In the campus, this seat beneath the tamarind tree is usually unusually crowded. The noises were scary at first, guys singing songs to the girls who walked past them. In some quiet places, you could spot young couples talking as well. But today, being a hartal, there were not many around. She went and sat on the steps beneath the tamarind tree. From where she sat, she could see the canteen and the MA classrooms.
Third day at college. Already she has made friends with half the class, with the canteen manager and with the co-operative society guy. At hostel, she knew the names of almost all the girls on her floor. She opted for a single room as she wanted to read as much as possible in order to be the writer of her dreams. Having another girl in the same room might lead only to those interminable conversations as she used to have during her eleventh and twelfth classes.
Her friend from school Anusha was in the same class as hers. Both had opted for BA in English as they both loved reading. But Anusha was quite unlike her. Happy, cheerful and fun. Meera always opted for the hostel as she hated home. Her parents quarrelled from, morning till night and it was very difficult for her to concentrate on studies. She empathised with people all over the world who lived in war zones. They never knew anyday what was going to befall them.
These were her thoughts as she was sitting in the class when RJK was narrating a particularly interesting question. “For example, you take a lot of things for granted. Like home. Does anybody doubt that when you get back home it won’t be there any longer?” There was a pause as it was a rhetorical question. “No, right?”. Meera suddenly was distracted and she was not able to concentrate for the rest of the time.
“It was a horror, going back home on weekends, she told Anusha. “It’s like I’m going to face a death sentence or something. When I reach the gate, it’s like I’m dragging myself into it. Monday comes and again the sun shines”.
Just in front of the hostel, they saw Aparna, the college beauty talking to a tall guy dressed in black. As he turned, Meera was surprised. She had seen him in front of the MA class on the last three days. He smiled. She thought for a second and smiled. “Oh, you have already made friends?” Anusha teased. Then to her surprise, this guy walked towards her and said, “ Did you study at Trinity?”. Even before she could answer, he said, “ I’m Pradeep. I was your brother’s classmate. Now you remember?” Now it became clear to her why this guy had looked familiar. But Pradeep, her brother’s classmate was a geek not the stunner that this guy was.
As she walked away from Anusha, she was thinking. At times the heart is so crazy. During her school days, she was feeling lonely and sad. A stranger in a strange land, she had felt amidst the crowd when she joined her eleventh class at the new school. After the first term, a miracle came in the form of Anusha, whose mother had a transfer and had joined the new school. It was like she was dropped from the sky to be Meera’s companion.
As she took out her books for reading, she felt a strange feeling. It was the metaphysical question of home that made her upset. When she gets married, she will not fight like this, she made a firm resolution in her mind.