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The crimson sky had started spreading its wings . I cringed my eyes to check my watch . It was half past six . A rather cheesy music started blaring loudly from behind me . I glanced back , almost startled at the pitch of the sound ,only to be welcomed by a pan stained row of teeth jeering at me . Avoiding him, i adjusted my dupatta playing deftly in the wind and hovered over the group of people waiting impatiently for the bus .
‘ The Bus ‘ failed to prove worthless of the long wait . With barely 30 seats and double the need , i strived hard to strangle the cuss which was emanating from the crevices of my mind . Struggling as i might to balance myself , i fumbled inside my hand bag for the wallet ,when i heard the ticket collector exploring his way skilfully through the crowd . Paying for the ticket , i placed myself at a safe corner of the bus , not a tad bit interested in suffocating myself to death . I never noticed the man sailing his way towards his target until i felt a hand snuggling close to me . Revolt did i , as best as i could, throwing a deadly stare at him , and clutching my handbag close to me . I let out a sigh when he disappeared in a scurry behind the thick veil of bodies clinging onto each other .
Reaching my destination , my college , i strolled back unaware of the many cold eyes prying on me . Near the Indian Coffee House inside our campus , i stumbled upon Vinay , my batchmate .
” Hey ! . What is a female species doing outside the hostel at this time of the hour ?! Its past nine ! .” He asked , a dubious expression dancing on his face .
” You do realise right that a Paediatrics professor is staring at you coldly from inside the coffee house . Decent women never wander around once the daylight recedes ” .He advised in between suppressed chuckles .
” Spare the nonsense Vinay . Nothing can matter to me today , though i do carry a pepper spray in my bag ! You know, i managed to grab a pass today to attend that Conference on Book Writing organised by ABC publications ! Such an evocative session it was ! ” I beamed .
” Okay , now tell me you havent gone out of your mind , Neetha . I hope you are well aware of the Medicine PG sessional exam which is due next week . With such an important exam honking loud around the corner what were you thinking you while you went wasting your time on some silly book session ?! ”
” Its not that i am not preparing for the exam. I am ,trust me . But does that mean i should sacrifice something close to my heart just because everybody else here is burying their head inside the textbooks day in and day out . Is it some kind of an unwritten rule that medical students should sit mugging up for ‘ twenty five ‘ hours a day ! ”
” You do as you wish . I cant bother fighting with you at this eleventh hour of exams . See you later . Ciao ” .
‘Eleventh hour ?! There is still a week to go for the exam ‘. I buried that thought inside me as he raced away on his Pulsar scared of losing yet another minute of his precious study schedule .
Reaching my room i saw Kavya , one of my room mates , swelling up in resentment .
” Where were you all this time ! . Anita’s marriage has been fixed and she took us on a huge treat today at Arcadia . Can you believe her luck . The guy is extremely rich and highly educated too . Oh, and to make things better , he is damn handsome as well . Can you imagine such a combination ! ” . She seemed out of the world .
” You should be sharing this news with your husband . Dont forget to include the last sentence ” . I teased Kavya while i settled down on my side of the bed , pressing my face deep into the hollow of the fluffy pillow .
” Yeah as if he would be bothered . Leave me , what about you ? . You have any idea how old you will be next March . 27 yrs ! ‘ Chee , you are a granny ! ‘ That is what we all are going to say on your birthday if you dont accept one of the proposals your poor mother begs you to accept , atleast by next year . ” Kavya threatened in a playful tone .
” Kavya , dont you dare start on the subject again ok . If i am not bothered why would you guys be ! ” . Also i am not simply sitting jobless and warming myself in the sun around here. I have big plans for myself . Will you be able to digest it if i say I managed to communicate with a publishing company today during the conference session . Finally the doors to my dreams are slowly opening their arms . Not that i am not planning to marry ever , but let us leave the marriage deal to God for the time being ok . ” . I pretended to close my eyes as if in a trance . Seriously , i never got along well with Kavya .
” You dont belong here Neetha . Go , chase your destiny and all those crap you talk about usually . I, tonight , have a very important date with ‘ Harrison , The textbook of Medicine ‘ . Make it a point that you dont bug me more with your theories “.
Kavya retreated back to her study table . I too snatched a flourescent marker from my table and settled on my chair to devour the textbook .
The next morning , while i was straining as i might to make out the kind of murmer humming through the stethescope , with an extremely confused patient sitting across me , Anita , my other room mate , nudged me softly from behind .
” Come here , i need to ask you something ” . She whispered in my ears .
I glanced at the disheartened face of the patient and passed the stethescope to Naveen , my junior unit mate . ” Try if you are able to make out the Ejection click . I hear just the Murmer ” .
Anita almost dragged me to the classroom and having closed the door behing she pounced on me , literally,with a question , ” Are You involved with Vinay ?! ”
” Oh my God , where did that come from now ! . Why would i be doing that ?! ” I retorted almost shouting at the top of my voice .
” I knew they would be lying . You know that Abhay right . The one who keeps a grudge against you for not being part of his college union . He saw you yesterday night outside the coffee house with Vinay . He and his friends have come to the conclusion that you are having an affair with him . What else would a girl be doing with a guy at that time of the hour ! See how imaginations fly !”
” Well, so that is the reason behind Abhay smiling at me with a ‘ i – have – won – over – you ‘ scoff when i met him at the Procedure Room today . Anita ,You trust me for who i am right . Thats more than i could ask for . Yesterday , on my way back here i could sense the stone cold eyes of the people trying hard to make me feel bad for being out there on the streets alone . And then Vinay came . He was showering me with preaches in his usual self worthy tone saying i was stupid to be chasing my passion while i could utilise that time to score better in my exams . And then Kavya tried to irk me with her mention of the ‘ Get – married – if you are 26 ‘ motto . And now that spineless Abhay with his sleazy conclusion ! To all these prancing minds i say , ” Not to judge me through their eyes such that they could cleanse my soul free of its specks . I can very well manage myself and definitely no , i am not treading a lost path as they must be hoping . Maybe i am not practical , but then ,heeding to my heart has always been inevitable for my peaceful existence “.
” Oh well i know you , my dear CHE ! ” Anita punched me on my shoulder and passed a big grin .
Right then , Naveen barged open the door and shouted frantically at me .
” Neetha , the HOD himself has come to take the class ! Cant he just sit in his room and sign the ledgers . I was scared to the core that he might ask more about the case we were examining . Do have any idea what an Ejection click actually is ?! ”
I looked at his sullen face , ” Ofcourse i know . Remember i am your senior ! Dont worry . I will explain on our way to the ward ” .
Naveen gave me a smile of relief . ” No wonder i like you so much ! ” . He stated .
A momentary murmer of joy fleeted through my heart . I did have friends who loved me for what i was , absolutely .