Ineffable stranger


‘Chai(tea)??’ came a text on my mobile.

‘Will reach canteen directly in 5’, I replied.

No sooner did I reach canteen than my eyes started looking for that beauty. She wasn’t there that day. As always I and my friend Ravi ordered special chai.

I purposely sat facing the road which she takes for canteen so that I can gaze her for long and that sight…of those kajal-clad innocent eyes gives me ‘eyegasm’. Never ever in my life earlier did I observe a girl so minutely. Within few minutes, I saw her coming towards canteen, all alone today. That scene of watching her walk from blur to clarity is something worth capturing and most precious. My heart slowly started showing colours then, beating faster than never.

She reached canteen, gave me that truehearted and much awaited look. Her seraphic look benumbs me so much that I couldn’t even give her a smile. Then I secretly follow her facial expressions and expressive eyes. Well…this lasts for 15 minutes and then I go back to my normal, draggy life longing to see her again!!

This happens almost every time I see her in canteen. And I’ve visited canteen so many times, just to catch a glimpse of her that I can even draw a probability distribution curve of her canteen visits!!

But these days are different. Even my mornings are dark. I haven’t seen her in moons. Not even anywhere in college. I visit canteen thrice a day just to watch those beautiful pair of eyes, but no luck. Ergodic and scary thoughts going inside my mind daunt me. ‘What if she met with an accident??’ ‘What if she left college?? What if she’s having viral??’ And the worst of all, ‘’What if she stopped visiting canteen ‘cause of me??’

As luck would have it I saw her in canteen few days later. But this time she had reached before me. I made up my mind, this time I will pass a nonchalant smile. I gazed at the damsel appreciating her beauty. She didn’t look back. No response. Benighted me, dropped a cup of tea so that she would respond at least to the sound of shattering. Still, no reaction. I hurried and went off to hostel with my friend.

Contemplating about what was going on in my life since few weeks, I calmly decided to give it a grave thought. But I was unable to becalm myself. Anxious.

The world seems so dark as if seasonal affective disorder has come over me. She is as good as a stranger to me. I don’t know her name. I don’t know where on earth she lives. I don’t know what language she speaks, what food she eats.

I feel like going straight unto her, lift her chin and say,

Nazar uthao zara tum to qainaat chale,

Hai intizaar ki aankho se koi baat chale,

Tumhari marzi bina waqt bhi apahiz hai,

Na din khisakta hai aage, na aage raat chale” (Gulzar saab)

(Lift your eyes so that a world can come into being,

I’m waiting for conversation to spark between our eyes,

Without your consent even time is handicapped,

Neither the day ascends nor the night descends)