She ascended the stairs and was immediately and effortlessly ushered into the corridor. There was still fifteen minutes to go. She walked lethargically, feeling a bit sleepy and cursing the arrangement under her breath. She wondered if she would get a seat in the front rows. This was an important lecture for which she had dragged herself out of her bed and traveled with equally sleepy faces for more than an hour in the metro. Now, if she did not get a front row, then the entire painful morning ritual would go waste.
She rubbed her eyes as if it would rub off her sleepiness. Every step was a struggle and all she wanted was to dump herself on one of the cushiony chairs and slouch for rest of the time till the lecture began.
She entered the lecture hall immediately smitten by the ocean of humanity that spread before her. There were people, all sorts of them, bustling in and out of the room. Girls to her right, she recognized, were exceptionally enthusiastic for such a lazy morning, giggling about the handsome young professor who was to meet them that morning. Ishika nodded when one of those few girls waved at her. She was met with another set of smiles from the other end of the room. She felt too lazy to go across the room and meet them. Her eyes, however, marauded across the swarm of people and then it lay fixed on one particular face. She realized that it was the face she was looking for, unconsciously of course. There was no hand waves, no smiles in return, however. She wondered if there was a place vacant around that handsome face which had caught her attention and drained all sleep out of her. But, with a heavy heart she had to retreat to one of the seats that her friend had saved for her.
“I have a questions sir,” the voice traveled past her.
Her heart leaped. She obviously recognized the voice. She smiled waiting for the next spurt of intelligent question. The young professor listened to the question and relaxed back for a while, smiling all this while, deriving some sort of secret pleasure, it seemed. After a full twenty seconds he moved forward and ventured to address the question, but then stopped and smiled again. The girls beside her sighed and the professor acknowledged it with a more welcoming smile.
He smiled and with excitement-filled eyes returned, “This actually makes a very good question for your semester exams. Research on this!”
He stood up, collected his equipment and walked out. Ishika stared at him as he left the class and a throng of girls who followed him. She began ruminating about the question asked. She had been reading about it and had a fair idea about it. She imagined Aditya walking upto her and conferring with her on this . She would intelligently dispel all his doubts. It felt good and that feeling filled her with a strange kind of joy. She turned to see him. He was comfortably surrounded with his friends who were laughing at his jokes and witty remarks.
The other day she was reading in the metro when she was hit by a burly man who hurried towards the door before it closed. He did not care to turn back and say sorry. She felt bad for a while but then left that thought and resumed her journey into the book. She turned the other side and adjusted the way she was standing when her eyes met Aditya’s. He was staring at her for god-knows how long. She tried to smile but it did not come. He had a seat, unlike her. He then started doing something on his mobile. “Was he really staring at her or it was simply her imagination?” the suspicion grew inside her and gradually started irritating her. She could no longer concentrate on the pages of her book.
Aditya was popular. He knew everything. He wrote brilliant poems which got published in various literary magazines. He was everywhere- in the class, on social networking sites, on group page- almost everywhere. He had a handsome face too. Ishika could not decide whether it was for his handsome face or witty remarks or his popularity that she could not stop thinking about him. She definitely did not think very highly of his poems but since he was the president of the student’s poetry club everyone seemed to be talking about him. It was precisely because of this that Ishika never talked to anyone about her poems lest someone would share them with Aditya. She thought it would be too embarrassing if her little secret was out.
It wasn’t that they had never talked. Once Aditya had asked her if the classes were happening when she was sitting on one of the slabs in the corridors all by herself waiting for her friends. That was such an absurd question. If the classes would have been happening why would she be sitting outside the lecture-hall? But, she did not let that feeling travel across her face instead, she smiled and shook her head.
He was friends with her on Facebook. He had liked her comments on the group page that evening.
She laughed out loud. People around them stared at her. She muffled her laughter and buried her face on Aditya’s shoulder. Aditya was saying her how he was staring at her but was scared to talk to her in the metro that day. He went on saying how it took him a lot of courage and rehearsal to ask her if the classes were happening. He could do it only because she was sitting alone that day in the corridors unlike other times when she was crowded by people, so unlike him. He always waited for her comments on his latest published poems but she never did. It used to disappoint him. He used to wait for her in the poetry club’s meetings, but she never bothered to turn up.
Then one day, he found a seat beside her. He could not concentrate in the class, conscious of Ishika’s presence all the time. When he could not resist it any longer, he bent sideways towards her and said, “Can you please tie your hair, it is distracting?” Her wild wayward glossy locks were peacefully lying on his shoulder since she had tossed them off unwittingly while she was all focused on the professor’s explanation to her queries. She felt a bit embarrassed coupled with a happy sensation that she did not quite understand. He kept looking into her notebook rest of the time. He wondered if he could ask her out after the class. Would that sound too desperate? She mumbled, “I don’t think so.” Aditya was taken aback. She raised her voice a little and said, “I’m not convinced with that argument. To me, it sounds contradictory.” The professor refused curtly, but Ishika would not buy it so easily. She was explaining her position when Aditya intervened. She lost the flow of her thoughts midway with that interruption for a while but resumed it soon. The discussion continued even after the class and Aditya forgot that it was just a while ago that he was planning a date with this utterly stunning woman. He was lost in her charms- charms of her words and charms of her pretty face. He lost track of his line of thoughts and was completely subsumed in her.
He wanted to ask her out, more out of an irresistible desire than anything else.
The two people had noticed each other on their very first day of college. It took them four months before they talked for the first time and since then, every day with every passing moment they continued falling in for each other simultaneously. Love bloomed in its own way for its own purpose like an easy aimless walk in the meadows.
Theirs was a simple sweet story without any unnecessary twists and turns, no complexity, no irregularity worth describing. Life was blissful and love for each other was a primal instinct, pure, the way it felt and happy, as it was.
Sometimes, it is that simple!