Yes, it is the beginning of a love story.

Have you ever been in that black hole where everything around you ceases to exist? It’s just you and your heartbeats and your crazy, rambling thoughts jostling with each other. It doesn’t matter where you are in the physical part of the world; time just seems to move in an infinite loop. That’s when you least expect to be blown away with something as casual and as mundane as an everyday conversation. But hey, life has its own surprises. There are two individuals who, totally unaware, fall victims to this great conspiracy.

Zoom in to an average metro station. Can you see through the waves of human bodies? I bet you can’t. Rest be assured, this is an everyday phenomena. People from all parts of the city and from the outside can be seen participating in this complex interplay of “coming’s” and “going’s”. If you stand still for a few moments and observe, you’ll find multitudes of stories being enacted right in front of you. It’s a heady experience to be sure. But let’s not waver from the story in hand. If you can just turn your eyes to the left, you’ll find an odd pair standing in a corner. What is it about them that draws your attention? Is it the way the guy is leaning towards her or the way she’s gazing up at him with a curious light in her eyes? May be a combination of both. Whatever it is, it’s hard to avoid eavesdropping. And this is what’s occupying them so intensely:

Aaditya: “So, you don’t believe me?”

Avriti: “Of course not! I just met you an hour ago.”

Aaditya: “You come across as a cynic. Like, seriously.”

Avriti: “I don’t. I’m just saner. How do you expect me to believe you? I know nothing about you!”

Aaditya (with amusement in his eyes): “Then, why are you still standing here after over an hour?”

Avriti: “Umm…because…umm… yes, because I’m bored. I have nothing else to do.”

However, she can’t meet his eyes when she utter these words and this brings a silly grin on his face. May be, just maybe, he understands her better as a stranger.

Meanwhile, Avriti can feel the blood rise to her cheeks. She, herself, can’t understand how this stranger managed to hold her attention for so long and it keeps getting better and better. She’s confused and also, strangely hooked.

Aaditya: “Hmm… So, you’re bored? How about a coffee, then?”

Avriti: “No. I can’t. I’m getting late. And I don’t know you.”

Aaditya (smirking): “So what? That’s how people date, you know.”

Avriti (rudely): “What makes you think I’ll date you? Just because I’m being polite, doesn’t mean…”

Aditya suddenly leans closer to her and her words come to an abrupt halt. She stares wide- eyed at him, surprised by this sudden closeness. However, she finds herself unable to just shove him away. What a strange moment! They seem unaware of people who are glancing in their way- some nostalgically, some with sneers on their faces and yet, some with yearning in their eyes. Nobody could have guessed that they just met an hour ago for the first time.

Avriti stares as he brings his lips closer to hers but she doesn’t turn away. She can hear her heart throbbing in her chest. She watches herself lower her eyes in anticipation, as if a part of her has separated itself from her body and is watching them from above. But the moment never comes. He suddenly leans back and smiles.

Aaditya: “Your metro has arrived, I believe. Hop on before it leaves.”

She walks in a daze towards the metro, embarks and looks at him with confusion shining on her face. But he just grins at her, sure of himself and the attraction between them. He calls out to her just as the doors of the train are closing:

“I’ll wait for you here at the same time. Let’s grab a cup of coffee then!”

She shouts back, “I’ll not come. No use waiting!”

And the metro zooms away. But he stands there for a long while with a conviction in his eyes and a soft smile on his lips. He knows that she’ll come.

Strangely, Avriti too, with her head bowed, thinks of all the excuses for not meeting him the next day. And yet, a small smile lights up her face as her heart whispers back, “You will.”

To Be Continued…

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