It was a normal evening. I walked towards the nearly secluded bus stop. There was a school girl sitting on the bench. She was most probably waiting for the bus. She could have been waiting for her boyfriend. Frankly, whatever reason she was there for, it didn’t concern me. But for all my frankness, if someone asked me about the girl and her looks, I might have lied saying I didn’t notice and ignored her presence. I actually did notice her looks, what she wore, the length of her hairs, the bag she had on her lap. I noticed everything about her because she was beautiful. Enough said, I decided to just observe and be happy. After all, to her I was a total stranger and much older than her. Short term or long term, there was no point in trying to talk to her. A roaring horn interrupted my thoughts. A bus stopped right in front of me. I went into the bus, but noticed the girl was still sitting there with blank eyes. She had beautiful eyes too. I began wondering if she had an older sister like her. The bus sped off instantly. She must have been waiting for her boyfriend after all. And by the blank look on her face, the jerk was late or holding her up.
Two days later, I found myself in Gurgaon. My girlfriend was pretty angry with me for breaking our promise to go on a date this Saturday as my boss sent me to this odd meeting with some other company in Gurgaon. If I had to rise in my job, I had to take up this offer. However the other company turned out to be very co-operative, and the meeting was over in like one hour. It was still afternoon, so I quickly grabbed a burger and fries from McDonalds and went to the bus stop. Unlike the last one, this one was crowded. Heavily crowded. But despite the heavy crowd, something caught my eyes. The same girl I saw two days ago. She was standing in one corner of the bus stop, leaning against a lamp post. She had the same school uniform on her and was holding the same bag. Even the expression of her eyes didn’t change. I looked at my watch. Did she bunk her school or was her school over a long time ago? Good looking girls like her must be from a good family, so there is a high chance that school was over a long time ago. Judging by the look in her eyes I think either she broke up with her boyfriend and didn’t know how to spend her time or her boyfriend was in a perennial habit of being late or holding her up. A bus for Noida stopped. I managed to push through the crowd, got inside the bus and found myself a window seat. Normally, people are thrilled by the achievement of finding a seat in a crowded Indian Bus, but I wasn’t thrilled. I just looked out of the window. The girl was still leaning against the lamp post... with blank eyes.
The next day, after making up with my then angry girlfriend, we decided to meet at a mall in Noida. So, I got early as usual and dressed up like any guy going on a date would. It was still 8:30 in the morning when I reached the bus stop. The Bus stop of Sector Alpha-1 is mostly empty with one or two people at the most waiting for the bus. Today was no different. No. Rather, today should have been no different. Yet it was different. Today, the same girl, in the same school uniform holding the same bag was sitting on the bench. I thought I lost my lower jaw. What is the probability that a girl you saw on a bus stop three days ago and yesterday as well would appear in front of you today. And in the same get up and with the same expression on her face? You do the math. Personally, I’ve had enough of probability while I was in college. I walked up to the bus stop and sat on the bench next to her. My train of thoughts started to rush at supersonic speeds. Firstly, why is she in Greater Noida? I saw her at bus stops in Gurgaon and a rather secluded sector of Noida. What was she doing in Greater Noida?? No, seeing her at Noida and Gurgaon that too in school uniform in two days interval is weird enough. Secondly, I haven’t seen this School Uniform in whole of Greater Noida. No School in Greater Noida has such an elegant girl’s uniform. No. Today is Sunday; she isn’t supposed to be in a School uniform at all! Thirdly why didn’t her expression change? And finally, and the most troubling of all points was – Why did I come across her in Bus Stops only? I mean, if god wanted me to meet my girl of destiny, he could have done it in more romantic spots like a coffee shop or an amusement park. No. Wait. Consider the School Uniform and her looks, she must be in Senior Secondary... 12th grade at the most. That made her too young for me. She could be more like my sister.
But you know, Human Beings have a habit of not saying what they think. I too said something. I know I shouldn’t have said anything at all, but I said something nonetheless, and it wasn’t anything that I was thinking about that time.
“Does your boyfriend have a school uniform fetish?”
Her blank expression changed immediately to total astonishment as she was looking at me with round eyes. I don’t blame her for stumbling verbally; it was an odd question after all.
“I... I don’t have a boyfriend and... “
Her eyes turned into an innocent questioning gaze.
“...what is fetish?”
Huh? Was I too lost in my world of fantasies that I naively assumed that 12th grade girls know what the meaning of fetish is?
“You don’t know what a fetish is?”
“Err... mm... no.” She replied after thinking for a few seconds.
I rubbed my eyes. Either this girl is really that innocent and pure or I was too naive to assume things or maybe she did that on purpose. Whatever the reason was, it’s better if I don’t talk to her.
“It’s OK. Sorry I ever asked you this inappropriate question. Just forget everything about it.”
The girl opened her mouth, but closed it again. She turned her gaze away from me. However, after a couple of minutes passed...
I turned my head towards her. She was still looking away.
“What is it?”
“Mm... nothing...” she looked up at the sky. I think I saw her smile slightly.
I think my curiosity was pretty much out of control now. Firstly I saw this girl in school uniform in three different places. And even though she looked suspicious, strange or whatever... she was good looking. Not only that. Earlier, she had a blank expressionless face. But now she looked... umm... how do I put it in words... content? Yes, that’s it. She looked satisfied and content. I wanted to ask her many questions, like where was she headed to, which school she attended, where she lived, etc. But I decided to bury my curiosity six feet under the ground and pray to God for it to rest in peace. I had already decided to not talk to her. Anyway, it wouldn’t be a good thing to talk to a beautiful girl just before you’re going on a date.
My cellphone rang. It was from a person I didn’t want to talk to. But I picked it up nonetheless.
“Hello Son! Having a blast are you?”
“Dad. Why did you call me?”
“Oh. I wanted you to bring me some drinks the next week. It’s a lot cheaper in Delhi than it is here.”
“Just why do you want all that? I can’t expect or hope any good thing happening with your life.”
“Be more considerate about your father son. I’ve raised you up to be a perfect gentleman.”
Father must have been in a good mood. We usually end up shouting at each other after two lines.
“Not just you. Some part of my life, mom did it”
“Her again? Don’t tell me she contacted you again. I’ll have her killed for this.” Father raised his voice.
“You’d be dead before that. Don’t do anything to mom or say bad stuff about her.”
“Bah! Why don’t you understand the fact that this woman you call your mother is a bad person. She can’t be good at any cost!”
“Go to hell. I thought I’d bring you the booze, but forget it now. I’m not talking to you at all.” I hung off. It’s been a very long time, 17 years I guess, since my mother and father were divorced. I still remember the last time they talked. Or rather it sounded more like a string of loud abuses. I was 9 years old then and was very attached to my mother. She always used to save me from Dad if he thought I had done something wrong or bad... be it a spelling mistake. And then, Dad was mostly at office so I spent more time with Mom. She and I tried to stay in contact after the divorce, but 3 years ago, when I got a job, Dad learnt of this fact and talked to Mom about it. Since then I’ve been unable to call her and she didn’t call me either. It was ever since then that I’ve hated my father. But even then I paid him a visit once in a while. He was after all my father.
“Excuse me...” she said in a soft tone again.
“What?” I replied in reflex.
“May I know your name and your occupation?”
Huh? I think this is the second time today that this girl had shot me with an offbeat question. Why would any girl want to know my name, and more so after I have asked a strange question. No wait... This girl didn’t realize that my question was strange. But even so she has no reason to talk to me, let alone know my personal details. Was she trying to flirt with me? Aaarrrghh... I’m thinking too much. It’s rude not to answer if a beautiful girl like her asks for your name. So I told her my name and that I was working as a Manager for an IT company.
“Well, I’ve introduced myself to you, so naturally I would like to know your name as well.”
“Ah... yes... my name is... umm...”
Oye... why is she having a hard time telling me her name?
“...mm. Yes. My name is Liril.”
I felt my temples. Yes, my body temperature was still normal.
“Are you trying to make fun of me girl? It’s too damn obvious Liril isn’t you’re real name. It’s a very popular soap brand; hence it cannot be anyone’s name.”
“Ah...” she flustered. “Please no! I never meant to make fun of you... it’s just that I...”
“I... I can’t tell you my real name. Something bad might happen.”
“Huh?” I shaved and had a proper bath in the morning. Did I still look like a hooligan or a criminal? So I asked her this.
“No... You’re looking fine. You look like a nice man actually.” Her cheeks touched a slight shade of pink.
Man, this was looking more and more like a scenario from those nonsensical Japanese dating games. I just saw one at my friend’s house a week ago, and I still remember the story because my friend had told me the story with full enthusiasm.
“Your bike still not fixed man?” this was the voice of the same guy who played all those nonsense dating sims.
“You, who totalled the bike shouldn’t be the one asking me.”
“Oh... come on now. I wasn’t driving the bike. It was Zee who was driving it.”
“Whoever drove it, I gave it to you. So you’re responsible.”
“Ah! Ok. But I see you’re up early on a date with your girlfriend.” He then faced the strange girl and introduced himself.
“Hi there. I’m Selenium his long time friend. Nice to meet you.”
Damn. This is a real bad situation. The girl was totally thrown back into her confusion or dilemma or whatever, by his sudden introduction. I grabbed his collar and dragged him a meter or two away and finally whispered into his ears.
“Oye, she’s not my girlfriend.”
“Hoh... I thought so because you were chatting quiet cozily. I could see you from a distance.”
“We weren’t chatting cozily. It must have been a figment of your already dangerous imagination. And then, she doesn’t seem like a girl one can trust.”
“Eh? Why is that?”
I let him off. “Because she is innocent and pure as she doesn’t know the meaning of fetish. Yet she won’t tell me her real name. You know what that means right. She has to have a shady past or background.” I turned around. Selenium wasn’t listening to me. He was already facing the soap girl.
“Sorry for the misunderstanding. But what is your name anyway?”
“Mm... my name is Liril.”
“Ah! Unique name. Good. So what grade are you in? Let me guess... 11th?”
“No, I was... no... am in 12th.”
“Hoh... sorry, I thought you were in 11th.”
“Are you also doing a job?”
“Nah... I’m a freelance journalist.”
I had to go and grab Selenium.
“Stop flirting an...”
“Why? She isn’t your girlfriend. That gives me the right to flirt her. Right?” he interrupted me.
“But she could have someone else for a boyfriend.” I said in a matter of fact tone, knowing the fact that she didn’t have any.
“So Liril? Do you have a boyfriend?” Selenium shamelessly asked the soap girl.
“Ah... no.” She was now blusing heavily and shifted away her gaze downward. She finally looked up at Selenium with her head still hung low. “Do you have any girlfriend?”
“Ah! Yes... many. But they don’t compare to you.”
“Ah... please don’t say like that...”
I couldn’t believe how much they were into each other. But honestly, why am I getting angry?
A Bus came and stopped by. I thanked the gods of Buses. I hoped that now the two of them won’t be able to talk. The girl like the last two times would stay back and then I would be at peace.
“The bus is here. Are you gonna come in.”
“The girl looked at the bus. “Ah... yes. I’ll go there too.” Saying this, the girl got up in the bus and so did Selenium. God, take me to the mall as fast as possible.
Having prayed to God, I took a seat by the window. Selenium sat beside me. The soap girl sat at the seat behind us by the window. Why is the bus so damn empty on a Sunday?
“Ya know man...” Selenium said to me in a rather loud tone. Was he loud on purpose?
“... there are many things in life one should do before it’s too late.”
“Where did that come from?”
“The Periodic Table.” This was the prime example of his venomous dialogs. It can kill a 1000 people in 1 second or at least drive them to insanity.
“I’m sorry I even asked you.”
“Well, but think about it. I mean, you were irritated with me for openly flirting Liril, but it is fun when the girl doesn’t mind. Did you mind me Liril?” asked Selenium turning back.
“Umm... no. I think I enjoyed it too. Though...”
Why did she stop?
“Well, see. She understands it. Maybe one day you will too.”
He didn’t notice the incomplete statement. More importantly, I pulled his shoulder towards me. “Hey, her last statement makes it clear now. She has a shady character or background.”
“Hmm... I know that.” Selenium said with a matter of the fact tone. “Say, Liril.” He turned his head to face the soap girl again.
“You know that you sound like a shady character or a trickster when you don’t tell your real name and chat up so easily with strangers?”
The girl looked at him with surprised eyes, but suddenly a smile swept her face. “Yeah. I guess I’m a trickster.” Saying this she looked outside the window.
The bus now stopped at another stop. A few people got in. One particular person sat next to the soap girl and then placed a rather heavy looking bag on her lap. She didn’t even budge. She accepted the heavy looking bag as if she was used to it or knew the person. Well, even if they were close, this didn’t mean that he could do as he wished to her. I believe there are etiquettes one should follow. And this man wasn’t following it. I turned back and was about to lecture him on etiquettes, but Selenium grabbed my shoulders and softly whispered, “Don’t.”
I looked at him. Yes, he was correct. I’m not an acquaintance of that girl or that man. It didn’t matter to me if they were related or not. So I shouldn’t care what the guy is doing to her.
The bus was now a couple of minutes away from my destination. Selenium said something strange again in a rather loud voice.
“Well, when I said that that one should do things before it’s too late... I didn’t mean love alone. There are a lot of things in human relationships that you can realize. For example, if you had to say sorry to someone, you should say it as soon as possible. Maybe the person won’t be there for you to say sorry the next time. Or if you want to talk about promotion with your boss, do it before someone else gets into his good books. It’s with everyone. I met a girl today who didn’t mind me flirting with her, so I flirted. Maybe I won’t have as much fun next time with any girl as I had talking to her today.”
To summarize him, he had fun flirting because Selenium usually never talks to the opposite sex. Why was he having so much fun with her? I turned around to face the soap girl. This time I saw a trail of tears on her cheeks. She was still looking out of the window. “Oye? Are you all right? Why are you crying?”
The man next to her was startled. “Huh? Are you talking to me mister?”
This was annoying. I was clearly facing a girl who was crying next to him. Couldn’t he see? “No, I’m talking abo...”
“Ah! The GIP Mall is here. Let’s get off shall we.” I looked at Selenium in annoyance, then turned back to face the soap girl. But she had already kept the man’s heavy bag on the seat and was already out to follow Selenium. That guy has some good womanizing talents. I wonder why he still doesn’t have a girlfriend.
The bus stopped in front of the mall and we got off.
“I have to go to the On Stage Music Shop. See you some other day.”
“Ya, ok. See you later.” I replied back.
Now the girl was with me alone again. Was it just me or had she really started crying helplessly. She kept sobbing and rubbing her cheeks. And then she did something that shook my conscience at a Richter Scale of 10. She threw herself at me and hugged me tightly digging her face into my chest.
“I’m Sorry. I’m Sorry... I’m very very Sorry. Please forgive me for whatever I’ve done.”
“Heh?” Hold it. Something was very wrong here. Why was she apologizing to me? What did she do?
“But you haven’t done anything to me, why are you apologizing?”
“You may not know... sob ... but I’ve done something bad, so please forgive me. Please... I’m sorry.” The desperate voice resonated through my soul. What did she do? Nothing bad has happened in my life recently. Even if this total stranger of a girl did something bad to me, I felt I could forgive her easily. She did behave like a sweet and obedient girl.
“OK. I forgive you, though I still think it wasn’t necessary. You’ve done nothing.”
“Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you for forgiving me.” She lifted her face upto me. There was now a content smile on her teary face. She took a few steps backwards, bowed and then said “My real name was Akansha. I’m happy I could meet you while I still could. And Thank you for forgiving me.” She ran away into the crowd. Before I could stabilize my brain and understand my current situation, my sixth sense told me that the Goddess of Death was right behind me to purge my soul to Hell.
“WHO WAS THAT GIRL?” my girlfriend came charging up at me.
“Heh? I don’t know...”
“This is it. I’m sure you must have been having fun with her yesterday. I innocently believed that you were in some meeting... No... Of course, you were in a meeting but with THAT girl! I HATE YOU!! YOU HEAR ME!!! I HATE YOU!!” She shouted all of this in just some odd 10 seconds time. Did that soap girl apologize to me in advance, knowing something like THIS would happen? I was now totally lost, so I decided to use my brain in controlling something more important and immediate.
“Sweety! Wait. It’s not what you think it is. I was in a real company meeting yesterday and this girl was a total stranger...” I pursued my girlfriend and tried to talk her into forgiving me for something I hadn’t done. After one and half hour, she finally calmed down, and made me promise I won’t ever talk to any girl ever again. Then we had our date like any normal couple would have.
After that, the rest of the day, I was upset thinking about that girl. Akansha was her real name. That name suited her. It was soon night time and I fell asleep forgetting everything about her.
The next morning some idiot began ringing my doorbell completely devastating my sleep. I looked at the watch. It was still five ’o clock in the morning. I got up in a sleepy state. The bell kept ringing. It was beyond annoying now. I opened the door and in front of me was Selenium; completely soaked. It was raining rather heavily outside. When had the weather become like this? It was quiet sunny yesterday.
“Give me some shelter man. I was jogging and it suddenly started raining like this.”
I let him in gave him a towel and a change of clothes. While he dried himself, I brewed some tea. Then over tea, I narrated him the incident with the girl after he left.
“So, she was there to say sorry to you.”
This was another living example proving that a guy named Selenium was the most abnormal creature on this planet. Any sane person would think I was joking... at the most show some expression of astonishment. But not only did he not react like that, he even added a statement that made it seem that it was all a commonplace happening.
“Don’t say as if you know everything.”
“No, I don’t know why it said sorry. But I know it was there for some reason.”
“It?” the word caught my attention.
“Ah... well, leave it. Let’s not think about stuff like that. Change topic.”
The phone rang. I got up to answer it. Selenium in the mean time picked up the Economic Times.
“Hello. May I talk to Mr. Srivastava.”
“Hello. Yes, I’m speaking.”
“Mr. Srivastava. I’m Inspector S.K Sinha. I’m an acquaintance of you Late Mother.”
I could feel my body go numb. Did he use the word ‘Late’?
“What the heck are you talking about? What is the meaning of this?”
“Mr. Srivastava. Please listen to me. I’m sorry to break this bad news to you like this. But I felt you absolutely had to know. Your father hasn’t talked about this to you yet has he?”
“No.” I couldn’t say anything else.
“Well, Mr. Srivastava, about your mother’s demise. It was very tragic.”
“Just say it already. I’m running out of patience here.”
“Very well. Actually, five days ago, your sister stabbed your mother with a Kitchen knife before committing suicide by jumping off a bridge. She even wrote a suicide letter in which she took responsibility and asked for your forgiveness in particular.”
Just what was happening here? I could understand the language; I could understand what was that Sinha guy saying... Yet I didn’t understand anything. And then why would that sister of mine ask forgiveness from me particularly?
“Shit.” I suddenly remembered that soap girl.
“What was her name?” I asked in desperation.
“Her daughter’s name? I mean my sister’s name?”
“It is Akansha. You didn’t know it?”
“And what did she write in the letter. Tell me exactly.”
“I’m sorry. I don’t remember it all. But I can send you a photograph of it. The letter is still in our archives.”
“Please do.” And then I gave him my email address and correspondence address.
I didn’t know if I should thank him or just keep the receiver. After a few moments of silence I just kept the receiver down.
“What happened dude? Something serious?”
“My mother died five days ago.”
“My sister killed her.”
“Ah. That is trag... Eh? You had a sister too?”
“Now that I think about it, when my mother and father got divorced, I had a sister a little less than one year old. She was very small, I and didn’t like her because mom would constantly keep her near to herself. It's been 17 years since then. Of course there is no way I could have remembered her.”
“Sibling rivalry. I have it with my brother too. But I’m amazed. You stayed in contact with your mother even upto your MBA degree didn’t you? She never talked about your sister?”
“She didn’t.” A lot of things weren’t fitting in place. My mind was already numb with the news. Mom, why did you have to die? And above all why did she have to kill her? I felt something trickle down my cheeks. I pictured the time yesterday when the girl cried digging her face on my chest.
I called up my father.
“Hello? Why are you calling so early...”
“Damn You Dad! Couldn’t you tell me what happened to mom! That’s what you were happy about yesterday weren’t you?” I shouted into the receiver.
“Who told you?” replied a cold voice.
“How does that matter? Answer me first. You knew everything about it right? You knew your daughter had killed your ex wife and yet you were happy about it?”
“SHE WAS NOT MY DAUGHTER!”
I was taken aback by his sudden retaliation. He then continued, “Why do you think I divorced your mother in the first place. I had to protect you from her corrupted morals. I could care less about that illegitimate child.”
I couldn’t say anything. I just kept the receiver back, cursing myself for ever calling my father.
'Why did I ever call him?'
I was upset enough with mom’s news. I didn’t need to know all of this now.
“You’re laptop rang a few bells a few moments ago.”
I went upto my laptop and opened the lid. There was a mail from that Inspector Sinha guy. It had a snapshot of the short letter that she wrote. Her handwriting was shaky, yet way better than mine.
“Mom. I’m sorry I did this to you. But I had enough of you. Enough of myself. Enough of everything. I’ve had enough of you hitting and beating me for coming back home late, when you yourself don’t come back before 10 pm at night. I’ve had enough of your high expectations towards me becoming something I don’t want to be. Even though I worked hard in school to make you happy, you never smiled. But when he calls you, you beam, you smile and you laugh. Why does someone like him bring you happiness, and why does someone like me become a reason for your misery? Why was he the one you thought could save you when you were dying? Why? I don’t know anything now. All I know is that I’ve committed a sin. I don’t regret it. It’s a sin I had to do. And before the Almighty God can punish me; I’ll punish myself. And before I do that, I must apologize to the person who would be hurt the most. Her son, who made her smile in those moments when he phoned her. To him – I’m Sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you, but I had to do this. This was the only way out of this hell for me.”
“Mom. Were you that bad?”
I can’t think of anything right now.
“So, now we know what did she say sorry for.” said Selenium who was reading the letter from behind me.
Yes. Now I know why she enjoyed being flirted, why did she say she was a trickster, why didn’t the man notice her, why she left her statements incomplete, why she wept on my chest, and above all, why she said sorry and thanked me for forgiving her.
"She hasn't written everything in this letter. She has still hidden a lot of her feelings. Because of what I observed, she really was a good girl. Even right now I'm unable to fathom why she did this. But well... let it be. I guess you're not going to the office today?" said Selenium.
"Yeah. I guess I can't go." I covered my face with my palms asking myself question I knew I couldn't answer.
Well, another short story that is long by blogger standards. I just can't write stories in 2 or 4 pages at all. :(
Well, I was inspired 10% - 15% from "Clannad's Ibuki Fuko's" Arc and the last episode of "School Days". I hoped I would write a realistic "Slice of Life" kind of story but my Unreal imagination did it again and took ideas from these Anime subconsciously. I realized it only after I had finished writing it.
And I got the idea of a girl waiting on a bus stop when a few days ago I saw a good looking college girl waiting for a bus on the bus stop with a sad face. The girl was real beauty though :D
And yes, I've once again showcased my supernatural sensing power... Yay!! ^__^
Please leave comments :)