Category: hostel



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April 10, 2004

It was nearly 1 in the night and he was as usual busy with friends, cracking jokes and killing time, just like that. That was the general life there in the hostel at that time. Cigarettes, jokes, groups and tonnez to talk about. College life was still an infant, just 2 months old, starting from Valentine’s day that year itself(Sometimes I think ki starting date hi aisi thi, that’s why he had to face such things). So you can pretty much guess that they were still in the stage where you discuss things about crushes, failures,cribbing about not getting into IITs, chicks in the college and stuff like that. That night was no extraordinary.

Not for all atleast.

Not untill 1 am atleast.

“Abe tera phone hai be…”, Ashish shouted from his room.
He couldn’t believe his ears. Since the day he proposed , i.e. on fool’s day, there hasn’t been a single day when she called that late. Calls have been formal, perhaps out of awkwardness from his side, and perhaps due to confusion from her’s.

He rushed to Ashish’ room and took the phone from him. Putting his palm over the speaker, he asked Ashish, “Tere cell mein kitna balance hai?” “350”, came the reply, relieving him. He still had to get his Nokia 2300. Many things that would happen in the future were still to happen. Well, we will come to that l8r.

“Hello…”, he said.
“Hi…where were you?”, she asked.
“Well, was in my room. And as you know, I do not have a mobile. Not yet”, he said in an irritated tone, knowing that she was just making a base for something else. She was always like this. He always told her that she has a good argumentative attitude. Only that he did not like it when she used to apply it to him.

“You called so late??”, it was now his turn to enquire, and as usual, he was direct to the point.

“Hmmm… wanted to talk to you, if it is ok with you…”, she replied.

He sensed this won’t be alright. Though he was still inexperienced, but his instincts told him that there is something about that night that would change many things. Still, he can’t deny her. He CANT!!!

“Kya hua…you there??? “, She asked, listening to the storm spread in his silence.

“Yep…bolo… I am here…was just not expecting your call..not so late actually”, he said, snuggling into Anand’s chair. He had told Anand and his roommate(only one of them was in the hostel at that time that they can sleep in his bed instead and he would rather not like to be disturbed. Others had gone to some place or other, so it was sort of a privacy for him. Just like he wanted.)

“Well… how are you “, she asked him for the first time in many days after the fool’s day fiasco.

“I am good…gr8!!!”, he said, trying to find some meaning in her questions and trying to fool himself that this is just a simple call, that it has nothing to do with the proposal.

“Hmmmm….Are you alone there??”, she asked.

His heart missed a heartbeat. It cant be! For a moment he thought that the unthinkable is going to happen.
I can still feel the disappointment in his heart when it simply turned out to be a casual question and nothing as he dreamt of with open eyes. Anyways, he was glad she broke the ice by asking about the Fool’s Day Proposal. But at the same time, he feared the things he had known for a very long long time and prayed to god to favor him this one last time. Seems god also sleeps at night.

It started very innocently with a joke. He said something about the delhi girls and she was at her best denying it. Then talks drifted towards future, about college and her admission(Which was pending as of then.. she was in Delhi after her 12th board examinations) and stuff like that.
“Navneet, were you serious that day?”, suddenly she took a giant leap and asked it.

He was relieved…. he was afraid… He had the answer…He couldn’t say it….He had to…

“Yes ‘S’ “… he said and instantly smiled…smiled at the ease with which many things had become crystal clear between them…smiled at the joy it brought to him thinking that finally he had the courage to tell her that he loves her…smiled at his foolishness of April 1st proposal idea… smiled at everything…

“hmmm…really? You love me?”, she still needed some assurance, having had her own set of heartbreaks, she was no novice to these things afterall….or atleast he thought so…

“Hmmmm..yes S..I love you…and not from today.. I have loved you for last 3 years….And I was silent all these years only for everyone’s peace of mind…There was a lot of confusion already…and I thought perhaps the best thing to do is to be quiet…and not to tell anyone..”,He said more than he thought of…and felt proud about it..

“You know something??”, she said with a tinge of naughtiness in her voice…

“What!!??”, he was irritated..obviously..

“I knew that you sort of liked me… I knew it from the way you looked at me”, she said it so simply as if it was nothing….and he took 3 years to say it.

“Huh….We seldom talked in Ranchi….and whenever we did, it was in the presence of either my bros or yours…remember??”, it was nice seeing them having a heart to heart talk…it was really soothing after all these years of suffocating and keeping it inside, he was finally able to speak his mind….he did not know it but something was changing inside him that night…He will never be that shy guy again…He will never be an introvert again… he will never get away without speaking what his mind desires and what his heart thinks…
He will never back down again….

He is still fighting…

To be continued….

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“Navneet, Navneet!! Darwaaza khol!!”

“Who is this??? Baad mein aana…so rahein hain abhi” I muttered some swear words and turned my head inside my razaai again.

“Abe Ashish hain hum… khol…Phone hai tera…”

“Phone?? Abe Kal de dena. M Sleeping now”, I shouted, clearly annoyed with already having lost my sleep.

“Abe tera call hai”, Ashish shouted back.

I was puzzled. I remembered having talked to Ma in the evening. “And why on earth would someone call me at 2 am in night?”

Anyways, I got up and opened the door. Ashish was standing there in a baniyan and a three-quarter, with a half way burnt cigarette in his hand. Hostel life.. I smiled and muttered a half swear looking at him, cursing him for waking me up in this chilling winter night.
I looked at him and snatched the cigarette first from him, the took the phone. “Kiska hai??”, I asked Ashish. He simply motioned me in my room and put 3 more cigarettes in my pocket.
I was surprised at this act of benevolence from him, especially with cigarettes.
“Hello…”, i finally spoke into the speaker phone after realising that the other person was still on the line.

“Hi” A melodious voice went through my ears…to my mind… making it go blank…

It can’t be!!! It can’t be her!! I leaned on the the wall and slipped down to sit on the floor of my hostel room.

“Oh…Its you..”,was all that I could mutter.

“How are you Navi”, the voice asked. That was the first time someone called me by that name. The legacy still continues.

I was out of my body. I could see the look of shocked-joy on my face. I could see the dimly lit cigarette in my hand, with a fair amount of ash on its tip due to no attention being paid to it. I didn’t need it now. My biggest addiction was back. She was back.

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