Continuing from last week……
Vineet’s heart was going faster than the Bullet Train. There she was, staring him straight in the eye, and he was tongue-tied, having no idea what to do.
Karun was saying something but his voice seemed to coming from a mile away. All the commotion in the bus couldn’t distract Vineet now. He couldn’t comprehend anything. He had the most beautiful girl on earth (OKAY! that was maybe a tad too filmy. Maybe not the most beautiful on earth, but surely one of the most attractive girls he’d ever seen) giving him a look, the sort of look he felt he’d seen only in saccharine-sweet Bollywood romances when the hero and the heroine meet each other. He felt like one of those silver screen hotshots himself, open-shirted, running after the skimpily-clad actress on a beach with a romantic number playing in the background. (In reality, he was getting flushed in his cheeks, his ears turning red-hot with the self-consciousness of suddenly being the centre of attention of a beautiful member of the opposite sex and the nervousness that is the trademark of a novice). He had his hands on her cheeks, just about to touch that full, pouted landscape on her face called lips with those of his own when the whole landscape suddenly vanished.
It took a strong pat, rather a slap, on the shoulder from Karun for Vineet to come back to this planet from the daydreaming cosmic connections he’d been making.
“Have you gone deaf? I have been almost yelling at you to get on that seat. The guys sitting on that seat just got down. Getting a seat in this rush was always unlikely, and now when we’ve luckily had a chance, you let it slip. What’s the matter, you need a shrink or what?” Karun vented out his frustration at not getting a seat while Vineet remained nonplussed.
“If you don’t get a seat, can’t you travel standing on your feet for a half hour? Are you physically challenged?” Vineet replied flatly in an uninterested tone, giving him a cold, hard stare that Karun understood meant the danger signal. He had received that look on certain occasions when he broke some chain of thought running through Vineet’s mind.
“What happened though? What were you thinking about? Something I should know?” Karun asked, moderating the tone of his voice to a gentle request, mindful of his earlier transgression and trying to pacify him.
Vineet thought for a moment, then let out a sigh of release. He needn’t be angry on Karun. Poor chap hadn’t seen what he was seeing.
“See that girl sitting on the second last seat with Reena?” Vineet whispered in Karun’s ear over the backchat of his co-passengers.
Karun stole a glance, and, narrowing his eyes, asked,”Yeah, so?”
The smile returned to Vineet’s face “She’s the one I told you about.”
“OMG! I know her. She’s Jessica.” He looked from Vineet to her and back again. “You-she, you-she! Ooh yaar! Wow man!”
Vineet smiled but was left perplexed again. ” Her name is Jessica? How do you know? Don’t tell me Ritika told you all about her too, or else I’ll personally supervise her funeral, and yours too!” He grinned.
“Yeah well, she’s new this year, our branch. She’s from Himachal Pradesh and her father is a General in the Army, Rajputana Rifles I guess I was told.”
“Wanna know more?”
Vineet again gave him the angry look.
“Okay, okay! She’s 18. Took a drop last year after her 12th to prepare for IIT- advanced, secretly trying to join NDA, but her father put his foot down on that. Evidently he didn’t want his baby to join the armed forces. I guess army’s loss turned out to be our gain.” Karun quipped.
“So is she single?” Vineet said with a growing spark in his eyes.
“Beta, wo jaankari nikalne me thoda samay lagega!” ( It’ll take some time to procure that info) Take it easy dude, it’s just the first day of the term. I’ll have her full records before you by the end of the week.”
Vineet nodded in satisfaction. He knew Karun could give the CBI a run for its money when it came to gathering information about someone. He stole a glance at where Jessica, or rather Jesse – yeah that sounded more intimate – was sitting, and found that the seat was occupied by an old man. Jesse was gone.
Or was she? She was right behind him.
“Excuse me!” A beautiful voice said to him. Vineet turned to look at the source of the sound, and was greeted by the same couple of bespectacled eyes that had been looking at him from the seat, only they were impatient and angry now. She was being followed by Reena who gave him a smile.
“Oh sorry, here you go.” He adjusted a bit to a side to let them pass through, closing his eyes to take in the smell of her hair and her perfume. Exotic! He’d have to get a good haircut and shave and learn personal grooming from Karun to have any hopes of getting close to this angel from the garden of Eden.
Reena made a face, knitting her eyebrows and giving him a filthy look. “Perv”, she mouthed. Vineet gave a genial smile. Reena would come in very helpful in his quest. He needed to keep her happy. He watched the two of them get down from the bus and kept looking back as the two girls turned towards the market. His mind was about to start on its next trip but Karun interrupted.
” Get ready. Our stop is next. Time for some movie masala.”
To Be Continued……