Tara’s Diary Entry

This is an excerpt from Tara Aiyyar’s diary, who is a 20 year old girl with lot of dreams and expectations from life. One fine day, her life changes for good. She now sees things, from a different point of view altogether.

Not very long ago, I was planning on doing Chartered Accountancy. (A long story!) Some work related to that was supposed to be finished. The head office is located at CST, Mumbai. I had been postponing that business for a long time now. At last, one day, I decided to go there.
In the morning, the sky was clear in Nerul. I was waiting for the train to arrive. For a change, the train was on time. I got into the Ladies Compartment of the local train and was happy to see that there wasn’t much crowd there. I was comfortably sitting in one of window seats. The cool breeze was washing my face off all the drowsiness that I had. By the time the train rustled through the meadows and atop the Arabian Sea between the Vashi Station and the Mankhurd station, the breeze had become cooler than before. That day was chilly as compared to the last few hot summer days.
I reached CST station and pushed my way outside the railway station. From there I took a bus to the designated place. As I entered the office, I saw that the sky was darkening. I prayed that it shouldn’t rain now. (Not today of all the days!) All my work was over in a matter of two hours.
As I stepped out of the office, my fears came true. It wasn’t just drizzling; it was raining cats and dogs. ‘I don’t even have an umbrella,’ I thought. I took out my cell phone to call my mom; the networks were jammed.
I continued to cross the road in the hopes of getting a bus back to CST station. I was completely wet by now. ‘What will I do? I am stuck here now,’ I (literally) cried out loud to no one in particular.
A lady was standing right next to me at the bus stop. She asked, “Where are you going?” “CST station,” I said grimly. “But I don’t think I will get there anytime soon,” I added. Her eyes twinkled as if I had just shown her the way to a hidden treasure. She said, “I called my husband and he is on his way here in his car. He will be dropping me somewhere near the CST station. McDonalds. That is where I am headed to. Do you want to join?” I was more than happy. “Sure,” I said, “Thank you.” I smiled at her and she smiled back.
By the time, her husband arrived I was guessing how old she must be. When I first saw her, I had the impression that she was my age. Her eyes had the curiosity of a teenager. So, I was shocked when she said the word ‘husband.’
Within the next few minutes her husband arrived in a silver colored Audi Q5. I was stunned. Not a word came out of my mouth. The majestic car had me numb. I opened my mouth to say something but closed it without saying anything. I quietly got into the car. The car sailed through the traffic smoothly.
We crossed the Marine Drive. That was the most beautiful, romantic and soothing sight to the human eye. The scene disappeared at the blink of an eye. In a few more seconds, we were standing in front of McDonalds. The lady and I got down.
The station was on the other side of the road. I crossed the road safely. (Considering that I am not very good at crossing roads. My friends can vouch on that for me.)
I had not taken the return ticket. So, I had to stand in the long queue here. There I was told that the trains are running indefinitely late. I got scared. After waiting for as long as 20 minutes, I got my ticket. Just as I reached the platform, the train that goes via Harbor line to Nerul was leaving. The train was leaving and I couldn’t do anything about it.
I hauled myself further into the platform. I searched for a vacant bench (it wasn’t difficult). The platform was completely deserted. Just then I remembered that I had to call my mom. Frantically, I went searching for a phone booth as the network on my cell phone was still jammed. I called mom from a telephone booth just outside the station and told her about my whereabouts. (It was still raining.) I went back to the same bench on the platform.
I was getting really bored. Waiting for the train or any other mode of public transport was a pain in the neck. It was equal to doing some task- a very tedious task. I looked here and there. I spotted a book stall a few yards away from where I was sitting. I thanked God for it. At last, something, with which I can kill time!
I went there and ended up buying a Tinkle digest. It was eons since the last time I read one of those. Especially, I missed the Supandi Tales a lot! As I finished reading Tinkle, I heard an announcement being made. It said that the train to Panvel would arrive in another hour and a half. ‘That’s my train,’ I thought.
I kept the Tinkle Digest inside. I was thinking of what to do. My eyes went out to the empty railway tracks. Two rats had come scurrying out of their holes. A third rat joined in later.
I let out a big sigh. Again, I was left with nothing to do. So, I looked at people’s faces. There were people from all walks of life- the working class, the rich class, the not-so-rich class and the poor class. Out of these, there were some who were minding their own businesses while some others who loved to poke their nose into others’ business.
While I watched all these kinds of people, I saw someone. I thought that it must be a whim of my imagination. (Because the face looked very angelic, serene and perfect.) The angelic silhouette was walking towards me. As the serene figure neared, I could see how the wine colored shirt, the pair of black trousers and the black blazer could make him look so handsome. He looked at me in a weird way. Then, he stopped at a shop.
I turned to look to other side. Then, I remembered the three rats. Just for fun, I imagined their conversation to be:

Rat1: Hey, I heard that it rained cats and dogs.
Rat2: Oh My God! Then we better get into our homes.
Rat 1: No, you idiot! It was just an expression to say it rained heavily.
Rat2: Oh… And how is your life going?
Rat1: Bachelor dude! Happy I could be. What about you?
Rat 2: My life is goin….
A third rat comes scurrying out. I imagine it to be Rat 2’s wife
Mrs. Rat2: Are you getting the food or should I serve you to the kids?
Then all the 3 rats scurried into their respective holes.
I was laughing at my own joke. (To come to think of it, it was lame, wasn’t it?) I had completely forgotten about the angel which was coming towards me.
I heard the sound of someone clearing their throat. I turned to my right and saw the ‘angel’ sitting right next to me. I looked down immediately and went red in my cheeks in embarrassment. There was an awkward silence between us. He said in his clear and captivating voice, “I have never heard a girl laugh that way and that too without sharing the ‘private joke.’
“Well…” I stammered with an expression of apology, “I a… am.. s…sorry. I shouldn’t have laughed out that loud.” “No, no,” he said smiling, “I didn’t mean to be rude.” I turned to look at him.
That is when I actually saw him properly. His looks were to die for. Girls would go crazy for him. I was looking at his guitar continuously. He probably noticed that; because later he asked, “So, do you like music?” he asked. He gave me that crooked smile for which I could’ve done anything. “Yes,” I replied. He took out his guitar and started playing ‘My Immortal’ by Evanescence. Apparently, it was his favorite song. (Without a doubt, mine too!) He also played ‘What makes you Beautiful’ by ‘One Direction.’ Towards the end of the second song, I was shamelessly staring at him. He kept his guitar carefully in the case.
“Now you have to do something for me,” he said with a wicked smile on his face. ‘I hope he doesn’t ask me to dance here,’ I thought. “What?” I asked almost in a whisper. “Don’t be scared,” he said, “I just want to know why you were laughing.” “Okay,” I said. Then after thinking I said, “Never mind. It is lame.” “I want to know anyway,” he said.
I had to give up. I told him all about my imagination. While I was telling the story, I realized that he was amused by something that I did or said. While trying to explain the whole situation, I was moving my hands and I had too many expressions on my face. I stopped and asked, “What is it?” “You don’t usually talk much, do you?” he asked. I was surprised by this question. I answered, “Yeah. I usually don’t talk so much. I do not know why I am telling everything to you. And,” I concluded, “I don’t even know your name.”
Subsequently, I turned towards the railway tracks. I was lost in my thoughts. He brought me back to the present. He said, “Aren’t you going to finish the ‘joke’?” I was shocked that he completely ignored whatever I said. He didn’t even tell me his name. (Not that I told him mine!) Anyway, I went ahead to finish the ‘joke.’ As I finished the joke, his lips curved into the handsome, crooked smile, showing his right dimple.
“Now,” he said, “to go to your previous statement about not knowing names. My name is Rahul. What is yours?” “I am Tara,” I said. We shook hands. “Can we please go and have something to eat?” he asked, “I am starving.” We decided to go to McDonalds which was right across the road.
By now, the rains had reduced; though they hadn’t completely stopped and it wasn’t drizzling either. We crossed the road and entered McDonalds. It was cold inside. I was completely wet. I had run my hands through my hair that had made my curly hair look like a bird’s nest. He was also fully wet so his shirt stuck to his body. Hence, the outline of his body could be seen. He had a body that every guy in this world would want to have. His hair was shabby, yet, he looked perfect.
The place was unusually crowded because of the heavy rains and delayed trains. Now, as the rains had reduced the crowd was thinning down gradually. He told me to sit while he kept his luggage with me for safe keeping. As he turned around to go and order, he suddenly remembered something. He asked me, “What will you have?” “Uhm… Nothing,” I said. “Don’t worry,” he said smiling, “the bill’s on me.” “It isn’t about that,” I said frowning a little, “I don’t want anything really.” “Okay,” he said, “so you will have one meal, right?” He went off. I called after him but he wasn’t ready to listen.
He was back with two trays of ‘meals.’ He kept one tray in front of me. I had already taken my purse out to pay. He said, “Don’t bother. Because, I am not taking it.” He winked at me. I put the purse back into my bag and smiled.
We finished our meals and headed back to the station. We reached the station just in time to see the train all ready for departure. We ran towards it.
I pushed myself into the ladies compartment; took a seat. The train honked twice and left for its destination. When the train caught up its speed, I realized that we didn’t exchange proper good-byes. I didn’t have his phone number either. I didn’t know where he lived. I wanted to kill myself for that. I wanted to meet him again and again and again. It was the most memorable day for me. I can, now, tell people that an angel had descended from heaven just for me. I just hope I would meet him again.
Talking to him was like talking to a long lost friend and yet, he was just another stranger. He was like this familiar stranger to me.

-to be continued

Mathangi Aiyyar