The bus stopped and was unusually crowded. He was trying to stand still but the rash driving ensured that he tumbled on a few fellow travelers. A laptop bag in one hand and holding the bus rod in another, it was difficult to maintain his balance. A few people got into the already crowded bus. That is when he first saw her. She was wearing a yellow salwar kameez, bright dark eyes lined with kohl, a bindi on her forehead and dark wavy hair falling on her gentle face. Her soothing skin glowed with the lights in the bus. Her dupatta hung loosely over her shoulders. She struggled to climb in.

He did not consciously try, but he could not keep his gaze off her. She was so pretty, this crowd was just not right for her. Frail and gentle as a lotus bud, she should have had a chauffeur drive her home. She held the bus rod with one hand trying to balance her dupatta and handbag from the other. “Ticket please” the conductor approached her and tried to get as close to her as possible. She steered away from him, in turn brushing a shoulder with another man leaning on her. It enraged him.

At the next stop, many people climbed down. The seat next to him was vacant now. She was a few steps away and still standing. He put down his bag on the seat, but did not understand how to gesture to her to sit there. He sat down himself. How pretty she was, her little dangling earrings and her cute little smile. He had always been shy, getting cold feet while talking to girls.

The bus suddenly jerked and she fell –  her bag flew open and the things in it scattered. He immediately got up and rushed to her side. Helping her by the elbow, and gathering the things on the floor, he indicated for her to sit down on his seat. She lifted her dupatta from the floor which had fallen, and sat down. The bus jerked ahead. The nearby passengers helped him in gathering her things. She gave him the most rewarding smile and said a polite “Thank you”. He could say nothing.

What should I say to her? Should I ask her name? Should I tell mine. Should I say how pretty she is? He blushed profusely. He looked at her, she looked back, after a few seconds of silence, she gave him a quizzical look. Words failed him, he was so awed by her charm that he feared staring at her for too long. He looked away and blushed. She started adjusting the things in her bag.

I have to make a move, I have to speak to her. Had he ever spoken his heart to a girl? He remembered how in primary school he had liked a girl, but she had stomped his foot and torn his notebook. He had been always skeptical to talk to girls. They were so pretty, but why did they have to be so complicated. Why couldn’t guys tell them how pretty they were without fearing any consequences? Back in college too, he had really liked his lab partner Rajee. He had always wanted to ask her out, but was devastated when his roommate had asked her our first!

He couldn’t let it happen all the time. He had to speak to her. He realized he had looked away from her for too long, and hoped it wouldn’t be taken as a rude gesture. He turned around to face her and assumed preparedness for speech.
She was nowhere to be seen. He looked around. He saw a flash of her yellow dupatta at the bus stop. The bus had already started moving. He saw the bus go past her, and further away. “Please stop the bus. Please stop.” He rushed to the driver. “No sir, we will only stop at the next stop now.”

Cursing himself all the way, he kept looking behind, hoping to catch a glimpse of her. The bus stopped. He got down. Not knowing where to go, he called for the nearest auto rickshaw. He climbed in and asked him to go to the previous bus stop. Anxiously looking around, he pleaded the driver “Please go faster, this is really important.” This was a first for him, chasing after a girl who he had just met. Had he ever chased after anyone? He shook his head and smiled. Was he on a wild goose chase? He had no idea what he was doing but it felt so right!

“Where to now Sir?” He got down from the auto and looked all around at the bus stop. She wasn’t there. He looked at the roads – one was going right and there was a small one bending away to the left. “Which way Sir?” Everything would be based on what he chose now, it could change his life!. “Go right” he said intensely.

The auto rickshaw driver was driving at a slow pace. He had guessed the rider had no idea where he was going. Each time the driver turned back to look at him quizzically, he saw him almost hanging out from the vehicle, searching crazily all over. Now the driver was curious to know the story too. “What are you looking for Sir?” “I don’t think I am going to find her anyway. Please turn back.”

It had been a wild goose chase after all. It was fate, or was it just him, he could not comprehend. “Sir, you want to eat paani puri? This place has the best one around.” He smiled and put a hand on the driver’s shoulder. “Sure man, why not?” The rickshaw turned around and took him to a very small stall. He stepped out. And that was the second time in the day that he felt so mesmerized.

A flash of yellow dupatta, rustling in the breeze, the same earrings which had tickled her face. It could not be true. He had to say it now. Suddenly she turned around and saw him. They looked at each other. “Hi, thanks for helping me in the bus.” He smiled. “Hi, I am Pankaj.” “Hey, I am Preeti.” And she held out her hand. “You like paani puri?” “It’s the best.” “There must be a nice coffee shop around here, we can go if you like coffee as well.” And her reaction was a nod and a smile!



04/26/2010 10:23pm

Hope he paid the auto-driver well :)

04/27/2010 1:04pm

Good one !!

Ending could be more touching, looked like the story ended in a hurry..

04/27/2010 2:01pm

loved it.. as usual.. :)
You just have the knack of expressing human emotions so well..too good babe.. :)

04/27/2010 2:03pm

@Vivek - you bet they did :)
@Vimal - a blog post has to be limited...but I will keep that in mind :)

04/28/2010 9:02am

Thanks Anusha

04/29/2010 3:36pm

Hey Lovya,
great writing.The way you write is awesome.Just came across your this post and ended up reading all your posts:-) (that too in office hours)
Keep up good work..Keep blogging


04/30/2010 1:05am

Thanks Animesh. Really flattered....keep reading...lots to come further...

05/08/2010 12:41am

As usual, well written :) but I must agree with Vimal. The ending was a bit rushed. nevertheless good post :)

05/11/2010 11:18am

Thanks Arvind...will keep that in mind!

05/11/2010 11:18am

Thanks Arvind...will keep that in mind..


thanks,good article

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06/30/2012 1:15pm

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