Vineet was waiting for the city bus to arrive at the stop outside his college. It was the first day of the new term and he was mighty excited to have been able to meet all his classmates again, after the semester breaks.
Vineet was a student at one of the most prestigious engineering colleges in the city. The vacation had given him a chance to finally work on some models he had been making. His best friend, Karun, was standing alongside him. They were eyeing the girls at the bus stop.
“I think that girl is a 9, 91/2” said Karun, pointing to a thin, taller-than-average, girl in blue tees and white, washed jeans with black strappy stilletos, standing at the other end of the bus stand with a large, red designer purse slung over her left shoulder.
“Which one?” asked Vineet disinterestedly. His mind was running somewhere else and with the end-of-the-day rush outside the college, it was very difficult to point out a stranger in one glance.
“That, there, over to the other side, in white jeans!”
“I don’t know which one you’re talking about! I don’t see any girl in white jeans!”
Can’t you see? She’s right there.” Karun said, pointing a vague finger in the general direction.
“I still don’t see anyone in white jeans.”
“What happened to your eyes man? Where’s your male sixth sense? You should be…”
“….Yeah, yeah, sense when a hot girl is around you, even when you can’t see her! I know the drill, moron!…..”Vineet completed Karun’s pravachan (saintly teachings)
“………Okay, yes! Now I see! Umm, well…, maybe not a 9, more like 7.”
” C’mon man, you are behaving as if until she’s a film actress or a supermodel, you wouldn’t give a ravishing beauty the top billing she deserves. Look at her, she’s tall, fair, looks gorgeous, and she’s stylish. What else do you want? And how much more would you get? You’re not some filthy-rich business scion that you’ll have the best beauties swooning over and lining up for you. Temper your expectations mate. And give that sultry babe her due. She looks amaaazing!” Karun was cross that Vineet had once again downgraded his choice. He sometimes felt confused as to what Vineet wanted in a girl. Sometimes he’d go gaga over even the most plain Jane, and sometimes, like right now, even the most gorgeous hotties would fail to satisfy his criteria.
“Since you say, she’s beautiful enough, but not as amazing as you think she is, at least not to me. I mean she’s just not my type.” Vineet defended his rating.
“Huh! ‘My type!!’ God save you if you can’t accept a girl as good as her for not being your type.” Karun said with emphasis, irritatedly.
“Whatever! I’m thinking about someone else right now, a girl who was far more beautiful! You know what, I haven’t seen that girl earlier in college, nor have I seen as ethereal a beauty as her in my whole life!” Vineet said, his eyes half-dreamy, staring at nothing in particular and lost in the thoughts of someone whose image his brain was now transmitting from its hard disk.
“Ooh, new muse for our artist!!! Must be pretty extraordinary that she has put even this 9 pointer to shame! Kaun thi bhai woh? Kuch naam pataa maalum bhi hai ya bas khayali pulaav pakaa rahe ho? (Who was she, bro? You got any name-address or just daydreaming?)”
” I have no idea who she was. Told you I saw her for the first time today. She was eating golgappas with her friends at the ‘fast food center’.”
“Hmm..that’s interesting! Did you notice anything special about her, apart from her obvious beauty?” Karun was relishing this occasion. Vineet was obviously thinking about that girl he had seen, which was why he couldn’t appreciate the sight of Miss Bag standing at the bus stop. And he liked teasing Vineet at such moments.
” Stop pulling my legs, Karun! I’m telling you the truth.” Vineet said in half-jest, half-exasperation.
“Okay baba, tell me what she was like.”
“The poetic description or the physical one?”
“You know which one I’m asking for. Plus, I’m in no mood for your Ghalib avatar.”
“Ha ha ha. Oh, well! Okay then! She was like 5’6-7″ tall, oval face, high cheekbones, with a few acnes and pimple marks, wheatish, black coloured metal-rimmed spectacles, you know the type that went out of fashion some 3 years ago, black hairs slightly curly and tied in a bun with a generous few strands creating the magic. There were a few dyed strands among her hair I guess but couldn’t make out much because of the bun. She was wearing a salwar-suit, light green colour. I couldn’t put a finger to it, but there was something very special about that girl.”
Karun couldn’t help a whistle and a chuckle. “You made pretty deep observations on that girl, dear! Let’s call her Ms. Suit. You practical grades would have benefitted from such insightful analyses. Alas….” He let his sentence hang in the air. Some of the guys standing alongside them giggled knowingly. Vineet rolled his eyes towards him. They looked at each other, breaking into a laughter, Vineet slapping Karun on the shoulder.
Karun raised his eyebrows at him conspiratorially and nodded towards Miss Bag, who was getting into an autorickshaw.
“Seems like your bhabhi (sister-in-law) hasn’t done proper shopping for her stay at the hostel.” Karun declared.
“Oh dear! So you’ve made nuptial plans on the first glance itself? Let’s wait for the bride’s approval too. And how come you know that she stays in this hostel? She’s a fresher,right?”
“No, my dear boy. She’s not a fresher, I mean not a first year student. She’s come through the diploma-to-degree admission mode. 3rd semester, my class!” Karun’s pride was coming through.
“And yes, she stays in the hostel. I asked Ritika about her. I got all the details. Single and rich with her attitude leading the way 5 metres ahead of her. She can probably afford a bungalow for rent purpose but her father made her stay in the hostel. How’s that for espionage?” Karun was grinning. He was enjoying the look of bewilderment on Vineet’s face.
“If you are so comfortable with Ritika, why don’t you propose to her? I don’t see any faults in her! And she’s perfectly your type.” They had both known Ritika since their first day at college. She was beauty with brains, on steroids.
“Here comes our bus. You sure you want to watch that Hollywood superhero movie today?” Karun asked, trying to deflect the matter from Ritika.
“Yeah I do. And don’t try to act smart with me. I know you like Ritika.”
“Hell no! She’s a great friend, very close I accept. But we’ve never thought of going that far.” Karun said looking back at him, climbing on the bus from the front door which was actually for those who were alighting.
The driver stared disinterestedly at them with a look and a sigh that said,”College kids these days!” The bus was packed to the rafters and students were still jostling for some foot space at the back door.
“Um..hmm, so what were you guys doing at the back of the abandoned old computer lab last semester? Just friendly discussions I guess, cuddled like babies in each other’s arms.” Vineet was now tightening the noose on Karun’s neck who had very little space to get away.
And then it happened. Vineet found her again. She was with one of his classmates now, sitting on a seat at the back of the bus. Karun was saying something to him and the other passengers, 99% of whom were students of the same college, were making every effort to turn the bus into a fish market, but Vineet wasn’t listening to any of them. He was looking at her.
Miss Suit was there, and she was looking him right in the eye.
To be continued…..