This story is about a girl, Lata and how she found her soul mate, a boy named Kumar. Lata had been to a friend’s wedding in the month of April. Full of excitement she had gone to a place she never had been before. She just wanted to have some fun. Her life at that point of time was pretty much boring. Her heart was healing and her job sucked anyway and she was far away from home. And of course her friend was getting married! The wedding was good and she enjoyed roaming around the city. Then it was time to go.
He had been sitting at home on that Sunday wondering about life and his purpose. Kumar was enjoying his Sunday actually with some peace and quiet. And then his phone rang. An unfamiliar number.
Now Lata had a train to catch from a city around 3 hours from where she was so she and two of her friends departed early in the morning just in case. Lata was punctual and paranoid about missing the train. Even though her train was at 3 PM that day she didn’t mind sitting in the station for about 6 hours because they reached the station at 9 AM. Her friends finally coaxed her into some sight seeing and being a travel bug that she is, Lata couldn’t resist the offer. Little did Lata know that her friends had other plans as well. So they kept their luggage in the Cloak room and set out to explore a city the three of them had never been to! After a lot of asking, they were informed that there is a mall not far from the station. Hungry and a bit dirty and girls being girls they decided to head thataway. The girls reached and hurriedly went to the food court. While ordering food, Lata was told by her friends of their plans. Her friends had to leave to meet some other friends. So she thought what she would do sitting there for another 5 hours! Well talking on the phone with atleast three people would mean another hour or so could be passed. Shopping was not an option really. So she decided why not meet someone she knew. First she thought of calling a family friend. But then she didn’t feel like it. So Lata called her friend in Kolkata. A friend she knew would probably know someone whom she wouldn’t mind meeting. And she spoke to him. Told him she is in this city and then asked finally after some chit chat who is there here. He said well there is Kumar if you want to meet him. A smile came across her tired face and she asked for the number.
“Hello?”. “Hello” “Am I speaking to Kumar?” “Yes. Who is that”
With a mischievous grin she says “how are you? How are things going on?”
Confused. “Umm.. I am fine. May I know who is speaking?”
Still playing “Well I am in this city and was wondering whether we could meet”
“Umm.. I am
as of now.. may I know who is this?” Hyderabad
A bit disappointed Lata says “don’t you remember me?” “Umm.. no.” “I am from your school. Your classmate sorta.” He still doesn’t get it. “Greisen?” “ Nope.” Kumar is trying hard to remember all the girls from his class.“The only chink in the entire class???” she enquires
“CHI!!” he exclaims as if a whole lot of memories just came flooding. “Ha ha! Yes it’s me”. Relieved he remembered her. “What are you doing here?” “Had come for a wedding and going back today so thought that I would meet you.” “when are you leaving?” “around 3 PM but you aren’t around right?”
“I am very much here. I just said that because I didn’t know who it was” And she thinks what has he done that he doesn’t want to tell people he is in town?? “so can you meet?” she asks. “where?” “in this mall” “mall??” cant we meet somewhere else” “well I don’t know any other place and the station is near.” “okay then I will be there in another hour. I have to take a bath and all”. “ok.” She smiles. “just tell me when you reach.” “See you then.”
Random thoughts playing in her mind. Its been so long yet she feels nice. It never hurt to meet someone you haven’t met or talked to for almost a decade. Wow! That long! Lata tells her friends her plans too. So they split in different directions in the mall. Its too early anyways so a lot of shops are just pulling up the shutters. Lata and one of her friends decide to go to one of the book stores. Lata is taking in the smell of all the books when her phone rings. It’s Kumar. “Umm. Hi. Cant we meet somewhere else? I don’t like hanging around in malls”. Lata feels maybe he doesn’t want to meet anyway. So she says “well. I don’t know any other place plus my friends are her.” Kumar is of course telling the truth. He hates going to malls. Crowds were never his thing. But he agrees and he wonders why. Maybe because its good to meet an old friend. A friend he spent hot afternoons and evenings in math tuition with. It would be good.
As Lata hangs up she is quite excited. Suddenly she also remembers how her best friend and she had bugged Kumar in school! “Is he coming to take revenge?? Naah. He was just too sweet. But somehow he had disappeared in the crowd as we grew.” She wondered why did he stop talking to them and moved away. She always liked him. Funny and intelligent, that’s how she remembered him.
As she was going through the books she thought of gifting him one. But what does he like? She then thought of a diary and a million things she could probably give him. After all it was almost ten years since they spoke or met and she wasn’t sure if she would ever meet him again. She had to give him something to remember her by.
As she was going through some things she heard a familiar “Chi?” and she turned around. There he was. They say that when you meet the One, birds start to sing and rainbows appear and everything becomes starry. Well, Lata didn’t see any of that! ha ha! But she smiled. A very big and genuine smile. And they exchanged polite hellos. Kumar hadn’t changed. He still was the same then why did Lata want to impress him. They go over to the Barista next door. They talk and he still makes her giggle. Lata can’t believe she hasn’t been in touch with him. Kumar is looking right at her when he speaks to her. Lata shifts her eyes. She is nervous. But why she thinks. And they laugh and talk loud. Kumar keeps telling her nice things. And she thinks he is just being polite. But that makes her giggle more! But soon its time to go. So they go to her friends and then shutterbug that Lata is she wants to take a photograph of this memory. Click and another click. Her friend smiles a knowing smile. Kumar asks Lata very unexpectedly whether he can see her off at the station. She is taken aback but says okay anyway however she refuses to go with him on his bike. They, her friends and Lata, reach the station and in a hurry take the luggage from the Cloak room. Kumar hasn’t reached and Lata wonders whether she will have to leave without saying goodbye. Brushing aside the unpleasant thought she checks in which platform her train will arrive. Well what do you know you can always rely on the India Railways to be late. So the train which was to be at 3 PM was now at around 6 PM. When she turned around Lata saw Kumar. It so happens he explains that in a hurry he had been caught by a traffic police and had to give some explanations as to why he was in a hurry. Funny, she thinks. So Kumar offers to stay with her till her train arrives much to Lata’s discomfort. She doesn’t like being a liability or stopping people from doing their thing. So she keeps asking him whether he has to go back or does he have any work. Kumar is not in a hurry.
So they sit on the stairs of the busy station while her friends catch a nap. They talk about what they really are doing and what they hope of doing. Amidst all the chaos and the confusion Lata and Kumar cant hear a thing except each other. At ease Lata tells Kumar of her life and what she has been doing so many years and then about what she wants. Kumar patiently listens, smiles, and he understands what she is saying! They have cups of tea. And then her friends call her and they decide to drink some tea again in a café in the station. So Lata’s two friends and Kumar go to drink some tea. She can hear them talking but somehow Lata cant listen. She is there yet not there. She takes a sip of the sweet milky tea. “Focus”, she tells herself and manages to say a thing or two. But whenever she looks at Kumar she is overcome with this strange feeling. Could it be? And she laughs and smiles. Then again her heart skips a beat and she wants to run her hands through his hair. What? That’s crazy! So she controls her feelings. Her friends go their way and she is left once again alone with Kumar. He cant tell whether her heart is racing or that she is as cool as she looks. So they wait for the train to arrive on the platform. Enjoying each others company and some silence in between. Her train arrives and he helps her keep her luggage. Before Lata can say anything, he just says good bye and leaves. He doesn’t even turn! As he disappears in the crowd Lata wonders whether she will ever see him again, the guy who made her want to stop the world and look at him.
ps: Lata met Kumar and they have been together ever since