Amit wakes up with a start. ” Shit, what a bad dream, he thinks.“ He dreamt he was falling in an abyss. He was trying to scream but the scream would not escape his throat. These dreams had become increasingly common since he had lost his job. Bad times for the economy meant that his job had been axed with lots of others.
He goes into the kitchen and brews himself a strong cup of coffee. Coffee in hand he goes into the balcony. “What a life” he thinks,”3 am and I am drinking coffee”
He gazes mindlessly into the darkness of Mumbai. He loved the city, it had treated him nicely and at times shabbily, but overall it had treated him well.
It is then that he notices a light in the apartment exactly opposite to his balcony, separated by a hundred feet of open space.” Another tortured soul like me “he thinks.
The faint strains of a ghazal fall on his ears. Then suddenly as if he has been noticed the light goes out and ghazal stops.
Its morning and Amit gets ready for another day of interviews. He is quite tired of it but a tenacious guy that he is, he keeps at it.
Its evening, he is back with another round of “We will let you know” statements.
His parents have been pestering him to go for an MBA degree. He has applied for CAT and a host of other exams.
“I really should study” he thinks and follows up on the decision.
Its 2 am and he has been studying for the last four hours. Bored out of his skull , he brews himself a cup of coffee and goes into the balcony. He has this strange feeling that he is being watched. He glances at the opposite balcony and the lights there go out almost as if the person there has guessed that he has noticed it.
Another routine day and he is again bored of studying. But now he is prepared, he has his binoculars handy. At 1 am he sets up position. Himself in darkness he observes the opposite apartment.
That is when he sees her. She raises her head from her books and his heart skips a bit. She is so beautiful, he cannot even begin to comprehend it. He observes her for a while.
Next thing he knows, sunlight is streaming into his room.
“Shit, I’m late” he thinks and rushes to the bathroom.
Another day and Amit is back at his studies. He kind of given up on a job but he is really is into this MBA thing.
Interestingly, he is getting into some kind of competition with this girl. She is studying, he knows she is studying, she knows he is studying and she knows that he knows that she is studying. But for the life of him, he does not know what she is studying.
And his heart still skips a beat every time he sees her, and that is happening almost everyday. The good news is that his night mares have stopped. The competition usually ends with him falling asleep on his table and waking up in broad daylight.
This goes on for two months. He is now really studying hard, whether to secure his future or to impress the girl he does not know. Anyway he is enjoying it a lot.
Its 3 weeks to the CAT and one morning the lights in her apartment do not come on. He is worried, he cannot concentrate and messes up the mock test he is taking. “Maybe she is ill or something “he tells himself. But the lights do not come on again and he does not see her again.
“I need to see her again”, he thinks “Just once before the CAT , just for good luck”, but it is not to be.
It is D –day, he goes to the centre, somehow goes through the test. He does not know how he has done and does not really care.
It is back to the same grind and same old routine for him. The nightmares have started again and he has kind of given up on life.
It has been 2 months since the exams. He is pining for the girl he never knew. He knows it is stupid but cannot help it. He is back in his apartment. That is when he sees the white envelope.” Not another job interview” he thinks. But no it is an interview call from Department of Management Studies, IIT Delhi.
“At last “he thinks “some recognition for my efforts” and goes back to studying.
Two months late he has secured a position in DMS IIT Delhi. He bids good bye to Mumbai ,the city that had given him so much and had made him weep so much.
First day in college is kind of boring. He still remembers her but the memory is kind of fading.” I can live without her “he tells himself and decides to bury the past baggage. The Dean’s address over he hangs out with some new friends.
Second day in college , first class of finance , he is apprehensive .Being an engineer , finance never was his thing.
Next thing he knows, his heart has skipped a beat .He thinks he is dreaming, but no, a girl, the same girl has entered the class. She is heading straight for him.
Sitting next to him she asks in a really calm voice “So, what took you so long?”
He smiles, she smiles, a really pretty smile, with a crooked tooth and all.
That is when he knows everything is going to be all right