It was 11 o clock in the night when Aamya reached the Kashmiri gate bus stand. Despite all the filth and stench covering the area, Aamya felt a strange sense of love and affection whenever she came to the bus stand. It was more than a year now since she had met Ansh at this very spot and had fallen in love by the time they had reached Chandigarh.
Everytime she stepped onto the Volvo stand for Chandigarh, she went back in time and could see Ansh standing in that row and visualise herself handing over that chit to him. She was again going through the very same emotions. Despite the initial inhibitions she had felt, the last year had been rock steady for both of them. “What a beautiful night that was” she said to herself, “and everything after that.” She had a great urge to call him right then and just listen to that voice of his that remained with her all the time, yet she couldn’t live without it. But, he had gone on an outdoor trip with his office team, and the bloody place didn’t even have network. “So much for joining a telco” she thought.
There was no queue at the counter, which was a welcome surprise but again brought back some old memories. “You may say it a million times that you hate queues but deep within you love them, don’t you?” Ansh had bragged many a times in the last year and he wasn’t wrong either. Afterall, It was a queue which had sown the seeds of this relationship.
Aamya had quietly settled into her seat in the bus which was already parked in its spot when she arrived. There had not been much rush at the counter but the bus was still pretty much occupied with just a few seats vacant here and there. “Leaving by the 11:30 Volvo” she messaged Ansh as he had the habit of getting over-protective if he was not knowing her whereabouts.
The bus had just got out of its parking spot when the driver stopped again and another passenger entered the bus. After the conductor was done with a round of heckling with her, the girl who had just entered came and sat next to Aamya. She had not been able to have a clear look at her but still she was glad that it was a female. Though, she loved meeting new people and striking up conversations-with males or females, but she didn’t fancy the idea of some dude trying to flatter her through some cheesy remarks which seemed cheesy only to him. Or worse still, some man in his 30’s trying to do the same. She may have met her prince charming in this manner itself but she had experienced the other types as well.
Aamya was engrossed in the last pages of Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, which she was reading for probably the umpteenth time but still, she couldn’t control her eyes from going watery as Harry and Ginny accompanied their son for his first journey to Hogwarts.
“Hey. Harry Potter han! Is he hot or is he hot??”
As Aamya turned her eyes towards her fellow passenger, “I am Isha” she said and offered her hand for a handshake. Aamya, meanwhile, was in a state of shock. “What do I do? Shall I shake her hand? Ofcourse I have to! Shall I just change my seat afterwards? But no spare seats!” She was struggling with all these thoughts in her head even before she had heard that name. She remembered that face clearly. One of the most high-headed, yet most talked about seniors from college. But that didn’t even matter but what boggled her mind was that she happened to be the ex-flame of her own flame. Reluctantly, she offered her hand and returned to the book in order to avoid any conversation. “And your name?” asked Isha. Though she had avoided telling her name earlier, she had to say it now. “Aamya” she said. This led to a few seconds of awkward silence. Aamya had no idea if Isha was aware of who she was and if she had, how she felt about her? “In the world of Facebook, its impossible to not know whats going on with your ex” Tia had told her once when the topic of Isha had come up. “Are you the Aamya I think you are?” said Isha. So, Tia was right indeed! Aamya was again at crossroads with herself. Her bubbly and friendly nature had gone for a toss now. She liked talking to people, but she had never thought about such a situation coming up with her boyfriend’s ex. Yes, Isha was known for the airs she carried in college and anyone else would have been glad to give it on her face, “Yes I am dating the guy who dumped you.” But, that was not what Aamya was. She didn’t like hurting people. That is what made it so awkward for her.
“And which Aamya are you thinking about?” She replied, delaying the obvious and hoping for some miracle to get her out of the situation. But, it was not to be.
“Ah. So you are!” said Isha.
“Ya. Kind of” Aamya replied in a low voice.
Isha-So finally we meet. Have heard a lot about you, I must say
“What she heard about me? What could she know about me that could be damaging?” she thought.
Aamya-Ya, finally we do. And what have you heard?
Isha-All the nice things you can think about.
“Stop being paranoid” Aamya told herself and scolded herself for being such a weirdo till now. “So what if she is Ansh’s ex. Its not some hindi movie where the ex would try to rip apart your relation and want to win her man back and stuff. Even if she does, who gives a damn. She can’t make or break anything”
Aamya-Thanks. And sorry for behaving a bit weirdly! Its a bit uncomfortable you know!
Isha said with a tinge of laughter, “Don’t worry. I understand. And don’t worry otherwise also. I am happy for you and him as well.”
“Doesn’t look that high headed now. Does She?” thought Aamya
The conversation had again broken off. Though Aamya had fought away the demons lurking in her head but she still wasn’t party to the idea of having a merry conversation with Isha.
It had nearly been two hours now since the journey had commenced. Aamya had fallen asleep as the bus had crossed the border and Isha had immersed herself in the treasures hidden in her ipod. Vibes of uncertainity and mistrust were pretty evident to Isha. She had never really cared about what people thought about her but she had always been a friend worth having to everyone she was close to. And in a normal world, the current girlfriend of your ex shouldn’t give you sleepless nights either but somhow she wanted them to be on good terms. So, she slightly nudged Aamya as the bus came to a half near Karnal. “Wanna have tea or coffee?” said Isha. As Aamya regained her senses, she couldn’t ignore the irony that lay in front of her. “The place where Ansh first asked me out. What better place?” she thought. Not wanting to be rude again, Aamya agreed and moved out alongwith Isha. “So tell me something about yourself” said Isha as they both grabbed some coffee. Aamya told her about her origins from Chandigarh and some basic stuff like current job with HCL in Noida. She had carefully avoided Ansh in the intro.
Isha- So you are also from UIET right?
Isha-How come I never saw you?
Aamya-Well, I was never one of those famous ones like you. So!
“Famous or Imfamous like me??” said Isha and followed it up with laughter filled with sarcasm. “You surely feel I am a wicked lady or something. I know people really didn’t like me in UIET and I am sure you would have heard some more nasty stuff from you-know who?”
Aamya-Nothing like that. Actually, we hardly talk about the past. Does no one any good. As for what was said in UIET, I really don’t buy all that stuff. People just blabber because they don’t have anything to do. Anyway, what do you do these days?
Isha- I work for IBM
As the comfort level began to grow between the two of them, they kept getting to know each other better. The common revulsion for the IT sector had helped. They had constantly avoided Ansh coming to the discussion but the name invariably came in from one side or the other.
“I know I kind of destroyed our relationship. He might have been the one who broke up eventually but it was all me before that” Isha said at one point.
Aamya didn’t know what to say at that point and Isha could see that on her face.
“Its ok. You don’t have to say anything. But I am glad that both of you are going good. And by what I have seen, He couldn’t have made a better choice” said Isha.
Aamya was again left short of words and she could only muster a “Thanks”
The bus was now about to reach Chandigarh and both of them had now started relishing each others’ company. Aamya even missed her stop at 35 as she was busy talking to Isha. Isha had also shared the details about her present relationship which had calmed Aamya further. “She seems happy so why would she want to win my guy again” she thought. She laughed at her own stupidity for not being able to totally get rid of these thoughts every now and again.
As, Aamya was trying to take out her luggage from the overhead cabins, Isha had already got out. To her shock, she now came face to face with Ansh. “Talking with the gf was fine but girl, this will be uncomfortable” she thought. It had been a long time and both of them had successfully avoided each other at functions and gatherings but now it was inevitable. Before they could exchange any pleasantries, Aamya came out and was totally thrilled to see Ansh and came running to him. As she tightly hugged Ansh, she realised the presence of Isha and let go. “You rat. You lied that you are on an outdoor when you were here” she said to Ansh. “Anyway. I will just be back” she said and went aside not wanting to be a part of the weird situation Isha and Ansh were in.
“Are you mad. How could you leave them alone??” Tia had said later but Aamya’s unquestioned trust in Ansh let her think beyond what Tia could see.
After exchanging the customaries Both Isha and Ansh were speechless. Solving the conundrum they were in, Isha bid adieu and said “Don’t let her go. You have got a gem here” before she left
“Hey. Atleast say Bye” said Aamya as she saw her leaving. “Oh I am sorry. It was great meeting you. Hope to see you again” said Isha as both of them hugged like they were the best of friends.
Ansh was looking in disbelief.
“What was all that?” he asked as soon as Isha was gone.
“By the way, you idiot!! I get down at 35. What were you doing here?”
“If you had got down at 35, I wouldn’t have had to drive my bike till here in this early morning cold” said Ansh said Aamya again hugged him tightly. There was so much she wanted to talk to him about. But, first and foremost she just wanted to be with him.
* The Story is a sequel so if you are at a loss somewhere, here is the link to the original The Volvo Connection *