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An Attempt to Love
|by Suresh Mandan|
I bid good bye to my friends saying that for the next few days I will prepare for the annual exams which were due in the next fortnight. Those days the question papers were in narrative mode and one had to read exhaustively since the examiner used to expect depth of the subject in the answers. No choice was given and one had to answer all the questions and there were simply 5 to 7 questions.
I went home and in the evening sent down in my room but my mind mind and thoughts went awry. I was distracted by the small encounter I had with a girl from my class. Just while leaving the college, she crossed my path while I was taking out my cycle from the cycle stand. I knew her but perhaps she did not know me otherwise she would have seen me eye to eye. I knew that she was an Indian from East Africa.
There were many East African students in our college who used to come to our city and would go back after their studies were completed. Most of them returned to their shores during the summer vacations. Yes my thoughts were pre occupied by her generally beautiful visage. She was not very beautiful but good looking. She was not very fair but more clearer than a wheat complexioned. She used to dress well and that added to her smartness.
In my thoughts I fell in love with her and in a moment I wrote her a love letter on a borrowed page of a letter pad belonging to a married relative. The love was expressed in pure magical words written with a chinese pen which was available those days from a gray market vendor. The writing came out beautifully showing that I liked her immensely ... though it was one way.
Next day I appeared on our college RV all of sudden. My gang of four friends were suprised to see me when I stated that I would not come. They asked me the reason for this sudden change. After their consistent questioning I told them that I have come because I have started liking someone. When they heard the girls name, they were all surprised. Oh she is not beautiful cried Edwards. She is okay, I said, but I like her. How would you meet her and express your love as you do not know her. That is the problem I said but I have brought a love letter which I would like to give to her as right now I don't have the courage to speak to her. We can't talk to her on the college campus, we would have to do it outside or on the bus stop near her house. But she has no house, Edward said, she lives with someone or in the Hostel as she is from East Africa. Her parents live in Kampala. "Edward why don't you find out" I requested him as I knew he had good links.
Edward spent a full day in finding her location. He came out with a full address and her timmings. She was living in a Hostel and generally used to travel in a city bus which dropped her right in front of her hostel.
Next day was a Saturday.... the day of Bajrang bali (Hanuman) in our state. Edward said that he will go with me to hand over the letter as he felt that she knows him a little bit as both played TT on one odd day. I would be a passive lover.
The college was to get over in the afternoon and we could know that she would be going by 1.45 bus. All five of us took our cycles but I and Edward went ahead, the other three were asked to wait at a short distance from the bus stop near her hostel.
We were five minutes ahead of the arrival of the bus. The moment she got down and started going towards the hostel gate, Edward scrambled towards her and said, "Hi Seema"; Oh Hi she said not identifying Edwards. Without waiting for any other word, Edwards said "Seema he is my friend", he has a letter to be given to you. "What letter? I do not know know him." Seema why don't you see what he written. Seema opened the letter and scanned through it without any expression on her face. I was looking at her face all the time, waiting for any smile or any glimpses of it.
Oh this is a love letter. Turning towards me she said with a little grimace, "I like your courage Satish. Instead of trying any antics you have come straight to me expressing your emotions". In any other case I would have reported this to the college authorities or the custodians of law as I detested the very name Satish. Satish is the person who has sent me to this distant land away from my home and parents. That Satish loved me, promised me marriage but eloped with another girl to UK. I felt frustrated, totally dejected and could not anymore live in Kampala. To forget everything I came to India to this city to forget the unhappy memories. She did not wait for my apology and went running into her hostel.
I and Edwards also came back dejected.
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