It was already getting very late that night, but I had to somehow submit a report to my boss. When I left my cubicle it was eleven. I reached the bus stop to catch the last bus of the route. But after fifteen minutes I grew impatient and started looking for a cab. I started walking in the direction of my apartment with eyes set on every passing vehicle. My shirt was wet with perspiration. After all it was a warm summer night of Kolkata. I had no idea how much I had walked as my mind was heavy with all the events of the day. But apart from that, I still hadn’t recovered from the experience of the metro a few months ago. Throughout the day as I worked, her face kept flashing in front of my eyes. Everyday my yearning to catch just a glimpse was increasing. Altogether I wasn’t living a happy life without her.
A cold breeze was now blowing around the place from where I was passing. But there was no sign of a single cab. As I kept walking, it started to rain out of nowhere. There was no sign of any building or shade nearby so I had no option but to keep walking while getting drenched in the cold rain.
I still remember the first time we got drenched in that rain together. The feeling of her wet hair in between my fingers came back to me that moment.
As I continued on my dismal walk, a car passed by me at high speed. But it went a little further and then with apparently for no reason, it stopped. The lady who was driving the car came out and kicked the car’s front wheel with all her might. But in the process, she hurt herself and started screaming in agony.
I rushed to her aid and when I reached near her I saw a broken nail and a small pool of blood around the place she was standing.
“Are you okay” I asked her with my eyes fixed on her feet. “I don’t think so. I can’t feel my leg.” She replied with pain evident from every word she spoke.
Her voice suddenly took my mind off everything. I looked up almost instantly and saw that it was indeed her. “Aisha, it is you!” I said with a huge smile on my face.
“Aisha? Who’s Aisha? Surely you have mistaken me for somebody else. I am Archana.” She said in a soft moaning voice.
“Don’t act smart with me Aisha. We met a few months ago in metro train and we talked for half an hour. It’s me Anubhav”, I blurted out everything in one breath.
“I am not Aisha for God sake!” She replied sharply.
Something was wrong. She was the same person yet she refused directly. Finally, keeping all thoughts aside I asked, “Do you need help?” “Yes, can you help me fix my stupid car? It just broke down out of no reason.” She said in a soft and cute voice.
“Fate” I thought but didn’t say out loud. “I don’t know think I can fix your car but I can help you get a cab to your home.” I said half assuredly. “Hmmm… that will work too!” she said while untying her hair. “Can you walk?” I asked her looking at her wet and dripping hair. “I can try if you help me!” she replied. “Sure” I extended my shoulder towards her. She put her arm around my shoulder and started walking. She took a few steps and started moaning and limping as blood spewed from her toe.
I knew that she could have taken it otherwise and it wasn’t a very good idea but without much thinking I picked her in my arms. As our bodies touched, I felt an odd exhilarating shiver run through me.
She was lighter than I had imagined. I continued walking as she wrapped her hands around my neck with a tinge of embarrassment. I looked at her cute face and said, “don’t worry we will get a cab soon.” She smiled but didn’t say anything. It was a strange moment for both of us but it was amazing in its own way.
There were still few things I hadn’t done in my college and this was one of them. Although she wasn’t here, but in a way I felt her presence wrapped around my existence. Every raindrop reminded me of her and I felt myself much closer to her.
“Who is Aisha?” she broke the silence after some time. “Someone I met in the metro train a few months ago. I haven’t seen her ever since then.” I replied with a sigh. “It seems that you have fallen in love with her!” she said with a smile. “No, no it’s just that you reminded me of her and she reminded me of someone I love.” I couldn’t think of anything else to say. “Okay I understand. I just came out of a relationship recently myself. I know how it feels to be away from someone you love and care for.” She said with sadness glued to her every word. “Why did you guys break off?” I asked with my eyes fixed at the road as raindrop caressed my face. “Sometimes life doesn’t tend to go in your favor.” She seemed disinterested in talking about it. “Everything will be fine in no time.” I said in an assuring tone. “I hope so.” She muttered.
“What does she look like?” Hers rosy lips curled in a wry smile as she asked me the question. I didn’t take much time to think because her face was burned in my eyes. “I have never seen such a lovely thing in my life. Her face is so innocent that I always felt like holding it in my hands and kissing her all day long. One look at her eyes used to steal all my pain and sadness away. She used to hold my hand and look at me so kindly that I could just look at her all day. I would skip a heartbeat at the sight of her emerging out of the girl’s hostel. She had brightened up my life with her mere presence.” For some inexplicable reason I found myself blushing.
“You are one heck of a lover boy I tell you!” she couldn’t suppress her laughter and continued. “Wish I had a boyfriend like that!” “Keep searching, you might just get one someday.” I answered back. “So what’s your story?” I had to know. Just as she opened her mouth to reply, a cab emerged from nowhere and stopped in front of us. Damn it, just when it was getting interesting.
“Do you guys need help?” the driver asked in a rasping voice. “Yes, get her to her home as fast as possible. She is injured.” I replied back. I let her down softly and helped her get in. “Thanks for everything.” She said in a soft voice. “It’s okay. Can I have your number?” I just didn’t want to repeat the same thing again. “You are very direct.” Her face looked flushed. She produced a small piece of paper and jolted down something on it before handing it to me. “Hope we meet again soon.” I murmured. The taxi started and began to drift away. She waved at me.
The taxi vanished out of my sight in no time. I kept walking with the piece of paper crumbled in my grip. Curiously, I opened it.
My eyes flared in shock. The note fell off my hand. I couldn’t help but laugh like a mad man.
The note said- “You are so easy to fool!” –Aisha