Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Volvo Connection

It was a cold January night in Delhi with temperature having fallen to 2 degree Celsius. The rain was making it worse. He had just missed the 0030 Volvo by a whisker. The next Volvo was to leave at 0130 hours. He couldn’t even think of travelling 5 hours in a normal bus in this chilling cold. It being a Friday night meant that there was already a big queue at the ticket counter, which made him realise that even if he had reached on time he wouldn’t have got a ticket for the 12:30 bus. He was no. 10 in the queue which gave him a sense of relief as he was almost certain to get a ticket. It had been a year now since Ansh Arora had been regularly taking this Delhi-Chandigarh Volvo, that too on Friday nights in most cases, but he had still not got used to this mad rush and standing in queues for the bus. The sale of tickets had still not started as the bus was yet to reach the bus stand. The number of people behind Ansh was way beyond the number of seats in the bus. He never understood why people wasted so much time in the queue when they had no hopes of getting a ticket. All of a sudden there was a lot of commotion around the counter as the bus had come and the conductor had taken his seat at the ticket counter. Some people made an attempt to give money to others standing in the front of the queue so that they may buy a ticket for them, which always was accompanied by shouts and abuses from everyone at the back. Suddenly a girl came towards Ansh and said, “Hi Rahul, Here is what you asked for” and handed him a note which read:

Please do me a favour. Buy a ticket for me and I will pay you in the bus .If you don’t have enough money just call for me and ask for it.

Ansh was surprised at first but after reading the note, his first reaction was “Nice Move.” He turned and looked at the girl. Her clothes were drenched with water and water was dripping from her hair. But she still had a certain class about her and her beauty was quite visible. She was wearing a red coloured jacket with blue jeans accompanied with a nice pair of footwear. Ansh had always believed in the philosophy he picked up from a story he had read in school-You can always judge a person by his/her footwear. The story had actually talked about just the colour, but Ansh made it more subjective and if the footwear were to his liking, he considered the person worth talking to. Since the girl passed the footwear test, wasn’t half as bad looking and was certainly pretty clever, he thought he is going to have a nice journey. He thought of making a move of his own and looked at her. She had now changed into a new set of clothes-A black cardigan to go with a new pair of jeans. He said, “Hey, Aamya. Why don’t you grab a couple of packets of chips?” and ended it with a wink. Aamya couldn’t help a smile.

As Ansh got out of the line with two tickets in hand, people had no idea how a 20 something Aamya Chauhan had got her ticket without getting into the trouble of standing in the queue and one person who was supposed to get that ticket would now have to go shivering in a normal roadways bus.

The bus was supposed to leave in about ten minutes and Ansh made a move towards his fellow passenger. Since he had asked for two tickets, it was understandable that they got adjoining seats. As he handed over the ticket to her, she took the ticket and said thanks. Ansh introduced himself, “By the way, Its Ansh. Rahul is too common” to which she replied, “ Mine will still be Aamya.” Both of them started to laugh.

Both of them took their seat in the bus as the bus started its engines. After the initial customaries, Aamya had not shown a lot of interest in Ansh and had got busy with her phone-A couple of phone calls and then some texts. The first thought that crossed his mind was what any single(or maybe not) young male in his early 20’s would have-Whether or not does she have a boyfriend?

Aamya was currently having this conversation with her best friend Tia.

A-What sort of a guy is he. There were 10 people in front of him in line, I could have approached anyone of them but I chose him. Isn’t that a signal enough that I am interested in him? Now does he expect me to bend over and kiss him?

T-I am sure he won’t mind he is just showing attitude? Does he seem like that kind.

A- No, not at all. Hes just so sweet, I don’t think he is at all the attitude types. Already has a girlfriend maybe

T-But you said on the phone that you have not seen him talking on the phone or texting since you saw him

A-Not all couples are like that-talking all the time. Anyways, I am on roaming right now. Can’t message anymore. Will inform you if something happens. Catch ya in the morning. Gn. Tc

Ansh had never been diplomatic with his words so as soon as Aamya kept the phone in her bag, “Boyfriend?” he asked. Aamya just managed to control her laughter and managed to say, “ No, a friend.” This was enough of a signal for Aamya to understand that the guy is interested, maybe a bit shy. She decided to play the waiting card as she didn’t want to show him that she too was interested.

Almost forty five minutes had passed and the bus was about to leave Delhi, Aamya had fallen asleep and her head fell on Ansh’s shoulder. As soon as she noticed, Ansh kept on looking at her beautiful face slowing alongwith the orange lights across the city. He felt an urge to touch her soft cheeks or play with her hair but he knew he will have to control himself. The driver had to put instant brake as a cow turned up in front of the bus. Aamya woke up with the jerk and caught a glimpse of Ansh trying to turn his face, but he was just a bit late. Aamya felt a bit embarrassed but had a smile on her face because after long she had met a guy who was admiring her beauty and wasn’t being ridiculous at that. Most of the guys she met acted too smart and would try and flatter her with remarks about her face and beauty. She was liking the way Ansh was secretly looking at her so she decided to do away with the “never be the first mover” rule as she anyways had made the first move at the bus stand.
“Don’t like talking to girls?” She said

Ansh- Nothing like that. Just that you came and got busy with the phone so I thought you were just interested in the ticket and may think of me as some despo who starts to pester a girl just because he bought her a bus ticket.

Aamya-Well if someone helps me get into a bus which I had no hopes of getting into, I won’t consider him trying to talk as pestering. You think of me as some bitch-Just Interested in the ticket...huh

Having recently come out of a relationship having spanned a good two years, it wasn’t easy for Ansh to start a conversation with a girl or to “hit” on her so as to say. Flirting with some cheeky lines was one thing but actually being involved in a proper conversation was something different.

Ansh-I am sorry. I didn’t mean it like that.

Aamya- Its ok. I am just kidding. So what do you do?

Ansh-I am currently pursuing my MBA from IIM Indore.

Aamya-Oh. So an IIM guy! No matter you think it beyond your level to try and start conversations with girls

Ansh-Believe me IIM guys are the last people on earth who can have that arrogance.

Aamya-What makes you say so.

Ansh- You haven’t seen the kind of girls we have in our batch. We have a popular joke that girls at IIMs should be rather addressed as Non-Males. Even those who are decent looking have hoards of men after them as they are rare. Guys like Chetan Bhagat are rare as he himself has pointed out in his book.

Aamya-I am sure you are exaggerating. It can’t be that bad

Ansh-Well, ya maybe not that bad but if we mellow it down then girls like you won’t take pity on us and we may lose the chance of being considered by some good girls.

Aamya-I take this as a compliment, Thank you. And where were these plethora of words lost before I started this conversation. I was beginning to doubt myself.
Aamya laughed at her own flirtatiousness.

Ansh-Told you, didn’t want you to think of he as some mauke ka fayda uthane wala.

Aamya-Maine bhi to wahi kiya. Bura Kya hai!

Both started to laugh.

Ansh- What about you. What do you do?

Aamya- I just passed out of UIET, Panjab University last year. Currently working with TCS in Mumbai.

Ansh- Oh really. I passed out of DCET, a year prior to you I think.

Aamya thought for a while and asked, hoping she is wrong, “ Are you the Ansh Arora who was dating our senior Isha Singh?”

Ansh was not expecting this at all.

Ansh-Ya. I was the one.

Aamya read(or imagined) a certain reluctance in his voice

Aamya-You didn’t seem to like the question

Ansh-Ah, Not exactly. We broke up some time back. We are still friends but I don’t want my past to hamper any chances I may have in the future.

“Or in the present” she thought and almost smiled. But she had a doubt cropping in her mind-Was he over her, as they were known to be one of the most popular couples in college. People thought they may even go on and marry.

It had been more than an hour since they finally started talking but the last hour went before it came. They both knew there was a chemistry going on but both had some doubts. Will it end as just another crush or will something bloom from this chance meeting?

The Bus halted near Karnal for about 15 minutes. Some people got off the bus, others preferred to sleep inside the cosy atmosphere of the bus instead of the facing the teeth clenching chill. Ansh & Aamya were just sitting when Ansh asked, “Would you like to out on coffee with me?” Aamya was impressed by how Ansh always had a cheeky line for every moment. She had no option but to say yes, she was in awe of this guy from the moment she saw him and the feeling kept getting stronger from the moment he started to talk. But, she added, “ I thought you will never ask me out. And here of all places?”

Ansh was again swift with his reply, “ Can’t take the liberty of being late with everything. Can I?”

It was the most unique first date Aamya had ever had-Having coffee at a roadside joint which isn’t exactly a Barista! But then, nothing in this meeting had been the usual for her. A girl who was no stranger to guys hovering all around her felt strange falling for a guy at first sight. If that wasn’t enough, having to make the first move.

As they got back into the bus, they both felt a bit sleepy but both were trying to get rid of their sleep and the coffee had helped a bit in that regard. Soon they knew where both of them lived, what cars they drive, who were there best friends and all the details one might have thought of getting to know in the first meeting.
This time it was Ansh who slept on Aamya’s shoulder. But, what Aamya did was more or less what Ansh had done. She just kept looking at him. All doubts she had of whether or not he had forgotten Isha were gone but what about him? She could tell from the way he was looking at her throughout the journey that he also felt a connection but was he ready? She thought of calling Tia and consulting but she was afraid that he may get up and will certainly not like to hear whatever she felt like asking. She decided to go with her gut instinct.

As the bus reached Sector 35 , she reluctantly nudged Ansh to wake him up. Ansh had no idea that he had been asleep for almost an hour. She lived in Sector 37 so she generally got down at 35 but she gave it a miss this time. He got up and gave her a smile. She reciprocated. As the bus finally reached its final halt, they both got down . Aamya had decided that she will go whichever way he took her-If he wants to take it forward, she will be glad but if he feels he is not ready, she will just let it be.

Aamya-“So thats it”
Ansh-“Would it be alright if I dropped you home in an auto.”
Aamya’s apprehensions flew away
She just smiled, walked to him & held his hand.

Love Doesn't need time, it just needs a chance

This is my first short story. So your feedback will be highly appreciated and will go a long way in helping me improve in the future.


MAVERICK said...

I must say it is a great effort.Although I do wish if the conversation had been more elaborative and the character description a bit more exciting, yet the dots seem to be well connected.
Although what leaves me gasping with thoughts, how much of this was personal.
Best of luck for your future stories, it feels good to see atleast someone is taking a different path.Kudos !

Sharan Saini said...

captivating, fresh, loved it because of various excerpts from your life
but the end is too heavy on the girl.. y a hug. a smile would really be appropriate

adarshs said...

@maverick...thanks a lot for taking out time to read...ll certainly try to take care of these things in future

@sharan...taken care of, i hope u ll find this ending more appropriate

adarshs said...

@maverick...well,as far as real life inspiration is concerned, there are a lot of small things i hav picked up from my own life or frm ppl around me, bt the overall story is fiction...

harsh said...

I enjoyed it..I am not a good critique..Just as a viewer ,I liked it..But yeah I felt that end could be better....Keep up the work..Would love to read your next story..and you know what ,I don't think it's a fiction..:P

adarshs said...

@harsh...thnx a lot...n cant b a better appreciation for a author if readers dnt believe fiction to b just means deres a lot o conviction in d story :)

anshul said...

really well written.. i got so engrossed in it.. lag raha tha its happening to me.. thanks for using a part of my name..

Sidra Sayeed said...

unobstructed innocence! I like how the usual hesitation isn't visible. I'd probably not be able to be as trusting ever but I can see the attraction taking over. I've a smile on my face so clearly u've done a good job :)

adarshs said...

@anshul...thanks bro..ah, ur name.. :)

@sidra...glad to bring that smile...true love always is innocent i guessn n if unobstructed just makes it all that adorable :)