I was already feeling uncomfortable with my decision to go to the other part of the city by boarding a bus. It certainly didn’t help to see the terrible condition of traffic at Baguihati Mor. Thankfully I managed to catch an Air-conditioned Bus and was even surprised to get an empty seat.
Very soon I was lost in my thoughts and didn’t even notice when half of my journey was over. By that time, I was kind of bored with my thoughts and decided to keep an eye on the road. But, a piece of fabric caught my attention.
Cobalt blue flowers on a white back ground. I knew that colour, that pattern very well, very closely. I saw HER in the same salwar suit several times in the years I knew her.
I know, there are a million copy of that material in Kolkata, but about the skin tone that I could see from my seat? A portion of her shoulder with the exact complexion was attracting my attention. The hair, in the exact darkness, growing exactly the way her straightened hair would grow naturally. I could hear her voice, see her from the back side and all these were telling me that it’s HER.
I knew how I could be certain. If only I could see the mole on her back. But trying to locate the mole on a lady’s back in a crowded bus may cause some unwanted problems. Yes, the bus became crowded by that time. And I already had my share of unwanted problems. So I decided to proceed towards the door and try to glance at her face. But as soon as I started moving, I heard something.
She had a friend with her, who sat opposite to her and was constantly talking to her. I even tried to scan her face with the faces of her friends I knew, but “no matches found”. Well, a girl like her makes a thousand friends in a very short time. I heard my name. Her friend was saying something like, let him come back and then you decide. And my name was the ‘him’ in that sentence.
I elbowed a couple of persons, trampled a co passengers feet and ignoring all their verbal protests I moved ahead. I was in front of the door and my destination has almost arrived. But she was looking sideways, so I was praying for a glance.
Then the bus stopped abruptly, the door was opened, I got down and she looked at the door to find the conductor. And… I saw the face.
It was not her. It was another lady.. she was not HER.
I realized I may claim to have moved on. I may find her idiosyncrasies irritating, but there was a time when I was hopelessly in love with her. And some of that I will always be with myself.
I wanted us to be strangers. Now I find her in strangers.