9. Stolen moments
She saw ripples form over the water surface, and watched them form in rapid succession, in fascination.
She stood in the clearing that opened to a river, whose bank was filled with white and pink flowerbed.
The setting sun cast orange light on the water, making it shine brightly. As she stood there watching the beauty of the place, had she felt it. Someone’s eyes on her back. It didn’t bother her – the gaze. If anything, she felt herself close her eyes and revel in the content feeling she felt then.
As the footsteps echoed in silence, she didn’t turn back as she knew who it was. She felt herself smile as her hand was slowly taken in his warm grip, his fingers entwining with hers.
She felt a tug on her hand and turned her gaze to see his face, and then she felt it…
Someone shaking her.
“Di” a voice wafted over her hazy brain as she felt someone roughly shaking her.
It took her a minute to clear her fuzzy brain as she got up and sat with the duvet pulled to her lap, her hair sticking in all directions.
She stifled a yawn as she looked at the person who disturbed her out of a beautiful dream and found her sister looking at her worriedly.
“Wha-aaat” her word was punctuated with a large yawn, making Meghna to shake her again.
“Dad’s on call. He’s asking for you. Go!”
“Oh teri!” she said as sleep fled off her system and she dived down from her bed and ran to the drawing room.
Andy sat with his legs crossed over the soft sands of Anjuna beach, as the fire cackled, and men roared, doing their favourite past time – boozing.
“A great man said there are three B’s that ruled a man. Biking. Boozing and Babes.” Andy murmured, passing a finger over the rim of his bottle.
“Who said that?” Adi asked impressed.
“Me” Andy replied and with a grin lifted the remnants of the beer to his lips.
At Adi’s distracted gaze on a brunette, Andy grinned.
“It seems time had come for you to welcome the third B in your life”
Adi looked flustered for a moment but as Andy raised to his feet, with a new bottle, he looked practically nervous.
“Andy?” Adi called after a moment of hesitation.
As Andy read his face, he had to bite back a chortle as he understood his friend’s discomfiture of being left alone.
“Sorry Adi but I can’t help you with that. There are some individual assignments in life which you have to do to pass the course” he grinned, making Adi nervously push his spectacles over his nose.
“But you”” Adi said almost desperately “”but that blonde over there seems interested in you”
“I see you want me to be a part of the act so that it lessens your guilt of committing a crime” Andy said lazily, his eyes roving over the waves of sea that enchanted him.
“But you see, in the precious pearls of wisdom I quoted before, I forgot to mention a clause that’s applicable to me”
At Adi’s curious face, he replied “A babe has to be challenging enough to draw my attention and I’m sorry friend, I haven’t seen that challenge in anyone till date, that blonde included” he said with a lazy stretch.
“Anyway, enjoy the night” he said with a wink before he walked to the north of beach, and disappeared in the dark night.
Sameer smiled at his teammates who currently are receiving a lecture from Imran for getting drunk and staggering to the hostel.
“I hope you guys remember we’ve finals in two days after which we leave, so I see no reason why you are hell bent on ruining our impression and chances of winning the match” he said icily.
However that cutting remark he made only made Sameer’s smile freeze as the truth that his stay is now numbered to mere hours hit him like a pile of bricks.
He picked his jacket and jogged out of the hostel only to stop momentarily as he remembered his conversation with Geet earlier.
He promised he won’t be a nuisance, and he would keep the word. But…
He wanted to steal away one last glance of her before he leaves the city. Closing his eyes for one moment, he made up his mind and started for one destination which had become his abode for quite sometime now… The woods behind her home.
“And I felt him taking my hand in his…” Naina said dreamily as she hugged her pillow, and had a faraway look on her face.
Meghna stifled a yawn and tried to look interested.
“And when I was to see his face, came into view chestnut curly hair with bespectacled face”
“Wow that fits my description”
“Oh it does, because it is you I saw” Naina cried indignant, making Meghna double over with laughter.
When her laughter subsided, and Naina got distracted again with that faraway look had Meghna heard her Di speak “That’s such a beautiful place! And somehow I felt happy then, so much that I can still feel it. Is it because of the man who’s in the dream?” she asked herself, but the devil of her sister answered that.
“Certainly not. You’re happy to be by the river without any restrictions of being home by time.” Meghna said sagely and ducked immediately to save herself from the pillow that was hurled her way.
“You, you killjoy!”
“Or so I was told a million times” Meghna said in a sing song tone before closing the door shut behind her, to save herself from another flying pillow.
As Naina stared at the closed door miffed, she walked to the window and looked out of it, still cross.
And then, she had felt the same inkling of someone’s gaze, and strangely, she hadn’t felt panic then. As she tried to adjust her eyes to the pitch darkness outside her home, or towards the thick bushes that were on the other side of the road, she felt the same sense of ease as she had felt in the dream in presence of someone, and she turned her back to the window puzzled.
Looking at the poster of Maradona that was stuck on the door of their room by her sister, she asked him the most obvious question.
“You think I have gone crazy?” she asked the poster only to shrug and move towards her books a beat later, reluctantly.