Don’t Break My Heart – Episode 15

I reached the campus on time. It was Monday, the day of our microeconomics lecture; and I was overexcited with hopes of seeing Rajeev.

As I entered the class, my eyes roamed through the entire class. Shikha waved at me sitting in one of the front rows. She gave a slight shake to her shoulders upon seeing me, as if trying to communicate that she was keeping a seat for me but someone came and sat there.

Sharing a friendly smile with her, I located a spot in one of the middle rows and tried to settle up myself. Taking out my notebook, I started turning the pages to go through the previous notes, but my mind was taking leaps and bounds somewhere else. It was lost in Rajeev’s thoughts wandering whether he would make up to the class today or not.

The lecturer came in and droned the lecture. I was least interested in hearing and taking down the notes as my heart was desperately waiting or better said missing him. Gathering myself together, I tried to listen to the teacher to at least make out what topic she was talking about just when I heard a student came in and pushed back a chair in the adjacent row.

And when I looked up, a fresh breeze of air tousled my hair and touched my heart. Happiness washed over me when I saw Rajeev sliding into the chair. I felt content that my day didn’t get wasted as I got a chance to see him at least. I kept on looking at him so that he could notice me, and when he looked at me directly and smiled at me, my heart pounded even harder.

He was looking extra handsome in denim blue casual shirt that gave a slight peek of his chiseled chest; his messy gelled hair complimented his cleanly shaven face, and he looked rebellious when he outstared me with his deep brown eyes.

Shivering with the growing affection I started to feel for him, I reciprocated the smile and then forced my eyes away from his extra charming face to stare at my notes, trying hard to wipe off the smile that was constantly trying to reveal my unsaid undisclosed feelings for him.

I stole glances every now and then and found Rajeev paying full attention to the lecture. He hardly looked at me, and all the time he was either looking at Ms. Thimmaih, our microeconomics lecturer, trying to grasp what she was explaining or taking down the notes of what she was dictating.

At the end of the lecture, I started gathering my things waiting for him to approach me, but when he didn’t come near me, I couldn’t resist myself to look in his direction once again.

“Oh…shucks….” I whispered, my lips pursed with irritation. His red-colored plastic girlfriend was leaning over his desk with an inch distance from him.

Disappointment whirled around me, and I backpacked my things to walk out of the classroom without looking at the duo. As I walked past them, I heard Rajeev saying, “Got to go Anks…will catch up later.”

Coming out of the classroom, I started walking in the corridor with tortoise steps waiting for him to come after me, and a moment later, I heard him calling my name. “Hey…Ruchi…just a sec…”

I turned around and looked at him as if it’s just a normal thing for me but the reality was far away from what I pretended, and the truth was that I was trying hard to calm down my trembling heartbeat when I heard him calling me from behind.

“Hey Rajeev…good to see…great that you make up to the class,” I said.

“Good to see you too Ruchi…yeah, I had to work over the weekend and it was really tough to get to the class on time but at last I made it…” he said.

“So…what’s up…” I asked.

“Well…Ruchi…I was thinking if you’re doing anything important this evening.”

“Nothing much….just homework and the revision for the class test next week.” His question was kind of abrupt, and it took a little time for me to reply…

“That’s cool….that means not much of a work on you…so you can take some time out to have some dinner with me…” he asked.

“Ummm….well…” My voice slurred. No words could escape from my mouth as my lips glued together because of the elation that unchained my emotions.

“Oh..it’s okay…if you don’t want to come with me…”He looked a little disappointed and was about to turn back just when I regained my lost control and cried like a child…“No…No…I want to…”

I immediately realized that I sounded like an inexperienced teenager and cursed myself upon my stupidity.

“Cool then…I’ll pick you up at 7.” He flashed a pearly smile.

“See you in the evening.” He winked at me this time and left the corridor. I stood still and saw him leave the hallway. A jumble of exhilaration, joy, and thrill ran through my blood and I felt my whole body heated up.

“Oh…so he has invited me on a real date.”

***

At sharp 7, I heard a car honking outside my commune…. Stepping out into the balcony, when I looked down, I found a blue Nissan Ultima standing outside the gate of the apartment building.

Standing there, I tried to comb my hair to get ready for the evening, when I saw the car door opening and there he was….

Yes it was Rajeev’s car. He came to pick me up.

“Oh…he’s so punctual….it’s just 7 and he is here…” I asked him to wait there. Tying my hair into a loose bun, I hurried to reach him as fast as I could.

“Hey….why you are in such a hurry?” Dia was sitting on the couch watching TV….She was surprised to see me all dressed up and going out as she was used to of seeing me in my loose pajamas and T-shirt, studying or cuddling up in my bed with my favorite novel in hands.

“Got to go now…Would talk to you later…someone is waiting for me…” I said making my way to the exit of our flat.

“It seems she is seeing someone….I saw a handsome hunk standing at the gateway while coming in…” Tina murmured but it was loud enough that I could make out what they were gossiping about…

I smiled and rushed down the elevator and soon the lift reached the ground floor. I saw Rajeev waiting for me leaning over his car. He grinned ear to ear and waved at me…

I was so excited upon seeing him that I missed a few steps of the entry staircase and couldn’t get the grab of the side rail….I stumbled upon and fell down…Trying hard to get up, I felt a sharp stabbing pain radiating down my right thigh. My right ankle was sprained, and I couldn’t get up.

“What have you done Ruchi? You should be careful while walking…” He came running to me. He bent down on his knee and tried to grab my shoulder to lift me up in his arms…

“Come… we will go upstairs…” he said scooping me up in his arms…

“No…no…its okay…I’m fine…please lower me down…I don’t want to go back home…” I said adamantly as I didn’t want to create a scene and became a subject of mockery in front of Tina and Dia…

“Are you sure?” He arched his eyebrows and looked down in my eyes. His brown eyes again left me mesmerized.

“Okay fine…then we’ll go with the plan…” he said. He carried me down to his car and made me comfortable on the front seat next to his…He then hopped onto his seat….

“Put on the seatbelts Ruchi….,” he said. Putting the ignition on, he geared up the vehicle and the car roared with a glorious sound. The vehicle ran through the passageway to the main street and finally we took the last turn to enter the main road.

We headed towards the hub of the city, the Brigade Road, only stopping at a medical store to get some pain relieving gel…He applied the topical muscle relaxant on my sprained ankle, and soon the pain soothed down. I was flying high in the clear sky of the night…walking over the clouds. I’d never expected that kind of care from a man except my Dad.

I never thought that Rajeev could be so caring. He was so concerned about me that he held my hand all the time as we walked through the crowded pedestrian pathways of the Brigade road and at some places; he encircled his arm around my waist as if trying to protect me from the crowd.

The night was charming and alluring, and it seemed like one of the romantic nights of the novel I read, full of passion, longing, and desire.

“This is my favorite place…calm and quiet…” he said as we seated in the Al-Fresco dining area of the restaurant named Coconut Grove on Church Street.

The place was pretty and was beautifully ornamented with several rows and circles of green plants and shrubs. A cascading water feature was adding more to the serenity of the environment. The entire ambience was enamoring yet tranquil and I wondered how this place could be so peaceful even located amidst the buzzing Church Street.

“So…what would you like to have?” he asked navigating through the menu…

“Anything that they are famous for…” I said.

“Cool then…”

He ordered an elaborate dinner including Chicken Chettinad, pepper prawn, Kerala-styled fish curry, and idiyappam.

“It seems you are a big sea-food lover…” I asked.

“You guessed it right….I really miss Goan prawn curry and fried fish from my mom’s kitchen…” he said.

We talked about inconsequential things during which I got to know that he was basically from Goa. He had a younger brother who was studying in Mumbai while his Mom and Dad were staying in their ancestral home in the ancient town of Varca in North Goa.

To Be Continued…

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Dont’ Break My Heart – Episode 14

Restraining myself from looking at him with a pool of desires in my eyes, I asked, “What have you done so far?”

“Nothing,” he laughed, “I was thinking if you can help me out explaining the chapters first.”

“Have you even read the chapters or are you thinking I will do the questions for you,” I asked as we sat on the sagged leather couch of the living room, courtesy our landlord.

Though I behaved strongly in front of him but at some corner of my heart jealousy played stronger than the euphoria I felt upon seeing him at my door. I was a bit annoyed that he ignored me during the class and now seeking my help to finish the pending class work.

“What do you think about me?” he smiled, “I thought we can have a nice time together while studying.”

I felt on top of the world realizing that he wanted to spend time with me. Delighted by his unpredictable attention, I couldn’t figure out how to behave or what to say. I was new to the territory of flirting and didn’t want to behave like a naïve in front of him.

“I’ll just come.” Rising up from the couch, I rushed to my bedroom. I closed the door of my bedroom and almost jumped to look at myself in the mirror, skipping several step between the door and the in-built mirror of the wall closet.

Glancing at my reflection in the mirror, I took a deep breath as the comb ran through the waves of my brown-colored long hair.

“He’s interested in you Ruchika…Just try to be calm and relaxed.” I murmured to myself.

Looking at me one final time, I came out of my bedroom and walked downstairs.

“Is everything fine?” he asked. I could notice his opened notebook on the coffee table with a sheet of questions lying next to it, and he was ready with a pen in his right hand.

“Yeah…and I think you’re ready to study.”

He smiled smugly, “Yes Ms. Sharma, your student is all set to work.”

I actually liked the way he teased me but preferred to just smile instead of responding idiotically as I always would whenever he was around.

“So…what have you read…I mean have you started reading any of the chapters?” I asked as I opened up my Econ textbook.

“Actually…I haven’t started reading any of the chapters. I thought of finding the answers of the questions as I need them.” He read the first question on the question sheet and then looked at the textbook to find out the corresponding answer. “See it’s here.”

“Fine…” I said and watched him write down the answer in his notebook.

“So…what are you specializing in?” he lifted his eyes from his notebook and looked at me.

“Sales and Marketing…If everything goes right with respect to grades and assessments, I hope I would get my degree in the next 2 years.” I said.

“That’s great…How old are you?” he asked.

“Twenty four and half,” I said, “I’d been working for a while after my graduation so it took some time to join the course.”

“Well…hats off to you that you have the courage to resume your studies after a gap of…..” his words trailed as he bent down to look again in the question sheet.

“2 years…My Dad was ill, so I had to discontinue my studies and job to look after him. He passed last winter.” I completed his sentence.

A brief moment of pause seemed like a lingering silence and took me down the memory lane, my father’s image glimpsed in my eyes and a drop of tear hovering over my eyelid rolled down my cheek.

He took my hands into his. The warmth of his hands on mine soothed my wounded soul, and I felt like crying out my inner weakness in front of him, but the next moment his buzzing cell phone broke the stillness of the rainy afternoon.

He avoided the call and put the mobile on silent.

“I can understand what you’re going through. Loss of a loved one is unforgettable though the pain slowly subsides with time.” He said looking in my eyes, his hands still on mine.

“It’s okay…I’m fine now…coping up with my studies, trying to keep my pain and sufferings away.” I said, slowly sliding my right hand out to tuck a stray hair behind my ear.

He withdrew his other hand and straightened his back against the couch. “Aren’t you doing your homework?”

“I’ve already done it.” I said trying to force a smile. I realized he was trying to pilot the conversation away from my Dad’s demise to something that was lighthearted and funny.

“Oh…aren’t you the most organized one. I really admire that in a woman.”

His brown eyes bore into mine. The brightness of his eyes was sharp making my heart flutter. It started beating faster and faster. Happiness started to replace the sadness with each passing second, and slowly all grief was gone and what left was pure bliss. I helped him finish his assignments and didn’t even realize when an hour passed by. He closed his notebooks and stuffed his things in his backpack.

“Do you want to have something…its lunch time almost?” He looked at his broad-dialed silver bracelet wristwatch.

I thought about his offer. I’d really loved spending the afternoon with him, and the truth was that I’d never wanted him to leave but I’d other things to do, I’d some homework in other subjects and didn’t want to get distracted by his attention. Not only this, I also didn’t want to appear so eager to be with him that I would accept his spur of the moment invitation.

“Thanks for inviting me, but I’m a bit occupied today.” I said.

“Not a problem,” he said, “see you then…”

I saw him till the main gate of the commune and waved at him as he kick started his bike. Rain started to pour over his white shirt and I felt regretful of not asking him to stay longer. I wanted him to stay with me by my side but then my inner voice took charge and guided me to do what my mind felt was right at that moment.

A prick of regret lanced through me as I saw him taking the last turn and vanishing from my sight. Suddenly, I felt so lonely.

“Is this because of him that I am feeling so aloof and alone?” I questioned myself and found that I was deeply attracted to a man with penetrating brown eyes. His eyes were hiding a lot of secrets and I was eager to know all of them.

To Be Continued…

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Don’t Break My Heart – Episode 13

“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.