. The dress was quite simple but Riya did look pretty in it. Tarun was totally taken by her beauty. He was constantly looking at her eyes where she had put kaajal. He wanted to talk to her. He wanted to know her and be known to her. Thoughts crossed his mind, “How is it possible to feel so much for a stranger? Why do I want to talk to her. Why is it that when I am seeing her the rest of the world seems so blurr?”
Then it dawned upon him, the feeling was different, it was not ephemeral, it had took possession of him, he feel connected to her and to his joyous amazement he realized he had fallen for her. He was in love and that too love at first sight.
The chain of thoughts of Tarun was finally snapped by Aarav. He asked him, ”Do you like this game?”
Aarav had noticed Tarun was constantly gazing at her sister and so just to distract him he asked the question, but Tarun denied , he was too busy to do any other thing. While Tarun had already realized his love, Riya had yet not realized his presence. Suddenly Tarun’s mother stood up and started searching for a bag but was unable to find. Tarun asked his mother to sit and told he would do it for her. He found the bag. Tarun’s mother opened it and took out some sweets which she had made for everyone. Tarun took it from her mother’s hand and said he would distribute it. She gave it to all one by one.
Then the moment came,he had to give it to Riya. Tarun felt both happy and nervous at the same time. When he offered her the sweet their eyes met for the first time. Tarun felt as if a shiver occurred in his body. He would just had touched a millimeter of her hand when he handed her the plate but the small touch was different. It was as if a sensation had permanently occurred in his fingers.
Then at night Riya’s father told Tarun to go to their seat,the only one they had in the other compartment and have rest. But somehow Tarun convinced that he would be ok and finally Mr. Verma was sent there to sleep. They had talked with the ticket collector and managed one more seat. The ladies were given place to rest. So the final scenario was all were sleeping except for Tarun,Riya and Puja. Riya and Puja shared the same seat and somehow they adjusted. Tarun was sitting at one end of the seat where her mother was sleeping. Soon all dozed off to sleep. Tarun was the happiest of the lot. He had managed to stay in the same compartment and Riya was in the seat diagonal to him. Riya too went off to sleep resting her head on her sister’s shoulder. All were sleeping so now Tarun could carefree watch her. He wished Riya was resting her head on his shoulder. He looked at her. Her face seemed so innocent, so pretty and so carefree. Tarun too drowned in his delicious slumber and dreamt only of her.
They reached Jammu after a tiring trip and went to the hotel. They soon dressed up and decided to start their journey to the Vaishno Devi temple. Now Tarun had made up his mind that he would start talking with her but more impatiently he was waiting to see her. Soon all assembled. Riya was wearing a yellow kurti with tribal art done on it and looked aesthetic. Tarun felt as if he felt in love with her all over again.
On the way, Tarun walked just few steps behind Riya and tried to start conversation. Riya too replied him and this made him happy. Then ,Aarav came and took Riya by hand and said,” didi, why are you lagging behind, come with me.”
This sudden concern of her brother was a surprise for Riya. She asked her brother ther real reason. Aarav replied, ”I feel that bhaiya has got a crush on you. He was staring at you in the train and now also he is making excuses to talk with you. I don’t like him.”
This thing surprised her. She brushed aside her brother’s talk and thought he was just doing it to show his concern and to make up for the lost bag. So Riya ignored this and candidly talked with Tarun. As they started talking on the way,they started discussing about their school, about the reactions in organic chemistry and how boring the inorganic chemistry was, about their friends . Tarun suggested her some reference books and they talked and talked.
Riya felt nice talking to her as she felt he was just as old as she and so she can share with him her class 11 miseries, the tough syllabus.the mechanics in physics and the integration in maths. Tarun felt blessed, he didn’t hoped it would be so easy to talk with her and he prayed that the moment would never come to an end .Riya too felt at ease in talking with him and they became friends though she didn’t had the slightest of hint of the fact that this guy had completely fallen for her.
On their way Aarav suggested the children lot to take up a shortcut. Everyone denied which made Aarav sad. Just to cheer him up, Tarun’s father suggested he would go with him and if anyone wanted they can follow them or continue on the original path. Riya said, ”Tarun, I am going with them. I don’t want Aarav to trouble uncle much”.
Tarun said,”Do you want me to accompany you?”
Riya looked in his eyes she could feel he wanted to know more than just a yes or no to this question. Tarun wanted to know if his prescence did matter to her. Riya said, ”You can come if you want”.
Now as both were talking Aarav had already trailed forward. To catch up with him, Riya started walking fast and in hurry stumbled upon a rock. Thankfully, Tarun got hold of her hand and managed to prevent her from falling. For that moment Tarun’s world stood still. Her hand was in his and it was hard to believe. Riya then broke the silence and said ,”Thanks Tarun”.
Tarun realized that he was still holding her hand . Though he didn’t wanted but he had to let it go. Tarun could still feel her soft hands in his. He had wanted to hold it for some more time, actually he was willing to hold it for lifetime. After a long foot journey they visited the temple and after few days the trip came to an end.
When they were boarding the train Tarun was sad. What was more painful for him that though the destination was same but he had to be away from her in the journey as they had seats in different compartments. Tarun glanced at Riya, she was totally unaware of how painful that departure was for him. Half-heartedly he bid good bye to her and took his seat. He took the window seat so that atleast his thoughts may be distracted by looking at the scenery outside. It had been two hours after boarding the train when he heard a voice, ”Hi aunty. Hi uncle!”.
Tarun could recognize the voice. He looked up and saw Riya standing there. He was so overwhelmed that when he bid ‘hi’ to him, he couldn’t even answer her back. Riya sat there beside his mother and talked with her. In between the talks their eyes met several times though it was just for a few microseconds. After few minutes of talk, Riya went back
Now Tarun was restless. He wanted to see her, but with what excuse should he go there. Then he saw Riya’s handkerchief where his mother was sitting. Though it sounded awkward but Tarun told her mother that he feels he should go and give it back to her. He went to Riya’s compartment and returned it to her. Now,Riya was thinking all this while that why did she go to Tarun’s compartments. She had no work there nor was it that she had to talk with his mother urgently but deep inside she knew she was feeling restless and wanted to have just a glance of him. When she saw Tarun, she was happy.
Tarun got a seat beside her brother and he started to chat with him though his eyes were always on Riya. Aarav was getting irritated all this while because he knew this boy had just made an excuse to be there. He was small in age but not foolish. He had seen him staring at his sister all this while. When they reached their destination it was time to bid a final bye. Tarun was very apprehensive. He knew they would be in the same city but he would be able to meet Riya, that was not certain. He wrote his phone number in a small sheet of paper and secretly handed it to Riya saying that if anytime she is outside her home she can call him and they could meet. Riya also took the paper from him.
Days passed by and there was no call from Riya. Tarun was totally absorbed in her thoughts and only two things kept roaming in his mind, Riya and studies and somehow he managed so that the latter must be his priority. One day he returned home from his tuitions totally exhausted by the brainstorming test he had to give when his phone rang. He took his phone and saw it was an unknown number. He ignored it when he suddenly realized that it may be Riya. He received the call and yes it was she. She said, ”Hi Tarun,I am near Maruti Plaza ,I was accompanying my friend but she has left with her boyfriend. If you wish to come, you can come here.”
Though Tarun was totally tired from the days schedule but hearing this he was full with energy and said, “You wait, I am coming.”
Tarun quickly took his motorbike and went off to meet her. Early in the evening it had happened that Riya’s friend had called her and asked her to accompany her to the market . Riya agreed to go with her but when she reached the market , her friend told her that she was there to meet her boyfriend and she had asked Riya to accompany her so that her mother wouldn’t doubt. Riya was furious. Her friend left with her boyfriend and now she was standing there alone, so she thought of calling up Tarun. Tarun soon arrived. At first it was little awkward for them but as they started to talk it disappeared. It was getting late and the sky was getting dark. Tarun offered to drop her home. Riya too agreed. The motorbike ride was the best for Tarun. He didn’t want the road to end. She was there with him, so close and yet so far because she didn’t knew what he felt for her. Riya was all this while regretting her decision to call Tarun. She feared what if anyone see her!
After that day Tarun started to message her everyday and also called her frequently. Now this was not liked by her siblings and they advised her to refrain from talking to him. Riya didn’t knew what to do. Then one day Tarun called her at 1 am. Riya was still studying and all others in the house had slept. The time was odd, she ignored the call for the first time and for the second as well but when he called again, she received his call. Tarun’s voice was sounding quite low. He said,”Hi Riya! Sorry to disturb you at this time, but I need to tell you something important.“
Riya’s heart was beating fast. Tarun said, ”I love you Riya. It may sound absurd but it was love at first sight. I feel my whole world revolves around you. I think of you every morning when I wake up, at night before I doze off to sleep and also every moment in between. You are my life Riya. I couldn’t think of how to confess my love to you but now that my engineering exam results are out and I am going to Bangalore for my studies, a feeling of insecurity has grown inside me. I fear losing you.”
Riya was speechless when she heard this. It was the thing she had feared but now that it had happened she didn’t knew how to deal with it. Riya grew nervous and somewhat scared as well. She said, ”I don’t know what to say Tarun but I request you to never call me again”, saying this she put down her phone. Tarun was confused. At first he thought it wasn’t a good idea to confess to Riya about his love and on the other hand, he also felt that may be Riya’s reaction was a spontaneous one and she needed time. He thought of calling her the next day. But his call was not answered for the next four days.
Riya was so nervous and scared that she put his number in the block list. When for few days Tarun couldn’t connect with her, he tried with a different number but when the person on the other side recognized his voice, he cut the call. Riya didn’t know what to do and feared her parents would come to know about it. So she got a new number for herself. Meanwhile she came to know from her mother that Mr. Verma had told them that Tarun had got admitted in a very good college in Bangalore. So he is finally gone, thought Riya.
It was New Year eve. Riya returned from a party had got into her bed. She didn’t knew why but she fetched her old sim card and inserted it in her phone. Just after a minute, she received a call. She knew it was Tarun. She received the call. Tarun said,”Somewhere I believed that this new year was going to be special and see on the very first day I got to talk with you. I am sorry for whatever happened earlier. Can we be friends?” Riya agreed.
After that day both started to talk. Riya had to keep an eye so that her siblings won’t come to know about it. They became good friends. But sometime, Tarun’s feeling drowned him and he would say,”I really love you Riya. I don’t know if ever I would be able to forget you. You are like an angel in my life. You are my first and perhaps my last love. I know I would never be able to love anyone like I love you.”
Riya would get angry at these emotional talks, so mostly Tarun would try to refrain from talking about this.
It was a sunny morning. Tarun was getting ready for his classes when Riya called him and informed that one of her engineering exams was to be held in Bangalore in R.B.V college. Now Tarun’s excitement knew no bounds. The college was few meters away from his and so he requested her that she should inform him when she would come, he would like to meet her.
The day came when Riya was in Bangalore giving exam. When she came out,she saw her father’s message that while she was giving exam, he had went to his friend’s house and now while returning he was stuck in traffic and it would take more than an hour for him to reach her. Riya fingers unintentionally dialled Tarun’s number. He did not answer her call. She called him four times but Tarun didn’t answer. Finally when Riya had lost hopes, Tarun called. He was having fever and was in deep slumber but thankfully woke up, seeing her missed calls, he immediately called back her. Riya said, ”My exam is over. Papa will take about an hour to reach here. Can we meet now.”
Tarun immediately got ready and with his best friend Rahul ,he went up to meet her. Tarun introduced Rahul and Riya to each other and went to buy ice-cream for all. Rahul said, ”Riya, you are so lucky. Tarun’s love for you is so pure. I think he deserves a chance. Date him once and then if you feel this relationship is not what you wished and thought, you can tell Tarun, he will surely understand.”
When Tarun came, Rahul made an excuse and went away. They both talked for some time when Riya’s father called up to inform that he would reach there in ten minutes. Riya said to Tarun, “I don’t know what to say .I know you love me a lot. But I want to be honest with you, for now I don’t know but when I will feel, I will definitely tell you. For now I just want to say that I don’t want to lose this friendship!” Tarun assured her that he was ready to wait for her.
Now destiny had planned something sweet for them. As time passed Riya came closer toTarun and know him truly. One day she text him, “I have come to know you fully now. I too feel now I am connected to you, our souls are connected. I feel it’s the blessings of Ma Vaishno that I got you. I feel so happy that I missed my trip to Nainital. The more boys I meet, the more stronger grows my conviction that you are my soul mate. I love you.”
The text was what Tarun had been waiting for so long. Though Riya got admitted in a college in Delhi and both sobbed like babies because they wished their college would be same. But Riya said, ”The distance is only going to bring us closer. You are my life. I love you.I feel God wanted to write my own story,so I missed Chetan’s Bhagat novel”