12th Feb, 2011
She buried her eyes in the book and slipped into it entirely.
Preeti was a pleasantly complexioned girl, who was turned mildly Olive by the train journeys to and from her college, her waist-length hair was pinned carefully and neatly but for her front fringes, which blew all over her face, erm in a sweet way. Today, seated in one of the benches in her college garden, she was reading “Eye of the Needle, by Ken Follet” and seemed oblivious to the jaywalkers, love-birds and the bespectacled professors who walked along the college road. But in truth she was least interested in the book at hand, in fact she was reading the book to avoid his eyes – those piercing eyes that she “liked” and its unrelenting attention.
Time and ago Preeti had joined Engineering with reluctance, under peer pressure, like many others. To add to her pleasure, her institution – “Vaista Engineering college” was a lousy one that had the girls-NO-talk-boys stupid theory. She frowned at the added displeasure, clenched her teeth and sailed through three years of ludicrous Engineering Design, she had just one more year to wade through and that gave her a deep sense of relief. Just a mini and major project, she can throw away her books in the air and take up some measly hand-to-mouth job.
She looked at the book, yet again with an increased interest. She did not want to distract “him”.
Vinay was a TDH six footer with a dimple and a don’t care attitude (that her college detested). He was on the notice boards for various reasons like ragging, attendance lag and sometimes even as the winning Captain of their college Cricket team. He bunked classes, chided professors, flirted with senior-girls like nobody’s business, but he excelled at academics. He was one of the prospective Gold medalists his college expected, thus they could not put a finger on him. He used this advantage to endure them all.
The last thing Preeti wanted to do today was to make eye contact with that idiot, Vinay.
But he would never leave her. She knew that, only too well.
Much as she expected, he approached her. She amused herself with a few stands of her flowing front-fringes and appeared to be very busy.
“Hey Preeti, what about the thesis photocopy?”, he inquired.
“What about it?”, she snapped even before he could finish the sentence.
“Didn’t we have to submit it for 0th review this week?”
She had completely forgotten that. Shit. She forgot almost everything since this idiot.. “well forget it”, she thought to herself. “No, I have not done anything about it yet”
Where the heck was Thirumailai station, she wanted to ask him, but her ego got the better of her. She’d go home and Google it out. He didn't even bother to ask if she was "free"! Was there a word called courtesy in that idiots' dictionary?... "Cute idiot", she said aloud, rephrasing her thought.
* * * * *
13th FEB, 2011
The next evening, she subconsciously reached out for her best blue floral chudidhar and wore a little make up and reached the station even before him and waited. There were times when he has not shown up at college get-togethers, will this one be any different? She wondered, and chewed her nails...