Read Letter Day
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The college cafeteria was jam-packed, as usual. Vikrant scurried across the hall to get to that one forsaken table where no one ever sat. The table was placed beside a broken-down water cooler and some other junk of the cafeteria but Vikrant could only care less. He placed his bag on one of the chairs and settled down, munching on a cold sandwich he made for himself. As he pretended to read from his book, he switched his gaze between the book and the entrance door, an umpteenth time, restlessly.
And there she was! He stopped doing what he was, and stared while his body naturally shrunk down the chair as if he wanted to hide or disappear. A saintly smile played on his lips and he felt his cheeks warming up. It’s been years that Vikrant had known Kritika but he still blushed every time he saw her.
“Hmm…” he muttered as he watched her walking across the cafeteria with her group of friends, talking. She held a folder and some books in one hand and her cell phone in another while her bag slung on her right shoulder.
Vikrant’s heart raced, as it always did when he saw her, and he spent his lunch break noticing Kritika and pretending to read, trying not to come out as a stalker or a creep.
Kritika came and sat on a table while she had lunch with her friends and Vikrant kept noticing her from the corner of his eye. Though there was a book in his hands that he was staring at, his mind was somewhere else. For months he had been thinking about confessing his feelings to her but he could never muster the courage to do so. He sighed, trying not to think about that as it always gave him anxiety.
After about 20 minutes, the break was over and while Vikrant was still lost in his thoughts, he noticed Kritika collecting her stuff and leaving. He sighed again and got up. As he walked out, his mind was still occupied with the thoughts of talking to Kritika, asking her out, or just confessing his feelings. He was pacing towards his classroom and bamm!
He got bumped into someone and as he tried not to trip, he was figuring out what just happened. Within moments, he saw her. It was Kritika and his heart suddenly sank.
“What the!” Kritika bit back her curses.
“Uhhh…Hi…I am…uhhh…I am so sorry” Vikrant stuttered before finally kneeling down and collecting Kritika’s stuff. He cringed at his own response while he did so. “What was that?” he whispered to himself.
He swiftly collected her books and papers and handed them to her. Kritika was still standing there but she looked furious.
“I’m sorry. I was somewhere else” Vikrant said again, handing her stuff back. He looked at her and noticed she wasn’t in a good mood but as their eyes met, his heart started to race.
“Whatever!” Kritika blurted and snatched her books from his hand before storming inside the cafeteria again. Her friends followed her, giggling and chattering something.
“What the hell?” thought Vikrant as he felt bad. He looked around, students stared at him, and some made fun of him, as usual. He was frustrated and started walking towards his class but ended up walking out of the premises as he made his way back home. He skipped the rest of his classes as he felt tired and gloomy.
It’s been about 3 hours that Vikrant was staring at his ceiling, for no apparent reason. He was sad and he didn’t know why.
Kritika was like that – a brat, the diva of the college, one of the princesses who never bothered to talk to him after they switched schools 5 years back. But why was it bothering him so much?
“Maybe it’s not just her” he whispered and sat upright in his bed. “I need some air”, he said and left the house in a hurry.
He walked down the street and reached a huge park. The evening skies had turned saffron and pink by that time and as he paced to the other end of the park, he felt a bit peaceful.
He kept walking till he reached the wired fence at the forsaken side of the park. After carefully jumping over the fence, Vikrant landed perfectly on the big wooden deck and he could see the serene lake right in front of him. The lake was his perfect escape and as no one was allowed to be there, he could spend some of his time in peace.
He looked at the setting sun and the perfect sky in front of him. “Wow!” he whispered and gave out a weary smile.
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Vikrant stood at the metro station, waiting for his 9 AM metro to college. The crowd went bonkers around him as it was a rush hour. People would run and squish into the coming metros and others would scatter out of them like spilled beans.
The Monday morning blues and the commotion of the crowd felt all somber and chaotic at the station, but Vikrant was unbothered by it all. Nothing could come between him and the coding book that he had been religiously reading for a few days now… Read More
Vikrant spent the night tossing and turning in his bed. He tried hard to sleep but sleep was miles away from him. Giving up all his efforts, he sat upright in the bed, frustrated and ran a hand on his face. He sighed and stood up from his bed, walking to his desk.
As he turned his lamp on, his eyes again fell on his taped up iPod. He grabbed it and plugged it into his speakers, playing another song.
The song started with a guitar sequence, bringing a smile on Vikrant’s sad face…
Vikrant stood in front of the mirror, staring at his reflection. A sudden wave of sadness captured his heart. “Why would she call you there? Just look at you!” he mumbled.
He thought about bailing out and skipping the party. Frustrated with his own thoughts, he sat on the edge of his bed with his head in his hands, feeling exhausted. His heart throbbed and sank at the same time, thinking about Kritika, her friends, and everything that had happened with him over the past week.
As he wandered deep down his gloomy thoughts, his computer chimed, bringing his attention back to the moment. He leapt towards his desktop and as soon as he saw an email notification, a smile started to play on his lips. The email was from Kritika
As he walked out of the bar, Vikrant felt his ears heating up and smoke coming out of his body – he was burning. The humiliation, the betrayal, and the cruelty he just witnessed broke his heart into pieces. His steps felt wobbly but he managed to walk. He walked and walked until his vision was blurred. Tears came gushing out of his eyes and he had to stop as his body ached with the pain of sadness that had suddenly captured his heart. He leaned by the side of a tree and cried his heart out. In the back of his mind, he was expecting someone from the bar to follow him, to check on him, and to see if he was doing fine but who was he kidding?