“Would you help me if I left behind?” he asked. Regaining my composure, I forced to drift my eyes away from his charming face to my backpack that was lying in my lap. Avoiding his stare, I said, “I’d be glad to help you…please let me know when you need me.”
He straightened his back and leant against the wall. “Would you mind giving me your contact details – your phone number or address or something so that I can get in touch with you?”
“No…not at all…” I said. My hand slid down the side pocket of my backpack and within seconds I was able to fish out a small notepad and a pen. I wrote down my cell number and my address onto a piece of paper and handed it to him.
“It seems you are a well organized person.” He smiled.
“Yes I am…” A feeling of self pride washed over me when he complimented me on my organization skills that was one of the couple of talents that I possessed and proud of.
Feeling happy that he noticed something that I was really good at, I gave him the piece of paper. He took it from my hand and looked at it…
“Oh…that’s a nice place to live…Few of my friends stay there…How are you finding it there?”
“It’s fine. My roommates are good; however, I have talked to them very less as they are not around most of the time and are always kind of going here and there. How about you? Where do you put up?” I asked.
“Me.” His eyebrows intertwined. “Well…Ruchi…I can’t tell you…”
“Why…I am not going to stalk you…” I laughed on my joke.
His face turned stiff and his smile faded away. “I don’t have a permanent place to live. I’ll be putting up with some friends till the end of the weekend. I don’t know where I would be next week.”
“Oh…that’s not cool at all.”
His smile again twinkled in his eyes. “That’s not a big issue…in fact it helps me break the monotony of life.” He stood up. “I think we can go in now.”
I followed him into the classroom wandering how he would shift between places but when he sat next to me in one of the middle rows I forgot all about his residential issues and concentrated on how to come up with something clever that could catch his attention towards me. But, before I could say something I heard a female voice calling his name.
My eyes roamed in the direction of the voice. And, the owner of the voice was the same girl who I saw the very first day hugging Rajeev in the college corridor, few moments after my “falling into his arms” incident.
I tried not to be a mute spectator of their flirtatious interplay and forced my eyes away to look at my opened notebook. I was in no way able to compete with that girl or girls like her. She seemed perfectly skilled in flirting and Rajeev looked completely drawn into her, ignoring me to an extent that I felt as if I’d never known him.
She sat by him and they both mumbled and giggled with each other as and when the lecturer turned her back to the class to write on the green board.
The class came to its end and when I looked at my notebook I realized that I couldn’t write more than 10 words and what I wrote absolutely made no sense.
The teacher dismissed the class and I busied myself gathering my things hoping that the fashionable female and Rajeev would leave before me.
True enough. Rajeev stood to leave with her.
“Hope to see you soon Ruchi…,” he said.
“Oh…so he remembered that I am here….Thanks but no thanks….” I spoke to myself. I could manage to lift my stare to look at him. He was smiling and when our eyes entangled, he winked at me.
I couldn’t make out what he wanted to communicate by winking at me, but I forced a smile to hide the jealousy that jabbed me within. “Sure…” I couldn’t let any more words escape from my mouth.
Stuffing everything into my backpack and carrying it over my shoulder, I counted to 10 hoping that Rajeev and his girlfriend might have left the corridor. Stepping into the hallway, I glanced in both the directions. They’d long gone.
I finished all the classes and left for home, frustrated upon myself that because of him I was not able to concentrate on my studies. I was infatuated by a man with whom I’d no hopes of dating, who seemed like a Casanova, a flirt, but still I longed for him and couldn’t resist my temptation of fantasizing about him. The more I was trying to stay away from his memories the more I was getting trapped into the mesh of his lethal charms.
I decided that I would push his thoughts out of my mind and concentrate on my studies. My goal was clear. I had to utilize the money Dad left for me getting myself educated. I had to stand on my own feet, and for that I need to get good grades to have better placement options soon before I finish my management course.
I was in first semester and it’s a long road till the last semester. Distraction from studies was like self immolating me, and I vowed that I would get him out of my mind and erase all of his memories from my heart.
The next evening, I was relaxing on my armchair reading the novel just when I heard a knocking on the door and when I opened it; I was shocked to see Rajeev standing at the doorway.
“I was thinking if you can help me finishing up my pending assignments,” he said with a friendly grin.
I felt like telling him to seek help of his seductive girlfriend but his smile as always left me helpless.
“Sure.” I said and opened the door wider to let him in. As he bent down to lift up his heavy backpack, his arms flexed, and I again couldn’t control my intense urge to notice his bulging biceps beneath the rolled up sleeves of his white casual shirt.