Considering the thermometer, it couldn’t be categorized as February, but still! Generation Y was swaying in the hype for the seven day long fest that marked this month. Some were busy deciding what to do? Some were competing for getting their valentine, while sad souls were busy abusing their ex, the humdrum about finding true love, and this mad chase for love that made February stand out of others.
Mukul was ready with his volley of abuses because his idiotic friends, Ashok and Rishi had jeopardized their plan to visit Darjeeling. They had backed off at the last moment citing not getting permission from their family. He doubted the excuse.
“Bhai, believe me we didn’t get permission!”
Ashok justified it further,” Boss, after all it is a hilly terrain and you know it won’t be right to hide the trip from our parents. If something happens then….!”
“You two are real ass!”
Ashok patted on his shoulder and said, “We will go next month. I think my parents will permit then.”
Mukul went out the room, and he wasn’t pacified at all. His friends knew the reason but they couldn’t help him much. Ashok felt sorry for letting him down and Rishi thought it was best to leave him alone for some time. “He himself will figure out a way to overcome this. We are done with the counselling part” said Rishi standing near the window.
“He had done all the arrangements. I think we shouldn’t have done this” said Ashok searching his pocket for cigarette.
“Everything happens for a reason. Remember this!”
The next morning Ashok left for his Sister’s house, Rishi persuaded him to go home for two days as he himself was leaving for the same. Mukul reluctantly gave into his demand because he didn’t have much to do here, except revising some old memories that would haunt him every now and then. The station was particularly crowded, and inevitably, the coaches would be the same. Mukul stood with their bags while Rishi went to a shop on the platform to buy some snacks. The girl standing few meters away did look familiar, though her face was partially visible. He was trying to get a better view of her face to confirm if she was really an acquaintance when their eyes met. She slowly stepped out of the crowd and stood in front of him. He could recognize her, she was Shristi Saumya. Beautiful-check, Cute faced-check, intelligent-check!! In short, she was quite a heartthrob, but the problem was with the ice-breaking. Mukul didn’t speak much with people outside his very close group of friends. It was easily misunderstood as attitude. She asked him, “Where are you going?”
“Home; I mean Patna.” He noticed the dimple that adored her cheek.
“Oh…You are alone?”
“No, Rishi is going with me.” Somewhere between these conversations, she noticed his hair was a little ruffled up. The wind blowing past the auto must have been the culprit.
“OK, so by Vikramshila I guess?”
“Yes and you are going somewhere? I mean, I heard that you will be directing the play that is supposed to be showcased at BHU this week?”
“You knew that? I am surprised! You didn’t seem a guy keeping track of all this.” She complemented this with a cute mischievous smile. He gave a shy one and replied, “No, I mean, it just happened that I was going past the board when I saw the notice.”
“Well, I think famous directors have assistants! I will be back in two days. Actually, people are less serious about practice during this time so…..I thought two days break was worth taking.”
“So you are going home too?” asked Shristi. He was tempted to ask where her home was, but decided not to. Looking around, she asked him, “Rishi is not visible?”
“He has gone to get some snacks. I don’t know why he is taking so much time.”
The station manager announced the arrival of Vikramshila Express at platform no. one. There was no sign of Rishi. “I think you should give him a ring” said she.
Rishi answered the phone, “Boss I have forgot my wallet. I am going to the hostel to check if it is there. You proceed. I think I won’t be able to give you company. Bye and have a safe journey!”
“Hey, I can come with you. I will go home with you tomorrow!”
“What, hello …I can’t listen you clearly. We will talk later.”
The call was ended abruptly. She asked him what had happened. He gave a short description and then as the train approached the station, they both walked towards the position where rearmost coach would get parked. He asked her,” So you will board the ladies coach?”
“I usually do board it when there is no one with me!”
Both smiled and boarded the same coach negotiating the crowd that herded in front of the gates.
“I learnt something from Mukul yesterday.”
He is little perplexed to see Rishi so confident in his claim. “He hasn’t told it anyone yet, and we are supposed to be silent about it.”
“The college has its own wiki leaks!”
“You know it really?” asks Ashok in a desperate tone, filled with confusion.
“And we are not going to discuss about it, right!” says Rishi and switches on the fan. “But he told me, no one knew!”
Rishi patted Ashok’s shoulder as he packed for their Darjeeling trip. Sadly, Mukul won’t be coming as he is playing the character of Christopher in one of the plays that there college’s dramatics club will present in Delhi. Rishi whispered, “Everything happens for a reason.”
About one month ago, when he was giving audition for the role of Christopher in the Dramatics room, he had overheard a conversation. “It is always expected that the boy should make the move, but I don’t or rather I don’t want to talk about this to anyone. This is so much difficult to explain!” Her friend cited, “But you don’t even know if he is interested? Moreover, I heard that he has a girlfriend. If you propose, he rejects, and it is a hush-hush affair then it is OK. But, if this thing spreads like a wild fire, you will be ….!” She feebly spoke, “I think I should just try to get myself out of this as soon as possible.”
Once the boy’s name was known, everything required a plan. First of all, the girl needed to be made aware of the fact that his friend was single, but a little agitated about relationship because of his past experience. This meant arranging a publicity campaign about his friend’s single hood! Secondly, the recce of his friend’s heart was to be executed and he being a great actor could easily notice the void Mukul felt in his life. Convincing Ashok to cancel the trip wasn’t hard, but he didn’t know anything of the arrangement!